AstroChatter Radio is Right On!

I joined Pamela Cucinell for her AstroChatter Radio show today at noon ET, and accurately predicted that the California Supreme Court would uphold Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage. The decision was handed down about an hour after we ended the “broadcast” on BlogTalkRadio.

What was the thinking behind the analysis? Transiting Saturn (restriction) is hanging around California’s Virgo Sun, which promised a conservative decision by the court, despite a broad opposition from transiting Uranus (surprise, revolution).

Lest I sound too chipper about getting it right, let me reiterate that I’m a big proponent of equal rights for gays and lesbians, and this issue isn’t going away anytime soon.

During today’s show, Pamela also analyzed the chart of U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor, and we took calls, including one from our old friend ColoradoDeb. You can listen to this week’s broadcast here.

California Voters Just Say No

As predicted by Astrology Mundo, California voters were not in the mood to close the state’s massive budget deficit yesterday. Of six propositions on the special election ballot on May 19, just one was approved: Proposition 1F, which prohibits salary hikes for state politicians during deficit years.

The rejection was to be expected, as Saturn, the planet of restriction, just stationed quite close to the Sun in California’s state incorporation chart. Saturn is opposing erratic Uranus in the sky, and we’ve seen a couple of small earthquakes in Los Angeles over the past few days.

Crunch Time in California

I haven’t been living in California long enough to figure out the complicated referendum process that allows the state’s citizens to vote directly on propositions.

In November, Proposition 8 was in the headlines, as California residents overturned gay marriage. But most of the referendums facing California voters have to do with budgetary matters, not lifestyle issues.

My observation is that the referendum process, laudable though it appears to be, leads to some contradictory situations. Most people my age remember Howard Jarvis and Proposition 13, which dramatically cut property taxes in the Golden State, in 1978.

But after cutting property taxes, California’s idealistic residents have over the years approved a raft of propositions that require increased spending. I’ll name a few later, but you get the gist. Maybe SFMike at Civic Center will weigh in with a comment on California’s system of direct democracy.

From what I gather, several of the six propositions on the ballot for the May 19 special election are designed to help the Golden State avert budgetary disaster.

Well, if you’re using astrology as a guide, don’t count on it. Here’s why: The Saturn station of May 17, at 14 degrees of Virgo, is just two degrees away from the 16-degree Virgo Sun in the California incorporation chart.

Saturn close to the Sun suggests deprivation, hardship, and cutbacks for the state. A small earthquake or two is also possible, since the Saturn station broadly opposes Uranus. However, I don’t think this is the “big one.”

For good California earthquake stuff, please go to Out the Comet’s you-know-what. Comet lives in California and has done some amazing analysis on the history of the state’s major quakes.

The Fragile State of the Union

Anti-taxation tea parties, Texas governor Rick Perry making noises about succession: This week’s Mars/Uranus conjunction in Pisces, broadly opposing Saturn, coincided with signs of fissure in our great union.

With three planets in Sag, I’m a big picture person and I’m sometimes too impatient to do my homework, in this case, plotting all the aspects formed by transits to the U.S. chart. I like to shoot from the hip. Here’s my take on the situation:

Last year, when the race for the Presidency came down to Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, I decided that if a Republican won, the electorate would zig left, and that if a Democrat prevailed, the voters would zag right. Why? The prevailing Saturn (conservative)/Uranus (revolutionary) opposition must make itself felt.

Of course, this is an incredibly simplistic view because the lines between right and left and Republicans and Democrats have been blurred over the years. For instance, in California, where I’m living right now, anti-tax forces were out in full force at tea parties, but they were protesting the policies of a Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has instituted a slew of new levies to try and address a huge state budget deficit.

In terms of the succession talk, we’ve heard it before from former Republican vice-presidential Sarah Palin, who addressed a meeting of the Alaska Independence Party.

In fact, one of the most widely read stories in The Wall Street Journal at the end of 2008 quoted a Russian analyst who predicted the U.S. would break up into six countries.

Is the end of the U.S. really a possibility? I don’t think so, but we’re in for some interesting times as transiting Pluto in Capricorn opposes the Cancer stellium in the U.S. independence chart.

FYI, in case you don’t know, the last time Pluto was in Capricorn was when we made our break from Great Britain. Tea parties are definitely back in fashion.

Gay Rights: A Setback in California

Well, the votes have finally been tallied and California’s Proposition 8, a citizens’ referendum banning gay marriage, has been approved.

This is bad news indeed. As readers of this blog may know, I’m not gay, but I believe lesbians and gays deserve the same rights as other Americans. I view their struggle for respect and recognition in our society in the same light that I viewed the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Why the sudden reversal in California, where 18,000 same-sex marriages already have taken place, and where back in May, the California Supreme Court overturned a previous voter-approved ban on gay marriage?

The opposition of Saturn in Virgo and Uranus in Pisces, which was exact yesterday, was tied to the Virgo Sun of the California statehood chart.

On a geographic level, the Saturn/Uranus opposition could also stir up wildfire activity and trigger earthquakes in California. There have been quite a few minor ones in the state lately, as this map shows.

I’m not making any predictions because I don’t have the quantitative chops to do the work required for earthquake forecasting. (In my next life, I’ll go to MIT or Berkeley.) Having said that, I don’t like the early morning of Nov. 9 in Southern California for a variety of reasons. Just be alert, O.K.?

With Saturn on California’s Sun right now, voters are feeling conservative and the state faces a $7 billion budget shortfall. I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t some class antagonism being reflected in the approval of Proposition 8, in addition to far-right religious fervor.

Gays and lesbians are prominent in California’s prosperous entertainment and technology industries, perhaps leading some voters to conclude that all gays are “rich,” a stereotype long associated with Jews because of their success in the creative, legal, and financial professions.

Of course, with Pluto in class-conscious Virgo, I tend to see things through the prism of class. I think gay rights organizations need to broaden their ranks and incorporate lower-middle class voters and Hispanics in their struggle if they are to prevail in the Golden State.

As gays know, there is tremendous resistance against homosexuals, particularly men, within the Latin culture, which celebrates machismo.

Evidently African-Americans, who know what it’s like to face prejudice, were big supporters of Proposal 8, with an overwhelming majority of California’s black voters favoring the discriminatory measure. There’s irony for you!

I don’t know enough about the referendum process in California to know what happens when voters approve a ban that was previously overturned by the State Supreme Court. Can it face legal appeal? SFMike at Civic Center, I’m depending on you to educate me.

Speaking of SFMike, I was just reading his coverage of the election and I was struck by his observation that the Mormons, who have been victims of discrimination because of their belief in polygamy, spent big bucks to get the anti-gay marriage vote out in California.

I still think the better off folks are financially, the more tolerant that they tend to be of lifestyles that differ from their own. When people are struggling to fill their gas tanks, pay their toxic mortgages, and make the minimum credit-card payment on time so their interest rate doesn’t get jacked up to 30%, they are in a bind.

When your mobility is limited, then you want to make sure everybody else is toeing the line and following the rules you believe in, regardless of what “good book” you found them in, whether it be the Talmud, the Bible, or the Koran. Anyway, that’s the way I see it. I’m not saying I believe religion is the opiate of the masses, but I do think money and class figure into this equation.

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day

T. Boone Pickens: Community Organizer?

I’ve decided to reprint a piece that I posted during the dog days of August. Tonight, as I was surfing the Net, I clicked on an ad that T. Boone Pickens is running to raise awareness about our dependence on foreign oil.

Now, to someone like me who grew up thinking of Pickens as king of the oil patch, it’s weird to hear him talking about wind power and doing grass-roots organizing in places like Shreveport, La., where the economy depends on oil refineries.

Given that these ads are popping up as Saturn opposes Uranus, I decided to look at Pickens’ chart again. He’s got Mercury at 21 Gemini, making a T-square to the opposition of Saturn in Virgo and Uranus in Pisces that is exact on Election Day.

Reinhold Ebertin, my astrology guru, says this aspect leads to “the ability to organize resistance,” in his indispensable guide to astrology, The Combination of Stellar Influences. Sounds like Pickens is becoming a community organizer of sorts.

Here’s my earlier post:

I’m no stranger to the ways of T. Boone Pickens. But something interesting has happened in the last month or so: The legendary billionaire oilman has jumped off the business pages of the newspaper and the Net to become a household name.

Pickens is no longer just a businessman; he’s a business celebrity, joining the ranks of folks such as Donald Trump, Ross Perot, Warren Buffett, and Jack Welch. (I’m straining to think of a woman here. I guess you can call Oprah and Martha Stewart business celebrities, though they were media personalities first.)

Back in the 1980s, when I was following Pickens’ machinations closely, he was called a “corporate raider” and “greenmailer.” Taking a position in a company’s stock, hounding management to increase “shareholder value,” and then getting bought out at a premium came naturally to the former wildcatter.

Flash forward to 2008, when Pickens is being hailed as a savior for his plan to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil by calling for increased investment in natural gas, wind, and solar power, an initiative now known as the “Pickens Plan.” The Dallas Morning News, for one, has questioned the altruism of the Pickens Plan, noting that the oilman has made sizeable investments in clean energy and stands to gain, particularly in California, if some of his proposals are put into action.

As an astrologer, I’m curious to know why an 80-year-old businessman is suddenly in the limelight. And even though I don’t have a time of birth, which is required to calculate an accurate chart for Pickens, I think I have the answer to why Pickens is everyone’s favorite business celebrity these days. (Sorry, Donald!)

Pickens is a Gemini, born May 22, 1928 in Holdenville, Okla. Here’s his chart, set for noon, courtesy of Astrodienst. I’ve done progressions and transits for July 8, the day the Oklahoman unveiled his new energy plan.

I don’t have time to do a complete interpretation of Pickens’ chart right now, but I think the reason why his name suddenly is on everyone’s lips is that his progressed Sun, at 17 degrees of Leo, is opposing the North Node. Neptune, which rules energy, is a few degrees away from the North Node in Aquarius right now, but earlier this year it had been traveling in tandem with the Node.

With transiting Jupiter in Capricorn about to make a station opposing Pickens’ natal Pluto in Cancer (and possibly his Moon, depending on his time of birth), a windfall is coming his way around Labor Day weekend.

I hope you don’t detect any skepticism or sarcasm about Pickens’ motivations in this post. I believe he is sincere in his belief that the U.S. needs to wean itself from foreign energy. But once a wildcatter, always a wildcatter.

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!

Tesla Motors: California’s Gain is New Mexico’s Loss

As readers of this blog know, I’ve been learning about the work of inventor Nikola Tesla and I’m fascinated by his namesake company, Tesla Motors, a California automaker that is working on a 100% electric roadster for 2009 delivery. (See “The Return of Nikola Tesla”).

I’m here in New Mexico visiting my family and the big news here this morning is Tesla Motors’ decision to cancel a production facility in Albuquerque that would have produced a sedan for the 2010 model year. Score one for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and zero for N.M. Governor Bill Richardson (D).

The reason for the shift to the Golden State? Tax incentives that will give the new startup at least $1 million in state funds to train employees. In addition, under a new program adopted by California last week, zero emission vehicle companies will be exempt from paying sales and use taxes on the purchase of manufacturing equipment.

Isn’t it funny how Republicans end up running California and doling out Democrat-style tax incentives? There must be something in the Golden State’s water that turns everyone into a liberal, not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say.

Tesla also attributed the decision to scrap the N.M. plant to the greater efficiencies it can gain by having all its production in one place. Both its battery pack and the Tesla Roadster are currently manufactured in California.

What’s the astrological angle on this? Off the top of my head, I will attribute California’s early embrace of revolutionary technologies to the tight Uranus/Pluto conjunction in pioneering Aries in the statehood chart. You can look at it here, courtesy of Astrodienst.

Interestingly, the press release from Tesla was issued June 30, as Mars in Leo was trining Pluto in Sagittarius, forming a grand trine with the natal California Uranus/Pluto conjunction at 29 degrees of Aries.

I’m hitting the road today so I don’t have time to run a statehood chart for cash-poor New Mexico, but you don’t have to be an astrologer to realize that its government resources are a fraction of California’s. In fact, the Land of Enchantment often loses out to neighbor Arizona in bids to lure jobs to the state.

I spent the winter in California so I guess I’m an honorary Golden State resident, but I was sad to see New Mexico get muscled out yet again in the competition for a high-profile manufacturing facility.

More Death Valley Days for California?

I didn’t need California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to tell me the Golden State is in the middle of a drought. You can see it in the California natal chart, set for Sept. 9, 1850 in San Jose, at 9:41 a.m. Here’s the chart, thanks to Astrodienst.

Note that dry, constricting Saturn is heading for fertile California’s 16 degree Virgo Sun. Transiting Uranus is currently past an opposition with the Golden State Sun, but it’s moving retrograde, back to an opposition with Saturn in the sky. This will take place in early November at roughly 19 degrees of Pisces/Virgo.

Mars will also make a passage through Virgo, in August, going over the state’s Sun before it opposes Uranus in the sky, a signature for wildfires if I ever saw one. But this could easily be psychological fires as physical ones.

It looks to me like California’s populace could be angry. That may be due to the strain of higher gas prices on residents of a state that has long had a love affair with driving. Driving the Ventura Highway memorialized in the America tune has gotten a lot more expensive in the last year.

Still, with Virgo involved, the state’s civil servants might be up in arms about something or it could be agricultural workers or the truckers who transport produce who rise up in protest.

Few astrological sites are better than Richard Nolle’s AstroPro for predicting wild weather, which is often triggered by new and full moons. Click on his site on my blogroll and when you get to his home page, click on the label that says “futures.” Be sure and do this in the beginning of August if you live in California.

As California goes, so goes the nation. (Sorry, Maine!) A drought in this agricultural state is more grist for the mill of higher food prices. Here’s the link to a story about the governor’s official declaration: http://www.sacbee.com/111/story/990322.html

At the same time that the Governator is proclaiming a drought, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is sounding the alarm about the vulnerability of California’s state park system, citing “deterioration, neglect, and poor public policy.”

Here’s the link: http://www.preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/western-region/californias-state-parks.html

Saturn in Virgo could also be interpreted as belt-tightening (Saturn) in public parks (Virgo). Although it’s known for its symbol, the Virgin, Virgo is the sign of the worker. He or she takes the family to the park on weekends because it’s a low-cost form of entertainment, not to mention a way to commune with nature.

Protecting California’s land is an issue that has been close to home for me this winter while my husband has been working at one of the 125 golf courses in the Palm Springs area. Of course, you know how these courses stay green in a region that gets two to four inches of rain a year. They’re watered every day, sometimes twice a day.

In the interest of marital harmony, I’m going to reserve comment on the wisdom of this. Certainly, golf courses bring tourists to the desert and that helps the economy, but…

Given the number of swimming pools in the state, perhaps a daily swim could be a state-mandated substitute for a shower or bath. That’s assuming there’s enough water to fill the pool.

The Astrology of Gay Marriage

As California goes, so goes the nation? The California Supreme Court’s May 15 decision to uphold same-sex marriage could be a harbinger of things to come for the U.S. as a whole, according to astrologer Matt Carnicelli.

Carnicelli sees the current passage of Pluto through Capricorn as leading to the “deconstruction of the tyranny” of governmental and corporate institutions. He says it’s not surprising that the transit ushered in the legalization of gay marriage in the Golden State.

However, Carnicelli isn’t a proponent of marriage per se. He envisions a time in the not too distant future when civil unions will become the norm for couples, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Marriages would still be performed in churches and synagogues, but they would not be the business of the government, the astrologer said.

Carnicelli made his comments in response to a question following his May 18 presentation, “The Unfinished Work: America, A Mercury Retrograde Phenomenon” at the United Astrology Conference in Denver. The talk explored how it took a while for the Founding Fathers’ notion that “all men are created equal” to be extended from white men to black men and then to women of all colors.

He notes that whether astrologers use a July 2 or July 4, 1776 birth chart for the U.S., Mercury is still retrograde in Cancer opposing Pluto in Capricorn. This aspect has often led to a “nativist” way of thinking, where anyone not born in the U.S. or not of a WASP background has faced discrimination, Carnicelli says.

This xenophobia was captured brilliantly in Martin Scorsese’s film Gangs of New York, when New York was inflamed by the Civil War draft riots of 1863 and Irish immigrants were persecuted, he noted.

Carnicelli plans to post his PowerPoint presentation, which includes charts from key events like the inception of the women’s suffrage movement in Seneca Falls, N.Y. on July 20, 1848 at 11 a.m., at www.hpleft.com.