Mercury Retrograde: John McCain Does the Time Warp

Astrologers know that John McCain is a Virgo and the planetary ruler of his sign, Mercury, is in retrograde phase right now. That means its apparent motion, when viewed from the earth, is backward.

Well, McCain appears to be doing his own version of the Time Warp. The Wall Street Journal reported that the GOP Presidential candidate and former prisoner of war addressed a crowd in Pennsylvania as “my fellow prisoners”.

Perhaps he meant “prisoners of debt.” According to the U.S. National Debt Clock, outstanding public debt as of today is $10.2 trillion, and each American’s share of this is $33,547.65. In fact, our debt is so great that the National Debt Clock in Times Square doesn’t have enough digits to report it, according to the Associated Press.

My fellow astrologers, it gets even better. It turns out the blog item on the WSJ’s Web site has a mistake in it. It calls McCain “the Republican vice-presidential candidate” when, of course, he is running for President. I’m sure they’ll fix it soon, but gaffes abound during Mercury retrograde.

Along similar lines, I was reading a fascinating article in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair about Ingrid Betancourt that is missing a byline. In the text of the story, it talks about a school being named for the author, Maureen Orth, the widow of broadcast journalist Tim Russert. Somebody reading those galleys wasn’t doing his job. Orth’s byline is on the Web version of the story, though.

Carla Bruni: France’s Femme Fatale First Lady

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in months: I bought a magazine. I get all my news on the Web these days, but I couldn’t resist the glossy pages of the September Vanity Fair with Carla Bruni on the cover.

The VF stylists have Bruni, a former model, dressed in riding clothes for the cover photo by Annie Leibovitz. I’ve never owned a horse, nor am I to the manor born, but with all my Sagittarian planets, I love the horsey look.

The cover headline also sold me: “Carla Bruni: The New Jackie O?” Like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bruni knows how to dress for the occasion. One of my favorite shots in the VF photo spread shows Bruni dressed in a prim tweed suit fit for a dowager and wearing flats as she chats amiably with Queen Elizabeth of England. No doubt the 5-feet, 9-inch former model didn’t want to make the Queen uncomfortable by wearing high heels.

A lot has been written about Bruni, a former muse to rock stars like Mick Jagger and a best-selling chanteuse in her own right, since she and French President Nicolas Sarkozy got married on Feb. 2 after a whirlwind romance.

Bruni’s colorful past has some French citizens questioning whether she is fit to be First Lady. From where I sit, she is the perfect First Lady for France. Her background (fashion and the arts) plays to France’s strengths on the global scene. Oh, and did I mention that she’s beautiful?

Claire Courts, the Frenchwoman who writes AstroRevolution, did an excellent post on Bruni, a Capricorn born Dec. 23, 1967 at 6:10 p.m. in Turin, Italy, and Sarkozy, born Jan. 28, 1955 at 10 p.m. in Paris, the day after their wedding. (Now that’s fast work!) You can read it here.

Courts has done a formidable job of analyzing both the charts of Bruni, who is Sarkozy’s third wife; the mercurial French President; and the composite that combines both their charts. Just so I don’t look like an astrological hitchhiker by linking to AstroRevolution, I’m going to weigh in with a few observations of my own.

VF says that when Bruni was 28 (ah, the old Saturn return!), Italian industrialist Alberto Bruni-Tedeschi told her that he was not her “genetic father.” Bruni learned that her biological father is Maurizio Remmert, a classical guitarist. So her success as a musician is due not just to nurture, but to nature. As astrologers, we might chalk it up to her Venus/Neptune conjunction in Scorpio.

Getting a sudden shock about one’s family reflects Bruni’s Virgo Moon conjunct revolutionary Uranus/Pluto. Interestingly, this Virgo stellium opposes Chiron in Pisces. Since Chiron is called the “Wounded Healer,” this aspect suggests a psychic injury concerning Bruni’s home or background.

Those who follow sun sign astrology might notice that Bruni is a Capricorn, an earth sign, while Sarkozy is an Aquarian, an air sign. These signs are next to, or adjacent, to each other. This position is usually dismissed by the cookie-cutter astrology books, which favor combos between signs of the same element (earth, water, air, or fire) or 60 degrees away (fire with air, earth with water).

Here’s a little secret that my longtime astrology teacher Eileen McCabe taught me: “Adjacents” frequently hook up because the two signs have much to teach each other. The staid Capricorn can give the revolutionary Aquarius some oft-needed discipline, while the Water Bearer can get the stiff-necked Goat to loosen up a little.

Now, you ask, what’s staid about Bruni? Well, she was to the manor born and was raised in a wealthy Italian family that is part of the Establishment. In contrast, Sarkozy is an outsider. He’s the son of immigrants who had to start over after leaving Hungary in 1947 and he did not attend any of the top schools that turn out France’s political leaders. In politics, he’s pursued a maverick style typical of an Aquarian.

Given McCabe’s theory about adjacent signs, it’s interesting to read in Maureen Orth’s VF article how Bruni has reined in Sarkozy’s flashy way of dressing, which had earned him the nickname “le President Bling-Bling.”

A footnote about the Bruni profile in VF: An editor’s note says author Orth turned in the piece a few days before her husband Tim Russert died.

While we’re on the topic of Vanity Fair, I wish the magazine would bring back astrologer Michael Lutin. The magazine isn’t the same without his Planetarium. Yes, I can read Lutin’s horoscopes elsewhere, but as an astrologer, I couldn’t wait to see how he was going to distill complex aspects and transits into a cocktail that the masses could imbibe.

The Death of Tim Russert and the Spring Equinox Chart

Hindsight is always 20-20 vision, but the sudden death of TV newscaster Tim Russert on June 13 got me thinking about the 2008 Spring Equinox chart.

That chart, set for Washington D.C., has Uranus in Pisces in the third house of media and communications square the Ascendant, a negative aspect that had Nancy over at Nancy’s Blog quite concerned about some surprising event in the nation’s capital.

Here’s the link to the chart: http://www.handclow2012.com/springequinox.htm

My post for the chart said there could be upsetting news, but that the “talking heads on TV will tell us everything will be O.K.” Obviously, I didn’t foresee that the upsetting news was going to concern one of the talking heads. In the words of the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz: “The news swept the capital like a shock wave.” Sounds like Uranus square the Ascendant to me.

Here’s the link to my Spring Equinox post: https://astrologymundo.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/happy-new-year/

Now some people might be skeptical that you could see the death of an individual other than a king or a president in a collective chart. But I would argue that Russert, as host of Face the Nation, was an important figure on a symbolic level to the U.S. In many ways, he was larger than life.

Perhaps his passing in Washington D.C. on June 13 also had to do with Pluto’s retrograde movement back into Sagittarius. Pluto’s previous passage through Sag, which ran from 1995 to 2008, coincided with the restructuring of Big Media. TV network news programs lost viewers, while circulation for newspapers and magazines declined as more people spent time surfing the Net. The current retrograde of Pluto in Sag lasts just a few months, until Nov. 26, and will see the tying up of loose ends, meaning more layoffs for journos.

Pluto was still in the last minutes of Capricorn when Tom Brokaw told viewers of Russert’s death at 3:40 p.m. Eastern time on June 13. It didn’t touch Sag until two hours later.

But the next few hours would be dominated by media coverage of Russert’s accomplishments, which included coining the term “red state-blue state” to describe the political polarization of the U.S. As Pluto, the planet of destruction and transformation, moved back into the sign of Sag, which rules Big Media, the airwaves and the Internet were focusing on the death of a prominent journalist.

Media types and their families always get better obituaries than the general public. When a journalistic brother or sister dies, the remaining members of the media community pull out the stops. Have you ever noticed a prominent obituary in The New York Times for a seemingly ordinary woman who was active in her community and her church? You find yourself wondering why she’s getting all this space until you read the list of survivors and learn that she was the mother, wife, sister, or daughter of an editor on the paper.

Another reason for the outpouring of grief about Russert’s death: Nobody likes it when somebody’s Dad dies right before Father’s Day. This kind of thing gets sentimental media types choked up.

Speaking of obits, here’s a link to WaPo media critic Kurtz’s obituary of Russert: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/13/AR2008061302423_pf.html

If you’re looking for an analysis of Russert’s chart and what the transits were when he died, you’ll find a good one here: http://www.acumind.com/News/Political/RussertTim/russertt.html

Interestingly, last week also saw the death of another important media figure: groundbreaking sportscaster Jim McKay, who passed away at age 86 on June 7. McKay, best known for hosting ABC’s Wide World of Sports , leaves as his legacy his trademark description, “the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.” I’m pretty sure he coined the phrase because back in those days, TV’s talking heads wrote their own scripts.

By the way, there are still a few days until the Summer Solstice chart kicks in on June 20, so we’re not out of the woods in terms of an unexpected event in Washington D.C., as foreshadowed by the Spring Equinox chart. But I’m hoping Russert’s death is the last of the upsetting news.