Let Them Drink Dr. Pepper

The good news is that Dr. Pepper has extended its special offer for a free 20-oz. soda. Good luck trying to get the coupon, though. I didn’t have any luck because the beverage maker’s servers appear to be overwhelmed.

For those of you who don’t know, the free Dr. Pepper is fulfilling a promise that if Guns N’ Roses ever released its Chinese Democracy album, the soda maker would give free soda to the masses.

O.K., that was the good news. The bad news is that the U.S. government has had to step in and rescue Citigroup. Wall Street likes the deal; the Dow Jones industrial average is up 300 points as I write this.

But just remember folks, the Wall Street brokers, bankers, and hedge fund managers aren’t funding this bailout — you and I are.

Looking for the cosmic take on these turn of events? Me too. Well, since the Sun, Mercury, Mars, and Pluto are all in Sagittarius right now, that would certainly favor Dr. Pepper since Sagittarius likes spice. Ditto for guns and Chinese democracy, even if it’s the musical kind.

The Dr. Pepper/democracy hookup reminds me of a post I wrote on the Saturn/Uranus opposition earlier this year, when I was reminiscing about how beverage makers piled on to the revolutionary bandwagon in the 1960s, the last time that we had a Saturn/Uranus opposition.

Stay tuned.

The Last Days of Pluto in Sag

I don’t know about you, but I’m counting the days until Pluto leaves Sagittarius on Nov. 26. Of course, my Mars is at 29 degrees of Sag and with Pluto sitting on it, I feel like I’m literally under the gun.

Speaking of guns, evidently there’s been a huge increase in sales of firearms and ammunition since Barack Obama was elected. Here’s an article from a newspaper in Elmira, N.Y., about the surge, which merchants attribute to fears that there will be new restrictions on gun ownership.

Sagittarius is the sign associated with the cowboy, so I think it’s fitting that folks are stocking up on guns and ammo in the last few days of Pluto’s transit through the sign. I know, cowboys carry a lasso, not a gun. I guess I saw too many movies about the trigger-happy Wild West when I was growing up.

Another Sag archetype is the pirate, and today it was reported that Somali pirates hijacked $100 million worth of Saudi oil.

I think we’ll be hearing more about cowboys and Indians during the next few days as Pluto takes his last ride in Sag before moving into the sober sign of Capricorn.

Any other Pluto in Sag sightings? Let Astrology Mundo hear about them.

Spending is Out; Saving is In

A friend of mine who works in marketing and PR asked me how Pluto in Capricorn, which begins on Nov. 27 and lasts until 2024, is going to be different from Pluto in Sagittarius, which began in 1995. She wants to know how she should change her media pitches.

The bottom line is: Most magazine and newspaper articles during Pluto in Sag were about how to spend money or speculate, or profiled people who were big spenders or big givers (generosity is a key Sag trait).

By contrast, most of the coverage in the consumer and business press during Pluto in Cap will focus on how to save money in all kinds of ways and will lionize those who are good at it. Cheapskates, this is your moment to shine!

Here’s what I’m talking about: My friend Barb tells me in Buffalo the daily newspaper has changed the name of its Technology section (Monday’s business front) to Money Smarts, which includes a weekly column by the “Discount Diva.”

During Pluto in Sag, we had lots of money but no time. Now, we’re going to have plenty of time but no money. Life is going to S-L-O-W down perceptibly, regardless of what the Mayan Code folks say.

Instead of paying other folks to do stuff for us, like raise our kids, clean our houses, and plant our gardens, we’re going to do it ourselves.

Finally — you’re not going to believe this — duty is going to make a comeback!

I’m talking about quiet, honorable duty, not pride or aggression masquerading as duty.

John McCain, Father of Indian Casino Gambling?

Whether you like a 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. birth time for John McCain, he’s got Jupiter in high-rolling Sagittarius in the second house of resources.

As stern Saturn at 15 degrees of Virgo squares that Jupiter exactly, The New York Times has exposed McCain’s close ties to the Indian gaming industry. Here’s the Times story.

I got my lead from Salon.

Like McCain, I have Jupiter in Sagittarius, but mine is in the third house of communications. So instead of ending up with a lot of money, I’ve ended up with a lot of words, both here and elsewhere. No complaints.

Under Pluto in Sagittarius, gambling has become serious problem for many people in this country, some of whom have run the nation’s financial institutions into the ground. So I don’t want to make light of the issue or of any politician’s close ties to lobbyists.

Still, as someone who likes to buy a lottery ticket or spin a roulette wheel every once in a while, I can relate to being chastised for indulging in games of chance.

I’m reserving further comment on this one other than to say the Lord may work in mysterious ways, but Saturn doesn’t. He kicks your butt, man! Just ask John McCain.

For the Love of Knut

I’ve been chatting with friends over the past couple of days and they’re really broken up about the Sept. 22 death of Berlin zookeeper Thomas Doerflein, known to millions throughout the world as the “father” of Knut the polar bear.

Knut was born Dec. 5, 2006 in the Berlin Zoo and was rejected by his mother. Doerflein reportedly spent 150 days around the clock feeding, bathing, and sleeping next to Knut. (Rhymes with “cute,” depending your accent.) Here’s a video about “Cute Knut” and his human daddy, for you animal lovers out there.

When Knut was introduced to zoo visitors on Mar. 23, 2007, he created an international sensation dubbed “Knutmania.” Doerflein was deluged with fan mail from around the world, including proposals of marriage, and was later awarded Berlin’s Medal of Merit, according to the Wiki.

As Knut grew larger, the hoopla died down, though not before he sparked a souvenir industry based on his image as a playful club frolicking with his “father” Doerflein.

I couldn’t find any birth data for Doerflein, who died of a heart attack at age 44, but I did find a birthday for Knut. I’ve run Knut’s chart, courtesy of Astrodienst, with transits for the day he made his “debut.”

He was born with a stellium in Sagittarius that includes Jupiter/Sun/Venus/Pluto, a powerful lineup that’s perfect for a media (Sag) darling. I’ve set the chart for noon because we don’t know Knut’s time of birth.

Interestingly, the noon time produces a horoscope with Neptune in Aquarius on the Ascendant, which might have some validity given the number of times Knut’s picture was taken and transmitted around the world on the Internet. (Neptune rules photography, while Aquarius is associated with electronic networks such as the Internet.)

On the day that Knut was presented to the public by Doerflein, transiting Sun in Aries was trining the cute cub’s Jupiter, transiting Jupiter was conjunct his natal Venus, and transiting Mars was on natal Neptune. A star was born!

Here’s a wild coincidence. Do you know what other “orphan” who became a worldwide celebrity has a stellium in Sagittarius? Elián González, who was born Dec. 6, the day after Knut, but not the same year. You may recall that the Cuban boy became the subject of a legal and diplomatic tug-of-war between the U.S. and Cuba in 2000.

Of course, Elián was born in 1993, not 2006, like Knut. And Elián’s mother didn’t reject him; she probably sacrificed her life on their trip from Cuba so that he could live. But both the boy and the bear have charts that were activated by Pluto in Sag, which has to do with powerful communications. Here’s Elián’s chart, courtesy of AstroDataBank.

Earlier this year, I wrote about Elián, now a teenager living with his father in Cuba, after he was chosen to deliver a speech in honor of the 80th anniversary of the birth of Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

International fame made Knut the polar bear “addicted” to publicity and a “psychopath,” according to one of his keepers (not Doerflein). Life in the limelight can do strange things to bears and people. It is hoped that Elian’s brush with fame did not have a crippling effect on his psyche.

Marjorie Orr on the Financial Meltdown

As readers of this blog know, I’m a great admirer of British astrologer Marjorie Orr. She has done an excellent analysis of what’s behind the current financial meltdown.

While the mainstream press would have us believe that major financial institutions are collapsing because of the housing downturn, the reality is more complex than that.

Massive fees have been earned by folks whom I’ll call “financial engineers” during the past few years by peddling exotic derivatives such as credit default swaps. Evidently Wall Street didn’t really understand the risk involved in these unregulated instruments. Marjorie gets it.

Because of the way her Web site is set up, with scrolling comments, I asked Marjorie for permission to quote her comments on “snake oil salesmen” here. The piece was written before today’s 449.36 drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, to 10,609.66. You can read more at her Web site.

Here’s Marjorie:

It’s very easy to get hysterical about a financial meltdown with the oversensationalized media getting all hyped up, though yesterday in fact only took a few percentages off the stock market rather than the freefall which followed the 1929 crash. And stock markets anyway are not the “real” economy though there will be negative consequences filtering through into ordinary peoples’ lives.

Astrologically speaking the 1929 crash and depression following was due partly to Neptune moving out of overblown Leo (the Roaring Twenties) into earthy Virgo undermining employment prospects; with Saturn in late Sagittarius moving towards bleaker times in Capricorn heading for a really tough opposition to Pluto in Cancer bringing deprivation and squaring Uranus in Aries in the early 1930s.
[NOTE FROM AM: We're heading for this same T-square in 2010.]

Pluto in Cancer altered family life and changed the status of women, pulling them away from their primary role as homemakers with a tremendous upheaval from Uranus square Pluto. It was largely caused, as is this crisis, by irresponsible lending to Americans hoping to make their fortune on the stock market. The banks lent more than they possessed and the bubble burst with catastrophic results for the next decade.

What has been intriguing me is to work out from the astrology what has been going on in the financial sector this time round. Part of it is irresponsible lending. But the real problem which could lead to banks going bust and people losing their savings – is the ramping up of debt in schemes of mind-boggling complexity which leveraged the original debt into stratospheric proportions, paying the money men percentages all the way up the line.

And it also interlinked all the banks since they laid debt off to each other, so if one goes down the domino effect kicks in. Warren Buffett in 2002 called these schemes “financial weapons of mass destruction – time bombs, both for the parties that deal in them and the economic system.”

There’s a feel here of megalomania, delusional disregard for reality – like the myth of Icarus who flew too high and burnt his artificial wings and discovered the hard way that he was not a god but an earth-bound human. That was there in the 1929 crash – gambling borrowed money to make profits on the markets without having to work for it – which does have a fire sign or afflicted Jupiterian feel about it.

But this time round there’s an additional sense of a hellish enmeshing, a deadly spider’s web of delusions, deviousness, and trickery which adds a Plutonic layer – or worse Pluto pumping its power-driven energy to vastly inflate the bubble. It’s almost Neptune/Pluto – too high and too low at the same time, except it isn’t around at the moment.

These high risk financial debt-offsetting schemes have been around forever, but only grew to prominence with deregulation through the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The 70s/80s had Neptune and then Uranus in fiery innovative Sagittarius (Sagittarius ruled by Jupiter doesn’t like limits). The 80s/early 90s had greed and power driven Pluto in Scorpio; plus the Saturn/Uranus/Neptune triple conjunction in business-oriented Capricorn which brought the first correction to the markets in the crash of 1987.

Whether this year’s end-of-the-line meltdown could be attributed in part to Pluto just leaving Sagittarius (1995 to 2008) isn’t clear. It’s certainly Pluto in a fire sign though its meaning has usually been confined to fanatical religious beliefs. Arguably Pluto just pushed the boat out too far in fiery, risk-taking Sagittarius – snake oil salesmen running amok.

Perhaps Pluto’s early foray into Capricorn (February to June 08) was a trigger to start clearing out the mess (purging being a Pluto effect) that the Triple Conjunction in Capricorn in late 80s/early 90s began but couldn’t quite get a grip on.

Pluto in its negative aspect is highly enmeshed, very secretive, controlling, stops change but eventually gets so constipated it silts up with toxins and self destructs. (The financial world ever flamboyant in its language is talking now of ”toxic debts” running into trillions of dollars/pounds.) In its positive aspect Pluto clears away garbage, deconstructs outdated attitudes and systems, reduces old power structures to ashes in preparation for the phoenix to arise. In the process it necessarily has to disentangle or destroy the spider’s web of the old controls.

What is scary about the present financial crisis is how interlinked it all is – a few poor folk down Missouri way were lent too much money to buy houses and suddenly every financial market in the world is in a state of nervous collapse. Capitalism will have a very different face come the middle of the next decade.

Isn’t that an amazing analysis? Thanks, Marjorie, for letting me reprint it here at Astrology Mundo.

Beth Turnage on the Burning of a Black Church

Most New Yorkers, when they hear the name “Wappingers Falls,” flash back to 1987, when Tawana Brawley, a black teen, alleged that she had been kidnapped and raped by six white men in the small town outside of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Although Tawana enlisted the help of the Reverend Al Sharpton, a civil rights leader, and won the support of African-American activists nationwide, the whole story turned out to be a hoax cooked up by a troubled teen, and the town of Wappingers Falls got caught up in the ignominy.

Wappingers Falls recently was in the news again after a Baptist church under construction for a mostly black congregation burned down in May under mysterious circumstances.

Nobody does true crime astrology better than Beth Turnage so I asked Beth to be the “investigator” on the case. I was interested in whether the fire, which the police have determined to be arson, was racially motivated.

In the mid-nineties, as Pluto went into Sagittarius, there was an epidemic of black church burnings, mostly in the southern United States. Churches are still being burned, though the issue has faded from the headlines, and gets lumped in with other hate crimes in reports compiled by various civil rights groups.

Some conservative commenters have even dismissed the church burnings of the mid-Nineties as a figment of the liberal imagination, just as there are those who insist the Holocaust was a myth.

Beth has done a wonderful job of using astrology to analyze why the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church of Wappingers Falls went up in flames.

Thanks, Beth! I owe you big time.

As an Army brat, I’m quite thankful to Beth for her recent astrological investigation of a murder near Fort Bragg, N.C., the home of the 82nd Airborne Div., which was my father’s “home” post. Airborne, for you civilians out there, means men and women who jump from planes and helicopters wearing parachutes.

Beth hangs her hat at Astrology Explored. You can read her posts about the murder of Second Lieutenant Holley Wimunc by her estranged husband here and here.

This is not the place for a full-blown editorial on the unrealistic demands our government is placing on U.S. servicemen and women and their families by sending them on multiple tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan. However, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that murder, spouse abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, and post-traumatic stress syndrome are the end result of these actions. (For those who suspect I know of what I speak, you’re absolutely right.)

Of course, the murder of Holley Wimunc could have been motivated by nothing more than the age-old story: “If I can’t have her, no one else will.”

Beth, I’m hoping you’ll weigh in on this one. I haven’t done enough research to know whether Wimunc or her husband, Marine Corporal John Wimunc, had been deployed prior to the murder.

Reverend Wright Redux

I’ve got to hand it to my commenter Chris. Earlier this year, when I wrote about the parting of the ways between Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama and his minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Chris had this to say:

“I expect some intensification when Pluto backs up to square Wright’s Sun and Barack’s Mars. Is it just a matter of time until the next you-tube sermon from Wright equating Barack to the Prodigal Son? Perhaps they’ll be a firecracker exploding soon relating to the Obamas and marriage counseling or tax-deductible donations made by Obama to Wright’s congregation.”

The comment ended up in the About section of this blog, not under my post about Reverend Wright.

Chris was prescient in his observation that Wright would be back in the news. Pluto has just turned direct and is moving to once more square Wright’s 29 degree Virgo Sun. He’s making headlines today because Elizabeth Payne, the secretary of a Dallas church run by one of Wright’s disciples, told the New York Post, she had an affair with the clergyman.

Assuming this allegations are true, perhaps Reverend Wright decided that Oscar Wilde was right after all: The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.

Way to go, Chris!

Pluto Direct in Sagittarius: Yanking the Yakkers

O.K., let me say up front that I get nearly all of my news from mainstream media Web sites and independent blogs. I disconnected my cable TV about a week ago because there’s so much streaming video on the Net.

But I’m shocked that MSNBC has yanked talking heads Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann as political news anchors. Some of my friends who supported Hillary Clinton’s Presidential bid won’t be unhappy about this decision, that’s for sure.

There’s speculation that comments about Palin led to the team’s demotion. But why was it O.K. for them to put Hillary through the wringer?

As an astrological commentator, I’m going to note that this muzzling of the media is occurring as Pluto turning direct in Sagittarius for its final pass. For those who say that Matthews and Olbermann weren’t impartial, I ask: Who is?

I’m going to leave you with these words from John Mayer:

Now if we had the power
To bring our neighbors home from war
They would have never missed a Christmas
No more ribbons on their door
And when you trust your television
What you get is what you got
Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want

That’s why we’re waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

Staying Abreast of Big Media

I love astrological symbolism. A little background first. The sign of Cancer rules breasts while Sagittarius has dominion over sports, including the Super Bowl, and media like CBS. A quincunx is the 150-degree aspect that astrologer Eric Francis says has a “wild card” feeling.

So as the Sun in Cancer quincunxes Pluto in Sagittarius, we get the news that a federal appeals court has tossed out the $550,000 fine imposed by the Federal Communications Commission on CBS after Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed by a “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl. You gotta love it!

Here’s a link to an AP story: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D922AN0O1.htm

For more on the ramifications of Sun in Cancer quincunx Pluto in Sag, check out Francis at PlanetWaves Daily: http://feeds.feedburner.com/PlanetWavesDaily

It’s good to know that a Cancer country like the U.S. can stomach the fleeting sight of a bare breast on national TV.