What Sign is Brick Heck?

Brick Heck, character name for the youngest child on the show The Middle (played by actor Atticus Shaffer), is a character we’re seeing more often in television. Brick is a quirky intellectual who prefers interactions with books to interactions with people.

In a Halloween episode Brick dresses as Sergeant Charles MacKenzie, a Scottish World War I hero. In frustration at being mistaken for a host of other characters, he laments “Doesn’t anyone on this block read?”

Does this remind you of another TV intellectual who prefers ideas to people?

In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, character Sheldon dresses for Halloween as the Doppler Effect, his sound-wave stripes being mistaken for a zebra.

As with Sheldon, those around Brick desire that he learn to “socialize.” Clearly Halloween is an important socializing event.

In a brilliant episode of The Middle, we see the difference between Brick’s character and the socialized character. Brick and his small band of misfits (one who can’t get his socks dirty, one who imitates cat behavior) are banned from the library and forced onto the playground at recess to “have fun.”

Brick and his eccentric cohorts hide under a slide until Brick comes up with a plan of escape that proves that while he doesn’t care to socialize, he does understand how it works.

The first foil is to interrupt the ball game of his peers. That disturbance creates some discord, but not enough to move the door guard from his post. Brick then, in a demonstration that he understands the social order even if he doesn’t follow it, throws candy at the group of ball players who then in a frenzy dive for the candy on the ground creating mayhem. The playground monitor must now intervene while Brick and his cohorts escape.

What sign is Brick Heck?

Those going against the grain bring to mind, for me, the sign of Aquarius. While Aquarius is known for its rebelliousness, it actually is the sign of group and group ideals. The rebel, then, is quite aware of the crowd, too aware actually. Dysfunctional rebelliousness is then an extreme reaction.

Aquarius is an air sign and air signs need to know what’s going on around them. That could explain Brick’s curiosity, but not his lack of desire to communicate with others, communicate all those ideas he reads in books.

Brick does, however, communicate with himself. One of his eccentric quirks is to whisper to himself words from the end of his sentence. If he says “I like crackers,” he may then look down at his chest and whisper “crackers” or “I like crackers.”

What’s that about?

My Internet search indicated this habit is known, is called palilalia and is considered a nervous tic indicating anxiety.

Brick does openly display nervousness regarding social situations such as when he and his cohorts stranded on the playground fear the dodge ball game (who wouldn’t?).

The nervous tick and anxiety bring to mind three signs, two of them water and one earth: Cancer (water), Pisces (water) and Virgo (earth).

Virgo is associated with health and worry. When extreme, nervousness erupts in “symptoms.” Brick rarely complains of illness so we’ll kick that sign out.

Virgo’s opposite is Pisces. While Pisces is highly empathetic, its high sensitivity can create high introversion like Brick’s due to the need to re-charge lost energy from social interaction. While air and fire signs might jump out into the playground filled with energy and leave filled with even more, it’s the water signs that discharge energy and feel drained from the experience.

That doesn’t mean the water signs Pisces and Cancer don’t care for social situations. The type of social situation that feeds water energy is specific – for Pisces, shared beliefs feed its hungry soul and for Cancer, family or shared community events that create warmth inside.

Neither Pisces nor Cancer in pure form may fare well in the rough and tumble of the playground, but put clerical robes on Pisces or put Cancer at the head of the Thanksgiving table and you will see the social aspect of these sensitive signs.

So is Brick a Pisces or Cancer?

I’m leaning toward Cancer because of Brick’s favorite item – his backpack. Backpacks carry things that provide comfort, much like the crab carrying his home around on his back. We also know that Brick has read Moby Dick more than once, a tale of water and sea creatures.

I still think Brick may have a little Aquarius hanging around or at least Uranus (which rules Aquarius) in a prominent position in his chart. Brick is not openly rebellious but can defend his own as when the school librarian (complements of actress Betty White) tells Brick he can’t go to third grade unless he returns all those missing library books.

Brick’s repartee with Betty White earns him an Ohio Astrology Emmy Award as our brilliant little eccentric outsmarts the librarian, who, we discover, also has a little quirk of her own.

Why so many Brick Hecks?

While Brick Heck has more social skills than Sheldon Cooper of the Big Bang Theory, the brilliant but socially awkward character is arising more frequently in entertainment.

Monk, the OCD detective and House, the brilliant socially inept doctor, seem to fall within the range of some of the new anxiety or social disorder labels.

It’s difficult to tell if there is a rise in anxiety disorders or if we’re simply more aware of anxiety disorders. Or, ironically, does increased awareness of anxiety disorders lead to increased anxiety?

The reign of the Baby Boomers, born with Pluto in Leo, are giving way to the Pluto in Virgo generation who seem to have collectively decided to tackle the Virgo issue of anxiety as well as other Virgo concerns such as diet, health and work.

It’s the Pluto in Virgo generation’s children that are receiving the plethora of anxiety labels. Some of the children from this generation were born during a conjunction of Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn. For a couple years, Saturn was also involved.

Uranus, Neptune and Saturn all in Capricorn indicates that technological, spiritual and material concerns all focus on the social order. I’ve wondered for years if this conjunction of outer planets in Capricorn (and then Aquarius) doesn’t represent a different way of perceiving. How this group perceives the three-dimensional world is different and so they receive labels.

The drive to “socialize” these individuals is Capricorn talking. The abundance of Capricorn puts socializing above other values (such as unique self-expression) and suggests that these individuals might be collectively working toward finding the balance of social and personal expression.

Following that generation is one born with Uranus and Neptune transiting Aquarius. This is Atticus Shaffer’s generation and reflects the movement from Capricorn social order to Aquarius shared ideals which create spontaneous and organically-developed communities.

Transiting Pluto is currently in the sign of Capricorn until 2024 then it moves to Aquarius for 20 years. As Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, a few structures of the social order collapsed including government and banking. As they are their own controls, they remain.

Brick Heck and his band of eccentric individuals with their odd ways and strange habits are the generation that will create a new social order. While not all of these Uranus/Neptune in Capricorn and Uranus/Neptune in Aquarius individuals are receiving anxiety labels, to those of us in the Pluto in Leo-Scorpio generations, the increased use of technology appears to create cyber connectedness but physical disconnectedness.

To older folks on the planet now, even those younger folks considered socially normal are odd to us because of their intense use of technology and frequent disregard of physical environment. The most obvious case is texting while driving which is a time when your physical sensations are extremely important.

Each generation evolves us forward in some way while older generations long for the way things once were. Brick Heck is the new generation.

Brick, my hero, Semper Fi, Semper Fi.

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Jupiter in Leo

Originally posted on Ohio Astrology:

Have you paid attention to Jupiter lately? Jupiter, my friends, is our Greek God Zeus renamed for Roman palates and he demands attention. For the last year he has been raining and mud sliding his dramatic tears onto the planet while transiting Cancer. For those who have ignored the mold in the basement, the leak in the roof and the muffled sobs of the person lying next to you, he will speak more loudly this July.

[Image from Wikipedia]


This July Zeus will have a megaphone, a spotlight and maybe even a TV show. It will be like giving an arsonist a match, like providing a self-absorbed 19-year old affluent a six-figure book contract to write his/her memoirs, like giving executive power to a cop.

American Idol aired its first episode on June 11, 2002 as Jupiter was in the final degrees of Cancer. Jupiter moved into Leo two months…

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Art, Education and Astrology

A friend posted this article on Facebook about art in education. The premise of the article is that the lack of emphasis on arts education:

…came about in a frame of increased emphasis on test scores and utility—the market economy becoming a marketing society. Everything is about what you’re going to get, in readily quantifiable terms.

This article, as well as others I found on the subject, tries to create a link between art education and how it can aid in other, non-art related, subjects.

We’re talking about a way of educating that involves artistic sensibilities—artistic habits of mind. The ability to re-assess and to imagine. To be in a science class and not think it’s about memorization entirely, but to imagine its applications.

In order to convince the powers-that-be that art should be considered an important subject, it must prove that art supports business and science.

But does it?

While our ideas of education might evoke Aristotle and Plato and higher thinking, to my perception modern education is about teaching trades, values and the ability to work with or in corporations and large institutions.

Traditionally the 3rd and 9th house axis is about thinking, perception and education. The 3rd is learning about your environment (Gemini) and the 9th is making meaning of that environment which involves philosophical and abstract thinking (9th).

Art in astrology evokes images of Venus and the primary sign it rules – Libra. Libra enjoys art and pleasure in a way the school system definitely does not promote – i.e., it’s a beautiful, sunny day so let’s skip our school/work and have a picnic. Why are we alive if we don’t enjoy ourselves?

From the arguments for arts in education, I don’t believe it’s Libra energy that concerns the education system.

To my perception, our education system is now an 11th house construct of group expression and the challenge of art is 5th house self-expression which takes one away from the group into the self.

Dangerous stuff.

The 5th and 11th house axis

According to Isabel Hickey in Astrology: A Cosmic Science, the 11th house in the horoscope is about:

  • Goals and objectives
  • Friendships
  • Social relationships
  • Hopes, wishes, projects and ambitions

Its opposite house, the 5th, Hickey writes is about:

  • Self-expression; any effort put forth to distinguish yourself from others – children you create, books you write, affections you display, anything that bears your personal stamp
  • All emotional and romantic tendencies coming from the heart.
  • Speculation, amusement, dramatics, theater, schools.

Because the 11th house is ruled by Aquarius, I tend to think of it in Aquarian terms – rebellious, revolutionary, off-beat and individualistic. Yet group and community expression by its nature is not individualistic. Aquarius as a fixed air sign is extremely stubborn about its ideas and with co-ruler as Saturn, will do much in authoritarian ways to implement its ideas.

Aquarius is different than Capricorn in that Aquarius is fixed on the idea; Capricorn in contrast is fixed on order which creates a controlling and authoritarian personality.

To my perception, our education systems are not appealing to higher mind and ideas but to practical applications and shared community value systems. Today it’s called socialization.

In that way, it is okay to be a football star. Your personal achievements are 5th house creative self-expression. However, your self-expression creates 11th house community feeling so is allowed.

In contrast, a person alone in the corner of an art room pulling emotions from the depths to put in concrete form in no way supports the 11th house group expression. Therefore, the group rejects it. American society is extremely suspicious of introverted activity.

Creative expression can be shared but can involve spending time alone with your thoughts and feelings. If you do this, you might find yourself questioning what the group is doing, which could take you away from the group. You might even question the education system itself.

Why would public education support individuals questioning public education? Why would it support people leaving the system?

Art and astrology

Astrology in my part of the world is considered stupid and superstition. While young I balked against this but now see it as a great gift. The gift is that I can learn astrology from those with great minds and true passion without the government setting the curriculum.

Astrology is free market – I have to figure out for myself who to read and who to reject. The government isn’t regulating the good blogs from the bad blogs, the good astrology teachers from the bad astrology teachers.

Art education might want to do likewise – stop looking for government support. While art may support the community, it may also tear down the community. You just don’t know – that’s art. That’s also freedom.


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The Bulls Won

Many years ago upon returning from a trip abroad, I spent a few weeks in Chicago. While in a diner the day after landing, the waitress brought my tuna fish (smothered in cheese which is when I realized Americans smother everything in cheese) and said to me casually, “thebullswon.”

My Chicago drawl translator separated the words for me and explained them: “The Bulls won,” which meant the Chicago Bulls basketball team had won the NBA championship.

Last May in Spain when three bullfighters were gored by bulls at a festival, I could hear again the waitress saying “the bulls won.”

The story of the San Isidro Festival and three-fighter goring appeared on May 21 as the sun was in 29 degrees of Taurus (the bull). No other planet was in Taurus.

How did the bulls win?

First glance at our three toreros shows a preponderance of Capricorn and Aquarius energy. Those two signs are good for the cool detachment and focus needed to fight the intense fixed, strong, impersonal Taurus energy generated by the bulls.

Taurus doesn’t gore you because it’s angry; it gores you because you finally intruded too far into its peaceful world and it’s simply re-negotiating its space. Scorpio, the sign opposite Taurus, however, will gore you from emotional offence, for that glance at another woman.

The bulls might have won from the interference of Scorpio.

Antonio Nazaré

Antonio Nazaré is Libra sun with moon in Capricorn. He also has Jupiter in Capricorn.

Libra and Capricorn in combination make for a fine diplomat with bulls or with people. Libra sun is charming and fair, Capricorn moon authoritarian and firm – what could be better for international relations?

In May, transiting Pluto was goring Nazare’s natal moon while transiting Uranus in Aries was making a square. Meanwhile, transiting Saturn in Scorpio has been making its return in Nazaré’s chart.

My guess is that Nazaré is having some problems in love and relationship which led to loss of focus. Saturn returns, the first which occurs around age 30, are turning points in life, points where you know that you can’t turn back and that certain options no longer remain.

For Nazaré, this event may be a turning point in how he wants to spend the next Saturn cycle (i.e., 30 years) of his life. We may not see him change from the bull-fighting arena to another type of arena.

David Mora

David Mora is the most detached of the three men with four planets in Aquarius (Venus, sun, moon, Mars) and three planets in Libra (Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto). Aquarius and Libra are air so Mora lives in the world of how things should be and may be clinically orderly.

Aquarius and Libra like to rebel and with Saturn and Jupiter conjunct, Mora has probably chucked a few rules of partnership and religion aside – this conjunction challenges society in the realm of partnership. This conjunction brings home the partner that mom and dad never expected.

Although he may have chosen an usual partnership with an individual of different social or political class, he will be the one in the relationship making up the rules, which, incidentally, may be more conservative than you’d expect.

Like Nazare, transiting Saturn in Scorpio is affecting his life. It’s close to crossing natal Uranus in Scorpio and square natal Mars in Aquarius.

The preponderance of air suggests a great dislike of unpleasant emotion which is the realm of Scorpio. The pattern that emerges is of someone who consistently denies and rationalizes negative feelings until they erupt and bite him and others in the ass.

The feelings have erupted. His loss to the bull may have been due to unrealized anger that he brought with him to the ring.

Jiménez Fortes

Detachment needed in the face of the bulls for Jiménez Fortes comes from five planets in Capricorn (Uranus, Neptune, Mercury, Saturn and sun) with Venus in Aquarius. I’d consider him detached beyond ability for intimacy if it weren’t for Jupiter and moon hanging out in Cancer helping Pluto in Scorpio.

Well, well, it looks like transiting Saturn in Scorpio is to blame again as it was passing over Pluto at the time of the fight.

Scorpio as fixed emotion is opposite Taurus as fixed sensation. Sensation is what is needed to monitor the bull, not obsession with someone that hurt you causing Capricorn’s favorite feeling – resentment.

The abundance of Capricorn requires a constant flow of respect which may have been lacking and now is under threat.

Pluto transiting Capricorn will affect any Capricorn energy in anyone’s chart. For Fortes, however, it will feel like a full frontal assault as most of his chart is in Capricorn and its opposite energy Cancer. The feeling that occurs with this type of transit is that the ground has given way and you have no where to stand.

It’s a personal earthquake.

With transiting Pluto currently tucked between natal Saturn and sun, there are major problems with authority – having authority and dealing with authority. Fortes may be living a life planned by a strong father which he’s re-evaluating. Warning: Dad won’t like any change that involves removing oneself from public life.

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Mercury Retrograde – Manipulated Perception

Mercury retrograde (apparent backward motion) signifies difficulty in communication from misdirected communication to missed communication. Like a letter lost in the mail (or in today’s mode, stuck in a spam filter), you may not know about it for a while.

Mercury went retrograde in water sign Cancer on June 7 and goes direct in air sign Gemini on July 2. Mercury will then go back (forward) through Cancer from mid to late July.

Mercury has been on my mind for much of the retrograde period. The Hero Twins story brought to awareness some deeper levels of Mercury which is sometimes misunderstood as superficial conversation.

Mercury seems to be about perception itself and its reputation for trickery simply the trickery of perception. Two stories on the BBC demonstrate the trickery of Mercury well.

Facebook Emotion Experiment

We learned just before this Mercury retrograde that for one week in 2012 Facebook conducted an uncommunicated test on 689,003 users. According to the BBC story which quotes a report:

The experiment manipulated the extent to which people were exposed to emotional expressions in their News Feed.

Using the date of February 4, 2004 when Facebook was launched at Harvard (according to Wikipedia). That chart has sun in technology-oriented Aquarius and moon and Saturn in emotion-oriented Cancer. Mercury is in the late degrees of Capricorn (and possibly opposite the moon).

Saturn in Cancer is a sense of not belonging or lacking home life and emotional security. According to The Astrologers Handbook by Sakoian and Acker, Saturn in Cancer:

. . . may cause the inhibition of the expression of emotion, which is likely to result in estrangement from family members; such emotional isolation in the domestic scene can lead to neurotic reactions.

These people hide their inner feelings from public view in order to preserve their dignity. Emotional sensitivity and the need for approval sometimes force them to build a shell around themselves, which can inhibit the expression of true warmth in personal relationships.

The Facebook research was published online June 2, 2014 with Mercury at two degrees of Cancer (five days before it went retrograde) and Jupiter at 20 degrees of Cancer. Transiting Mercury and Jupiter (which has a 12-year cycle) were in between Facebook’s natal Saturn and moon.

Cancer is about personal emotions and the research in an undisclosed week of 2012 was meant to gauge unconscious emotional response (“emotional contagion“).

Our perceptions of others through their Facebook feeds could probably fuel a psychological textbook. Our reactions to those friends may be no different than when we meet them in person; but how often do you meet with all of your friends, past present and somewhat unknown, in one room at one time?

It’s emotional overload that creates Mercury in Cancer type perceptions – do I belong? Do they like me and my posts? Have I offended someone? Why are are my friends more [fill in the blank] than me?

Mercury in Cancer perceives through the personal emotions. This is a wonderful placement for your spouse who you want to read your emotions as you walk in the door. This is also wonderful for a writer or other creative person.

Where this placement can be difficult is when you need emotional detachment to make decisions or where you respond emotionally to everything thereby weakening your nerves draining those around you.

When Mercury in Cancer visits Facebook (which is voluntary, by the way), it may respond more strongly to the images and words created by friends than would Mercury in an air or earth sign.

Pickpocketing Your Perceptions

In this interesting article on pickpockets (from the land of the Artful Dodger), we learn that pickpockets take advantage of a limitation of your mind – the inability to multi-task.

. . . According to neuroscientists our brains come pretty much hard-wired to be tricked, thanks to the vagaries of our attention and perception systems. In fact, the key requirement for a successful pickpocket isn’t having nifty fingers, it’s having a working knowledge of the loopholes in our brains. Some are so good at it that researchers are working with them to get an insight into the way our minds work.

The most important of these loopholes is the fact that our brains are not set up to multi-task. Most of the time that is a good thing – it allows us to filter out all but the most important features of the world around us. But neuroscientist Susana Martinez-Conde, the author of the book Sleights of Mind, says that a good trickster can use it against you. She should know: as a researcher at the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience in Arizona, she has studied how Las Vegas stage pickpocket Apollo Robbins performs his tricks.

“Trickster” is a word used in the article and a word associated with the sign Gemini which is ruled by Mercury. Gemini is the sign of the twins which means while the rest of us focus on one object, the Gemini can focus on two which is a perceptual advantage. Gemini and Mercury are also able to think and move quickly.

Distracting our focus is the key to finding the loophole in perception. From the BBC story, it also appears, from the woman who was pickpocketed by a man carrying flowers, that creating a perceptual “story” is also important. A man walking toward a woman with flowers evokes lots of images from greeting cards, movies, songs and poetry. It feels “nice.”

Pickpockets are rightly ruled by Mercury which understands perception. And pockets. And everything else – quickly.

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Distracted Humanity

According to this Psychology Today article, the earliest images of meditation from the Indus Valley date to 3500 BC to 5000 BC.

That means 7,000 years ago individuals felt the need to remove themselves from the distractions of daily life.

What distractions?

Nagging wives? Demanding bosses? Crying children? Ten text messages?

Seven thousand years ago there were no telephones, radios, televisions, Internet, magazines, books, daily mail or newspaper waiting on the front door.

What was so distracting?

Distracted living

There’s a lot of complaining in my part of the world about distracted driving. While distracted driving is certainly a menace, I think the bigger issue is distracted living.

Distractions have been around since men created wall art, so isn’t really about hand-held devices. Maybe at dinner your friends have always been distracted and now it is simply more evident as they move their eyes from yours to the phone as you narrate the thousand reasons you left your ex.

Attraction to distractions

When I mention to people that I don’t have cable channels, they respond quickly with the different options. It’s always assumed that I want options.

Back in the 1980s when there was much complaining about violence on television (do we not care anymore?), I wondered why people didn’t simply turn off the television. Watching violent TV or any TV was a choice.

That was the seed of what was to come. We not only can’t or won’t turn off our televisions, regardless of content, but willingly pay for the content, even content we don’t want.

We want distractions.

Here’s an interesting blog article called The Plague of Distraction which comments on the increasing distractions of today.


My own Mercury has been processing a lot about the astrological Mercury lately. This wing-footed messenger between the gods is much more than communication and papyrus scrolls. He is perception and stands between you and what you consider empirical reality.

Mercury becomes a menace when he moves from his sentry post of interpreting “out there” and starts running loose “in here.” In meditation some question whether the distraction is what we’re sensing or our thoughts regarding what we’re sensing.

If a bad event occurred in the past, is it still hurting you or are your thoughts regarding it hurting you?

Mercury seems prone to distraction in lesser or greater degree dependent on the personality represented by the horoscope. Those handing us cell phones and constant streams of tailor-made entertainment are simply feeding Mercury.

The tailor-made portion of the entertainment may also be feeding the moon which gets hungry and pecks at any available food like a bird.

A bird – we’re back to the wing image. Winged beings fly quickly, peck often and rarely sit in one place for long periods of time.


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The Gemini Hero Twins

This issue of American Archaeology has a fascinating story titled The Hero Twins in the Mimbres Region. Accompanying the story are images of the Hero Twins story from painted bowls found in the region.

The twins in astrology are the sign Gemini which is ruled by the planet Mercury. The god Mercury was a messenger and both Mercury and Gemini are associated with communication. Because of Gemini’s high intelligence, speed and ability to perceive situations extraordinarily quickly, Gemini gone bad is associated with the con artist.

The Gemini personality, as the twins, is seen has having two distinct sides. Having two sides is part of the intelligence and, if you think about it, should be admired. But too much diversity of personality is often viewed as inconsistency which is counter to the physical, permanent aspect of our world.

What fascinates me about the Hero Twins saga is not only how the astrological symbolism matches, but how allegory enlightens and brings up deeper aspects of life which is symbolized by astrology.

Birth and Rearing

The birth of the twins is described as such:

The mother of the twins is a virgin and the daughter of one of the gods of the Underworld. After an encounter with the twins father, she becomes pregnant . . .

We learn the mother disappears from the saga after birth. Interesting. The paternal grandmother raises the twins. We then learn:

The larger, right-handed twin carries a sunflower, as he is destined to become the sun; the left-handed twin holds a moonflower, as he will become the moon.

The sun is conscious self and moon reactive self. Right and left – today talking about right and left brain is common but remember these plates are from 1000 AD.

That Gemini represents both left and right brain ability is clear from the sign and from the myth. The virgin mother I almost skipped over with the thought, “here we go again, another virgin.”

But then I realized the virgin is ruled by the sign Virgo which is also ruled by Mercury. I’ve been viewing the double-rulership as simply a lack of planets, but now I’m seeing the relation.

The virgin represents purity as she hasn’t been physically penetrated. After penetration by life, one is split which is represented by Gemini.

Mercury, then, is the dualistic perception (split into left and right) of daily life. The virgin represents the pre-dualistic perceptive state. It’s interesting that one planet contains both potentials.


Like many gods, the Hero twins were challenged with trials by the gods of the Underworld (which is watery). One of the trials mentioned in the article was to smoke but not consume tobacco.

Smoking follows the same path as the communication channels, the throat.

The trial plate goes on to say:

The twins were tricksters, imbued with a duality of both earthly and divine heritage.

We’re back to the trickster / con artist image of Gemini. But if Virgo is the non-dualistic state, then possibly the twins, by nature, represent trickery. The trickery isn’t the ability to shift the shells and take your money, but dualistic perception itself. That is the trickery.

Arms and hands and ascension

We know some folks talk with their hands. In the Hero Twins saga, each has one hand dominant which suggests that they are not complete until both hands are equal. Our left and right sides need to merge to be whole.

One one portion of the story, the right-handed twin loses an arm to a monster and now must get it back. The brothers have to go to the underworld to retrieve it.

In the Underworld, the twins eventually retrieve the lost arm but then the left-handed brother decapitates the right-handed brother whose head stays attached to his body by a lifeline. I’m not clear why he does this but the article says it’s needed to defeat the gods of the Underworld.

Both brothers eventually ascend from the watery underworld where the right-handed brother becomes the sun and the left-handed brother becomes the moon.

Both sides survived, but now are separate, one ruling the day and one ruling the night.

The moon brother has a “celestial burden” on his back represented by a “burden basket.” Today we call it the monkey on your back. Look to your moon sign to see what you’re carrying in your burden basket.

Astrology and myth

Astrology and myth both try to describe through symbolism underlying energetic principles. Story is truly more enjoyable which can explain why so few struggle with the numbers, geometry and math behind astrology.

Mercury is so much more than communication and talking. In a prior blog I mentioned a little book by Jim Self which describes the third dimension as: time loop, duality and the rational mind.

Duality and rational mind point directly to Mercury. The myth seems to be clearer than astrology in describing how the rational, dualistic mind (Mercury) is conceived from the Virgin (pure non-duality). Our two sides are represented at the highest level by sun and moon.

That the left-handed brother decapitates the right-handed brother in that watery Underworld represents something we all do in this world – Gemini or other sign. We often suppress parts of ourselves to get along in a dualistic world.

When I read myths I often wonder why we need to keep writing stories. All the stories we need exist.

But that’s Mercury too. Communication in a dualistic world can confuse as much as enlighten.

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Melanie and Antonio: Leos Split Before Jupiter Return?

When an OHA reader informed me that actress Melanie Griffith and actor Antonio Banderas were divorcing, I was not shocked. After the Al & Tipper Gore breakup of 2010, no political or celebrity breakup will ever shock me again (not even Bill & Hillary which would be a logical one).

What did make me smack my own head in wonder is how two Leos would break up just weeks, I mean days, almost hours from a Jupiter transit of Leo.

What are they thinking?

On the verge of Jupiter

Jupiter will begin a one-year transit of Leo beginning mid-July. Leo is ruled by the sun, is a fixed fire sign, and is known for its loving intensity, childlike and childish drama, exuberance, generosity, pomposity and anything superlative.

Melanie and Antonio are both Leo suns. Imagine going outside, say in Spain, on a clear day (which occurs often in that arid land). You’ve just woken from a delightful night of socializing, feel refreshed and the morning is cool and the low heat of the sun is warm and soft.

Now imagine that one more sun rises above the horizon.

Your paltry pair of sunglasses now can’t stop the rays from burning your irises, your level 45 sunscreen now needs to be doubled to 90, and the warmth quickly turns to oppressive heat.

Now imagine that the planet Jupiter, which “expands what it finds,” comes to expand the energy of these two suns.

There is no sunscreen that can protect you.

Need I go on?

Melanie and Antonio

Not only do Melanie and Antonio have sun in Leo, both also have Uranus in Leo. Melanie has the added pleasure of Pluto in Leo (29 degrees). Antonio, a tad bit younger, has Pluto in the next sign – Virgo.

Antonio has a wide fire trine with moon in Aries and Jupiter in Sagittarius. Melanie has moon in cool, detached Aquarius which opposes all her Leo energy. Believe it or not, she can be detached when she’s not 100 percent obsessed (which may happen 10 percent of the time, but can happen).

Jupiter should be good to these Leos, although Melanie might have some trouble during the full opposition to her moon.

Jupiter in Leo means the attention is coming. The key for both of these attention-seeking Leos is to filter and focus the attention into the positive kind. But, then again, for attention-seeking folk, attention is like ice cream and while not all flavors are equally palatable, it is ice cream.

Will their breakup be as passionate as their pairing?

While this Jupiter transit could indicate a fully-public, dramatic, divorce, I’m suspecting that the breakup right before the transit suggests that both will feel more energized from the breakup, from being apart.

Back to the two suns analogy – while you’re getting fried into a raisin wondering where you can find shade, the suns might also feel, how shall we say it, a little cramped.

I’m wondering if these two just need a little space, something neither horoscope would ever consider, obsessive as they are.

Transiting Pluto in Capricorn is crossing Antonio’s natal Saturn in Capricorn. This could mean some sense of failure or an awakening that one is growing old and life is now following the setting sun, not the rising sun. This realization can create some intense responses. Melanie dealt with that same transit (transiting Pluto conjunct natal Saturn) years ago, in the early 2000s.

Jupiter Cries with Joy

When you watch actors in a movie, you laugh with them, cry with them, rage with them. Actors have that unique ability to channel emotions and filter that through moving image so that you feel what they feel.

That ability transfers into news of their personal lives. They carry that ability to transfer emotions and we, the admiring public, feel with and for them.

One of the exceptional traits of Leo (and the other fire signs) is the ability to bounce back after just about any setback. With Jupiter adding to this trait, we may have a bit of bouncing from both parties.

Jupiter will be in Leo from July 2014 – August 2015. Then it will be in Virgo and soon after pass over Antonio’s Venus and then six months later Melanie’s Venus.

Who knows? Maybe they will spend a year of Jupiter in Leo realizing they both have Venus in Virgo which wants to be loved “perfectly” and that a partner with such similar energy kind of knows how to love quite-close to perfectly.

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The Organization Man & The Pluto Half Cycle

Pluto was discovered on February 18, 1930 in 17 degrees of the sign Cancer. Cancer is a cardinal water sign ruling personal emotions, home environment, need for safety and security and the drive to belong.

Pluto entered Cancer in 1913 several years prior to its discovery. At that time, a war started that involved the entire “world” – World War I.

I’ve wondered much about how Cancer energy led to war. Now I’m on the path of “belonging” which has led us to our Pluto in Capricorn of today. In about three years, Cancer will be in 17 degrees of Capricorn, halfway from where it started at the time of discovery.

Pluto transforms and destroys and in Cancer it destroys family, community and personal emotional security. After Pluto passed through Gemini, innovations in communication brought us a “mass” to communicate to which seems to have led to Pluto in Cancer which changed the sense of family and community. Then afterward Pluto in Leo Generation in the US (The Me Generation) openly stated that they did not want to be like their parents.

As Pluto moved into Cancer in 1913, new senses of belonging occurred in several parts of the world as China created a republic, Russia a communist state, the Middle East was partitioned into “countries,” and in the West the family unit shrunk to “nuclear family” in contrast to the extended family or clan.

While Cancer isn’t directly connected to warlike or aggressive energy, the need to feel security and belonging creates intense emotional responses.

The Organization Man

In 1956 William H. Whyte published “The Organization Man” with the premise (if I understand it correctly) that the corporation replaces individualism with the “social ethic” which has these three “propositions:”

  • A belief in the group as a source of creativity
  • A belief in “belongingness” as the ultimate need of the individual
  • A belief in the application of science to achieve the belongingness

During the time this book was written Communism was growing and the idea of “collectivist” thought was pitted against individualism.

If and when we had this individualism, did we also have families? If corporation and individualism are at odds, how do family and individualism relate?

Did the corporation break down individualism or did mass communication break down the personal sense of belonging which trumped the development of individualism?

A Pluto half-life away has Pluto currently transiting Capricorn, the sign of the corporation and government. Is there any government anywhere in the world that is smaller today than it was in 1930? Or any military?

What’s fascinating to me is that prior to Pluto transiting Cancer, it was in Gemini so it took the inventions in communication to break down the family and community structure.

We are again in a period of inventions in communication. The irony to me is how social media has exponentially increased our interaction with devices (rather than people). Also, communication today is briefer and more marketing and/or public relations oriented. If you watch a news show or pick up a magazine from 30 years ago, topics were discussed in much greater depth.

It’s cliché that communication is important in relationships, but I personally believe talk actually creates separation. Silent retreats have taught me that cooperation comes from agreement, not verbal communication.

Water signs are about connection and they connect through food (Cancer), intimacy (Scorpio) and spirituality (Pisces). That’s why holidays are family events filled with food. Can you imagine a holiday without food?

(As for sex and the holidays, I was surprised while working retail a few years ago how much condom sales increased during the holidays. I figured it was because people finally had some time for intimacy but maybe it’s because the holidays create connection.)

While William H. Whyte criticized the corporation promoting belonging over individualism, I think the real issue is that belonging got wiped out through mass communication and the corporation stepped in, like a foster family, to fill the need.

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Marijuana Abdication of Your Reputation

American astrologers, like me, will mention that the 10th house of the horoscope is about career. When Americans meet each other, we often ask, “So what do you do?”

According to The Culture Code, for Americans work represents WHO YOU ARE. (Money, by relation, represents to Americans PROOF of who we are says The Culture Code).

I’d say the 10th house of the horoscope represents this WHO YOU ARE. It’s your reputation, your public image. That Americans have made it the focus of personal identity (which is the opposite, the 4th house) is simply a cultural choice. That we have turned “job” into the concept of “career” is also representative of that cultural trait.

Do you have a job or career? What’s the difference? Is that how you define yourself?

10th House Transits

When planets transit your 10th house of reputation or public image, changes to the public image are common and the type of change indicated by the planet making the transit. This house is at the top of your chart.

The moon transits your 10th house every month so for a least a day or two our public image is as controllable as a gossip magazine being blown about by the wind.

Mercury (communication) spends about a month a year affecting your public image. Mars (active principle) spends a month every two years.

Jupiter will spend a year, Saturn a couple, Uranus up to seven, Neptune 15 and Pluto feels like forever.

To get a sense of what a 10th house transit looks like to the public, let’s look at a few peeps with some 10th house activity at public-imaging changing times of their lives.


What could be more representative of public image than royalty? Royalty is public image by default. In the past, it was also a bit of an 8th house experience as royalty did rule your life simply because they had the strength, power or means to do so (which often involved you providing sustenance to them so they could do this).

The Spanish King Juan Carlos has decided to step out of the 10th house royal domain.

Juan Carlos is a Capricorn sun, the sign that rules the 10th house. Capricorn and its ruler Saturn are magnets for responsibility and all the burdens that come with it. Capricorn energy is serious and exerts a stern force internally and externally.

Transiting Pluto is in Capricorn conjunct King Carlos’ sun. The 10th house in King Juan Carlos’ chart is at 28 degrees of Capricorn. Pluto won’t go there for another five years or so.

While King Juan Carlos is officially abdicating, the transits suggest he won’t fully abdicate until about 2019. He may stand behind his son who will rule in his stead.

The big change with Pluto in the 9th, which is right before its path in the 10th, is that we change our thinking about the situation. The 9th is about higher thought so we come to a new world view, philosophy, religion or idea that leads us to our new public image in the 10th.

When King Edward VIII of England abdicated (to marry a commoner) in 1936, Jupiter was right at his midheaven (the beginning of the 10th house). Jupiter was in Sagittarius and moved soon afterward into Capricorn. The movement from Sagittarius to Capricorn suggests King Edward moved from a more freedom-seeking life to one of more responsibility.

When American President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 (a modern “abdication”) due to the Watergate Scandal, Saturn was transiting his 10th house (while Pluto was transiting the 1st). Because Nixon’s house of public image was ruled by Cancer the opposite sign of personal emotions, leaving public life would have been doubly difficult as public attention was like family attention. In public was the only place Nixon may have felt he belonged, felt like family.

The 10th House is the Highest

Maureen Dowd, New York Times columnist, recently decided to go to Colorado, eat some pot-laced candy bar and had an unfortunate reaction.

From the BBC story, Dowd is quoted as saying:

I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.

I strained to remember where I was or even what I was wearing, touching my green corduroy jeans and staring at the exposed-brick wall. As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.

While this doesn’t qualify Dowd for an official “image change,” I think smoking pot does give you a little bit a “cool” (although not as cool as the late Christopher Hitchens undergoing waterboarding).

But what kind of cool makes someone comatose and paranoid?

Dowd currently has Neptune in Pisces transiting her 10th house. I suspect that the pot is just the beginning.

If Dowd is truly a drug virgin, she might not be aware that channels in our greatly-underused brains (what do we use, ten percent?) are opened from drugs and the world is a different place perceptually.

Neptune in the 10th says you are a bit fuzzy in your public image and the public may also project some very weird stuff onto you. Pisces is the empathizer and often falls into the victim. It can be the savior or scapegoat (as noted with Justin Bieber’s Neptune transit).

Dowd’s entire experience is a Neptunian breakdown of boundaries and the experience may not pass through her as easily as the candy bar that contained the marijuana. Experiences like that make you question reality, the most intense and scary of Neptunian challenges.

With drinking, there’s some folk knowledge of different types of drunk: the happy drunk, the sad drunk, the violent drunk, the can’t-stop-talking-about-my-ex drunk, etc.

Dowd is a Capricorn sun with Pluto conjunct moon in Leo and Saturn/Neptune/Mars in Libra. Without the marijuana, these placements can be considered a bit paranoid and frankly complex and challenging. Her next marijuana trip may contain extreme jealousy.

The Neptune experience, in just about any sign, dissolves ego. In Pisces, it’s all the worse because Pisces is a mutable water sign – energy in constant fluctuation. We all have ego, regardless of sign, but some egos are stronger such as the fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius). Capricorn (ruled by Saturn) and Scorpio (ruled by Pluto) also are associated with strong egos.

Dowd’s strong personality probably dislikes uncontrolled change and any kind of experience that reeks of humiliation so the complete collapse of ego (I’m dead and no one told me) must be extremely terrifying. Leo represents assertion of the self and if you’re not even a self, what can you assert?

More mellow personalities may have had more mellow responses in a more stereotypical marijuana-ish way.

In other words, if you’ve never let the boundaries down, be careful during a Neptune in Pisces transit of the 10th house. It’s sort of the best and worst time to dissolve the boundaries between self and the perceived universe. In the 10th, the universe is watching.

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