Catching Up on the Astrodienst-AstroDataBank Merger

I’m late on this. Out the Comet’s Ass tipped me off to it, though I had been noticing a new birthdays feature on Astrodienst. Anyway, in case you haven’t heard, all of the AstroDataBank charts that have been lovingly compiled over the years by the late Lois Rodden and her followers are now available FREE (I use caps sparingly) at Astrodienst.

Here’s a story from Astrodienst’s Web site explaining how it’s going to work. I wish I could come up with a great metaphor to describe what this means for the astrological community, but being a Sag-y type, I’ll go with the old saw, “It’s the greatest thing since night baseball.”

I don’t know what this means for the folks who were working at AstroDataBank. Does anybody know?


Introducing the AstroWiki

I’ve just stumbled upon Astrodienst’s latest innovation: the AstroWiki. It’s a place to learn about astrology and to educate others. You can find out more about the AstroWiki here.

Rather than starting from scratch, Zurich-based Astrodienst acquired the right to republish the content of two astrological encyclopedias published in Germany. They have been translated into English by the astrological services firm.

This is a fantastic resource for the astrological community. Thanks, Astrodienst!

Dixville Notch Has Spoken: Obama Wins!

In the New Hampshire hamlet called Dixville Notch, where voting began at 12:01 a.m. today, Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama won with 15 votes, vs. six for Republican John McCain.

According to media reports, it’s the first time the town has voted Democratic in 40 years. That would take us back to 1968, when Republican Richard Nixon was elected. The Saturn/Uranus opposition of the mid-1960s was no longer exact in Pisces/Virgo on Election Day in 1968, but the two planets were still broadly opposed in Aries and Libra.

Over at Astrodienst, Obama’s personal horoscope for today reads: “You are inclined to make big plans and set long-range goals under this influence as well as to examine the goals you already have. The advantage you have now is your ability to see the whole picture and to think in terms of large structures.”

For McCain, Astrodienst has this to say: “Your energy level will be high, perhaps too high if you are not careful. Watch for signs of irritable impatience with others whenever things do not go exactly as you planned.”

Who do you think will win the election? I’m still canvassing for votes in the official Astrology Mundo Presidential poll so I can compare the political leanings of astrologers to the nation at large.

We’ve had some comments lately about Dixville Notch. Also on the comments front, I accidentally deleted two that I know of — one from Sasha about the death of her Little Bear and another from Jude at Jude’s Threshold. Many apologies!

What Time Was Orson Welles Born?

I’ve long been fascinated by actor/director Orson Welles. Right now, I’m reading a wonderful biography of him published in 1995, Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu, by Simon Callow.

Like many epicurians, Welles was born under the sign of Taurus, the same sign as William Randolph Hearst, the media mogul who was the inspiration for Welles’ epic film Citizen Kane.

Here’s what’s interesting. Many astrology Web sites, including Astrotheme of France, show Welles being born at 7 a.m. on May 6, 1915 in Kenosha, Wis.

That’s not the time that Callow reports. According to the Welles biographer, journalists were constantly asking to see Welles’ birth certificate because they wanted to prove that he was 5 to 10 years older than the wunderkind said he was.

Says Callow: “His mother later told him that because it was six o’clock in the morning — the time Kenosha’s many factories started work — whistles and bells had all started blowing at once, as if to herald him; a perfectly appropriate beginning, since most of the rest of his life was accompanied by fanfares of one sort or another.”

This reminds me of inventor Nikola Tesla, who was reportedly born at midnight as lightning struck outside.

My goal in writing this post is to point out that the time of birth floating around the blogosphere for Welles is most likely wrong. I intend to write more about the prodigy, who had a creative Venus/Mars conjunction in pioneering Aries, after I finish the book and complete my research into Welles’ Depression-era production of The Cradle Will Rock.

Like another O.W. (Oscar Wilde), Welles was born with a conjunction between revolutionary Uranus and the public-oriented North Node.

Wilde had Moon square his Uranus/Node conjunction; Welles had the Moon in the middle of his Uranus/Node combo. According to Reinhold Ebertin’s The Combination of Stellar Influences, this picture results in “an excitable disposition in the presence of other persons.”

Here’s a natal chart for Welles with a 6 a.m. time of birth, courtesy of Astrodienst.

Of course, reading a biography is not as foolproof as seeing a birth certificate for Welles. But back in those days birth times were often not recorded. As I like to point out, biographies are a treasure trove of data for the astrological student.

I’ve got one word for you: Rosebud.

California: Buddy, Can You Spare $7 Billion?

There has been so much financial turmoil in so many places, it’s hard to keep up with it all. BusinessWeek, whose cover language this week is the Pluto in Capricorn-inspired “The New Financial Ice Age,” recently ran a story on California’s financial problems. The headline was “California to Feds: Got a Spare $7 Billion?”

What’s going in on the Golden State? Well, transiting Saturn, the stern taskmaster, is conjuncting California’s natal Sun in hard-working, health-conscious Virgo. You don’t have to be a California Psychic to figure out that’s going to result in some belt-tightening around those very toned California abs.

You can look at California’s chart here, courtesy of Astrodienst.

Back in June, I wrote about the imminent conjunction of Saturn in Virgo to the California Sun, which is also being opposed by Uranus in Pisces. I predicted everything from increased wildfire activity to possible unrest among Golden State residents.

This time, though, I have a prescription for Saturn in Virgo. Here’s my solution to California’s fiscal woes. So many people, Americans and Mexicans alike, want to enter the Golden State that I think California should set up toll booths at its borders and collect a fee from everybody who wants to come in.

Why does everybody want to come in? No, it’s not just to enjoy California’s splendid natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle and to catch a glimpse of a movie star or two. (Remember, this is a state where movie stars like Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger have been elected governor.)

With a Virgo Sun, California’s main attraction is work. According to The World Factbook published by the CIA, if California were an independent nation, it would have had the 10th largest economy in the world in 2007.

Before you dismiss the idea of tolls to enter California, consider this: New York City essentially does the same thing by charging fees on tunnels and bridges leading into the Big Apple. For example, it costs $8 to cross the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey into New York. (No toll going out.)

Californians will hate me for my next idea: tolls on highways. I recently drove from New York to Washington D.C. and was astounded at how much the little state of Delaware (represented by Senator Joe Biden) manages to extract from you for driving a few miles on Route 95.

I used to do this drive on a regular basis back in the Eighties. Driving through Delaware was free then. Now, I think it’s $9 or more. Forgive the sloppy reporting here. If I wanted to Google this morning, I’m sure I could find the exact toll and the exact number of miles you’re on Route 95 through Delaware. But I want to help California solve its economic woes instead.

I hope my commenter SFMike, who writes the Civic Center blog, will weigh in on these civic matters. I’m sure there are some highways in California that already have tolls, but I’m thinking of Interstate 10 running from Los Angeles into Arizona.

Maybe “the 10” needs to become a toll road. I know that truckers would be hurt because this is a main thoroughfare for them to transport produce out of California, but desperate times require desperate measures.

I’m sure there are some truckers or libertarians out there who are going to explain why states can’t or shouldn’t be allowed to collect tolls on interstate highways. In advance, I will tell you that it’s done in the Northeast on Interstate 95. Perhaps 95 has been declared a state road for the stretch that runs through New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. I plead ignorance.

That’s what’s great about blogging. Somebody out there who is a taxation or federal highway freak will write in and set me straight.

So to steal a line from that great California film The Graduate: “I just wanna say one word to you. Are you listening? Tolls.”

P.S. If you click on the “plastics” clip from The Graduate, you’ll be amazed that even in the revolutionary times of 1967, people still had manners. When Ben (Dustin Hoffman) turns away from talking to the women, he says, “Excuse me.” When the plastics man says, “Ben,” he replies, “Mr. McGuire.”

How many times have you been at a party when someone you were talking to was whisked away and never bothered to say, “Excuse me” or “I’ll catch up with you later”? Geez, I’m not turning into my mother. I’m turning into my grandmother!

Did Ryan Seacrest Jump the Shark?

Over in London, where competition among newspapers is still fierce, editors have an expression for the dog days of summer, when there is no real news and wacky stories get prime placement. They call it the “silly season.”

Now, with the triumph of tabloid journalism in a media world that only Rupert Murdoch could have created, some would argue that it’s the silly season all the time, and I wouldn’t disagree.

However, this headline takes the cake: Ryan Seacrest Bit By Shark! For more details, here’s the link:

Folks, I think this is a fish tale and that Seacrest, the host of Fox’s American Idol and his own radio show on KIIS-FM, has jumped the shark! For more information on the origin of the expression “jumping the shark,” see this Wiki entry:

I’m not much of a television watcher so it’s no surprise that I only recently learned that jumping the shark is synonymous with pushing the envelope too far in the plot of a TV series. I’ve been looking for a way to work in the expression somewhere and now I’ve got the perfect opportunity.

The Ryan Seacrest shark bite story seems like a Hollywood publicist’s wet dream. All you have to do is say the word “shark” in the middle of summer and you’re headline news. I know Seacrest is a reliable Capricorn, but this sounds mighty suspicious to me!

Making it even more questionable is the fact that this is “Shark Week,” a much-ballyhooed annual event that generates some of the year’s best ratings at the Discovery Channel. I went looking for a link between Murdoch’s Fox Network, which broadcasts Idol, and the Discovery Channel but I couldn’t find one, so I’ll have to lay that conspiracy theory to rest.

I’ve actually got Seacrest’s chart in my files, though I’m missing a birth time. Why don’t you look at the chart and see if you think he got bit by a shark over the weekend? (Beth Turnage at Astrology Explored, that means you!)

Here’s the link, courtesy of Astrodienst:

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.

The Brangelina Twins’ Birth Charts

There’s lots of conflicting information about the birth times of the twins born to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie July 12 in Nice, France. One gossip site says one twin was born at 6:45 p.m. and the other at 7 p.m. However, this story says two girls were born, when in fact the twins were a girl and a boy: Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt and Knox Leon Jolie-Pitt.

People’s Web site has come forward with a 6:27 p.m. time for Knox, which it’s backing up with a picture of the birth certificate presented by the mayor of Nice, France. I’m going to go with that for now. People is saying Vivienne was born a minute or so later, so I’ve got her at 6:28 p.m. Here’s that link.

Even Gawker seems to have fallen prey to the twin girls story. Ah, news in the age of the Internet: Get your story first, check your facts later. And, of course, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Thank heavens for Astrodienst. A couple of clicks and I can have a new chart in no time, if need be.

Here’s the link to Knox’s chart, courtesy of Astrodienst.

Here’s Vivienne.

The charts have a nice grand water trine between Sun in Cancer, Moon in Scorpio, and Uranus in Pisces. Even though the combination of these planets suggests “shared upsets” and “separation of the partners,” according to Reinhold Ebertin’s The Combination of Stellar Influences, a beneficial trine should help ease the pain.

The Sagittarius rising and Pluto in Sag could indicate the media frenzy that surrounded the birth of the twins, not to mention the nomadic, global lifestyle they are likely to have. Although their parents are American movie stars, the twins were born in France and will most likely spend a lot of time outside the U.S.

With expansive Jupiter as the ruler of both charts, Knox and Vivienne will be spiritual searchers. The Great Expander is in the earth sign of Capricorn so I don’t think material resources will be a concern, though with Neptune conjunct Node in the second house, it may be hard for them to hold on to money. The ethereal quality of their lives is emphasized by the Moon/Node square, which Ebertin says is “a spiritual link or unon with others.”

The Sun (male energy) in Cancer could symbolize Brad Pitt’s caretaking role of the children and/or the publicity that Angelina Jolie has gotten for motherhood.

On a less happy note, Mars (energy) is conjunct Saturn (restriction) in Virgo, which rules health. I wonder if there will be health problems or educational obstacles for the twins, since the conjunction is in the ninth house of higher education.

AstroCartoGraphy: Your Own Map of the World

Last night, I was going through my old astrology files from the early Nineties and I found my AstroCartoGraphy chart. Also known as location astrology, this field was popularized by the late Jim Lewis in the 1970s.

Here’s a link to a helpful site:

You can see your own AstroCartoGraphy (ACG), which imposes your planets and aspects on a map of the world, for free if you register at Astrodienst, which is on my blogroll.

If you’re looking for a better definition of AstroCartoGraphy, here’s one from the ACG site above. The field of location astrology involves taking “the chart from the heavens, lay[ing] it over a mercator map of the world, and draw[ing] lines showing the places on earth where each planet of the chart achieves maximum angularity.”

Given the brouhaha over Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s choice of advisers among the Cuban-American community in Miami (see my June 22 post on Elián González), I thought it would be interesting to look at Obama’s AstroCartoGraphy to see if his Mars (anger) or Pluto (intensity) lines are running through Florida and Cuba.

It turns out that the controversy in Southern Florida might not be all bad for Obama, if ACG is to be believed. If you click here, you’ll see Obama’s Sun/IC line runs through the area:

According to Astrodienst, the places where your Sun and IC lines intersect “lend themselves to the preparation of new tasks, as well as to exploring the depths of your psyche.”

I just want to stop here and thank Astrodienst for its generosity in making so much valuable information available to the astrological community for free. It’s just amazing!

Despite anxiety about Obama’s safety in the U.S., most of the potentially dangerous crossings (Mars/Descendant, Mars/IC, Uranus/Descendant, Uranus/IC) do not occur in the U.S. (I’m only looking at North America here, by the way.) His Pluto/Descendant line is activated in San Francisco, but it’s mitigated by a Venus/IC crossing.

Unfortunately for someone who wants to be an effective (emphasis on “effective”) U.S. President, Obama’s AstroCartoGraphy doesn’t look so good for Washington D.C. In the nation’s capital, he’s got Moon/Ascendant activated.

According to Astrodienst, in Washington, Obama appears “softhearted, sentimental, and vulnerable.” The message to the would-be President continues: “At times you seem irrational and unpredictable. You change your mind quite easily, and your sense of self-worth may suffer under this inconstancy and moodiness.”

Well, President George W. Bush has his Crawford (Tex.) ranch, and President Richard Nixon had the “Western White House” in San Clemente, Calif. Obama’s beneficial Jupiter/Midheaven line runs essentially parallel to the Mississippi River. Any place along the Mississippi would be good locations for Obama to “climb the social ladder and succeed professionally,” according to Astrodienst.

Should he be elected, perhaps Obama should establish his getaway White House not in his adopted hometown of Chicago, but in New Orleans.

It’s Almost 7 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Name Asteroid Is?

As readers of this blog know, I was quite excited when Beth at confirmed my speculation that there was an asteroid named Indiana and that it was traveling with the North Node and Neptune in Aquarius this weekend, coinciding with the opening of new Indiana Jones film and the Indy 500.

Now, I’ve just discovered that Astrodienst recently added a list of 13,889 name asteroids to their free chart selection area. In the early Nineties, I took a class with Nona Press, an astrologer who is an expert in the name asteroids.

I even sent away and paid real money for an ephemeris of the asteroid Monica. This was back in the Dark Ages, before you could get information for free on the Web. (We’ll see how much longer that lasts. They’re talking about putting a tax on Internet searches!)

Given the battle between the two Davids on American Idol, I thought it would be fun to look up where the asteroid David was when Idol winner David Cook was born and where it was the night he won.

Here’s Cook’s chart, with transits of May 21, including the asteroid Davida (the one closest to his name).

We don’t have a time of birth for Cook, so I’ve set the chart for noon. You can see that Davida was conjunct his natal Neptune in Sagittarius when he was born, and that transiting Davida, at 11 Gemini, was broadly opposing his Mars the day of the Idol broadcast.

Nothing earth-shaking to be sure, but fun stuff!

Astrodienst offers you 100 free charts that you can store if you register with them. Where is your name asteroid right now?