Obama Inspires Baby Names, But Perhaps Not Babies


by Terry Lamb

August 27, 2009

If you recall, I reported last November on the possibility that an Obama baby boomlet could occur in August (this month). It’s time to report on whether that actually occurred.

The Chicago Tribune reports that, “In Chicago, ground zero for Obama's election celebration, area hospitals confirm that they have not seen a noticeable surge in births.” However, one medical center did report that “nurses were unusually busy” (presumably in the birth center).

Speculation has it that births are more planned and managed in modern society than they were at the time of the baby boomlet that Obama was a part of. If you recall, about 40 weeks before his birth was the election of JFK.

The Trib goes on, “Though his election apparently did not spawn a generation of Obama babies, the president may be tickled to know he has inspired a generation of baby names.” Barack has skyrocketed up the list of the most registered baby names since the time of Obama’s election campaign, from 12,535th to 2,409th.

© Terry Lamb

President Obama’s Litmus Test: Healthcare Reform and the Planets of August


August 3, 2009

by Terry Lamb

Healthcare reform is all the politicos are talking about. It’s a gigantic battle, and the planets of August reflect this process — every one of them.

There are many ways to see the battle:
• a struggle between corporate oligarchs and government of, by, and for the people (Saturn opposite Uranus)
• the ideals of the people to be free of impossible burdens (Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune in Aquarius)
• a shake-up and breakdown of huge structures — corporations, banks, etc. (Pluto in Capricorn)
• focus on health and healthcare (Saturn and other planets in Virgo)
• focus on care and nurturance (Venus in Cancer)

The Yod of August
One of the things we are experiencing is a yod pattern (a giant triangle) pointing at the hugely important Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction in Aquarius, with Mercury sextile Venus at the base. (See Chart A.) What is also interesting is that the Sun will fill in the release point at about 25̊ Leo around August 15.

What is also interesting is the fact that this is the degree of President Obama’s Uranus, and very near his North Node. This gives us insight into Mr. Obama’s purpose on the planet, as well as what qualities he is refining in his character.

Leo, the People-Pleaser
Leo is one of them. Leo has a tendency (especially a Leo with Sun square to Neptune, I might add) to sycophancy (people-pleasing). Obama needs to step up to the bully pulpit and carry the energy of Uranus the disrupter in order to get healthcare reform to pass.

This is his lesson — not to get this particular reform in place (although that may fit in with other factors in his chart, such as Pluto in Virgo), but to stand up to people he admires or are his elders. Uranus in Leo must break through their cycle of adulation and approval-seeking to speak from the heart, perhaps stridently, to accomplish a goal.

North Node in Leo suggests that he must lead in the right way — by motivating, inspiring, and persuading. He must also lead using his Jupiter in Aquarius (triggered by July’s Solar Eclipse).

Lunar Eclipse near his Birthday Brings Challenge.
What’s also significant is that the Lunar Eclipse this week occurs one day after Mr. Obama’s birthday, and this puts pressure on his Sun-Neptune square to get over his adulatory tendencies. He may feel “snowed” right now, but he has to get his message out there consistently.

It is my opinion that he has been doing a pretty good job of this, but the corporate media are participating in minimizing his air time. In fact, many other corporate sources are working to minimize his effect by running spurious ads and issuing talking points to right-wing pundits and legislators. It is very clear: The stranglehold that the health insurance industry has on the US and its people creates a near total eclipse of the people’s power (tied to the current series of eclipses).

A Presidential Turning Point
There is no question: This is a turning point in Mr. Obama’s presidency, as well as for the nation. In particular, we will see the pressure on him and his policies reach a peak in mid-month, and his response for the rest of August will show us how well he is using these energies. He has done surprisingly well in the past to exceed expectations. Let’s hope the trend continues.

© Terry Lamb

In the Shadow of the Eclipse: A Watershed Time for the US


July 21, 2009

by Terry Lamb

The eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn are always significant for the US, because the nation has so many planets in these signs: Venus, Jupiter, Sun, and Mercury in Cancer; Pluto in Capricorn. (See the chart at left.) Every 9.5 years, we enter a new period when the eclipses occur here, one that lasts for about 18 months. In the shadow of an eclipse we can see everything. The unconscious, which is usually hidden in the brilliant light of the Sun, can't hide when we are eclipsed.

Before Liberty There Is Life.
Cancer and Capricorn are the “survival” axis. We could say that the US as a nation is very sensitive about its ability to survive. This sensitivity was certainly triggered in the wake of 9/11, especially with the fear-mongering that reigned supreme once Saturn entered Cancer in mid-2003. It is this sensitivity that leads to the reactionary stance of some gun-owners that they must be able own any gun under any circumstance. The slogan, “Don’t tread on me,” has been associated with the US since the American Revolution.

Cancer-Capricorn Eclipses in Recent History
The last time the eclipses were in Cancer-Capricorn was July 2000 – December 2001. The Lunar Eclipse before 9/11 was on July 5 and conjunct the US Sun. The Lunar Eclipse chart cast for New York City or Washington DC was critically tied to the 9/11 events. Nine years before (July 1990 – December 1992), the US became the sole superpower as the USSR collapsed.

These eclipses contact the US chart in two primary places: The Lunar Eclipse placed the Sun conjunct (and the Moon opposite) the US Sun (2̊ orb) and square the US Saturn (1̊ orb); the Solar Eclipse places the Sun-Moon opposite the US Pluto (2̊ orb). The US Mercury Rx is indirectly involved.

The Lunar Eclipse in the US Chart
Whenever the Sun in a chart of a person or other entity is eclipsed, it is safe to say that the person/entity will be reassessing their identity. This was certainly true 9 and 19 years ago, and it is even more true today as Pluto in Capricorn approaches its first return since the country’s inception. What issues tie into this?

• Where does the US stand on civil liberties, and what will it do to recognize and stand behind international law (such as the Geneva Conventions)? How will the nation address blatant violations of the conventions by VP Dick Cheney, Sec-Def Rumsfeld, and others?

• How do we see ourselves — as a nation that takes care of all its citizens, or as a super-capitalist libertarian dream that lets the underprivileged fall to the bottom and be used by the powerful?

• What is our position on the rights of the individual? Do we have the right to health care? The right to the privacy of our own bodies? The right to direct our own health care?

When a nation or a person has Saturn square Sun, it means their feet are being held to the fire. With an exalted Saturn, a position of privilege cannot be abused without penalty. This is codified in the Constitution and in law. Equality is the standard to which we must all aspire. Current issues related to this include:

• The blatant racism that is coming to the surface through an unbelievable Republican double-speak (calling Judge Sotomayor a racist while being the real racists).

• The still prevailing sentiment that the financial masters of the universe on Wall Street and Fleet Street are above the law.

• The challenge to see the truth behind the smoke screen regarding the economic collapse.

The Solar Eclipse in the US Chart
With the Solar Eclipse triggering the US Pluto, it takes us right to the heart of our identity, because the nation was born out of a revolution. It was nothing less than a transformative idea in government, an experiment. This is the first test of whether the experiment is succeeding. The big issue that we must deal with is, quite simply, a return to democracy. Are we a plutocracy (with an all-powerful president-king), an oligarchy (with all powerful businesses), a soft fascist state (with security placed above individual rights)? Here are some of the issues:

Money is not speech. Campaign finance reform is the key to bringing the essential balance of power (constitutional checks and balances, the vote of the people) back to the nation.

A corporation is not an individual and should not be treated as such. A corporation is amoral and does not die a natural death. Corporatism can only be overcome by reversing this court decision.

No one in government should be above the law. It will bring the death of the nation. If the Bush Administration is allowed a free pass on torture and other antics, a situation will arise on the US Pluto return (if not before) that will so change the form of the nation as to kill it.

There are signs of hope and life. AG Eric Holder is in the process of pursuing indictments against select Bush Admin officials (yet to be named). We have a new Supreme Court Justice who is likely to see through the convoluted arguments that lead to the twisted decisions that have come out of the Roberts court thus far.

Look at the issues that arise over the coming month and see how many carry themes related to these underlying issues.

• The soldier captured by the Taliban — is he being tortured?

• The health “care” corporations — will they win the battle over healthcare reform legislation?

• Swine flu — will the less-privileged have equal access to a vaccine and care in the event of illness (and what will it do to all of us if they don’t)?

• Torture prosecutions — what is going on?

• Justice Sotomayor — has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

• Perhaps the biggest bomb of all: The Family — the secret “Christian” house on C Street in Washington, where fallen members’ transgressions are justified and sanctified, even applauded. It’s the home of Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Tom Coburn, and Zack Wamp. How Cancerian is that?

President Obama’s Eclipse
The Solar Eclipse also contacts President Obama’s Saturn-Jupiter conjunction. This will trigger a test of his leadership ability, and we’ll get to see his true mettle.

The eclipses coming at the end of year and through January 2011 will continue to light up this part of the US chart. The effects of each will build on the ones before. Stay tuned for more developments.

Between the Shadow and the Light: Tales of Uranus and the Summer Eclipses


by Terry Lamb

July 2, 2009

We are currently feeling the dramatic effects of two planetary patterns. On Wednesday (July 1), Uranus began its 5-month retrograde period, while the energy is building toward a Lunar Eclipse on Tuesday (July 7). Another eclipse, a solar on July 21, is also being felt now.

Amy Klobuchar Is Psychic.
The last drama of last fall’s election is over: Al Franken will be sworn in as the junior senator for the State of Minnesota sometime next week. Amy Klobuchar (the senior senator from Minnesota) and I were right. She said that he would be sworn in by “the time the corn reaches knee high” (traditionally by the 4th of July).

I was right in expecting the Lunar Eclipse to be involved in the timing, and Uranus too played its role. Uranus is actively opposing Senator Franken’s Saturn, is about to back up over it for the second of three contacts. Uranus is the “clearer of the path” sudden-style. The Lunar Eclipse opens a new chapter in our book of life. Finally, Frannie Franken will get to take that bag that she had packed in the corner and finally move to Washington. There are other contacts too , enough to know that this is a milestone event in Franken’s life. Sun to Uranus-Venus tells us it’s a sudden change; MC to Venus says it’s good news; Sun quincunx his Sagittarius Moon suggests an awkward change of residence made in haste. Saturn to his South Node tells me that it fulfills a deep longing to serve — it’s a dream come true. He is also going to serve on the Health Committee, symbolized by Virgo.

Also noteworthy are two major aspect patterns focused on Mercury. The planet of winged feet and humor, so important to a Gemini, is in a T-square to Saturn-Uranus and a grand trine to the Moon in Libra and the Aquarian threesome (Chiron-Neptune-Jupiter).

The eclipse is focused right on his Venus and the MC for the announcement of the court decision. Al Franken goes to Washington!

What Do Michael Jackson and Billy Mays Have in Common?
Uranus exactly squared the Vertex in Jackson’s chart. This alternate but sensitive Descendant is often featured in sudden “pressure-cooker release” events. For Billy Mays, Uranus was opposing his Moon (with Saturn conjunct it), and the Solar Eclipse on July 21 would have been on his Sun (a classic heart attack contact).

In both men’s charts, the Aquarian triple conjunction (Chiron-Neptune-Jupiter) is strongly featured. While they are more idealistic than dramatic like Uranus and the eclipses, they are more powerful even if on background. For Michael Jackson, they were exactly conjunct his IC, a potent force that perhaps led him to decide (on some level) that he couldn’t climb out of the hole he was in. Both men were born in 1958 and going through their Chiron returns. Chiron’s completes at 51 years, and it is a time when in some cultures a person would be considered free of social obligations. It is also involved in transitions of all sorts, including death.

Health Care on the Operating Table
Health care reform is also on the front burner right now, and this leads us naturally to think about Saturn in Virgo. Can we reach the goal of restructuring health care before Saturn leaves the sign? Perhaps in some ways. Teddy Kennedy introduced a new plan that includes a public option and that will cost considerably less than the plans so far proposed. This appears to be the choking point for many legislators. Will Kennedy’s Uranus “splash” make waves in the legislative process? Yes, but they will probably not reach shore until the fall.

The chances of health care reform passing before the summer recess are slim, but the eclipses enhance that possibility, however, because they hit the chart of the US at significant points. The Lunar Eclipse is very close to the US Sun, while the Solar on July 21 contacts the US Pluto. These factors make it certain that new, critical information will be revealed in July.

Although wide-ranging in their nature, each of these events and issues are characterized by the sudden change that characterizes both Uranus and eclipses of the Sun and Moon.

© Terry Lamb

Power to the People! Pluto, Jupiter, and the New Iranian Revolution


June 25, 2009

by Terry Lamb

When I wrote about Iran last week, it was before we knew how both people and government would react and interact as millions of Iranians began to rebel against four more years of Ahmadinejad in the presidency. In that article, I considered only the chart for the formation of the republic, rather than the revolution, for that shows the viability of the government.

However, the conscience of the people may be seated more reliably in the chart of the revolution two months before. I say this because the current revolt clearly peaked as we reached the culmination of the yearly Pluto cycle — the opposition to the Sun which occurred on Tuesday (June 23). Pluto does not strongly impact the chart of the Iranian government, but it does the chart of the revolution! (Chart shown below.)

Pluto Is a Primary Timer.
On the weekend of the election, Jupiter was making its retrograde station, and the people responded with Jupiterian confidence. The following weekend, however, Pluto became the dominant planet, and Grand Ayatollah Khamenei assumed absolute power in violently quashing the peaceful demonstrations. Neda Agha-Soltan, a quiet bystander, was shot dead in a random act of violence by the basij militia. She has become a symbol of the new revolution and the Plutonian power of the people.

In the chart for the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pluto whispers. However, in the chart of the revolution, it shouts. If we are looking to see what the people will do and when they will do it, observation teaches that the timing will come from the chart for the Islamic Revolution. The primary timer in that chart is Pluto, which is sitting at the top and proclaiming, “Power to the people!”

Where Does It Go From Here?
In the aftermath of the crackdown, the demonstrations seem to be morphing into a general strike. This is how the previous government was brought down. Protests continue, but with telecommunications in a stranglehold the movement may be having difficulty organizing. We on the outside are having difficulty finding out what’s going on, but what we are hearing is not good: Detentions, disappearances, and deaths are becoming more frequent.

If it were only Pluto, there would be a lull in the action, but there are many other planetary events involved. Many of these I covered in my first article on the subject. Key dates to watch in the near future are (+/- a few days):
July 1(Uranus stationary retrograde): conjunct potentially volatile Mars/Mercury in the chart of the republic

July 21 (Solar Eclipse): This Sun-Moon conjunction (New Moon) in an incredibly intense total eclipse. It makes contacts in both charts for Iran. In the chart of the republic, it is conjunct 12th-house Jupiter, suggesting an increased level of sick, injured, and incarcerated people. The prisons are swelling with dissidents.

In the chart of the people (the revolution), the eclipse contacts progressed Jupiter (Cancer) and Venus (Capricorn), which are in an exact opposition to each other. This speaks to the plight of women in Iran (symbolized by the shooting death of Neda Agha-Soltan). These fall in houses 5 and 11 respectively, symbolizing a shift in public sentiment, loss of playfulness, and strictures on legislative forms of government.

August 5 (Lunar Eclipse): This Full Moon (Sun-Moon opposition) is a weak Lunar Eclipse. The Moon conjuncts the Sun of the revolution chart. This can create overt action on the part of the people as they attempt to assert their freedoms against an oppressive government. This is the general time frame for Ahmadinejad to be sworn in for his new term as president.
The Pressure Is on the Religious Leadership.
Jupiter — natal, progressed, and transiting — features prominently in the coming weeks. It was at the Jupiter station (in freedom-loving Aquarius) that the new revolution began. Among other things, Jupiter connotes religious leaders, law and the judiciary. It also represents the honor of a nation. Venus opposing Jupiter by progression indicates an active drive to become a true res publica, a republic or government motivated by the wants and needs of the people, instead of those of the theocracy.

It has become increasingly obvious that, whatever the appearances, Iran’s true rulers are the Imams of the Governing Council. They and the puppet president of the hard right are currently running Iran under martial law, against their constitution.

This progressed opposition also indicates that there is dissent among those on the Governing Council, and this we have seen as Khamenei has said one thing and the more moderate Ayatollah Montazeri something else. When the Solar Eclipse hits this opposition (and the Jupiter of the Republic), can the religious leadership hold to its current position and structure? Almost certainly not. Something will change.

Since this is a Solar Eclipse (a New Moon), the shift will be profound but it is likely to be internal to the Governing Council and not evident to those outside at first. We may have to wait for other contacts to Iran’s charts to ripen over the next year.

It’s Not Over.
If Jupiter has the megaphone right now, Pluto will take center stage next year. This is when Pluto makes its two stations in contact with the angles in the chart of the revolution. Its retrograde station on April 7, 2010 (5̊ Capricorn) is exactly square the Ascendant, while the direct station on September 14, 2010 will be exactly on the MC. These are dates of maximum intensity on points of maximum sensitivity. They will define the boundaries of a period of extreme tension in Iran, if not unrest that leads to the formation of a new government. It is also possible that Iran will enter a new dark period of plutocratic control, with no guise of democracy, in the coming 18 months.

The Third Path
There is a third possibility. If the change is internalized, a quiet and gradual shift could take place that gives the people what they want and need over time. So much of the current response from the government is about face-saving. Gradual change permits the mullahs to save face and could lead to the best outcome, resulting in a freer society and preventing Iran from fragmenting into a number of small warring tribal regions.

© Terry Lamb

Time for Change in Iran? An Astrologer Looks at the Possibilities


June 19, 2009

by Terry Lamb

The Islamic Republic of Iran has seen protests unprecedented in its brief history. Around the world, we watch in horror of the violence and awe at the courage of those who are standing up for their rights. What can astrology say about this moment in Iranian history? Will it be a footnote or a turning point?

Iran was born in violence, and it shows in its chart. From the Sun opposition Pluto to the Moon opposition Neptune to the unaspected Uranus in the 4th (the people’s) house — the chart for the current republic is full of challenge. Now those points are being triggered as the latest election reveals suppressed conflict and the desire for greater freedom.

The People Want to Expand. (Jupiter SRx with Chiron-Neptune in Aquarius)
When the election results announced a win for incumbent president Ahmadinejad on Saturday, June 13, the strongest planet in the astrological heavens was Jupiter — nearly at a standstill to its retrograde. This is the planet of expansion, and the fact that it is highlighted right now tells us that the Iranian people are chafing at the suppression of their freedoms.

Jupiter, if you will recall, is in a triple conjunction with Chiron and Neptune in freedom-seeking Aquarius, so we have to consider the impact of these three planets on Iran’s chart. Ironically, they do not make strong connections to the chart of the nation, and this speaks volumes. It tells me that, although the people seek freedom, they have no connection to the processes that leads to reform in government. Their movement, their wishes, will be disregarded, at least initially.

The People Want to Be Free. (Saturn-Uranus, Uranus SRx)
Saturn and Uranus, which have been opposing each other, are also central to the events in Iraq. Uranus is also near its station, getting ready to turn retrograde on July 1. This strikes at the real heart of the Iran chart, falling at the midpoint of its excitable Mars-Mercury conjunction. Between now and July 1, the volatile energy of Uranus will intensify, making people more prone to take up a cause, regardless of the danger.

Saturn is on the North Node of Iran’s chart, reminding the people (including its leaders) of its original purpose for being — its responsibilities to the citizens. There are very pragmatic (Virgo) reasons for a moderation of policy back from the extreme expressed by Ahmadinejad.

As Saturn and Uranus continue to interact, a long-term process of adjusting power in the Iranian republic will take place, but the change will take place as a series of eruptions. It will not be complete until next summer.

The Essentials of the Situation will Unfold in July and August.
July and August bring contacts to Iran’s chart that will reveal how the current government will deal with the crisis in the short run. July and August brings several events of note, but there are others in the fall as well:

The Essentials of the Situation will Unfold in July and August. (Eclipses)
July and August bring contacts to Iran’s chart that will reveal how the current government will deal with the crisis in the short run. July and August brings several events of note, but there are others in the fall as well:

• The solar eclipse of July 21 (July 22 in Iran) is exactly conjunct Iran’s Jupiter (29̊ Cancer).

• The two lunar eclipses of the summer square Iran’s Pluto (July 7) and contact all of Iran’s angles (August 6).

• The opposition of the Sun to Jupiter is also significant (August 14). Jupiter retrogrades back until it connects with Iran’s Descendant. This will occur on October 12 and occurs near to the time of other planetary peaks happening in the fall.

This is clearly a turning point in Iran’s history. With Jupiter and the eclipses involved, a change in leadership seems likely. There is a rift among the clerics of the Assembly of Experts as to what direction to take with this situation. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, called the shots on the events related to the election so far. The real shift in power may come when a new Ayatollah is chosen that indicates a shift in the philosophy of the ruling council of clerics.

A Peaceful Transition Is the Only Good Solution.
Many commentators have speculated that internal changes are due. One DailyKos reporter states,

My theory, for what it's worth, is that Mousavi’s victory was originally acceptable to Khamenei, not really being THAT drastic a change considering the Supreme Leader is still the one in charge; however, it WAS a drastic change to have the kind of pro-democratic fervor in the streets leading up the the election, and (if numbers leaked from the Interior Ministry are correct) to have 3/4 of the Iranian electorate vote for the two reformist candidates, leaving Ahmadinejad and the other conservative candidate in the dust. Khamenei saw this coming, panicked, and a fraud was hastily assembled.

Regarding a potential outcome, he comments that the Supreme Leader will string out the election investigation process to diffuse the protests. It is unlikely that the protests will continue at this level, but if they do, they will be put down violently, Tiananmen-style. But he says that Khamanei and the theocracy will fall together.

If Iran falls suddenly, a blood bath could ensue, resulting in the fracturing of the country into smaller tribal units. He says that, “Change must happen very slowly and peacefully for the theocracy to be overthrown.” With so many planets involved in the process, it bodes well for Iran's leaders to make a slower, if not more graceful, transition to a government that takes individual needs and the urge for freedom into account.

In the short run, there will be continued unrest and volatility at least through July 1. The eclipses and other events could be reflected in continued popular activism through mid-August. It is hard to imagine that the population could sustain their show of peaceful solidarity for long periods; short outbursts are more likely. However, many dedicated Iranians feel that now is the time for change, and they are not likely to give up any time soon.

© Terry Lamb

Get Ready, Mr. Franken! An Astrological Update on When He’ll Be Called “Senator”


June 9, 2009

by Terry Lamb

On the first day of business after Mercury returned to forward motion (following a 24-day retrograde), the dragon of the Franken-Coleman court battle emerged from the deep. In this, the final throes of the battle over the Minnesota (US) Senate seat, the Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides, principally from Coleman, who filed the suit. Here’s what Talking Points Memo reporter Eric Kleefeld said following the day’s events:
It's always a tricky business to read clues into the questions that judges ask the lawyers during these proceedings -- despite some basic assumptions about how this works, judges can surprise you. But if we just go by the basic assumptions, it didn't look good for Coleman, with the judges asking pointed questions of [Coleman’s attorney Joe] Friedberg that at certain points amounted to ridicule of him for putting on a shoddy case.
The four judges quoted by Kleefeld, three of them conservatives appointed by current Republican governor Pawlenty, all expressed deep concerns and doubts about the viability of the Coleman case.

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop
On the 4th, it was reported that Coleman will not take the case beyond the Minnesota Supreme Court according to insiders. However, there is no speculation at this point as to when the Minnesota Supremes will rule on the case.

Mercury Rules!
If you recall, in my article of April 23, “Please Be Seated, Senator Franken: An Astrologer Looks at When It Will Happen”, I gave a time line for when we might see a shift of fortunes for Mr. Franken. I suggested that key dates in the process would tie to Mercury’s retrograde, which started on (Senator-Elect?) Franken’s Sun-Mars in Gemini. Here’s what I said then:
It is possible that, during the three weeks of Mercury’s retrograde, the race will be below the radar.
This is in fact what happened. However, in the subsequent list of significant dates, I overlooked that a planetary station is also a time when related events can occur. I should have added May 30-June 1 as a period when we might see progress in the case, which we did.

To cut to the chase, this was perfect timing astrologically — perfect in that it fits the Mercury time line and perfect in that it bodes well for Franken. Not only were the judges openly skeptical of Coleman’s case, but the fact that Mercury (ruling thought and communication) had just changed direction bodes well. It suggests that the judges will be “thinking straight” when they make their ruling.

So, When Will It Be?
The next date that comes up in the Mercury time line is June 14. This is when the planet makes its third and final contact with Franken’s planets. (Since the 14th is a Sunday, we might expect an announcement on Monday, June 15.) While this chart does not particularly favor Franken, the overall pattern is worse for Coleman.

If this date slips by, new planetary cycles seize the spotlight, principally Jupiter, which begins its four-month retrograde period on the 15th, followed by a series of three eclipses. While Jupiter’s imprint on Franken’s chart might get him to move house (like, going to Washington?), in Coleman’s chart it is more like the death knell for hope. Jupiter joins with Chiron and Neptune in opposing Coleman’s Leo Sun. This is the same cluster that undermined Sarah Palin’s hopes in November (well, that and her unique unfitness for the job).

Do We Have to Wait for the Eclipses?
The eclipses should seal the deal. They trigger Franken’s and Coleman’s charts with equal vigor, and ironically show slightly more pleasant contacts to Coleman’s chart. However, they are the contacts one might associate with retirement or taking a vacation (e.g., Sun sextile/Moon trine Neptune), not leaping into the fray in the nation’s capital. In Franken’s chart, they show a sudden change (Sun conjunct Franken’s Venus-Uranus in Cancer) around July 7, like the kind when you suddenly start doing something completely different. The third eclipse, another lunar eclipse is also conjunction Franken’s Midheaven, the point of public recognition. This is precisely the kind of contact we would expect in a major change in public statute, such has having the title “Senator” in front of your name.

The third eclipse does not occur until August 6. This is during Congress’s summer recess, and common sense suggests that he’ll be seated before this time. However, it gives undeniable support to Franken’s eventual ascent to his new position of service to his state.

Governor Pawlenty, to his credit, has said repeatedly that he will sign the document certifying the election when told to do so by the courts. This does not appear to be an impediment to the swift resolution of the situation once the court announcement is made.

© Terry Lamb

Will the Real Barack Obama Please Stand Up? Our President, One Mercury Cycle Later


June 5, 2009

It’s one Mercury cycle into the first term of President Obama, and not surprisingly the media have responded unconsciously by issuing several reports on what our new president is REALLY like. In particular, the feature section of May 25th issue of Newsweek was devoted completely to such assessments from several commentators and news analysts.

This gives us a chance to reevaluate him in light of his birth chart. Most of the reports describe him as being “harder” than he portrayed himself during the campaign, but I wonder if that's just the surprised response of those without the enlightened perspective that his birth chart provides.

He Is a True (Sun in) Leo.
“He has learned that he enjoys power — the capacity to shape reality in his image and by his lights.” (Jon Meacham, What He’s Like Now, Newsweek 5/25/09) The Sun outshines all other bodies in our heavens when it is above the horizon. Even in the night sky, it directs the movement of the planets with its unseen hand. The Sun rules Leo, which is the placement of Obama’s Sun. It the sign of the sovereign, the one in whose presence all other light pales. This does not mean that Obama presumes to take this royal role, but he does have that air about him. Other words or phrases that are used to describe him are (except where noted, from Meacham):

• moving as he wishes to move, the world bending itself to him
• shapes policy, even in sub-policy areas (e.g., auto maker restructuring plans)
• prefers to stand alone, not using others as policy authorities
• catlike (Christopher Hitchens, Jacob Weisberg) = Leo the LION
• He sticks out his chin when challenged, his eyes flashing, and wants the upper hand. (I saw this petulance in one of the debates with Hillary Clinton.)

He Is, According to His Chart, Designed for Power.
If there is a theme in Mr. Obama’s chart, it is the (right) use of power. Although there are checks and balances there that create caution and have at times slapped him down (his wife is one), he is built for the redirection and management of power. Key power points in his chart include:

• Sun in Leo (its rulership)
• Jupiter conjunct Saturn: This is a well-known traditional placement of great leaders. It was in the heavens when Jesus was born (by the most reliable records), which is why the three magi (read: astrologers) went searching for him. Martin Sheen (who played President Bartlet in The West Wing) has this conjunction, as does Dick Cheney.
• Mars in Virgo: This placement makes him efficient and dedicated, good with details and hard-working. It also contributes a note of humility (one of those checks and balances).
• Uranus conjunct North Node (Pluto not far away): The deep desire (and perhaps destiny) to be an agent of change.

Some of the writers’ phrases that speak to these contacts are:

• He revels in his power (in an understated way).
• He loves that all of what he’s doing matters.
• He feels his authority and effectiveness.
• little small talk, no smarminess
• wholly businesslike, “time is valuable”
• He finds crisis [to be] defining, bracing, and useful.
• He exhibits pragmatism and a willingness to change his mind when presented with new info.
• He is realistic about his decisions and the possibility of making mistakes.
• He takes “A Highly Logical Approach” (Meacham).

He Plays Well With Others.
Mr. Obama is the ultimate balancer. With the Sun opposing his Ascendant, he often seeks reconciliation as an end in itself, whether with Congress, foreign powers, or Republicans (often to the dismay of his supporters). Jacob Weisberg (Getting to Know Obama, Newsweek 5/25/09) complains about the moral hollowness of this approach, making the following points in unwitting support of this part of his chart:

• For Obama, the middle ground is the high ground.
• He seeks true reconciliation of opposite factions.
• He enjoys engaging opponents.
• He lacks a moral stance - what does he believe? Examples: He repudiates but won’t investigate torture. He supports gay equality but won’t take action (marriage or military).

He Is a Cool Cat.
We already see the feline in the lion, but that coolness comes from his Aquarius Ascendant (rising sign). But how cool is he? Aquarius, a winter sign in the northern hemisphere, can be downright cold. He also has Jupiter and South Node in Aquarius.

• He is cool in crisis.
• His economic policy is self-described as “ruthless pragmatism” (His Jupiter-Saturn also fits this characterization.)
• He cuts off meetings when it covers familiar ground
• His habit of confidence and self-reliance (coming from his fatherless childhood, says Meacham) “creates the impression of iciness”.

He is not willing to sacrifice principle for political loyalty, even though his principles may still be difficult to see in his actions at this early stage. This can be linked to his Moon squaring Pluto.

A Bushel Full of Subtlety, Ambiguity, and Contradiction
His chart is full of subtle planetary interrelationships — with contradictory energies that he is constantly forced to (attempt to) blend. With such inner challenges, it is no surprise to hear him described as embracing complexity with the sophisticated intelligence of a well-developed mind. Obama says,
“The American people, I think, not only have a toleration but also a hunger for explanation and complexity, and a willingness to acknowledge hard problems. I think one of the biggest mistakes that is made in Washington is this notion you have to dumb down things for the public.”
As a person with strong Neptune contacts — and elected under its beams — public perception has been idealistic, even verging on idolatry. Now that Mercury has completed a revelatory retrograde past Neptune, we can see more of the real man, and the media are dutifully providing a sobering reflection of our new leader.

© Terry Lamb

Create Your Own Weather: Critical Mass, Firestorms, & What They Don’t Want You to Know About How It Really Works


by Terry Lamb

May 26, 2009

It’s always a breath of fresh air and a hit of real sanity (not the fake sanity that the conventional world offers) to visit San Francisco. On last week’s visit, my good friend Linea told me about Critical Mass. This isn’t a physics discussion, it is an “organized coincidence”, where over 2,000 cyclists take over the streets on the fourth Friday of every month. Since then the movement has spread to over 300 other cities around the world. It is described variously as an intentional community, a way to connect with others “outside the steel box” of your car, and a way to raise consciousness about alternate means of transportation.

It is testament to the power of single-minded groups. When they sweep through the city, they become a rolling force field. Critical Mass creates its own momentum and affects the momentum of the whole city. While they are crossing town, traffic stops as signage and stop lights are ignored. The riders are fully regaled, text-messaging madmen (and -women) for their cause.

It Also Happens to Fire.
When the wildfires swept through southern California in 2003 and again in 2007, I learned something chilling about fire: When it’s big enough and bad enough, it creates its own weather. The heat causes dramatic updrafts that shift and intensify winds, until fire storms develop. They consume the countryside in giant gulps, throwing huge whirling balls of flame into the air. The fire creates whirlwinds, cyclones, and smoke that fills the sky with darkness.

Create Your Own Weather
Both wildfires and Critical Mass create their own weather, and they exhibit for us an important physical and metaphysical law: We can do it too.

We find ourselves in the midst of the most significant planetary pattern since the triple conjunction of Saturn-Uranus-Neptune in 1988-92. The new triple conjunction of Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune opens the door to healing the Great Wound within us, on all levels from the most personal to the lesson(s) that all humanity needs to learn. We will see this played out in political ways, from the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court to the launching of a nuclear test by North Korea as attention-seeking behavior.

We will reveal our wounds so we can heal them. (To experience the link between wounding and healing in an evocative way, see the short video on Chiron by Humanity Healing.

As we encounter these lessons, from dreaming a new economic model that supports the people to living sustainably on the planet to learning to love one another, we can create our own weather. We can do it as individuals, but we can do it most effectively in community. This conjunction of planets is found in Aquarius, the sign of community and the sign of the new/next Age of Humanity. Under this pattern, which starts a 13-year, a 14-year, and a 100+ year cycle, we will find ourselves drawn to form community with like-minded individuals. Like Critical Mass, and like the firestorms of southern California, we will shift and flow, creating our own weather, our conditions of reality that others will adapt to — not in a malevolent way as with the fires, but in a joyful and live-affirming way. This is the model for change that we will find ourselves thrust into, drawn effortlessly into the flow of the good and the true.

© Terry Lamb

Dreams of the Future, Chimeras from the Past: Our Tangled Planetary Web and the 27th Degree


May 13, 2009

© Terry Lamb

There is a quiet orchestration occurring right now in the heavens, a celestial conspiracy to create harmonic resonance in the human consciousness at the 27th degree (anything over 26̊00'). It is at once perilous, powerful, and beautiful, with the potential to lift us up out of ordinary consciousness and create miraculous change. To get at what’s going on here, we have to look at the contributing planets and their cyclic interactions.

The Contributing Planets
From May 21 through June 10, four slow-moving planets will be at 26 degrees and change in their respective sign: Uranus (Pisces) and Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune (Aquarius). On May 26–27, Mars joins them from its position in Aries, boosting the chance of a harmonious human response. (See image above.) They will all be vibrating on the same “note” of the 12th harmonic, and this opens the door to profound change. It also allows us to check in on changes we began as a human collective in 1992.

The entire time that any of these planets is at this degree spans a broader expanse of time from April 14 through August 10. Since every planet but Mars backs off this degree, they will return to it later but in a dispersed form, with Jupiter reaching it first at the end of December, Chiron-Neptune connecting at that degree in February, and Uranus reaching it in March. This suggests that, whatever comes up now feels like a now-or-never “crunch time” that we must respond to urgently; and that a more dispersed and gentle resolution to the issues that develop will come about early in 2010 — that is, if we respond well to those issues.

The Simple Take
At first glance, this means that any person, group, leader, or nation that has planets at this degree will be transformed by these energies. It also means that issues that began showing up in April will face turning points in the next two weeks, when critical decisions will be made. What issues are we talking about?

We can get a clue about the answer by looking at the US chart. Depending on the time you use for it, the Moon may be at this degree. (However, it is not in the chart I use.) Regardless of that, the US directed Jupiter is at 27̊05' (or thereabouts) in Aquarius, the degree at which transiting Jupiter will station on June 15. (See image above.)

This is a “hook” into the US chart, and it suggests issues that affect society and its well-being. In the chart I use (Dobyns-Boehrer timed for 9:36 am), this falls in the 6th house of workers and the health of the nation. It suggests that we are not doing all that is necessary to support the engine of the US economy, its workforce, and that we are also weak in health (care). These must be rectified in order to live long and prosper as a nation.

What’s It All About?
Accordingly, here are the matters that seem to tie in to the planets at the 27th degree.

Health Care
From Max Baucus’s one-sided meetings with insurers and big pharma (pointedly excluding proponents of single-payer plans) to President Barack Obama’s more universal approach, there is no doubt that health care is on the table and will be dealt with in some form in the coming months. If it follows this time table and is addressed wisely, we will see a new plan in place by the spring of 2010.

The Economy
We have to regulate. This may mean some reinstated or revised regulations (like breaking up the big banks — a MUST!), or simply enforcing the regulations that are there (like the Sherman Act). Nothing must be too big to fail anymore; and the Wall-Street mindset of Geithner, Summers, and the big bankers must be opened to consider what is happening to the people who are (currently still, sadly) their victims. It is beyond belief that so much money could be pumped into the financial industry and so little benefit (in fact, even more punishment) extend to the people. The banks (with some exceptions) remain adamantine in their disregard for the people who drive the economy and therefore their wealth. For more on what’s going on, stay tuned to Rachel Maddow, especially her May 12 interview with Eliot Spitzer, and read the blogs of Spitzer, Paul Krugman, William Greider, Robert Kuttner, and David Cay Johnston. Bill Moyer also covers this topic regularly on his Journal, as does Fareed Zakaria on CNN.

The Environment
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is proving to be a Bushie in Obama clothing. He has refused to increase protections for the highly endangered polar bear and has allowed permits to go through for the mining of uranium near the Grand Canyon, a direct threat to the water supply of southern California, as well as the area surrounding the mining sites. These permits are currently being challenged in court.

Directed Jupiter in Aquarius in the US chart can also signify the level at which people are direct participants in maintaining or (re)gaining their freedom. Transiting Jupiter’s retrograde station on this point could signify a necessary learning curve for the public in the need to become more actively involved in creating the world they want to live in. The alternative is for lobbyists to continue to be the driving force behind the direction the country takes.

On a Deeper Level . . .
There is so much depth and richness to this set of planetary interactions. There are three new planetary cycles beginning (Jupiter-Chiron, Jupiter-Neptune, and Chiron-Neptune), as well as a trigger to one that started in 1992. The latter is the Uranus-Neptune conjunction, which occurs every 171 years or so. The word on every tongue at that time was “reinvention”. What are we reinventing? Nothing less than the way humans live on the planet, the way we dream about our possibilities, and the ways we live, interact, and communicate with each other.

Uncannily, the last time we considered real health care reform was in 1993, when Harry and Louise — a front for the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA), a health insurance industry lobbying group — put the brakes on the Clinton health care plan. We get another shot at this now, as Uranus and Neptune resonate with each other once again. It gives us yet one more layer of awareness to make the right thing happen.

A Tortured Specter of Franken Flu & Other Mercury Tales


© Terry Lamb

May 8, 2009

Mercury is retrograde now, and there is a complex series of interwoven planetary events that is taking place. Without going into the details (these are in my May forecast), there are many interactions that may feel unpleasant or disconcerting but are good for us collectively and individually in the long run. (Connections are always good, because they help us figure things out. It’s better to have bad breath than no breath at all.)

Here’s a partial litany of the issues that are “up” right now for us collectively:

Swine Flu (Update)
Can we save ourselves? If this H1N1 outbreak follows the pattern of the one in 1918, the spring version of the influenza is mild. However, the following fall-winter, the outbreak was acute and deadly, and it killed the most healthy among the population. This was caused by a cytokine storm, where the immune system goes into hyper-drive and overwhelms the body so that it essentially drowns in its own immune response. There is evidence of heightened cytokinic activity with the current flu outbreak.

The wisdom gained from the 1918 Spanish Influenza allows us to anticipate that the virus could become pandemic in the fall and winter — and this gives biologists time to come up with a vaccine. The vaccine could become available no sooner than October, and a question remains as to how effective the vaccine will be because of the trial-and-error nature of the process.

In the fall, temporarily Saturn cuts its ties Uranus when it goes into Libra, connecting with Pluto at the end of the year. It then returns to Virgo to make two more connections to Uranus before leaving it behind. This is fodder for a more serious outbreak — and for humanity to get its public health act together.

I have no speculations on what will occur, but we have an open window now and many public health officials and biologists are aggressively pursuing avenues for our safety. There is a stepwise developmental process that will lead us to our experiences this fall, as well as many opportunities to ameliorate the situation.

Torture Memos
As Mercury first reached the heart of the pattern it triggers (the third week of April), torture memos and reports began peeling off like layers on an onion. As Mercury stations, the hits just keep on coming! I will watch this process with fascination and hope for justice.

A Specter of Vacillation
It takes some getting used to, but Arlen Specter is the latest ghost to haunt the Democratic Party. If he could only get used to it! He has responded to the Mercury retrograde in typical fashion — by misspeaking in stating that the Minnesota Supremes should do the right thing and declare Norm Coleman the winner of the never-ending senate race with Al Franken. “Now, what party was I in?”

Franken Sense
Mercury stations on Franken’s Sun-Mars conjunction — oh, my! But the only misstep has been Specter’s. The sole news item on Franken as this planetary moment passes is the heckler that got politely dissed by Franken at a Washington restaurant Tuesday night. So far, he’s clean!

The Return of Bush, Salazar-Style
Yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management released reports that Quaterra Alaska Inc. has been authorized to engage in uranium exploration near the Grand Canyon, in direct defiance of a congressional resolution prohibiting such mining for three years. Environmental groups, canyon-country lovers, and people that like to drink water in California are evaluating what to do about this. There is already a lawsuit in the courts against previous interior secretary Kempthorne. To take action on this situation, contact your senators and congressional representative, urging them to enforce the emergency resolution of the House Natural Resources Committee, and to pass the Grand Canyon Watersheds Protection Act of 2009. This bill has not yet been numbered by the House or Senate. Stay in touch with the Center for Biological Diversity and the Grand Canyon Trust for how you can take political action.

Here's to Your Health (and Good Luck With That)!
The chair of the Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus held his first hearing on health care reform yesterday, and he specifically and pointedly excluded anyone who was interested in or advocating a single-payer plan. Fully represented among the 15 participants were health insurers and big pharma. Eight people representing groups advocating for a single-payer system attended, but when they each, one by one, stood to comment on the exclusion, they were led from the room. At least 59% (AMA) and by some estimations more than 80% of physicians favor a single payer system. At least 60% of Americans do. Senator Baucus receives more campaign funding from insurers and big pharma than any other senator. We need Mercury retrograde (and Ed Schultz on MSNBC's Big Ed Show) to raise awareness and give us time to get it right.

Wounding, Healing, and Dreaming
The unifying theme of the coming six weeks (an over-arching theme of the year) is wounding, healing, and dreaming. We in America are busy healing the American Dream, removing the materialism that has tainted it in the last 30 or so years, and the anti-populism that has existed longer than that. We citizens are the key. We have to become involved in our government, or we will lose even more of what the founding fathers established for us.

Healing the dream means taking the lead in some areas of human evolution simply because we can, so we must step into that responsibility with wisdom and conscientiousness. Whether it is in public health policy, land management, restoring civil liberties, or letting the people’s will be done, we are discovering the wounds (painful) and have the opportunity to heal them (joyful) as Mercury makes its way backward for the next three weeks.

Swine Flu Pandemic or Soon-to-Be-Forgotten News Item? The Planetary Patterns Give Insight.


© Terry Lamb

April 28, 2009

Four days ago, the alarm was raised regarding a swine flu outbreak in Mexico City, where more than 100 people were reported dead. The WHO (World Health Organization) has said that this flu has “pandemic potential”. The first outbreak has recently been identified as probably in La Gloria, Veracruz, in eastern Mexico. This village is 12 miles from an American-owned industrial pig production facility, although they claim no involvement in the illness. However, the national health authority suspects that waste from the factory could be the source.

In 2005, I did some research on a subject that had long fascinated me, the 1918 “Spanish” Influenza. Based on that research, I wrote an article, “Planetary Miasms”, exploring the planetary patterns of the time. I also looked at other epidemics that were classified as pandemics and speculated about future possible times when such could occur again. In that article, I pinpointed one time when the patterns, the “miasms of planets”, were similar enough to those of 1918, and that was in 2009-10.

Anatomy of a Pandemic
Typically, at least one new mutation of the H2N3 flu type develops every year. However, from time to time a flu virus is born that is more virulent. These virus are of the H1N1 variety, a form of swine flu. The 1918 flu pandemic was an H1N1 strain. Its outbreak lasted from late 1917 through April 1919, or about 18 months. There were two outbreaks, the first mild and the second deadly.

Any virus can take several months to a year to catch hold in a human population. Large gatherings, cold weather, other factors reducing the resilience of the immune system such as stress — all play a role.

What Can We See in the Planets?
In 1918, the most notable patterns involved layered interactions between Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Jupiter and Pluto were also “near-missing” each other, but not interacting with the other three heavy planets.

In the other two epidemics that were labeled pandemics,(based on the number of cases) in 1957 and 1968, none had comparable numbers of cases or deaths. The planetary patterns were not as intense either.

So What About Now?
We have two patterns occurring right now, and both are powerful. Saturn and Uranus are opposing each other, the same mathematical contact they made in 1917-19. In fact, the entire outbreak was timed pretty exactly to the time that these two planets were interacting. Saturn and Uranus this time around have been interacting since Fall 2008 and will continue to face off until July 2010.

The other pattern occurring right now involves Jupiter, Chiron, and Neptune, which first started coming together in February and will be very strong in May, August, and November. These planets appear to be involved in timing the outbreaks, as the first one happened in February. However, the recent spread of the disease occurred when Saturn and Uranus were being contacted by Mars, which occurred between April 4 and 14.

If it is clear that these planetary patterns are implicated in the disease process, it is likely that the new H1N1 strain developed last fall at the first Saturn-Uranus contact, but that it took its usual underground route into the human population, emerging in February as these planets made their second connection. Following this timing, there is an increased chance of a virulent outbreak in the days and weeks around September 15, their next time to link up. They have two more connections after that, and if the outbreak has not been contained by then, we may see a resurgence around those times, April 26 and July 21, 2010.

Jupiter, Chiron, and Neptune do not appear at this time to be implicated in the timing and virulence of this swine flu outbreak, but they could be involved in exacerbating the circumstances under which the virus is spread. More likely, however, is that they indicate a human response, such as a curtailment in travel (Mercury retrograde square this expansive combination), as we head into a month where they are heavily featured.

For all these reasons, my conclusion is that the Mexican swine flu will be a problem but not as big a problem as the biggest of them all, the influenza of 1918. The world economy and social interaction will be affected by limitations placed on human movement, but the flu will be relatively contained.

Robert Blaschke has noted astutely that Mexico’s chart has a high level of Pluto activity in it, and that “viruses are ruled by Pluto”. (TMA Blog) I would not make so blunt a statement, as the many facets of disease processes involve many planetary energies. I relate viruses primarily to Neptune because of their fluid, unseen, and insidious nature; they do not always involve death or deep transformation, but where they are deadly Pluto is unquestionably a factor. Uranus gives us the energy of mutation, and Saturn the limitations placed on human populations, both in terms of population growth and population movement, as well as human failures.

Jupiter spreads whatever it touches — perhaps here it is spreading awareness of what happens in the world’s disadvantaged populations when one of the many possible health threats to them materializes. As it is tied to wounded healer Chiron and virus-associated Neptune, the potential for spreading through poor public health management is considerable. However, if this is a time that we respond as a species to the need for improved health care for all people, the planets are bringing a great human wound to the surface for humanity to work on together. (See my May forecast for more on the great human wound.) This situation underscores the fact that we all sink or swim together. When we support those in need around the world, we support ourselves.

Please Be Seated, Senator Franken: An Astrologer Looks at When It Will Happen


© Terry Lamb

April 23, 2009

Maybe it’s because I met the guy, but I’ve been quite fascinated by Al Franken’s long journey to the US senate. When I met him, I asked what his birth time was, and he gave it to me (within a half-hour time frame). On the basis of that chart, data from memory, we might be able to see when he’ll take his seat as senator.

A Senate Cliffhanger
When I was trying to prognosticate as to how many senate seats the Democrats would win last fall, I kept looking at Minnesota’s numbers, and they were — crazy! Double digit variations from one source to the next, with a third-party spoiler. (Minnesota seems to come close to having multi-party elections.) So, I looked at both Franken’s and Republican incumbent Norm Coleman’s charts (Coleman’s untimed chart is cast for noon.), and I couldn’t see a clear winner: Both charts looked insufficiently strong on January 5, the day the oath of office was administered.

I predicted (privately) that Franken would win, but it would be a long, drawn out process to decide who would take the seat. I have not been disappointed. It has turned into the circus I knew it could be unless Coleman decided to grow fairness genes over Hanukkah.

Franken Declared Winner
On April 13, a panel of three state court judges declared Al Franken the winner, but Norm Coleman has appealed the decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court. There, it is expected that three judges will need to recuse themselves, leaving four judges to rule on the case.

Mercury Retrograde Could Play a Role.
When will Senator Franken be seated in the Senate? A look at his chart can give us clues. What I find interesting about Franken’s chart is the fact that he has Sun and Mars conjunct at 0̊ Gemini (no wonder he has been a comedian). Mercury is set to go over these points three times when it turns retrograde on May 6 just past these planets (at 1̊45' Gemini), effectively standing still on Mr. Franken’s Sun-Mars. This does not sound like swift movement into his designated seat.

However, Mercury has been known to shake things loose. Mercury does not tangle with anyother of his planets. In contrast, it will square Coleman’s Sun in Leo three times. Sounds like bad news for Mr. Coleman! It is possible that, during the three weeks of Mercury’s retrograde, the race will be below the radar. However, if there is news, it will be on the days that Mercury contacts Franken’s Sun-Mars, which are April 30 – May 2, May 12-13, and June 14.

Any bets on June 14?
Although there are many factors to consider, and divining a date for such an event is a bit like guessing when a baby will be born, June 14 or thereabouts is a good possible date for when the Minnesota Supreme Court will make a decision, and it will be in his favor. It is possible that a decision will come on one of the other dates, and if so, the time table moves up, but the dates still apply in some fashion.

Governor Tim Pawlenty could ostensibly decide not to sign the document authorizing Franken to take the seat, especially if, as expected, Coleman appeals to the US Supreme Court. However, if he does so, he cannot do so on the same basis as he is currently using. He will have to claim that he was denied equal representation. This is a substantially different argument that would result in the election being thrown out. Widely held speculation suggests that the Supremes will refuse to hear the case, but this will take time.

Coleman's Game
Of course, the name of the game (well, there are two of them) is: One, win by any means necessary; two, delay the seating of Senator Franken as long as possible to weaken the Democrats in the Senate and to shame Al Franken as much as possible. A little on the backstory here. In 2002, just before the election, the incumbent Senator Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash while campaigning in his state. His opponent was Norm Coleman, who was losing badly to this popular senator. Coleman, the Republican Party at some level, and the right wing media conspired to defame the Democrats before, during, and after Wellstone’s funeral, in a shameful example of human behavior. Coleman won against Democratic replacement candidate Walter Mondale and held the seat for one term.

Eclipses Could Play a Role.
If the senate seat remains in limbo past this time, the eclipses will come into play. A Lunar Eclipse on July 7 picks up Franken’s Venus/Neptune square, plus Coleman’s Mars/Neptune square, with equal intensity. The Solar Eclipse on July 21 triggers neither chart, but a rare second Lunar Eclipse on August 5 falls near enough to Al Franken’s MC/IC to suggest that he is likely to take or be in office at this time.

This is a rough estimate, and not a definitive analysis; let’s see what unfolds.

Venus is Going Direct . . .What’s Next?


April 16, 2009

© Terry Lamb

It was a wild ride! When Venus turned retrograde on March 6 in Aries, we went into a 6-week transition period that ends tomorrow. It was complicated by several other planetary patterns and events, all of which are key culprits in the economic situation we currently face. The Saturn-Uranus opposition was triggered by Mars; Venus squared Pluto; and Pluto began its four-month retrograde period. (If this means nothing to you, suffice to say that it's a handful.)

So what happened? The stock market went up, and many are proclaiming that the end of the recession is in sight. Is it really?

Venus says, “Yes, yes, yes”, but the other planets say, “No, no, no.” Saturn-Uranus were coming together as the crash began to take shape, and they were in exact focus as it occurred. They will continue to interact in a similar fashion through July 2010. The whole economic transformation began when Pluto first entered Capricorn, in January 2008, with the market manipulation caused by French trader Jerome Kerviel when he engaged in fraudulent futures trading in 2007-08. This occurred on January 21-24, and Pluto entered Capricorn on January 25, 2008. Pluto will be in Capricorn for 15 more years.

This tells us it’s not over, but it is true that it is over in the form it has taken on the surface, the form that Venus represents. We may be able to recover now — but the forces that caused the crash and subsequent downturn are still able to wreak havoc on the system. To understand why I say that, we have to dig a little deeper. We have to look at the backstory on what brought on the instability in the banks and what made these titans fall. It wasn’t your subprime mortgage.

Naked Short-Selling Is at the Core.
It was naked short-selling, where a trader creates phantom shares for a company that cause its market value to crash. To learn more about what happened, watch this video by Judd Bagley, “Hedge Funds and the Global Economic Meltdown”. Although there undeniably were conditions that set us up for a fall of some grandeur sooner or later (mortgage-backed securities, the housing bubble, fraudulent loan practices involving subprime mortgages, falsified credit ratings), the crash would not have been so deep nor the credit tsunami so catastrophic without the criminal behavior of several Lord-of-the-Universe hedge fund managers who to date have been untouched and appear untouchable.

The Planetary Suspects
After the shock on January 24, the first hit from inside the US was landed on Bear Stearns on March 11, 2008, although the activities that led to this blow surely started before then. The planets that were activated then were Uranus and Mars-Pluto (the third contact of Mars with Pluto after its retrograde). This turned $1.7m into $270m in one week. Bear Stearns was rescued by the Federal Reserve and JP Morgan Chase (based on $29bn in taxpayer dollars to guarantee the merger) after employees lost more than $5bn on company holdings. Eight thousand lost their jobs. So, Uranus and Pluto, with a smattering of Mars, are the primary timers of events. Saturn joined their party by mid-summer, when it moved into range of Uranus, thickening the stew.

Here are some of the correlating events:

Pluto’s Retrograde Station
As Pluto went retrograde a week later, the Senate banking committee met in early April to figure out what happened to Bear. When they questioned SEC Chair Chris Cox, he sounded unconvincing as he made a commitment to investigate who did what and prosecute them. And he was all too revealing of his future actions: Nothing was done.
Uranus’s Retrograde Station
The second hit was against Lehman Brothers, starting June 27, in which criminal naked short-selling brought the price of Lehman Brothers down by 40% over two weeks. It was Uranus again, this time at its retrograde station (stationary retrograde). The SEC belatedly took action on July 15, choosing to require additional regulatory oversight starting July 21 over naked short-selling of the stocks of 19 large financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and Fannie Mae. This order was allowed to lapse mid-August.
Sun Conjunct Saturn and Opposite Uranus
Evidently the culprit(s) lay low for a while, and then on September 9 they struck again. After 90 million failed trades hit the market that week and the Fed decided not to bail them out, Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy on September 15. For the two days following, traders leapt on Lehman like vultures, eaking every last cent out of it. By the 18th, this 158-year-old company had vanished. This is when the global economy crashed. The Sun-Uranus opposition was on September 12, and the first Saturn-Uranus opposition was on November 4.

And the Winner Is . . .
According to Judd Bagley, the bad guy(s) can be found among a handful of short-selling hedge fund managers, yet the SEC has yet to investigate them.

Since then, we have been in transition mode — the election, the new administration getting staffed and finding its feet, economic ups and (mostly) downs. The market psychology was confused, and this was certainly just as true during the past Venus retrograde. What was different is that there were a few indicators that leveled off, and this led to gains in the stock market. If there are no further giant hits to the markets, these gains may be more than window-dressing.

Breathing Room
However, the planets tell us that if the underlying problems are not fixed, we are in for more hits. It is my expectation that it will take another round of direct government intervention to get the financial system back to some semblance of normal. I also expect the process of re-regulating and of truly investigating the naked short-selling crimes to become the primary focus of government by the fall, when the next Saturn-Uranus contact occurs (September 15). This will start the final round of Saturn-Uranus experience, giving us the opportunity to rectify the system as best we can see how.

What After That?
It is hard to envision what will come after summer of 2010, when the final Saturn-Uranus opposition occurs. Uranus heads on to square Pluto, and this is the biggest challenge yet. We have a chance to get it right and dull the force of this momentous energy. At its best, we will be well launched into our green economy and seeing ever more ways to dampen our effects on the planet. We will have ameliorated the situation of those in the worst poverty and the most peril, so that when peaks of conflict and climatic extremes occur they will not be so dramatic. It is possible to uproot the worst of these challenges, and in many ways President Obama is approaching them wisely, at least in the arena of foreign relations.

Where the economy is concerned, in my opinion our leaders are on a steep learning curve. The financial systems as they currently exist defy the understanding of the most brilliant mind. This is, I believe, why the SEC hasn’t made any successful investigation of naked short-selling and related fraudulent trades; Chris Cox and his employees did not understand them. It remains to be seen if Obama’s SEC will do any better, or if we need a new regulatory body to manage the situation.

We Matter.
Incredible as it may seem, we matter. If we don’t become educated and speak out, the only advisors Congress and the Obama Administration will be able to listen to are the Lords of the Universe themselves. We don’t want these foxes guarding our henhouse.

How Long Do We Have Now?
We’ve probably got until June 2010 before the economic system will be subjected to any more events that will change the landscape, the game, and the rules substantially. At that time, there will be a palpable change in perspective and priority as three major planets enter cardinal signs: Jupiter, Uranus, and Saturn (in that order). (The cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn.) We’ll make another shift in course based on conditions as they exist then.

To be in harmony with the cardinal planets, we have to be courageous and pioneering, ready to think and act in a new way, and broad in perspective. Venus introduced us to the cardinal reality with her retrograde in Aries. She began the tempering process that we will experience during the coming 18 months of her current cycle (until her next retrograde) that will acclimate us to cardinal energy. Other emphases in cardinal signs will develop over that time as well, including eclipses starting this summer. (Eclipses occur roughly every 6 months.)

So, we can manage it, because we don’t have to take it all on at once. There are many doorways between now and then through which we can pass to make the situation better. The more enlightened we are about the time structure established by the planetary cycles and the human behaviors that correlate with them, the more prepared we will be to handle our experiences as they arise and make wise decisions to gain from them. We have the chance now more than ever to create a truly balanced and humane world.

Here’s what I wrote about this in my March forecast:
Hexagram 28, Preponderance of the Great, certainly speaks to our current economic situation. It refers specifically to a time when great power is unleashed in the universe and felt in human affairs. It is likened to a home whose roof sags in the middle because the beams overhead are poorly supported. Although we may have a tendency to think of such times as perilous and impossible to manage, the I Ching counsels us that it is “a time of great opportunity, so a time to take great care” (Carol Kay Anthony, A Guide to the I Ching). Hexagram 26, The Taming Power of the Great, describes a situation where forces are so strong, they threaten to throw us off balance (or already have). It describes a build-up of tension that often creates fear or anxiety and results in rash action. We are counseled here to “hold still, hold firm, and hold together”. (Anthony)

When we find ourselves in these circumstances, the first thing the I Ching advises is to reframe what is really going on: These surface appearances are signs that deep change is afoot, and that these are times of great opportunity — this is what great opportunity looks like. The next millionaires are created in an economic downturn. Even if you’re not the millionaire type, we each have the chance to reshape our lives more easily and build a more robust foundation because of the forces that are unleashed. The power that has been held in lockdown for years — in the financial empires, in the halls of government — is suddenly available to us. We can use it to start a new business or transform an existing one; to join a political movement that suddenly has a voice; to volunteer in creating social reform; and to carve our own unique path of meaning.

Tough Love: Paul Krugman & Obama’s Economic Policy

by Terry Lamb

April 8, 2009

Large chart images: Paul Krugman, Barack Obama, Christina Romer, Larry Summers, Paul Volcker

The cover story in last week’s Newsweek was “Obama’s Nobel Headache”. In it, Evan Thomas lays out the facts to a mystery I’ve been pondering since Obama started putting together his economic team: Where’s Paul Krugman?

Right before Obama named his team, Paul Krugman became an even more glittering star in the living economic pantheon by being given the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics “for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity”. He is also a professor in Economics at Princeton and the London School of Economics, and a member of the Group of Thirty international economic body as well as the Council on Foreign Relations. He writes regular op-ed pieces for the New York Times in his column revealingly called “Conscience of a Liberal” (title perhaps inspired by a book by the late Paul Wellstone). He has shown special fascination for and understanding of macroeconomics, especially international trade and finance and “economic geography”. His economic ideology is of the “European social democrat” ilk. He decries the growing gap between rich and poor and feels greed needs to be held in check — hence is pro-regulation.

He is also outspoken and prefers being an outsider, according to Thomas. His op-ed pieces have carried more than a few draconian pronouncements, like the one on March 23, 2009 (when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner spelled out the details of his bank-rescue plan). He called the plan “cash for trash” and said it “filled him with a sense of despair”. His preferred plan: The government must quickly act to nationalize the big, “zombie” banks (to stop the bleeding through bonuses and other self-interested actions) and guarantee the liabilities of all the nation’s banks. The lack of funding of the current plan will lead to a downturn like Japan’s “lost decade”, which started in the 1990s.

What Is It with Paul Krugman, and Why Is He Saying These Terrible Things about Us?
Well, now I know that Krugman disagrees with Obama’s guys (but is probably more aligned with Christina Romer), but why is he on the outside? What does he think is going on? What makes him tick?

To go a little deeper into the mystery, the wise astrologer uses the tools of her trade. We have an untimed birth chart for Mr. Krugman, shown above. Even without the birth time, which gives us the location of the planets around the wheel and the degree of the Moon, we can see a great deal about a person. The resulting solar chart shows that Krugman was born a Pisces with a Virgo Full Moon.

The Pisces is evident in descriptions of him. Evan Thomas describes Krugman as shy, sweet, not a prima donna, wears his fame lightly, gentle, a little absent-minded, and adaptive. These are all Pisces traits, when Pisces is not masked by a stronger energy. A mentor, Robert Solow, describes him as “very unassertive, mild mannered” as a grad student. His demeanor in public appearances is humble and unassuming. When he won his Nobel Prize, he was not out there blowing his horn. It was another day in the life, despite it being the accomplishment of a major goal for him.

The Virgo Moon comes out as “nervous[ness]” and nerdiness and contributes to his reputation for gentility, lack of hauteur, and adaptiveness. Being an academic is second nature to this Moon. What may go unnoticed with these placements, however, is the quality of the Full Moon: It has “crisis consciousness” in two forms. First, it can adapt to and deal with crisis when it actually arises. Second and less favorably, it can see crisis in everything that moves.

The Assertive Mr. Krugman
Pisces-Virgo does not describe the whole man. No description of Paul Krugman would be complete without noting his strong Aries streak, a part of him which is well known to colleagues, friends, and probably his wife. It certainly comes out in the more strident tones of his op-ed pieces and his sometimes need to dial back on the rhetoric.

Does it surprise you then that he has Mars in Aries? This powerful rulership placement overpowers nearby Venus in Aries (her detriment), while the two oppose his early-fifties trademark Saturn-Neptune conjunction. This is both complex and deep, speaking to what drives him and his sense of purpose in life. One thing for sure, whatever Saturn-Neptune represents, he is driven to express it, or express against it. He is likely to be “anti” about the things he's interested in. This is even more the case when the universe throws in Uranus in Cancer and Chiron in Capricorn. The resulting cardinal grand cross gives us a revolutionary, or as he describes himself, “anti-establishment”, made quiet by Pisces-Virgo.

Saturn-Neptune & the 50s Crowd
For those born in 1952-53, Saturn and Neptune were conjunct each other, and all those born in this age group share a common awareness and related purposes. At its core, on a social level Saturn-Neptune is about how wed we are to consensus reality, that dream that we all dream together. This dream plays a huge role in an economy. We learn that money has value, so it has value. If we were to lose our faith in money, that a particular currency (or even money in general) faithfully represents our goods or efforts, the currency stops working. If we lose our trust that a system will reward us fairly for our goods or efforts, or that it will protect us against harm to their value, the whole system falls apart. Krugman carries this seed forward with his attunement to the economy and humanity's macro trends and systems.

Dream a Little Dream of Our New Economic Future
One good thing about Krugman is that, with so many planets in cardinal signs, he can pioneer new concepts. He can create the future. He is uniquely equipped for this when we add the visionary qualities of Pisces and the pragmatism of Virgo.

You see, it takes courage, knowledge, wisdom, and vision to see the future, not the least because what we see is what we create. Although Paul Krugman may be glum about how Obama’s administration is handling the economic crisis, I keep asking myself, “And this is bad because . . .”. Krugman does suggest that substantive changes will take place in the world economy, changes that he still couches in terms of the old reality. However, he does have a vision of a better future, where the distance between rich and poor is flattened, greed is curbed through regulation, and where it is possible to do good and still succeed.

In a fascinating report on Monday, “Economic Downturn Signals a New Normal”, Robert Siegel ponders the question of what will become the new normal once the new economic reality becomes established, whatever that is. He asks, “How will the recession change our country in the long term?” “They change us in ways we can hardly imagine,” says historian David Kennedy. Some of the suggestions: less credit, more saving; less home-buying, more renting; less spent on possessions, more on experiences; changes in what is considered a luxury experience or item; a smaller role for the U.S. Krugman would surely sign up for some of these possibilities if he weren’t so busy still trying to give voice to a better path to them.

Why Doesn’t Obama Listen to Krugman?
President Obama, for all his strengths, is human. He has been known to defer to his advisors, especially in areas of great complexity or where he is less well-informed, such as the economy (the former) or military policy (the latter). Obama’s advisors may be telling him that Krugman’s position is too extreme; Krugman feels that Geithner is too close to the crisis, including the people who created it, and has adopted too much of the investment banker mindset. He feels that Larry Summers has more resiliency in seeing through their foibles, and he hasn’t yet given up on the administration to move closer to his idea of what will work.

Astrologically, there are many connections between Krugman’s and Obama’s charts, but the key points of annoyance appears to be first, one of personality, and second, one of ideology. The personality differences are many, but you get prickles when you put a Leo (Obama) and a Pisces in the same room. There’s something about the attention-seeking of Leo that really gets under a Pisces’s skin. (Perhaps it’s what Pisces secretly wants but spends so much time studiously avoiding.)

Mystery Solved, Partially
But with Obama’s Saturn directly square to Krugman’s, Obama is at once too pragmatic for Krugman; and with Obama’s Pluto on Krugman’s Moon, Obama is the wrong kind of pragmatic for Krugman. In fact, with Krugman’s Pisces-Virgo approach to life, he could be called the Idealistic Pragmatist. And if he didn’t have such romantic notions of being the nerd who saved civilization (born of reading Asimov’s Foundation series in his youth), he might be willing to compromise more on his viewpoints — but would it help us if we didn’t have the caped economic crusader speaking for the poor masses huddled at the door of the big banks?

Obama may end up listening to Krugman. He and Larry Summers stay in touch and share a mutual respect. However, it will go through the Summers filter. If Summers buys it, it will be transmitted and perhaps used. Summers is an idealistic Sagittarius who has more astrological connections with Obama, especially ones that give him that father-figure feel (Summers’s Saturn on Obama’s absent-father Neptune).

More troubling is the fact that Obama’s economic team is decidedly old school, with the exception of Christina Romer. While this is a cause for concern in my opinion, it doesn’t trouble me as deeply as it would if this were still the case at this time next year.

Saturn-Uranus Provide the Timing.
We are still in the first half of the Saturn-Uranus opposition period. Because they interact over two yearly planetary cycles, there is a two-step process in “getting it right”. This pair is heavily implicated in the economic crisis we are now experiencing (but are not the only culprits). By the fall, it will become apparent that the administration’s approach will need adjustments. Obama and Summers (with the help of past Fed Chair and elder economist Paul Volcker) may find their way to a more Krugman-like direction. What is now considered slightly lunatic fringe may become the new mainstream.

If you think Krugman is a lone voice in the wilderness, think again. There’s William Greider, Robert Kuttner, Dean Baker, Robert Reich, and Nouriel Roubini, to name a few of those who speak with a similar voice. Once we see what type of regulation policy the Obama Administration embraces, we’ll know how contented this bunch will be. Regulation is likely to be the strongest feature of Saturn-Uranus Phase II.

For now, patience, optimism, creativity, and informed activism are our best economic policies. I’m not sure that we can or should save the banks, myself. However, that’s the path we’re on, and if we’re going to do it, we should do it right.

© Terry Lamb