The Beginning (and End) of the Oil Age

Taking a page from astrologers who look at the chart of the Wright brothers’ first flight for clues to why an airplane crashed, I’ve calculated the chart for the discovery of oil to see if we can learn anything about the recent spike in oil prices and whether fears that we’ve entered a “peak oil” period are valid.

According to the Web site of the Paleontological Research Institute (PRI), petroleum was first discovered on the morning of Aug. 28, 1859 in Titusville, Pa. The find was made in a well drilled earlier that summer by Edwin Drake that had been nicknamed “Drake’s Folly” because it hadn’t produced any results. Click here to learn more.

We don’t know what time the oil was first spotted, but the Web site says morning. I’ll venture to say that folks started work pretty early back in those days, so I’ve set the chart for 7 a.m.

Here’s the chart, courtesy of Astrodienst.

I want to point out that even if the Ascendant is iffy because I’ve arbitrarily picked 7 a.m., that Neptune in Pisces in the seventh house seems valid, given that Neptune rules oil and it is in the sign that it rules, Pisces.

Michael WolfStar at Neptune Cafe has rectified this chart and uses a 7:56 a.m. time. His page on oil is one of the most comprehensive collections of charts and commentary on the subject that I’ve seen.

What’s really interesting is that the upcoming Saturn/Uranus opposition in Virgo/Pisces, exact on Election Day, is quite close to the oil chart’s Neptune at 26 degrees of Pisces.

I’ve consulted my trusty reference book, The Combination of Stellar Influences by Reinhold Ebertin, to learn that Saturn/Uranus equals Neptune means: “weakening strength, separation, mourning, and bereavement.” Could we be sad because our oil is running out? If the chart is any indication, the answer is yes.

It’s interesting that this chart has a Venus/Mars conjunction in Leo when you consider that the automobile, powered by gasoline, was a venue for sexual exploration and other youthful (Leo) hijinks like “joy-riding” and playing “chicken” in the 1950s. We see a little of this in the opening scenes of the latest Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A lot of gasoline is burned in the name of fun, a Leo realm, as we drive and fly to weddings, parties, baptisms, graduations, family reunions, and vacations.

Another thing I find fascinating about this chart is that it has North Node and Chiron in Aquarius not far from where they are traveling right now. What does this mean? I’m not sure, but record high oil prices are leading us to re-examine our dependence on this commodity and perhaps our whole way of life.

As readers of this blog have probably gathered, I approach astrology and the charts I calculate with a Sagittarian enthusiasm. I see myself as an explorer. I’m looking for connections, but I’m not wedded to my own interpretations. I think charts are valuable maps for those of us who think we know how to read them, but they can operate on many levels at once and their nuances aren’t always immediately apparent.

I’ll write more later, and I’d love to hear what other students of astrology have to say about this birth of oil chart.

The Return of Nikola Tesla

I had been thinking about inventor Nikola Tesla even before my weekend visit to the Integratron, an electromagnetically charged chamber in the California desert that was built by engineer George Van Tassel based partly on Tesla’s research (“Getting Charged Up at the Integratron,” May 26, 2008).

Tesla has inspired a cult-like devotion among his followers, many of whom believe his electrical inventions were thwarted by financiers such as Bernard Baruch and J.P. Morgan because they challenged the economics of the utility industry. In light of today’s fear that we are nearing “peak oil” and are running out of fuel to power our autos and other machines, Tesla’s claim to have discovered “free energy” is more intriguing than ever.

In 1933, the inventor told the New York American newspaper: “This new power for the driving of the world’s machinery will be derived from the energy which operates the universe, the cosmic energy, whose central source for the earth is the sun and which is everywhere present in unlimited quantities.”

One reason I got interested in Tesla is that the same day I started Astrology Mundo (Mar. 17, 2008), production began in San Marcos, Calif., on a breakthrough electric vehicle called the Tesla Roadster. The 100% electric car gets the equivalent of 135 miles per gallon, according to Tesla Motors. This electrical marvel costs a pretty penny, though. The base price for the 2009 model is $109,000.

Here’s the link to the company’s Web site:

Tesla the man surfaced as a character in Christopher Nolan’s 2006 film about magicians, The Prestige, and was portrayed by rocker David Bowie. Interestingly, 2006 was also declared the Year of Nikola Tesla by UNESCO. I rented The Prestige not long before visiting Niagara Falls for the first time in October, 2007. While I was at the falls, I saw a statue of Tesla on Goat Island. All roads were leading me to Tesla!

With the mysterious Tesla making cameo appearances in modern-day culture, I started looking into his chart. That’s when the confusion started. There are several charts circulating for the eccentric inventor who emigrated to America and registered 700 patents.

Everyone agrees that Tesla was born close to midnight. Legend has it that his midwife said he was born just as a bolt of lightning struck. This has led many astrologers to conclude that his chart must have the electrical planet Uranus rising.

Astrodatabank says Tesla was born at midnight on July 10, 1856, in Smiljan, a town that was in Austria-Hungary at the time of the inventor’s birth. It was later part of Yugoslavia and is now in Croatia. Here’s the chart:

If you scroll down the comments below Tesla’s AstroDataBank chart, you’ll find one dated May 15, 2001, that says that Tesla’s father was an orthodox priest who “recorded his birth according to the old calendar,” and that his real date of birth is July 22, 1856. The commenter cites a Serbian astrological magazine. Tesla’s parents were both of Serbian origin.

Given the lore about lightning striking as Tesla was born, here’s the chart I like. It shows a birth time of 11:10 p.m. local time on July 21, 1856. Yes, I know this is July 21, not July 22, like the Serbian astro magazine says, but this one works for me.

In many places, Tesla’s birthday is recorded as July 9/10, so it’s conceivable that he could have been born late on the night of July 21 because of the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars. If you want to read about calendars, click here:

The chart I like has a 25 degree Taurus ascendant with Uranus rising, a Sun/Venus conjunction at 29 degrees of Cancer, and a Moon/Neptune conjunction in Pisces, which could reflect the confusion about Tesla’s birthday. Here’s a link to that chart:

I need to do more reading about Tesla, but everything I’ve perused indicates he was an extremely nervous person, so the Uranus rising chart seems plausible.

It’s worth noting that transits from Uranus to a deceased person’s chart often activate interest in that individual. It is for this reason that I think astrologers should watch the date that the first Tesla electric car hits the road and compare the transits of that day to the various natal charts circulating for the inventor.

Based on the speculation about the development of a new energy source that was circulating at the United Astrology Conference in Denver, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Tesla. If you want to read more about his life, click here for a Web site that accompanied an excellent PBS series: