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A Meditation on Aries-Mars: Why Fortune Favors the Brave

A Meditation on Aries-Mars
Why Fortune Favors the Brave


By Glenn Perry

 

The god Ares/Mars

At the inception of this writing, it’s 7pm here on the east coast, 12 hours before the Vernal Equinox―or, zero degrees Aries, the start of Spring. Wanting to get a newsletter out as quickly as possible, I’ve decided to do it in true Aries style: rushed, bold, instinctive, raw and uncensored. Just do it, as the Nike ad line says. And given the time of year, what better topic to write about than Aries-Mars itself?

A good place to start is with an explanation of what I mean by Aries-Mars. As with any astrological archetype, it includes sign, planet, house and aspect. All of them are comprised of angles, the exception being “planet” whose movements create angles. In astrology, all meaning is an angle (phase) of a planetary cycle.

The angle that defines sign, house, and aspect for Aries-Mars is 0°. The vernal equinox on March 20th constitutes 0° Aries and occurs precisely where the earth’s equator intersects the plane of the Sun’s equator (ecliptic). In effect, it’s an Earth-Sun conjunction that marks the beginning of the zodiac. The phenomena of births, starts, and beginnings is key to understanding Aries.

If we consider the zodiac as symbolizing the cycle of nature as revealed in the four seasons, each of which has three phases―cardinal, fixed, and mutable―then a natural starting point would be the new cycle of life that commences each spring. The image of sprouts pushing up through the earth seeking sunlight is a perfect rendition of Aries. Life seizes the initiative, conquers new ground, pursues its own source. It is naturally aggressive.

Analogously, the Ascendant is where the spinning earth’s horizon intersects the ecliptic at any point during the earth’s 24-hour rotation. Intersection of horizon and ecliptic signifies the 1st degree of the 1st house for that horoscope. The Ascendant sign marks the birth moment and suggests how the individual will assert herself in life; that is, the native’s natural, instinctive way of pushing up and out into the world.

Likewise, when two orbiting planets align in the same zodiacal degree at the same time, we call that space/time point a conjunction, which fittingly is the start of their synodic cycle.1 A conjunction of two planets in a specific sign connotes how they will combine and assert their respective natures, and perhaps begin something together.

Again, the vernal equinox, Ascendant, and conjunction all constitute the same angle of 0°. Clearly, they not only share a kinship of angle, but of meaning―starts, new beginnings, and instinctive ways of asserting.

The 0° angle seems to have a kinship with Mars, whose nature is consistent with the meanings we ascribe to Aries, Ascendant, and conjunction. In ancient times, all phenomena associated with Mars were presumed to be an expression of the god itself. Mars was a universal principle in Nature. As such, the red planet is part of a larger cosmic order, no less a face of the Divine than any other planet or angle within the all-encompassing 360° cycle. 

Aries-Mars as Archetype

When speaking of an astrological archetype, I generally link sign and ruling planet together, for they are a matched pair. Sign is the need, and planet is the action. Every planetary action can be understood in the context of the need it serves, and every sign-need can be inferred from behavior characteristic of that sign. Signs are not merely needs, but also sets of traits naturally geared toward satisfying the underlying need. When a planet is in a sign, it activates the behavioral attributes of that sign.

Before examining Aries-Mars in greater depth, let me first define my terms and offer a few keywords. In observing Aries behavior, four interrelated needs can be inferred: Survival, freedom, action, and novelty. The primary need of Aries is survival, beingness, perpetuation of one’s own existence. Self-preservation is the first law of nature and the basis of all other needs. Essential to our capacity to be is the freedom to act in our own self-interest, for freedom is inextricably related to survival. If we are not free, survival is jeopardized. Synonymous with freedom are needs for autonomy and independence, threats to which are a common cause of fights and war.

Joining this short list is the need for action and movement―which is perhaps the most basic property of life. You know something is alive by its capacity to move itself. Even at a cellular level, life moves. To be is to do. Finally, Aries also symbolizes a need for novelty, or adventure; the instinct to do something simply because it has never been done before. Novelty is a natural extension of life’s prime directive to perpetuate itself by finding new areas in which it can begin, survive, and flourish.

As with every set of needs associated with a sign, Aries’ needs are interdependent and self-consistent. All Aries behavior can be understood in the context of these four primary drives: survival, freedom, action, and novelty.

As the active agent of Aries needs, Mars actions fall into four subsets: assert, initiate, fight, and encourage. To assert includes related actions to act, declare and affirm. Again, Aries-Mars rules beginnings, which entails initiating, starting, or giving birth to new endeavors. And as the warrior archetype, Mars’ actions include the impulse to fight, compete, and battle for dominance. Our final Mars action-category, to encourage, means to excite, strengthen, or embolden someone or something. 

While the primary state of Mars is simply beingness, its action keyword is “I do.”  Mars is action oriented. Go for it, just do it, these are key Martian sentiments. Mars quickens, emboldens, invigorates, vitalizes, and enlivens the expression of whatever planet it aspects. It encourages and galvanizes that planet into action.

For Mars, I especially like the verb “galvanize”, which means to stimulate or excite someone as if by an electrical current (think cattle prod). Near synonyms include spur, arouse, and incite. Mars Libra in the 6th might mean: “News of Jane’s wedding galvanized the women in the office to plan an engagement party.”

Planetary actions never occur in vacuum but in relation to whatever sign and house the planet occupies and toward whatever planet it aspects. If Mars is in Taurus, for example, it might assert in a slow, steady manner; act in the service of resisting change; start a new garden; and fight to retain holdings. Like a pit bull, Mars Taurus hangs tough: never say die, dig in your heals. If these actions fall in the 11th house, the person could be an environmental activist spurring a movement of like-minded others fighting for the cause of conservation.

Mars in aspect to another planet will be inclined to fight for or against what that planet symbolizes, contingent upon the angle. Trines and sextiles incline Mars to assert happily in the interest of the other planet. Mars in opening trine to Jupiter, for example, might initiate a social event to raise money for a philanthropic endeavor, such as promoting a high school sports team. With hard aspects, however, Mars will attack the planet even while being unconsciously influenced by it. The native may feel angry in response to the overly aggressive expression by someone else of whatever the other planet symbolizes. Later, as the aspect becomes more integrated, the individual can consciously utilize that planet’s energy in the service of Mars’ own objectives.

Imagine, for example, Mars Taurus in the 6th square Pluto Leo in the 9th. The individual may work (6th) as a landscape (Taurus) engineer (Mars). Frustrated by unjust ecology regulations imposed by the EPA (Pluto in the 9th), he accuses the EPA of corruption and complains that their regulations (closing square) are too extreme and that they restrict his freedom to excavate lands and transform grounds into healthier, more creative settings. As integration of the square occurs over time, however, he may become more proactive and advocate for laws that do not criminalize natural rights or obstruct the freedom of property-owners to renovate, preserve, and enhance the value of lands they legitimately own. Here, Mars is using Pluto in the 9th to greater advantage.

Astrological archetypes are embodied in characters that are interrelated and thus self-consistent in meaning. For Aries-Mars, these include the warrior, competitor, pioneer, adventurer, explorer, and noble savage. Aries-Mars fights for freedom and the right to exist (warrior), competes for survival and available goods (competitor), pursues adventure and novelty for its own sake (adventurer, pioneer), and embodies a childlike naivete and simplicity of spirit (noble savage).

With Sun Aries trine Mars in Leo, Thomas Jefferson was one of the founders of the United States. The Mars’ verb to found means to establish and originate an institution, organization or (in this case) a country. Consistent with Aries-Mars, Jefferson’s pioneering action of founding America also required a willingness to fight for our nascent country’s freedom. Jefferson immortalized Aries-Mars in his Declaration of Independence, which in effect was a declaration of war against England that launched the birth of a new nation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Aries-Mars association with war warrants further comment. Generally, anger is what we feel when Mars is in its fighting mode. Much has been written on this topic, going back at least to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics in the 4th century B.C. Under certain conditions and expressed properly, Aristotle regarded anger as a virtue, the absence of which rendered the individual timid, cowardly, and morally deficient. Conversely, those who expressed anger to excess were wrathful and equally blameworthy. “Anyone can become angry, that’s easy,” said Aristotle. “But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way; that is not easy.”2

Aries as Developmental Stage

Years ago when I lived in California, I had a Sun-Aries friend named Arden who was a psychotherapist. Her name suitably hinted at a core Aries trait―ardent (fervent, enthusiastic). She certainly was that. I’ll never forget her blazing eyes and sparkling smile. Arden was so alive. On the wall of her office was a poster of a cracked egg out of which was emerging a newly hatched baby chick. Below were the words, “Go forth and conquer!” Arden’s poster epitomized not merely her personality, but Aries as a maturational phase of life.

Like every zodiacal sign, Aries constitutes a developmental stage during which its needs and traits are predominant. I discuss this more fully in Aries as the Sensorimotor Stage of Development. Suffice to say that Aries constitutes the first stage of life, or birth to age two (a two-year period), during which the child’s perspective in time-space is relatively limited to the here and now. Babies have little sense of before or later, nor of any place but their current surrounds. Experience is confined to the eternal present. The emotional corollary to this time-space perspective is joy―or, rage when wants are frustrated. Infants are typically happy but quick to anger precisely because they have no sense of later. If only the now exists, then every impulse must be immediately satisfied since there is no other time but the present.

If babies could suddenly speak,
Of what they so inordinately seek
they would pound their fist and shriek,
“If not now, when?!”

It could be argued that happiness is a natural, inborn Aries state as reflected in the faces of ebullient infants. In a poem called “Infant Joy,” William Blake writes:

 

“I have name. I am but two days old.”
What shall I call thee?
“I happy am. Joy is my name.”

 

To be enthusiastic about life may simply be life’s feeling for itself. The very word “enthusiasm” derives from the Ancient Greek enthousiasmós, which consists of the root words “theos” (god) and “en” (in); thus, enthusiasm literally means “God within.” For the Greeks to be enthusiastic was to be inspired by, or more precisely, possessed by the gods.

That happiness is the natural state of life is an intriguing idea with profound implications. Indian sage Poonjaji asserts that the potential for happiness is always present but can only be attained by disidentifying with the ephemeral contents of consciousness; in other words, neither worrying about the past nor stressing over the future. Happiness is the underlying constant, whereas the causes of unhappiness come and go. If a person identifies with what comes and goes―attachments, possessions, things, jobs, or relationships―then unhappiness is sure to follow, for no experience and no object is permanent. The only experience that is truly permanent is the observing Subject; that is, one’s subjective experience of witnessing the contents of consciousness as they arise and pass away, moment to moment. By identifying with what is permanent, the seeker is happiness itself, a state of enlightenment indistinguishable from God.

Given Poonjaji’s teaching that happiness is being in the now, it is fitting he has Sun conjunct Mars with both planets squaring Uranus. Another new age guru, Baba Ram Dass, has Sun conjunct Uranus in Aries. That being in the now is consistent with the psychology of Aries-Mars is underscored by the title of Ram Dass’s classic 1971 book, Be Here Now. Yet another spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, wrote a best-selling guide to spiritual enlightenment titled The Power of Now (1997). Tolle has Sun Aquarius tightly opposing Mars Leo.

Tolle claims he was depressed for much of his life until he underwent, at age 29, an “inner transformation”. Significantly, this occurred when transiting Saturn conjuncted his Mars and opposed his Sun, thus activating his natal Sun-Mars opposition. Recalling this experience, he confesses:

I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And in this [state] a question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt drawn into a void! I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved. The next morning, I woke up and everything was so peaceful. The peace was there because there was no self. Just a sense of presence or “beingness,” just observing and watching.3

Eckhart Tolle: Feb 16, 1948, Dortmond, Germany. Time Unknown

Eckhart went on to write The Power of Now and become, according to the New York Times, “the most popular spiritual author in the Unites States.”4

It is certainly noteworthy that Tolle, Ram Dass, and Poonjaji all have a strong Aries-Mars connection to their Sun, which, in turn, is linked to the archetype of Aquarius-Uranus. Poonjaji has Sun conjunct Mars and square Uranus; Ram Dass, Sun conjunct Uranus in Aries; and Tolle, Sun in Aquarius opposed Mars in Leo. Each seems to exemplify and remind us that enlightenment is a state of happiness, and that happiness is being in the now.

Sports and Competition

Sports best exemplifies that joy is being in the moment. While team sports are mostly a Leo phenomenon, every sport has an Aries component if only because of its raw action, competition, and immediacy of focus. If a competitor is going to win, he or she cannot be thinking of before or later, yesterday or tomorrow. The present is all that matters. And once having won, joy typically erupts.

It’s interesting to note that many of the same Aries-Mars words that describe war equally apply to sports. Examples are so numerous it could make for its own article. If a team wins by a narrow margin, “they barely survived.” But if the team loses badly, “they got killed…it was a slaughter.” And if an athlete “beats” his opponent, it could mean that he won the match or that he assaulted the other player. Hopefully not the latter, though in boxing it means both!

At the time of this writing, we’re in “March Madness” when top college basketball teams vie for the national championship. In Connecticut where I live, UConn Women’s Basketball is legendary. Over the past twenty years they’ve dominated the sport, winning four straight national titles and twelve overall since 1995. That’s a national title on average every other year for twenty years. During this twenty-year run, UConn had 6 undefeated seasons, whereas all other teams combined total 3. UConn’s current win streak is 111 straight games, the most ever in basketball for men or women.

Connecticut’s Women’s Basketball team in 2017 playoffs.

 

Why are they so dominant? Most everyone agrees it’s their coach, Gina Auriemma, a squarely built, feisty Italian-born Sun Aries pug who consistently produces teams that embody Aries-Mars characteristics to a degree other teams simply cannot match. Inspired by Gino, UConn woman play with unbridled joy and aggression―fiercely competitive, stifling pressure defense, relentless fast break offense, perpetual motion in perfect harmony. And like the Terminator, they never, ever stop, even when fifty points ahead.  

    Gino Auriemma

A consensus is building that Auriemma may be the greatest coach of all time in any sport. In addition to Sun and Venus in Aries, his Mars is in Sagittarius, the sign of coaching, and forms a grand fire trine with Pluto Leo and Venus Aries while opposing its own dispositor―Jupiter in Gemini. This configuration is reflected in his teams. One Aries-Mars trait especially marks Gino’s girls: they’re always in the moment. Auriemma pushes the point endlessly. Play every game like it’s your last. Don’t get ahead of yourselves. Treat every team, every moment the same: Go for it. There’s only the now. Past victories don’t matter. You’re only as good as your last win.

Auriemma is the ultimate happy warrior renowned for his impish smile and sharp sense of humor. He doesn’t worry that he’s running up the score or whether other coaches resent UConn’s dominance. Gino has one direction―forward; one speed―fast; and one objective―win. Everything else fades into the background, trivia of little or no consequence.

Gino Auriemma, March 23, 1954, Montella, Italy. Time Unknown

Compared to UConn’s perfectly orchestrated ballet of war, other teams look like they’re in slow motion. They seem lazy, sloppy, lacking those essential Aries traits that Gino’s girls have in abundance: fire and competitive zeal. While no streak lasts forever, it is remarkable that one man’s Aries-Mars energy can spread itself over dozens of teams and impact countless lives. UConn women’s basketball is Gino; his personality is indelibly stamped on every team he coaches.

Just Do It

The Nike ad line “Just do it” epitomizes the Aries-Mars attitude, the hallmark of which is courage. Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “Courage is fear that does not control you.” Likewise, GK Chesterton asserted that courage is a paradox because it means a desire to live with a readiness to die.

A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide and will not escape. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it: he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine. (p. 91).5

Courage is required not only to sustain life, but for new beginnings of every variety, whether to start a business, initiate a proposal, or simply get married. We have all heard the maxim, “Fortune favors the brave”, which suggests the fates―the gods―conspire to reinforce acts of courage. German writer-statesman, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, thought as much: “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid,” he said. “Whatever you can do, or dream you can – begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

While attributed to Goethe, this quote actually has its origins in the Old Testament. The Lord continually exhorts his prophet, Joshua, to “be strong and courageous” in leading the Israelites to the promised land. God promises that if Joshua is sufficiently bold, then He will lend a hand; God will meet Joshua half-way.

It was the Roman poet Virgil who first penned the immortal words “Audaces fortuna iuvat” (luck helps those who are brave), although we must assume this sentiment was widely held among the Greeks long before Virgil wrote it in his masterpiece, the Aeneid, between 29 and 19 BC.6 

In Greek and Roman mythology, Fortuna (or Tyche) was the goddess of fortune and personification of luck, both good and bad. It is of no small significance that Fortuna’s favor was closely tied to virtus, a virtue that connotes valor, boldness, manliness, courage, and strength of character―all obvious Aries traits. As a goddess, Fortuna made clear that women are not exempt from the requirement of virtus. The Greeks believed that citizens who lacked virtus, male or female, invited ill-fortune on themselves.

Fortune favors the brave.

Aries as Angle, a Face of God

I have often reflected on whether Aries-Mars should be considered a divine value. By “divine value” I mean a human capacity favored by God (or the gods) on a par with more obviously spiritual sign-planet archetypes such as Sagittarius-Jupiter and Pisces-Neptune. From an astrological perspective, the entire cosmos is the visible body of God; or, as Manly Hall put it, “astrology is a religion inasmuch as it reveals the anatomy and psychology of God.”7 Hall would argue that God is the summary product and source of all astrological variables, including Aries-Mars.

In ancient astrology, an aspect between two planets meant that each planet sees only that “face” (side, aspect) of the other, not the planet as a whole. Likewise, every angle that comprises the zodiac is but one face of the zodiac―that is, a face of God. These various faces of the One were commonly regarded as gods themselves, ancillary deities, each playing a subordinate role in the service of a divine whole. As the 0° angle, Aries is singularly important, for it is the first face of God, the beginning of our knowledge of the Absolute. Like a divine spark, it sets in motion the process of evolution that the zodiac symbolizes. If life grows, develops, and leads to the gradual return of all self-actualized beings to source consciousness (enlightenment), then life itself―Aries―is primary, for without it nothing else can happen. Every other sign, or angle, derives its meaning from its relation to Aries.

Reflecting on the Aries imperative to survive, I am reminded of a scene from the 1992 film, The Last of the Mohicans, starring Daniel Day Lewis as “Hawkeye” and his love interest “Cora” played by the luminous Madeline Stowe. A small party including Hawkeye and Cora are hiding under a waterfall as the bloodthirsty Huron warriors are closing in. Hawkeye knows he will be killed if the Hurons find him, and if dead he’ll be unable to rescue Cora. She is determined to fight but Hawkeye turns to her and shouts:

Hawkeye: No! You stay alive! If they don’t kill you, they’ll take you north up to the Huron lands. Submit, do you hear? You’re strong! You survive! You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you! No matter how long it takes, no matter how far. I will find you!

A final embrace, and Hawkeye hurls himself through the waterfall and plummets to the icy waters below. Within days, he tracks down Cora as the film races to its climax.

Hawkeye and Cora

 

What makes the scene so powerful is the sheer emotional intensity of Hawkeye admonishing Cora to stay alive. It is simultaneously a moment of transcendent love and infectious courage. Stay alive! For otherwise there is no future, no progeny, no evolution back to source. This is the divine imperative, the first law of nature, and why we intuitively know suicide is wrong, that any pointless death is wrong. Survive. Stay alive. Fortune favors the brave.

If survival is the first if not prime directive, then perhaps God does require the full development and actualization of Aries-Mars capacities as a condition of favor. Aries is the elan vital, the spark of life. It bestows a willingness to assert for what we want, to act in our own self-interest, to draw a red line in the sand and hold it, compete for dominance, fight for survival, kill if necessary (just war), and place personal preferences on a par with those we love. In short, the Divine includes within Itself the principle not merely of births and beginnings, but of aggression, war and violence, too.

This should not imply that Aries-Mars is favored solely for itself, but that it is an essential component of a balanced, integrated psyche. A fully individuated, self-actualized person utilizes Aries-Mars in the service of every other psychological capacity symbolized by the zodiac: to secure prosperity, to speak candidly, to protect the young, defend one’s honor, work arduously, assure fairness, expose and eliminate corruption, fight for justice, risk failure in the pursuit of success, initiate change for the greater good, and, finally, to have the courage to surrender to God’s will and accept what cannot be changed. Without Aries-Mars to galvanize into action and strengthen our overall psychic economy, other capacities are proportionately weakened, impotent, or stillborn.

No Guilt, No Regrets

I was recently watching a Kevin Costner flick, 3 Days to Kill, when I thought to myself, “Why am I enjoying this?” It’s about a CIA agent estranged from his wife and daughter because he’s constantly being sent out to kill bad guys. It occurred to me that such films are just updated versions of the Paleolithic hunter who kills to feed his family. For untold thousands of years, that’s what men did: bash, spear, and shoot other animals, then bring them home to the wife and kids to eat. Everybody’s happy. Now we can’t do that anymore. Our animals are bashed, speared, and shot by corporations called Safeway and Food Lion. We’re deprived of the hunt, so we watch hunters in movies with names like Rambo, James Bond, and Ash Carter. Zombie TV shows like The Walking Dead allow us to collectively channel our desire to kill. And since zombies are technically already dead, we don’t have to feel guilty about it. We can just kill them, endlessly.

Aries-Mars is the part of us that will do whatever it takes to assure the continuance of life; well, at least our life, and those we love. Paradoxically this means we must be willing to take life―whether of animal, fish, bird, plant or zombie―to sustain life. That’s Mars’ prime directive, and it does not suffer any guilt about it.

Again, this contrasts markedly with traditional spiritual archetypes like Pisces-Neptune wherein empathy, compassion, and self-sacrifice are the norm. When Pisces’ perceives suffering, it evokes existential guilt and the impulse to rescue. “I am my brother’s keeper,” say Pisces. “We’re all in this together.” This is not the part of us that will slash a deer’s throat then cook it over an open fire and eat it on the spot.

The apparent conflict between love as the basis of the Christian religion and the callousness of nature has long been a source of debate. In the 19th century, Darwin’s theory of evolution asserted that survival of the fittest is the first law of nature, whereas theologians hold that love is Creation’s final law. Alfred Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam A. H. H. from 1850 captures the conflict:

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed

If there’s one thing astrology makes clear, it’s that favoring one archetype over the other is folly. For all are interdependent and required for a balanced whole, even if the zodiac also shows that later signs transcend but include those that come before. The point is, steps cannot be skipped. As the last sign, Pisces-Neptune is infinitely forgiving; yet, as the first sign, Aries-Mars abhors cowardice and the pretense of helplessness. Man up. Pull your own weight. Compete. That this attitude is consistent with, and indispensable to, a grounded spiritual sensibility is reflected in a poem by John Ciardi titled “In Place of a Curse”.

At the next vacancy for God, if I am elected,
I shall forgive last the delicately wounded
who, having been slugged no harder than anyone else,
never got up again, neither to fight back,
nor to finger their jaws in painful admiration.

They who are wholly broken, and they in whom
mercy is understanding, I shall embrace at once
and lead to pillows in heaven. But they who are
the meek by trade, baiting the best of their betters
with extortions of a mock helplessness,
I shall take last to love, and never wholly.

Let them all into Heaven―I abolish Hell―
but let it be read over them as they enter:
“Beware the calculations of the meek, who gambled
nothing, gave nothing, and could never receive enough.”

This same attitude is epitomized in Gino Auriemma’s approach to coaching. There’s a video of Auriemma on YouTube with 39 million views. He’s answering a question that references the enthusiasm on the UConn bench after the Huskies make a basket. Mind you, these are the girls who are not playing. Auriemma explains that he and his coaching staff put a huge premium on body language and attitude. If a player is feeling sorry for herself on the court because she’s not playing well, she will be benched. If a player is already on the bench and sulking because she’s not playing, she will stay on the bench. “If your body language is bad,” says Auriemma, “you will never get in the game. Ever. I don’t care how good you are.” He continues:

I’d rather lose than watch kids play the way some kids play. I’d rather lose. And they’re allowed to get away with just whatever and they’re always thinking about themselves. Me, me, me, me. I didn’t score, so why should I be happy? I’m not getting enough minutes, so why should I be happy? That’s the world we live in today. When I look at my team, they know this. When I watch game film, I’m checking what’s going on on the bench. If somebody is asleep over there, if somebody doesn’t care, if somebody’s not engaged in the game, they will never get in the game. Ever.8

Note how this contrasts with Piscean forgiveness, compassion for victims, and the impulse to relieve suffering. Aries-Mars says, “Shake it off, stay strong, get back in the game!” Auriemma is so insistent that his players maintain a positive competitive attitude that to display otherwise virtually assures you will not play, ever. I have to wonder, maybe in part that’s God’s mind-set, too.

Mohatmas Gandhi, India’s spiritual leader and perhaps the greatest exponent of non-violence the world has ever known, counseled that “where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.”9 He went on to explain that he would rather have India resort to arms to defend her honor than cowardly submit and remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.

Aries-Mars Psychopathy

My treatise would be incomplete without mention of Aries-Mars’ dark side. First, it should be known that every sign-planet system correlates to a specific personality disorder that reflects an excess of that archetype. For Aries-Mars, this can show up as too much Aries-Mars in a chart or, more typically, an overcompensation of Aries-Mars due to intrapsychic conflict. Frequently it is both, examples of which I will provide momentarily. The point is that under the right horoscopic circumstances any sign-planet archetype can be expressed in an extreme, unbalanced way, which is precisely what defines psychopathology.

Since I have written elsewhere on this topic, let me cut to the chase.10 A personality disorder is characterized by four factors: rigidity, excess, impairment, and distress. First, the person tends to be rigidly preoccupied with a singular need as symbolized astrologically by the relevant archetype. In the vernacular, we call this “being stuck”. If someone is inordinately afraid they will not get that sign-need met, they are apt to over-rely upon a specific mode of behavior (planet) designed to fulfill the need. Second, they do that behavior to excess; that is, they not only do it constantly (rigidity), they do it at an extreme amplitude (excess). If the behavior were a song, they would continuously play that song at a volume that is deafening.

Third, a personality disorder correlates to diminished capacity to fulfill the need in question (impairment), which, again, is generally due to the person’s overfunctioning in a way peculiar to the disorder (rigidity and excess). By trying too hard, their behavior backfires; in a word, it is dysfunctional. Fourth, while individuals with a personality disorder often do not recognize their part in creating problems, distress is nevertheless a natural consequence of the problematic behavior. The person will simply blame something or someone else for their suffering.

The psychopathology that correlates to Aries-Mars is antisocial personality disorder. In pop psychology, a person so characterized is often referred to as a psychopath or sociopath, which mean essentially the same thing. The essential features of antisocial personality include:

  1. Lacks self-restraint and respect for limits
  2. Regularly breaks or flouts the law
  3. Constantly lies and deceives others to exploit their trust
  4. Is impulsive and doesn’t plan ahead
  5. Can be prone to fighting and aggressiveness
  6. Has little regard for the safety of others
  7. Is irresponsible and won’t meet financial obligations
  8. Doesn’t feel remorse or guilt

If someone displays 3 or more of the above traits to a degree that meets the criteria of a personality disorder―rigidity, excess, impairment, and distress―they are probably a psychopath.

Virtually every trait of psychopathy is consistent with an extreme, unbalanced expression of Aries-Mars. There is generally a history of hostile, aggressive behavior in which the rights of others are violated. The need for independence is so extreme that there is an impaired capacity to sustain lasting, warm, and responsible relationships with friends, lovers, or employers. Cheating and promiscuous behavior are common.

An infantile need for immediate gratification impairs their capacity to accept social norms with respect to lawful behavior. Antisocial actions include, but are not limited to, illegal occupation, destruction of property, theft, assault, and spousal and child abuse. Thoughtless, reckless behavior leads to accident proneness as typified, for example, by recurrent speeding and/or driving under the influence. Lack of reliability is evident in a troubled and unstable work history with frequent absences and quitting of jobs without a plan. Irresponsibility is especially apparent in a failure to honor financial obligations, such as paying bills, taxes, rent, loans, or child support.

The Aries-Mars orientation to time―living in the now―is perverted into “living for the moment” as expressed by impulsivity and the tendency to travel from place to place without a clear goal or fixed address for months at a time. Like babies, the world of the psychopath is collapsed into “Me, here, now.” Unable to slow down, look ahead, or reflect upon the meaning and consequences of their actions, there is a lack of remorse with no intention to change. Psychopaths feel compelled to “get over” on others, intimidate the weak, and prey upon the gullible. The need for dominance is so extreme that life becomes an unending competition. They justify their predatory behavior by rationalizing, “everyone does it.”

If my thesis is correct that psychopaths are inordinately preoccupied with Aries’ needs for survival, freedom, action and novelty, then impairment would lie in not being able to fulfill these needs. Due to their excessive recklessness and the anger they provoke in others, the very nature of psychopathic behavior endangers the psychopath’s existence. And even if they do survive, they are often incarcerated because of their criminality, thus losing their freedom. This, in turn, impairs their ability to act as they wish or pursue new experiences. In short, everything to which the psychopath is excessively devoted is ultimately compromised or lost altogether.

Recall that antisocial personality can by symbolized by too much Aries-Mars in a chart. This can take the form of multiple planets in Aries, a packed 1st house, or a stellium regardless of planets and signs involved. In addition, if Mars is under stress via hard aspect, this can lead to Martian overcompensation as a defense against the planetary impulses with which it conflicts. When any of these factors combine, there is significant potential for Aries-Mars pathology―though it is never guaranteed. Any configuration, no matter how difficult, can always function in healthy ways at higher levels of integration.

Ken Lay, Mugshot

Meanwhile, examples of psychopathy are legion and occupy every stratum of society. Former CEO of Enron, the infamous Ken Lay, is the poster child for predatory, sociopathic corporations that exploit the public trust. Lay has Mercury, Sun and Moon conjunct in Aries, with all three planets sextile a Mars-Jupiter conjunction, which, in turn, is stressed by a square to Neptune. He was convicted of 10 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud, causing 20,000 Enron employees to lose their jobs and life savings. Found guilty by a grand jury in May of 2006, two months later he died of a heart attack at age 64.  

Richard Allen Davis

Another notorious psychopath, Richard Allan Davis, has a stellium of five planets in Cancer in the 8th house, all of which oppose Mars Capricorn in the 2nd. In addition, Mars forms a quincunx to his Sun, which is the Sun’s only aspect. Davis was a career criminal who served time for breaking and entering, burglary, auto theft, forgery, assault and kidnapping, all prior to being charged with the infamous 1993 kidnap-murder of 12-year old Polly Klaas in Petaluma, California. He kidnapped Polly during a slumber party at her home, then drove to a cow field where he sexually assaulted and strangled her. Davis is currently on death row in San Quentin.

Richard Kuklinski

Our third and final example is Richard Kuklinski, a serial murderer and contract killer responsible for the deaths of up to 250 men between 1948 and 1986. Kuklinski has Mercury and Sun in Aries, with the Sun forming an opposition to Mars, as well as a square to Pluto. Sun Aries opposing its own dispositor, Mars, is a particularly lethal combination in that there’s a preponderance of Aries-Mars energy that also entails significant intrapsychic conflict, thus causing both Sun and Mars to overcompensate in resistance to the other. This is like stretching a rubber band to the breaking point.

Richard Kuklinski, April 11, 1935, Jersey City, NJ. Time Unknown

Prior to his final arrest in 1986, Kuklinski was involved in narcotics, pornography, arms dealing, money laundering, hijacking and contract killing on a global basis. Fellow mobsters called him “the one man army” and “the devil himself” due to his fearsome reputation. Kuklinski has been the subject of three documentaries, two biographies and a 2012 feature film, The Iceman. During his early days, Kuklinski would go to Hell’s Kitchen on Manhattan’s West Side to shoot, stab, and bludgeon men simply to practice and perfect killing. He made Hell’s Kitchen a kind of lab for murder, a school, he said. Kuklinski later recalled,

By now you know what I liked most was the hunt, the challenge of what the thing was. The killing for me was secondary. I got no rise as such out of it…for the most part. But the figuring it out, the challenge—the stalking and doing it right, successfully—that excited me a lot. The greater the odds against me, the more juice I got out of it.11

In this last sentence, “the greater the odds against me, the more juice I got out of it,” we hear evidence of Sun Aries opposing its own dispositor, Mars. It’s as if Kuklinski had to create a situation in which his own existence was threatened by his solar intention to annihilate the existence of the other (Mars). We also hear a chilling echo of the Paleolithic hunter who stalks and kills his prey. Kuklinski had a wife and two kids and all they knew was that he put food on the table; he was a good provider. The Iceman was captured and sentenced to life imprisonment at age 50. Afflicted with a rare and incurable inflammation of the blood vessels, he died 20 years later chained to a prison hospital bed. Inflammation, fittingly, is an Aries-Mars malady.

Summary & Conclusion

Aries-Mars derives its meaning from the angle it signifies in a 360° astronomical cycle. That angle is 0°, which marks the start of the zodiac, 1st house, and conjunction. As such, Aries-Mars correlates to the principle of beginnings.

Psychologically, Aries is experienced as a set of self-consistent needs for survival, freedom, action, and novelty. As the active agent of these needs, Mars’ primary functions are to assert, initiate, fight, and encourage. This is especially apparent in aspects with other planets wherein Mars emboldens and galvanizes those planets to fervent action.

As a developmental stage, Aries-Mars signifies the first two years of life. Just as the world of infants is constricted to me here now, so the psychology of Aries-Mars reflects this same orientation. Its natural egocentricity, assertiveness, and impatience is inextricably wedded to the perception that only the present exists. A further corollary to being in the now are the emotions of joy and enthusiasm, which seem to express life’s natural state.

Sports and competition provide a vehicle for Aries-Mars energy. Courage not only epitomizes Aries-Mars, it may be that valor is accompanied by luck precisely because higher powers require boldness for the full development and furtherance of life’s evolution back to source. Yet, if expressed solely for its own sake―that is, in an extreme, unbalanced manner, Aries-Mars can vampirize the psyche. As such, it correlates to psychopathy, often with lethal consequences.

It is easy to be conflicted about Aries-Mars. The potential for over or under doing it are strong, and can lead to painful, ugly outcomes, not the least of which is war in one form or another. And yet, there are ways of doing even war correctly―that is, valiantly. And so we celebrate in myth and folklore those who express Aries-Mars in proper balance with all the other ways of being human. For without a sufficient embodiment of its core virtues―strength, courage, independence, self-assertion, and a capacity for anger when natural rights are threatened―we forfeit our lives and those we love in a dim cowardice, abandon the field to the worst among us, and, still worse, betray the gods.

Fortune favors the brave.

* * * * *

Notes: 

1 A synodic cycle is the period time it takes between the conjunction of two planets and their next conjunction. During a synodic cycle, the faster of the two planets will form a series of 30° angles (aspects) with the slower planet, eventually catching up to the slower planet and forming a new conjunction.

2 Aristotle, Rhetoric, book II, chap. 2, 1378a

3 Scobie, Claire (2003-08-01). Why now is bliss. Telegraph Magazine. Retrieved on 2017-03-31.

4 McKinley, Jesse (2008-03-23). “The Wisdom of the Ages, for Now Anyway.” New York Times. Retrieved 2017-03-31.

5 Chesterson, G.K. (2015) Orthodoxy. CreateSpace Independent Publishing

6 Magill, Frank N. The Ancient World: Dictionary of World Biography, Volume 1. Routlege, p. 226. 

7 Hall, M.P. (1936). The philosophy of astrology. Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, p. 11

8 Doyle, Paul. “Viral Video: Geno’s Words Carry Weight,” in The Hartford Courant, Friday, March 24, 2017, p. C3

9 Source: The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, “Violence & Conflict Resolution,” at: http://www.mkgandhi.org/nonviolence/phil8.htm. Accessed April 2, 2017

10 Perry, Glenn (2012). Depth Analysis of the Natal Chart. East Hampton, CT: APA Press. See especially Chapters 6, 8, and 10.

11 Carlo, Philip (2006). The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer. New York, New York: St. Martin’s Press,  p. 251

 

 

The Zodiac as a Developmental Stage Model

The Zodiac as
A Developmental Stage Model


To every thing there is a season, and a time 
to every purpose under heaven.

~ Ecclesiastes 3


By Glenn Perry

 

Developmental Stage ModelEvidence suggests that the zodiac not only symbolizes the structure and dynamics of the psyche, but also the evolutionary unfoldment of consciousness. The structure of the zodiac exactly parallels the stages of the human life cycle. Each sign can be understood as a developmental stage of specific quality and duration. The dominant traits and concerns of each sign are age-appropriate for the stage corresponding to that sign.

Infants (Aries) are necessarily selfish, egocentric, and concerned about survival. Toddlers (Taurus) are preoccupied with attachment needs and are easily forgiven for wanting things to stay the same. Seven year olds (Gemini) are naturally fickle, shallow, and curious. Latency age children (Cancer) turn inwards and become more vulnerable to rejection. Adolescents (Leo) are unavoidably narcissistic, willful, and defensive. Novice adults (Virgo) worry about job skills and employability.

Marriage and partnership are dominant concerns of thirty-year olds (Libra), while mid-life adults (Scorpio) obsess about death and power. Afterwards, they become increasingly interested in justice and moral imperatives (Sagittarius). Sixty year olds (Capricorn) are expected to be conservative, traditional, and to uphold the status quo. The seventies (Aquarius) mark a period of radical change as individuals detach from old identifications. A gradual dissolution and readiness to return to source marks the final stage of life, from 77 and beyond (Pisces).

Aries as the Sensorimotor Stage of Development

Aries as the
Sensorimotor Stage of Development

 
“I have name. I am but two days old.” 
What shall I call thee? 
“I happy am. Joy is my name.”

 ~ William Blake


By Glenn Perry

 

aries3In a previous article, I introduced the idea of the zodiac as a natural developmental stage model. Each sign-stage is one year longer in real time than the prior sign-stage. Starting from birth, Aries lasts two years (0-2), Taurus three years (2-5), Gemini four years (5-9), and so on. This way of conceptualizing signs is unrelated to planetary sign positions. In other words, it is not about Sun signs or Moon signs, but signs as pure archetypal entities.

Over the last few decades, I’ve been correlating sign-stages with research that’s been done in developmental psychology. One of the pioneers in this area was Jean Piaget (1896-1980) who spent a lifetime observing how children gradually come to acquire, construct, and apply knowledge. Piaget’s model of cognitive development covers birth through adolescence, which he divides into four stages and several substages. First is the sensorimotor stage, so named because infants predominantly learn through moving (motor skills) and experiencing the world through their five senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste). The duration of Piaget’s sensorimotor stage correlates exactly with the Aries stage in our AstroPsychology model; that is, birth through age two.

This is noteworthy as Aries signifies needs for survival, autonomy, freedom, movement, and novelty. Aries is the part of us that hungers for raw experience. It is typically described as lively, aggressive, always on the move, action oriented, and adventurous, just like a newborn. In its verb form, Aries-Mars signifies to go, do, move, assert, and begin. Notoriously impatient and egocentric, Aries’ experience of time and space can be summarized as “me, here, now”. The instinctive, impulsive, and spontaneous behavior for which Aries is renowned is consistent with the contracted time-space framework that characterizes the infant’s perceptual world.

Aries Stage InfantIn fact, there is virtually no Aries trait that is not likewise reflected in infant behavior. According to Piaget, infants construct an understanding of their environment by coordinating sense experiences with physical, motoric actions. Knowledge is acquired by interacting physically with objects through seeing, hearing, touching/grasping, smelling, and mouthing. Infants develop knowledge about the relationship between their bodies and external world by experiencing the sensations associated with motor actions, such as tasting a bar of soap or pushing a ball across the room. Awareness is relatively limited to sensory perceptions and motor activities; that is, what the child can do, or not do. They discover that some objects, for instance, are not food, and other objects do not roll. This type of knowledge is purely experiential.

Aries Sensorimotor StageJust as Aries seeks adventure, so infants evidence an instinctive pursuit of novelty. Things that move, like mobiles, are a primary source of interest. This seems to mirror the infant’s preoccupation with developing its own sense of agency; that is, the sense that he or she can initiate events and make things happen, such as shaking a rattle and hearing the sound. The infant needs to know that it, too, can move, make sounds, go and do things. It can grab and smash and throw on impulse. What fun!

Like Aries, an infant’s behavior is largely reflexive, impulsive, and instinctive. There is little evidence of premeditated thought; thus, babies are not yet able to manipulate symbols or words, or create internal representations. Time is simply a blur of new perceptions and experiences in the eternal present; time cannot be stopped and held in one’s mind. Accordingly, infants lack object permanence, which is the capacity to recognize that objects have an existence separate from one’s perception of them. Infants cannot re-member what just occurred, or reconstruct events. This is often described as “out of sight, out of mind.”

The capacity to retain an experience in awareness―to have it, as it were―is not fully developed until the Taurus stage, which is why few people have memories of experiences that occurred before age 2. By the end of the Aries stage, an infant will have developed a capacity for object permanence. Their mastery of time and space is finally sufficient for them to know that the rattle that you held in front of them only seconds ago still exists, even though now it’s hidden behind your back. They can recall its existence and re-envision the movement of the rattle from foreground to background.

During the Aries stage of 0-2, the child gradually learns that he is separate from his surroundings and that aspects of his environment continue to exist even though they may be outside the reach of his senses. By the end of the sensorimotor period, objects are both separate from the self and permanent. Again, object permanence is the realization that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched. Acquiring a sense of object permanence is one of the infant’s most important accomplishments, and heralds his or her emergence into the Taurus-toddler stage of 2-5.

* * * * *

 

Does the Zodiac Have a 13th Sign?

Does the Zodiac Have a 13th Sign?


By Glenn Perry

 

13th SignControversy over the zodiac rears its ugly head with as much regularity as the seasons themselves. If there is one thing we can predict with unerring accuracy, it’s that astrologers will be chided in the media in response to some inane claim by an astronomer that Cancers are really Geminis due to precession of the equinoxes, or there are 13 rather than 12 signs to the zodiac. And even though astrologers refute these falsifications every time, the next year the same charges are leveled again, as if astrologers are a perennially stupid lot. Actually the stupidity is on the other side. Either that, or it is simply willful ignorance.

Most recently there was a NASA story about a mysterious 13th zodiacal constellation, Ophiuchus, which like Mordred in Arthurian legend keeps weaseling his way back into court to cause trouble. He does not, as the saying goes, belong at the round table. According to NASA, Ophiuchus has either been ignored or forgotten by astrologers. The unwanted intruder is said to occupy an 18 degree sector between the constellations Scorpio and Sagittarius.

But Ophiuchus’ existence is irrelevant. The controversy stems from a misunderstanding arising from conflation of the sidereal zodiac, which is based on the stars, with the tropical zodiac based on the seasons. For the past 2000 years, the vast majority of astrologers in the world consciously and deliberately use the tropical zodiac. And it is entirely unrelated to constellations. Zodiacal signs and zodiacal constellations are completely different things despite their sharing the same names―Aries, Taurus, and so on. If astronomers do not already know this, they should. They have been told often enough. 

Whereas constellations are arbitrary groupings of stars that have no actual boundaries, zodiac signs are precise geometric angles derived from the equinoctial and solstice points that divide the year into four quarters (seasons). Astrologers further divide each season into three segments of 30 degrees each. Three segments multiplied by four seasons gives us 12 zodiacal signs, which are consistent with 12 lunar cycles in the solar year. 

Seasons once corresponded to the predawn appearance of specific constellations―Aries (vernal equinox), Cancer (summer solstice), Libra (autumnal equinox), and Capricorn (winter solstice). But that was over 3000 years ago when astrology first began and ancient astrologers wrongly assumed that the constellations caused the seasons. At that time, the equinoctial and solstice points were exactly in the middle of their respective constellations. However, due to precession of the equinoxes (more on that later), seasons and their old constellational corollaries no longer exactly correspond.

To grasp the significance of this, we have to understand that seasons are not caused by the appearance of certain constellations prior to the rising of the Sun, as the ancients supposed. The four seasons are actually determined by the earth being tilted on its axis at an angle of 23 degrees relative to the plane of the ecliptic (the Sun’s equator). This means that earth’s equator is not on the same plane as the Sun’s equator; rather, it is tilted slightly above and below it, like two interpenetrating hula hoops. If we imagine both equators extending out into space, they intersect twice a year at the spring and autumnal equinoxes, which give us 0 degrees Aries and 0 degrees Libra respectively (See Figure 1). The term equinox means “equal night” (Latin: aequus, “equal” + nox, “night”), signifying that time of year when days and nights are of equal length. 

Tropical Zodiac
Figure 1: Earth’s Orbit Marking out the Signs and Seasons

In this side view perspective, the colored band with the 12 earth positions is the ecliptic (zodiac), or the Sun’s equator extended into space. Note how the earth’s (celestial) equator intersects the ecliptic at 0° Aries and 0° Libra due to its axial tilt. It is the earth’s position in the opposite sign that places the Sun in its proper seasonal sign. Thus when earth enters Libra (at the top of the image), it is actually the time of the vernal equinox since the Sun will be entering Aries. This entire process is self-contained with no reference to stars beyond our own Sun.

As the earth traverses its orbit about the Sun, we have a new season every 3 months. When earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted at its maximum angle toward the Sun, we have the summer solstice, or 0 degrees Cancer. Conversely, when earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted at its maximum angle away from the Sun, we have the winter solstice, or 0 degrees Capricorn.

In effect, a zodiacal sign is determined solely by the earth’s annual orbit about the Sun. It is the Sun’s position as seen from the vantage point of earth that determines the Sun’s sign-location. On March 21st (first day of spring), we don’t say the earth is in Aries; we say the Sun is in Aries. This means the earth is actually in Libra at the time of the vernal equinox because the earth is always in the sign opposite the Sun-sign.

A zodiacal sign measures the angle of the earth’s orbital position relative to the vernal equinox. When the earth is opposite the vernal point, its angle is 180 degrees and the Sun is in the sign Aries. When earth moves another 30 degrees past its opposition to the vernal equinox, the Sun is in the sign of Taurus. If earth is conjunct the vernal equinox (0 degrees), the Sun is in Libra. While a constellation will always be behind the Sun at each of these times, the constellation is not the sign. The sign is simply the angle of the earth’s orbital position relative to the vernal equinox; nothing more.

Zodiac Signs and Seasons

Figure 2: Earth’s Axial tilt Marking out the Signs and Seasons

Overview Perspective: Note the pin at the top of the earth, which signifies the earth’s axial tilt, is at an angle of 23 degrees relative to the Sun’s equator (the ecliptic). As the earth orbits about the Sun in a counterclockwise direction, the amount and duration of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface varies at different times of the year, which is what gives us our seasons. Sunlight is illustrated in the light (yellow) shaded part of the earth, with the darker (green) shaded part signifying darkness. It is the earth’s position in the opposite sign that places the Sun in its proper seasonal sign; thus, when earth enters Capricorn, it is actually the summer solstice, since the Sun will be entering Cancer. Once more, the entire process is self-contained with no reference to stars beyond our own Sun.

Again, constellations have nothing to do with the tropical zodiac. These made-up star groups were initially used by ancient tribesmen for determining the timing of seasonal processes. Appropriate rituals, sacrifices, and activities could then be undertaken in synchrony with nature. For example, the appearance of the constellation Aries just before Sunrise in late winter heralded the return of spring.

Each time of year had its own quality. Zodiacal signs are metaphors of seasonal processes occurring in nature. Aries is spring-like as nature is heating up and new life is sprouting, bold and fresh. Scorpio is transformational as leaves are turning colors, falling to the ground, and nature is dying. Capricorn is winter-like, signifying when nature is maximally contracted, days are short, and austerity is required. In effect, the starry heavens comprised the ancient calendar and were a means for organizing time into discernible segments and qualities. The constellations also became a convenient backdrop for determining planetary positions in the night sky. Constellations varied considerably in size, however, from less than 20 degrees to more than 40. 

Because the original constellations were artificial divisions of the night sky into radically unequal sectors, measurement of planetary positions was problematic. By 500 BCE, which was the beginning of true, horoscopic astrology, the Babylonians augmented their computational and predictive accuracy by constructing a formal, twelve-sign zodiac of 30 degrees each, again anchoring the vernal equinox in the constellation of Aries.  

For computational and predictive purposes, once a schematic calendar was divided into twelve 30-day months of twelve 30-degree signs anchored in the vernal equinox, the zodiacal constellations became somewhat superfluous. Nevertheless, Babylonian astrologers continued to locate each cardinal point (equinoxes and solstices) roughly in the center of their corresponding constellations, thereby linking signs with their constellational corollaries so that stars retained their function as calendrical markers. This is the key point: the zodiac was a mathematical construction meant to coincide with the seasons. As such, it served a calendric purpose. Seasonal predictability was the whole impetus behind calendar keeping, and calendar-keeping is the foundation upon which astrology rests.

Over time, however, it became clear there was another problem. The star in the constellation Aries that marked the first day of spring appeared to be drifting forwards away from the vernal equinox at a rate of 1 degree every 72 years. What was actually happening was that the vernal point was slowly drifting backwards toward the constellation of Pisces. By 134 BCE, the Greek astronomer Hipparchus labeled this phenomenon the “precession of the equinoxes”. While no one had the foggiest idea why it occurred (we now know it’s due to earth’s wobble on its axis), it was becoming increasingly apparent that the constellations were unreliable markers of the equinoctial and solsticial points. 

If a zodiac marking the seasons was to remain accurate, it had to be divorced from the constellations. Hence was born the tropical zodiac based on the actual date of the vernal equinox―that is, when days and nights are of equal length―rather than on a star in the constellation Aries that no long aligned with the proper date. In the 2nd century CE, following the lead of Hipparchus and others who adopted the vernal point as 0 degrees tropical Aries, the illustrious Greek astronomer Ptolemy formally established the tropical zodiac as independent of the constellations. However, the fact that the signs retained the names of the constellations to which they once corresponded continues to cause confusion to this day. 

Here’s the upshot: it’s irrelevant that due to the earth’s wobble the vernal equinox is slowly drifting backwards (precessing) through the constellations, and thus each sign and its constellational namesake are no longer in synch. And it makes no difference if NASA wants to include a 13th constellation in the zodiac. For the actual zodiac is independent of the constellations. When astrology first began, our forbearers did not know this. But we do now. Regrettably, zodiacal constellations have become conflated in the public mind with zodiacal signs of the same names. But despite having the same names, signs and constellations are not the same thing.

13th sign

An easy way to understand the problem is to imagine a clock with an hour hand that moves slowly around the circle of the clock. When the hour hand is straight up, it’s 12 pm. When it moves 30 degrees clockwise, it is 1 pm, and so on. With each 30 degree movement, there is a new number behind the hour hand. Imagine these numbers are painted on a wheel that slowly rotates away (precesses) from their original positions. Now when the hour hand is straight up, the number 11 is behind it, and when it moves 30 degrees clockwise, you see the number 12. The numbers have moved, but what determines the time is the angle the hour hand makes to the top of the clock. Even if there were no numbers (or if extra numbers were added) you would still know the time simply by looking at the angle of the hour hand to the top of the clock. If it was 90 degrees before returning to the top, you would know it is 9 pm regardless of the number that resides at that spot. While the numbers behind the hour hand are a convenience, they are largely irrelevant.

Our clock is analogous to the zodiac. The hour hand is the earth’s orbital movement about the Sun (with the Sun at the center of the clock). At the top of the clock is the vernal equinox, or 0 degrees Aries. Every 30 degree movement is a new sign. The numbers on the clock are the constellations. Just as numbers slipping away from their original positions does not change the time, so a new constellation behind the Sun at the vernal equinox does not change the sign Aries. When constellations slowly drift out of synch with their corresponding signs (due to precession), it does not matter. For it is the angle the earth makes to the vernal equinox that determines a sign, just as it is the angle an hour hand makes to the top of a clock that determines the hour. The angle is what counts, not the number or constellation behind it.

* * * * *

 

A Tale of Two Hermes: Trump & Hillary’s Mercury

A Tale of Two Hermes
Mercury in the Charts of Trump and Hillary

By Glenn Perry


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…

 

Mercury

The opening lines of Dicken’s immortal A Tale of Two Cities remind me of the “messaging and spin” received from the two candidates for the upcoming presidential election. As we all know, Hermes was the messenger God of Greek mythology, later renamed Mercury by the Romans. Adaptive and cunning, Hermes moved swiftly between the world of man and the world of gods, acting as a messenger and link between mortals and Olympians. If we substitute “Washington politics” for “the world of gods”, then Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s Mercury may well be serving the same function―delivering messages from on high to mortals (voters) below.

But what a difference in the messengers! The contrast between the two Mercurys could not be starker, the one being as loose as a leaf in the wind, the other buttoned up tighter than Fort Knox. In the remainder of this essay, we will explore the Mercury function in Trump and Clinton’s birth charts. Each Mercury plays the role of messenger, explaining to the American populace the values and intentions of the candidate it represents.

Mercury’s sign position answers two fundamental questions: how and what. It tell us how the message will be delivered, and it discloses something of what the message will be. The house position of Mercury reveals where the message originates and the circumstances toward which it is predominantly directed, and its aspects suggest the influences to which Mercury will be subjected via its relations with other planetary functions.

Donald Trump
 Trump5Trump’s Mercury resides in Cancer in the 11th squaring Neptune in Libra in the 2nd. To understand the Donald’s Mercury, we have to take into account other chart factors, especially planets Mercury disposes. With his Sun and Uranus in Gemini, there is an enormous amount of mental energy channeled to Mercury. Picture a gas powered pressure washer funneling information down a tube with tremendous intensity to Mercury. But Mercury’s nozzle is in Cancer, which restricts and spreads the outflow, rendering it more like a high pressured spray than a sharp, incisive stream.

Trump2, Donald (2)

Donald Trump: Jun 14, 1946, 10:54 am, Jamaica, New York

Trump’s Mercury in Cancer speaks in a way that is more impressionistic than factual. An impressionistic style is based on subjective reactions presented unsystematically, and may entail memories, moods, and images that spontaneously come to mind. This is certainly characteristic of Cancer, which perceives emotionally through sympathetic rapport rather than intellectually through words that correspond to concrete data.

Imagine yourself observing a carnival from its center. There are sounds and smells, screams and laughter, a rush of movement with dazzling lights and people of all ages mingling together in a festive, joyous swirl. So many senses are involved, so many impressions formed simultaneously, that the final mix is more of a gut sense than an empirical analysis. If asked to describe the carnival, you might say: “Wow, it was an amazing experience. This is a great, great carnival, with rides and lots of other things, too. Really, incredible. Maybe the best carnival ever. And I mean that, folks. Believe me.” That’s Cancer. If it feels good, it is good.

If Mercury were in Gemini, all those impressions would be sorted out and classified into a clear description. The view is more objective, preferably from the periphery of the carnival. The carnival now becomes an assortment of several different types of rides, some favored more than others, with a strong smell of cotton candy in the air, and one girl in particular who is throwing up after being on the roller coaster, which looks rather old. “This is a medium sized carnival that originated in Chicago,” you might observe, “with 7 different rides featuring an excellent carousel, 22 booths including a Balloon and Darts game, five proprietors that offer junk food, and the people seem moderately happy. As a carnival, it’s fairly average.” Factual, specific, clear; that’s Gemini.

As mentioned, Trump’s Sun-Uranus in Gemini gets funneled to Mercury in Cancer. Cancer is the mouthpiece that filters his words and gives them an emotional tone. When Trump speaks, it’s more suggestive of information than clearly articulated facts and data. There’s a wink and nod, a shrugging of shoulders, a sudden gesticulation with hands and a torrent of folksy words conveying feelings and impressions. For most people, there’s enough information to follow, but you get a feel for the man’s attitude more than a clear understanding of a plan he’s going to implement.

That’s ultimately what Trump is communicating―an attitude, a state of mind that says, “I can return this country to the glory of yesteryear.” Trump loves to speak in superlatives. “We’re going to build a great, great wall…I’ll be the best job’s president God ever created…the people of Arizona are fantastic people…our politicians are completely incompetent…Hillary is the worst Secretary of State this country ever had.” Superlatives are an evaluative response―great, best, fantastic, completely, worst―that communicate whether something (or someone) feels good or bad. Again, these are not facts, they are feelings.

It is worth noting that Trump also has Saturn conjunct Venus in Cancer. His over the top Mars in Leo Ascendant bombast, and his garrulous gaffe-a-minute Gemini-Sagittarius opposition get most of the attention. So it’s easy to miss the importance of Cancer. Yet, with three planets in Cancer in the 11th this is the main theme of the Trump revolution. The 11th house is where we join with others of like mind for a common cause. The pro-Trump movement is decidedly Cancerian. It’s about wanting to reverse America’s decline, tighten our borders, and restore our national identity as one big family―a family that transcends the racial divisiveness that accentuates differences rather than reconciling them.

With Mercury Cancer in the 11th, his thinking is tied in to the collective, sensing their feelings, needs, and wants. In his acceptance speech for the republican nomination, Trump trumpeted, “I am your voice!” He declares that he’s a messenger of the people, a spokesperson for a movement to “take our country back and make American great again.” Note the Cancerian emphasis on precedents, foundations, roots. We’re going back to what works so we can be great again. Cancer is populist, patriotic fervor and longing for a past where people felt connected in a country with clear borders and strong family ties. That’s what Trump is talking about.

Mercury Cancer in the 11th answers the question of what he thinks and where it originates. He talks about the homeland (Cancer) because he intuits that taking American back is the people’s cause (11th). Whereas Cancer honors the past, the 11th house concerns the future and what we are evolving toward. “We need to put America first and get back to the future,” says Mercury Cancer in the 11th.

The final piece of the puzzle is Mercury’s closing square to Neptune. Whereas Cancer is an impressionistic, subtle, suggestive, indirect, and emotionally evocative style of speech, its square to Neptune gives it a wobbly, fuzzy quality, as if he is just making things up as he goes along, playing fast and loose with the facts. This is due to the nature of Neptune, which symbolizes the collective unconscious. Neptune is the repository of dreams, fantasies, and ideals that have no boundary precisely because they reside in an intangible, transcendent sphere accessible only by the imagination. When Trump makes a policy statement, he is not making a promise, but conveying an aspiration. The danger with Mercury-Neptune is that facts and imaginings get mixed up together, resulting in a tendency toward wishful thinking―or, if one is not careful, outright denial of what is factually true.

Trump SpeakingA closing square is a Capricorn angle that requires the planets work together for the sake of a joint goal, but the challenge is always control. Given that Neptune’s nature is to surrender, let go, and give in, control is especially difficult. Neptune is the antithesis of control; it is a dissolving of boundaries, a melting into a liquid state of flow. If Mercury is unable to control Neptune’s input, Trump’s thinking is apt to be flooded with images, intuitions, and extraneous information that has no obvious relationship to the topic at hand. Imagine trying to sort mail into proper trays in an anti-gravity chamber; everything is floating about and nothing stays put. Trump’s speech is sometimes like that. He has a tendency to go off on tangents with loosely associated thoughts pulling him in different directions.

A funny example of Trump’s tangential thinking is his comments on the Iran nuclear deal during a campaign rally in South Carolina on July 21, 2015.

Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.

A simple translation would be: “I believe the Iran Deal is bad for the United States,” but the structure of his thought falls apart because he cannot control the inflow of memories and associations that overwhelm his syntax. The result is a muddled word salad, a stream of consciousness, unedited, digressive, fragmented, like a dream that unfolds chaotically; yet, the meaning embedded within the tangle of words, innuendos and reminiscences somehow seeps through. While this is clearly an extreme example of Trump’s speaking style, it illustrates the challenge of Mercury square Neptune.

It is also worth considering that when he is speaking at a political rally it is off the cuff and not necessarily the way he thinks through problems that require clear analysis and practical solutions. In a business environment, his thinking might still be largely intuitive (Neptune), but he obviously gets the job done. His success in construction and real estate is clear testimony to that. Perhaps when speaking extemporaneously in front of large crowds he is more anxious than we realize. I suspect Trump prefers dialogue with another person because the other serves as an anchor. If you observe Trump being interviewed, he’s focused and coherent, even charming. But left to his own devices, he goes off the rails pretty quickly.

Trump_towerTo whatever extent Trump’s Mercury-Neptune square can be utilized effectively, it is likely to have positive effects in the 2nd house. This is where we accumulate and secure holdings, as in wealth creation. Neptune here suggests his sense of possibility vis-à-vis prosperity is as infinite as his imagination allows. “I like thinking big,” Trump says, “If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.”[1] Neptune symbolizes the infinite and eternal, the One, the Absolute; it’s hard to think bigger than that. Trump reminds me of the Kevin Costner character in the 1989 film Field of Dreams. Costner hears a voice in his head, “If you build it, they will come.” Trump did build it, 17 Trump Towers spread all over the world, and they did come: more than $74 million in real estate licensing deals and $823.3 million worth of real estate in joint ventures.[2]

To some degree at least, that speaks for itself.

Neptune’s location also symbolizes where a person is likely to feel a sense of compassion and a desire to relieve suffering. When Trump talks about the poor, about people who lost their jobs because their companies relocated outside the U.S. to employ cheap labor, about the lack of jobs in inner cities for economically impoverished black Americans, this is Mercury square Neptune in the 2nd talking. However much one might disagree with his tone or strategy, Trump says he wants to save jobs, renegotiate better trade deals, get the economy moving again, lift people out of poverty, and elevate prosperity for everyone. In the most positive sense, this reflects the aspect at hand.

There is little reason to doubt his sincerity. Given Trump’s extraordinary wealth and extensive business holdings, it is certainly not in his economic self-interest to spend the next four to eight years helping other people become wealthy. Yet, questions remain as to whether he has the competence and experience to do what he says.

 

Hillary Clinton
Clinton, Hillary5
In every conceivable way except, perhaps, her tendency toward prevarication, Hillary Clinton’s Mercury is different than Donald Trumps. Whereas Trump puts his foot in his mouth on an almost daily basis, Hillary is so tightlipped it’s questionable she can get a straw in there. Infamous for not liking questions she cannot prepare for in advance, Clinton has avoided doing any press conferences for nine months, unprecedented during a presidential campaign.[3]

Hillary Clinton Birthchart

Hillary Clinton: Oct 26, 1947, 8:02 am, Chicago, IL

Hillary’s reticence is not surprising in light of her Mercury in Scorpio conjunct the Ascendant, just outside the 1st house. While its closeness to the Ascendant might suggest spontaneity in her willingness to speak her mind, its tenancy of Scorpio and exact square to Saturn (within 5’ of arc) indicates otherwise. This is a Mercury with all the spontaneity and transparency of a bomb shelter. Keenly aware of the human propensity for evil, Scorpio is notorious for its vigilance, guardedness, and general suspicion. Hillary has her Sun, Venus, and Ascendant in Scorpio as well. That’s a lot of backup for any inclination Mercury might have to anticipate that others will be less than trustworthy.

Mercury in Scorpio tends to think in ways that are penetrating. It probes beneath the surface for information that is hidden. Concealed Information is concealed because it is associated with power and vulnerability. For example, if a foreign national wanted an illicit favor from Hillary as Secretary of State, she might subtly suggest he make a financial contribution to her private Foundation via a Canadian front group set up to shield the donors’ identity, as was reported in the New York Times.[4] The ultimate goal of Scorpio is to facilitate transformation by integrating disparate elements into a functional whole. In the helping professions this constitutes healing, but in the political-financial world it entails making connections and putting together deals that are mutually empowering. Often, however, there is substantial risk involved. Given the stakes, secrecy is warranted.

What we do to survive is one of the meanings associated with 1st house factors. With Mercury in Scorpio on the Ascendant, Hillary may instinctively feel that knowledge is power and must be zealously guarded for the sake of her own survival. The square to Saturn seems to underscore a need for information control. If integrated, Mercury square Saturn would correlate to a serious, disciplined approach to learning, combining knowledge with authority so that over time the person rises to a position of distinction in a particular field of knowledge.

Saturn’s placement in the 9th suggests mastery of the legal justice system. As a graduate of Yale Law School, this is precisely what Hillary achieved. And given that Scorpio pertains to the world of corporate finance, she was appointed the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978, and has subsequently served on multiple corporate boards, the most recent being the Clinton Foundation―a philanthropic organization dedicated to various causes throughout the world.

If there is a message to the populace in all this, it’s that Hillary signifies the status quo, and that she will use her power and connections to assure that the downtrodden, persecuted, and disempowered are protected by the legal justice system. Of course, this means appointing liberal Judges to the Supreme Court that further assure Obama’s plan to “fundamentally transform America” will continue unabated. The show must go on.

But there’s a dark side to Hillary’s Mercury that suggests the country will be subject to endless intrigues and allegations of corruption if she is elected, for such has followed Hillary for virtually her entire professional career. This seems to reflect, at least in part, an ongoing struggle between Mercury and its exact square to Saturn.

If I were to offer a generic interpretation of an unintegrated Mercury square Saturn, I would say the native is apt to feel that her knowledge is insufficient to achieve professional goals. She might overcompensate for perceived deficiencies, while struggling to keep at bay expected criticism from superiors. Mercury’s sign position of Scorpio adds a furtive, sneaky dimension to the mix. Imagine a 5th grader with a cheat sheet as she enters the classroom for an important test. She is anxious to succeed, but worried she’ll fail. She eyes the teacher warily, anticipating she could be under suspicion.

Saturn corresponds to delays, obstructions, and barriers. In hard aspect to Mercury this can indicate not only frustration in obtaining required knowledge, but also stonewalling, as in delaying tactics and other attempts to stall or refuse to release information. The opening square is a Cancer aspect requiring containment; that is, holding in awareness contradictory planetary impulses so that their expression is sensitively attuned to the situation. Given that Hillary’s Mercury Scorpio makes an opening square to Saturn, there is no better expression of the configuration than Hillary’s private server in the basement of her own home―a black box containing top secret information over which she endeavors to maintain complete control.

Hillary’s private server in her basement is an apt metaphor not only for her style of communication―guarded, cautious, opaque―but on a deeper level for the scheming and machinations to which she is allegedly prone. A campaign is a specifically 9th house activity that involves a selling of the candidate herself; that is, her ideas, beliefs, and sense of right and wrong. Republican strategist Karl Rove writes,

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is in many respects a machine. It relentlessly raises money, methodically runs the ground game and ceaselessly moves her from venue to venue, each event indistinguishable from the next…when it comes to messaging, the campaign and its principal operate with crafty prevarication.[5]

This is an excellent description of Mercury Scorpio on the Ascendant square Saturn Leo in the 9th. Rove employs two metaphors, like a machine (Saturn-like machinations), and runs the ground game, a football reference conveying a grinding, relentless, no frills attack, which is consistent with Mercury on the Ascendant (assert, compete) square Saturn (grinding, relentless). And when Rove says her messaging operates with “crafty prevarication,” we know he’s seeing Scorpio.

Any astrologer familiar with Mrs. Clinton can see her Mercury Scorpio square Saturn―the cagey, controlled style, the practiced delivery, the memorized speech, the disciplined stay-on-message professional politician. Hillary is often criticized as “inauthentic” because there’s such a glaring absence of spontaneity (precisely the opposite of Trump). When Clinton answers questions during interviews, her speech is measured and cautious, as if engaged in a chess match with a formidable opponent.

Clinton CackleShe will smile and deploy colloquial speech patterns every few sentences to make it seem that she’s just regular folk who drops a “g” like the rest of us. “Well let me say this, Chuck, I’m just doin’ my best to get the word out.” But if asked a question that is too pointed, she is apt to throw her head back in a sudden spastic eruption of bone-chilling cackle, as if the question is just too ridiculous to be taken seriously. Of course, the subtext of her laughter is that she knows the question is incriminating and could expose something she does not want the questioner (or the people) to know. Her laughter is a reaction formation, compensating for the anger she harbors toward her interrogator. Pure Scorpio.

The joke going around D.C. is that Hillary personifies the old Washington adage: “I prefer to tell the truth, it’s easier to memorize.” Her 11 hour testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi was textbook: evasive, mendacious, grinding, but highly effective in reciting the information she wished to convey. With Mercury conjunct Venus in Scorpio, she’s taken her natural diplomatic skills and turned mendacity into an art form. No one does it better. A recent CNN poll found that 68% of respondents said Clinton is not honest or trustworthy.[6] Yet, she’s ahead of Trump in all the polls. This alone is testament to her mastery (Saturn) of messaging (Mercury).  

The 9th house pertains to travel and foreign affairs in general. Saturn in the 9th would certainly be consistent with Hillary’s position as a former Secretary of State. She engaged in constant communications (Mercury) with foreign governments, heads of state, diplomats, dignitaries, and ambassadors, often around Scorpio matters pertaining to crises like Benghazi, as well as complex financial entanglements that governments have with one another.

Another meaning of the 9th is philanthropy. A charitable organization like the Clinton Foundation depends on funds raised from donors, which implicates Scorpio (finance) again, as well as Mercury’s dispositor, Pluto, which along with Mars is conjunct Saturn. With all three 9th house planets squaring Mercury in Scorpio, the entire configuration looks like an aggressive fund raising machine that entails a plethora of politically sensitive communications with foreign donors. It also looks like an array of powerful adversaries bearing down on what she knows with the intent to expose her secrets and lies, or so they charge. In this latter regard, her Mercury looks like a castle under siege.

For example, there is growing controversy over Hillary’s ties to the Clinton Foundation during her tenure within the Obama administration from 2009-2013.  Evidence suggests that foreign and domestic corporations “sought to influence her decisions as secretary of state by making donations to the Clinton Foundation.”[7] Recent email disclosures make clear that Clinton’s aides granted certain individuals special access to Hillary because they were Clinton Foundation donors.[8]

Suspicions intensified in March of 2015 when it was discovered that while Secretary of State Clinton used a private email server for official communications rather than federal servers that are secure. Asked why she would take the highly unusual step of having her own private server, since it contained top secret information that could be hacked by malicious actors, Clinton said it was “for convenience” and that she never received nor sent information that was classified. It was subsequently determined by the FBI that 113 of her emails contained information that was classified at the time it was sent to her, 65 of which were deemed “Secret” and 22 classified as “Top Secret.”

Server, what server?
Server, what server?

More ominously, Clinton deleted over 30,000 emails from her private server after being informed that her records had been subpoenaed by Congress. Under penalty of perjury on August 8, 2015, Clinton swore before a U.S. District Court that the deleted emails merely pertained to family and friends, and that she had turned over all work-related emails to the State Department. Yet, last week the FBI recovered nearly 15,000 additional emails from her private server, “thousands” of which, according to FBI director James Comey, were work related and include evidence of coordination between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.

It now appears that her true reason for having a private server was to conceal such coordination. Suspicions are swirling about that Hillary was selling her influence as Secretary of State. Further, “It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons,” said Bill Allison, a senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group.[9]

With regard to the thousands of emails that were not recoverable, Clinton’s “lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery,” said FBI Director Comey. Apparently, Hillary’s team utilized a highly expensive technology called “BleachBit” that, according to the BleachBit website, “allows users to shred files to hide their contents and prevent data recovery.” This goes far beyond merely deleting emails. Yet, Comey later said at a press conference, “We found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them.” Of course, if Clinton was intent to conceal them, it follows she would leave no evidence by which she could be indicted. Lack of evidence that a crime was committed is not evidence that a crime was not committed.

In a subsequent interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace in late July 2016, Wallace confronted Hillary with a video of her saying:

I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified materials. I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time. I had not sent classified material nor received anything marked classified.

Wallace pointed out that FBI Director Comey testified before Congress that none of those things she told the American public were true, even if there was not sufficient evidence to charge that she intentionally committed a crime.

Recently released transcripts of her FBI interview, during which she was accompanied by four of her lawyers, reveal that she used the standard non-self-incriminating “I don’t recall” 40 times in response to even the most simple questions, such as “did you receive training for how to identify classified information?” Every lawyer knows that “I don’t recall” is code for signaling to the interviewer that no information will be forthcoming on that topic. Moreover, when asked to produce the 8 blackberries and 5 iPads on which she conducted government business, Clinton’s lawyers admitted they were either lost or had been destroyed with a hammer. 

On September 6 (today), based on new details revealed by the FBI this past Friday, there has been a request for an investigation into whether Mrs. Clinton is guilty of obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence pertinent to a congressional investigation.[10] New information is being released on an almost daily basis and no one knows where it will lead. This has got to feel like a nightmare without end for Hillary.

It has been said that the truth fears no questions. Hillary’s FBI stonewalling and avoidance of the media (nine months since her last press conference) may not be attributable merely to Mercury in Scorpio. If Saturn signifies obstructions, its placement in the 9th and exact square to Mercury perfectly reflects the “obstruction of justice” of which Hillary is being accused. And “destroyed evidence” is an eerily fitting meaning of Mercury in Scorpio.

A fascinating thing about birthcharts is that the same configuration that describes a psychological conflict also signifies an external predicament. In this regard, it would appear that Hillary’s Mercury not only anticipates that her survival depends on her capacity to conceal what she knows, it likewise describes the actual situation in which she finds herself: the subject of State Department investigations and FBI probes into her private server wherein all her communications are stored that pertain to her tenure as Secretary of State. Saturn-Pluto-Mars is an array of powerful others from the 9th house legal justice system intent on uncovering what she knows. Her Mercury in Scorpio is, in fact, under siege.

Hillary’s backers are hoping she can survive until November 8. But if she does, it is questionable whether it will be to the country’s benefit. If there is a voice in Hillary’s head, it’s not likely one of divine inspiration (as in Field of Dreams), but merely the faint and distant echo of a guilty conscience. 

* * * * *

References:

[1] http://www.woopidoo.com/business_quotes/authors/donald-trump-quotes.htm

[2] The Trump Organization at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trump_Organization

[3] Cillizza, Chris. “It’s been 263 days since Hillary Clinton last held a press conference. That’s a dangerous precedent,” in The Washington Post, August 24, 2016
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/08/24/hillary-clinton-still-has-no-good-answer-on-why-she-hasnt-held-a-press-conference-in-263-days/

[4] McIntire, M., and Becker, J. “Canadian Partnership Shielded Identities of Donors to Clinton Foundation,” in the New York Times, April 29, 2015, at: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/30/us/politics/canadian-partnership-shielded-identities-of-donors-to-clinton-foundation.html?_r=0

[5] Rove, Karl. “Shut Down the Clinton Foundation Already,” in the Wall Street Journal, Aug. 24, at: http://www.wsj.com/articles/shut-down-the-clinton-foundation-already-1472076396

[6] “Hillary Clinton again tries to explain her comments about FBI email probe,” Aug. 5, 2016, in Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-trailguide-updates-hillary-clinton-says-she-takes-it-1470421885-htmlstory.html

[7] Hayes, Stephen. “Aiding and Abedin: The Clinton family favor factory,” in The Weekly Standard, September 5, 2016, p. 11.

[8] Ibid, p. 12

[9] Vincent, Isabel. “Charity watchdog: Clinton Foundation a ‘slush fund’, April 26, 2015, in: http://nypost.com/2015/04/26/charity-watchdog-clinton-foundation-a-slush-fund/

[10] Tau, Byron. “Jason Chaffetz Requests New Investigation into Clinton Email Deletion,” in The Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2016 at: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/09/06/gop-congressman-jason-chaffetz-requests-new-investigation-into-clinton-email-deletion/

Saturn Square Neptune: The Danger of False Narratives, Part I

Saturn square Neptune
And the Danger of False Narratives

Part I: Hillary & Benghazi


By Glenn Perry

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder
respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.
~ George Orwell


I
t is generally accepted that politics is shrouded in lies. This may be a more or less permanent condition, much like cloudy weather in Seattle. Yet, it seems that when Saturn and Neptune align in hard aspect those clouds crystallize into hailstones of deceit that precipitate upon the populace with a din so deafening it can drown out the voice of reason. With Saturn square Neptune exact three times this year, a transparent film of lies has settled across the globe like a toxic pesticide.

Saturn Square Neptune

Figure 1: The Booromean Rings

Examples are legion but I will focus on three, which, because they are expressions of the same archetypal dynamic, intersect like Borromean rings: 1) the Hillary Clinton scandals involving Benghazi and her private email server; 2) the Black Lives Matter movement, and 3) ISIS propaganda that exhorts its followers to commit murder-suicide.

Given the complexity of the subject matter, I have decided to tackle these issues in four parts. Part I here explores the general meaning of Saturn square Neptune in light of Hillary Clinton’s recent travails. In our next installment, Part II, the political divide between liberal and conservative ideologies will be examined with a particular focus on Saturn-Neptune dynamics as symbolizing the birth, nature, and evolution of progressivism. Unless we understand progressivism, the remaining topics cannot be fully comprehended. Part III tackles the vexing conditions that have led to the Black Lives Matter movement, and Part IV examines the conflation of government and spirituality that is so disturbingly exemplified in radical Islam.

In what follows, I occasionally refer to the planets in terms of behavioral propensities that characterize individuals and institutions, but it should be clear that I am referring to archetypal components of the psyche, not whole people.


The Closing Square of Saturn to Neptune

The synodic cycle of Saturn-Neptune occurs over a period of approximately 36 years, starting with the conjunction, the most recent of which was in 1989, and ending with the next conjunction in 2026. As Saturn pulls away from Neptune by virtue of its faster orbital speed, it formed the first (or opening) square in 1998; the opposition occurred in 2006; and we’re currently in the closing square of 2016. In effect, it’s one long continuous 36-year cycle punctuated by four periods of acute activation that last for about one year each. And during that year, the relevant aspect will be exact three times―thus, the current square was exact on November 26, 2015; again on June 18 this year; and will once again be exact on September 10th. 

Because the Saturn-Neptune cycle is a cycle, it is important to understand the phase in progress. Not all phases are alike, first because they occupy different signs, and second because each angle has its own meaning. A closing square, which is the angle presently occurring, constitutes the start of the final 90 degree phase of the cycle. As such, it is a Capricorn angle, for an aspect derives its meaning from the nature of the sign that constitutes that angle in the zodiac.

As a Capricorn angle, the closing square implies that Saturn and Neptune must find a way to successfully combine their respective energies and build something of enduring value. Capricorn is associated with restraint, control, and the pursuit of realistic, practical ends; thus, the relationship between Saturn and Neptune will be characterized by exactly this dynamic throughout the period in question. And since Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn, this compounds and highlights the significance of Capricorn-Saturn during this particular phase of the Saturn-Neptune cycle.


Some Thoughts on Saturn
The archetype of Capricorn-Saturn is predominantly concerned with issues of success-failure. In fact, all Capricorn-Saturn behavior can be traced to a fear of failure. To compensate for this fear, there is a focused, disciplined, goal-oriented striving that endeavors to achieve the desired end―success―which is exemplified in authority figures that serve a regulatory or executive function, such as fathers, taskmasters, bosses, CEOs, and presidents. Institutionally, the Capricorn-Saturn archetype is inherent in government of all types at all levels, the proper function of which is to establish rules, enforce limits, and maintain civic order. Internally, Saturn correlates to our capacity for self-governance and self-restraint.

Implicit in Saturn is the notion of hierarchical order as reflected in nature’s tendency to organize its parts into increasingly complex wholes―atoms into molecules, molecules into cells, and cells combine to form multicellular organisms of ever increasing complexity, culminating in human beings who further self-organize into families, communities, towns, states and nations. Planets combine to make up solar systems, solar systems to make up galaxies, and galaxies are but parts of galactic clusters. “Infinity yawns at both the top and bottom of the stratified hierarchies of existence,” writes Arthur Koestler.[1]

While Saturn’s ultimate goal is success―that is, aspiring to the top of the hierarchy― success is a relative term, and when applied to collective human evolution we must assume that varying degrees of success-failure will characterize the current square. In effect, we can expect Saturn to test the viability and sustainability of any organization with a strong Neptunian component. Since our focus here is on the world of global politics, the following should be considered in that light.


Neptune: The Pursuit of Oneness
As ruler of Pisces, Neptune’s prime directive is attainment of a transcendent, spiritual ideal of unitive consciousness in which all divisions are reconciled into a blissful harmony. If human experience falls short of this ideal, which it almost invariably does, it causes distress and existential guilt. Human suffering due to loss, illness, poverty, old age, or victimization evokes a Neptunian response in us all, which we experience as compassion and the wish to relieve suffering. Neptune correlates to charity, aid, volunteerism, selfless service, and other altruistic activities dedicated to the ideal of an indiscriminate, all-inclusive, universal love.

Neptune’s flip side is the actual experience of suffering, which can be a gateway to the development of compassion, humility, and dependence upon a higher power. Spiritual traditions like Buddhism honor suffering as “the mud out of which the lotus flower blooms.” Christianity employs its own metaphors―purification through trial by fire, the passion of Christ, and so on. Virtually all spiritual traditions teach the necessity of suffering and its accompanying requirement: renunciation of attachment, as implied in the aphorism “Let go and let God”.

Because the spiritual impulse underlying Neptune is inherently sacrificial and submissive, it can easily be misdirected or carried to excess if driven by excessive, irrational guilt. The result can be escapism and self-undoing. Let go and let God becomes give up and self-destruct. Renunciation of attachment becomes abdication of responsibility. Surrender to a higher power is perverted into a life of dissolution, moral degeneracy, and abject dependency, often fueled by substance addiction. Not only can individuals do this, so can entire cultures, as we shall see.

While spiritual practice and charitable service is the healthy expression of Neptune, this can be misallocated via victim-savior dynamics that entail the enabling of bad behavior. Neptunian overfunctioning, or “co-dependency”, is again fueled by excessive and irrational guilt as evidenced when “saviors” feel compelled to rescue “victims” from the natural consequences of their own self-defeating actions. In this context, a victim is someone who is victimized by their own choices―to abuse drugs and alcohol, to drop out of school, to avoid work and responsibility, to be sexually promiscuous, to lie, steal, cheat, or otherwise engage in criminal behavior.

Typically the victim will manipulate the savior with intimations of blame, as if the cause and solution to the victim’s suffering lie outside themselves. Yet, by not allowing individuals to endure legitimate suffering, the savior merely enables and often exacerbates the victim’s problems. This can lead to savior burnout, depletion of resources, resentment, and more guilt. The French call such an arrangement a folie a deux (folly of two), a kind of mental illness shared by two entities caught in a vicious cycle that escalates over time.

One additional point regarding Neptune is germane: its penchant for obfuscation and fraud. Because Neptune symbolizes our desire for a transcendent ideal of infinite love and beauty, it is disinclined to recognize anything that deviates from this ideal. And since such ideals―for oneness, unity, heaven, paradise, utopia―necessarily emerge from the imagination (they have no obvious corollary in reality), Neptune signifies our capacity for fantasy. If reality deviates too markedly from the ideal, one can simply substitute fantasy for reality by superimposing the ideal over the real. Denial and deception entail the switch of an actual reality for a preferred one; hence, the Pisces-Neptune tendency for delusion, lies, and deceit.

The flip side is the Pisces-Neptune vulnerability to deception. Pisces-Neptune is the part of us that strives to reconcile duality into a unified whole; thus, it has difficulty making rational decisions that require Virgonian discernment and discrimination. A tendency toward feel-good fuzzy thinking, vacillation and acquiescence results. People often will believe what they want to believe and thus can be easily misled. As Hitler famously said, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

While the Pisces-Neptune capacity for surrender, letting go, and trust in a higher power signifies spiritual strength in its own domain, it correlates to weakness when misdirected. For it is precisely its malleability that makes Neptune so easily influenced by stronger wills that frequently are not divine in their intentions. The upshot is that Pisces-Neptune is often the dupe, especially in relation to figures that embody those archetypes with which it is entangled―like Saturnian authority.


More on the Closing Square
I have taken time to articulate the individual psychologies of Saturn and Neptune, for it is their combination that ultimately concerns us here. As the reader might surmise, government, under the sway of certain political ideologies, has progressively assumed the role of savior to an increasingly victimized society. During Saturn-Neptune squares, these role dynamics are tested and stressed to the breaking point.

A cornerstone of AstroPsychology is that planets signify fundamental human drives and capacities. Viewed individually, each planet operates as an autonomous agent pursuing fulfillment of specific needs. Saturn, for example, signifies our capacity for success, which entails the pursuit of Capricorn needs for order and control. When combined in aspect, however, any two planets comprise a multi-agent system in pursuit of a joint goal that exists at a higher order of abstraction than the individual goals of the respective planets.

Multi-agent systems propagate as ideas or “cognitive structures” that entail plans for how best to collaborate in fulfilling the respective needs the planets rule. In effect, a planetary pairing symbolizes a narrative that provides an explanation for the way things are and a strategy for how to proceed in order to achieve the joint goal. Such narratives are inherent in planetary combinations independent of the angles they form during particular phases of their synodic cycle.

Ideas that emerge from multi-agent systems not only have histories, as reflected in their synodic cycles, they also have consequences. Any number of different strategies can accompany a multi-agent system, some more functional than others. Core strategies are like entities that evolve over time and take different forms depending upon the signs they occupy and the particular phase (angle) they are currently forming.

With regard to Saturn-Neptune, the closing square signifies that Saturn and Neptune have reached a critical mass or tipping point in their mutual struggle to achieve a joint goal. Consequences of the unfolding 36-year cycle between Saturn and Neptune will manifest as certain types of phenomena, notably in government, as government is a Saturnian entity that can be observed, measured, and evaluated. Government’s entanglement with Neptunian ideals will be especially apparent. During the closing square, events will occur that explicate the degree of integration in the collective psyche that Saturn and Neptune have achieved to date. In other words, the current story that undergirds their relationship is being tested. Is it wholly true, partly true? Is it functional? Is it the best we can do?

The ultimate ideal, of course, is for maximum differentiation and coordination of Saturn-Neptune so that their respective needs and functions are cooperating in perfect equilibrium. This might be reflected, for example, in some sort of global order inspired by a grounded, spiritual sensibility, a virtual heaven on earth, however remote and improbable that goal might seem. Preferably, Neptune infuses the natural hierarchical structure of society―individual, family, town, state, federal―from the bottom up, from the grass roots, from spiritual values inculcated in strong families and expressed through local churches, fraternal orders, service clubs, and voluntary non-profit organizations. Conversely, dangers lie in government policies that weaken the body-politic with misguided attempts to impose a utopian dreamworld from the top down.  

Just as with individual human beings, the goal of a fully integrated Saturn-Neptune dynamic is a work in progress. Each planet is inseparably tied to the other as figure to ground. When Saturn is emphasized, Neptune is ground; when Neptune is emphasized, Saturn is ground. Each must perform its functions in its own realm, but always in relation to the other’s predominant values. Government has to perform its proper function of maintaining civic order, yet simultaneously accommodate the reality of human suffering brought about, for instance, by floods and other natural disasters. Neptune must pursue its spiritual ideal of transcendent unity, while recognizing that a government’s capacity to allocate time and resources to such ends is limited.

A fundamental principle of all squares is mutual influence and reciprocal resistance. While not being able to escape the others influence, each planet’s respective values are operating at cross-purposes. If optimally managed, inherent tensions can be welded into a composite that is stronger than either one separately. One example might be government regulations that mitigate against the outbreak of disease. Or a charitable organization which, by benefiting from tax-exempt status, is empowered to distribute resources to the needy.

More likely, however, one planet will defend itself by overfunctioning at the other’s expense. Again, this is due to the inherent difficulty of integrating forces that are operating at cross purposes. Dysfunctional strategies result from the overfunctioning planet consciously denigrating the values of the repudiated planet, while unconsciously and unavoidably being saturated with that planet’s values. The result is a compromise formation―an odd, uncoordinated mix of the two planets that to varying degrees impairs the functionality of both.

For example, a government might denigrate traditional religious values, undermine Christianity, and favor Darwinian evolutionary theory over Intelligent Design; while, at the same time, assuming the responsibilities of a charitable, quasi-spiritual organization dedicated to the relief of suffering on virtually every front―open borders, sanctuary cities, amnesty to illegal immigrants, universal health care, redistribution of wealth via progressive taxation, and expansion of entitlement programs such as social security, welfare, unemployment, disability, food stamps, and government guaranteed student loans―all of which saps the economy, exhausts tax revenues, drives up the national debt, and neglects the country’s infrastructure to the point of collapse. Note on the one hand that Saturn depreciates the authentic spirituality of Neptune, and on the other becomes so overextended from the misappropriation of Neptunian functions that it teeters on the brink of self-destruction.


The Hillary Clinton Scandals
Hillary and Benghazi 1It is not my intention here to make a case for the guilt or innocence of Hillary Clinton in relation to her recent troubles. Rather, I am interested in what they mean in the larger context of Saturn square Neptune. In other words, the controversies surrounding Hillary are not only an expression of her natal chart, but a symbol of an unfolding Saturn-Neptune mindset in which we all move and have our being. Let us begin with the facts about Benghazi.

On the evening of September 11, 2012, the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi Libya was decimated in a premeditated military-style attack by approximately 150 terrorists armed with automatic weapons and heavy artillery. The entire incident lasted about 13 hours in two separate attacks. Four Americans were killed, including ambassador Chris Stevens and information manager Sean Smith. CIA agents Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed in the second attack, and ten others were wounded. Surviving Special Forces members subsequently reported that they were ordered to stand down (not defend the compound) three times. They finally defied orders and went anyway.

In the aftermath, Hillary Clinton, in her role as Secretary of State, took responsibility for security lapses that left the U.S. post unprotected in the midst of Islamic terrorists that had sprouted in the blood soaked, toxic soil of former president Muammar Gaddafi’s death. The decision to deploy as few troops as possible to Libya was part of the Obama foreign doctrine of leaving a small footprint and not intimidating foreign governments with U.S. military might.[2] Rather than admit the lethal consequences of their mistake, however, for the next two weeks Hillary and Obama repeatedly suggested the attack was due to a spontaneous protest triggered by an amateurish 13 minute anti-Islamic “trailer” produced by a U.S. Muslim and uploaded on YouTube.

When this narrative was challenged by reporters, Hillary and Obama sidestepped by referring to “an ongoing investigation.” Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, repeated the official line in five sequential television appearances: Benghazi was a protest that evolved into a spontaneous, unpremeditated attack provoked by a “hateful video” satirizing the prophet Muhammad.

There was, in fact, such a video, and it had provoked demonstrations in the Muslim world. But there was never any evidence that it inspired the Benghazi attack. Republicans suspected the video was a red herring to deflect attention from the real issue. For the prior two years, the American people had been told that al-Qaeda had been defeated. “Osama bin-Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is on the run” was Obama’s stump speech for his 2012 reelection campaign. Only months from the election, the attack on Benghazi contradicted the narrative and was thus a political liability.

During the weeks following the attack it was apparent that a carefully scripted official story was being systematically fed to the American public: That hateful video killed our boys. No other possibility was mentioned despite Libya’s new president, Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf, publically proclaiming on September 16: “The way these perpetrators acted and moved, and their choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, this leaves us with no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined.”[3]

Obama’s Rose Garden statement on September 12 did include, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.” However, there’s an important difference between attributing acts of terror to a spontaneous uprising and admitting that Benghazi was a premeditated, well-orchestrated attack by al-Qaeda. That admission would not come until more than two weeks later in response to incontrovertible evidence that refuted the original narrative.

Meanwhile, both Hillary and Obama kept repeating that the attacks were due to an offensive video directed at the prophet Muhammad. As late as September 25, two weeks after the attacks, Obama said on another U.S. talk show, “The View”:

That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.[4]

Subsequent congressional investigations revealed that the CIA almost immediately received intelligence reports that there was no “protest” at Benghazi on September 11. In fact, the CIA’s initial September 12 executive update stated that “this was an intentional assault and not the escalation of a peaceful protest.”[5] This language was subsequently dropped for reasons that in retrospect are clear. An email from top Obama aide Ben Rhodes lays bare the White House strategy. “Goals: To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”[6]

That the preferred narrative was fabricated from the beginning is evident in Hillary Clinton’s initial press statement on 10:08 pm, September 11th, within an hour of the attack and while it was still ongoing.

Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.[7]

What is extraordinary about this statement is not merely that it’s a smokescreen, but the nature of the narrative itself. It subtly intimates that the cause of extremist violence is religious intolerance, and by implication any intolerance. Whether Hillary truly believes this is open to question, but that is the narrative they chose to propagate: violence is wrong, but intolerance is more wrong because it is the reason for violence.

Server, what server?

An unexpected outcome of the congressional investigation was the discovery that Clinton was using a private server for official government correspondence. While 32,000 of her private emails were reportedly deleted after being requested, many were recovered.[8] Of special significance are two, one sent the day of the attack and the other the day after. Within the hour following her September 11 press statement, Hillary wrote her daughter, Chelsea: “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group….Very hard day and I fear more of the same.”[9] And in an email the following day, September 12, she recounts her conversation with the Egyptian foreign minister:

We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack—not a protest. . . . Based on the information we saw today we believe the group that claimed responsibility for this was affiliated with al-Qaeda.[10]

Two days later, September 14, Hillary attended the transfer of remains ceremony with the family members of those killed at Benghazi. In her official remarks at the ceremony, she stated: “We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with.” Kate Quigley, sister of deceased Navy SEAL Glenn Doherty, said that Hillary again brought up the story about the phony Libyan protest in their private conversation. “When I think back now to that day and what she knew…it shows me a lot about her character that she would choose in that moment to basically perpetuate what she knew was untrue.”[11]

Patricia Smith, mother of slain information officer Sean Smith, had this to say in her congressional testimony at the Benghazi hearings:

Obama and Hillary and Panetta and Biden and Susan [Rice] all came up to me at the casket ceremony. Every one of them came up to me, gave me a big hug, and I asked them, ‘what happened, please tell me.’ And every one of them said it was the video. And we all know that it wasn’t the video. Even at that time, they knew it wasn’t the video. So they all lied to me.[12]

Likewise Charles Woods, father of Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, reported that when he gave Hillary a hug and shook her hand after the ceremony, she said, “We are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of your son.”[13] It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Not al-Qaeda, not Obama’s foreign policy of leading-from-behind, not Hillary’s failure to provide adequate security to the compound, but anti-Islamic sentiment killed the four Americans.

Hillary & BenghaziWhen confronted with these allegations, Clinton pushed back, saying that any contradictions in her statements about Benghazi were due to “the fog of war,” fragmentary and disjointed information that was “changing by the hour.”[14] However, given the consistency and certainty of the Obama administration’s statements about the video, and given concerns about Obama’s re-election and Hillary’s looming run for the presidency, it is difficult not to conclude that Hillary was complicit in fabricating the politically expedient but ultimately false narrative. Such is the crux of the just released report of the House Select Committee on Benghazi:

Obama Administration officials, including the Secretary of State [Hillary Clinton], learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Rather than tell the American people the truth, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.[15]

It is also worth noting that despite eight congressional investigations costing 20 million tax payer dollars, it has never been determined who was responsible for the order that U.S. forces stand down. Upon being informed of the attack on the afternoon of September 11 by then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Obama “immediately ordered the military to deploy all available assets.”[16] Allegedly, he never modified or rescinded the order; yet, there were three stand-down orders according to CIA operatives who eventually disobeyed their superiors and rushed to rescue Ambassador Stevens in the burning compound. Moreover, no military assets were deployed to help the few men who fought 150 terrorists. The last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. When Obama was solicited by the House Select Committee on Benghazi to address these unanswered questions, he refused to comply.[17]


The Astrology of Benghazi
I have taken some time to detail the events surrounding Benghazi because they illustrate in microcosm a larger narrative symbolized by Saturn square Neptune. As expected, the current phase of the Saturn-Neptune cycle is crystallizing in events that reveal the relative integration of these two archetypal forces. While the events and subsequent cover-up of Benghazi occurred in 2012, the fact that it has been headline news since the fall of 2015 illustrates how planetary dynamics “pop” into acute manifestation during angles like the closing square.

An additional factor to consider is the sign positions of the two planets―Saturn in Sagittarius, and Neptune in Pisces. Since Neptune rules Pisces, its sign position does not add any new information other than it doubles-down on the basic psychology of Neptune, making it pure and strong. Saturn in Sagittarius, however, adds something new to the mix. After a brief tenancy prior to retrograding back into Scorpio, Saturn settled into Sagittarius to stay in September of 2015, where it will remain until December 2017.

Sagittarius symbolizes the principle of expansion, as exemplified in the search for truth and meaning. It rules the domain of higher learning, justice, law, ethics, morality, religion, philosophy, ideology, travel, and foreign affairs. Saturn’s two year sojourn through Sagittarius correlates to a serious, pragmatic focus on the aforementioned fields, especially with regard to perceived shortcomings and failures.

Saturn tends to contract, restrict, and reduce for the sake of economizing, cutting away unessential elements and getting to what is solid and real. In Sagittarius, examples are legion, from halting the spread of a toxic ideology like radical Islam to restricting the flow of illegal immigration. With regard to our central topic, however, it is epitomized in the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which released its final report on July 8, 2016. A highlight of the investigation was Hillary Clinton’s testimony in October 2015, right after Saturn ingressed into Sagittarius and during which there was a serious attempt to get to the bottom of what really happened and why. Hillary’s honesty in the entire matter was the overriding, central question.

It is the square between Saturn and Neptune, however, that tells the larger story. Recall that when two planets are square, one can overcompensate as a defense against the other while simultaneously being influenced by the repressed planet at an unconscious level. For example, Saturn in Sagittarius could signify an authority figure taking the moral high ground while projecting responsibility for the tragic outcomes of her own wrongdoing onto a convenient scapegoat. At a conscious level, she (Saturn) presents herself as wise and truthful (Sagittarius); yet, unconsciously is plagued by guilt (Neptune) that must be exported into the environment.

A more integrated version would entail an honest and humble admission of mistakes with a willingness to suffer the consequences, even if it means a momentary loss of status. However, until and unless Saturn’s square to Neptune is integrated, we can expect authority figures to employ false narratives as a defense against loss, suffering, and guilt.

In the Benghazi incident, all of this is immediately evident. Saturn is represented by Hillary and the Obama administration. Their foreign policy of leading from behind―anti-imperialist ethics, minimizing America’s influence abroad, and pulling back troops―is consistent with Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune. According to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, a major reason for the attack was Hillary’s failure to provide requested troops for fear of offending Muslims.

As a result of this lead-from-behind foreign policy…[and] although the State Department considered Libya a grave risk to American diplomats in 2011 and 2012, our people remained in a largely unprotected, unofficial facility that one diplomatic security agent the committee interviewed characterized as ‘a suicide mission.’ [18]

This is especially interesting in light of Saturn’s square to Neptune. Recall that Neptune’s prime directive is transcendence such that all divisions that separate races, religions, and cultures are reconciled into a common unity. Applied to politics, this is a formula for world peace―the ultimate Neptunian ideal. Yet, a mature spirituality recognizes that the journey to world peace necessarily and inescapably involves suffering and the gradual dissolution of attachments that maintain separateness. Realistically, such a goal may require innumerable just wars and be thousands of years in the making from where we are now.[19] Global unity is not something that can be forced; you cannot push the river and accelerate the pace of human evolution to comply with your political ambitions.

This is what I alluded to earlier when I said that planets in square operate at cross purposes. The Obama administration (Saturn) aspired to world peace (Neptune). Ending wars in the Middle East was a primary objective; yet, Obama did not want to endure the necessary suffering over the long term that such an ideal would exact. So, by forcing the issue and pulling out troops prematurely from Iraq, not holding the “red line” with Syria, and generally weakening our position in the Middle East, it created a power vacuum that al Qaeda and ISIS rushed in to fill.

The tragedy of Benghazi is symptomatic of a larger problem―a misguided attempt to force a premature unity―that has characterized the Obama administration from the beginning and, by implication, liberal foreign policy in general.[20] Peace politics and the anti-war movement has always been linked to the Democratic Party. Yet, innumerable critics and U.S. Military leaders have pointed out that Obama’s legacy will be “endless war” precisely because he was afraid to actually fight one.[21] As former Defense Secretary Robert Gates put it, “President Obama simply wanted the ‘bad’ war in Iraq to be ended.”[22]

What I wish to suggest here is how Saturn’s resistance to Neptunian hardship (unintegrated square) is what brought hardship about. I am not proposing that loss and suffering of the sort that occurred in Benghazi is inevitable and thus we should do nothing. Rather, it is the failure to allow for at least some loss and suffering―that is, to be adequately prepared for it―that renders a system more vulnerable to the thing avoided. Hillary’s failure to protect the Embassy in Benghazi by providing adequate troops made working there a virtual “suicide mission” according to one of her own agents. And this says nothing about the mysterious stand down orders and failure to deploy U.S. military assets during the 13 hour siege.

Neptune’s signature strategy of denial and avoidance was further evident in the cover-up that followed. Rather than admit that the Benghazi tragedy was due to “a broader failure of policy,” as Ben Rhodes put it, Hillary and Obama doubled down and scapegoated the filmmaker who uploaded the anti-Islamist video. In so doing, they constructed an illusion (Neptune) that their authority (Saturn) was unimpeachable and their ideology (Sagittarius) unassailable, while projecting moral failure onto the makers of “a crude and disgusting video”. Their attempt to avoid a humiliating loss of political power echoed their larger strategy of wanting to achieve a premature global unity while avoiding the risks and hardships of war.

Jung’s dictum that “neurosis is born from a failure to endure legitimate suffering” applies equally well to the political arena. In Part II, we will examine the Saturn-Neptune origins of what may well be a political neurosis that has afflicted western culture for more than a century.

To be continued…


References

[1] Koestler, A. (1978).  Janus: A summing up.  New York: Vintage Books, p. 67

[2] “Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Proposed Report,” from The Select Committee on Benghazi, U.S. House of Representatives, July 8, 2016. http://benghazi.house.gov/NewInfo

[3] Kessler, Glenn. “From video to terrorist attack: a definitive timeline of administration statements on the Libya attack,” in The Washington Post, September 27, 2012. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/from-video-to-terrorist-attack-a-definitive-timeline-of-administration-statements-on-the-libya-attack/2012/09/26/86105782-0826-11e2-afff-d6c7f20a83bf_blog.html?tid=a_inl

[4] Ibid.

[5] Kessler, Glenn. “Is Hillary Clinton a ‘liar’ on Benghazi?” in The Washington Post, October 30, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/10/30/is-hillary-clinton-a-liar-on-benghazi/

[6] Hemingway, Mollie. “5 Big Takeaways From The House Benghazi Report,” in the Federalist, June 28, 2016. http://thefederalist.com/2016/06/28/5-big-takeaways-from-the-house-benghazi-report/

[7] Kessler, Glenn. “From video to terrorist attack: a definitive timeline of administration statements on the Libya attack,” in The Washington Post, September 27, 2012. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/from-video-to-terrorist-attack-a-definitive-timeline-of-administration-statements-on-the-libya-attack/2012/09/26/86105782-0826-11e2-afff-d6c7f20a83bf_blog.html?tid=a_inl

[8] Halper, Daniel. “FBI: Clinton was ‘extremely careless’ with email, but no charges,” New York Post, July 5, 2016. http://nypost.com/2016/07/05/fbi-wont-recommend-charges-in-clinton-email-probe/

 [9] Kessler, Glenn. “Is Hillary Clinton a ‘liar’ on Benghazi?” in The Washington Post, October 30, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/10/30/is-hillary-clinton-a-liar-on-benghazi/

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] “Reviews of the Benghazi Attacks and Unanswered Questions,” First Session, September 19, 2013. http://www.gop.gov/resources/library/documents/benghazi/ogr-reviews-of-the-benghazi-attacks-and-unanswered-questions.pdf

[13] Kessler, Glenn. “Is Hillary Clinton a ‘liar’ on Benghazi?” in The Washington Post, October 30, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/10/30/is-hillary-clinton-a-liar-on-benghazi/

[14] Kamisar, Ben. “Clinton denies lying to Benghazi victim’s families,” in The Hill, March 09, 2016 at: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/272483-clinton-denies-lying-to-benghazi-victims-families

[15] “Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Proposed Report,” from The Select Committee on Benghazi, U.S. House of Representatives, July 8, 2016. http://benghazi.house.gov/NewInfo

[16] Bade, Rachel. “White House refuses Benghazi questions for Obama,” in Politico, 06/26/16, at: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/white-house-benghazi-obama-224813

[17] Bade, Rachel. Ibid

[18] Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Proposed Report,” from The Select Committee on Benghazi, U.S. House of Representatives, July 8, 2016. http://benghazi.house.gov/NewInfo

[19] Walzer, Michael. (2015). Just and unjust wars: A moral argument with historical illustrations. New York: Basic Books

[20] Obama, Barack, “Breaking the War Mentality,” Sundial, March 10, 1983, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/obama-sundial.pdf

[21] Woodward, Bob. 2010. Obama’s Wars. New York: Simon and Schuster

[22] Gates, Robert. (2015). Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. New York: Vintage Books

A Template 1

Ruminations On
Sun-Sign Cancer


By Glenn Perry

Evidence suggests that the zodiac not only symbolizes the structure and dynamics of the psyche, but also the evolutionary unfoldment of consciousness. The structure of the zodiac exactly parallels the stages of the human life cycle. Each sign can be understood as a developmental stage of specific quality and duration.

The dominant traits and concerns of each sign are age-appropriate for the stage corresponding to that sign. Infants (Aries) are necessarily selfish, egocentric, and concerned about survival. Toddlers (Taurus) are preoccupied with attachment needs and are easily forgiven for wanting things to stay the same. Seven year olds (Gemini) are naturally fickle, shallow, and curious. Latency age children (Cancer) turn inwards and become more vulnerable to rejection. Adolescents (Leo) are unavoidably narcissistic, willful, and defensive. Novice adults (Virgo) worry about job skills and employability.

Marriage and partnership are dominant concerns of thirty-year olds (Libra), while mid-life adults (Scorpio) obsess about death and power. Afterwards, they become increasingly interested in justice and moral imperatives (Sagittarius). Sixty year olds (Capricorn) are expected to be conservative, traditional, and to uphold the status quo. The seventies (Aquarius) mark a period of radical change as individuals detach from old identifications. And a gradual dissolution and readiness to return to source marks the final stage of life, from 77 and beyond (Pisces).

Ruminations on Sun in Cancer

What It’s Like for a Guy
Ruminations On Sun-Sign Cancer


By Glenn Perry

A while ago I was asked by astrologer Leah Imsiragic to answer a few questions about my personal experience of Sun in Cancer. Other astrologers were asked about their Sun signs, and our responses were eventually published…I can’t remember where, which is embarrassing for a Sun-Cancer as we’re supposed to have good memories. However, since the summer solstice was just last week (start of Cancer), I thought it timely to republish my reflections on this sign. I have taken the liberty to flesh out some ideas that were merely hinted at in my original responses to Leah.


Sun in CancerLeah: Why is the Sun’s sign position in the natal horoscope important and what can that tell us?

Glenn: I always say that the Sun performs the same role in the psyche that it does in the solar system. It is the central hub around which everything else revolves; it’s the heart of the matter, the core of the personality, the seat of consciousness. Psychologically, it signifies creative self-expression, intentionality, and will―our capacity to choose and by our choices create an identity.

Underlying our choices and creative self-expression is a wish that others will validate those choices; that they will enjoy and approve of what we express and who we are becoming. Validation and approval support the development of self-esteem, which is one the Sun’s prime objectives.

The sign and house position of the Sun show how (sign) and where (house) the person will attempt to establish his or her own identity. It reveals how and where the person will experience a sense of purpose, play, creativity, enjoyment, and pride―and, we might also say, a sense of honor.

Honor is a somewhat archaic term and a quality we see too little of these days. In brief, honor (or lack thereof) is the summary product of one’s choices. Its attainment implies a concerted effort to act correctly―that is, in ways that demonstrate one’s courage, kindness, trustworthiness, responsibility, and benevolence. Honor implies integrity and purity of motive. And having it assures the respect and esteem that is afforded persons that consistently display nobility of character. Since it feels good to act right, honor is also commensurate with self-esteem.

Liam Neeson as Sun in Cancer

I love the scene in the film, Rob Roy (1995), when the hero, Robert Roy MacGregor (Liam Neeson), is asked by his son, “Father, what is honor?” MacGregor reflects for a moment and then responds:

All men with honor are kings, but not all kings have honor. Honor is what no man can give you and none can take away. Honor is a man’s gift to himself.

His son replies: “How do you know you have it?” “Never worry on the getting of it,” says MacGregor. “It grows in you and speaks to you. All you need do is listen.”

This is the gift of the Sun, rightly earned. It implies a solar tropism toward honor, such that our inner Sun (king) is always guiding, coaxing, and encouraging the self to make choices that accord with one’s better angels. As Polonius said in Hamlet,

“This above all: to thine own self be true.
And it must follow, as the night the day.
Thou canst not then be false to any man.” 

Surely this is what Macgregor means when he exhorts his son to listen to the voice of honor as it slowly grows within. To thine own self be true. For to do otherwise is to ultimately become dishonorable, which is accompanied by a painful loss of self-esteem.

The Sun sign, of course, is very different from the Sun itself, even though astrologers tend to conflate them. I don’t like to talk about signs as personalities, such as he is a Cancer or she is a Capricorn, because it gives the false impression that signs can be reduced to personality types. It implies that Sun-signs are signs, when, in fact, a sign is expressed differently contingent upon the planet that occupies it. 

Essentially, a sign is a motive or drive that seeks fulfillment according to its own nature. Every sign wants something; that is, it symbolizes a need that is universal. And the nature of that need generates behavior appropriate to its ends. If Cancer signifies the need for belonging (to a family, community, and nation), then Cancerian behavior is naturally caring, protective, supportive, devoted, loyal, patriotic, and so on. This underscores that a sign’s behavior is best understood in the context of the need that behavior serves. 

The meaning of a Sun-sign is more complex than merely a sign, for it entails a two-variable compound―Sun and sign. Of necessity Sun-signs must be conceptualized in terms of solar functions of self-expression, will, and identity. First, people express themselves in a manner consistent with the nature of their Sun-sign. Second, they make choices – exercise their will – in a way that reflects the psychology of that sign. And third, they tend to identify with that sign’s motivating principle and implicit values. All of this is very abstract, I realize, but it serves to establish the foundation of the matter.

Ultimately, the sign position of the Sun constitutes a path of honor for that individual. It is that principle of life one must fully develop and embody, in its highest sense, in order to actualize his or her potential to become honorable. I am not saying that the Sun-sign is the sole means to honor, but that it is a critical passage of a larger journey that encompasses the self and life as a whole. 

Sun-sign CancerLeah: What is the essence of Cancer?

Glenn: This is a good question. Again, it should be noted that it is a different question than “how does the Sun function in Cancer?” I’ll try to address both. The essence of Cancer is the need for closeness, belonging, understanding, nurturing, and unconditional love. This need (or conglomeration of needs) underlies and motivates all Cancerian behavior. It follows that any behavioral trait of Cancer can be understood in the context of the need(s) that behavior serves. Cancerian introspection, caring, and sensitivity to rejection are all in the service of fulfilling Cancer’s primary need for closeness.

It’s worth mentioning that Cancer is semi-sextile Leo, which is the sign the Sun rules. Leo comes immediately after Cancer in the zodiac. It is the Sun’s natural home, the place where it feels most comfortable and can most easily be itself. Signs that are semi-sextile have a compensatory relationship, as if the succeeding sign is pushing away the sign that precedes it by saying, “I am so over you; I define myself by being everything you’re not!” So, when the Sun is placed in Cancer, it’s like going backwards, precisely because Cancer is behind Leo. The urge to differentiate and carve out a personal identity by making choices that express one’s authentic self is inhibited by invisible loyalties to the past. This is the equivalent of having a 13 year old boy balk at the prospect of adolescence. He would prefer to remain close with his family and not have to deal with adolescent angst involving the formation of a personal identity distinct from his family.

Summer solstice with Sun in CancerThis regressive quality of Cancer is interesting in light of the summer solstice, which is the beginning of Cancer. The Sun appears to stop its northern climb, hovers for three days, and then begins to move backwards, lower and lower in the sky until six months later it arrives at the winter solstice and reverses course again. This can be seen as a metaphor of Cancer’s natural reticence, hesitation, and backward quality (Cancer rules the past, ancestry, history). In effect, Cancer restrains the Sun’s natural expression of upward and outward by muting its exuberance. It softens and gentles it, turns it inward, and inclines intentions in the direction of caring for, and protection of, that which has already been established―precedents, traditions, foundations.

Rather than differentiate oneself from others by a strong, clear expression of personal will, the solar function is stifled in Cancer because expression of personal preference may have the unintended consequence of creating distance between oneself and others. By itself, the Sun might spontaneously declare, “I am a Catholic, a Republican, a Yankee fan, and I love country music!” But if in Cancer, the Sun might worry that many people could be alienated by those choices because they cannot identify with them. There are bound to be people who are Protestants, Democrats, Mets fans, and hate country music. This is worrisome to Cancer.

All of this implies that Sun-Cancer cannot readily and naturally be authentic―that is, true to itself, out of fear it might be setting itself up for rejection. “If I don’t belong to the Protestant family, the Mets family…those people won’t like me.” It equally worries that others who make different choices could feel rejected by Sun-Cancer’s non-endorsement of those choices.

Leah: What is the best and strongest quality of the sign of Cancer?

That would be emotional intelligence. Cancer’s ability to tune in, sense, and accept what’s happening on a feeling level gives it an instinctive ability to understand people and situations emotionally. It then adjusts its behavior accordingly.

chameleon embodies Sun in CancerThis is why Cancer is often described as having chameleon-like qualities that enable it to blend in with its environment. Again, the need for closeness and belonging are primary drivers that underlie all Cancerian behavior. We could even say this is what motivates a mother’s love for her child. The maternal instinct to retain closeness entails an innate capacity to understand what the child is feeling and needing at any given moment, to feel in sympathy with the child so that a loving connection can be maintained.

With the Sun in Cancer, there’s an ability to express caring, understanding, sympathy, protection, and so on. It is precisely these attributes with which the person is identified, even heroically invested. Such sentiments extend to all life, especially life-forms in need of protection. For me cruelty to animals is almost unbearable, even when merely imagined. I remember in 1984 I had just gotten out of the movie, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, in which Tarzan’s surrogate ape-father is shot and killed by humans at the end of the film. Feeling naturally protective of animals, I was extremely upset. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, another car entered and tried to force me to back up. I jumped out of my car and was ready to fight. I was so furious with humans I was ready to kill one for what they did to poor Tarzan’s father.

On another occasion when I was 12 years old, some boys I was playing with shot and killed a rabbit with a pellet gun behind a neighbor’s house. I was horrified! How could they be so uncaring, so insensitive! Under threat of violence I forced them to dig a hole, bury the murdered rabbit, and express suitable condolences and regret. I’m sure at that point they harbored secret doubts as to whether I really was a guy.

Leah: What is the weakness of the sign of Cancer?

As with any sign, its strength is also its weakness when carried too far. Simply place the word ‘over’ in front of any Cancerian attribute and one can glimpse the problem―oversensitive, overprotective, or overemotional. Cancer’s sensitivity to rejection and its worry of hurting others can incline it to timidity, shyness, and reticence, especially when the Sun is in this sign.

As the ruler of Leo, the Sun corresponds to play, recreation, and socializing with friends. But with Sun in Cancer, it’s hard for me to initiate social contact and express a desire to play―even something as simple as calling a friend―as I assume it would be an imposition and display a lack of sensitivity. Maybe they’re having dinner, or engaged in a task, or parenting their child. I tend to start every call with an apology, “I’m so sorry to bother you…” I know it is irrational, but it’s instinctive. Conversely, if Sun-Leo calls a friend, they assume it is a compliment to that person, which it actually is.

If my Moon rather than Sun were in Cancer it would obviously work better since Cancer’s strengths would then be utilized in the service of lunar functions that require exactly those traits. There are occasions when listening, understanding, and expressing sympathetic rapport are entirely appropriate. During such times, the Moon is activated. And if it’s in Cancer, then one’s lunar capacity to respond sensitively is strong and natural.

However, since the Sun constitutes its own functions (will, play, self-expression), it requires traits that are distinctly different from Cancer. When a solar situation predominates, such as being at a party, the Sun’s functionality is inhibited by virtue of being in the sign ruled by the Moon. Sun-Cancer is the classic wallflower―shy, hanging back, on the sidelines rather than out front. Imagine at a party it’s your turn to play charades. But you would rather blend in with the furniture or serve the guests some chips than perform in front of strangers!

It should be understood that Cancer’s weakness is not so much an inherent property as a consequence of its lack of integration with other parts of the self. People can express any sign badly – either too much or too little – but that’s not the fault of the sign. When a planet is in a sign that forms a hard aspect to the sign it rules, such as when the Sun is in Cancer, then that planet’s functionality is compromised; it’s more difficult for the planet to be itself. Recall Leo is semi-sextile Cancer. Since the Sun rules Leo, Sun-Cancer is like a Shakespearian actor having to perform the role of Juliet when he would much prefer to play Romeo.

Leah: What have you learned from your Sun-sign?

That I would prefer to have my Sun in Leo. All kidding aside, I’ve learned the importance of knowing how to deal with feelings. Paradoxically, there is tremendous power in the capacity to be emotionally vulnerable and transparent. The willingness to open up and share that side of myself has had unexpected benefits that I could not have foreseen as a child growing up in a family where feelings were shunned. I am fiercely loyal to my feelings now, and regard them as my staunchest ally.

People can disagree with your thinking, but not with your feelings. If I say, “Islam is more a political ideology than a religion,” people can legitimately disagree with me. But if I say, “Islam scares me,” that’s not a statement with which one can disagree. It’s simply how I feel. There’s no right or wrong about it, even if it might serve as a basis for further conversation. When one’s thoughts, values, and decisions are supported by feelings, there is more gravitas to the person, more substance and depth of personality. Feelings are your ground, the rudder of your ship, the roots of your being. Feelings are what enable us to connect with one another.

Forest Whitaker is a Sun in Cancer personality
Forest Whitaker as Big Harold

I remember seeing the Oliver Stone film, Platoon, back in 1986. It was about American soldiers fighting the Vietnam War. After one of the battles, some soldiers were arguing vociferously about right and wrong, about whether America should even be in the war. Tempers were flaring when Big Harold, played by the consummate actor Forest Whitaker, simply said: “I don’t know, brothers, but I’m hurting real bad inside.” In that instant the whole energy shifted, quieted, and calmed. Big Harold had given voice to what everyone was experiencing, and suddenly they were all connected. A simple expression of feeling can do that.

While Cancer (and the Moon) is associated with feelings, this should not imply that the Cancer-Moon archetype is feelings. Sometimes you’ll hear astrologers say, “The Moon is feelings.” But this is misleading. To be sure, Cancer-Moon has its own feelings (tenderness, protectiveness, maternal love), but every sign-planet system is characterized by certain kinds of feelings that when triggered activate the planet to take appropriate action. If a person feels their life is in danger when a stranger rushes towards them with a club, those are Aries feelings―alarm, agitation, aggression―which stimulates the flight or fight response of Mars.

The Cancer-Moon archetype symbolizes one’s capacity to feel the entire panoply of emotions that being human entails, to be receptive to such emotions, and to convey their message to the appropriate planetary function. It does a person little good to have emotions if s/he cannot consciously feel them, understand their meaning, and channel them into an appropriate response. The stronger the Cancer-Moon archetype in a chart, such as having Sun (or any planet) in Cancer, the more likely the native is capable of dealing with feelings. It’s as if their conduit to feelings is wider and deeper than people who are not so blessed. 

Leah: What is the Sign(s) you deal the best with and what is the most difficult sign for you and why?

That’s a difficult question, since I think that all signs are equally difficult and equally easy, depending upon the person expressing them. I personally am very attracted to Scorpionic qualities, for that’s the sign on my 7th house cusp and it is also naturally trine Cancer. So there’s a simpatico there. I like the depth, intensity and vulnerability of that sign. And of course everyone loves a Leo, mostly because it’s so adept at loving you―applauding, cheering, and appreciating you for exactly who you are right now. Leo is, after all, a social sign. Its very nature is designed to be liked. 

I also enjoy Aries in small doses – it’s so vibrant! – but it can be annoying in its egocentricity, which is a quality that Cancer finds difficult to understand. While Pisces is naturally trine Cancer, I have precisely the opposite problem with that sign when it’s expressed in a dysfunctional, exaggerated way―bleeding heart do-gooders that enable bad behavior rather than allowing people to learn from their mistakes. I suspect my aversion to weepy, no-boundary Piscean feebleness reflects my Sun’s square to Neptune, making the archetype of Pisces-Neptune a bit of a shadow for me.

Leah: What have you learned from other signs?

That would take a book, which it just so happens I’ve written! Check out Chapter 4 in An Introduction to AstroPsychology for my take on zodiacal signs. You see, even a Sun-sign Cancer can indulge in shameless self-promotion! 

Leah: What can other signs learn from the sign of Cancer?

That the rest of you are insensitive brutes! (Pisces being the exception, of course, which is low praise to be sure). Okay, I’ll be serious. If there’s something to be learned from Cancer by other signs, it’s the value of understanding, accepting, and honoring personal feelings; and how doing so will invariably strengthen the functionality of every part of the Self.

And now I feel like stopping, so I will!  🙂 

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