The Amazing Calvin Borel

Nobody likes a Monday Morning Quarterback, but I can’t resist weighing in on the Kentucky Derby, which took place on Saturday, May 2.

I’m a huge Derby fan from way back, but I decided not to watch this year. I got seriously spooked when the filly Eight Belles, who placed second last year, was euthanized immediately after the race.

Readers of Astrology Mundo may recall that I picked jockey Calvin Borel, who won the Derby two years ago, as part of my trifecta for last year. Borel didn’t disappoint; he ended up placing third, riding Denis of Cork.

Imagine my surprise when I opened Sunday’s paper to discover the Louisiana native had won this year’s Run for the Roses, riding Mine That Bird, at 50-1 odds.

Borel’s a Scorpio, with the Sun conjunct Venus, and has a stellium in Virgo. He was born Nov. 7, 1966 in St. Martinsville, La. You can see his chart with transits of May 2 here, courtesy of Astrodienst.

The time of birth is unknown, but I’m wondering if his Midheaven or Ascendant isn’t picking up the transiting lineup of planets in late Aquarius — Jupiter, Neptune, and Chiron.

Also, the transiting North Node in Aquarius is opposing Borel’s Jupiter in Leo, a nice signature for winning (Jupiter) in front of a large group (North Node).


Jim Boeheim’s Neptune Transit

Longtime Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim is a 25-degree Scorpio conjunct Mars. Right now, transiting Neptune and Chiron are squaring Boeheim’s dynamic duo.

Normally, I’d say Neptune leads to disappointment and not to get your hopes up if you’re an Orange fan about SU’s chances against Oklahoma in the NCAA tournament.

However, the square that Neptune and Chiron are making to Boeheim’s Sun/Mars conjunction has manifested in recognition for his philanthropic work. So maybe it won’t show up as a crushing defeat at the hands of Oklahoma.

Here’s Boeheim’s chart, courtesy of Astrodienst.

The New York Times has a profile on its home page right now about the involvement of Boeheim and his wife Juli in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament. The headline is: “Boeheim the Coach Outdone by Boeheim the Fund-Raiser.” Kind of a back-handed compliment, the kind you expect when the Wounded Healer Chiron is in the picture.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on Boeheim Friday as Syracuse faces the Sooners and the coach goes for his 800th win of his career.

Astrologers will love this factoid: Boeheim, a Scorpio (rules death), is an undertaker’s son. He was born Nov. 17, 1944 in Lyons, N.Y. According to my calculations (no time of birth is known), his progressed Sun has just moved into Aquarius.

In the name of disclosure, I am an SU grad.

Paul Farmer: A Hero of Haiti and Health Care

Lois Rodden’s AstroDataBank is featuring Dr. Paul Farmer as its latest Newsmaker. The American-born doctor is world famous for his belief that health care is a right, not a privilege. He put his conviction into action by founding a free hospital in the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, Haiti.

Farmer’s nonprofit Partners in Health has also brought free health care to Rwanda.

Here’s the link to Farmer’s chart:

Farmer was profiled by Tracy Kidder in The New Yorker and was the subject of Kidder’s book, Mountains Beyond Mountains. The Harvard Medical School graduate has been a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grant” and donated the $250,000 cash prize to Partners in Health. If you’re interested in the work of this foundation, click here to learn more:

I’m not surprised to see that Farmer, born Oct. 26, 1959 at 7:59 a.m. in North Adams, Mass., has a Sun/Mars/Neptune conjunction in intense Scorpio in the 12th house, which rules hospitals and other institutions. He is a champion of society’s downtrodden and forgotten.

Let’s look at the connections between the chart of Farmer and that of Haiti, which is here, courtesy of Astrodienst.

The main aspects that I see: Farmer’s North Node, at 3 degrees of Libra, is smack on Haiti’s Saturn, while his Sun, at 3 degrees of Scorpio, is conjunct Haiti’s Jupiter.

Translation: Farmer has a karmic connection with Haiti that he’s fulfilling through his hospital. The desperate circumstances in Haiti, which is struggling with poverty, deforestation, and political instability exacerbated by U.S. interference alternating with neglect, is quite satisfying to the doctor, who thrives on life-and-death situations.

Remembering Bobby Kennedy, 40 Years Later

Last night, I started doing research for a post on the 40th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s death, which is today.

I read a moving piece in the New York Daily News by his daughter, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, and then I started reading the comments. I turned off my computer when I got to this one, posted by arizonarick:

“kennedy townsend didn’t really know her father the way other people knew him. did she realize, for example, that robert kennedy was sharing marilyn monroe’s bed, along with his brother john f. kennedy? did she realize her father had a reputation as a vicious man with an ambition that soared even beyond john f. kennedy? and did she realize that his ambition may have cost him his life after he made his unrelenting attacks on the teamster’s union, jimmy hoffa and other union leaders in an attempt to gain publicity for his role as a law and order attorney general? and did she realize that robert kennedy’s efforts may have been the catalyst that got JFK killed in dallas on that fateful day in 1963? obviously not from the tone of this article…but then again it is a daughter talking about a father she obviously loved and didn’t really understand.”

It’s probably a mistake to dignify this man’s views by reprinting them here, but I decided to address his opinions directly, to bring the dark into the light the way RFK did. Arizonarick’s post is a reminder of how facts can be twisted. In my opinion, it also reflects the benighted attitude that many Americans have about morality.

As I was falling asleep last night, I started thinking to myself, “Well, what if some of these accusations are true? Do they wipe out all the good that Bobby Kennedy tried to accomplish in his life? What about bringing to light the injustice in this country, and visiting areas that had been long ignored by politicians and the government, namely the mining areas of Appalachia?”

I was wondering if arizonarick would still think Mother Teresa was a saint if he had heard that she pocketed some change that had been given to her order. Obviously, she would never have done something like that. Still, I wonder why people are so willing to throw the baby out with the bath water, to focus on a person’s flaws and totally write off the good in his character.

I’m way out of my depth here. This is an arena for theologians, philosophers, and ethicists, not armchair astrologers. 

Suffice it to say that Bobby Kennedy was a Scorpio, which rules everything that is hidden, including natural resources. So it’s fascinating that he showed solidarity with the miners who help extract coal from the earth. (In the spirit of disclosure, I am the granddaughter of a Pennsylvania coal miner, so clearly his efforts in this area resonate with me.)

Scorpio and its planetary ruler Pluto also govern the realm of hidden power. Certainly, the mob and labor had a lot of that in the 1960s. These two groups attracted RFK’s attention when he served as U.S. Attorney General and later when he presented New York State in the Senate.

Arizonarick may indeed be right. Bobbby’s efforts to fight organized crime may well have cost him and his brother, President John F. Kennedy, their lives. Maybe one day we’ll learn what really happened.

As a Scorpio, RFK was destined to explore the depths of human experience. That tendency could have extended to his personal life. Sexuality is another area ruled by Scorpio that is mostly kept hidden from public view, except when it’s being used to manipulate consumers and sell cars, alcohol, cigarettes, toothpaste, you name it.

I think we astrologers are lucky to have such a wonderful tool for understanding all the different sides of a person. Here’s Bobby’s chart, courtesy of StarIQ:

I’ll muse on the chart later. In the meantime, here is a link to a wonderful photo essay from a new book, A Time It Was: Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties, a collaboration of writer Pete Hamill and photographer Bill Eppridge that has been released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of RFK’s death.

If you have time, study the expressions on the faces of the people who surround RFK:

Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Child Stars

Today’s news that Tatum O’Neal has been arrested for trying to buy drugs is just the latest evidence that it’s tough to grow up normal if you were a child star, not that we needed anymore proof.

Here’s the link to a brief Reuters story:

Quick, name one child star who didn’t grow up to be a problem adult, fighting drug and alcohol addiction, racking up multiple marriages, having frequent run-ins with the law.

I actually can name one: Ron Howard, who managed to make the transition from playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show to portraying Richie Cunningham on Happy Days to becoming an Oscar-winning director of such films as Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind.

Howard married his high school sweetheart, Cheryl Alley, in 1975 and they’re still together. He wisely chose to raise his family in Connecticut rather than subjecting them to the harsh glare and temptations of Tinseltown.

Such is the power of watching TV as a child that I was thinking to myself as I was writing this post, “Well, of course, Ron is such a nice guy, he grew up in Mayberry.” Well, Howard probably did come of age on the make-believe set of Mayberry. Being a malleable Pisces, he may have absorbed all those good American small-town values as he memorized the lines for the TV show.

O.K. Enough about my infatuation with Opie. Back to Tatum O’Neal, another icon of my childhood. She has written about her heroin addiction in the past, so it’s not news that she’s struggled with drugs. Her arrest is just another entry in the Child Star Hall of Shame that runs the gamut from Mickey Rooney marrying seven times (I’ve been married twice, for the record) to Michael Jackson’s creepy search for his lost childhood with kiddie sleepovers at Neverland to Britney’s nervous breakdowns and the loss of custody of her own children.

O’Neal became youngest actor ever to win an Oscar in 1974, for her performance in Paper Moon, a book that I adored when I first read it as a teenager.

Here’s O’Neal’s chart, from a Web site that features scantily clad babes in a come-hither stance. Here’s your chance to find your soul mate from Ukraine:

Ah, the Internet ads we have to put up with to get a free natal chart.

O’Neal is a Scorpio, born Nov. 5, 1963. A cursory glance at her natal chart doesn’t show any exact transits to indicate a run-in with the law. This is where progressions and midpoints come in handy. Somebody out there is probably going to e-mail me that transiting Pluto is sesquiquadrate O’Neal’s Saturn/Mars midpoint, or somesuch.

Please look at the chart and let me know what you think is happening to her right now.

Hillary’s Finest Hour

I’m sitting in the Houston airport with my back to the TV. I’m not sure what time American Idol comes on in this time zone (what time zone am in, anyway?) so I assumed that the deafening applause I just heard was for the two Davids competing on tonight’s Idol. I was wrong. The noise came from supporters of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton before she delivered her victory speech in Kentucky.

Throughout the campaign, when friends have asked me who I think will win the Democratic nomination, I’ve consistently said I don’t know. However, I’ve always been sure that the worse things looked for Hillary, the better she would perform. Why? Because she’s a Scorpio, and natives of this sign don’t give up until they’re dead.

Hillary  was born Oct. 26, 1947 in Chicago. Her birth time hasn’t been confirmed, but StarIQ’s Michael WolfStar uses an 8 a.m. time. Here’s the chart:  

Pundits such as New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd have commented on Hillary’s shape-shifting on the campaign trail. I think that has been due to transiting Neptune in Aquarius squaring her Mercury in Scorpio and forming the fourth part of a grand fixed cross in her chart. If she had become what Dowd dubbed “the Scranton gal” earlier this year, she might have sewn up the nomination by tapping into the rising frustration of working-class voters as Saturn transits Virgo.

She’s become so much more comfortable in her skin over the past couple of months. I’m glad she ditched the black pantsuits that she wore during her New York senatorial campaign for more flattering jewel colors. (No, I don’t think it’s sexist to comment on what a candidate, male or female, is wearing in a campaign that is so image-driven.) I really wanted to believe her last night when she declared, “As Kentucky goes, so goes the nation.” But I don’t think she really believed it herself. It was a joke she was sharing with us.

Even though we don’t have a time of birth for Hillary, many astrologers are expecting her to drop out of the campaign when transiting Uranus hits her Moon in Aquarius, which could be any day now, depending on what chart you’re using for her. Today, transiting Uranus in Pisces is sextile Jupiter in Capricorn, lighting up Hillary’s natal Moon in Pisces and electrifying her Mercury in Scorpio.  Her star has never shined as brightly. But is it a shooting star?

Laura Bush Takes the Lead on Myanmar

Laura Bush is a private person, but I know that she’s a force to be reckoned with. Of course she is: Like the previous First Lady, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush is one tough Scorpio.

I’m not a political animal by any means, but my impression is that Laura Bush has been largely silent during her stay in the White House. The only thing that I can recall her being vocal about is the importance of reading, a subject near and dear to me, by the way, but one that is hardly controversial.

I don’t know who made the executive decision, but the First Lady has suddenly emerged as the point person on the devastating cyclone in Myanmar, the country that used to be called Burma. In between handling the last-minute details on daughter Jenna’s Texas wedding this weekend, she held a press conference at the White House today.

Bush accused Myanmar’s military regime of not doing enough to notify citizens about Cyclone Nargis so they could evacuate. She announced that on May 6 President George W. Bush will award the Congressional Gold Medal to imprisoned Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Laureate. The First lady said the award is a way to “let the people of Burma know that the United States is standing with them.”

In astrology, secondary progressions help us understand how a person’s life unfolds, but I generally look for a strong transit or lunation, especially an eclipse, to thrust someone onto the public stage.

It appears this morning’s New Moon in Taurus occurred quite close to Bush’s Ascendant. It sextiled her compassionate Pisces Moon and formed a T-square with her natal Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Leo and Jupiter/Sun conjunction in Scorpio.

Here’s Laura Bush’s chart, courtesy of AstroDataBank:

Perhaps the magnitude of the suffering — at least 22,000 dead and a military regime that is dragging its heels in accepting U.S. and other international aid — was too much for her to take. I know she has been an outspoken critic of the country’s junta in the past, but this seems to be her most visible effort to date to support Myanmar’s oppressed people.

If you look at this clip of her White House press conference (, she appears to be quite serious and in no mood for political games.

I knew Laura Bush was more than a mousy librarian. But I wonder whose decision it was to put her front and center at a time when America’s international image has been sullied by the war in Iraq, the use of torture in interrogating terrorist suspects, and an arrogant, ignorant attitude toward global warming, to name just a few of our black eyes.

I’m happy to see Laura taking the lead, but I can’t help wondering why her husband isn’t up there. Maybe it’s difficult for him to talk about anything without smirking and making jokes. Who knows? Maybe Laura Bush is taking control. I hope so. I trust her judgment a helluva lot more than her husband’s.

Lorena Ochoa: Our Lady of Golf

Some of you may remember that I put forth the theory in my Gabriel Byrne post (“On the Couch with Gabriel Byrne,” Apr. 16) that people often end up in the news or get an extra shot of publicity on their birthday, give or take a day. This morning, I was reading The New York Times profile about Lorena Ochoa, who is being hailed as one of the greatest Mexican golfers of all time — male or female. 

Here’s the link:

I can read the story because I’m signed in to the Times Web site. I hope you can read it too. The article about Ochoa’s hot streak reminded me that I’ve been meaning to look up her birthday. She was in Rancho Mirage, near where I’m staying in Palm Springs, earlier this month for the Kraft Nabsico Championship, which she won by five shots.

The Times noted that in a week dominated by news from the men’s Masters tournament, Ochoa won the Corona Championship in her home country of Mexico and qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame at the age of 26.  By doing a little surfing on the Net, I’ve learned that Ochoa was born in Guadalajara on Nov. 15, 1981. She’s a focused Scorpio with great financial acumen. Here’s the chart, courtesy of Astrodienst:

So here’s the birthday stuff. I found a press release on the Net dated Nov. 14, 2007, the day before Ochoa’s birthday:

It announced that the Ladies Professional Golf Assn. (LPGA)  has added the 2008 Lorena Ochoa Invitational to its schedule and that it will be played from Nov. 13-16 at Ochoa’s home course, the Guadalajara Country Club. So the tournament was announced the day before her birthday last year and Ochoa will be playing in her namesake competition on her birthday this year.

I rest my case! Stuff happens around people’s birthdays.

Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam are the only two players to currently host and title their own LPGA Tour event. And it’s only the 15th time in the LPGA’s nearly 60-year history that an event has been named for a person. Viva Ochoa! Viva Mexico!

I like to have fun with words so I’m playing off Our Lady of Guadalupe, the protectress of Mexicans everywhere, in my headline to this post. I hope no one thinks I’m commiting a sacrilege here. After all, Our Lady of Guadalupe ends up on T-shirts, candles, soap, and car windshields, so I think it’s O.K. if she serves as the inspiration for my headline.

With a Moon in Cancer at the Midheaven, I’ve been a Marian ever since I was able to read about Our Lady of Fatima. I’ve been fascinated by the Black Madonna shrines around the world and was really moved when I was able to visit one in Montserrat, Spain, on Mother’s Day, no less, in 1996.

Georgia On My Mind

New Mexico is a place that I — and millions of other art lovers around the world — will forever associate with Georgia O’Keeffe. Although she was born on a dairy farm in Sun Prairie, Wis. in 1887, O’Keeffe adopted New Mexico as her home. She began spending summers there in 1929 and bought her first New Mexico home in 1940 on the Ghost Ranch. Five years later, she moved to the hamlet of Abiquiu.

Along with D.H. Lawrence, O’Keeffe helped put New Mexico on the map as a mystical oasis where artists could be left alone to work in peace. Both Lawrence and O’Keeffe were friends with Mabel Dodge Luhan, an art-loving socialite who had a ranch in New Mexico, and both faced criticism for the eroticism of their work.

Lawrence only spent two years in New Mexico (1924-26) and died in 1930 at age 45. O’Keeffe lived to the ripe old age of 98, due to — or in spite of — (depending on who you talk to) the efforts of Juan Hamilton, a mysterious drifter who became her companion in 1973, while Pluto was hanging around her Venus.

Hamilton was also an artist in his own right and his sculpture shows in New York won kudos from critics in The New York Times and elsewhere. Over the years, there was much speculation about the nature of their relationship. Was it mother/son, guru/follower, master/slave?

I think one reason why there’s so much interest in the Hamilton/O’Keeffe collaboration is that it’s the opposite of the Pygmalion tale. Here, the female is the mentor and the male is the protégé. Whatever the relationship was — and it probably evolved over the years — there’s no question that Hamilton was a Plutonian influence in O’Keeffe’s life, controlling access to her and her art.

Although she was an outsider, O’Keeffe made her peace with the Abiquiu locals by gaining the imprimatur of the padre and building a community center for the village’s residents. Many dismissed her as a bruja or witch, but ultimately O’Keeffe gained respect by keeping to herself. New Mexicans like their privacy and as a Scorpio, O’Keeffe was no different from the locals in that respect. 

Only a Scorpio with an instinctive understanding of death could transform a cattle skull into such an icon of Southwestern art that it would become an acceptable piece of home decor, whether in a Taos ranch or a Soho loft. Many of the tchotchkes that are peddled to tourists visiting New Mexico can be traced back to O’Keeffe’s art, which is housed in its own museum in Santa Fe:  

In addition to a Scorpio sun, O’Keeffe had Jupiter in Scorpio, which ultimately brought her substantial material wealth. The Sun/Jupiter conjunction could also symbolize teaching, which is one way that O’Keefe earned a living until photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who became her husband, helped her find buyers for her art. Here’s her chart:

Early in her career, O’Keeffe’s bisexuality and alleged focus on female genitalia in her art generated scandal. Toward the end of her life, in the free-wheeling Seventies, her sexually charged art was celebrated, as were her idiosyncrasies. There are numerous biographies of O’Keeffe. I particularly enjoyed Jeffrey Hogrefe’s “O’Keeffe: The Life of an American Legend.” It’s a bit trashy, but Hogrefe succeeded where many other biographers failed, by getting interviews with the elusive Hamilton.

Throughout her life, O’Keeffe was reported to have gone into trance-like states. This shows up very clearly in her chart with Neptune in Taurus nearly exactly opposing Moon/Mercury in Scorpio. It’s interesting that the wide open landscapes (Taurus) of the West, which she first discovered as a schoolteacher in Texas, often triggered these trances.

There’s a reason why New Mexico’s official nickname is the “Land of Enchantment.” People become absolutely besotted with the place and its never-ending horizons, which I believe on a psychological level must symbolize endless opportunity. Still, the relationship between the newcomers, who are almost always Anglos, and the locals, some of whom can trace their ancestry back to 18th-century Spanish royalty, is not always a happy one.

Please don’t make the mistake of calling New Mexico’s longtime residents “Mexicans.” They didn’t come over the border yesterday; they got to their mesa or arroyo long before the U.S. Calvary. I’m not making any judgments about skin tone or nationality here. I’m merely stating a fact.

Of course, the REAL natives can escape from the gringos by retreating to the rez, and lately have been accumulating undreamed of wealth, thanks to the expansion of Indian gaming. In New Mexico, as elsewhere, Indian-owned casinos have become full-fledged entertainment centers, with concerts, golf courses, and great food, along with the slot machines. A modern-day El Dorado, some would argue.