On Feminism and Astrology

The article below was written in late 1996/early 1997. I’m a lot older and so is my daughter. But, the need to acknowledge both masculine and feminine as equal and powerful is our only way to wholeness.

Every once in a while (usually when she’s not getting what she wants) my daughter will remind me that “you are turning into your mother.” There was a time, not so long ago, that the very thought of that happening would make me cringe. Perhaps it is a function of my increasing age (45 on my last birthday) and, hopefully, wisdom that I now look upon that as a compliment. More than a compliment, it is comforting — it is as it should be. And, I don’t need to come back with a quick response to my daughter’s chiding — I know I will have the last laugh because some day, she will realize, much to her surprise, that she has become me.

I grew up in a very female household. My father was the only man and he essentially revered all the women in the household — me, my mother and her mother. I realize now how fortunate I was to grow up in a home where women were treated well. My own mother worked, probably earned more than my father for much of their marriage and, yet, I never got the sense that she made him feel any less masculine. She wasn’t typical of the women of her generation — she didn’t ask for permission to do this or that; they would discuss things and reach consensus. So, when the early feminists began to make waves, the whole idea seemed superfluous to her. My mother was quite amused at women demanding equal rights. She thought that the idea of demanding equality was ridiculous; it is a matter of self-esteem — that if you honor and respect yourself, you will be treated that way.

Even with those words of wisdom, I thought she was missing the point. Women were treated unfairly and even abused in our culture. They were second class citizens and men were to blame. I became a charter subscriber to Ms., an early member of N.O.W. and I stopped wearing a bra. She warned me that my breasts were too big to go bra-less and that I’d be sorry one day when they sagged. I told her she was a victim of her environment and she needed “consciousness-raising.” She laughed and reminded me that I came from a long line of strong and independent women and that someday I would understand that neither bras nor men were the problem.

It took awhile but she was right. And, it was the study of astrology that finally provided me with a rich understanding of the words masculine and feminine, active and passive, positive and negative, yang and yin, sun and moon. And, it was astrology that taught me to accept and realize that those opposing forces were equally powerful — one was not better than the other. At first, I was offended that the feminine signs were also called negative — it was a knee-jerk reaction. It says in Genesis that God (who has no gender) created the sun to rule the day and the moon to rule the night. This does not mean that the sun is better than the moon (sorry, you Leos out there); they are equally powerful and have their own unique purpose. Our culture just hasn’t placed much value on the feminine things, the things that belong to the night. But, hopefully that is all changing.

As Pluto went through Libra, the distinctions between men’s and women’s roles began to blur. Because of the high divorce rate during those years, many women were forced to toughen up, to be aggressive and to compete with men in the workplace. Men also had to deal with the havoc Pluto wrought on their relationships. Men, too, became single parents and had to learn how to comfort their children as well as cook the bacon they brought home. Married or unmarried, men were urged to develop their feminine side and to talk about their feelings while women went through assertiveness-training and started getting jobs that traditionally belonged to men. Thus, the transit of Pluto through Libra seeded the possibility to achieve spiritual wholeness through understanding and honoring the masculine and the feminine as equally important and powerful.

Pluto moved into Scorpio and, in some ways, the gulf between men and women, especially the single ones, seemed to broaden. It became increasingly apparent that there was real economic fallout from divorce and it was easy to blame each other for monetary woes. AIDS brought the sexual revolution to a jolting halt and forced men to look at their own sexuality as they buried brothers and friends. The sexual and economic realities seemed to further fuel an already malignant distrust between the genders. Man-bashing became a sport wherever women congregated, while men’s violence against women escalated.

With Pluto in Sagittarius, there is a resurgence of a belief in angels, those glorious entities that unite the masculine and feminine. Perhaps this is symbolic of our being able to honor and value both the masculine and feminine as equally powerful and important. Women who have mastered independence and self-reliance now are beginning to reconnect with the real power of the feminine that they hold inside — the ability to be nurturing, intuitive and loving. Perhaps, women have made it to the so-called man’s world so that they can contribute the very special spiritual gifts that they have to offer. And, a man in touch with his inner self is also empowered by the same spiritual joy of finding wholeness. What’s more, these men are realizing that understanding their emotional side has not weakened them but rather fostered their achievement and success in the things of the world.

After 30 years (18 of them in astrology), feminism has new meaning for me. It has little do to with who does the dishes and everything to do with acknowledging and valuing the spiritual and emotional side of both women and men. To be a feminist means also to respect the masculine; nowhere in nature does one exist without the other. My hope for my daughter and son is that they will appreciate the importance and power of both the masculine and feminine and understand that the future is about men and women enabling each other on the road to wholeness.

In Their Own Words

“Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands…”

These enduring and endearing words of singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder in his hit song Sir Duke remind us of the power of music to express our thoughts and feelings in a way that transcends language barriers and cultural differences. We share our common humanity through song: our joys and sorrows, our highest aspirations and our lowest moments of despair and defeat. And, we often mark the milestones of our life through popular songs.

Join me on a trip through the zodiac identifying the traits of various signs in the words of some of today’s most popular singer-songwriters. Since the sun sign is not the only influence in our personality, there is no one example of pure “Aries” or pure “Gemini” in our collection. And, as artists and poets, they not only express the most positive qualities of their respective sun signs but, from their unique perspective, they are most qualified to take aim at the more negative attributes of their sign as well.

Aries – The Leader of the Pack

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and the Aries individual will be the first to tell you that they lead the pack. At their best, they enjoy this position of prominence and are sure about what they believe and, as a result, lead with confidence. Just as typically, however, they may struggle with issues of self-esteem and wonder if they can ever meet their own high expectations. Their life purpose is to know themselves, and, even when in service to others, the focus for the Aries person is their own self-individuation. Ruled by the planet Mars, the Aries individual moves through life with a fiery passion that can easily turn to anger when their will is thwarted.

Eric Clapton, born March 30, 1945, purportedly once referred to himself as “an egomaniac with an inferiority complex”. He is probably best known for his powerful and pleading love song Layla written for Pattie Boyd, wife of his good friend George Harrison and the woman Clapton also married. But, we see Clapton’s Aries quest best in the chorus of his song Find Myself in which he repeatedly asserts:

I had to find myself.
I had to find myself.
No use looking for no one else,
‘Cause I’ll be lonely till I find myself.

Clapton, who never knew his father, painfully reflects his distress at those unanswered questions and the resulting hole in his life in the song In My Father’s Eyes where he asks: “How did I get here?… When will all my hopes arrive? … When I look in my father’s eyes?”

Fellow Aries Marvin Gaye (born April 2, 1939) spent the early part of his career singing other people’s songs. In typical Aries fashion, he fought for the right to write and produce his own songs, leading the way for other artists like Stevie Wonder to do the same. Gaye’s original songs centered on the ills he saw in society like Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology) and, most especially, in Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler), he echoes his anger and frustration in typically impatient Aries fashion when he wails:

Inflation no chance
To increase finance
Bills pile up sky high
Send that boy off to die

Oh, make me wanna holler
The way they do my life

Singer/songwriters Elton John and Aretha Franklin also have Sun in Aries.

Taurus – Show Me The Money

In the second sign of the zodiac, Taurus, we find an individual that is interested in using all of the resources the world has to offer, including money. Their life quest is to prove themselves worthy of the substantial talent they’ve been given. Ruled by Venus, the goddess of love, Taurus seeks beauty and often finds in nature the peace and serenity they so crave. Determined and stubborn, they believe in love and will persistently pursue whatever they desire. They are earthy, creative and refined and are known for their ability to appreciate life through all five senses – sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste.

Bono, born May 10, 1960, leader of the Irish rock group U2, tells us of tortured but determined love in typical Taurean fashion in the song With or Without You:

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I’ll wait without you
With or without you
With or without you. …. I can’t live with or without you.

As one of today’s leading advocates for wealth redistribution, his efforts at seeking debt relief for African nations have earned him a place as Time’s 2005 Person of the Year along with Bill and Melinda Gates and an invitation to address the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast in 2006. The popular song One states his beliefs most eloquently:

One love, one blood
One life, you got to do what you should
One life, with each other
Sisters, brothers
One life, but we’re not the same
We get to carry each other, carry each other

Bono exemplifies the Taurean issue of money – how we acquire it and what we do with it once we have it. In his address at the National Prayer Breakfast he closed with these words, “There is a continent — Africa — being consumed by flames. I truly believe that when the history books are written, our age will be remembered for three things: the war on terror, the digital revolution, and what we did — or did not to — to put the fire out in Africa. History, like God, is watching what we do.”

Other Taurus singer/songwriters include Cher, Judy Collins, Donovan, Art Garfunkel, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison.

Gemini – Both Sides of the Story

The third sign of the zodiac, Gemini, brings communication to an art form. Airy and light, Gemini loves to make the social scene. They have a way with words and use them often and in great numbers. Since they have a flair for adapting to any situation, they may seem faithless and fickle. Lovers of travel, they crave variety and change, finding it hard to stay put. Ruled by Mercury, they are the consummate story-tellers of the zodiac – curious, witty and clever. Eternally youthful, they are often thought of as the Peter Pans of the zodiac. Their dualistic personality has a dark side though and they often drift into the solitude of their own minds. While it’s easy for Geminis to use their mouth, their challenge is to find their voice and to use it wisely.

Probably the greatest songwriter of our generation, Bob Dylan, is a Gemini, born May 24, 1941. His songs have been covered by thousands of artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Johnny Cash. As you might expect from a Gemini, Dylan’s music spans a variety of genres from folk to rock and roll, from Celtic to rockabilly, from country to Broadway. In the song Hurricane, Dylan served both to immortalize the story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and to symbolize the injustice of racism. Though he is considered to be the master of protest songs, Dylan never saw himself as political. Known as the poet laureate of rock and roll, his most famous song, Blowin’ in the Wind is filled with the imagery you might expect from a Gemini:

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ‘n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

There are numerous examples in Dylan’s work of his understanding of the dualistic quality of life especially in Gotta Serve Somebody where he points out:

You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame,
You may be living in another country under another name
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Other Gemini singer/songwriters include Melissa Etheridge, John Fogerty, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, and Brian Wilson.

Cancer – Home is Where The Heart Is

Individuals born during the fourth sign of the zodiac, Cancer, love their home, family and their homeland. Blessed with excellent memories, Cancers remember both the highlights and slights of every encounter. Sensitive, intuitive and imaginative, Cancers are creatures of their feelings and often act from their heart rather than their heads. Despite this, they are usually excellent business-people and have an instinct for understanding what the public wants or needs. They are ambitious and need both emotional and financial security. Ruled by the Moon, they may often be moody and retreat into themselves. While they are the nurturers of the zodiac, their greatest challenge is to take care of themselves.

Carly Simon, born June 25, 1945, is an academy-award winning songwriter for Let the River Run, her song of empowerment from the movie Working Girl. Using watery Cancer-like symbolism, she beckons us to realize our collective potential in her words:

We’re coming to the edge
running on the water
coming through the fog
your sons and daughters

Let the river run
let all the dreamers
wake the nation
Come, the New Jerusalem

In her earlier works, we get a glimpse into the dependent side of the Cancer nature. In You’re So Vain, we identify with lost love and betrayal:

You had me several years ago when I was still quite naive
Well you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved and one of them was me

With maturity comes the ability to honor the Cancer need for home and security as we hear in The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of:

Don’t look at your man in the same old way
Take a new picture
Just because you don’t see shooting stars
Doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect
can’t you see…

It’s the stuff that dreams are made of
It’s the slow and steady fire
It’s the stuff that dreams are made of
It’s your heart and soul’s desire
It’s the stuff that dreams are made of

Other notable Cancer singer/songwriters include Cat Stevens who wrote an instrumental piece called Crab Dance and Woody Guthrie who wrote the patriotic This Land is Your Land as well as June Carter Cash, Mark Cohn, Arlo Guthrie, Cyndi Lauper and Phoebe Snow.

Leo – The Entertainer

Lovers of the spotlight, those born during the fifth sign of the zodiac, Leo, are aptly ruled by the Sun. Like the Lion who is king of the jungle, Leos like to be treated royally and to treat others that way as well. And, also like the lion, they are identified by their mane. They are enthusiastic about life and epitomize the phrase “living large.” Generous, proud, loyal, creative and ambitions, they are dripping with personality and magnetism. Those around them are happy to bask in their glow and usually don’t mind when Leo takes center stage. However, like all fixed signs they can be stubborn and unmoving once they have taken a position. And, they need to have a strong sense of self in order to display the best qualities of their sign. Without that, they can simply be arrogant, brash and painfully self-centered.

Born on August 16, 1958, Madonna is the reigning queen of rock and roll. In typical Leo-like fashion, she reportedly once said, “I always thought I should be treated like a star”. Her importance to the music scene is summed up in this statement by Susan Sarandon: “The history of women in popular music can, pretty much, be divided into before and after Madonna.” There’s nothing shy or retiring about Madonna and she encourages everyone to strike a pose with her in Vogue:

All you need is your own imagination
So use it that’s what it’s for
Go inside, for your finest inspiration
Your dreams will open the door

It makes no difference if you’re black or white
If you’re a boy or a girl
If the music’s pumping it will give you new life
You’re a superstar, yes, that’s what you are, you know it

Come on, vogue
Let your body move to the music

And, in Express Yourself, she voices the way a typical Leo feels about love:

What you need is a big strong hand to
Life you to your higher ground
Make you feel like a queen on a throne
Make him love you till you can’t come down
You’ll never come down

Though the material girl has grown into a deeply spiritual, maternal figure who won’t let her children watch MTV, she still commands huge audiences and engenders controversy with every move, both on and off stage.

Another Leo singer/songwriter David Crosby famously penned Almost Cut My Hair in which he explains: “…but I didn’t and I wonder why I feel like letting my freak flag fly.” Rockers Mark Knopfler and Robert Plant were also born under the sign of the Lion.

Virgo – Nothing Short of Perfection

Considerate, disciplined and precise are all characteristics of Virgo, the sixth sign of the zodiac, ruled by Mercury. And, like the other Mercury-ruled sign Gemini, communication and the workings of the mind is of paramount importance to Virgos. Often thought of as perfectionists, Virgos heartily believe in doing the right thing. Because they have a keen interest in service coupled with an extraordinary capacity for compassion and empathy, they naturally make excellent physicians and healers. However, they may be self-sacrificing to a fault and feel victimized when they are not duly appreciated. They often hold themselves and others to lofty standards and their quest for perfection often leaves them feeling disappointed.

Virgo-born Van Morrison (August 31, 1945) is a prolific singer/songwriter whose career has spanned five decades and whose work has influenced many artists including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger and U2. Even the Counting Crows “sha-la-la” sequence in Mr. Jones is a tribute to Morrison’s greatest hit, Brown Eyed Girl. Though Virgoesque lyrics abound in Morrison’s work, what better place to start than with a song called Virgo Clowns in which he deftly elucidates Virgo’s need to ease the pain in others:

Let us free you from the pain
Let us see you smile again
Let us unlock all the chains
You’re broken-hearted
Let us help you to forget
Let us help you unlock it
It’s not nearly time to quit
You’ve only started

In Waiting Game, Morrison speaks to Virgo’s ability to be patient and their never-ending quest for perfection:

Sometimes pure joy it comes with patience
When I’m waiting on, waiting game …

There must be reason for all this inaction
Does it mean that everything must change
Sometimes I’m looking for perfection
When I’m waiting on, waiting game

However, it is in Till We Get The Healing Done that we really see Virgo in its highest, purest expression:

Till you deal with the poison inside
Sometimes you’ve got to sit down and cry
When you deal with the poison inside
Till we get the healing done….

Oh when you feel it, when you feel it in your soul
Baby, and you really know
That you reap just what you sow
When we get the healing done
Oh till we get the healing done
Till you know that it’s working every time
Till you work it out in your mind
And you know it straight down the line
Till you get the healing done

Another Virgo singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen famously sang in Suzanne that “…you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind.”

Libra – Give Peace A Chance

Individuals born under the seventh sign of the zodiac, Libra, are usually blessed with considerable charm and grace. Ruled by the planet Venus, Librans love the idea of love and seek beauty in all its forms. As you might expect from this sign, which is symbolized by the scales of justice, Librans are very interested in fairness and their life is a quest for harmony. It must have been a Libran who came up with the idea of a win-win solution. Yet, they may sometimes their display a hard-edged side, a trait that is also curiously Libran. They often need to go to extremes, including anger, so that they can eventually learn to strike the delicate balance that the scales demand.

John Lennon, born October 9, 1940, was no exception. After all, it was Lennon & songwriting partner Paul McCartney who penned All You Need is Love, a chant that became an anthem for a generation of flower children. And, Lennon later typified Libran philosophy when he wrote in the song Love:

Love is free, free is love
Love is living, living love
Love is needed to be loved

And, remember Lennon’s famous honeymoon “bed-in” with Yoko Ono. While the media watched, the pajama-clad couple enthralled the world with their antics, all designed to showcase the couple’s message – Give Peace a Chance. You can’t get more Libran than that! The roots of war and injustice are further examined in Imagine, the song that is probably Lennon’s most famous solo effort:

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace …

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world …

Another Libra, Bruce Springsteen, is especially identified with the ideal of justice for the workingman with songs like My Hometown and The River. And, in Youngstown, he wailed:

Well my daddy come on the Ohio works
When he come home from World War Two
Now the yard’s just scrap and rubble
He said “Them big boys did what Hitler couldn’t do.
“These mills they built the tanks and bombs
That won this country’s wars
We sent our sons to Korea and Vietnam
Now we’re wondering what they were dyin’ for
Here in Youngstown

The similarity between Springsteen and John Cougar Mellencamp, another Libran singer/songwriter, is unmistakable. Mellencamp is known for championing the cause of the family farmer, especially in the album Scarecrow. In Graceland, Libra Paul Simon, focused world attention on apartheid, while showcasing the talents of many black South African musicians.

Scorpio – From Sinner to Saint

Powerful, intense, unswerving, and idealistic, those born under the eighth sign of the zodiac, Scorpio, can also be fiercely opinionated and cuttingly sardonic. Co-ruled by Mars and Pluto, Scorpios want to be the masters of their destiny. More than that, they strive for self-containment and abhor weakness in themselves or others. Their convictions are deep and well-founded and during their lives, they will likely experience soaring heights and abysmal depths and alternate between altruism and self-absorption. Unafraid of exploring the dark side of life, they will often be the first to point out hypocrisy when they see it. An enigma that seeks to be understood, an empathizer who sometimes refuses to understand, they are infinitely intrigued by this mystery called life.

Joni Mitchell, born November 7, 1943, is sometimes referred to as the “female Bob Dylan.” In the movie Love Actually, Emma Thompson’s character declares to her husband that she loves Joni Mitchell and that she “taught your cold English wife how to feel”. Her songs are rich with illusion yet surprisingly earthy and coarse. In Borderline, she makes no attempt to hide how she feels about all that divides us:

Every bristling shaft of pride
Church or nation
Team or tribe
Every notion we subscribe to
Is just a borderline
Good or bad we think we know
As if thinking makes things so!
All convictions grow along a borderline

You snipe so steady
You snub so snide
So ripe and ready
To diminish and deride!
You’re so quick to condescend
My opinionated friend
All you deface all you defend
Is just a borderline

In the Magdalene Laundries, she takes a hard, accusatory look at the abuse endured by unmarried pregnant women at the hands of the nuns who were supposed to care for them:

These bloodless brides of Jesus
If they had just once glimpsed their groom
Then they’d know and they’d drop the stones
Concealed behind their rosaries
They wilt the grass they walk upon
They leech the light out of a room
They’d like to drive us down the drain
At the Magdalene laundries

One of her most popular songs, Both Sides Now, talks about seeing life and from both the upside and the downside. But, it is in the lesser known Black Crow that we are treated to really authentic Scorpionic imagery:

In search of love and music
My whole life has been
And diving, diving, diving diving
Diving down to pick up on every shiny thing
Just like that black crow flying
In a blue sky

Neil Young, another Scorpio whose repertoire includes many songs that explore the deeper and darker aspects of our culture, especially takes a scathing swipe at both presidents Bush in his songs Rockin in the Free World and the more recent Shock and Awe.

Sagittarius – The Wanderer

The currently popular bumper sticker that reads “not all who wander are lost” seems especially appropriate for those born under the sign of Sagittarius, the ninth sign of the zodiac. Ruled by Jupiter, these individuals are philosophical, carefree and generally optimistic. Fond of travel and exploration, they have a wide variety of interests and may find it difficult to stick to one pursuit. They can be visionary but often overlook the important details of everyday life. The search for truth and knowledge moves them as does championing social causes. But, they can also be blunt, self-righteous and intolerant of any opinion other than their own.

Harry Chapin, born December 7, 1942, typifies many of the qualities associated with Sagittarius. Famous for flying high in his Taxi, his songs always included some philosophical thrust, ironic twist or moral lesson. In Flowers are Red, he poignantly points out how society crushes creativity and originality through the story of the little boy who saw things a little differently:

There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

Well the teacher said, You’re sassy
There’s ways that things should be
And you’ll paint flowers the way they are
So repeat after me …

Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There’s no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen

A Congressional Gold Medal of Honor winner for his work in highlighting the issue of world hunger, his epitaph, taken from his song I Wonder What Would Happen to this World sums up his Sagittarian philosophy quite well:

Oh if a man tried
To take his time on Earth
And prove before he died
What one man’s life could be worth
I wonder what would happen to this world

Another Sagittarian, Jim Morrison of the Doors, was greatly influenced by Native American culture and wrote poetry and lyrics that touched on life and death, the soul, religion and mysticism. He famously proclaimed at a concert that he was a Sagittarian and, once the applause died down, he mocked, “Astrology – I don’t believe in it.” Yet, in pure Jupiterian/Sagittarian manner, he warns his listeners in the song The Wasp:

I’ll tell you this — No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.

And, as if he knew his time on earth would be short, he wrote in An American Prayer:

O great creator of being
grant us one more hour to
perform our art & perfect our lives

The moths & atheists are doubly divine & dying
We live, we die & death not ends it

Capricorn – Climb Every Mountain

Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac, is the sign of the achiever. Ruled by Saturn, these individuals are relentless in pursuit of their goals. They seem serious from the moment of birth and, interestingly enough, they seem to grow younger with age. Perhaps, it is because they finally feel secure enough to enjoy life a bit. These are the people who build for the future, save for a rainy day and plan to leave their children a dynasty. Ambition and status mean a lot to them but they are always willing to put in the necessary hard work too. However, they can often be pessimistic, cold and calculating, and, at worst, social climbers who will mercilessly step over their grandmothers to get to the top.

Born January 9, 1967, Dave Matthews is a contemporary songwriter who is the leader and founder of the Dave Matthews Band as well as a director of Farm Aid and co-owner of a record label. Though he was born and raised in South Africa, he considers himself part of the “American venture”, and even stated in a 2004 Rolling Stone interview that he is “more American than George Bush and Dick Cheney”. His songs often deride the American venture though and he seems to see the futility of the Capricorn quest for money and power. Here’s an example from the song Seek Up:

Oh, look at me and my fancy car and my bank account
Oh, how I wish I could take it all down to my grave,
God knows, I’d save and save
Man, take a look again,
take a look again
All the things I have collected
Well, in the end it all will pile up so tall
to one big nothing
One big nothing at all

In one of his most popular songs, Ants Marching, Matthews’ cynical view of corporate culture is unmistakable:

He wakes up in the morning
Does his teeth bite to eat and he’s rolling
Never changes a thing
The week ends the week begins
She thinks, we look at each other
Wondering what the other is thinking
But we never say a thing
And these crimes between us grow deeper


He continues:

People in every direction
No words exchanged, no time to exchange and when
All the little ants are marching
Red and black antennae waving
They all do it the same


Jimmy Buffett, whose devoted legion of fans are called Parrotheads, is a Capricorn as are Eddie Vedder, leader and founder of Pearl Jam, Jimmy Paige, Joan Baez, and Dolly Parton, all of whom understand quite well that music is a business as well as an art.

Aquarius – You Say You Want A Revolution

Individuals born during the time of Aquarius, the tenth sign of the zodiac, are a curious mixture of conservatism and futuristic thinking. Co-ruled by both Saturn and Uranus, Aquarians can often be boldly original and hopelessly conventional, both establishmentarian and revolutionary. They are ready to lead a revolt against the status quo but then impose their own regime that no one dare overthrow. Eccentric and intelligent, they believe in friendship, loyalty, democracy, tolerance and, above all, freedom. The humanitarians of the zodiac, they find it easier to empathize with the plight of the underdog than with the shortcomings of those close to them. As we learned in the rock opera, Hair: “I’m Aquarius, destined for greatness, or madness”.

Born February 9, 1942, Carole King is one of the most prolific songwriters of our time. Her career spans five decades, making her mark in the early 1960’s in a dominantly male profession, leading the way for many female songwriters to follow. The Aquarian principle of friendship is idealized in her song, You’ve Got a Friend:

When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights.

The Aquarian desire for a utopian existence is evident in Been To Canaan:

Though I’m content with myself
Sometimes I long to be somewhere else
I try to do what I can
But with our day-to-day demands
We all need a promised land

And it’s been so long, I can’t remember when
I’ve been to Canaan and I want to go back again

Another Aquarian songwriter, Neil Diamond, born January 24, 1941, wrote of the hope of immigrants for a better life and freedom in America:

We’ve been traveling far
Without a home
But not without a star
Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream
On the boats and on the planes
They’re coming to America
Never looking back again
They’re coming to America

In Don’t Think, Feel, Diamond expresses the dilemma of most Aquarians who find it easier to live in the mind to avoid their turbulent emotional natures:

Some worry all day ’bout who they can trust,
some worry all night ’bout money and lust.
Worry they do and worried they die–
and after they’re gone just the bankers cry.

Don’t think, feel; ain’t no big deal.
Just make it real and don’t think, feel.
It don’t take plans to clap your hands,
when it feels nice just don’t think twice.

Pisces – Beautiful Dreamers

The twelfth sign of the zodiac, Pisces, is a delicate blend of idealism and illusion, of optimism and pessimism. Co-ruled by Jupiter and Neptune, Pisceans walk a delicate balance between victim and savior, enlightenment and delusion. They are dreamy and romantic, sensitive and alluring, visionary and introspective. Since they have a deep understanding of their fellow man, they can often feel as if they are drowning in a wellspring of emotion. They need to establish boundaries and find their own sense of self, rather than allowing themselves to be defined by others. Symbolized by the fish, Pisces are the original shape-shifters and will adapt to any situation.

Known as the “Quiet Beatle”, George Harrison, born February 24, 1943, typifies Pisces mystical leanings and need to transcend the earthly constraints and taste a little piece of heaven. It was Harrison who introduced the other Beatles to Transcendental Meditation and gave the world the Concert for Bangladesh. One of his most beautiful songs, Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth), tells the Pisces story simply yet eloquently:

Give me love
Give me love
Give me peace on earth
Give me light
Give me life
Keep me free from birth
Give me hope
Help me cope, with this heavy load
Trying to, touch and reach you with,
Heart and soul

Om m m m m m m m m m m m m m
M m m my lord . . .

Please take hold of my hand, that
I might understand you

Pisces romanticism is certainly in full view in Something, the song Frank Sinatra once called the greatest love song of the last fifty years. But, Harrison who once said, “Everything else can wait, but the search of God cannot wait; and love one another”, is probably best remembered for My Sweet Lord:

I really want to see you;
Really want to be with you.
Really want to see you Lord
But it takes so long
my Lord.
My sweet Lord…
I really want to know you;
Really want to go with you
Really want to show you …

James Taylor, born March 12, 1948, uses Pisces imagery in abundance in his songs. He reminds us to “Shower the people we love with love” and tells us in Sweet Baby James that “Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose” and then asks “Won’t you let me go down in my dreams?” And, quite ironically, Pisces Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, whose rock star success turned grunge into trendy fashion and who committed suicide because he had become the opposite of what he had hoped to be, penned in Something In The Way, a song about his life, that “It’s ok to eat fish ’cause they don’t have any feelings.”

Women in U.S. Politics

You’ve come a long way, baby! Those of us who are of a certain age remember those words not only as a clever slogan for a cigarette brand but as a battle cry for the new freedom of the women’s liberation movement. No longer would women have to stay in the kitchen and bedroom. We could take our rightful place in the boardroom.

In the early 1970’s, a popular T-shirt exclaimed, “A Woman’s Place is in the House—and in the Senate!” But, as we near the halfway mark of the first decade of the twenty-first century, a question remains. Baby, have you come far enough to take up residency in that elusive address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

While a woman president would represent a great symbolic milestone for women, a more basic issue for millions of American families remains the question of equal pay for equal work. The Equal Rights Amendment first introduced in 1923, still has not passed and women are still not guaranteed equal protection under the Constitution of the United States.

Perhaps, astrology may offer clues for the future of women in U.S. politics.
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Uranus in Pisces – The Impact on Christianity

Jesus was a Pisces. At least that’s what astrologer Don “Moby Dick” Jacobs postulates. Born on March 1, 7 BC at 1:30 am in Bethlehem, Jacob’s chart gives Jesus no less than 6 planets in the sign of the fish, including Uranus. Whether or not you accept this chart as the horoscope of Christ, Jesus is certainly acknowledged as the avatar of the Age of Pisces, inextricably linking Christianity with the symbolism of the sign Pisces. The Bible tells us that Jesus was born of a virgin, symbol of Pisces’ opposite sign of Virgo, and came to the world as a martyr (more Pisces symbolism), redeeming the sins of all mankind through his death. It is fitting that the early followers of Jesus used the fish to symbolize Christ, a symbol that endures to this day.

As we draw close to the end of the Age of Pisces, we bear witness to an incredible time of change and crisis for Christianity. Uranus, the planet of sudden change, technology and disruption, entered Pisces for a seven-year stay in 2004 while Pluto, the planet of evolutionary change was already more than halfway through its journey through Sagittarius, the sign in a stressful square to Pisces that symbolizes philosophy and religion in general. By the time that both of these planets move on to new signs at the end of the first decade of the new millennium, Christianity as we know it will likely have undergone an “extreme” makeover in order to survive. Let’s explore the state of Christianity today, how it has been impacted by similar planetary transits in the past and how it may change in the next few years.
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What is Uranian Astrology?

The Uranian system of astrology, also known as the Hamburg School of Astrology, had its origins in the early part of the twentieth century. Alfred Witte (1878-1943), the founder of the system, was a renowned astrologer in Germany as well as a surveyor. He, along with his student and colleague, Friedrich Sieggrun (1877-1951) were members of the famed Kepler Circle. During World War 1, Witte tried to use the prevailing astrological methods of his day to time battles. He found these methods to be quite lacking and it was during this time that Witte developed his revolutionary way of looking at astrology. After the war, he introduced these ideas to his contemporaries in the Kepler Circle. Witte’s Uranian astrology is differentiated from other schools of Western astrology by a variety of factors including the use of dials, the cardinal axis, hard aspects, midpoints and symmetry, the use of eight hypothetical planets, and its concentration on six personal points and their houses. There is a movement afoot, led by Gary Christen, David Beazley and myself to rename the system Symmetrical Astrology, a term which very aptly describes the basic principle of the system.
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Saturn and Neptune: The 2006/7 Opposition

Saturn, the planet of reality, and Neptune, the planet of unreality, will form an opposition aspect in 2006-7 when Saturn in Leo opposes Neptune in Aquarius. The coming together by conjunction and opposition of these two planets, that seemingly have little or nothing in common, mark times in history during which some very interesting social and political movements have occurred.

Saturn, the lord of limits, boundaries and responsibility is the foundation of societal structure. It gives us messages like “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” or “what goes around comes around.” Saturn deals in the world of material reality. It is the great rule-maker, the cosmic scorekeeper that demands payback for that which may have come too easily. With Saturn, individuals and nations reap what they have sown. Neptune, on the other hand, seeks to dissolve all boundaries and structure. It is the planet of illusion that knows no limitations. Neptune abides in the world of the spirit where that which is invisible is more real than that which can be seen and touched. Neptune is about faith and belief, about sacrifice and martyrdom. Neptune sounds the message that “we are the world” and that “love is all we need.” It beckons us to dream the impossible dream and lures us with visions of an ideal, utopian society.
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The Harmonic Concordance

The Harmonic Concordance – I still remember the excitement in John Mirehiel’s voice when he called to tell me about it — you have to look at the chart of the lunar eclipse in November 2003 — it has a grand sextile! Well, I must admit, this is an irresistible combination – an eclipse and a Star of David! Of course, to see the Star of David, you must include Chiron and not all astrologers are willing to do that. But, if you are willing to see it, you are opening yourself up to what might just be the window to another phase of evolution – one where the soul is actually valued above the material. This paradigm shift is not just in the mind of astrologers – there are many people who are in tune with this energy.
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The Astrology of Place

Locality astrology or astro-mapping, an astrological technique that seeks to discover the connection between geographical locations and planetary influences, is a uniquely 20th Century phenomenon. After all, for ancient astrologers, the idea of moving more than several hundred miles from one’s birthplace was as inconceivable as the automobile, the jet plane or space travel. At first, astro-maps were used for mundane astrology – the astrology of world events and the horoscopes of nations. It was the exceptionally gifted astrologer, Jim Lewis, who popularized the technique by applying it to the charts of individuals. Through his amazingly popular Astro*Carto*Graphy™ maps, Jim Lewis introduced a sophisticated astrological technique to the masses. Even a daytime soap opera character once went off to have her astro*carto*graphy map read to see if there was somewhere on earth where she could finally find true happiness. Though enduring contentment is not ever likely to happen on a soap opera, many thousands of people consult locality astrologers each year to help them find a favorable place for romance, career, retirement or a pleasurable vacation.
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Benicio Del Toro: No Bull

He’s been called a Latin Marlon Brando. Others compare him to James Dean channeling Ricardo Montalban. With his striking good looks and what used to be called bedroom eyes, when Benicio Del Toro’s on screen, you can be sure that your eyes will be focused on him. Actually, transfixed is more like it. The hot new actor on every Hollywood director’s most-wanted list and the front-runner to win the Oscar as Best Supporting Actor, he’s already captured the Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild awards for his portrayal of Mexican cop Javier Rodriguez in Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic. Incredibly, most of Del Toro’s performance in the film is in Spanish, a risky gambit but one that an actor of his ability and cinematic presence was able to pull off beautifully.
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Kate Hudson: Her Mother’s Daughter

It’s hard to look at Kate Hudson without noticing the remarkable resemblance to her Academy Award winning mother, Scorpio Goldie Hawn. They have the same adorable, infectious grin, the same golden curls and the same petite and perky figure. While many young actresses would balk at the inevitable comparison, Kate is secure enough in her own ability to take it in stride. In January, she won the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for her portrayal of Penny Lane, the archetypal 70s groupie in Cameron Crowe’s hit film Almost Famous, and is an Oscar nominee for the same role as well.
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