Astrology and American Democracy plus Some

In this polemic, I will attempt to describe astrological cycles and how our democracy is flexible enough to weather resultant changes.


In astrology, there are twelve types of approaches, the approaches of the twelve signs of the zodiac.  In Western astrology, the zodiac is a division of the ecliptic (the plane of the earth’s orbit around the sun), into 12 signs based on the seasons.  Each sign contains thirty degrees of celestial longitude, where the longitude is measured on the ecliptic as seen from earth and starts with the point of longitude behind the sun at the time of the vernal equinox.  For a person, the map of the heavens at the time of the person’s birth is thought to influence the person, both with regard to personality and life events.  The map of the heavens at birth is called the birth chart, the natal chart, the radix, the nativity, to name some names.  The birth chart is a (not to scale) map of the heavens looking south from the place of birth.

An important point in the birth chart is the Ascendant.  The Ascendant is the point of celestial longitude on the eastern horizon at the time of birth.  Also important for many Western and Eastern astrologers are the houses.  The houses are a division of the quadrants of the heavens, looking south and both above and below the horizon, into three sections each.  An astrological point will fall into one of the twelve sections according to the point’s celestial longitude. (There are many competing methods to do the division, which is called domification.)   Unless parallax is taken into account, the placements of astrological points in the heavens are as seen from the equator, except for the houses of the chart, which are based on the actual location of the birth on our planet.

While the signs describe approaches (adjectives and adverbs), the houses refer to areas of life and places, such as hospitals, the profession, or the home (nouns).  The planets are drives, such as the drive to shine or the drive to relate (verbs).  A given sign is associated with a given house according to the number order of the signs and houses (1st with 1st, 2nd with 2nd, and so forth).  Each planet rules (is associated in a positive way with) one or two signs.

We, the human race, are a many and diverse people, under the astrological model.  Just like, out of the simple laws of gravity, electricity, and magnetism, we get the diversity of our physical world, out of the twelve basic energies of the model of the zodiac, we get the diversity of both life and the consciousness of life.  The art of astrology describes the diversity.  In astrology, what a person finds important is shown in the birth chart, as is where there is tension and where things flow easily.  The astrological indicators vary from person to person.  So, different people find different things important and different people have differing levels of ease in dealing with life.  In astrology, there are no right or wrong energies, just differently emphasized and focused energies.  That said, some astrological things are considered better than others.  Also, as we all know, some people use their energies to harm others or themselves.

Every person has every sign and every planet in the their birth chart, so, on some level, we are all alike.  That said, any given set of placements of the planets in signs and houses is virtually unique (I will use a convention common in astrology and call the Sun, Moon, and Pluto planets .)  The Sun, Moon, and Ascendant are considered the major influences in a birth chart.  Just looking at the placements by zodiacal sign of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant, there are 12 x 12 x 12 = 1,728 possible combinations, since each of the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant can fall in any of the 12 signs of the zodiac.  (If one includes the 12 animal sign years of Chinese astrology, there are 20,736 basic combinations.)  Personally, I share my three placements with Gene Simmons.  Marvin Gaye, Henry Mancini, and Emmylou Harris share a combination.  Based on the house placements of the Sun and Moon for the three musicians, Gaye and Mancini are more oriented toward achievement and communication, while Harris is more oriented toward recognition and earnings.  (I am getting the birth information from AstroDataBank, an online source of birth and event data.)

As stated above, differing persons have differing levels of skills and ease in dealing with life.  The human race is a multitude of persons living a multitude of lives.  There are those with an ease in dealing with others,  there are those with difficulty dealing with others, there are those with an ease with technology, there are those without such ease.  Some people are popular, others are unpopular, others neither popular nor unpopular.  Some persons have a special talent for leadership, others for creating wealth, others for taking care of details.  Those with a special talent for leadership and politics become politicians.  These persons serve us by using their given skills and talents to structure our legal world, the political form of our society.  People with extreme ambition, high levels of skill and talent, and a bit of luck rise to the top of society, at least for a time.  Some people are at the bottom of the economic system and struggle just to survive.

Because I take astrology seriously, I find self-help books and motivational speakers who espouse one true way to happiness and success frustrating, since what is good for one person is often not good for another.  We are all on our own paths through life, with unique sets of interests and energies.  Also, we all are annoyed by some people, through no fault of their own, their energy just annoys us.  I loved my father very much, but the placement of his Sun was in an aspect of irritation to the placement of my Sun, and I was often, at least as an adult and teenager, irritated by him – even before I became interested in astrology.  I think the world would be a more peaceful place if people realized that, because they do not like someone, that person is not wrong or bad.  That person is just different, with energies in a difficult configuration with the original person’s energies.

Astrology can give insight into from where a person is coming and to where a person is going.  According to many astrologers, we are each on a path of growth shown by the placements of the nodes of the Moon, by sign and by house (as well as by aspect – an aspect being a distance in longitude between two zodiacal points that has a special meaning in astrology.)  The nodes of the Moon transit (move around) the zodiac in about 18 years, so the influence of the nodes is by age group (not generation).  There are 144 possible sign / house combinations of the nodes.  If one ignores the aspects, each of us is on one of the 144 possible basic paths.

To give an example of two paths, some people will do well at and are learning about being anxious about work but lose themselves relaxing into sleep because they came into this life knowing about relaxation and sleep, but not about work and anxiety, while other people are learning to and do well at relaxing into sleep but can lose themselves in anxiety over work, because they came into this life knowing about knowing about work and anxiety but not relaxing into sleep.

Another of the interpretations of the nodes is related to popularity.  The North Node is considered the point of popularity and current trends and the South Node, the point of unpopularity and going against the grain.  Currently (2011), the North Node is in Sagittarius (adventure), so adventuring is popular and the South Node is in Gemini (books) and we are loosing major bookstores.

Astrology and Democracy

In our country, people are free to go in the direction that a person’s interests and talents lead the person.  Our political structure lets people be who they are, so long as a person does not harm another.  In good times, our flexible economy absorbs most of the special talents of the diversity of our people, though, as noted in an earlier blog, just being a wife and mother are pretty much still outside the economic system.  One reason our American democracy is so good is that people naturally float to the best use of a person’s energies, at least that is what I think.  Just about all of us have an important role in the wheels and cogs of our country’s life.  We all contribute to our society.  And, I believe, whatever our level of success, we are all equally important.  The differing interests and talents that we are born with lead to differing levels of credited success, but every role within a society is important for the function of the society.  Some roles just get more credit than others.

Another reason that our American democracy is so good is that our constitutions protect the diversity of humanity.  Our constitutions protect the diverse sets of personalities, beliefs, and behaviors of humanity, which are described by astrology, from prejudicial behavior by the majority.  On an individual level, a person is given some level of protection from those who are irritated by, or take to level of hatred toward, the person just because the person’s energies are different from the hating persons’ energies.

Years ago, when I was a senior in high school, the guidance counselor taught a class on psychology.  We read a book about mind control (I think) in the Soviet Union.  On the cover was a picture of some people who had been beaten, with fractured teeth.  The people were still defiant.  A society cannot beat something like an inherent drive toward rebellion out of a person.  And believe me, many, many societies have tried over many, many years.  We try to restrict such behavior by our government in the United States.   (Personally, here in the United States, I feel like I have been beat up by the ‘morality police’, operating on the psychic level, over many years now.  How much is a real exploitation of my illness and how much is my illness, I do not know.)

A third reason our American democracy is so good is that our system allows, to some degree, for the fulfillment of the experiences of all of the twelve houses of the horoscope.  Our system of government allows for some expression of all of the twelve areas.  Americans recognize that all of the areas are important; profession and home, work and relaxation, early education and the development of a belief system, oneself and a partner, earning and being supported, entertainment and friendship, to list areas for each of the six house oppositions.

That said, in the West, we emphasize economic success.  The structure of the economy is just one part of a society.  With regard to astrology, only one quarter of the twelve archetypes of astrology are related to the material side of life.  Since, persons differ in their ability to deal with life, those whose energies cannot deal with the material side of life need the help of society.  Our society has had some serious problems in dealing with the helpless, but our society is working on the problem.

In astrology, the placements of the planets Uranus and Neptune and Pluto are thought to be correlated to generational subtext within society.  Since 1943, Neptune and Pluto have been about 60° apart in longitude most of the time.  An angle in longitude of 60° between two astronomical points is a sextile and denotes opportunity.  (The other major aspects are the conjunction – 0 degrees, the square – 90 degrees, the trine – 120 degrees, and the opposition – 180 degrees.)  The signs of the zodiac each are 30° wide in longitude.  Since Neptune and Pluto have been in sextile aspect for around 70 years, now, and the signs are 30° wide, we have been in a time where, when Pluto changes sign, Neptune also changes sign at about the same time.  We have been going through a period when there are sharp breaks between the generations.

Through the eighteen year cycle of the Nodes of the Moon, there develop opposing energies of the popular versus the unpopular and people can choose the energies of one or the other,  though many are not focused on either.  But the outer planet cycles stay in effect for longer periods of time.  As the outer planets change signs, what is considered right and true shifts.  (I suspect, from what I have been through in my life, that the world ethos shifts most when Pluto enters a cardinal sign – the signs at the beginnings of the seasons.  Capricorn is a cardinal sign and Pluto started into Capricorn in 2008.  The cardinal sign before Capricorn is Libra.  Pluto started into Libra in the 1971.  The cardinal sign before Libra is Cancer.  Pluto started into Cancer in 1912.)  Members of earlier generations often react with horror at new trends.   I know that Ronald Reagan (Pluto in Gemini with Neptune on Cancer) hated my generation, with our self-indulgence.  Currently, we have at least one Pluto in Virgo with Neptune in Scorpio (the generation born in the late 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s) politician talking about taking our country back (from whom?).

All countries feel the stress of the changing generations and all countries have the full diversity of people.  As society shifts, our political system here in the United States is flexible enough to accommodate the shifts.  Not all countries as flexible.  Part of the flexibility comes from the fact that the outer planetary subtext that a president is born to, and brings into office, changes over time as we continue to elect new presidents.  Since elections are frequent and our presidents are limited to two terms, our leaders shift and change with the times, mostly with little violence.  The same goes for our legislators.  That said, I am afraid that, currently, with the sharply delineated generations now making up most of our population, shifting between what in astrology we call masculine and feminine signs, we have a country divided into two extremes with little in the middle.

Obama is our first president born in the Pluto in Virgo with Neptune in Scorpio generation.  Clinton and G. W. Bush were from my generation, Pluto in Leo with Neptune in Libra.  According to the meanings of Virgo and Scorpio, Obama’s generation should have an acute sensitivity to the occult and psychic communication, which, I believe, is now showing up in politics. It is appropriate that we have someone who understands the energy in the White House.

Pluto and Neptune

With regard to Pluto and Neptune, we are in a transitional time right now (this was written in the summer and fall of 2011).  Pluto started into Capricorn early in 2008 and Neptune started into Pisces this last spring.  So we have a new generation being born now who will have a Capricorn / Pisces subtext, a subtext of Organization and Idealism, Fear and Confusion, Discipline and Faith.  I, personally, belong to the Pluto in Leo with Neptune in Libra generation, born from the mid 1940’s up to the late 1950’s.  Pluto first entered Leo in late 1937, while Neptune first entered Libra in late 1942. Our Leo / Libra subtext is Romance and Love, Self-centeredness and Indecision, Leadership and Justice.  Neptune started into Scorpio at the end of 1955 and Pluto started into Virgo at the end of 1956. Those born from the end of the 1950’s to the early 1970’s belong to the Pluto in Virgo with Neptune in Scorpio generation, with a Virgo / Scorpio subtext of Work and Power, Hygiene and Sex, Details and Revenge.

Pluto first entered Libra in late 1971, while Neptune first entered Sagittarius in late 1970. Those born from about the early 1970’s to about the early 1980’s have Pluto in Libra and Neptune in Sagittarius, with a Libra / Sagittarius subtext of Love and Adventure, Indecision and Excess, Justice and Law.  In late 1983, Pluto first entered Scorpio, while in early 1984, Neptune first entered Capricorn.  Those born from the mid 1980’s to the mid 1990’s were born with Pluto in Scorpio and Neptune in Capricorn, with a Scorpio / Capricorn subtext of Power and Structure, Compulsion and Fear, Sex and Big Business.  Pluto first entered Sagittarius in early 1995, while Neptune first entered Aquarius in early 1998.  Those born from the late 1990’s to the late 2000’s were born with Pluto in Sagittarius and Neptune in Aquarius, with a Sagittarius / Aquarius subtext of Freedom and Equality, Excess and Rebellion, Religion and Aspirations.  One can see that the major focus shifts back and forth with the generations, from intangibles to tangibles.

Pluto represents the drive to transform and control and rules Scorpio.  Scorpio represents the forcing of change due to the joining together of energy from the many.  Scorpio is one of the three signs associated with the emotions and the transformative power of Scorpio is emotional power.  Scorpio also represents the occult, taxes, sex, and death.  Neptune represents the drive to withdraw, idealize, confuse, understand, to be aware of the collective psyche.  Since Pluto rules Scorpio, for the Neptune in Scorpio generation Neptune is ruled by Pluto.  For much of the Neptune in Scorpio generation, Pluto is in Virgo, the sign of detailed analysis.  Virgo represents the analytical approach and is one of the three signs dealing with the senses.  I believe the Pluto rulership of Neptune from Virgo gives an acute sensitivity to the occult and the psychic in the generation with Neptune in Scorpio and Pluto in Virgo.   With the rulership by Pluto from Virgo behind the Scorpio Neptune, Neptune’s energy is driven by the energy of obsessively picking away at details and putting things in order.

Virgo also rules small animals and farm animals.  I predicted years ago that the ones with Uranus also in Virgo (born in the 60’s) would be radical, since Uranus rules radicalism and was near Pluto, the planet of power, for that generation, but radical about animals, since Uranus and Pluto were in Virgo.  Virgo rules routine labor, such as typing and filing, which began to be taken over by the computers, ruled by Uranus, in the 60’s.  Also, the suicide rate went up for those born with Pluto and Uranus in Virgo and Neptune in Scorpio.  Pluto and Scorpio are associated with death, Neptune is associated with longing, Uranus is associated with the radical impulse to change, the desire to break free, the drive to shatter, and Virgo is associated with anxiety.

Pluto goes around the Sun in about 250 years and Neptune goes around the Sun in about 150 years.  The Pluto orbit is quite eccentric, as well as much more highly inclined to the ecliptic than the other planets.  When Pluto is transiting (going through in longitude) the signs from Leo to Aquarius, Pluto moves quite a bit faster than when Pluto goes from Aquarius to Leo.  So, even though, on average, Neptune moves at about 3/5 the speed of Pluto, when Pluto is going through Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Capricorn, Pluto and Neptune move at about the same speed, which has given us the many year duration of the sextile between Pluto and Neptune.

During the time of a faster speed for Pluto, Pluto spends part of the time inside the orbit of Neptune (is closer to the Sun).  I read an article in Dell Horoscope many years ago that had the thesis that the periods when Pluto is inside the orbit of Neptune are periods of renaissance.  According to Wikipedia, Pluto was inside the orbit of Neptune the last three times from February 7, 1979 and February 11, 1999, from  July 11, 1735 to September 15, 1749, and from  April 30, 1483 and July 23, 1503.  For the first and the third time periods, Pluto was going from Libra to Sagittarius and Neptune was about sixty degrees ahead of Pluto.  For the second time period, Pluto was still going from Libra to Sagittarius, but Neptune was about one hundred and twenty degrees behind Pluto.  I am particularly interested in the parts of the orbits where Neptune is sixty degrees ahead of Pluto.

The planets orbit the Sun on an elliptical path, so are moving fastest at the time of perihelion.  For Neptune and Pluto, the points of perihelion are slowly moving forward in longitude.  I am interested in two properties of the orbits of Neptune and Pluto – the conjunctions of Neptune and Pluto and the concurrent transits of Pluto through Leo and Virgo and Neptune through Libra and Scorpio that occur some years after the conjunctions.  The two properties reoccur about every five hundred years.  The last conjunction occurred in the early 1890’s, while the last concurrent transits of Pluto in Leo and Virgo and Neptune in Libra and Scorpio, as stated above, was mainly in 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s.  There is little controversy about the dates of the occurrences for the most recent occurrences.  As one goes back in time, however, the placement of Neptune is consistent between sources but the placement of Pluto is not.

Many years ago, some time after reading the Dell Horoscope article, I was at my parents vacation home in northern Vermont and reading Le Morte d’Arthur, by Thomas Malory.  I was struck by how the themes in the stories progressed through the themes of the signs Cancer through Virgo.  The Pluto in Cancer generation was my parents’ generation, the Pluto in Leo generation  is my generation, the Pluto in Virgo generation is the generation of my elder nieces.  The progression is from heritage to romance to the search for purity.  Malory lived from c. 1405 to 1471.  Having been struck by the pattern, I wanted to see where the outer planets were during the 1400’s.

Looking for information about the placements of Pluto and Neptune, I went to an astrological bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was told that there were no ephemerides for the times I was interested in.  I did, however, buy a book by Michael Erlewine, called Manual of  Computer Programming for Astrologers, published by the American Federation of Astrologers in 1980.  It was the summer of 1987 by the time I had my own personal computer and the time to program routines from Erlewine’s book.  In the book, there was just one routine to create an ephemeris for dates before 1900, the routine “AA0  Planetary Positions from 4713 B.C. Forwards”, described on pages 73 to 77.  On page 73, Erlewine describes the data statements, AA0, as giving positions “accurate to within about a degree of arc (usually better)” , for “any date from 4713 B.C. forwards”.

I programmed the routines into my early Tandy 1000 and printed out placement information for Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.  I calculated positions for the 1400’s and found that Pluto went through Cancer, Leo, and Virgo from the 1420’s to the 1470’s.  Neptune went from Cancer to Sagittarius during the same time period.  Malory was born around 1405, which would have corresponded with someone born in the 1890’s in terms of recent placements.  So, Malory lived through the part of the Pluto / Neptune cycle that I felt resonates with the themes in Le Morte d’Arthur.

I went back through time, looking at the Pluto to Neptune conjunctions.  Pluto represents transformation and Neptune represents the mystical roots of religion.  Both represent facets of the underpinning psyche of existence.   When the two come together, we would expect to see new approaches and transformations in areas ruled by Neptune, such as dance, the visual arts, religious mysticism, charity, to name a few.  Using the routine (AA0) from Erlewine’s book, we see a shift in the sign of the conjunction from Taurus to Gemini as the modern world came into view.  According to the AA0 routine, in 570 and 569 B.C., there were conjunctions of Pluto and Neptune in the late Taurus.  In 78 and 77  B.C., Pluto and Neptune were conjunct in the last two degrees of Taurus.  If Erlewine is correct and the placements are accurate within degree, the possibility exists that at least one of the conjunctions occurred in Gemini.  By 414 and 415 A.D., the conjunctions were solidly in Gemini, according to the AA0 routine.  The next conjunctions were in 907 and 908 A.D., while the next after those occurred from 1399 to 1401 A.D.  The most recent conjunctions were in the years 1891, 1892, and 1893 A.D., still in Gemini.

Looking at earlier transits of Pluto in Leo with Neptune in Libra and Pluto in Virgo with Neptune in Scorpio, according to the AA0 routine in Erlewine’s book, during the years 515 B.C. to 511 B.C. Pluto was in Leo and Neptune was in Libra off and on (for the first time in the current cycles of Pluto and Neptune) and Pluto was in Virgo while Neptune was in Scorpio for  about two months in 500 B.C. (again, for the first time in the current cycles of Pluto and Neptune.)  The concurrent Pluto and Neptune cycles next occurred around the time of Christ.  According to  the AA0 routine in Erlewine’s book, from 23 B.C. to 20 B.C., Pluto was in Leo and Neptune was in Libra and, from 9 B.C. to 7 B.C., Pluto was in Virgo and Neptune was in Scorpio.  By 468 to 477 A.D., Pluto was again in Leo with Neptune in Libra and by 482 to 490 A.D., Pluto was again in Virgo with Neptune in Scorpio.  The next occurrences, according to the AA0 routine, were from 960 to 969 A.D. for Pluto in Leo with Neptune in Libra, and from 973 to 982 A.D. for Pluto in Virgo with Neptune in Scorpio.  According to the AA0 routine, from 1451 to 1458 A.D., Pluto was again in Leo with Neptune in Libra and from 1465 to 1476 A.D., Pluto was again in Virgo with Neptune in Scorpio.  The next occurrences were in the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s, as noted above.

Some time after I calculated the above years of transit, the technical astrologers, the late Neil Michelsen and Rique Pottenger, published a book, Tables of Planetary Phenomena, ACS Publications, 1990 & 1993, which contained types of transit information going back to 501 B.C., including ingresses into zodiac signs and conjunctions between planets, for the outer planets.  The information in the book does not match the information that I calculated.  I had put a comment on the International Society for Astrological Research’s list_serve on my results and some conclusions that I drew from the calculations.  I have a vague memory of Erlewine contacting me and telling me that there were problems with the routines in Erlewine’s book.  I also remember, from 2003, at the American Federation of Astrologers convention, the first astrology convention that I had attended, talking to the research director, I believe the director was James Holden, and the person telling me that, because of the eccentricity and / or the inclination (I do not remember which) of Pluto’s orbit, astronomers do not know where, precisely, Pluto was 2500 or 2000 years ago.  So, we do not know which dates are correct.

Here are some of the conclusions I drew from my calculations.  There was a shift in the development of civilization around 6th century B.C..  Living during the century were Zoroaster, Buddha, Confucius, Pythagoras, Laozi (founder of Taoism),  and Sun Tzu.  The 6th century B.C. saw the beginning of Greek philosophy, so much at the root of present day western civilization. It seems the 6th century B.C. was a time of distillation of the knowledge of earlier civilizations.  While by both Erlewine’s AA0 routine and the Michelsen and Pottenger calculations, the Pluto and Neptune conjunction in the 6th century B.C. was still in Taurus, we do see, using the AA0 routine, that Pluto was in Leo at the same time that Neptune was in Libra for a short period of time and Pluto was in Virgo while Neptune was in Scorpio for a short period of time during the century.  The concurrent transits had not happened before in the current cycles of Pluto and Neptune.  New archetypes were forming.

According to the AA0 routine, the next conjunction was in late Taurus, with Pluto and Neptune being within an orb of one degree of a conjunction as Pluto and Neptune moved into Gemini.  Gemini is the sign associated with words.  I am an irreligious person, but my parents were religious and told me that the quote from the bible “In the beginning there was the word and the word was God.” comes from the gospels.  So we see, coming out of the life of Christ, which occurred in the time following Pluto and Neptune being within a degree of conjunction  in Gemini (in astrological terms – deep transformation and religion on the level of mysticism in an aspect of a new beginning in the sign of words), a religion based on words coming to the forefront.  In that time, shortly before before 1 A.D.,  Pluto was in Leo (kingship) with Neptune in Libra (peace and love) and Pluto in Virgo (humility) with Neptune in Scorpio (emotional power).  Having been born to similar times and, later, having had to deal with persons who were born during the times, it makes sense to me that persons were dealing with those energies around the time of Christ.

I am not a student of history, but I think the Pluto conjunctions with Neptune are associated with the rise and fall of societies.  I have no knowledge of Asian or African history and know just a little of Mesoamerican history, so I will stick to what I know about European history.  Around 500 B.C., the Greek civilization was starting to peak.  By the first century B.C., Greece was a backwater.  Around the conjunction near 1 B.C., Rome was at it’s height and Christianity was just beginning.  The fall of Rome was in 476 A.D., around the time of the next conjunction.  I am not sure what was peaking around 500 A.D., other than Camelot.  The Arab empire was at the empire’s height between the 7th and 13th centuries, straddling the Pluto and Neptune conjunction.   The Byzantine empire was at the empire’s height from the 9th to the 11th centuries, again straddling the Pluto and Neptune conjunction.

By the 15th century, southern Europe was in a renaissance and Columbus made his voyage west. Because of Columbus, Europe and Asia became aware of the American continents.  Currently, the United States, on the North American continent, is probably at the height of the United State’s power and northern Europe is strong.  In the 1950’s, the world began an new exploration, visiting outer space.  I wonder if it will be true that in 500 years, the human race will have an extra-terrestrial presence at a height of culture, and earth will be a backwater.

Transits of Pluto and Neptune and my Natal Chart

One last note, on my natal chart, the transits of Pluto and Neptune, and something we call in astrology, synastry – or how two persons affect each other based on placements in the respective natal charts.  I was born with four out of five of my personal planets, including the Sun and Moon, within 10 degrees of each other and straddling the South Node of the Moon, in Virgo (which means I was born on an eclipse – one of two that I could find in the 20th century with the Sun, the Moon, and two other placements around the South Node of the Moon, within an orb of 10 degrees).  Using a 2 degree orb, from September 1930 to March 1931, from July 1931 to September 1936, and from March 1937 to July 1937, Neptune was conjunct at least one of my Virgo placements.  Neptune as to do with idealization, confusion, deception, dissolution, the psyche, to name some nouns.  The conjunction aspect has to do with focus.  Again using a 2 degree orb, from October 1958 to January 1959, from August 1959 to October 1965, and from March 1966 to August of 1966, Pluto was conjunct at least one of my Virgo placements.  Pluto rules terror and mass terror, irreversible and inexorable change, power and control, death, to name some more nouns.

In a handout given to me by Jessie L. Nagle, PMAFA, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are descriptions of the effects of Neptune or Pluto in one chart conjunct the South Node in the other.  Ms. Nagle describes the South Node as representing the past and, if one believes in past lives, the past lives, so conjunctions between planets and the South Node in synastry might represent what was happening between the persons in past lives.  According to Ms. Nagle, Neptune conjunct the South Node makes for a very pleasant relationship in this life.  There may be hero worship and the Neptune person will have a soothing effect on and uplift the South Node person, particularly with regard to music, art, or religion.  Pluto is a planet of a different color.  Someone with Pluto conjunct a South Node would be someone  “feared in past lives”, to quote Ms. Nagle, someone who may have killed the South Node person or caused the South Node person to be killed.  The South Node person tends to be wary of the Pluto person. Ms. Nagle wrote that Pluto persons who harmed the South Node person in past lives are in the South Node person’s present life to make amends for the harm the Pluto person did.  It’s best to let the amending happen.

My experience with the Neptune group has tended to be positive.  The Neptune persons would have been many of the teachers I had in high school and college.  I do not remember having had any bad experiences with those teachers and felt that my teachers supported me.  With regard to the Pluto contacts, things have been different.  I did not go to graduate school until I was in my 30’s.  Many of the students who were my fellow students in graduate school would have been born with Pluto conjunct my South Node.  I found my personality was pretty much wiped out while going to school with the Pluto age group.  I suspect the Pluto group is very reactive to me.  I remember that when I babysat members of the Pluto in Virgo generation in the 60’s, I had a number of power struggles.  I still do not like babysitting.  (Anyone born in the time ranges given above would be considered to have the planet – Pluto or Neptune – conjunct my South Node since an orb of 6 degrees is acceptable in synastry.)


The American democracy is a good system when one follows astrology as a model for society.  Under the astrological model, people are diverse and the American democracy allows for and profits from the diversity.  The long term cycles of Neptune and Pluto provide a framework for the underlying themes of historical periods.  The 20th century Pluto and Neptune transits first began in the 6th century B.C., at which time one sees an ending of one epoch and the beginning of another epoch.  Currently, we are in a particularly polarized period, which has been developing over the last 60 plus years and seems to be affecting our politics.  With regard to myself, with the placement of my South Node in early Virgo and the strong personal focus around that South Node, my personal energy is reactive with both of the first halves of the Neptune in Virgo and the Pluto in Virgo generations.  With regard to humankind, most of us will do better if we recognize that we will like some people and dislike other people, or what the people believe, but that does not make one right or the other wrong.  We are on  different paths and what is right for one may be wrong for another.  We can learn to live with one another.

Comment on a book review in the July 16th, 2011, Economist

In the July 16th issue of the Economist, the book, Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America, by Christopher Turner, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, was reviewed.  I got around to writing my comment too late for comments to be posted at the Economist website, so here my comment is.  In the review, the 20th century psychoanalyst, Wilhelm Reich, is described as a doctor who believed that sexual repression was the cause of societal problems, for example, pre-WWII totalitarianism in Europe and the subsequent Nazi holocaust.  In my life, I do not remember hearing about Reich and I have never read any of Reich’s works, but I have read  Tolstoy, Hardy, Wharton, Lawrence, Flaubert, Dreiser, Fowles, Hawthorne, Cather, McCullers, J. West, Shaw, plus numerous romances and historical romances, science fiction novels and stories, detective stories,  and, I am sure, other relevant authors whom I cannot remember (Collette, Fielding, H. Miller, Nin, Hemingway, Genet).