All Eyes on the Beijing Olympics

My post “What Will You Be Doing on Aug. 8 at 8:08 p.m.?” is getting a lot of traffic given that the date is approaching. This has prompted me to dig up my astrological analysis of the Beijing Olympics, which I first posted back in May. It’s more timely now.

The opening ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympics starts at 8:08 local time on Aug. 8, 2008. This time was selected because the Chinese, among others, believe that 8 is a powerful number. In fact, 9,000 Chinese couples are tying the knot on Aug. 8 because they believe it is an auspicious date.

I wonder what astrologer April Elliott Kent would have to say about the stampede to the altar. Let’s hope Aug. 8 is a nice day for a white wedding.

If I had been asked by the mandarins to do an electional chart for the start of the Summer Olympics, this isn’t the time I would have selected, despite the supposed good fortune of 8.

Here’s a link to the opening ceremony chart, courtesy of Astrodienst.

Let’s take a look at the chart. First off, it’s an idealistic Pisces Ascendant, which is ruled by Neptune in Aquarius in the 12th house. Neptune is broadly conjunct Chiron and the North Node. The 12th house governs hidden enemies, self-undoing, hospitals, prisons, and sacrifice.

This group of Aquarius planets, known as a stellium, opposes a theatrical Leo Sun and Mercury, which sit in the sixth house of service. The Aquarius/Leo opposition is part of a T-square with a secretive, power-driven Moon in Scorpio as the center point.

Despite the flamboyant Leo Sun, this show isn’t a labor of love. In fact, it’s a command performance for the government. Given the loss and suffering caused by the recent earthquake in China, I think this opening ceremony has a feeling of “the show must go on.”

Maybe I’m getting carried away here, but it reminds me of how mourners at a funeral go back to the house and entertain guests and relatives because it must be done, but all the time feeling as if they’re sleepwalking.

A loaded sixth house in the chart points to precision and perfectionism. Anyone who has seen a performance of the Cirque du Soleil knows that some of the world’s finest acrobats come from China. Regardless of the political drama surrounding these Olympics, which have become a flashpoint for opposition to China’s continued suppression of Tibet and its tolerance of human rights abuses in Sudan, this will be a performance to remember.

The political controversy is quite evident in the elevated 10th house Pluto in Sagittarius, which is part of a very volatile T-square involving an opposition of Uranus in Pisces and Mars in Virgo, which straddles the first and seventh houses. Translation: This Olympics is unpredictable and fraught with surprising and dangerous eruptions. Indeed, the protests surrounding the Olympic flame’s journey around the globe may be just a hint of what’s to come.

In some cases, the Olympic torch has been carried secretly through different countries to avoid attracting demonstrations. I know that it’s difficult if not impossible to divorce politics from the Olympics, but I find the idea of the flame traveling under wraps heartbreaking.

It makes feel very sad for all the athletes who have worked so hard to compete in this international competition, which is supposed to bring the world together. Perhaps the Olympic organizing committee should have chosen a less controversial venue for the Games.

 Or maybe the number 8 isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

What Will You Be Doing on Aug. 8, 2008 at 8:08 p.m.?

I’m not very knowledgeable about numerology, but evidently the number 8 is considered to be quite fortunate, especially by Asians. There’s even a New York Times reporter whose legal name is Jennifer 8. Lee and she uses this as her byline. Belief in the power of 8 has led the Chinese to schedule opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics on Aug. 8, 2008 at 8:08 p.m. local time. I’m going to run this chart and deal with it in a separate post.

Last night, at a cocktail party hosted by the Tempe (Ariz.)-based American Federation of Astrologers at the United Astrology Conference in Denver, I met Patricia Bell, a clairvoyant who lives in the spiritual community of Lily Dale, N.Y. ( Bell will be hosting a seminar on the symbolism of 8-8-8 on — you guessed it! — Aug. 8, 2008 at 8 p.m.

The same weekend, Barbara Hand Clow and Gerry Clow will be doing a workshop on Journeys Through Nine Dimensions. (It doesn’t conflict with Bell’s session.)

I love the energy in Lily Dale, which is just outside Jamestown, N.Y., the hometown of Lucille Ball. For the past three years, I’ve made a pilgrimage to Lily Dale for a psychic reading with Gretchen Clark.

I even dragged my husband to see Gretchen. He was skeptical until she told him that his father really appreciated the fact that my husband had dropped his Dad’s favorite watch in the coffin right before the burial. He came out of Gretchen’s charming Victorian house a believer before backsliding into cynicism. To wit: His first call to me at UAC started with the question: “How are things in Salem?” (No, dear, we’re not witches; we’re astrologers.)

I’ve sent friends to Lily Dale with mixed results. Some don’t like the church revival feel of the place, which is down the road from the biggest revival camp of them all, Chautauqua Institution. Today, Chautauqua is synonymous (look it up in the dictionary!) with lifelong learning and has moved far away from the Ole Time Religion for which it was once famous. 

Other friends don’t like Lily Dale because it’s a bit ramshackle, but I like shabby chic Victorian gingerbread architecture.

I got interested in Lily Dale after reading Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker, which traces the history of the spiritual community from its days of table rappers in the Victorian age to its modern-day hippy-dippy incarnation.

During the summer, the narrow lanes of Lily Dale are filled mostly with middle-aged women wearing tie-dyed T-shirts who are trying to communicate with loved ones on the other side. Since this basically describes me, I fit right in.  

No trip to Lily Dale is complete without a visit to the Lucy and Desi museums and landmarks in Jamestown, whose refurbished downtown was a recent finalist in the Main Street competition held by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (

Last year, I passed through Lily Dale and Jamestown during Lucy-Desi Days, which are held every Memorial Day weekend. This event brings out the faithful in busloads to celebrate Lucy’s contribution to show business. It’s a weekend of high camp, that’s for sure.

Another big day in Jamestown is Lucy’s birthday, Aug. 6. Given that most tourists like weekend events, you can be sure that Aug. 8 will be a big day in Jamestown and Lily Dale, as well as in Beijing. Are you surprised that Lucy was a Leo? I’m not.

It’s never too early to start planning what you’re going to do to capture the power of 8 on Aug. 8, 2008. Maybe I’ll finally get out from behind the 8 ball.