Patrick Swayze: Lover, Fighter, Buddhist (and Leo)

Actor Patrick Swayze, who died of pancreatic cancer on Sept. 14 at age 57, seemed to defy one of the stereotypes that society and, especially, Hollywood have cultivated: Tough guys can’t be sensitive.

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Patrick Wayne Swayze (August 18, 1952 – September 14, 2009) Photo: PR/

That alleged contradiction was his hallmark in Dirty Dancing, and in Ghost, and even in Road House, where he both knocked heads and waxed philosophical.

“Get in touch with your feminine side” has been a mantra of self-discovery for decades. “Easier said than done,” declared our macho-centric culture. Swayze, however, seems to have captured that essence; he was a man’s man who drew guys to the box office because of his toughness, and a ladies’ man who captured women’s hearts through his tenderness. That combination made him a huge box office draw despite lukewarm critical reception — which he didn’t seem to care much about, anyway. Not a surprising attitude, perhaps, for a man who was a long-time practitioner of Buddhism.

Swayze was a super-Leo with Virgo rising; super meaning that he had the Sun, Moon, Mercury and Pluto in Leo, along with the South Node. Born two days before a solar eclipse, he was born with star quality and seemed to live with the hand of fate on his shoulder. The combination of Leo Sun and Virgo ascendant (and Venus) is a combination that seems to offer a larger-than-life quality, also seen in the horoscope of Madonna.

He had the asteroid Terpsicore, the Greek muse of dance, mixed in with all those Leo planets. This was most closely conjunct the Black Moon Lilith, an elusive, verging on nonexistent point that gives the impression he could dance with the nonphysical realm and embrace the very darkest qualities in women gracefully. This gift shows up elsewhere in his chart, such as a powerfully placed Eris.

His rising degree — 24+ Virgo — puts his natal angles precisely in line with the Saturn-Uranus opposition that was exact the week he died. Saturn was in his rising degree or ascendant, and Uranus in his setting degree, or descendant.

He died less than a year before his second Saturn return. Most astrologers looking at that would likely feel that he had left something undone, or was somehow evading a crucial point of maturity on the physical plane; yet his life does not resemble the many greats who died just before their first Saturn return, from Kurt Cobain to Jimi Hendrix.

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Click on image to enlarge.

Much has been made of his origins — the son of a rodeo rider and a choreographer –- and his fairytale romance: He met his wife, a dance student of his mother, when she was a teen and they were married until the day he died. But like any person, there was more to Swayze than met the eye.

This can be said of anyone; humans are for the most part inscrutable creatures, but when your Sun is in the 12th house, there is something about you that’s mysterious and not fully invested in the material plane. If you are fortunate and you do your part to both take creative risks and ground your talent in discipline, it’s possible to garner considerable success. He had Saturn conjunct Vesta in Libra in his 1st house, which suggests that he was willing to set aside his own idea of personal gain in lieu of doing what was right, as he understood it.

The surname “Swayze” is not one you run across every day. According to (which cited the Dictionary of American Family Surnames from Oxford University Press), Swayze is a variant of the English name Swasey. That name is likely a form of Swijse, which is Dutch and a variant of the Dutch name Wijs.

Which in turn means “wise” — and wisdom is also not something you run across in a person every day, though he seemed to possess it in a Yoda-like fashion.

Perhaps most famous for his role in Dirty Dancing, what’s overlooked by all but his most ardent fans is that Swayze also sang one of the songs on the movie’s soundtrack, the ballad “She’s Like The Wind,” which also featured vocalist Wendy Fraser. This is a considerable achievement for an actor.

It wasn’t his only venture into recording, either. He also sang the song “Raising Heaven (In Hell Tonight)” on the Road House soundtrack. That’s not nearly as likely to turn up on your local classic rock station, though.

For an actor who had been on the scene more than 20 years but who didn’t turn out a box office smash every year or two, Swayze had remarkable staying power in the culture, indicated, among other factors, by his birth at the time of an eclipse. In human terms, perhaps it’s because he spoke to an archetype that resonates with us as human beings: A savoir. Strong in mind and body and spirit; able to protect us physically and emotionally. It’s something men and women both can identify with. And it’s a fine legacy to leave.


"You lie" -- A Drinking Game
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

When was the last time you had a hangover? Had a balls-out, overindulgent, cutting-loose evening … with, I don’t know, a bottle of warm Sake, for instance, or a nice aged Scotch … that saw you falling into bed with a case of the spins and waking with a pounding head, blessedly-vague memories of outrageous excess and a mouth that tastes like the bottom of a bird cage? OK, well, if you haven’t done anything that humbling lately, surely you remember the last time — or one spectacular instance; and if you haven’t ever been there, then go do it now. I’m not proposing that you become a chronic drunk or strip off your clothes as you sing Karaoke at the local beer joint, which in my case is a little shack called the Mule Lip and is infamous for its bar fights and public humiliations. I’m suggesting that blasting ourselves out of the straightjackets of all that’s acceptable and safe, all that we expect of ourselves, gives us valuable information about our humanness. And experience is everything.

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The oldest hangover remedy is to simply keep drinking. Photo by David Bowman / TIME.

Of course, we have to pay attention to what we learn; most people who do something like that tend to put it behind them as quickly as possible, stuff those images and feelings down into their memory basement as a glitch in their norm. Sadly, some others make such behavior their ‘new true,’ and slowly diminish themselves with substance, more at ease with their uninhibited subconscious behaviors than the tightly patterned conscious ones. Here in the Patch, I’m cozy with a bunch of Alcoholics Anonymous members because they ping on two of my prerequisites for awareness; they’re patient with other people’s foibles and they try to tell themselves the truth. Because of their sobriety process, they’re ‘teachable’ — open to self-exploration. Since I appreciate all paths, I see theirs as a somewhat violent but expedient way forward; although they might not agree, given the nature of their regrets. But we get to a productive Now by making sure that Then is mined for all the wisdom it offers, and they’re miners for sure. Life is messy; and if it isn’t, we’re missing out on some worthwhile short-cuts eschewed by those who work toward a mistake-free life (and good luck with that, by the way!)

This was the week that saw the President give his long-awaited speech on healthcare reform to the combined Congress. Televised in prime time, we all got to see the reaction of the Big Three — Obama, Biden and Pelosi — to a shout-out from Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who yelled “You lie,” to the assertion that illegal aliens would be exempt from receiving healthcare services under the new proposals. Our respected Congressional pomp and circumstance fell prey to tea-bagging town-hall’ism and caused everyone, nation-wide, to gasp aloud. Just one of those little Uranian surprises that we can expect more of in the coming days.

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Coming Up in Daily Astrology and Adventure


Caster Semenya: Athletics and Sexual Identity

This week’s news takes us from Patrick Swayze, a man who embodied virtues that embrace both the masculine and the feminine, to a controversy over an athlete who didn’t fit an international organization’s gender expectations. We somehow don’t think it strange that most athletic competition is strictly segregated by sex; men and women generally don’t compete against one another, unless of course the game depends on mental prowess above all else. Yet gender isn’t what it used to be.

A brief recap: 18-year-old South African Caster Semenya, the women’s world record holder in the 800 meter run, won the 2009 World Championships in Berlin this August. However, she subsequently became the focus of high-profile, and humiliating, questions about whether she was, physically, a woman.

Recently, the results of physical examinations of Semenya were leaked from within the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the agency that ordered the testing. Apparently Semenya has no ovaries or womb, but does have internal testes. The offensive term “hermaphrodite” was immediately tossed around by a gleeful tabloid press. Yet the test results have raised more questions than they answered, many of them on social and philosophical issues.

Semenya’s postmodern gender is reflected in her natal chart as the Sun mixed in with the extremely rare triple conjunction of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune that rocked the world in the late 80s and early 90s. That conjunction seemed to melt away structure, coming with the disappearance of the USSR and the transformation of China into a new breed of capitalist communism.

Venus is in Aquarius, a masculine sign. Mars is in Taurus, a feminine sign (though the two are not quite in a square aspect). The Moon is in Libra, conjunct Nessus — there is a long story there, one that we need Semenya’s personal history for. But her story is very much reflective of the gender anarchy of our own times.

Writing about the testing, the medical exams and the circus atmosphere that has surrounded the runner’s dilemma, Columnist Dave Zirin at The Nation finds the whole scenario to be disgusting.

“Besides being a cruel and idiotic practice, sex testing doesn’t account for the idea that gender is at least in part socially constructed and far more fluid than the iron categories of male and female. An 18-year-old woman is being torn apart in the press for doing nothing but winning a race. If it is the goal of the media and the IAAF to destroy the life of a young, talented female athlete by outing her as potentially intersex, then they are not simply pitiless; they are socially repugnant.”

Zirin is not the only one raising questions about the morality of this process and the way in which Semenya was being treated by IAAF authorities. The bloggers at The Science of Sport in South Africa also see rampant unfairness and illogic surrounding the situation.

For starters, sports science and marketing consultant Ross Tucker wonders how the IAAF could have let this situation develop in the first place.

“The fact of the matter is that these allegations are not new. They have followed Semenya for a few years. Therefore, there was ample time to verify sex (again, a difficult process) and clear the way for her to compete… Because it was not, we are sadly seeing that Semenya will be the loser in what might well become an ugly story.”

But even more crucial, Tucker writes, is the complete lack of understanding regarding the difference between gender and sex.

“‘[P]rivate parts’ do not alone constitute male or female. This is a rudimentary distinction, but does not acknowledge a range of developmental conditions that can cause male characteristics to develop without there needing to be male reproductive organs…The fact that ASA [Athletics South Africa] believe that ‘asking her to show us her private parts’ will do the job suggests that they have little idea of the issues.”

Zirin sums up the chauvinism of the situation: “Exceptional male athletes are treated like kings, not sideshow freaks. But for women to join them on the royal dais, you must appear as if you can step seamlessly from the court or track and into the pages of soft-core porn. Freaks need not apply.”

A Hot Spot in the Unicorn

Unless you’re a climber or a geologist, rocks may not rank high on most people’s list of “things I’m looking for in a place to live.” But when you’re talking planets to live on, rocks are everything.

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An artist rendition of the first rocky extrasolar planet called Corot-7b. Photo: AP Photo/ESO.

Earth is a rocky planet. Mars, Venus and Mercury, likewise. And if mankind is ever going to set foot on a planet circling another star, there will need to be something to set foot on. Well, rocks — specifically a rocky planet — are the best bet.

That’s why Wednesday’s announcement of the discovery earlier this year of Corot-7b is such a big deal. It’s the first rocky extrasolar planet discovered by astronomers, and orbits the star Corot, which is 500 light years away in the constellation Monoceros (the Unicorn).

Corot-7b is a hot rock, too. In fact, an article by AP writer Seth Borenstein notes the planet is so close to its star that the surface temperature is some 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also fast, to the tune of 466,000 mph, orbiting its sun in 20 hours. That makes Mercury, our solar system’s speedster with an 88-day orbit, a tortoise by comparison.

But setting aside the hostile environment, Borenstein reports that this planet is “a major discovery in the field of trying to find life elsewhere in the universe,” according to Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution, who wasn’t involved in the discovery.

An extrasolar planet is any planet that is discovered orbiting a start other than our Sun. The first such planet discovered, according to The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia, came in 1989. Its name is hardly poetic — HD114762b — but maybe you can call it “b” for short since the rest of that alphanumeric code is the identity of the star it circles. That’s astronomy for you, eh? Fortunately, its constellation has a lyrical name and an interesting association: Coma Berenices, or Berenice’s Hair.

According to Wikipedia, “Coma Berenices is one of the few constellations to owe its name to an historical figure, in this case Queen Berenice II of Egypt, wife of Ptolemy III Euergetes (fl. 246 BC–221 BC), the king under whom Alexandria became an important cultural center.” The article also attributes the “promotion” of Coma Berenices to a constellation to Tycho Brahe, an astronomer of the 16th and 17th centuries who also had a really fun idea about our solar system that, like so many other early theories, were undone by modern science.



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Weekly Horoscope for Friday, September 18, 2009, #784 – BY PRIYA KALE

For more astrology, horoscopes and information on Private Consultations please visit You can email Priya at with feedback and comments.

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Aries (March 20-April 19)
You reach a turning point within a partnership now allowing you to readjust a crucial balance. No matter what or who you feel has power over you, this is about equal partnerships and fair agreements. You have found your sense of purpose and you know what you are trying to build will require dedication and commitment. A partner for their part is committed to healing this partnership with their devoted daily presence. You are getting a chance to clear the air, so be willing to ask for the help you need, renegotiating agreements based on mutual needs. Avoid critical tendencies and be open to good advice when you hear it. Brilliant ideas often come while doing the most menial tasks, so pay attention while doing the dishes, in the shower or even out in the marketplace…

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Taurus (April 19- May 20)
Yours is an earthy kind of love that blooms, because of your endless devotion, but on a deeper level there is a need for healing that you must admit to yourself first. You can have this if you can make the conscious effort to seek perspective, balance and co-operation on a daily basis, rather than project any sense of powerlessness or get into power struggles. Yours is an earthy, sensual kind of passion that settles for nothing less than the most luxurious expression of your energy — be it love or sex or creativity. As you evolve to a higher understanding of your own core power, you could reach tangible and emotional peaks of success and ecstasy. Just allow yourself to be open to receiving a divine truth and a deeper understanding of what wants to heal you with its grace. When in doubt, listen to your heart. It hears the things the ears do not.

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Gemini (May 20- June 21)
You are revisiting a part of your past which holds the key to your future. Be open to a radical solution that unravels a deep mystery you’ve been intent on resolving. Something may feel like a bit of a risk, but you don’t have to make any new commitments yet. You are just turning a corner towards a deeper understanding of your inner being. Whatever it is you are deathly afraid of, it can lose its grip once you realize this is about an inner surrender rather than anything external. You are securing your home base now. Even if it takes a bit longer to sort out the details of a close personal situation, you can get the ball rolling by conquering your own fears first. And then as Eric Francis said to me once, “You can’t pull the parachute string, unless you jump first.”

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Cancer (June 21- July 22)
You reach a profound turning point within a close personal situation asking you to open your mind and evolve to a greater sense of perspective. If what you seek is inner peace you will have to confront and resolve your own possessive tendencies. Be honest with yourself now about what you want out of love and what you need to feel more at ease. This will mean adopting a daily, conscious process of being true to your heart and a greater wisdom. You can tend to be fairly self-critical — now you can resolve a dilemma simply by being open to greater inspiration. As the quote goes: “We are never given a wish without being given the power to make it come true. We may have to work for it however.”

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Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
You reach a turning point asking you to be brutally honest with yourself. More than what you “want” this is a question of what you “think” you are worth. If you listen to what someone is saying to you; this is not criticism but can heal you of the voices that keep you trapped inside your head saying you’ll never be “good enough.” You are indeed more critical of yourself than anyone else. No matter what you feel has power over you, recognize the value of what you have to give. You can renegotiate arrangements now to bring greater understanding and balance. There is no success that is out of reach if you are willing to work towards it with your selfless devoted affection. The results of this will be emotional and tangible success that opens your heart to the very real magic that surrounds you every day.

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Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
You’ve recently felt a surge of passion burst through your defensive walls. This has forced you to go deeper to find your core integrity and consciously move forward as you begin a new phase of your journey. You are reaching a deeper understanding within yourself now, about who you are. This may come in the face of a deeply personal situation which is as risky as it is tempting. But resolve any sense of powerlessness you feel and don’t waste time doubting or projecting fear. You are a beautiful being capable of untold passion, a deep sense of fairness, with tangible, creative and sexual prowess. But mostly this is about you finding faith in yourself in the face of unpredictability, knowing above all you have what it takes — a heart of gold.

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Libra (Sep. 22 – Oct. 23)
After a recent surge of activity, a part of you is going underground to discover deep treasures in your soul that fill you with nostalgia. Allow yourself the time for this evolutionary journey and take comfort in that which heals you. But as the Sun moves into your sign and squares Pluto this week, you have to face your deathly fears of the past and come out of the shadows into the light. This need not be a struggle, you can turn a corner from a darker past, by consciously deciding to not become a prisoner of your fears. Find a balance now that allows you to build your life on your own rules. It may take a little while longer before you can make sense of all the details or pieces of the puzzle you think are missing. But if you keep yourself open to inspiration there could be a radical solution to an issue it’s been hard to wrap your head around.

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Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
You are evolving to a higher consciousness now. But the thing with awareness is you can never go back to not knowing. You can resolve your subconscious fear of relationships, when you are willing to admit them to yourself. You are seeing more clearly your own duality and this may be painful to admit. If you avoid projecting your doubts onto the world, there is a greater truth emerging. You can reach a new depth of understanding within an important relationship, if you are willing to listen. Remember the heart hears and sees what the ears and eyes do not. It may sound unbelievable but you can if you want experience a more earthy kind of love and tangible abundance, that awakens, heals and liberates you all at once.

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Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22)
You are turning a corner towards greater financial freedom this week. After the recent battles with your sense of security this may sound unbelievable. But don’t be afraid to re-negotiate an existing arrangement, it can only benefit you in the long run if you stay rooted in what you know you are worth. You have a deep respect for tradition and authority, which at times holds you back from reaching your highest ideals. But there is no struggle here, you can find a balance if you recognize your own power within a situation. You are due to receive recognition over the coming weeks for your lasting devotion. Accept and receive this with grace and humility. The hardest part is behind you, now comes a time for reaping the rewards.

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Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
You reach a turning point in your career, putting you in the spotlight again. It may be scary given your recent doubts, but I suggest you leave yourself open to imagination. A dream you’ve had is slowly starting to piece itself together, giving you a vantage point of the solid abundance available to you. Do what you can to conquer your fears and need for control. If you can keep an open mind and sense of perspective you can reach a deeper understanding of a perplexing dilemma. Be honest and willing to listen, a piece of information you hear can liberate you from your anxiety about the future. It may take a little longer to sort out the details. But if you keep a sense of the highest hopes in your heart, you can manifest them with love and dedication.

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Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
A recent confrontation has forced you to move past a point of no return. You can taste freedom now, but at the same time this means resolving any fears you have about success. When it comes to intimate and financial agreements something is igniting a deeper desire of possibility. It may be scary to think you can reach for something so emotionally and tangibly rewarding. Be honest with yourself and others about your deeper needs for healing. You can reach new agreements within your relationships, that stabilize you, if you are willing to truly listen to what someone is trying to say. You are building relationships now that have soul lessons for you and can stand the test of time. Remember, you get what you give.

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Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
You are at the start of a new cycle within your relationships and there may be a powerful association you share with someone that is asking you to go deeper. This could be a sexual or financial relationship, but it has the ability to open up your world in emotional as well as tangible, material ways. Consciously avoid projecting power struggles and recognize the value of surrender, not to anyone or anything but your own needs for companionship and co-operation. Overcome your fears of being locked into something you cannot escape from. As long as you are willing to keep an open dialogue with partners, you can rework arrangements so you feel there is a sense of fairness and balance. You are reaching another level of understanding within a partnership, which can liberate as much as it heals.

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