Book Soup for the Soul

I haven’t spent that much time in LA, but whenever I’ve been there in the last two decades I’ve always ended up at Book Soup, an independent bookstore on Sunset Strip. It was my hangout of sorts when I traveled on business to a city where I knew almost no one.

That’s why I was sad to read of founder Glenn Goldman’s passing, one day after he announced he would sell. Here’s the Los Angeles Times obit on Goldman.

Every Blogger’s Worst Fear

I started this blog on Mar. 17, 2008 and have been at it a little over six months. At the time, transiting Uranus in Pisces was sextiling Jupiter in Capricorn, which was sitting on my natal Sun. I decided to start writing an astrology blog on a whim. About 24 hours later, my blog was up and running.

One person who gave me a push to start the blog, though she didn’t know it, was Pamela Cucinell at AstroChatter, who later invited me co-host her BlogTalkRadio podcast every Tuesday at noon.

Pamela asked if I wanted to be her roommate at the United Astrology Conference in May, and when she did, I instantly decided I needed an “outlet” to cover the convention. Thus, my blog was born!

Get this: Other than Nancy’s Blog, I wasn’t even aware of astrology blogs. Now, thanks to Elsa P at ElsaElsaAstroNews and Jeffrey Kishner at AstrologyBlogger, I know about a whole universe of stargazing blogs, and many navel-gazing ones (my own included), as well.

As I’ve surfed the Net over the past six months, I’ve discovered really smart astrology blogs that came to a dead end. The blogger got a new job, faced a demanding personal situation, nabbed a book deal, or simply ran out of psychic gas.

That scares me. Will I one day drop the thread of Astrology Mundo as impulsively as I picked it up? I hope not.

In the meantime, I wanted to call readers’ attention to a new book by an erstwhile blogger whose posts I greatly admire, even though I didn’t discover them until the blog ended. The book is Cosmic Trends: Astrology Connects the Dots by Philip Brown.

Brown’s blog was called AstroFutureTrends, and it ended in December 2007 after two and a half years. (Hey, that’s a Progressed Moon cycle or Saturn through one sign.) Brown posted in February, explaining why he decided to leave blogging behind:

“I heard someone say recently that they’d gone beyond their own supply line. That’s a little like I’ve felt. My own supply line has always started from within, and I found I was not spending enough time nurturing my own inner self.”

Nothing wrong with that. It just unsettles me — I guess because I’ve been known to quit jobs after about two-and-a-half or three years.

I do things in threes a lot. So I can safely say I’ll be hanging out here in the blogosphere through 2011.

Inshalla, I want to be online when the Mayan Calendar ends at the Winter Solstice Dec. 21, 2012 to report on the return of Jesus or a visit from the extra-terrestrials or the big letdown if nothing monumental happens.

The chart for that moment has Mercury conjunct Venus in Sagittarius straddling the Ascendant opposing Jupiter in Gemini close to the Seventh House cusp, according to Jude’s Threshold. Maybe some twins are stopping by! Stay tuned.

Finding a Nice Day for a White Wedding

Can you guess from today’s title that I was a major Billy Idol fan back in the day? In fact, Idol’s White Wedding was on the “soundtrack” that my first husband and I meticulously programmed for our wedding reception. We had a deejay but we gave him the playlist, control freaks that we were.

This morning’s eclipse at 9 degrees of Leo trined my Juno at 9 degrees of Sagittarius, so what better day to write about weddings? The asteroid Juno rules marriage and the arts so maybe later on I’ll pop into a museum or an art gallery. In the meantime, I’ve been meaning to give some cyber-ink to April Elliott Kent’s Star Guide to Weddings.

April, as many of you know, hangs her hat at Big Sky Astrology. Her bio says she lives in a 1927 bungalow in San Diego. Since I live in a 1920 bungalow in Beacon, N.Y., I like her already.

I was fortunate enough to receive an autographed copy of Star Guide to Weddings from Beth Turnage at Astrology Explored a couple of weeks ago. Thanks, Beth! I didn’t really spend any time with the book until about a week ago and when I did, I was amazed at its profound observations.

Even though this is a sun-sign book aimed at the masses, it is still engaging enough to capture the interest of the astrological aficionado.

My first marriage was a Gemini, and here’s what April has to say about the purpose of unions forged under the sign of the twins: “The curiosity and sociability of your Gemini marriage makes you a natural networking unit.”

Anybody who saw my first husband and me in action would agree, I’m sure. Boy, we knew how to work a room! At the end of the evening, we would report back to each other all the things that we had learned in our individual mingling.

About the Gemini wedding itself, April observes: “…your wedding and reception will be the best party of the summer.” Unfortunately, the wedding party was the high point of my first marriage. It was all downhill after that. But I still consider May 25, 1991 to be one of the happiest days of my life. Never have I been surrounded by so many friends and family.

I don’t want to give away all of April’s secrets, but she was also dead on about what that Gemini marriage needed — and didn’t get — to thrive and survive. Other famous Gemini marriages: The Duke and Dutchess of Windsor, and Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa.

My current marriage has a Libra chart. Let’s hope it has greater staying power than my first. Libran marriages, according to April, are based on the belief that “you can be most effective in the world in collaboration with another person.” This is a union where both partners believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Let’s raise a toast of champagne to that noble ideal.

Given that Libra governs justice and other lofty aims of politics, it’s not surprising to find at least two couples who were White House residents on April’s list of famous Libran marriages — Gerald and Betty Ford, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. Will Barack and Michelle Obama, who also were wed under the sign of Libra, make it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Time will tell.

As long as we’re talking potential White House occupants, Jude’s Threshold has a post on her Web site about the wedding day of John and Cindy McCain. The McCains may very well be featured in April’s Star Guide to Weddings, because I couldn’t find them because it doesn’t have an index, the only shortcoming of the book that I could identify.

Jude also has a page devoted to the nuptials of John and Elizabeth Edwards. Given the recent allegations that Edwards has a “love child,” that post might be interesting to check out and comment on. Neptune is certainly hitting the Edwards wedding chart, which is a Leo, pretty hard right now.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a nifty wedding shower present, pick up a copy of Star Guide to Weddings. It’s $12.95 and is published by Llewellyn Worldwide. The future spouses can use April’s celestial guidance when they have their lawyers draw up their prenups! (Phrased very carefully in light of California’s recent decision to recognize gay marriage.)

The Astrology of Bloomsday

Would the departed never nowhere nohow reappear? Ever he would wander, selfcompelled, to the extreme limit of his cometary orbit, beyond the fixed stars and variable suns and telescopic planets, astronomical waifs and strays, to the extreme boundary of space, passing from land to land, among peoples, amid events. — James Joyce, Ulysses

A literary friend reminded me that today, June 16, is Bloomsday, a celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses and the novel’s protagonist Leopold Bloom. Bloomsday, according to the Wiki, is the anniversary of the day in 1904 when Joyce and his future wife Nora Barnacle had their first formal date, a walk to the Dublin village of Ringsend.

Bloomsday is a marathon of words, with Joyce aficionados reading from Ulysses for hours in locales around the world, including some of the places where Joyce and Barnacle actually stopped on their walk, like Davy Byrne’s pub in Dublin.

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can hear one of these readings taking place live tonight at Symphony Space in New York from 6:30 p.m. on. It’s the 27th celebration of Bloomsday on Broadway.

Here’s the link: http://www.symphonyspace.org/bloomsday/index.php

As an astrologer, I was curious what the chart of June 16, 1904, set for noon in Dublin, would look like. I don’t know what time Joyce and Barnacle made their celebrated trek; when the time of an event is unknown, astrologers set the chart for noon.

In any event, this chart has no less than five planets in the talk-talk-talk sign of Gemini, which are squared by group-oriented North Node in Virgo, which is rising. So this is a collective jabberfest, the chart says. The Gemini lineup is opposed by Uranus in the global sign of Sagittarius down near the IC, or bottom of the chart, so it’s interesting that Bloomsday tributes are held around the world.

Revolutionary Uranus could be seen to represent Joyce’s break with such niceties as punctuation and traditional sentence structure in Ulysses, which takes place during a single day in Dublin.

Bloomsday is at its heart a tribute to word play, a very Geminian concept. Here’s what Joyce had to say about Ulysses: “The pity is the public will demand and find a moral in my book — or worse they may take it in some more serious way, and on the honor of a gentleman, there is not one single serious line in it.” Remember that last line the next time you’re talking to a Gemini!

Given Bloom’s meditations on Molly’s sexual charms that infuse the stream-of-consciousness novel, it’s fitting that in our chart that Jupiter is found in the forthright sign of Aries and is located in the eighth house of sex and other mysteries. This chart, though it may be theoretical, is a surprisingly apt representation of what Bloomsday is today.

Here’s the link to the chart, courtesy of Astrodienst: http://www.astro.com/cgi/chart.cgi?cid=41laaaa19347-s971800598&lang=e&gm=a1&nhor=250&nho2=12&btyp=2&mth=gw&sday=16&smon=6&syr=2008&hsy=-1&zod=&orbp=&rs=0&ast=

Pluto on the World Axis: Welcome to the Inferno

Now, I know it wasn’t 96 degrees in the shade everywhere yesterday, and I’m sure not everyone’s corporate communications network collapsed. However, I’m definitely feeling Pluto as it crosses the world axis at 0 degrees of Capricorn, as it prepares to move back into the fiery sign of Sagittarius from June 13 to Nov. 26.

Civilians may ask: “What’s the world axis?” It’s a good question. The world axis is 0 degrees of the cardinal signs — Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn — and is considered a powerful position. So when planets move through this area, astrologers pay attention.

With Pluto in Cap here for the next few days, I’d say there is a greater than normal chance of a financial crisis or global banking disaster. Of course, we’ve been experiencing that nearly all year, and the stock market seems to have taken it in stride. But this event may be unexpected. Friday the 13th may turn out to be bad luck indeed for some bank presidents.

In terms of Pluto’s retro back into Sag, here’s a good macro take on it: http://www.astrologyinsights.com/events/current.html I’ll have more to say about Pluto’s last pass through Sagittarius in the coming days.

On a micro level, I’ve got Mars at 29 degrees of Sag, and I can already feel the intensity being turned up. Natally, Mars sits in my third house and rules my seventh house of partnerships. We’re suddenly down two people at work just as vacation season is starting and I took on some extra work that is due this Friday.

Oddly enough, Reinhold Ebertin in the classic midpoint guide The Combination of Stellar Influences, says Mars/Pluto can be “piecework,” which is a good description of the kind of publishing jobs I do. With Pluto heading back to my Mars, everybody wants their work done immediately.

A speaker at one astrology conference I attended (can’t remember who or when) said that if he could have only one astrology book, it would be COSI (the acronym for Combination of Stellar Influences), and I’ve come to feel the same way. The version I have has a violet cover, which makes it easy to locate on the bookshelf.

My social life is suddenly heating up now that I’m back on the East Coast, but many of the invitations seem to fall on the same day, putting me in a state of conflict. There’s a good Mars word for you.

All of this is by way of an apology for ignoring my blog, which I’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Maybe you’re dealing with Pluto problems yourself. Certainly, it’s felt as if we were living in the realm of the underworld the last few days on the East Coast, with the heat wave we’ve been having.

Maybe Jupiter Transits are Overrated

The last time transiting Jupiter was on my Sun, in 1996, I got a dream job writing about the business of independent film and covering the world’s major film festivals — Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, New York.

I had an expense account that I used to buy breakfast, lunch, and dinner for indie film directors (that’s my Moon in Cancer at the Midheaven, feeding the world). I dressed up and hob-nobbed with stars at film premieres and glossy afterparties five nights a week. I know, you’re getting tired just listening to the hectic schedule of fun.

Given Jupiter’s last bit of bounty, I was hoping for something really fabulous this year as the Great Benefic passes over my Sun for the first time in 12 years. The second of Jupiter’s three conjunctions to my Sun was exact on May 30.

What did I get? A free cross-country airplane trip that was remarkably hassle-free, especially compared to my last go-around flying standby as a “nonrev” (that’s airline jargon for nonrevenue passenger). That’s certainly something to be thankful for.

In the month of May, I gained all the weight back that I had lost since the beginning of the year. Thanks, Jupiter! I really needed that extra padding to keep me comfy in those cramped airline seats.

Now, I still I have another pass of expansive Jupiter, later in the year, so maybe the big manna is yet to come. In the meantime, I’m back in Beacon, my working-class, crafty, diverse, tree-hugging gentrified mill town in the Hudson Valley. Sounds very Saturn in Virgo to me, maybe with the exception of the adjective “diverse.”

Guess what? We have a library that is within walking distance to our house. Who cares if gas goes to $5 a gallon? There’s nothing like summer to get me into the cool, prowling the stacks. I found a good book on Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla, the fathers of electricity, Empires of Light by Jill Jonnes.

I’m on a Tesla kick, as readers of this blog know. I got hooked after hearing astrologers at the United Astrology Conference in Denver last month talk about a breakthrough in energy that’s likely to come when Uranus goes into Aries. (See “The Return of Nikola Tesla,” filed under Cancer in the categories listed at the right.)

I still have a job, a car, a house, and a husband (I think I do, though he’s high on Palm Springs and the 130 or so golf courses in the area), so I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. I was reunited with our cat Bogey today and with Freddy, our beloved handyman, a Taurus who can fix anything on this circa 1900 brick cottage.

When I called him, he came right over to mow the lawn, which had been overlooked during the four months that I was gone. My old-fashioned push mower wasn’t going to topple 18 inches of grass, so I had to expand my carbon footprint a little by using a gasoline-powered model owned by a friend of Freddy’s. Mea culpa, Mother Earth!

With innovative Uranus in Pisces sextiling my Jupiter, I’ve suddenly got a blog and a new group of new astropals in the blogosphere. That counts for a lot, I know. But sometimes it doesn’t feel tangible enough for this ole Capricorn Sun.

I’m afraid the Internet is going to disappear one day, the way the Twin Towers did on Sept. 11, 2001. Apologies to my international readers who are tired of Americans whining about 9/11, but I’ve got a good excuse. A former employer of mine was having a conference at Windows on the World, a restaurant on the 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower, that fateful day, and I knew some folks who didn’t make it out.

In fact, I helped recruit one of the editors who died that day — David Rivers, a currency trading expert from Dow Jones. David was a fitness nut who always dressed in tight white designer jeans, an even tighter white designer T-shirt, and white sneakers (I think these were Converse, not Calvin Klein)– even in the middle of a New York City winter. If angel apparel comes from Marc Jacobs, David was dressed perfectly for heaven, where he most certainly is right now.

Here’s a link to a 9/11 Memorial Web site with a picture and tributes to David. (He’s wearing his trademark white outfit in the picture.)

As you can see, with Jupiter on your Sun, you start thinking about the Big Picture. With Jupiter transiting my fourth house of home and family, a new nephew of mine will be making his entrance into the world any day now. My husband’s nephew is getting married later this month in Colorado and that will bring us together with lots of friends and family. Maybe Jupiter’s gifts don’t always come tied up in a big red bow or with an American Express Corporate Card attached.

Monica’s Astrology Book Club

Pamela Cucinell over at Sunburst Oasis just sent a comment saying that Oprah’s chart isn’t looking so good right now. Voila!  What a great time to launch Monica’s Astrology Book Club. No, I don’t think I’m the next Oprah. My second house of finances doesn’t look as good as hers, but I do like to promote things I believe in.

Have you ever noticed how people with a lot of Sagittarius in their chart have a missionary zeal for something they’ve just discovered? “You’ve got to try this restaurant, it’s great!” says Ms. Sag Rising to her co-worker. “This new movie is going to win the Oscar, I’m sure of it,” exclaims Mr. Sag Sun to his roommate.

On that note, I bought a book at the United Astrology Conference bookstore that people have been telling me about for a few months. Yeah, my Mercury/Saturn conjunction in Capricorn moves slowly.

If you read just one astrology book this year, this is it. You don’t have to be an astrologer to appreciate the message. It’s Soul-Sick Nation: An Astrologer’s View of America, by San Francisco astrologer Jessica Murray.  It was first excerpted in Mountain Astrologer and was published in book form by MotherSky Press in February, 2008. For more information, visit  www.MotherSky.com.

Drop me a line if you’ve already read Soul-Sick Nation and let me know what you think!

Speaking of books, I’ve learned that an old college newspaper chum has an online bookstore catering to various pagan pursuits at www.pentaclepress.com. Can you imagine that? It seems The Daily Orange at Syracuse University has spawned occult offspring! If you go to the Pentacle Press site, you’ll immediately see the benefits of having an art background. (The proprietor was a satirical cartoonist when I knew him.)

When writer types design Web sites, they often make them too cluttered.

Gossip Girls: Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons

During my winter stay in Palm Springs, which is rapidly coming to a close, I’ve been steeping myself in the romance and deception of Old Hollywood, whose denizens would escape to this desert community when the glare of publicity became too harsh.

I’m in the process of reading Hedda and Louella: A dual biography of Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons by George Eells. I picked up a first edition of the 1972 book at a used bookstore. At least, I was told it’s a first edition when I asked the proprietor of the Palm Springs Book Exchange why she was charging $15 for a book that originally cost $7.95. I thought used books were supposed to be bargains.

This one is a real gem, though, and worth every penny. It chronicles the catfight of the century, between the rival columnists who ruled Hollywood gossip for roughly 40 years. As some older readers or cinemaphiles may know, Parsons got her start in newspapers and was made into a Hollywood institution by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and his mistress, actress Marion Davies.

Hopper was an actress first and then took on Parsons as the queen of Hollywood by stealing the show with her flashy wardrobe and signature hats. She also took better care of her health than Parsons, who was a heavy drinker and battled tuberculosis and other serious ailments throughout her life.

Another difference between the two: Hopper made fewer mistakes in her columns than Parsons, who was known for running many corrections. Eells suggests that some of Hopper’s success was due to the studios’ desire for a duopoly, rather than a monopoly, on gossip.

In the beginning, Parsons actually was a booster of Hopper’s and ran favorable items about her in her syndicated column. But once Hopper became a newspaperwoman in her own right and started “scooping” Parsons, the claws came out.

Parsons was a Leo, born Aug. 6, 1881, in Freeport, Ill., according to both the book and the Wiki. Hopper was a Taurus, born May 2, 1885, in Hollidaysburg, Pa. (My sources are the same as for Parsons.) Having reliable data is important because both women lied shamelessly about their ages during their lifetimes.

The periodic feuding between Parsons and Hopper was punctuated by high-profile rapprochements, usually celebrated at a swanky Hollywood restaurant so everyone in town would see they were pals again – until the next battle.  Given this volatile relationship, I was curious to see what the composite or “combined” chart of the two women would tell us.

Here’s the composite, courtesy of Astrodienst: http://www.astro.com/cgi/chart.cgi?cid=41laaaa19347-s971800598&lang=e&gm=a1&nhor=228&nho2=227&btyp=621&mth=gw&sday=13&smon=5&syr=2008&hsy=-1&zod=&orbp=&rs=0&ast=

One of my friends suggested that I  keep my posts shorter so I’ll attempt to be brief here. I’ll note that the huge stellium in Gemini, which rules communications, in the composite chart is squared by electrical Uranus in Virgo, giving the relationship an on-again, off-again character. The inclusion of powerful Pluto in the Gemini lineup tells us this relationship was about mass communication and power struggles.

I couldn’t find birth times for either gossip gal, so I set the charts for noon. As a result, the Ascendant, house cusps, and degree of the Moon are not reliable in their combined chart. Still, it’s likely the composite moon is in Sagittarius.

As the book jacket for Hedda and Louella says, “Their like will never be seen again.” Not even the formidable Liz Smith wields the power that these women did through their relationships with the film studios, which kept stars on a leash back in Hollywood’s Golden Age. Today, nobody can control the Tom Cruises of the world when they want to jump up and down on Oprah’s couch.

All I Wanted Was a Word with Michael Caine

I’ve had the good fortune to interview lots of interesting people in my life and to hob-nob with celebrities. It’s an unspoken law that when you attend a star-studded “after-party” that you don’t introduce yourself to Madonna, unless you’re also a diva.

Mere mortals wait for the star to introduce herself or for a publicist or mutual acquaintance to do the honors. I’ve usually abided by the rule in social settings, but there was one time when I couldn’t help myself.

It was at a New York party for the Oscars in 1999. Michael Caine was there, and not in Hollywood, because he was shooting Curtain Call with Maggie Smith in the city. Fortified by a couple of flutes of champagne, I walked up to him and looked straight into his blue eyes. He’s 6 foot, 2 inches and I’m that tall in high heels. “I know you’ve heard this hundreds of times, but I adored you in Alfie,” I gushed.

I admit that l felt a little ridiculous mentioning a film that had come out more than 30 years earlier. I didn’t want to imply that the rest of his oeuvre wasn’t worthy of my admiration.

Always the charmer, Caine replied, “Thank you very much. Don’t worry. I never get tired of hearing how people appreciate my work.” I walked away knowing that I could now die happy.

Mind you, I was only 6 years old when Alfie was released, but when I saw it for the first time in my 20s, it knocked me out. If there were ever a film that symbolized the ethos of London in the Swingin’ Sixties, this was it. I loved it when Alfie talked to the camera, letting the audience in on the secret. And I was astounded by Caine’s emotional range.

Even though I’m a fan of Jude Law, I wasn’t surprised when his 2004 remake of Alfie got a ho-hum reception. As far as I’m concerned, and evidently a lot of other folks agree, there is only one Alfie.

Speaking of Alfies, isn’t it interesting that Caine played Batman’s butler Alfred Pennyworth in Batman Begins and in the upcoming Batman film The Dark Knight? There’s a branch of astrology that looks at the thousands of name asteroids up in the sky. Perhaps there’s an asteroid Alfred that was conjunct Caine’s Sun when he was born.

Michael Caine is also one of my husband’s favorite actors. His favorite Caine films are Zulu, The Italian Job, and The Man Who Would be King, which also starred Sean Connery and Caine’s wife, Shakira.

Anyone who has followed Caine’s career or who has read his 1992 autobiography What’s It All About? knows that he has had some tremendous highs and lows in his life. And though Caine may have shared some character traits with Alfie (a working-class background and a love of the “birds”), being a slacker wasn’t one of them.

Caine was long called “the hardest-working man in Hollywood.” He’s honed his craft and fattened his bank account by appearing in less-than-memorable films like the The Swarm and Jaws: The Revenge. Along the way, he has showcased his considerable comedic talents and won more mainstream fans with such films as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a classic collaboration with Steve Martin. Caine never phones it in. Even if the movie is a piece of junk, he always delivers a professional performance.

Some of my favorite Caine films, like Educating Rita and Mona Lisa, involve the British class system, which at first stymied the actor’s ambitions. He’s been a critic of the system over the years, though he’s obviously not a radical or he wouldn’t have agreed to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000. For key dates in Caine’s life, see his Web site.

If you’re a music person, don’t miss this ode to Caine from the Eighties ska band Madness. You’ll see that I borrowed from the lyrics (“All I wanted was a word or a photograph to keep at home”) for the headline to this post.

Caine’s biography is laugh-out-loud funny, especially to an astrologer. Born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite on Mar. 14, 1933, Caine is a Pisces, whose symbol is the fish. So what was his father’s trade? He was a fishmonger at Billingsgate!

Having visited some of Caine’s restaurants and knowing about his keen interest in food and nutrition, I suspected there was a strong Cancer aspect in his chart. Sure enough, there is. His 23 degree Pisces Sun makes a favorable trine to Pluto in Cancer in the second house of earned income. With that aspect, Caine can actually make money in the restaurant business, unlike most actors who try their luck in the kitchen.

Caine’s Pluto in Cancer is also squared by Uranus in Aries, a picture he shares with other members of his generation, but one that has led to considerable upheaval in Caine’s life — first being evacuated from London and separated from his family during World War II only to return to the city and witness bombing by the Germans, almost dying of a rare strain of malaria after serving in Korea, being sent to jail for not paying child support when he was destitute, to name just a few.

I’ve run the natal chart for 10:05 a.m. in London because Caine says in his book that he was born “a few minutes after 10 o’clock in the morning.” I’ve seen the chart elsewhere with a 10:10 birth time, but 10 minutes seems like more than “a few” to me.

You can see Michael Caine’s chart here, courtesy of Astrodienst.

Throughout his book, Caine notes how fortunate he has been during his life and that he sometimes has felt as if he had a guardian angel watching over him. This makes perfect sense. Besides the Sun, he’s also got the North Node and Venus in spiritual Pisces. This lineup is opposed by a stellium in Virgo — Mars, Neptune, and Jupiter. This is a lucky man, indeed.

In addition to the natal chart, I’ve included the transits for Aug. 24, 1966, the night that Alfie premiered. As you can see, the revolutionary Pluto/Uranus conjunction in Virgo was sitting on Caine’s Jupiter, turning him into an international superstar and bringing him big money, seemingly overnight.

Caine’s Gemini rising is ruled by Mercury the trickster. The Gemini ascendant forms a T-square with the opposing stelliums in Pisces and Virgo. The result? Caine is a chameleon par excellence. The Gemini rising has been opposed by transiting Pluto in the last few years, bringing Caine magician roles in The Prestige and the upcoming Is Anybody There?

So much has happened to Caine since he wrote his biography in 1992 that he could write another one. Since then, he’s won the best supporting actor Oscar for The Cider House Rules (he had previously won one for Woody Allen’s Hannah and her Sisters) and delivered a stunning performance in The Quiet American, which brought him an Oscar nomination for best actor and the BAFTA award (Britain’s answer to the Oscars) for best actor.

Here’s a coincidence of sorts: Some top actors passed on the original Alfie because they didn’t want to be in a film with an abortion scene. John Irving’s book The Cider House Rules also had a story line that included abortions, which was dropped for the film adaptation.

The astrologer in me sees that emphasis on infant life and death as another manifestation of Caine’s Pluto in Cancer trining his Sun. Pluto in Cancer is a generational signature, but because it makes an aspect to Caine’s Sun, it’s very powerful in his life. Indeed, both his wife Shakira and his daughter Natasha had serious health problems shortly after Natasha’s birth.

I haven’t done the research, but I seem to remember there was a disagreement between Caine and the distributors and producers of The Quiet American, Miramax Films, then run by Harvey and Bob Weinstein. I can’t remember exactly what the story was. Was it that Caine didn’t think he was getting enough support from the Weinsteins to win the best actor Oscar? Or was it that the Weinsteins didn’t want to put the film in competition because they didn’t think Caine could win? Whatever the power struggle was, it sounds like a manifestation of Pluto crossing Caine’s descendant and squaring the Sun.

As transiting Uranus moves across his Sun over the next year or so, Michael Caine could get a jolt. He could deliver a revolutionary performance that recalls the glory of Alfie. He could finally win the best actor Oscar. (So far, he’s only taken home the golden statue for best supporting actor.) Caine was recently honored by the Film Society at Lincoln Center with a tribute night. With Uranus and then Jupiter coming to conjunct his Sun, a lifetime achievement Oscar is another strong possibility, in late February or early March 2010.

Michael Caine still has a few tricks left up his sleeve.

The Dutchess of Windsor: The Ultimate Femme Fatale

I’m reading Ralph G. Martin’s The Woman He Loved, the story of twice-divorced Yank Wallis Simpson, whose charms cost Edward VIII his throne. Fascinating stuff. 

So far, I’ve seen two references to astrology. The first: In the dark days while she was waiting for her first divorce in 1927, Simpson spent the princely sum of $10 on an astrology reading. The Gemini, who was born June 19, 1896, received a prediction that she would be married twice more and become an international celebrity.

The second cosmic reference: Count Louis Harmon, writing in the September 1933 issue of the National Astrological Journal, predicted that the then-Prince of Wales “will give up everything, even the chance of being crowned, rather than lose the object of his affection.”

However, astrology didn’t make the index in the book, which was published in 1973, so I can’t cite any other references.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen a presentation on what is considered to be one of history’s great love affairs at an astrology conference, but I couldn’t find anything about the couple’s synastry or composite on the Net. However, I did discover an excellent source of royal horoscopes.

After you click on the site, scroll all the way down to the House of Windsor for the latest crop of royals.

Here’s the chart for the Duke of Windsor (the title given to Edward VIII after he abdicated), an oh-so-sensitive Cancer Sun trine Moon in Pisces.

How do you catch a king? Listen, and just like Mom advised, be yourself. Even though Simpson was chatty and opinionated by British standards, according to Martin, the future king became besotted with her because she listened to his stories about “work” and wasn’t intimidated by his royal stature. 

“Wallis, you are the only woman who has ever been interested in my job,” he told her (page 160).

Here’s Simpson’s natal chart and transits for Jan. 4, 1937, the date of the Time cover where she appeared as the magazine’s first ever “Woman of the Year”:

What’s striking about the natal chart, which is set for noon because the time of birth is unknown, is the powerful Gemini stellium, including Pluto, Mercury, Neptune, Venus, and Sun. Gemini rules communication, and all her life, Simpson had the ability to mesmerize powerful men, running the gamut from Winston Churchill to Adolph Hitler.

You can see that in early 1937, right after the king abdicated, that Simpson’s Mercury, Sun, and Venus had all progressed into Leo, straddling her regal Jupiter in Leo, which sextiles her natal Gemini stellium. She was the most famous woman in the world. But transiting Neptune in Virgo was squaring her natal Neptune in Gemini, so there’s the disappointment of not being queen.

Simpson’s Gemini stellium fell in the Duke of Windsor’s fourth house so he felt at home with her. After Edward gave up the throne, the Duke and Dutchess lived in Austria, France, and then in the Bahamas, where he was Governor during World War II.

When someone asked the Duke of Windsor where his home was, he replied, “Home is where the Dutchess is.”  In fact, the man that the rest of the world called “Sir” and Wallis called “David”  used to hang out at her flat at 5 Bryanston Ct. in London with Wallis and her second husband, Ernest Simpson. What a trio that must have been! 

Here’s a link to the Time cover.

If you read the Wiki and other sources, it says Simpson made the cover of Time in 1936, but I believe that’s because the magazine actually appears on newsstands a week before its cover date.