Skewed Signals

Mercury has a special significance with the zoidia (signs) Taurus and Scorpio, and particularly in this retrograde period of Mercury.

Highly eccentric, supposedly. From the Greek ekkentros, from ek ‘out of’ + kentron “center.’ Off-center, in other words: out of proper or at least usual, expected alignment.
That’s the word on Mercury’s (Hermes’) path around Sol, which necessarily affects Earth’s reception of Mercury’s emanations.
Distance from Sol at aphelion (farthest from Sol) is half again as much as at perihelion (closest to Sol). And Mercury’s orbit is tipped seven degrees to Earth’s orbit.
Even more unusual: These occasional transits of Mercury — as does Venus — across the face of Sol. This latest one on 11.11 is the first in a series of three, ending in 2039, all in the second week of November. Going back to the start of the seventeenth century or forward to the year 2295, all are within that time frame, or at the very opposite time of the year. (Similarly for Venus, the transits fall in the first third of either June or December.)
Curious, eh?
So astrologically speaking, Mercury has a special significance with the zoidia (signs) Taurus and Scorpio, and particularly in this retrograde period of Mercury. That effectively extends from 12 October to 7 December.
Earth’s gaseous atmosphere, especially wind patterns (Mercury’s domain), responds. Just take note of the very unusual early-season cold weather that has descended once again on eastern North America, with literally hundreds of low-temperature records expected to be surpassed.
And note that storms of historic impact have followed the pattern of eccentricity. One of them was long implanted in the common memory of most folks of the western Great Lakes and northern Plains regions, though it has largely passed out of living memory. The reference is to the notorious Armistice Day (now Veterans Day) blizzard of 1940, when high winds and bitter temperatures that accompanied a surprise cold front brought panic and/or death to hundreds. To paint one picture: Many hunters were out in the fields and marshes when they were suddenly enveloped by and isolated within whipping clouds of snow; escape was all but impossible. Exhaustion and hypothermia ruled the day.
George J. McCormack’s report in his Text-Book of Long-Range Weather Forecasting (1947) stated:
“On November 11, when the actual transit across the Sun took place, tornadoes, blizzards and gales wrought havoc in twenty western and southern States. Storms carried the first major cold wave of the season, with a temperature of 21 degrees below zero reported in Montana. Winds velocity at Detroit’s airport was measured at 78 miles per hour. The worst storm on Lake Michigan in twenty years and the hardest blow in Chicago since 1898 were reported. Property damage amounting to millions of dollars was reported in Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis.”
What are the reports on 2019’s version? Especially beyond weather, though that is quite apt to be noteworthy. What weirdness, what snafus, what shifts of consciousness and awareness have flashed into personal and collective beings?
On political center stage in Big Swamp City on the Potomac River, North America, the latest extravaganza of the Caesar Brothers and Sisters Circus is opening another near-climactic act. (On other continents, one may peruse the fare of other bunglers. Take a peek at the situation in Brazil, for starters. The article by Chet Zdrowski in the Mountain Astrologer — “Uranus, Gaia and the Amazon: Shell Shock and Climate Change” — is well worth the time.)
They’re pretty much all drawn from the tattered, disreputable and generally clownish Patriarchs Playbook.
And appropriately, the representative from Hollywood, a most Schiff-ty character, Adam (mythic first man), strides now into the ring, upon Mercury’s very winged heels.
How will it go for him and his narrative? Not very conclusively, I dare say — just going by the Mercury-ness of it all. Call it a battle of the memes.
And there are some curious aspects of the astrology.

For one thing, according to the planetary pattern for his published birth date, he was born on the day of a somewhat similar Sol – Venus conjunction, except that Venus was on the opposite side of Sol from Earth. And just the day after the summer solstice, calling on him in some way to emphasize the core values of his home and country: Cancerian issues.
They are part of a partial energetic lattice from Taurus (moveable goods, money, assets) to Scorpio (other people’s claims on same), from Mars (action, aggression) to Neptune (vision, fantasy). Also included: Pluto’s element of revelatory power and manipulation.
An actual birth time is not available, however I suspect noonish is about right. Virgo rising seems right, with Pluto and the lunar north node therein. There is such a strong sense of destiny about his arrival on the scene as fog-master Neptune arrives at his south node: the importance of the cloud of unknowing about where he came from and who are his actual constituents. He comes off, via the media, as cool and thorough. And yet there’s a hidden game — of course, it’s politics, right? No, there is more, much more, than “usual” or “typical.”
The position of Mercury in the natal chart is enough to make any astrologically savvy person howl: the next degree over from Mercury’s place on 4 July 1776 (when Mercury was retrograde). For Schiff, it’s the twenty-sixth degree. And check out the Sabian Symbol (I’m referring to the Cafe Astrology page): “ A violent storm in a canyon filled with expensive homes.” Gosh, doesn’t that sound just like what’s been going on of late around Mr. Schiff’s district and from one end of California to the other?
And resonating to the very time of his arrival on Earth, Jupiter and Saturn are back at the very same areas as in the natal chart. The fancy phrase for this is phase recurrence. What it means is that the passion play of morality and rectitude has its perfect emcee.
Plus, Uranian electricity has been jangling the course of battle as that planet, in the past couple of years, has passed back and forth across the natal place of Mars. The past New Moon was directly opposite, signaling the crucial phase of investigations and plans.
And lookee there — an early Gemini Moon: in Mercury’s zoidion of diurnal duality. It’s perfect, coming home to a jangled home.
Let the show resume! It’s the Greatest Show on Earth!?

[See also the excellent and extensive article by Brian Clark, “Mercury: Pi in the Sky,” in The Mountain Astrologer, Dec. 2018 – Jan. 2019.]

Social Insecurity

It happens quite frequently in these Excited States of America: Dire alarms are raised in the various news media whose audience is the Boomer generation, that the system of Social Security payments is under attack or financially unsound.
No wonder! Millions of Americans depend on that money showing up every month, and millions would undoubtedly be in tough shape without it. Not all Boomers are well off, retiring in the lap of luxury as they go about all their medical appointments and load up their pills-for-each-day containers each week. A great many, for various reasons, fell through the cracks of the Great Prosperity that followed the Great Depression and (Second) Great War. A lot never got what might have seemed their allotted portion of the Great American Pie in the heyday of the American Empire.
Most of that pie went to those who survived the Depression and War: their reward for endurance. The Boomers reached adulthood — okay, okay, a lot of the younger folks apparently think the Boomers never grew up — just as America peaked and started its unavoidable slide: the late ‘60s and ‘70s.
Sure, business was going great guns (in more ways than one) in that era, but if one looks at the her/history of the times, it really was crazy, man. And not many other than M. King Hubbert (note: NOT L. Ron Hubbard) noticed that the item that underpinned it all — cheap oil — began its inevitable path of depletion in the early ‘70s. We’re all living through the early stages of the Long Emergency, or Long Descent.(1)
The point is that Social Security and every other aspect of a growth economy have reached the end stages of their viability.
Just look at the cycles of the outer planets — the ones that relate to historical developments over an extended time scale (more than the twenty years of a Jupiter-Saturn cycle).
The starting point is the signing of the Social Security Act by President Franklin Roosevelt on the summer afternoon of a Full Moon day. (Those basic facts might cause one to associate Social Security with a popular song of the era: “Summertime, and the Living Is Easy.”)

One cycle is quite obvious: the return of Uranus to the starting point in an early degree of Taurus, the zoidion (sign) most associated with financial security on a personal level. This month’s New Moon opposite Uranus is a signal that something big and new is in the works and about to break into public consciousness.
There are likely to be one or more major developments or announcements between now and the Full Moon days. While that occurs on the twelfth of November — with Luna shining brightest in the money sign Taurus, in company with Uranus the disruptor — the following five days continue the prime time.
Next in line: Neptune, transiting lately opposite Neptune in the Social Security chart (and opposite where Neptune was in 1776). The 1930s and 1960s (marked by Medicare) were the two peak periods in social welfare programs, correlating first with Neptune’s passage through Virgo, then Uranus’ and Pluto’s.
Lastly: Pluto, now attaining the halfway mark from Pluto’s place in 1935 (and returning to Pluto’s place in 1776): Pluto being associated with the most inexorable, life-and-death forces working toward evolution on a collective level.
Thus, one can begin to appreciate that the great struggle of this time over the collective soul, if you will, of the Excited States includes, prominently, the disposition or overhaul and continuation of the apparatus of social welfare. (As with pretty much everything about the ways that life has come to be organized, devolution to more regional or local realms is a safe bet.)
There are a great many other points of interest about this chart, but there is no need to invite confusion with excessive detail.
There is merely one essential fact: Nothing is forever, everything must over time change and die. Human institutions are no more immune than individual humans.

(1) It takes 60 Iraqi conventional oil wells to produce 1 million barrels of oil per day.
How many US shale wells does it take to produce the same amount?
a) 30
b) 60
c) 100
d) 2,500

Answer: d) 2,500
source: Bloomberg News, 27 Feb. 2014
Tag: The Shale Revolution aint all it’s fracked up to be.

Each month, on the first of the month, a more personalized article, written with Aeolea Wendy Burwell, is published. Check it out here.

Weather or Not

First, as a major story, came the record-breaking heavy snow and cold air outbreak, concentrated on Montana. And simultaneously, the southeastern states of the USA were encountering record breaking heat and severe drought.
Around the same time, the eastern central region of the Atlantic Ocean — over there, off the coast of northwestern Africa — was buffeted by a very rare major hurricane: Those massive storms hardly ever make U-turns, as this one essentially did.
Then the weather news was abuzz with another unusually heavy early blizzard, concentrating this time a bit to the east of the first one: North Dakota. An unusual chill moved largely southward: bundled-up baseball players in St. Louis could be seen. Temperatures in the southeast were restored to more typical conditions.
Would the trend continue through the rest of the fall and winter? Would 2019-20 shape up as a bitter, brutal winter?
Well, the dramatic weather so far, in only three weeks since the equinox (Libra solar ingress), reflects several factors in the astrological chart for the ingress. One is the close T-square (an opposition of two or more bodies, with one or more bodies at right-angle to that axis) consisting of Luna in Cancer opposite Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, with Mercury and Venus at right-angle from Libra. This is a strong indication of rapidly developing air masses and storm systems with considerable energy intensity.

Secondly, the chart includes a looser T-square including Mars opposite Neptune, with Jupiter square to both. With Mars, the fastest-moving of the three, at a higher degree than both the others, a dissipating set of atmospheric circumstances is indicated: the highly charged conditions, including storm surge, that accompanied Hurricane Dorian, especially.
What’s left? Sol (Sun) and Uranus. The astro-meteorological characteristics of the latter are relevant to North America: The north-south line on Earth of places where Uranus was exactly on the upper meridian (the “noon” position, more or less) passed through Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and along the Alabama-Georgia border. Generally speaking, it means that a broad band of the central region of the country is particularly subject, this season, to “surprising” weather events, and especially to unusual outbreaks of cold weather. For those places closer to the line, that has not happened yet, but look for that to occur around the time of the next New Moon on 27 October, when Sun and Moon line up closely opposite to Uranus.

The Mercury and Venus lines also run north-south, through the High Plains and the southern Rockies: Unusually high winds (Mercury) and precipitation (Venus) have been reported.
The southern West Coast shows a complex and challenging situation: Moon rising and Saturn setting along the coast, with Sun-on-lower-meridian running north-south. This emphasizes factors of overall changeability and tidal movements (Moon) and cold (Saturn), as well as excess dryness (Sun) enabling another round of wildfires disrupting life for tens of thousands of people. Note that reports of large fires forcing evacuations and accompanied by wide-area power outages began cropping up as Sun crossed the position of Mercury on 8 October. This was just days after Mars crossed the Sun’s position, denoting an acceleration and intensification of dry (not even officially drought) conditions.
The only other lunation (New, First Quarter, Full or Last Quarter Moon) that strongly “lights up” the fall season configuration is the Full Moon on 11 December, when Sun and Moon will oppose one another at twenty degrees of Sagittarius and Gemini, respectively: close to Jupiter at seventeen Sagittarius. That is an indication of especially fine, dry and warm weather: similar to the situation that occurred through western Europe last February. This time, however, the Jupiter line runs through Greenland and eastern Brazil: enjoyable late-spring days for the latter but concerning regarding the already-melting icecap. Jupiter is often associated with something that is too much of a good thing.

And so what about winter? Well, it will be a lot darker and colder than summer, and there will be snow, mostly in northerly places. More seriously: For the East Coast, the overall prospects are for considerable changeability: mutable Sagittarius will be the sign on the lower meridian, the biggest astrological factor. Sagittarius is of the fire element, so overall relative warmth and dryness are indicated. In addition, the longitude of Washington DC will be where Mercury will be on the lower meridian, foretelling exceptional windiness (and in the political sphere, moralizing and pontificating). Foggy conditions are also likely to be more problematic than usual: noting Neptune’s placement close to the western horizon of the chart.

The western half, or a bit more, of the country will have Scorpio on the lower meridian, indicating generally wetter conditions (with considerable variation: pronounced wetness closer to the Pacific coast) and more extreme temperatures than usual. The presence of both Luna and Mars in Scorpio should produce some dramatic contrasts between wet and dry regions.
As with the autumn chart, there is a right-angle between Luna and Venus, Luna again in water (Scorpio) and Venus in air (Aquarius), but this time both are in a T-square configuration with Uranus (the planet that correlates with the unprecedented or highly unusual). Another round of heavy precipitation is expected, where the T-square hooks up with meridian or horizon of the locally-referenced chart. The pronounced wetness, alluded to above, is related to Luna and Uranus being at lower and upper meridian, respectively, through the West Coast states. It will be an off-and-on, abruptly shifting phenomenon, however: the nature of the Uranian factor.

The band of severe cold, as indicated by Saturn on the lower meridian, sets up over Greenland (not shown): good for the crucial icecap. Thus, a not particularly severe winter for all but eastern North America should gladden millions of hearts.
As for the timing of significant events, lunations are the primary factor: whether or not any of them link to the pattern for the season in a given region. The closest connection is the New Moon on 24 January 2020 at five degrees of Aquarius, conjunct Venus’ position in the season chart. Venus, however, is not prominently placed near either axis of the chart for locations in the USA, therefore the expected freezing rain conditions should be relatively minor. (The Venus-on-lower-meridian sets up through the North Atlantic Ocean, passing between Iceland and Greenland.)
Full Moons, when they fall across either axis, can manifest in the winter as impressive snowstorms. Such is the case for the one on 9 February at twenty degrees of Leo, which exactly strikes the season chart for Boise, Idaho. The interior mountain regions in general would do well to be on the alert.
As winter shifts toward spring, the Full Moon on 9 March is closely aligned with Neptune, warning of unusually heavy precipitation and likely newsworthy flooding along the East Coast, particularly the Northeast. Noting that this is the early part of the “Capricorn Crunch” — Mars joining Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto in that sign from mid-February to the end of March — one can readily anticipate considerable re-organization of day-to-day functioning — even widespread austerity conditions — accompanying watershed political events.
Climate chaos comes home on a decisively serious new level.

See also the monthly personal forecast co-written with Aeolea Wendy Burwell.

Veil of Kashmir

The story was nowhere near the top tier of the news leads during Equinox Week at the United Nations. The leads were Greta Thunberg’s Scandinavian Capricornian scolding — “How dare you?!” — of world “leaders” for their inaction on the climate chaos, and secondarily — thank the goddess — the Madman Who Must Not Be Named.
Somewhere beyond that, faintly heard, were the warnings of Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, beseeching the world body for attention to the tension between his country and India over the situation in Kashmir.
As so often, Gaia expressed the region’s tension in another form: a significant earthquake on 24 September, just two days before Khan spoke at the United Nations.
Khan was reminding the rest of the world that both countries possess nuclear weapons and a long history of mutual animosity. Harsh rhetoric and military maneuvering have been the norm for Kashmir at least since the British withdrawal from the Indian subcontinent in 1947. That occasion was marked by a political division into India and Pakistan (then into western and eastern sections, the latter separate as Bangladesh since 1971) and social conflict costing millions of lives.
The dire situation was reflected, astrologically, in the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto, the same combination that accompanied the start of the Great War in Europe in 1914.
Thus, it is no surprise that the recurrence of that conjunction in 2019-20 has been witnessed by a major ratcheting of tensions, particularly since Valentine’s Day. The date was 14 February when a twenty-something Pakistani rammed a car laden with explosives into a bus carrying Indian paramilitary troops near the Kashmiri capital, Srinagar. The explosion was heard for miles around, and at least forty soldiers were killed: the highest death toll from a single attack in the history of the insurgency.
In subsequent military reconnaissance and bombing by India — the first time in fifty years — one of its own planes was shot down, but the return of the pilot did little to reduce tension. India moved thousands of troops to the region and arrested thousands of Pakistanis, and India’s resolve to control the bulk of Kashmir (China also claims and occupies a smaller part) was emphasized by India’s revocation of semi-autonomous status. The newly nationalistic India has been riled up under prime minister Najendra Modi’s regime.
Not a trend that would promote peace prospects.
Plenty of heavy life-and-death sentiments among the Pakistani populace at the time of the Valentine’s Day event are represented by the Saturn-Pluto combination in opposition to Luna in the independence chart. A severe challenge is even more strongly indicated by the particular timing on that day: Saturn and Pluto on the western horizon: the place associated with open enemies. (One can see this by observing the circle-with-horizontal-line symbol in the outer ring of the chart, representing the eastern horizon at the moment, close to the crescent symbol for Luna in the inner ring. Saturn and Pluto, as well as Venus, were opposite that point.)

Also at that moment, Mars, the warrior planet, was at the very end of its domicile zoidion (sign) of Aries, with Uranus the surprise disruptor very close by.
Uranus in the Pakistan chart indicates a perennially precarious state of the government: It is placed exactly on the upper meridian. And Mars . . . well, Mars at zero degrees of Cancer indicates a very insecure nation whose instability can readily draw in the involvement of nations afar.
On 4 October 2019, Mars crosses the zero degrees of Libra place: another trigger moment, likely reflected in significant military developments, and perhaps tumult among Pakistani legislators.
Of greater concern is the period beginning 16 February 2020, when Mars reaches zero degrees of Capricorn — opposite zero degrees of Cancer — joining Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. Such a massing of planetary bodies in that zoidion surely portends political developments of far-reaching magnitude and significance.
At the most recent NCGR conference, several astrologers voiced grave concerns about political developments in reference to the month-and-a-half period beginning mid-February 2020. Bill Meridian, for one, identified the India – Pakistan flash point, along with Saudi Arabia, as a region of likely upheaval for 2020 overall.
Actually, much of the southern and eastern rim of Asia is in states of great ferment, if not open violence: from Yemen and Saudi Arabia (the latter’s oil-processing facilities recently hit by drone strikes) through India – Pakistan to Hong Kong to the border between the two Koreas. All are thrumming to the quickening vibrations of the great conglomeration of planets in Capricorn.
“Interesting times,” indeed.

Note on Pakistan independence chart: I have heeded the statement in Nick Campion’s Book of World Horoscopes: “Pakistani astrologers use a chart for 9.15 am, August 14, when Lord Mountbatten, the [British] viceroy, addressed the Constituent Assembly.”

See also the monthly personal forecast co-written with my partner Aeolea Wendy Burwell.

Picture of Dorian Great

Comparisons aplenty are being bandied about just now, concerning the confounding Hurricane Dorian and the Great Labor Day Storm of 1935.

The ferocity of the storms is comparable: Dorian flinging sustained winds of 180 miles per hour — just try to imagine literally weathering such a blow — with gusts over 220, when it made landfall the first of three times at Elbow Cay of the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas group. That occurred at 12:40 p.m. on 1 September.

Reports barely convey the experience: Homes — perhaps thirteen thousand — and businesses completely destroyed in the northern Bahama Islands and inundated with an extraordinary amount of flooding. Residents described “buzz-saw-like winds that splintered homes, flooded streets and left them terrified for their lives.” The storm surge has been reported as reaching twenty-three feet above normal sea level, the storm itself called “the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record,” according to ABC News.

Perhaps the words of the Prime Minister somewhat better conjures the feeling: the destruction “unprecedented and extensive,” battering a nation of small islands that has had to deal frequently with severe tropical storms: Floyd in 1999, Wilma in 2005, Matthew in 2016, Irma in 2017.

Where will it go next? Millions of people are wondering and worrying, their lives and livelihoods on hold. Officially, the word has been that “it’s going to be extremely close” at to whether Dorian would clobber Florida’s eastern coast, where more than a little interest has concerned the fate of the Trumpster’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where El Presidente expects to host and profit from 2020’s G-7 meeting of heads of state.

But at this writing (2-3 September), the storm has stalled, its hurricane-force winds barely reaching said coast.

Understanding the event from an astro-meteorological point of view must include the season chart and the configuration for the event itself (see chart below). A prominent feature is the tight Sun-Mars conjunction along with Mercury and Venus in mercurial Virgo in the landfall pattern upon the ascendant of the season chart. The message: a very forceful event with much wind and moisture hereabouts and now. The bodies in Virgo were at their highest elevation for the day at the time of landfall as they were blowing down the door to the end-of-summer season at the tropical vacation spot — where most of the local population struggles to survive.

The preceding New Moon on 30 August (a super-moon: at lunar perigee, resulting in greater-than-usual tides) with Mercury, Venus and Mars all in Virgo, close to the ascendant of the season chart, was the primary warning of a major weather event. A closer look shows Mercury in a most powerful position: exactly on the ascendant (i.e., eastern horizon). In mythic terms, Hermes was stepping onto the scene to usher the Bahamas — politically, economically and ecologically — into another phase of its existence, along with some individuals into the next world.

Also worthy of study is the Mercury-into-Leo ingress chart (relevant to Dorian’s emergence), Mercury being the wind factor. Notably, Mercury passed over the zero degrees Leo point three times between late June and early August, due to Mercury’s retrograde phase; the chart here is for the final passage. (This point is within three degrees of Mercury’s place in the Bahamas independence chart (not shown) on 10 July 1973 — a retrograde Mercury at that.) This ingress chart shows Jupiter close to the ascendant, strongly suggesting an event of great magnitude, and Jupiter’s square to Neptune near the lower meridian: a strong indication of flooding as the primary and pervasive problem. The same date also saw the conjunction of Venus (at the midpoint of the “underworld” phase of her cycle) with Sol: describing the combination of heat and moisture that fed the monster storm.

The chart for Mercury’s ingress into Virgo (not shown), cast for the same location in the Bahamas (close to the landfall place), offers less conclusive indications: Pluto near the western horizon, and the lunar nodal axis at right angle to the meridian. The meaning of the nodes, which mark the solar and lunar eclipse zones, is basically concerned with events that might have a significant impact on the continuity of the affected ecology, culture and infrastructure. However, linkage with the nodes does not carry through the other relevant charts.

All in all, this hurricane at this location was foreseeable far in advance: a great potential benefit of astro-meteorology. There must be at least a few astrologers in Florida and/or the Caribbean region who are anticipating such storms, and taking appropriate action.

(To emphasize that such a statement is far more than mere analysis after the fact, my partner and I published a statement — submitted for publication on 28 August and published 1 September — comparing the 2019 Virgo New Moon configuration to a very similar pattern that coincided with catastrophic Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico in 2017. I posited the likelihood of a significant hurricane around the date of the New Moon on 30 August.)

What comparisons might there be with the big blow of 1935, the storm that inspired the Bogey-and-Bacall movie “Key Largo”? That one, decades before hurricanes were assigned names, made landfall at Islamorada, Florida, on 2 September at 10:00 p.m. EST — four days after a New Moon in Virgo with Mercury, Venus and Neptune also in that sign. Aside from the factors already mentioned, Dorian has tied or exceeded Labor Day 1935 in a rare planetary coincidence: Uranus’ return, after eighty-four years, to the same zodiacal place within one degree. Uranus the exceptional, the record-breaker.

The Great Man

The sense of inevitability about it has been one of the stranger facets of BoJo’s ascension to the role of prime minister of the United Kingdom. Second, perhaps, only to the absurdity.

A particularly perceptive portrait of him asks the pair of burning questions: Does he believe any of his stated claims, and do his followers believe him? Fintan O’Toole’s “The Ham of Fate” piece in The New York Review of Books summarizes: “In both cases, the answer is yes, but only in the highly qualified way that an actor inhabits his role and an audience knowingly accepts the pretense. Johnson’s appeal lies precisely in the creation of a comic persona that evades the distinction between reality and performance.”

O’Toole offers an ancient Greek framework for comprehending the BoJo phenomenon: that of an akratic figure. A person, that is, who knows the right thing to do, yet perversely does the opposite.

The whole Brexit project was sold to the voters, back in June 2016, under the slogan “Take Back Control.” Yet, inevitably, the process ever since has been anything but. And BoJo’s own suggestion, eagerly echoed from across The Pond, that Donald Trump — serial bungler, cheat and bankrupt — hammer a new deal between the UK and the European Union, is equally ludicrous.

OK, for those who might not be familiar yet with the abbreviation: It’s for Boris Johnson, born, like the Trumpster, in New York, New York. That’s right, and raised partly in Brussels, capital of the EU, and at an elite private school, Eton.

He’s perfect for the role. BoJo even was employed as correspondent posted to Brussels between 1989 and 1994.

That is quite fitting for one of his astrological makeup, born with Sun, Venus (retrograde), Mercury and Mars in the mutable, airy zoidion of Gemini, and in the ninth place besides. It is also apropos of someone who, even the night before his announcement for Brexit, was vacillating to the extent that he composed two columns for The Telegraph. The fellow is literary, yet has also — like fellow solar Gemini Trump — made a career of mendacity.

As one born in daytime — sun above horizon — his overarching quest is a solar one, an essentially heroic one for a place in the sun, a stage on which to unleash his mercurial nature.

BoJo, like Trump, was born at a rare and curious moment: Trump on the occasion of a lunar eclipse, symbolizing the lack of feeling for anything but [Luna in] Sagittarian bombast; BoJo on a Venus inferior conjunction (that is, Venus between Earth and Sun), representing, one might say, a life quest for values within the inherently vacillating realm of Gemini shape-shifting.

Mercury also in Gemini for BoJo reveals special potency upon closer examination: a consistently inconsistent character indicated by said Mercury position having been right on the place of the pre-natal solar eclipse. And then for an extra dose of mutability, there’s Mars early in that sign, adding an erratic level of activity, especially linked, as it is, with the symbols / energies of the the most contradictory impulses of the1960s: the Saturn opposition to Uranus and Pluto.

It was early summer of 1964 when BoJo came on the scene: seven months after the assassination of U.S. President Kennedy, during the early stages of the British musical “invasion” of the United States, early in the drawn-out American invasion of Vietnam, in the midst of the absurd “space race.” A strange time, indeed.

That’s what he was born into, the atmosphere he was bred to inhabit.

Plus . . . his birth pattern includes an exact Jupiter – Neptune opposition, representing the grand fantasyland dimension to the time he was born into, and now. Now the configuration is a square, the last-quarter mark of the cycle between them, but small matter. The combination was crucially present — call it a recurrence — through the Jupiter – Neptune opposition in play at the time of the Brexit vote, only four days after his fifty-second birthday, in 2016. (Not merely Jupiter – Neptune, but with Saturn (symbolizing structure and control) added into the bargain for greater impact.)

The facet of a drama on a grand scale has been further highlighted by one of BoJo’s own literary contributions: The Churchill Factor. As Britain has sunk further and further into its post-Empire mire in recent decades — royal weddings and babies to the contrary — the sense of national crisis has deepened and broadened. Forgetting Winston Churchill’s many political and military disasters, and his megalomaniac tendencies, the worship of late has been intense, taking the form of not only books but also films — “Darkest Hour,” “ Into the Storm,” etc..

The human species has a peculiar hunger for a “Great Man,” be he Fuhrer, Papa Stalin, Chairman Mao, Pol Pot or whomever. Lunatic sociopaths, those. Churchill, fortunately, was not presented with the opportunity for such absolute power. Even so, Churchill still proceeded through life fueled with the conviction that he was destined for greatness: the conviction born of someone born under a Mars – Jupiter conjunction (as was his French contemporary Charles DeGaulle): bold and brash, with uncanny luck thrown in.

Such is not the stuff of Boris Johnson. And besides, “Boris Johnson,” really? C’mon. Russian and Swedish names? His real first name is Alexander, and the guy is known to family and close associates as Al.

Still, Churchill — always keen for war, much like some characters on this side of The Pond — conjured up some mighty big messes in his time, and hung around long enough for the power to fall to him by default. After Neville Chamberlain — he of “peace in our time” infamy for his absurd pact with Hitler — there was no one else left but him. Rather like BoJo, after Cameron and the sorrier spectacle of Teresa May.

So, off the UK goes, into BoJo’s waiting arms. The recent solar eclipse (2 July 2019) fell into his natal tenth place, close to the upper meridian, signaling a path opening to his becoming the Big Kahuna.

But it’s all a joke, and everyone knows it. There is no clueful leadership among the latest crop that can address the burgeoning crises facing industrial civilization. And the crisis in the West is at the stage of the cycle wherein the caesars arise as democracy — at least on the national level — crumbles through its own corruption. “Restoration” is not forthcoming.

The current late-in-multiple-cycles situation — with respect to the three cycles involving Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto (the latter two already in Capricorn, sign of business and government, and structures in general, with Jupiter to follow come December) — is a reliable indicator of deepening disintegration, and discreditation. The Great Man is no fit for the greater feminizing forces of this era.

So usher him in: The Great BoJo.

When? Well, late August 2019 — when the New Moon, joined by Mercury, Venus and Mars, aligns with natal Uranus, symbol of the collective yearning for disruption — seems just about right. The date of his arrival at #10 matters little: Late August is when the fun begins.

On with the show.

El Nino Revisited

In chapter seven of Scenes from a Tapestry: Reports and Musings on Weather, Climate and the Long Emergency, I proposed a possible method of forecasting an El Nino season.

The midsection of the USA has been pummeled for months now with rain that won’t quit, an unusually active though not spectacular tornado season, hail galore, persistent flooding, inundated farm fields. For a great many commodity farmers—especially those accustomed to producing corn or soybeans—the 2019 season is effectively over. And there are the effects of the trade war against China. What a tide of woe.
As reported by United Press International: “American farmers are usually finished planting corn by early June. But, as of [17 June – date of Full Moon conj Jupiter], 92 percent of the nation’s fields were planted, making this the slowest planting season recorded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “

It started with what I termed “Nebraska’s Katrina”: “When the bomb cyclone hit Nebraska in March, that was really the beginning of the whole thing,” said Gale Lush, a Nebraska farmer who serves as chairman of the American Corn Growers Association. “Then the rain started and it hasn’t stopped.”

That was a month after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued an advisory on 14 February 2019, reporting evidence characterizing a weak El Nino phenomenon; and indicated that it would likely persist through the Northern Hemisphere spring. In the advisory notice published on, the following summary was included:
“In a typical El Niño winter and early spring the jet stream pattern over the U.S. shifts and can result in wetter-than-average and colder-than-average conditions across much of the southern tier of the country. Drier conditions are often found in parts of the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys.” (Not so this time.)

In chapter seven of Scenes from a Tapestry: Reports and Musings on Weather, Climate and the Long Emergency, I proposed a possible method of forecasting an El Nino season:

It seems to me that one possible (major) indicator would be the signs occupied by Jupiter and Saturn, since they alone among the (visible) planets generally remain in a given sign through the setup and release phases (Northern Hemisphere autumn and winter, respectively). Mars can remain for as much as almost eight months in a single sign, when its retrograde phase is involved, or as little as one-and-a-half months centering on its conjunction with Sol; thus, I am inclined to discount Mars.
Not so much the sign, but the element, also seems crucial: fire, air, earth or water. The element — as in “principle” or “rudiment” — reflects the temperament of Earth, as Earth bathes in the energies of the cosmic environment.

My theory is that El Nino seasons correlate most strongly with those when Jupiter and/or Saturn is/are in the warmer elements fire and/or air. (El Nino correlates most strongly with above-average warming of waters in the tropical Pacific.)
If Jupiter and/or Saturn shift(s) sign / element during the period of late September through December, that indicates a change in the established meteorological pattern. When the change occurs affects the degree of change.

Jupiter shifted from water-sign Scorpio to fire-sign Sagittarius on 7 November 2018, and Saturn has been in earth-sign Capricorn since 20 December 2017: factors pointing toward a weak-to-moderate El Nino. Add that to the overall climate-chaos situation, mix in Uranus-in-Taurus (since 6 March 2019) significations that include large-scale disruptions to agricultural industries, and all the ingredients are present to generate the kind of stories that are being reported daily.

And what about comparisons of 2019 with 1927?

The winter of 1926-27 was a record-breaker in the rain-and-flood department for much of the lower Mississippi River valley. Among the factoids: seven hundred thousand people were left homeless in Louisiana and Mississippi. The misery inspired famous songs such as Memphis Minnie’s “When the Levee Breaks” (famously covered by Led Zeppelin) and Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927”: “It rained real hard and it rained for a real long time / Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline . . . ”

There is little oceanographic data available from 1927, so that season is not included in the list of El Nino seasons. However, I think a strong El Nino event can be reliably inferred. It would definitely support the Jupiter – Saturn element theory: Jupiter was in air-sign Aquarius and Saturn in fire-sign Sagittarius.

During the very strong El Nino of 1997-98, Jupiter was in airy Aquarius until early February, and Saturn was in fiery Aries throughout.

The next strong one is likely in the winter-spring of 2020-21, when both Jupiter and Saturn will inhabit air-sign Aquarius.

Who said the Aquarian Shift would be an easy one?