Anna Nicole Smith appearing before the Supreme Court? Churches conducting "Porn Sunday" services? Illegal government surveillance? Good Lord! From Oct. 25, 2005 through Nov. 23, 2006, a rare combination (once in 248 years) between the planets of sex (Pluto) and religion (Jupiter) is at play in the heavens.

In astrology, this specific state known as "mutual reception" happens when two planets are transiting in each other's ruling sign. Right now, Jupiter (ruler of Sagittarius) is in Scorpio, and Pluto (ruler of Scorpio) is in Sagittarius.

Mutual reception is potent. It strengthens and intensifies the expression and potential impact of the planets involved: they now work together as if there is some sort of secret agreement to aid one another's effectiveness. To better understand how this might unfold during the next 11 months, here's some background:

Discovered in 1930, Pluto, "Lord of the Underworld," is the outermost planet in our solar system. With its uneven orbit and 248-year cycle, Pluto spends anywhere from 10 to nearly 30 years in a sign.

In a horoscope, Pluto rules sex, psychology, death, and regeneration. When under Pluto's influence, there is no choice but to surrender to deep transformation. We are vulnerable--and must yield to the feeling of being overcome by fate. As a slow moving outer planet, Pluto is about the transformative evolution of the collective; it defines the zeitgeist of a generation. When Pluto entered Sagittarius--the sign of religion, ethics, and morality--in 1995, it ushered in a time of intense religious "My God is better than your God" polarization and the socio-cultural-political upheaval that accompanies that sort of lunacy.

The rift between world religions and political ideologies deepened and intensified. Sex scandals in the Catholic church made headlines, as did unprecedented outbreaks of violence in high schools, courts, and universities. The world of communication transformed and rapidly accelerated, as millions went online and cell phones and instant messaging became commonplace. The entrance of Uranus and Neptune into the sign of Aquarius in 1997 and 1998, respectively, added to the frenzy of technological growth.

Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. Known for its expansiveness, good luck, and generosity, Jupiter is called "the greater benefic." Jupiter spends a little more than a year in each sign, and a complete Jupiter cycle through all 12 signs takes just under 12 years. Jupiter is now in Scorpio.

In addition to sex, death and psychology, magnetic Scorpio rules what lies beneath the surface, "other people's money," and collective resources. Jupiter in Scorpio knows where the bodies are buried but that its probably best to keep his mouth shut. To appreciate the powerful hypnotic spell that this placement can cast, as well as its mystique, raucous humor, and investigative skill, check out the roster of fascinating (and occasionally diabolical) people with Jupiter in Scorpio: Mata Hari, Aleister Crowley, Stephen King, Uri Geller, Deepak Chopra, Steven Spielberg, Liz Smith, Linda Blair, Elvis Presley, Magic Johnson, Lucille Ball, the Dalai Lama, Henry Kissinger, Alfred Hitchcock, Al Capone, L. Ron Hubbard, Sharon Stone, David Letterman, Billy Crystal, Elton John, Larry David, Glenn Close, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Will religious fanaticism or corruption trials rule the day? Read more >>

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  • The last Jupiter in Scorpio transit (Nov. 11, 1993 to Dec. 9, 1994) was marked by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's failed attempt to revamp health care in the United States, the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, and the start of the O.J. Simpson trial. Many believe that the Simpson trial marked a disturbing turning point in our legal system because of his probable guilt and the fact that money and power appeared to buy his freedom. (It's worth noting, too, that Simpson has Jupiter in Scorpio and that Hillary Clinton, who is a Scorpio, missed it by days--her Jupiter is in early Sagittarius.) The spirit of the law, it seemed, was no longer that important.

    This year's Jupiter in Scorpio transit has added punch, as this is the first Jupiter-Pluto mutual reception of the modern era. Will religious fanaticism, unbridled greed, suspense thrillers, sexual acting-out, corruption trials of elected officials, outrageously irreverent comedy, the return of the Messiah, high rollers, holy rollers, or all of the above (and below) rule the day?

    Astrologers look to history to learn what a configuration has brought us in the past and then gauge its upcoming impact. The last Jupiter-Pluto mutual reception took place 19 years before the American Revolution, in 1757. There were no cars, phones, radios, movies, television, computers-none of the modern conveniences industry has brought us and that now play a crucial role in our daily existence. Although conditions and the pace of life were then very different, three events of that year struck me as interesting in light of today. In 1757:

  • The British took over the rule of India, impacting the world economy greatly. That rulership lasted just eight years short of an entire Pluto cycle--through 1997.
  • According to the followers of Emanuel Swedenborg, the Second Coming of Christ occurred.
  • Alexander Hamilton was born. He was the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and he established the National Bank.
  • In 2006:

  • The United States and other Western countries are in Iraq, and there is talk of invading Iran. Many believe that the struggle is not about terrorism, but about oil and control of the world's economy.
  • Religious fervor and fundamentalism are at an all-time high. Some people speak of the Messiah's return on Holy Thursday--April 13, 2006.
  • Pilgrims have been flocking to the forests of Nepal to see a 15-year-old boy believed to be the reincarnation of the Buddha.
  • The year is new, but if the drama of the past few days is any clue as to what lies ahead, we're in for quite a ride. Examples: The West Virginia coal-mining tragedy, pending indictments of several U.S. Congressmen, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke, Vice President Cheney's hospitalization, and the TV showdown between David Letterman and Bill O'Reilly.

    Political astrologer Judy Johns believes that in 2006, "the Supreme Court will make some major decisions about very weighty subjects: Women's reproductive issues, stem cell research, death with dignity, the death penalty, and laws separating church and state. Government will focus on taxation, recycling, renewable forms of life, import-export issues, and the legal ramifications of overreach in the use of executive power."

    Incidentally, Jupiter in Scorpio is concerned with surveillance, wiretapping, and investigative journalism. Expect this to be "the year of the conspiracy theory," with many past unsolved cases (JFK, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana) coming up for review.

    "Pluto in Sagittarius is wielding its transformative power in our courts and it is apt and willing to bring us all to justice," says Liane Thomas Wade, president of the Uranian Society (a technical branch of astrology). "If we can instead use this transit to study the mystical life, life after death (thank you, Barbara Walters), things psychological, and to pay our taxes, raise some funds and provide services for those in need, we'll stay out of criminal court."

    For the record, Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff both have Jupiter in Scorpio.

    I'm encouraged by the artistic and comedic healing powers of Jupiter in Scorpio and Pluto in Sagittarius. The films coming out this year promise to jolt the status quo: "The DaVinci Code" (the film adaptation of the controversial book that questioned nearly everything about early Christianity); "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World" (a gem by Albert Brooks--he has Jupiter in Scorpio-- about how the West's understanding the humor of Muslim culture can help world peace); "Underworld Evolution" (replete with the Scorpionic symbolism of vampires and werewolves); and "Firewall" (Harrison Ford as a bank executive forced to hack into his bank to pay off kidnappers to save his family).

    In keeping with the theme of mixing media with religion, politics, and entertainment, both shock jock Howard Stern and The Christian Family Network share space on Sirius satellite radio. And Sagittarian Jon Stewart (The Daily Show), host of the Oscars in March, is likely to hilariously dislodge us from our comfort zones--and that may be a very good thing.

    "God is too Big For One Religion" says a popular bumper sticker. Is that the ultimate lesson of this Pluto transit in Sagittarius? The Buddha said that in order to end suffering, we must eliminate craving and desire. Jupiter in Scorpio is the epitome of desire. This transit could be nothing short of an exploration into the darkest parts of our nature, so that we may emerge with a better understanding of our individual and collective shadow, as well as an acceptance of our deepest fears. It's as if the intensity of this mutual reception is a set-up, a cosmic healing crisis, when greed, hoarding, and "my way or the highway" religious pride will be at its extreme--and its imbalance ultimately exposed.

    Whether that happens or not, a crescendo is reached at the end of next year on Dec 10-11, 2007, when Jupiter and Pluto merge at 28 degrees of Sagittarius. This will lead the way to Pluto's entrance into Capricorn in January 2008, beginning a 14-year transit during which many of our structures--religious, political, and otherwise--will crumble in order to be reborn and rebuilt.

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