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.

Why the Phillies Will Win the World Series

I know, I know. Astrology Mundo was backing Joe Torre and the Dodgers in the National League championship series, but I’ve seen the error of my ways. I’ve run Phillies manager Charlie Manuel’s natal chart with transits and progressions. Last time, I was just looking at transits.

As I pointed out in an earlier post, transiting Jupiter in Capricorn is past Manuel’s Sun. But what I didn’t mention is that it’s the midpoint of his Sun/Mercury conjunction in Cap. Reinhold Ebertin in The Combination of Stellar Influences says the aspect produces “good connections.” Connecting the bat with the ball is pretty important if you want to win the World Series.

Here’s the kicker: Progressed Jupiter at 18 degrees of Leo opposing the transiting the Aquarius stellium in the sky.

Here’s Charlie Manuel’s chart, with transits and progressions as of Oct. 30. I picked Oct. 30 because I don’t know how many games are going to be played in the Series and I think a celebration will take place around then. Manuel was born in Northfolk, W. Va. on Jan. 4, 1944. The time is unknown.

Of course, even the loser in the World Series is going to have some pretty good aspects. You have to be lucky and good to have gotten your team there. Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon is getting the transiting Neptune/North Node/Chiron stellium to his Sun/Venus conjunction. That’s good for publicity, but I believe the Neptune will lead to disappointment in the Series.

Here’s Joe Maddon’s chart, courtesy of Astrodienst. He was born in Hazleton, Pa. on Feb. 8, 1954. The time is unknown.

This matchup between a Capricorn getting the good vibes of Jupiter and an Aquarius receiving the star power of transiting North Node/Neptune/Chiron on his Sun is similar to the NCAA college basketball showdown between Kansas Jayhawks coach Bill Self, a Cap, and Memphis coach John Calipari, born under the sign of the Water Bearer. As you’ll recall, Kansas was victorious in that contest and I think the Phillies will be too.

If you’re a Phillies fan, check out this funny photo of the team’s mascot, the Phillie Phanatic.

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.

In Praise of Reinhold Ebertin

I’m in tizzy! I can’t find my trusty copy of Reinhold Ebertin’s The Combination of Stellar Influences. As readers of this column know, I can’t live without this book. I had it out recently when I was doing my BlogTalkRadio broadcast with Pamela Cucinell of AstroChatter, and now it’s gone missing.

I’m hoping it will turn up when Mercury goes retrograde later this month. I know the minute I order it from Amazon.com, I’ll find it. I guess I could give the new copy away as a present.

Labor Day weekend was an emptying of armoires, closets, and drawers and the transfer of seasonal clothing in anticipation of cooler weather. Maybe COSI, as fans call it for short, is stuck in a box of my husband’s golf shorts.

With all the clothes flying around the house, I didn’t keep up with my favorite astrology blogs going into Labor Day weekend. I missed a very important post on my hero over at Chirotic.

I’m linking to the post on “cosmobiologist” Reinhold Ebertin here. This is a dense post, but one well worth reading. Wait until you have a few minutes of quiet time to study it.

Readers and fellow bloggers who have noticed that my links have more words in them: The word has come down at my day job that if you link to someone’s site using the word “here,” the subject matter doesn’t get credited properly in Google’s search machines. We bloggers who love to link are racking up millions and millions of instances of the word “here.”

Mars Square Pluto: Do or Die

Athletic Mars in Virgo is moving to a square with powerful Pluto in Sagittarius that is exact on Aug. 17. It’s fitting that we’re having the Beijing Olympics right now. Mars/Pluto aspects, particularly the challenging squares, are often found in the charts of athletes.

Athletic injuries are possible under this influence, so be careful about overdoing it at the gym.

On a day-to-day level, look out for competitiveness in the workplace and the need for someone to emerge as the victor at any cost. If you find yourself getting pulled into a job-related confrontation, don’t be afraid to take a time-out to let the situation cool off.

Reinhold Ebertin in The Combination of Stellar Influences says that Mars/Pluto aspects lead to “superhuman power, force, and brutality.”

No doubt that’s what the residents of Georgia are experiencing as they deal with an onslaught of Russian troops and weapons.

Speaking of the conflict between Russia and Georgia, here’s a story rich with irony: While the two countries wage war or violate ceasefires, depending on who you’re talking to, their women’s beach volleyball teams faced each other at the Beijing Olympics. You can’t make this stuff up. Here’s a colorful post from The Guardian.

Who knew beach volleyball could get this vicious?

Barack in Berlin: Back to the Future

I don’t remember being there, but my parents told me that they took me to President John F. Kennedy’s famous speech in Berlin on June 26, 1963. At that point in time, Berlin was on the front lines of the Cold War between the U.S. and the USSR, and Kennedy sought to reassure Berliners by declaring, “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

Typical American, he didn’t get it quite right. Instead of saying, “I am a Berliner,” he ended up declaring, “I am a jelly doughnut” in German. The mistake was the extraneous “ein.”

Like JFK, “Ich bin Berliner.” I was born in Berlin in January, 1960. So I can’t help getting a little misty-eyed about the prospect of Barack Obama’s speech in Berlin tonight. I looked at the ephemeris to see what, if any, connections exist between tonight’s speech and Kennedy’s remarks.

Before I get to that, I want to mention that Barack Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, nine days before the Berlin Wall began going up to divide East and West. Interesting, eh? There’s something about Obama that feels so early Sixties to me, especially the gray suits that he has been sporting on the campaign trail.

Of course, astrologers believe that we carry the imprint of the moment when we were born. Does that mean I’m going to wear an “I Like Ike” button to work tomorrow? (When I was born, Dwight D. Eisenhower was still in the White House). No, but I’ve always had an appreciation of the dangers of the “military-industrial complex” that Ike, a retired general, warned us about.

Back to Obama, JFK, and Berlin. The only real connection I can find between the aspects of the two speeches (I haven’t run charts because I don’t have exact times for either in front of me), is that today’s transiting Neptune and North Node are on the Saturn in Aquarius of the JFK speech.

Reinhold Ebertin in The Combination of Stellar Influences says Neptune/Node can be “the inclination to expect more than is possible from a community or from an association of people.” Interestingly, today’s headlines say that “Obama will ask more of Europe.”

The Saturn, which comes from the Kennedy speech, becomes the midpoint of the transiting Neptune/Node in Aquarius, and it’s not a happy picture: “The demonstration of emotional inhibitions when in contact with others.” Perhaps the speech will not be as well-received as Obama and his supporters hope it will.

Another intepretation of these three planets in combination offered by Ebertin is: “Disadvantages…through associations with others.” Maybe it’s not in Obama’s best interest to invite comparisons between himself and JFK. Just a thought.

P.S. I’m not the only astrologer who was captivated by Obama in Berlin. Jude over at Jude’s Threshold posted on the speech here. So did AstroTableTalk, though his comparisons were to Hitler, not Kennedy. Check out his ominous post.

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.

Elián González Lives!

Cuba’s Elián González already had his 15 minutes of fame, but he’s back in the news today.

You may recall that Elián was rescued off the coast of Florida in late November, 1999, went to live with relatives in Miami, and then was “rescued” by U.S. immigration officials and ultimately returned to his homeland in mid-2000 at the age of 6 after a lengthy legal battle.

Today, Elián is back in the news because he’s joined Cuba’s Young Communist Union. Here’s the link to the story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080616/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cuba_elian_gonzalez

Elián was born Dec. 6, 1993, in Cardenas, Cuba. The time of birth is unknown.
Here’s the link to the AstroDataBank chart, and comments from the period when he was front-page news:


Elián has a stellium, or group of planets, in Sagittarius. Right now, the Moon in Gemini is opposing his natal Sun, while transiting Jupiter in Capricorn is on his natal Uranus, which is conjunct Neptune. According to Reinhold Ebertin’s The Combination of Stellar Influences, Uranus/Neptune equals Jupiter means “a strange luck or good fortune, the acceptance of presents without thinking about it.”

Although he was one of 18,000 young people inducted into the Young Communist Union this weekend, Elián was chosen to deliver a speech on June 14 in honor of the 80th anniversary of the birth of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the Argentinian who was a hero of the Cuban revolution.

I’m going to write more about Elián and his role as an ambassador/pawn in the U.S./Cuba political game. It will be interesting to see how his life turns out. If you have any thoughts about aspects between Elián’s chart and those of Fidel Castro, Guevara, and the Cuban revolution, I’d love to hear them.

Meanwhile, the comments on his AstroDataBank chart make for fascinating reading about an individual who seems destined to live life on the world stage. Perhaps this is the result of a North Node/Venus conjunction in Sagittarius.