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Truth or Dare: Major Transits of 2017

Originally published in The Mountain Astrologer,  Feb/Mar 2017

The opposition between Jupiter (understanding) and Uranus (shifts and shocks) will be asking Americans to get real in a new way this year. Worldwide, it will rattle complacencies. Starting in December ‘16, we saw an upswing of urgency against a backdrop of long-term crises. The confusion and chaos of 2016’s Saturn-Neptune square has quickened into a more wakeful mood as the major transits of 2017 return us to the themes of the Cardinal Cross, now in its assimilation phase.… click here to continue reading.

Donald Trump and the USA Chart

Originally published in The Mountain Astrologer,  Feb/Mar 2017

With his progressed Sun moving into his first house (significant beginnings) and Jupiter trining his Sun/Uranus for most of 2017, Donald Trump’s electoral success makes astrological sense. This is the year of his Jupiter Return, a year to cash in on many fronts (2nd house).

Cardinal Cross

But it also means that the transiting Jupiter-Pluto square impacts him all the more powerfully (peaking in Jan, July – early Sept, and Nov 2017).… click here to continue reading.

Citizen Snowden

Originally published in The Mountain Astrologer,  2015.

What makes someone risk his personal security for a public goal? Some people seem fated to embody the big, difficult ideas with which their collective is struggling. Edward Snowden, for example, was leading a remarkably unremarkable life that exploded into something extraordinary. This happened after he leaked classified data from the National Security Agency (NSA) to the media in June 2013. It was a move with profound ramifications for himself, his society, and the age we live in.… click here to continue reading.

Right Use of Power

The US Pluto Return

Originally published in The Mountain Astrologer,  2014.

None of us will live long enough to experience a personal Pluto Return. It takes this planet around 250 years to cycle through the zodiac. But Americans will experience a Pluto Return collectively, in 2022, when this tiny clump of power reaches the degree of Capricorn that it occupied on July 4th,1776.1

When a planet returns to its natal position, the native hunkers down with the archetype in question.… click here to continue reading.

Years of reckoning

Originally published in The Mountain Astrologer,  2016.

In any given period, Saturn represents the status quo, while the outer planets represent threats to the status quo. When we track the key angles between these planets, we see the unfolding of humanity’s learning curve: its growth spurts, turning points and breakdowns. Such transits are an astrologer’s best guide if we want perspective on the history-making trends of our times. They allow us to glimpse the cosmic meaning behind societal patterns, culture wars and sweeping global trajectories while they’re happening.… click here to continue reading.

People over Profit

Occupy Wall Street

Originally published in The Mountain Astrologer,  2011.

Throughout 2011, astrologers have watched the Uranus and Pluto square approaching like a revolutionary advance guard.1 Everywhere in the world, infrastructures are crumbling in the face of this long-awaited transit. The epochal Arab Spring has segued into winter; the European Union threatens to break apart at the seams; there is mounting chaos in Russia, Africa and India.

The weekend before the Autumnal Equinox.… click here to continue reading.

Disaster in Deep Water

Originally published in The Mountain Astrologer, August/ September 2010.

It was apparent right away that what happened on April 20th in the Gulf of Mexico was no ordinary oil spill. Within days, the disaster moved through several meaning changes in the public mind: from that of an accident brought on by the failure of a mechanical device, to that of an example of how government fails to regulate oil companies, to that of a call to reevaluate our position on travesties against Nature.… click here to continue reading.

American Materialism: The Elephant in the Middle of the Room

Money as Taboo

Pluto is the planet of taboos. How appropriate it is that the god of Hell is the governor of these festering energies, always in the atmosphere but rarely discussed honestly and directly. The danger attached to these ideas causes baroque mythologies to build up around them, a system of apologias which would provide a fascinating self-study if we had the courage to look into them. In our own natal chart, Pluto’s placement points to issues we may be semi-aware of but rarely look into, because we simply don’t know what to do with them.It is human to resist confronting this realm of the psyche.… click here to continue reading.

What to expect from a Session

What is astrology?

Astrology is a language of symbols. Astrological birth charts are maps of a person’s life purpose laid out in this coded language. A chart is derived from the arrangement of planets in the sky at the exact time you were born, from the vantage point of the exact place you were born.Translating the symbolic configurations of a birth chart into terms the client can understand is the art form that the astrologer practices.… click here to continue reading.

Higher Ground: World-Altering Transits in the Years Ahead

Published in The Mountain Astrologer Aug./Sept. 2009 as “Rupture and Renaissance”

Upon the inauguration of America’s new president, millions of people felt something extraordinary happen; something that went beyond a mere political victory party. It felt to many as if a flood of inspiration was unleashed —- not just in the USA, but, remarkably, all over the world – whose power astrologers chalk up not to a man winning an election, but to the epochal transits upon us.… click here to continue reading.

The Cardinal Cross Years: 2008-23

Published in The Mountain Astrologer June/July 2008 as “Astrology in Troubled Times”

Astrology as spiritual constant

Troubled times have always been astrology’s stock in trade.

From the lunar calendars of Ice Age shamans1 to the horoscopes we find in glossy magazines at the grocery store, in one form or another people have looked to the sky to explain their distresses, large and small. Astrology has always provided a spiritual constant.… click here to continue reading.

The Mystery of the Winter Solstice

From “Taking Back the Holidays,” The Mountain Astrologer Dec/Jan 2007

The winter solstice is the most inscrutable juncture point of the annual cycle. But even if we don’t think of it as mysterious, even if we don’t think of it at all, we feel its power.

We are each a component part of an interconnected living system, so we can’t help but be absorbed into this immense natural drama. Its occult meaning permeates the psyche of every being alive —  even in the denatured, urban societies of the modern world.… click here to continue reading.

Mars in Transit: Beware of What You Want

Published in Astrology Considerations, February 2006

All of us who read charts have at some point been spooked by transits of Mars. It is perhaps the most closely watched and most cursorily interpreted planet in transit astrology. Not known for subtlety, Mars’ transits can be a revelation when they trigger more inscrutable underlying chart patterns, because with Mars something usually happens; something that we can point to. But considered alone, the very obviousness of Mars tempts us to remain on the level of symptom rather than meaning.Mars’ deeper significance is as available as any other planet’s; but with Mars it is easier to miss.… click here to continue reading.

Reining in the Mind

Secrets of Mercury

Nicknamed “the lower mind” by medieval astrologers, Mercury doesn’t get pursued very deeply in most interpretation. A planet whose governance includes such mundane activities as walking, talking and thinking is not often plumbed for existential meaning. Astrologer Robert Hand calls Mercury’s operation “automatic thinking”: the rote intelligence we use in everyday functioning.But the more we delve into the planets’ meanings, the more we see that every one these symbols is a veritable treasure trove of coded secrets, of which today’s pop astrology only scratches the surface.… click here to continue reading.

Pluto and the Media

Kill your television

Mercury opposes Pluto in the chart of the USA. A handful of Americans neatly expresses this aspect with the bumper-sticker distress call “Kill (Pluto) your television (Mercury)”.This article will look at what the rest of the country does with it.

Invisible power

To understand the fraught topic of American power metaphysically, we must first strip it of its connotations. Interpreting a chart is like painting a still life: if we want to truly observe the object, we start by forgetting what we think we know about it.What would most astrologers, using straight-out-of-the-textbook astrology, make of a Mercury-Pluto opposition, if they found it in any group chart?… click here to continue reading.

Tips on Visiting an Astrologer

Both skeptics and masters in the field will agree: astrology is not an exact science. It is a fluid, subtle symbolic system with interpretive results as varied as those who practice it. In the ancient world, when there was less distinction made between art and science, and none at all made between science and religion, astrology was considered a philosophical art form.

And there is an art to going to an astrologer.… click here to continue reading.

The Big Death Scam

First published in Reclaiming Quarterly, 2005

Ancient View of Death

To early humans, the circularity of the life cycle was a given. Evidence from archaeological findings and creation stories the world over suggests a universal world view which held that all living things, human beings included, follow ever-repeating cycles: birth leads to death leads to rebirth. This, in a nutshell, is the law of Pluto.Before the sky-god religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) rose to dominance, a movement that began around five thousand years ago, spirituality was Nature-based.… click here to continue reading.

Saturn without Suffering

Published in The Mountain Astrologer 2005

Among the ten planets used in popular astrology, Saturn is far and away the most likely to get negative spin. Indeed, if we were trying to assign a planetary rulership to the concept of negativity itself, most astrologers would chalk it up to Saturn.

But all this presumed malevolence has less to do with the planet’s essential meaning than with our interpretations, which are still weighted down by dusty old notions from a fatalistic and pre-individualistic time.… click here to continue reading.

The Buck Stops Where? Saturn Transits to the USA Chart

You don’t have to be an astrologer to see that the United States is at a dramatic turning point. Whether we understand what is happening in astrological, political, moral terms — or just want to duck under the covers and not look at it at all, every one of us who identifies as an American feels a sense of fatal decision in the air. What is it all about?Above us are planetary configurations that spell out quite clearly the themes our country is playing out.… click here to continue reading.

The USA and Neptune

Published in The Mountain Astrologer, Dec 03/Jan 04

It is fitting that Neptune should be the most glamorized planet in popular astrology. Neptune has long been associated with glamour, both in the prosaic sense — cosmetics and fashion — and in the esoteric sense — the illusion behind the material world, known to the Hindus as Maya. In facile interpretations of natal Neptune, the planet’s complex range of meanings is often obscured by the same utopianism of which Neptune is itself a symbol, making the native sound like a veritable saint.… click here to continue reading.

Pluto in Sagittarius

At this writing (early 2004), we have about four more years of Pluto through Sagittarius, four more years to get our collective values straight. This transit has a lot to accomplish, and when it’s over it will not be back for a while. Every two and a half centuries, when Pluto goes into Sagittarius, the world is given thirteen years to re-establish its essential values.For the past couple of millennia, the business of establishing essential group values has belonged more-or-less exclusively to religion.… click here to continue reading.

America’s Search for Security

Saturn will be conjoining our country’s Sun and our president’s Sun over the next several months and will spend two years in the sign of its detriment. Now is the time to sweep away the cobwebs around Saturn’s lore and dispense with some superstitions.To work properly, Saturn’s function should express the principles of consistency, practicality and preservation. But the core meanings of a symbol can become lost in the translation from archetype to societal expression.… click here to continue reading.

Soldiers of Misfortune: Contrivance vs. Reality in the U.S. Military

The USA has never excepted itself from the timeworn tradition whereby a nation uses its poor people to fight its wars. When country calls, the underemployed and underpaid flood into the front lines, while young folks with connections to power and money tend to be busy doing other things. In dictatorships as well as in putative democracies, the fact that foot-soldiers are disproportionately drawn from the working and indigent classes is almost universally accepted as an uncondoned reality.… click here to continue reading.

Halloween and the Veil Between the Worlds

Published in The Twelfth House Magazine, October 2003

Halloween arrives with the brisk autumn wind, when our sensibilities are undergoing the same subtle but profound changes as Nature herself. The energy in the air is ambivalent, prickling with unease but alive with the promise of connecting us to life in a new way, a deeper way. Halloween reminds us of the existence of powers we cannot see, and yet still somehow understand.… click here to continue reading.

Children of the Moon

Reprinted from in The Twelfth House, September 2003.

The recent black-out in New York City got me thinking about how rarely we get to experience a pure, velvety black night sky, studded with Moon and stars, shimmering with information. These days we city dwellers may even forget the Moon is there, unless we catch a glimpse of her as she rises between buildings, her magical luminosity not quite drowned out by the city’s electric lights.… click here to continue reading.

Saturn on America’s Sun: We Meet the World Outside our Borders

Excerpted in Vanguard in the Belly of the Beast, May 2003.

The planet Saturn is potent this year. It is orbiting in perihelion — as close to the Sun as it gets– with a peak period in July 2003. In this state of maximized strength, Saturn will ingress into Cancer in early June, which means that for the next couple of years, all charts with Cancer planets have an appointment with their karma.Saturn, governor of karma, completes its turn around the zodiac every 28 years, necessitating the native to reap that which he or she (or it) has sown.… click here to continue reading.

The Cowboy Hat vs. the Black Beret

“There may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion.”

-The New York Times, WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2003

Saddam and Bush: one would think it was a showdown at the OK Corral, two guys, two guns, and a dusty street lined with spectators.

The media is presenting the proposed war as if it were all about these two guys; as if all we needed was to see their picture often enough and know what they had for breakfast, and we’d understand what was happening.… click here to continue reading.

Clock Time vs. Cosmic Time: What good is telling time, if it is an illusion?

As astrologers, we are the appointed timekeepers of metaphysics. Throughout history we have been the jealous guardians of the astrolabe, the hourglass, the ephemeris and the computer tables: clocks and calendars which use the sky to tell us what time it is.

Sky calendars are our lingua franca. Yet we must grapple with a basic conundrum: clock time and calendar time do not exist in cosmic reality. This is one of those things that is obvious once you think about it.… click here to continue reading.

America’s Crisis of Maturity

Ours is a notoriously immature culture. One could even go so far as to say we pride ourselves on our adolescent ethos. Youth is king; juvenility is cool. Our president was not offended when he was portrayed as a comic-book super-hero on the cover of the satirical German magazine Der Spiegel. He was flattered.

Our mass obsession with physical youthfulness has been widely noted; the very word “mature” has become a euphemism for “no longer young and beautiful”.… click here to continue reading.

America’s Crisis of Maturity: The Saturn/Pluto Factor

Published in The Mountain Astrologer, June/July 2003

Poor old Saturn, the planet of responsibility, is usually quite narrowly considered. We tend to think of its lessons as material tasks and calls to filial duty: I must go to work on Monday morning; I must call Grandma on Tuesday; I must settle down and become a parent before I’m thirty.But Saturn has to do with being grown-up in all arenas of life.… click here to continue reading.

Limiting the Dark, Deepening the Light: The Saturn-Pluto Opposition

The Flaming Arrow

Astrologers have been talking for years about the likelihood of holy wars during Pluto’s tenure in Sagittarius, the sign of religion. On September 11, the fiery arrow that is this sign’s symbol took the form of a speeding airplane (Sagittarius again) crashing into New York’s proud mercantile towers.
The Twin Towers
Practitioners of the tarot will have recognized the televised image immediately. The Tower is the card of cataclysmic change, wrenching a people out of complacency.… click here to continue reading.

Hidden Faces of the Asteroid Goddesses

Published in The Mountain Astrologer, Spring 1998.

During the last few decades the inequities of patriarchy have been challenged in virtually every realm, from the legal to the linguistic. Celestial symbolism may be the last bastion of the old boy’s club that has defined civilization in the Western World, but there are stirrings of change even there. The discovery of the four major asteroids, just now, at the advent of the Millennium, symbolizes that change.… click here to continue reading.

Coming Back Home to the Cosmos: Humanity’s Re-embrace of the Feminine

“Patriarchy is best understood as the 5,000-year birth-canal of the Great Mother Goddess.”

— Richard Tarnas, at the Cycles and Symbols III Conference,
San Francisco February 1997

A long, long time ago, the cosmic creation force was seen as female: the spark of life that had begun the Universe was likened to a biological mother giving birth. The earth, which fed everybody, was seen as maternal. People saw her caves as wombs, and buried their dead back within the belly of the Mother, vagina-like cowry shells clutched in their hands.… click here to continue reading.

Physics vs. Metaphysics: A False Divide

“Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world.”


The physicist Will Keepin, a scientist with a distinctly metaphysical bent, has organized the objections he hears to astrology into two categories: the first being the claim that there is no evidence for astrology, and the second being the claim that there is no theoretical mechanism for it.

The no-evidence claim is invalidated by the much-touted studies of Michel Gauquelin, who began with a quest to disprove astrological correlations and ended up compiling reams of data validating them.… click here to continue reading.