We’re Partying Like It’s 1980

A couple of interesting factoids: The last time the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series was in 1980. That was 28 years ago, which is a Saturn cycle. The Phils are celebrating the Saturn return of their last world championship by winning another.

Also, in today’s headlines about the economic news, there are a few references to 1980. Here’s what USA Today says about yesterday’s gross domestic product report: “Consumer spending, two-thirds of economic activity, plummeted at a 3.1% rate — the steepest fall since 1980.”

Saturn Returns: Get Out Your Handkerchiefs!

I caught a preview performance yesterday of Noah Haidle’s poignant play Saturn Returns at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater yesterday. I didn’t bring any Kleenex, but I should have.

Directed by Nicholas Martin, Saturn Returns is a triptych of the life of Gustin, a Grand Rapids, Mich., radiologist in 1948, 1978, and 2008, as he experiences his first, second, and third Saturn returns.

Astrology is never mentioned, but the playwright, who appears to be experiencing his own Saturn return, has a keen understanding of the language of loss and loneliness that the planet of restriction speaks so eloquently.

As befitting a play called Saturn Returns, it’s a sparse production, with Gustin at age 88, 58, and 28 played by three actors — John McMartin, James Rebhorn, and Robert Eli, respectively. The women in Gustin’s life are portrayed by the same thespian — the beautiful, versatile Rosie Benton. No other players are on stage and there are no intermissions.

Film buffs may know Rebhorn from his numerous screen and TV roles, including The Talented Mr. Ripley, My Cousin Vinny, and The Scent of a Woman. Throughout his career, Rebhorn has often appeared as the nerd or expert, a guy with a plastic pen holder in the pocket of his starched white shirt. Sure enough, he’s a Virgo born Sept. 1.

I like the fact that Gustin is a radiologist because that embodies the current opposition of Uranus in Pisces and Saturn in Virgo.

I’m no drama critic, but if Saturn Returns is representative of what Haidle is doing at 28, I can only imagine what his future holds. Is he the next Edward Albee? I took a friend who is an accomplished actress, Anney Giobbe, with me and she was also blown away by Haidle’s talent. Like Saturn, Haidle’s not going away.

Hey, this gives me an excuse to reprint my poll, “What Happened During Your Saturn Return?”

What Happened During Your Saturn Return?

O.K., it’s official: Astrology Mundo has poll fever. My maiden effort (What’s Your Sign?) is still open for voting. However, I want to move on to another idea: Saturn Returns, especially since there’s a show at Lincoln Center with the same name.

Just in case you don’t know, your first Saturn return typically occurs around 29, the second around 58, and the third around 87.

As Saturn in Virgo moves to an opposition with Uranus in Pisces that is exact on Election Day, I think using the Web (Uranus) to talk about Saturn returns is a good way to channel the energy of this challenging aspect.

If you don’t see what happened to you in the poll or you’d like to share your Saturn return story, please use the comment form. Thanks, and many happy Saturn returns!

Saturn Returns in the Spotlight

I get lots of astrology-oriented spam, so when I saw an e-mail in my inbox this morning that had “Saturn Returns” as the subject line, I assumed it came from one of the astro Web sites. Wrong! It came from broadwaybox.com, which is offering discounted tickets on a new play at Lincoln Center in New York called Saturn Returns.

Anyone who has made it through his first, second, or third Saturn return, when the Great Taskmaster returns to the place in the sky where he was when we were born, knows it can be dramatic. But who knew it was worthy of a theatrical production?

Lynn Hayes at Beliefnet has a writeup on Noah Haidle, the author of Saturn Returns. . Like me, she couldn’t find a date of birth for the playwright.

I wonder if he’s having his Saturn return. According to various sources on the Web, Haidle is a 2001 graduate of Princeton University. Let’s say he was 21 or 22 when he graduated. That would make him 28 or 29 right now, the age where you experience your first Saturn return.

You can tell by the poster for the play that Saturn returns aren’t a lot of fun.

Saturn Returns: The World Trade Center and the Berlin Wall

I originally posted on the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall going into Labor Day weekend and got about three hits. I’ve since fleshed out my piece and am reposting it, having made the connection that both the World Trade Center and the Berlin Wall came down during their Saturn returns.

Like the U.S. government, I’m guilty of exploiting September 11. I’m reposting on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the dark day in the hopes of getting people to read my original post about the Berlin Wall.

When the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the WTC took place on April 4, 1973, Saturn was at 15 degrees of Gemini. On Sept. 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers went up in flames, Saturn was at 14 degrees of Gemini, the sign of the Twins (pretty weird, eh?), and was being opposed by Pluto in Sagittarius.

Unlike the World Trade Center, the Berlin Wall went up literally overnight, on Aug. 13, 1961. Of course, before there were bricks, there was barbed wire. It was a Sunday, a day that became known in Germany as Stacheldrahtsonntag or “Barbed Wire Sunday.”

What time did the East Germans start building Die Maurer? According to Frederick Taylor in The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989, construction began at 1:11 a.m.

That’s when the Warsaw Pact issued a statement that said: “Through deceit, bribery, and blackmail, West German government bodies induce certain unstable elements in the German Democratic Republic to leave for West Germany…The Warsaw Pact member states must take necessary steps to guarantee their security and primarily, the new security of the GDR.”

Taylor says the Wall started coming down at 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 9, 1989, but I’m going to round it to Nov. 10 for transit purposes. (In the free version of Astrodienst, you can’t set a time for transits, only a day.)

In the Berlin Wall chart, beautiful Venus is rising in security-minded Cancer. Now, Venus isn’t a planet you would normally associate with a wall, but as the Warsaw Pact statement indicates, officials were trying to protect the integrity of the GDR.

By sealing the border between West and East Berlin, East Germany was creating a womb (Cancer) of sorts around its 17 million citizens for its experiment in socialism. And, in fact, some of the social services that former East Germans mourned when the Wall came down were free day care and elder care centers, very Cancerian services.

It always comes as a bit of a surprise when so-called benefic planets such as Venus and Jupiter are angular (on the first, fourth, seventh, or tenth house cusps) in event charts. We don’t expect the “good” planets to feature prominently in the charts of “bad” events. For instance, this AstroDataBank chart shows Jupiter on the Midheaven at 8:46 a.m. in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

Like the World Trade Center, the Berlin Wall came down during its Saturn return. Saturn was only at 10 degrees of Capricorn when the Wall was torn down, but it was in the same sign as it was when the division went up.

Now, you don’t have to tear down all the structure in your life when you have your Saturn return, but you must get rid of what is no longer useful. The Berlin Wall is an extreme example of a Saturn return because its Saturn was in the earth sign of Capricorn.

I’m not going to speculate why the World Trade Center had to be destroyed during its Saturn return. There’s still a lot we don’t know about this event and how and why it came to pass.

Back to Berlin: With Cancer rising, the Moon rules the Berlin Wall chart and it’s conjunct oppressive Pluto in Virgo. The Moon/Pluto in Virgo could be seen in the drabness and uniformity (Virgo) of daily life (Moon) because of government control (Pluto). A more sinister interpretation of the Moon/Pluto is: “Your mother is a spy.”

After reunification, the files of the Stasi, Germany’s internal security force, were released and many East Germans learned that their co-workers, neighbors, and even family members were dutifully (Virgo) filing reports on their whereabouts and actions.

It gets weirder. Evidently, the Stasi had millions of underwear samples on file to make it easy for guard dogs to track an East German down if he decided to go missing. A poignant movie about the Stasi, The Lives of Others, won the Oscar for best foreign film in 2007.

I don’t want to get too carried away with my interpretation of the Moon/Pluto in Virgo because this isn’t the chart of the GDR, it’s the chart of the Berlin Wall. However, I do think the same thinking that informed the Stasi was behind the building of the Wall.

The difficulty involved in keeping the Wall in place can be seen in the quincunx between a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in earth sign Capricorn and a stellium of Sun, Uranus, and North Node in expressive fire sign Leo. The Wall (Jupiter/Saturn) divided the East Germans from the freedom and fun of the West (Leo).

Of course, it was only a matter of time before the tensions in this chart were activated strongly enough to prompt citizens to demand their freedom and literally tear the Wall down. That happened as revolutionary Uranus and visionary Neptune were conjunct in Capricorn on the chart’s descendant, opposing natal Venus, which was being transited by Jupiter. These transits were all exact by degree, if not by the minute, when the Wall came down.

Here’s the Berlin Wall chart, courtesy of Astrodienst, with transits of Nov. 10, 1989.

I’ve always traced my interest to the Berlin Wall to the fact that I was born in Berlin in January, 1960, and lived there while the Wall was going up. Of course, I was too young to remember much of what was going on. Now that I’ve found the exact time that the Wall went up in Frederick Taylor’s book, I see why the Berlin Wall is of enduring interest to me from an astrological standpoint.

My Moon, at 10 degrees of Cancer, sits exactly on the ascendant of the chart, while my Saturn, at 10 degrees of Capricorn, is on the descendant. The Saturn of the chart, 25 degrees of Capricorn, is quite close to my Cap Sun.

I’m filing this post under Heroes, in tribute to those who died on Sept. 11, 2001 — whether at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, or when United Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania — and to the East Germans who fought tirelessly for freedom and who risked and lost their lives to get past “Checkpoint Charlie” into the West.

President Ronald Reagan, an Aquarian, gets a lot of credit for bringing about the end of communism with his declaration, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” However, the truth is that lots of nameless, faceless people (Moon in Virgo) worked for years to bring the Wall down.