Human beings give undo importance to the the question: What do you do? Americans, especially, seem fixated on the question. As a Cancer-ruled nation (the zodiac sign, not the disease), how we make money, consume and survive fascinates everyone. Nothing wrong with fascination, except for how mechanical the question eventually becomes.
The inquisitiveness with ‘what you do?’ is amplified in a bustling gathering like a party, where there might be lots of unfamiliar folks milling about the watering hole. The animal in us wants to feel secure, so an answer to the vocation question telegraphs relief, helps us orient and relax. “I’m a clerk. Oh, and you’re a nurse. Cool.” Our cards are on the table. As if our job comprises the entirety of what we’re about as a person. In the early 70s, counterculture party peeps, still high on the dawning Aquarian Age, devised a much more interesting question: “What sign are you?” I miss that question, and I’m all for restoring the quirkiness of that social strategy.
I attended a party last night where the notion of small talk wasn’t appealing — I mean, if I’d a choice between banal dialogue and watching The Real Househusbands of Hoboken, I’d probably have stayed home and downloaded the torrent. What can I say? I’ve a Moon in Scorpio with Pluto on the ascendant, sometimes my intensity and aversion to the low-grade shrill of chitchat gets the best of me. During a party I can usually toggle over to Venus and let her Gemini-informed esprit take over, but last night Pluto’s Darkman archetype set the conversational tone. Too, a couple of gin and tonics had lubricated things up enough that I became daring and announced to everyone I met, right out of the gate, that I was an astrologer. Usually I don’t.
Watching the NSA/PRISM surveillance scandal unravel is disconcerting on a score of different of fronts. The most salient, as the Pentagon Papers’ papa Daniel Ellsberg puts it, is the “possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an ‘executive coup’ against the US constitution.”
“Possibilities” like this also crop unsavory mushrooms, like Congress’s own Lollypop Kid, Rand Paul, co-opting the fracas to rally support for his presidential bid in 2016. One disaster begets another.
With an eruption of this magnitude in the global theater (OMG, even China’s databases have been mined) and given the omnipresence of online bobble heads — logorrheic pundits, Armageddonites and wannabe journalists, it’s wise — just like the NSA — to sift your information discreetly. What (and how much data) should you pay attention to?
But first, consider how we gorged on data shortly after 9/11 — and what little good that yielded. Meaning, no matter the quantity, it was impossible to escape our primitive desire for Old Testament style vengeance. Lots of information doesn’t necessarily soothe the primitive instincts.
By not disciplining our reptilian brain, we were, simply put, distracted into a war with Iraq. Today we blame President Bush, but societies always have the king or simpleton that best mirrors their collective mindset. Or as Joseph de Maistre put it: “Every country has the government it deserves.”
There was very little ‘presence of mind’ after 9/11 but lots of aping. We all took on the habit of borrowing opinions from experts to weave together a narrative that made sense, made us feel safe — or vindicated. And so began the great divide between tree houses. The Fox and the Peacock. The red and the blue. The Hatfield and the McCoy’s. The underpinnings on the dumbing of America.
The New Yorker‘s George Packer described this post-9/11 dementia as: “Too much information and not enough understanding of power: globalization and violence merged to create a particular kind of psychosis, with well-founded fears and judgments warped into paranoia and hallucination by nonstop media saturation.”
The weeks after 9/11 were charged with an otherworldly sensitivity. It’s true, people were kinder to one another in the subway, kinder to themselves. But shortly thereafter an eerie, robotic re-engagement kicked in. To be disconnected from the agitated hive-mind felt unsafe (“Honey, what’s the color of today’s Terror Alert?”)
To heal as a nation we were instructed to “shop more”. I remember talking to friends in Germany — a revelation. Europeans considered us with disbelief — and then confirmation (Americans were not only obnoxious, but ignorant too!) How could we be so naive? So self-absorbed with the current version of our Manifest Destiny (the American Dream) — that we’d no connection to the historical and global implications of our pursuits, ideologies and childlike trust in fools?
I mention 9/11 because, well, origin, how the tale began, is good to throw into to the NSA/PRISM whirlpool. Post 9/11, cryptologic storehouses like the NSA (humorously dubbed by insiders as: No Such Agency) were shored and granted carte blanche under the Bush/Cheney congress and its comfy-sounding Homeland Security rubric (a term George Orwell would have envied). To continue shopping at Wal*Mart was critical, and to have that sort of post-shock nonchalance meant surrendering our privacy. But more important was the notion to not look back, not to scrutinize how the big suck would be implemented.
If you put all of the above together — civilian surveillance, hypnotic info glut, media manipulation/distraction — and push it through an astrological funnel, you’ll land in the center of the United States’ natal Mercury Pluto opposition. The lone opposition in the USA’s birth chart, the very spine that all of the various planetary relationships that comprise a chart teeter. Read more
Once again the cosmic gyre converges into the midpoint of the Uranus Pluto square. Astrologers have pondered this particular alignment — the very moment we’re living through — since the late 60s when the counterculture bloomed and generational divides quaked. Then, the two planets formed a conjunction; a confluence that planted a seed of sorts. Ideals of personal freedom (fueled by volatile social activism) pushed forward, touched the cultural imagination, but quickly quelled into the narcissistic sleep of the 70′s ‘me’ decade. What was missing back then is what we’re getting now. The dynamic of the square, a force that won’t be contained. Conjunctions set ideals, squares put them in motion.
Statistically this particular square is nearly unprecedented — meaning it is rare that two trans-Saturn planets connect by exact angle and then disconnect, reconnect, disconnect, reconnect so many times through their cycle. This is akin to someone scratching her fingernails down a blackboard and then doing it over and over again after you’ve asked her to stop. Take note: We have four more Uranus Pluto squares to live with between now and March of 2015. That’s a whole lot of scrapin’ going on.
Squares tease forth antagonistic forces from incompatible elements within the zodiac. Incompatible elements (in this case fire and earth) display — literally — as ignitions, explosions, sinkholes, and figuratively — well, that sinking feeling you get trying to balance your dwindling finances. Or maybe it’s the phone call from your son announcing his engagement to his boyfriend.
Historically, Uranus Pluto signatures carve deep impressions into the Halls of Time. For instance, Columbus’ discovery of the New World occurred during a Uranus-Pluto square and the Reign of Terror, during the French Revolution, marked an opposition between the planets. Defining moments in history that are taught, years later, in history classes – those tumultuous markers that earmark progress at any price.
So. What about the current signs? My observations: We’re experiencing the Uranus Pluto square as a fascinating and freaky sort of Future Shock. Our moment in time is similar to the accelerated shifts in art and philosophy associated with the Renaissance. Hybrid innovation that made the Renaissance into a bright diadem — sparklingly amidst history’s dark annals.
But what took three centuries to unfold during the Renaissance is moving at an exponential rate during this century. With technology dominating every facet of life, we’re trapped in a dazzling quickening. A disorienting leap that’s left the elderly befuddled; clinging to nostalgic reveries of the past (“I no longer recognize my country!”) While those in their 20s — many of whom crawled directly from the womb and began typing on a computer — are clueless regarding the legacy they’ve inherited. Yesterday a client, born in the 80s, asked me who John F. Kennedy was. Read more
Today’s the big New Moon eclipse in Taurus. It’s a peculiar one. I’ve had a hard time wrapping my mind around it because with Taurus — the thickest, densest, weightiest most substantial part of the Zodiac (imagine picking up a bull) — we have to see what the bull will offer us, rather than trying to peer into his bovine brain. So I took a zen approach to this eclipse and let it come to me (Cancer astrologers can do this better than, well, you can.)
Lying in the bathtub this morning I received a text message from a friend on his way to a big Kabbalah conference on the East Coast. He’d cut and pasted the entire Sabian Symbol reading for the eclipse degree, from grandaddy Dane Rudhyar, into the message. What a revelation! Look it up for yourself (20 degrees Taurus) because I’m going to talk about other stuff now. But his text completed the download that started several days ago, just as the eclipse point began to perturbate.
The first sputterings arrived when I encountered the above painting of the Bull of Zaandam. The painting’s flat earth tones are keenly complimented by its geometric beauty; and just staring at it opened a tiny doorway into my brain through which a baby bull entered. So I knew I was on to something. Gurdjieff would deem a painting like this an example of conscious art, a form of art designed to illicit a distinct, specific emotional or spiritual response. Most art does not do this.
The painting depicts the legend of an unfortunate meeting between a bull, some kites, a father and a pregnant mother. The outcome of the disaster is an airborne newborn. The story is hedged round with chthonic flavorings — death, birth and magic. New Moon eclipses have a similar confluence.
Something of the primordial realm is afoot during an eclipse, the stable door’s left open you could say. Our response to an eclipse stretches back to the origins of time — alarm vibrates in our cells — our visceral response to the darkening of the Sun. At such times chiefs, kings, tribal elders — all were put on the spot to get the fucking Sun back on track. Something’s awry in the biosphere, set it right! But now the corrective measures must be our own. Mom and dad aren’t here for us. They got killed by a bull.
How do we do it?
Follow the snorting, feel the gravitas — give it a project worthy its potency. Like all of the fixed signs, access to Taurus’s power is protected, hidden deep — you must either burn, drown, suffocate or be buried alive to get to the gold of the fixed signs. Taurus is no exception. When you engage with the fixed signs you’re engaging with tantra. And this is why most folks do not understand the power of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius. Of all the zodiacal signs these four are shrouded with hackneyed keywords. All of the cliches protect the fixed sign’s esoteric nature. Power is rarely used for constructive purposes once encountered or unleashed. Google ‘Hiroshima’ someday.
Taurus marries virility to steadfastness. So you have a fount of rich loamy soil, still and brown black, allocated for fecundity. It’s stock still seed-shelter, the sort of thing that makes birds go wild with song and weeds appear en masse overnight. But this force needs a plow and driver. Harnessing.
Disengaged, Taurus involutes. Lethargy and indulgence bloom and empty Cheetos bags and porn site passwords litter the floor and computer desktop. It’s a slippery slope with Taurus because, again, people do not have a clear relationship with power — much can go awry. Which, as we’ll see, this eclipse will reveal in the coming six months as the degree point is set off by transits.
So engage now. Use alchemical mixing to optimize the staggering weight of the bull. How? Locate Neptune in your natal chart and marry the two.
Neptune’s vespers are completely antithetical to Taurus’ virility I don’t even know if Neptune even exists per se. I mean, it might be the size of a tennis ball and the rest is all fog, smoke and haze. This same something-nothing translates over to the house Neptune occupies in your natal chart.
So, an example: If Neptune is in your 3rd you’ve a colorful imagination but no real feel for being able to do anything tangible with it, there’s a book in there, say, that no one will ever read. Neptune in the 7th conveys a longing for relationship that can open your heart to all of humanity — but this seems too lofty an aim — so you never engage this part of your life; all of your relationships feel incomplete; someone’s always missing.
Wildman astrologer Al H. Morrison said of Neptune: “Wherever you have Neptune” in your chart, “you have to grasp the opportunity. You have to establish an entity, you have got to organize the thrust of what you are going to do…” to give form to this area of life. We respond to each other’s Neptune, we sense a lure or charisma but often this remains vauge and nascent — far from manifestation. Always a deep longing, always something promised but missing — so fill it in, fill it up.
I’m not talking about magical thinking here, in fact the opposite: Something pragmatic and very Taurus. As Pluto continues to move through Capricorn and reality keeps rearranging and shifting with shadow inflation creeping and job numbers stagnating — the Neptune fuzziness needs to focus. It’s a tricky Catch 22. Neptune hints at the magic — what the world is longing for — but also there’s the madness. People can sense it, but can’t see it. Help yourself (and conversely them) to see it.
So rub the genies lamp during today’s eclipse. Out pops a baby bull. Put him to work for you.
• “Science has failed. Science, as we understand it, is too flabby, too simplistic…”
• “Collective unconsciousness? No. That’s flatly rubbish.”
• “Ink on paper survives. Electrons don’t.”
• “Ordinarily, organized religion is the most powerful thing on the planet, but in the Aquarian Age, gays are.”
Welcome to astrologer, publisher and online entrepreneur David Roell‘s world. Those are his quotes above. I promise you a stimulating, occasionally infuriating but always consciousness-twanging read.
What’s that classic Bette Davis line from All About Eve? It’ll be fitting. Oh, yes: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”
David and I met a decade ago. I’d tumbled into his online bookstore Astrology Center of America one evening and went missing for hours; hopping from book review to book review — my eyes popping, brain smoking.
Dave’s critiques were piquant — often blunt and eviscerating — and he never shellacked bull to make a sale. I didn’t always agree, but Dave’s disregard for polticial correctness was refreshing. The astrological world could use more of this tough love approach. Too much New Age babble occupies the mainstream while worthy tomes are shoved into the backwaters of academia. And — oops, Sylvia Browne just released a new bestseller.
I fired a fan letter off to Dave that same evening and he responded almost instantly, in that eerie way that makes you wonder if Aquarian people ever sleep (it must have been 3AM in Maryland).
A wild rapids discussion followed. From Mozart’s suspicious death, to planetary nodes, to demigoddess Liz Greene‘s PhD. Somehow we dovetailed from a Venus in Taurus deconstruction into David comparing the weary faces of overworked female opera singers to those of beleaguered California porn vixens. At first I couldn’t follow his logic, but eventually grasped his point regarding the occupational hazards of a throat-based craft. With this later bit of wisdom I knew I’d met a kindred spirit.
Dave’s wonkiness is similar to my own. And who doesn’t like corresponding with someone who is just like you – only better? I also sensed that Dave and I would remain in touch for life.
Although my first teacher was Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson, I’d progressed over the years into the tar baby of psychological astrology. David’s application of traditional astrological techniques impressed me. This goaded me, eventually, into studying William Lilly, John Frawley, Geoffrey Cornelius, Deborah Houlding and others. I kept asking David: “OK, so what should I read next? Send it to me.”
This interview took place over a three week period. Before we’d even started, and in typical Roell fashion, our exchange was darkened by his cup-half-empty appraisal. Dave had revisited the synastry between our charts. His concern: “Hmmm, your Jupiter is conjunct my South Node so this interview will probably turn out to be a whole lot of nothing.”
And of course, in typical Roell fashion, it became the exact opposite.
Enjoy the rabbit hole you’re about to enter. Revel in Dave’s revolutionary ideas about an earth-based zodiac, the near-uselessness of modern medicine, homosexuality and the Aquarian Age, and then go buy some good books.
Please, leave your comments and questions below the interview, even if it’s four in the morning you’ll probably have a response from Dave in an instant.