Liz Greene and the Twelve Temples

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A portion of this article was originally posted in 2006.  Liz Greene is quite possibly my favorite astrology writer of all time, and yesterday I dug out her book The Art of Stealing Fire: Uranus in the Horoscope, which is actually a transcription of a seminar on the subject. In it she briefly touches on the work of the Roman writer Manilius, who in his work the Astronomica refers to the astrological houses as “templums.”

In the horoscope, which is a map of the sky at a particular time from the perspective of earth, the space above and below the earth is ringed with the symbolic zodiac system and then divided into four quadrants. Each of the four quadrants is divided into three sections, and we call the twelve resulting pie-shaped sections “houses.” Each “house” is associated with a sphere of existence. Liz Greene describes the houses as being like empty stages before a play, each of which is already set with its “decor, furniture and objects according to the domain which the house rules and the sign on the cusp of the house.”

The use of the word “templum” to describe the houses is a fascinating one. Greene writes that the templum, or temple, was any empty building or space used for sacred purposes, and until the cult statue of the god was placed in the temple, the space had no real purpose. Writer Gordon Fisher quotes an earlier work by linguist Zacharie Mayani describing a ceremony dividing a templum into twelve sections:

Two priests are seen marking out the bounds of a holy area consisting of a square in which two medians were marked, one running from north to south and the other from east to west. The quarters of the square are also subdivided, and each resulting section is assigned to a particular deity. The square is a kind of mirror of the heavens, since the divisions of the square correspond to a conceptual division of the sky. A priest could stand in the center of the square and with the help of a special staff determine in which zone of the square the direction of a celestial omen fell, hence which deity was sending the omen. Thus the holy area or templum constituted an observatory for determining positions of omens which could be used for predicting future events. The observations were a means of learning the will of the gods.

Over the years, I have come to revere the planets as gods, and so I love this image of the deity inhabiting the astrological houses. Certainly modern astrology has come a long way from the fatalistic fortunetelling of the past, but just as in medicine and other modern sciences, we still have much to learn from those who have gone before us. Update: Astrologer Deb Houlding of the Skyscript website, whose work I admire, has published a book about the astrological houses called the Temples of the Soul.


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Is Elon Musk the harbinger of the Aquarian Age?

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Elon Musk is in the news again, this time for attempting a hostile takeover of Twitter.  He is such a fascinating character – clearly so brilliant, but also kind of a mad genius and a bit nutty. Just the type I like to profile. 😃

The astrology of Elon Musk.

Unfortunately we don’t have a birth time for Musk (there is a birth time on Astrotheme but it comes from an unverified source in India), but even without it we can see some very interesting things (noon chart shown with Sun on the ascendant).  Musk was born under a conjunction of the Sun and Mercury in Cancer, a sign of feeling and emotion, and this conjunction is tightly squared by both Chiron and Uranus. As I have noted before, Sun/Mercury conjunction individuals tend to be of great intelligence, and when Mercury is ahead of the Sun as it is here there can be a tendency, literally, of the mind getting ahead of the Self. The fact that Uranus, planet of innovation and radical change, is locked in a strong square aspect to the Sun and Mercury enhances the ability to think outside the box as well as inspire somewhat impulsive and radical behavior even when the Sun and Mercury are in Cancer which tends to seek greater security and a sense of safety.

The emotionality of the Sun and Mercury in Cancer is easily activated due to a strong square from Chiron to the Sun and Mercury. Chiron is in Aries, suggesting that the wound (Chiron) is to the evolution of the Self (Aries) and in fact Chiron is the only planet in a fire sign in this chart other than Neptune which is a generational outer planet. When a chart lacks a certain element, the personality traits of that element have no easy mode of expression. Someone without watery planets can be extremely emotional but perhaps not understand how they feel. Someone without earth may be drawn to the practical or earthy areas of life but find it difficult to manage. Someone without fire, such as Musk, may struggle with impulse control since the motivation and action inspired by fire has no easy way to express itself.

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Dealing with impulse control is a theme in this chart. We have the mentalism of the Sun and Mercury squared by Uranus, the planet of impulsive and radical action. We have a lack of fire. We see that the fire planet Mars is in the air sign Aquarius adding more froth to the mentality of the chart, especially since it is inflamed by Jupiter in Scorpio. Scorpio itself is ruled by Mars, making this a “double whammy” connection between forceful Mars and expansive Jupiter, expanding Musk’s confidence and his need to be right in the fixed signs which can be quite stubborn.  Yet on the other hand the Cancerian Sun and Mercury long for connection and a sense of belonging, and the Virgo Moon seeks perfection and order (Mercury and the Moon are in mutual reception which facilitate the interaction between the mind and emotions) .  A harmonious sextile from Jupiter to Pluto enhances his ability to lead and create effective change.

A brief astrological life review of Elon Musk.

In 1995, under a Progressed New Moon in Cancer (sign of family), Musk started a software company with his brothers. This company was sold in 1999 with Musk netting $22M under a transit of Uranus (sudden change) to his Mars (and North Node of fate). That same year and under that same transit, Musk started online bank which spun off Paypal.  Musk was in and out of CEO positions during this period and eventually sold his share of Paypal for $22M.  All of this occurred before Musk’s Saturn Return in 2001.

At the time of his Saturn return, Musk became interested in space and SpaceX was incorporated in 2002 as the Saturn return was waning.  SpaceX is still in operation, now coordinating with NASA to “revolutionize space exploration.”  In 2006-2008 under the square from transiting Pluto to natal Pluto, the first of the series of midlife crisis transits, Musk was hemorraghing money after taking over Tesla and attempting to get his rockets off the ground. He said he was “waking from nightmares, screaming and in physical pain” from the stress. He had run out of money, was facing bankruptcy from the SpaceX projects, was divorced, and then he was rescued by NASA in December 2008 with a $1.5Bn contract.

In 2012-2014 Musk introduced several new initiatives in solar power and transportation at the time of his Uranus opposition (which also set off the Sun/Mercury square to Uranus in his natal chart). This is the classic midlife-crisis period at age 40-42 when we question our life path.

In 2018, with transiting Jupiter squaring his Mars and activating his poor impulse control, Musk smoked a joint on the Joe Rogan show which resulted in the tanking of Tesla stock. He also warned of the dangers of AI, saying “AI could become ‘an immortal dictator from which we would never escape’” – something which fits in perfectly with the upcoming transit of Pluto (destruction and re-creation) moving into Aquarius in 2023.

In early 2022 Elon Musk began acquiring stock in Twitter and in early April initiated a hostile takeover.  Transiting Pluto is in a harmonious aspect to Musk’s natal Pluto/Jupiter sextile, a wonderful time of personal growth and increasing personal empowerment. Transiting Jupiter will set off his natal Sun/Mercury T-square later this year which could exacerbate his natural confidence, but with this guy his very unpredictability is predictable.  He does seem to be more of an instigator and easily bored (I have always imagined him to have Gemini rising which has an insatiable curiosity and great difficulty settling on one path or venture) so it’s difficult to predict how this most recent Twitter adventure will go.  Rather than a left wing or right wing troll as some claim, Musk is a disrupter of the highest order and once the disruption takes place he will likely look for the next shiny thing.

The Aquarian Age connection.

Signs of the Aquarian Age are everywhere, suggesting to me that we are clearly in the doorway if not well into this new age of changing parameters and priorities.  I have written a great deal about the increasing awareness about autism and the Uranus connection, and the growing prevalence of gender identification issues also falls under the Uranian banner. The merging of man with machine, sometimes called the Singularity, has begun and Elon Musk has been in the forefront of that adventure. In 2020 Musk started a company called Neuralink which I wrote about here which is focused on building “implantable man-machine interfaces.” Tesla, owned by Musk, has been called the world’s largest company run by robots.

Musk recently revealed that he has Asperger’s, a type of mild autism that has likely been around for a long time but was only recently diagnosed to the extent it is now. I know of quite a few adults who very recently discovered that they have Asperger’s (personally I think lumping highly functional Aspergers together with classic autism does everyone a disservice).

Inventive Uranian types like Elon Musk have been around for a long time, but at the doorway of the Aquarian Age this kind of pioneering mentality will be the ones who will shepherd us through that doorway into a future that we will not begin to recognize.

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It’s here: The US Pluto return

The US Pluto return culminates this week. Some of you are familiar with the term “Saturn return” – an event which happens for everyone at age 28-30 and then again around 56-60 when Saturn returns to its position by degree in the natal chart. These are very Saturnian events – times when we need to face responsibilities and hard facts as we transition into the next phase of life. Pluto takes 244 years to orbit the Sun so humans do not experience Pluto returns, but nations often do.

The Sagittarius ascendant in the US chart reflects the expansive tendency of the American empire which is probably the single thing that will be its undoing.  Like other empires before it, the expansion of the national identity (Sagittarius ascendant) through ideas like “Manifest Destiny” which inspired pioneers to trek across the undeveloped terrain and do battle with the native peoples and Mexicans and Canadians who were already living on the land. . . .

Since Pluto entered the contracting sign of Capricorn, however, the cracks in the foundation have become more evident. Pluto deals with issues of compulsion and use and misuse of power, and in the US chart Pluto lives in the second house of money. With Pluto in the second house of money and finance, the American shadow is a dirty little secret – an obsession (Pluto) with the power that money can provide (second house).  The persona of the country is the sunny Jupiterian/Sagittarian nature of optimism and faith that everything will turn out fine, but the Plutonian shadow of greed hides in the darkness.

Between 2014 and 2017, Pluto has been no more than two degrees from an exact opposition (stressful aspect) to the Sun in the US chart.  (Geeky astrological detail: because Saturn squares the US Sun, Pluto is also transiting in square to US Saturn which applies even more pressure.) The candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump with his openly expressed xenophobia has opened the door to the dark Plutonic realms of the US dark secrets which are rooted in slavery and genocide.

This, my friends, is Pluto in action.  Trump didn’t cause this to happen – together with Pluto, he opened the door to the circles of hell and the demons began to emerge from the underground of the US psyche. Pluto’s domain has to do with power, corruption, destruction and regeneration, we would expect that governments which do not have a strong foundation would experience some kind of collapse or major transformation during these times. (I did a study of Pluto returns in the Roman Empire which you can read here.)

The Pluto Return has been building for the past year, with transiting Pluto just a few degrees from US Pluto.  The exact alignment occurs on February 22nd, but a Pluto transit tends to take a long time to build and the crescendo is slow and dramatic.  The second phase occurs in August 2022 and the final exact alignment in December 2022, but Pluto will come within a degree of US Pluto once more in October 2023. So this transit will continue to unfold over the next two years.

Other than the rise of violence, one of the ways in which the US Pluto return has made itself known in mainstream consciousness is the idea that our Democracy is dead or dying. Our system of free and fair elections, the basis of democracy, is fracturing. There is talk of a civil war, and some states want to secede from the Union. America is becoming even more geographically polarized.

Pluto transits very rarely result in complete destruction, but Pluto’s transformative effect is virtually always visible at these times. The power of creative destruction under Pluto may break down systems that are failing, but something else will be rebuilt in their place.

These times of dramatic change can be frightening, but when we understand the planetary forces at work behind the scenes we can more easily manage our reactions to the events at hand. Pluto is in the last degrees of Capricorn, the sign that inspires us to create structures that will help us to achieve mastery of the material world. Any of these structures that are decaying from the inside out and weakened by this decay will almost surely collapse, but will be ultimately replaced by something that better fits the modern reality of life in the Aquarian Age.


The astrology of Joe Rogan

Please be sure to read the entire post before commenting, and please limit your comments to the astrology. This post is not endorsement of Joe Rogan’s views, or a blanket approval of everything he has ever said.  As always, all viewpoints are welcomed, but any comments that serve only to inflame and do not add to the discussion will be deleted. Thank you for your cooperation!   

If you haven’t watched Joe Rogan’s YouTube channel you likely have a very different impression of him than if you have.  If all you read is the headlines, you see a crazy man who embraces conspiracy theories and radical ideas. This is certainly a piece of the man, but if you dive into what he has produced as I have, you see a much more nuanced picture.

Joe Rogan was born with the Sun in Leo conjunct expansive Jupiter – a very fortunate placement which virtually ensures success, especially since these planets are in his 10th house of career and vocation. Leo is the sign of the Self – under the influence of Leo we need to be “seen” and recognized, but also, ultimately, to be the best person we can be.  Mercury, planet of communication, is right on the Midheaven which is a powerful point and denotes someone who is a strong communicator.  Saturn, planet of hard work and success, forms a harmonious trine to the Sun and Jupiter which helps to facilitate the discipline needed to work towards a goal. The main drive here is for fame and recognition, but there’s more.

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Rogan was born in 1967 at the height of the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto, the planetary formation that brought us “the 60s.”  He narrowly escaped the emotional challenges (Saturn and Chiron opposed Uranus and Pluto) of the 1965-1966 period, so the transformational power of that big conjunction is able to operate freely.  Individuals born under this conjunction (between 1963-1968) generally experience an urgency to bring about a radical (Uranus) transformation (Pluto), and for Rogan this comes through his Mercury/Midheaven skills with communication. His Venus (relating to others) is a part of that conjunction, and his Venus is in the more modest sign of Virgo which would tone down some of the Leo tendency to be bombastic and attention-seeking.

There is a lot of fire in this chart, and fire is the element that promotes passion and enthusiasm. Three planets (plus Ceres) in Leo, and three planets, including Mars, in Scorpio which is one of the Mars-ruled signs. Saturn is in the other Mars-ruled sign, suggesting insecurities and doubts about his masculinity which can lead to overcompensation, especially in one’s younger years.  But Saturn is well placed in a trine to the Sun and Jupiter which ameliorates some of these difficulties. Still, the impetuosity of the fire element is clearly visible in Rogan’s personality.

The thing that prompted this post today was this article: Joe Rogan apologizes to Spotify and musicians.

In a nearly 10-minute long video posted on Instagram, Rogan said he is open to changes to the show such as booking more mainstream experts after having controversial ones and doing more research on certain topics. Rogan praised Spotify for its latest decision to add content advisories to any material mentioning Covid-19, and direct its users to public health sites for more information. He also thanked the platform for its support. …

“I’m not trying to promote misinformation, I’m not trying to be controversial,” Rogan added. “I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than to just talk to people.”

We do have a time of birth for Rogan (thank you!) which shows that Libra is rising in the chart. The rising sign, or ascendant, shows the way in which we move through the world, and the influence to which we aspire and which we grow into during our lives. Libra is the sign of balance – the diplomat, the equalizer. Libra always tends toward the middle (full disclosure here: I myself have the Sun and a few other planets in Libra).  Libra also wants to be liked and please others, so with Libra rising, Rogan would not be a character like Russell Brand who is a provocateur and doesn’t care who he offends. Apology is a major tool in Libra’s arsenal in the effort to avoid offense.

If you watch Rogan’s podcasts you can see that he is genuinely interested in different points of view, even those that are clearly incorrect. As we have watched the “truth” about the Coronavirus unfold, we have seen things that were first said to be true later revealed to be false, and vice versa. As an astrologer who practices what some would call “pseudoscience” and “misinformation,” I may be particularly sensitive to the fear of information repression, but as an astrologer I also see the conflict over information as an expected part of the Saturn/Uranus square under which we operated throughout 2021 and which is still in force in 2022.  Both Saturn and Uranus are in difficult aspects to Rogan’s Leo and Scorpio planets, so he is at once being pulled to break out of restriction (Uranus) and also being hammered by authority figures (Saturn).  In the  meantime, his fame continues to grow because of controversy, rather than in spite of it.