Dear Friend and Reader:
Monday, we learned that Joseph Ratzinger, known as Pope Benedict XVI, would be the first pontiff to resign from office since 1415, nearly three centuries before Benjamin Franklin was born. This is something that’s never happened in the modern era, and its being unprecedented — and the astrology that goes with the event, along with an asteroid flyby and a meteorite strike — seems designed to get our attention.
The last pope who resigned (technically known as abdicating, since he is a form of royalty), Gregory XII, quit as part of a plan to resolve a three-way split in the church, so he did not exactly step down voluntarily. Prior to that there was an allegedly voluntary papal resignation in 1294, and before that, we had one in 1045. This is not part of the usual three-day news cycle. In fact it’s so weird, there are no specific instructions in canon law for how a pope should actually quit if he wants to.
Pope Benedict XVI reads statement that he will be resigning effective Feb. 28. Photo distributed by AP.
Ratzinger resigned one day after the New Moon in Aquarius conjunct the centaur Nessus, a minor planet which can act like a karmic boomerang, and has the key phrase, ‘the buck stops here’. Nessus is also associated with potentially inappropriate sexual contact, and situations where the ‘buck stops’ and responsibility (or in this case, the fall) is taken.
At the time he resigned, the church was starting
to be viewed by many as little more than a massive criminal syndicate, with specialties in human trafficking and financial fraud. This, from a religion that preaches sexual purity, even chastity for the unmarried, whose priests all take vows of celibacy and who allegedly live in humble poverty.
Sunday’s New Moon (which began the Chinese Year of the Snake) was also square the lunar nodes, to the exact degree. Last week I described this lunation as an eclipse-like point of no return. Two days later Mars was conjunct Chiron, an aspect we can explore to understand attributes of deeply wounded maleness and male sexuality — and the struggle with sexual desire in general.
Centaur transits can bring out the shadow side of human nature, and they’ve been stirring things up the past few weeks. Notably, the Sun-Nessus conjunction was exact Thursday.
And on Thursday, as if prompted by the astrology, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights requested that the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague open an inquiry on behalf of the Survivors Network, accusing the pope of crimes against humanity. Their complaint said that the global Catholic Church has maintained a “long-standing and pervasive system of sexual violence” despite promises to swiftly oust predators, the UK-based Telegraph newspaper reported.
Main building of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Photo: Wikimedia.
“Lawyers for the victims say rape, sexual violence and torture are considered a crime against humanity as described in the international treaty that spells out the court’s mandate,” The Telegraph said. “The complaint also accuses Vatican officials of creating policies that perpetuated the damage, constituting an attack against a civilian population.”
The Vatican is not a member nation in the International Criminal Court, meaning that the court does not have automatic jurisdiction over its officials.
Meanwhile there have been 9,000 independent proposals to the ICC for inquiries into this issue since 2002, when the court was created as the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal, The Telegraph reported, speculating that an ICC investigation is unlikely.
This just underscores how the Vatican is accustomed to being above reproach. For millennia it’s gotten away with anything and everything. We might count as the humble first steps of progress the first resignation of a pope in six centuries.
The Pope and The Tower
Ratzinger, long an influential figure in the Vatican, was elevated to pope in 2005 after the death of John Paul II, one of the longest-serving pontiffs in church history. Ratzinger served for less than eight years. News reports have stuck to the story that 85-year-old Ratzinger quit because he was too old and frail to do his job, though advanced age hasn’t seemed to matter much in church history.
La Maison Dieu or The Tower from the Jodorowsky Tarot.
The question people are asking is: what is this about? Nobody just gives up being head of state, a private bank and a massive religion (with the servants and altar boys, private jets, limitless funds and full diplomatic status) just so they can retire to a convent and write a book.
It’s true that the pope was being described as exhausted and that talk of his potential resignation goes back a year or so. Yet we all know that the church has been besieged with scandals in recent decades. The question going around is, was his resignation about the child rape scandal (over which Ratzinger is reputed to have presided during his predecessor’s reign) or was it really about the Vatican bank scandal?
Sex abuse litigation has cost the church more than $3 billion in payouts to victims in the U.S. alone, and has caused many archdioceses to file bankruptcy in recent years. Yet more than being financially costly, this scandal has repeatedly exposed the morbid, perverse goings-on inside the church. And incredibly, people still show up to Sunday mass.
The Vatican bank scandal involves money laundering, mafia involvement in the organization, anonymous accounts and what are politely described as shady transactions (likely to include things like financing anti-communist death squads). If we ever find out what this bank really does, it will be sickening (and from looking at the Vatican bank’s chart, we just might find out).
Let’s go back to when Ratzinger was elected in the spring of 2005. I was living in Paris at the time and was an astrology news reporter for London-based Cainer.com, and covered this in some detail.
At the time, I wrote of Ratzinger’s election:
If stability is what we are seeking, it’s unlikely to happen now. Much discussion has gone into Ratzinger’s choice of names (popes traditionally name themselves). The last Benedict was the Peace Pope during World War I.
But I would like to briefly mention the number: XVI, or 16, which is the number of the tarot card The Tower. This is the one where lightning hits a tower and the two people fall out. It’s also called La Maison Dieu, or House of God. It’s the number of a shakeup. Or liberation. Or release. Certainly some kind of big change. We are in for some surprises.
It is strange and unsettling that this election was concluded so close to an eclipse of the Moon, particularly in Scorpio, the sign where power is often wheeled and dealed. This is yet another sign that says some great change is imminent.
Based on what is perhaps the most traditional method of prediction (solar arc direction), there will be some big change either to the church or with this papacy within four months from now, when that late Aries Sun becomes a Taurus Sun. That would be in August.
Somebody please remember I said that.
Well, I didn’t remember until I re-read the article. Then I checked the Wikipedia timeline of the church sex abuse scandal. In August 2005, Ratzinger was personally accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys in Texas by Juan Carlos Patino-Arango in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
Ratzinger sought and obtained immunity from prosecution as a head of state. The Department of State agreed to “recognize and allow the immunity of Pope Benedict XVI from this suit,” something that would not have happened without the consent of then-President Bush.
Monday, the day of the pope’s resignation, lightning struck the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica not once but twice, symbolism that could not be lost on even the most literal-minded person.
The Resignation Chart
The Vatican on its website listed the time of the resignation announcement as “just before noon” on Monday, Feb. 11. Most astrologers cast the chart as noon. I requested assistance from my readers and was sent by Maura Bright a photo of Ratzinger making his statement, with an aide sitting beside him. The aide’s wristwatch is visible, showing a time of just before 11:45 am; I have gone with 11:42 am. I know this section gets into technical astrology but I’ve done my best to make it easy to follow. Give it a try. Here is a glyph key if you need it.
Here is the chart, which we could informally title, “OMFG.” Generally the houses with the most impact are the 1st and the 10th. The 1st is to the left side of the chart (also called the ascendant) and the 10th is on top, to the left side of the dark line. Notice the concentrations of planets in both.
The 10th is particularly telling; it’s the house of high office (all the way to the top) and executive power, suggesting that there is some movement here on the global level. Remember that in the scheme of things, the pope is a relatively minor player, someone with more privileges than actual power. But many people place their loyalty in him, in effect enabling all of his crimes with their complicity and direct donation of spiritual commitment.
There are many people above his head; many forces to which he is answerable, and we see them show up in the 10th house.
At the top of the chart is the Sun-Nessus conjunction (the yellow circle and the light blue N). This tells us that we really do have a Nessus event on our hands, one in many ways like any other (most of which involve rape and molestation, who holds responsibility and how we heal from these things). The 10th tells us that this is a chart about power.
In addition to Sun-Nessus, two details really stand out. One is that there is a (verging on unbelievable) quadruple conjunction at the moment of the announcement: Mars, Moon, Chiron and Mercury, all clustered in Pisces. Look how close those four planets are (please see detail for a closer look). Neptune is right there — but try as it may, it cannot fog this one over.
I’ve already described the Mars-Chiron conjunction, exact to a fraction of a degree in this chart, as about wounded male sexuality; the Moon, a kind of pointer, is located exactly between those two planets, saying this is the thing to focus on now.
In this chart, you can see the Sun (in gold) conjunct Nessus (in light blue). You can also see the Moon, the gray crescent, in the narrow space between Mars (in red) and Chiron (orange key). It’s also close to Mercury in green. On the far right is Venus, who seems to represent the pope.
The Moon then moves on to make a conjunction to Mercury — which rules the chart’s ascendant and therefore the question itself. We don’t need to look far to see that this is about sexual impropriety and in truth profound sickness, reaching up to the highest levels of power. It shows up all over the chart — but particularly right in the 10th house of executive authority.
The other detail is that Venus is lurking just inside the 9th house, as if hiding from public view (you can see it just to the right of the dark line). This to me looks like the pope himself avoiding personal culpability. Venus is square Saturn; this is the end of the line for him, but he manages to escape, mainly because he is the pope. This helps explain why he was made pope — he had to be, as a strategic move so that he could take the fall.
Looking at the ascendant of this chart, we see Jupiter rising — all those planets in Pisces are square Jupiter, the ruler of Pisces. This chart describes a state of siege and even terror so palpably that the Vatican must be in a total shambles right now.
The asteroid Vesta is also rising — indicating that the overriding theme is that of a sacrifice. In a sense, the pope was offered as sacrifice in hope that the reputation of the church itself might survive. However, it’s reasonable to expect that there will be additional revelations that come as part of this shakeup.
Let’s take a look at one other chart (well, two, since they go together). The first is Ratzinger’s natal chart. I’ve included a section since we really don’t need the whole thing.
Detail of Ratzinger’s natal chart showing Pholus in the 10th house in the last degree of Sagittarius. It’s green, with the number 29 next to it. See full chart here.
He has the centaur Pholus as his most elevated planet, right on the 10th house. This is an odd position for a CEO but not for this particular pope, because Pholus is about the runaway reaction (or the small cause with a big effect). This kind of placement is seen in the charts of mass shootings. The indication is that he is involved in the uncontrolled abuse of power.
He may even be a perpetrator himself, or at least seems to have some kind of sexual self-control issue, or doubts about his own ambiguity; his natal Mars in Gemini is exactly opposite that Pholus.
Pholus is in the last degree of Sagittarius, way out on the edge of that sign, where it’s even less stable than it might ordinarily be. It’s a central driving force in his psyche, fueled or aggravated by that opposition from Mars. It represents a central force operating within his psyche.
On Nov. 16, a film premiered in the United States called Mea Maxima Culpa. The film, which I have not yet seen (it runs Friday night on HBO East, when I plan to watch it), is about the sexual abuse of hundreds of deaf children by a Roman Catholic priest in Milwaukee.
In an article about the film, The Guardian reported this week, “Despite taking their claims all the way to the Vatican in their quest for justice, they were consistently rebuffed. Benedict XVI, in his earlier capacity as Cardinal Ratzinger, was responsible for ordering all reports of sex abuse to be channelled through his office at the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, which he ran from 2001 to 2005.”
On the very day that this film premiered, Mars was in the last degree of Sagittarius. It hit Ratzinger’s natal Pholus llike an explosive concussion. Once Pholus is activated, things can go out of control quickly (as we saw in the chart for Rupert Murdoch). This seems to have been the point where he could not sustain any more pressure, and had to be moved out of the way to deflect the attention and prevent more wide-scale damage.
Chart section for the opening of Mea Maxima Culpa. Here you can see Mars in the last degree of Sagittarius (in red, next to the crescent Moon). On that day it aligned directly with Pholus in Ratzinger’s chart. See full chart here.
My sense is that he was not just involved in the coverup of the child rape scandal; he was its engineer.
Now, when you start to read about the Vatican bank scandal, it’s a pretty compelling factor. The matter is huge, and it’s ugly. We have another example of 100 pounds of shit stuffed into a 10-pound bag. The chart for his resignation includes the possibility that this whole thing is about money. If you’re an astrologer or astrology student, study the rulers of the 2nd and 8th houses of the resignation chart and you will see that a lot of money is at stake.
As Der Spiegel reported last July when an Italian investigation into the bank deepened, “In the past, every time Italian prosecutors have stepped in and confidential documents have found their way to light, the secretive ways of the Vatican bank have always ended up damaging the Church’s prestige. For more than 40 years,the [Vatican Bank], founded in 1942, has been regularly embroiled in scandals, including bribery money for political parties, mafia money-laundering and, repeatedly, anonymous accounts.”
While it’s tempting to some to consider the bank scandal the real issue, mainly because so much in church assets are involved, there is a direct relationship between the church’s sexual hypocrisy and the fortune that it has.
From Darkness to Light: A Choice
The Roman Catholic church built its fortunes on sexual repression, which evolved into sexual abuse. In the eyes of the Catholics, pleasure is the only real sin, which generates the guilt that is the selling point to come to church and get absolution.
For many people, the hornier they are, the more they need the church to “save” them from the sin of pleasure. This was a clever move — we are all created by sex, and our bodies and emotions naturally radiate with sexual feelings. The Catholics co-opted this basic fact of existence and made the very experience that creates humans the allegedly most sinful thing there is.
Religion always plays a divide and conquer game between ‘divine’ experience and human experience. That ultimately means nature and one’s body, which are considered the seat of sin and evil, as opposed to ‘god’, who has no body and is therefore pure.
This position, along with the church’s misogyny, has its origins in Judaism (you don’t need to read far into the Book of Genesis to find out that Adam and Eve are embarrassed about sex and don fig leaves to hide their private parts from God). But the Catholics made it their whole business, and it then slipped into all other post-Reformation Christian faiths.
In Planet Waves FM this week, I said that the Church makes its money from child trafficking and pedophile sex rings. This is not as shocking as it seems. The pedophile sex rings exist — that’s what the “sex abuse scandal” is about.
Then, the same people who are perpetrators, co-conspirators and enablers preach the doctrine of sin, and people come to church and pay for absolution. The Catholic dogma — described by Martin Luther and many others — is that you throw your money in the basket and you are absolved of your alleged sins.
Then the perps, co-conspirators and enablers go back to preaching the gospel of purity, sin and redemption, and collect money from those who show up feeling guilty for being alive. Then these “ministers” perpetrate, conspire and enable.
The whole operation is funded by their sexual hypocrisy. You could say they get away with it by vast sums of money, diplomatic immunity, lawyers, etc. — but they really get away with it by preying on people’s fear of going to hell.
This is sexual abuse on the metaphysical level: it deals with the nature and origin of existence, shaming the feeling of life itself. This is an attack that goes beyond any one Christian sect or denomination and spreads into the whole population. Now that we can (once again) see this hypocrisy for what it is, we have a question — how and where do we begin the healing process?
Thanks to religion, many people spend their lives obsessed with sin and their lost innocence. Image from Post Secret.
I asked one of my teachers, Elisa Novick, for her take on what was happening. Her work often involves helping people set themselves free from traumas and other issues inflicted by religion.
She had already received a message from the Mystical Traveler, one you might call a close relative of the Cosmic Christ, whose role is to assist with soul evolution. I will quote the message here, in part.
“The papacy was established in order to give the result wanted, handing the control through any and all means to the established few and their overlords (handlers if you will). He [Ratzinger] was most out there and took the fall for many, but he wins in the end by still being revered, putting a lock hold on those who hold him in high esteem despite the reports.
“They are programmed to feel he is something special and they are something worse, lowlier, the lowliest, and that gives over their wills and their hearts and their reproductive systems to birth in the ugly things from out of the ‘steaming pits’ of the hell worlds. This gives rise to a coarse and unthoughtful world in which there is no will power to stand up, stand out, for all is proscribed.”
The message continues, with regard to Ratzinger’s resignation:
“Is it getting better because of this injury to their pride?
“It may break through some of the slumber, but it will take a long time, of swindling and worse stories, more interest, more kickback from the conservative forces. All planned to keep us in darkness, yet doomed to fail with the weight of their own dark/heaviness.
“In this world all who go toward the Light will come to avoid such influences and those desiring to fail will gravitate toward these dying institutions like weevils to rotting straw. You are blessed to know that there is a world beyond this and that the Light exists. Give it a place, a conduit to come into this world and lighten the darkness.”
PS, If you’re on Facebook (we know that some of you despise the thing) would you please ‘like’ the new Planet Waves company page? There are excellent discussions, frequent news updates and generally a fun experience of microblogging.
PPS, for those curious about solar arc direction, referenced in the above quote from my article on Cainer.com, this is a form of a progression that slows time down to 1/365th of real time, in this case of the Sun’s movement. Therefore it took the very late Aries Sun four months to enter Taurus — by solar arc direction. I will cover this in a future issue on progressions, which I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. If you have striking chart examples, please send them my way. Thank you!
Busy Sky: Meteorite, Asteroid and Sun Enters Pisces
The sky is a busy place right now. Early Friday morning, an approximately 7,000-ton meteorite entered the atmosphere 900 miles east of Moscow, injuring more than 1,000 people, most of them from broken glass, according to news reports. [Do not miss this astonishing video.] It’s extremely rare that meteorites hurt people, and to my knowledge no human has ever been struck by one in recorded history (at least until now). Miraculously, nobody was killed in Friday’s incident. Most of the meteors you see streaking across the sky are the size of a grain of sand, or smaller.
This happened within a day of an asteroid, 2012 DA14, passing by the Earth at the hair’s breadth distance of 17,200 miles (the two incidents may be related). That’s a fraction of the Earth-Moon distance and is considered by astronomers to be an extremely close brush. Any asteroid that comes within 31 million miles is considered a near-Earth asteroid. This one is 1,800 times closer than that. It’s probably a stray fragment of a larger body. Most asteroids orbit between Mars and Jupiter. Many others orbit with Jupiter.
Meteorites actually hitting where people are is extremely rare. Above, meteorite dealer Ray Meyer stands beside a red Chevy Malibu struck on Oct. 9, 1992. The car was owned by 18-year-old Michelle Knapp, who sold the car for 25 times the $400 she paid for it when buying it from her grandmother. Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions.
“Thirty years ago, we would not have been able to find the thing,” said Michael Busch, a planetary astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, N.M., quoted by The Washington Post. But it may happen every decade or two, he said.
It’s not known for sure whether the meteorite that hit near Moscow and the asteroid
are related. Many people have been asking for my interpretation of what this close brush means. Since we don’t know the position in longitude, it’s impossible to place in a chart. However, it suggests at least two things: one is some kind of a close call. The second is something that emphasizes our current moment in history.
In the most ordinary terms, it’s a kind of memory anchor to have something like this happen, so make sure you connect it to any interesting, poignant or unusual events or passages in your life right now. And in the spirit of investigation, let’s see what develops over the next few days.
The Sun enters Pisces Monday, joining four planets that are already there — Neptune, Chiron, Mars and Mercury. That’s a lot of Pisces — more than we’ve ever had in recent years. Making things interesting is that the Sun changes signs in a conjunction with the asteroid Eros, which is about matters of the heart — both emotional and biological.
Pisces is the sign of the imagination, of creativity and of a deep kind of faith that’s not available through religion, a book or a workshop. Pisces is the faith that you’re born with, and as such, it can represent the crisis of faith, of finding your passion and of making contact with your creativity.
Eros in an exact conjunction with the Sun as its Pisces journey begins is saying that creative power comes from the heart, which may be close to what people think of when they say ‘soul’ — another Pisces element.
Neptune is right there, which is accentuating the same story. The difference between these two planets is that Neptune can act invisibly, in the background, until something brings its influence into focus.
Chiron’s longterm presence in Pisces is accentuating the quest for your true passion, your deepest creativity and your faith both in yourself and something larger than yourself. Chiron is always looking for that connection point between micro and macro, between the element and the whole system; Chiron is always reading for the holistic level of existence.
Over the next few weeks or so, the Sun will make many aspects — conjunctions to Neptune and Chiron, as well as aspects to Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn. This will provide a concentrated sequence of opportunities — actual opportunities, though you will need to tune into that Pisces level of awareness: noticing inspiration, feeling your creative impulse, opening your inner eyes and seeing your vision.
Republicans Block Republican Defense Secretary Nominee
Republican senators celebrated Pres. Obama’s call for bipartisanship by blocking his choice for secretary of defense, former Republican senator Chuck Hagel. This is another case of Republicans blocking Republican people and ideas, as long as Obama wants them.
The Senate used its procedure called cloture to insist that Hagel have 60 votes for approval, when the Constitution calls for a simple majority vote to approve cabinet appointees. It’s the first time in Senate history that a president’s nominee for defense secretary has been blocked. The 58 to 40 vote was almost along party lines; four Republican senators defected and supported their former colleague.
But John McCain and Lindsay Graham led the charge against Hagel, preventing an actual vote on the nomination for the duration of a 10-day Senate recess. This is preventing Leon Panetta, the current defense secretary, from wrapping up work and passing the reins to his successor.
“Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska and decorated Vietnam War veteran, had earlier appeared to have at least the 60 votes required to break a Republican filibuster,” The New York Times reported. “But [John] McCain and other Republicans who had said they might oppose Mr. Hagel but would not back a filibuster said they would not support ending debate until they received more detailed answers to questions about the administration’s response to the attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.”
They are implying that somehow Hagel helped the attackers, but nobody is saying how. At press time, Republicans were getting ready to claim Hagel was born in Africa, was a communist socialist Muslim, and had a secret plan to double taxes in order to destroy the country.
Obama Calls for Minimum Wage Increase
Pres. Obama called for an increase in the federal minimum wage in his State of the Union Address Monday night. This hasn’t increased since 2006, when it was raised from $7.25 an hour from $5.15. Had the minimum wage kept pace with inflation, it would be about $15 per hour today. Speaker of the House John Boehner voted against it.
Pres. Obama has proposed that wage slaves get a little more than the boss thinks they deserve.
“We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages,” Obama said. “But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year.” Think about that for a second. It’s reasonable to wonder how they pay their iPhone bills on those wages.
He continued, “Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That’s wrong. That’s why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, nineteen states have chosen to bump theirs even higher.”
“Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead.”
The proposal would see the federal floor on hourly wages reach $9 in stages by the end of 2015. Tying the minimum wage to inflation would allow it to rise along with the cost of living. If enacted, the measure would boost the wages of about 15 million low-income workers, the White House estimated. The $9 minimum wage would be the highest in more than three decades, accounting for inflation, but still lower than the peaks reached in the 1960s and 1970s.
Independent Growers Challenge Monsanto’s Global Seed Supply Chokehold
A just-published report from the Center for Food Safety and Save our Seeds has quantified the precarious state of our global seed supply, due in large part to seed patent control by Monsanto and other companies.
The report, Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers, examined patent control’s far-reaching consequences. As of last month Monsanto, claiming seed patent infringement, had filed 144 lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in at least 27 different states, according to the report.
Furthermore, consolidation of global seed supply leaves only three corporations in control of 53% of the global commercial seed market. This has driven seed prices upward, increasing the cost of planting. Between 1995 and 2011, the average cost to plant one acre of soybeans has risen 325%; for cotton, prices spiked 516% and corn seed prices are up by 259%, the report said.
Lastly, there’s been a sharp drop in seed diversity, according to the report. Eighty-six percent of corn, 88% of cotton, and 93% of soybeans farmed in the U.S. are now genetically engineered varieties.
Alarm over the loss of seed diversity has given rise to a grass-roots movement to save and share so-called “heirloom seeds” by small farmers and homeowners.
“Corporations did not create seeds and many are challenging the existing patent system that allows private companies to assert ownership over a resource that is vital to survival, and that, historically, has been in the public domain,” said Debbie Barker, program director for Save Our Seeds and senior writer for the report.
One such challenger of Big Agriculture is Vernon Hugh Bowman, a 75-year-old Indiana soybean farmer who supports the right of farmers to plant saved seeds. Next week, he will appear against Monsanto in the Supreme Court case Bowman v. Monsanto Co.
“I really don’t consider [the case] as David and Goliath. I don’t think of it in those terms. I think of it in terms of right and wrong,” Bowman explained in a teleconference launching the report.
The entire report can be downloaded here.
Wildlife Refuges or Killing Fields?
Did you know that 300 out of 556 national wildlife refuges across the U.S. allow killing in the name of public recreation? This information has come to light as a result of a heated public comment period over plans for the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach, Florida to become the first taxpayer-funded national wildlife refuge in the country to allow the killing of alligators for ‘sport’.
In the case of the Loxahatchee refuge, 3,345 comments from around the world (including 69 countries) flooded the reserve’s offices, condemning the proposal; a total of 64 individuals — mainly hunters and hunting groups — sent comments supporting the plan. Hunting may have its place in the world, but does it have a place in federally maintained wildlife refuges? ‘Refuge’ implies a certain level of protection. And what about the safety of families and scout troops walking and camping in these areas?
“How is killing wildlife for sport in a wildlife refuge acceptable?” asked Frank Cerabino in his column for the Palm Beach Post. “It’s not like you allow a small number of violent ex-husbands into battered women’s shelters to beat up a sustainable quota of the women there…”
Indeed. The legal killing of such species as wood ducks and bobcats in wildlife reserves has been allowed since former president Bill Clinton signed the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 into law. That act made hunting a ‘public priority use’ on refuges. The NRA played a key role in getting that language included, taking advantage of its success in helping Republicans take control of both houses of Congress in the November 1994 midterm elections — just two months after Clinton had signed the ban on assault weapons.
To receive notice of when and where you can submit comments on the final hunt plan, email Pam Martens at SaveGeorge2013@aol.com.
North Korean Nuclear Test Gets Leaders’ Attention
According to international monitors, North Korea conducted its third-ever nuclear test on Tuesday, in defiance of U.N. orders. The underground explosion was roughly twice as large as North Korea’s last nuclear test in 2009, and seemed to be centered in the same location where tests were conducted then and in 2006.
Following a U.N. Security Council resolution that tightened sanctions in response to a rocket launch by North Korea two months ago, the country’s leaders had vowed to conduct rocket launches and a U.S.-aimed nuclear test — citing U.S. hostility and the recent staging of war games in the Korean Peninsula.
The U.N. Security Council has voted to “strongly condemn” North Korea for the nuclear test, voting unanimously to censure the North Korean government with punitive measures.
“North Korea has been saying for years they would like to have a peace agreement to formally end the [Korean] war, and they would like to have negotiations directly with the United States,” said Tim Shorrock, an independent journalist who has covered Korea for more than 30 years, to Democracy Now! Shorrock cites direct negotiations and talks by the U.S as key to getting North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile programs. The question is, who will talk to the U.S. government to get it to stop its own?
Expanded Violence Against Women Act Passes Senate
Earlier this week the U.S. Senate voted to expand the Violence Against Women Act. The landmark legislation, in its expanded form, would grant domestic violence protections to 30 million undocumented immigrants, LGBT people and Native American women.
Predictably, 22 Republicans voted against the measure, which now goes to the House — where Republicans have proposed narrower protections. Last month, the House failed to bring up for a vote the Senate’s 2012 reauthorization of VAWA, though its earlier provisions remain in effect.
Same-Sex Military Benefits Expanded
The Pentagon announced this week that members of the U.S. armed forces in same-sex relationships will receive full access to base facilities and groups, as well as joint assignments, in a new expansion of benefits. A number of benefits are still being denied, however. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell may have been repealed Sept. 20, 2011, but the Defense of Marriage Act still prevents full spousal benefits in same-sex military partnerships.
Until DOMA is fully repealed, those benefits will remain out of reach. In 2011 the Obama administration determined Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional, stating that although it would continue to enforce the law, it would no longer defend it in court. Section 3 of DOMA “codifies the non-recognition of same-sex marriages for all federal purposes, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, immigration, and the filing of joint tax returns,” according to Wikipedia.
Arizona Planned Parenthood Stays Funded
Meanwhile a federal judge has overturned an Arizona law that barred any organization providing abortions from receiving public funds. The law effectively prevented Planned Parenthood from receiving funding that would allow it to extend reproductive health care to Medicare recipients. Judge Neil Wake determined the ban was an unlawful restriction on the ability of such patients to choose their medical options.
Pan or Planet?
Actually, no — those are two of the surprisingly beautiful photographs of frying pan bottoms taken by Norwegian photographer Christopher Jonassen. The pan bottoms are unexpectedly varied in style, color, patina and pattern — just like the various bodies orbiting our Sun. Kind of gives new meaning to the axiom, “As above, so below,” doesn’t it?
Pope Meets the Centaurs
Pope Benedict XVI this week became the first person to resign the papacy in nearly 600 years. This happened during a week of centaur conjunctions (covered in detail in Tuesday’s edition of Daily Astrology), which tend to bring shadow material to light. Benedict was directly implicated in the child rape coverup that has been shaking the church for more than 20 years, and which turns out to date to the 1950s, so this was an appropriate time for him to quit.
This is a complicated chart, reaching into the highest affairs of government and corporate power, and may speak to something much larger; some are proposing that the child rape version of the story is a coverup for another story — a money laundering scandal in the Vatican bank.
I ran across the work of a writer named Kevin Annett, who explained this position. I thought I would check his theories against the chart and they do seem to hold water, if not holy water. In astrology, the themes of power, sex and money are related through the 2nd and 8th houses, and it turns out that this chart is all about those houses — with other implications taking it to the top of the world management team. The chart for the resignation announcement is below; here is a zip file of all the charts I’ve used.
I also reference my coverage of Ratzinger’s election as pope in 2005 — I covered that at the time for Jonathan Cainer’s website in an article called “Pope Signals.”
Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes
The March monthly extended horoscopes will be published on Friday, Feb. 22. The February monthly horoscope was published Friday, Jan. 25. Inner Space for February was published Tuesday, Jan. 29. We published the Moonshine Horoscope for the Aquarius New Moon on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Please note that Moonshine horoscopes by Genevieve will now occur twice per month, for each Full and New Moon. I recommend reviewing the monthly horoscope at the end of the month. Also note that the longer monthly horoscope is being incorporated into the Friday issue after the Sun has entered a new sign; a new Inner Space is still emailed on the following Tuesday.
Pisces Birthdays: A Moment of Confidence
Hello Pisces! The Sun is about to enter your sign, which will add a source of heat, light and energy to what is already a once-in-a-lifetime scene in your chart. Well, once if you were born after the 1960s; this may be the second time if you were born in or before the ’60s, though in any event this is a rare and spectacular moment of potential for you.
The message is one of confidence and trust. Have faith in your talent, your drive and your creativity. Mostly, have faith in yourself. You may hear many different opinions; you may have doubts from time to time. Yet if there was ever a moment when you could set your fears aside and proceed forward in the way you know you’re called to do, now is the time.
This year will bring many points of contact with others, their ideas and their enterprises. You have your options open, though I suggest that you keep your main focus on what you know to be your primary mission. You won’t have to think long to remember what this is, but I will remind you of one thing.
What you thought was difficult, impossible or out of reach in the past is now accessible, available and eminently possible. Remember that at every step, and have faith in it. Note to Pisces and Pisces rising: I will have your 2013 birthday report next week. Watch this space or your inbox for more information.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 #938 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — You may feel like the world is alive with experience and intrigue, but it’s all going on in some secret room that you don’t have access to. The thing is, you do have access, though it’s unlikely to be through the front entrance or the box office. This is more like being given a backstage pass and let in through the side door. Anyway, the real theater is in your mind, and you will access it by going to those places you cannot go with ordinary consciousness. The action is focused in Pisces, which almost always represents the inner reality (as opposed to Aries, which usually represents the outer reality). Therefore, use those paths which are likely to take you inside: creative exploration (rather than social contact) in nearly any form will do that, such as music, painting, photography or writing. The idea is to do a lot of something that draws you into yourself rather than out of yourself (a distinction not described often enough). Spend time alone. Get past the restless feeling to the sensation of entering an inner space. Notice where you are and how you feel.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You seem to be in a lean moment, described more accurately by fulfilling your responsibilities than by pleasure seeking, though that’s likely to shift as the Sun ingresses Pisces Monday. The responsibility piece is still there; you’re in a kind of leadership training program now. Whether we’re talking business or pleasure, you need a social emphasis on what you’re doing — working with groups, finding social experiences that are driven by a purpose in which you can participate, and other spontaneous forms of collaboration. The thing to remember is that whatever you’re doing, you’re not doing it alone. You will have strength in the power of groups, as long as you remember who you are. You don’t need to rebel or assert yourself in any unusual way, just remember who you are (and what you want) as you take part in experiences with others. This is not always easy and for some people that remembering is persistently difficult. What you’re experiencing now is part of the learning process — that is, learning about yourself.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Mercury is moving into position to be retrograde, in an angle of your chart that addresses your career. There are also other planets gathering here, putting your personal emphasis on your sense of mission. Your task now is to sort out fantasy from reality. Living in a fantasy is different than having a vision and taking incremental steps to get there. Your chart shows both potentials at the moment, so I suggest that step one is to distinguish fantasy from vision. Yes, they are related, through the imagination. Many architectural masterpieces have started as sketches on napkins. You might say that it’s the sketch that turns something from a fantasy to a vision — the distillation, the act of making an idea tangible, and taking actual steps toward materializing it. There are two currents in your astrology that seem to be pulling you in opposite directions: reconsidering what you’ve thought of in the past, and wanting to push ahead and do something interesting and vital right now. You will need to proceed patiently for the next six weeks, though I would propose one thing — the review and the new vision are closely related and will enhance rather than invalidate one another.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Your solar chart is likely to be calling you far and wide right now — to distant places, bigger plans and better ideas. There’s also a deep impulse to learn, about yourself and about the world. You may have the sense that there’s no limit to what you can accomplish, or where you can travel or who you can meet. And finally, the truly extraordinary activity now unfolding in Pisces is summoning you deep into your sense of yourself and your presence not just in the world, but within yourself. I think that all of the seemingly big stuff, such as ideas for travel, and all that you want to create, will flow more easily if you focus on your sense of presence. I mean this in the physical and emotional sense of you actually being here, on the planet, right now. That sensation ought to be pretty accessible at the moment, the feeling that your mind and soul are seated in a body, and that your body occupies actual space and time. You can get anywhere from here — as long as you start right where you are, and that’s what I’m suggesting that you do.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — From the look of your solar chart, this is one of the most interesting sexual moments you’ve experienced in a long time. And, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, erotic feelings and experiences lead to intimacy. You now have the opportunity to go deep, and to have a real exchange with someone (or ones) who mean a lot to you. Yet there’s an aspect of this to be aware of, which is the odd way that love brings up anything unlike itself. If I were to design a class in sex education, which is really about preparation for relationships, I might even start with this theme. The basic message would be: when you go deep, you will find the things that are buried deeply within you. Whoever you are with is likely to have some similar experience. We need to be aware that this will happen, and be prepared for it. Deep, passionate experiences change us irrevocably, and we need to be prepared for that change within ourselves, as well as with the people we share with. The relationship agreements we make need to accommodate that fact, and they can, if we create them consciously.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You’re in one of the most interesting times for relationships that you’ve been in for a long time, though I have a suggestion: make sure you drop the capital R from that word, and maybe leave the ‘ship’ behind. Your life is now about relating, a verb, an action, which means making contact with others, and exploring that contact. I know that many, many people are on the hunt for the soulmate and/or the life partner and/or the perfect match as a thing or an endpoint. I suggest you let that go, if it describes you in any way — and relate to everyone more or less the same way, as you. I know this is not easy for anyone, like the guy who once stood up at a workshop given by one of my teachers who said, “I tried being myself, but it was too hard, so I went back to the old way.” But that was a while ago; we have all evolved, and I would add one point. It’s going to be easier for you to be yourself than anything else. It’s more fun. And there is no going back to the old way.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — I suggest you not obsess over your health. This is also not the time to be ‘in balance’. It is the time to immerse yourself in whatever you’re passionate about and to bring passion into whatever you’re doing. The distinction between creativity, work and play no longer exists, at least not at the moment. There are no ‘special’ activities — your whole existence is being infused with an unusual, truly brilliant vitality and sense of potential. You can pour love, energy and creativity into everything you touch, everything you do, and this potency is enhanced by being applied to everything. That said, if you have some preference for what you want, something you’ve been trying to create for a long time, you have the opportunity to do that now. The key is to follow your curiosity and then invest yourself in what you’re doing. If you work a day job, then make sure you can explore in some open-ended span of time, such as when you’re free to stay up all night, take a nap and keep going. Anyway, work is more of a variable than you may think right now.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Scorpio is the sign with the reputation for sex, though as I’ve probably written before, one of the ways you get there is because Pisces is so strong in your chart. And Pisces is really, really hot right now — with the potential result for your imagination to run wild, and allowing yourself to openly crave the kinds of experiences that you want. Remember, all sex isn’t equal. One lover is not like another. I see your current energy state as suggesting that you focus on creating what you want. This may take some planning in our less-than-spontaneous world — creating experiences requires intimacy and trust. Remember to give any new experience more than one try — make up your mind if you like something after three experiences. And there’s one other thing: It’ll help a lot if you open up to the magnificent diversity of what makes you and other people feel good. There are many, many more possibilities than you’ve considered, and you now possess a kind of psychic and empathic mobility to help you explore these possibilities with an open heart and an open mind.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Waves of energy coming through Pisces, about to be joined by the Sun, are giving you the opportunity to see many things about yourself that are usually invisible. It’s as if some deep inner container is being opened and you’re experiencing the full spectrum of your emotions, including the ones that may frighten you; your craving for vulnerability, which also may be a little scary; your need for contact in a secure environment (which I am here to validate for you). Now as for getting these needs/desires met — they will involve taking a risk. You may feel that risk is like jumping off of a cliff. It’s actually more like slipping into a hot tub that’s just a little too warm for your comfort — at first. The heat will call you into the presence of your physical body, which is where you’re safest in the midst of a profound emotional healing/awakening of the kind you’re having now. To facilitate this, I suggest you design times and spaces where you know you’ll be free from interruption — by phones, kids, critters and anyone not part of your particular experience.
Note to Capricorn and Capricorn rising readers: Your birthday reading is ready. It’s a whole new thing, separate from LISTEN, covering different subject matter. It includes two sessions of astrology, a tarot reading, an extended description of your astrological sign, the charts and spreads used in the creation of the work, as well as access to last year’s reading so you can check for accuracy. You can order that here.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You need to focus. Your emotions may be overwhelming you, so the first thing I suggest you do is go for some high ground. That could be as simple as an idea or a song — anything to help you focus your mind. If you’re so inclined, this is the time to write, and by that I mean THE time to use writing as a process to help get clear what you’re thinking and feeling. If you’re familiar with a process called morning pages, I would recommend doing that — writing three pages every morning, freestyle writing, without reading them for a few months. Just write for the sake of moving your thoughts along, and giving them some tangible form on paper. As you write, notice what you hear yourself saying. Make a note of your dreams, and how you feel upon awakening. This will help you step out of that ‘too much happening’ feeling, and help you restore some clarity. Right behind any confusion you may be feeling is a wealth of passion and commitment, and I think you’ll be very happy to tap some of that for yourself.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — This may be one of the most intense times in your life. And yet you may feel curiously like you’re left out. That’s just a feeling — you are most certainly the central figure in what is happening, and the sense of being left out is really about many areas of your psyche opening up and becoming available — and you have not quite claimed those spaces as yourself. Said another way, your interior mindspace is expanding, and you’re realizing how much of who you are is unexplored territory, much of it long left vacant or uninhabited: hence, the sensation that you’re ‘not there.’ Walking into these spaces is not like walking into a hotel room; it’s more like an empty, unfinished loft space, which will seem empty at first. Go in, and claim a corner of the space. Hang out long enough to get some sense of where you are, and ask yourself not just why you’re there, but what you want to do with the space. You don’t have to invite anyone in — you cannot, really, at this stage. As you tune into your surroundings, you’ll get over the awkward feeling — and you’ll likely discover that the space is anything but empty.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Planets are collecting in Pisces — as of this writing, Neptune, Chiron, Mars and Mercury, plus some lesser-known ones such as the beautifully Piscean Borasisi (a planet about the power of belief, located a bit beyond Pluto). Now the Sun is about to arrive, and this will feel like the lights suddenly coming on, both in your mind and on the stage where you’re standing. The simplest way to describe this is: this is your moment. This is one of the most magnificent opportunities you’ve ever had to create your life. Therefore: know what you want, and act on it now. Meanwhile, do your best to let go of commitments that are not working for you, drop anything and anyone that wastes your time, and focus your emotional resources on what you want to create. Over the next few days, you may find yourself in circumstances and situations where you are making contact with people. I would point out that due to the presence of Mars, you can afford to be soft-spoken and understated. But you must be clear, direct and honest — and let love guide you: love for yourself, for what you do, for the world, for humanity. Then, with persistence and efficiency, put your plan into action.