Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Buffy ~ Aries Warrior Woman

"Into every generation a Slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer." 

These are the opening lines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the massively successful and long running TV show which explored and in some ways defined the archetype of the empowered young woman in modern drama.

When looking at the astrology of Buffy, a fictional character, the best place to look is the chart of the actress who played her, Sarah Michelle Gellar. This is because the characters that actors play tend to powerfully reflect aspects in their natal charts.

Gellar’s chart is below [data from Astrodatabank, no birth time, so ignore the houses and angles].

Click to Enlarge
The first thing that pops out is Venus in Aries tightly opposite Pluto. The empowered woman (Venus-Pluto) who is a warrior (Aries) fighting (Aries) the forces of darkness (Pluto). Wow, what a gift!

 Buffy and Spike

You would also expect Venus in Aries opposite Pluto to be reflected in Buffy’s relationships. Two of them, Angel and Spike, were vampires, the un-dead (Pluto). Buffy was quite literally sleeping with the enemy. Angel exemplifies rich Plutonic themes. He was cursed with a soul and doomed to feel guilt for all the evil he had done. When Buffy meets him, he is beginning a quest for redemption, but when they fall for each other and make love, Angel loses his soul and turns evil again. With Spike, the sex was wild and rampant, a very dark expression of Buffy’s own grief and depression, after having literally been raised from the dead herself. Her other lover was Riley, a preppy college student with a very dark secret. By night, he was part of a secret (Pluto) military (Aries) operation to capture demons (Pluto) and imprison them in a top secret, subterranean government facility (Pluto). Generally speaking, Venus-Pluto aspects tend to play out in intense, dramatic relationships that involve struggles for power and control, sometimes violently, and this was certainly the case for Buffy.

The Sun is also in Aries. In Aries, the energy of the Sun is focused on the warrior archetype, on leading and exerting force. Because the Sun in Aries is un-aspected, it runs away with the horoscope, meaning that it will tend to dominate. This is soooo true for Buffy. It’s all she’s about! Ultimately, Aries wants to be number one and Buffy is certainly is number one, whether she likes it or not, “one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires” and so on. Noel Tyl says that people with un-aspected Sun tend to ‘dance to a different drummer’, they’re not quite like anyone else and don’t quite fit in. A major theme in the series is the loneliness Buffy feels at being ‘the one’, the realisation that she cannot have a regular life like her fellow high school students. She saves the world every other day, but can’t tell anyone except for her small band of friends. Instead, her classmates deride and avoid her for being weird and aggressive in an environment where being popular and fitting in means everything.

Buffy and The Scoobie Gang
Before you say that the Sun is conjunct the nodal axis, please note that I define un-aspected as a planet that does not make a major aspect (square, conjunction, opposition, trine, sextile) with another planet. Now onto the Sun’s exact connection with the nodes... This is where the chart offers us another wonderful gift. If we think of the nodes as fate and karma, all the explanation we need is contained in the prophecy with its talk of “the chosen one”.  Playing out those Sun in Aries themes is nothing less than Buffy’s destiny, what she was born to do. The north node in Libra perhaps explains how, unlike other slayers before her, she has a small band of fellow misfit friends who are in on her secret and appreciate her for what she does.

The First Slayer
There’s also something primal about the Sun in Aries and in season four, Buffy confronts the spirit of the first slayer, who tells her that to be a slayer she must ditch her friends and work alone. But as we’ve seen, Buffy dances to a different drummer. She’s a rebel who dismisses the legend and shuns the rules of the old fashioned, authoritarian slayer’s council. Where is this reflected in her chart, other than in the Sun in Aries?

Notice the T-Square between Mercury, Saturn and Uranus. Aspects between Saturn and Uranus reflect a tension between the old and the new, often manifesting in the urge to rebel (Uranus) against the status quo (Saturn), to question (Mercury) tradition (Saturn). Buffy does this in spades, forcing the slayer’s council to re-think (Mercury) its time-honoured (Saturn) approach. Saturn though is the focus of the t-square, positioned at the axis point.  A major theme throughout the show is the heavy duty and responsibility that Buffy’s destiny brings.

Mercury in Taurus is a bull-headed placement, once the native has made up their mind about something, it’s almost impossible to to make them change it and they can therefore be very decisive. Throughout, Buffy never changes her mind about rebelling against slayer tradition. I think this placement of Mercury, along with an un-aspected Jupiter in Gemini, neatly reflects Buffy’s famous witticisms, saying it like it is, often sarcastically. The best banter is when she’s just about to dust a vamp, "So are you going to kill me or are we just making small talk?"

Gellar’s strong Aries asks us to consider Mars, Aries’ ruler. Mars is in Pisces in Gellar’s chart, at first glance not really a good position for a slayer warrior. But don’t forget that she still has that Venus and Sun in Aries going for her, so perhaps Mars in Pisces reflects the huge sacrifices that Buffy must make to fulfil her calling, along with an underlying deep sensitivity and an undeniable connection to something mystical that is bigger and more wide reaching than even she can imagine. Oh and Buffy certainly brings imagination into her slaying, killing those demons in all sorts of creative ways! 

Even without a birth time, it’s likely that that Mars is conjunct Moon in Pisces. This aspect speaks of  raw passion, emotional conflict and anger, fighting to protect one’s loved ones, the need to feel and understand sacrifice. Buffy to a tee. This is a hugely sensitive placement, Buffy will only do what ‘feels’ right for her.  In a fight, she intuitively knows what to do, as if she has a sixth sense. This saves her life many times. In relationship, this placement leaves her heart all too open to be broken, revealing a deep yearning for emotional and sexual connection underneath her scratchy and defensive surface.  

Buffy and Giles
The father figure is a major issue throughout the series. Buffy feels abandoned by her father after her parent’s divorce and feels guilty, believing the separation was her fault. This is reflected in Saturn’s tight square to Uranus and sextile to Pluto. Saturn also aspects Neptune, an aspect that reflects the disappointment Buffy feels when her father lets her down time after time. That un-aspected Sun in Aries is also relevant here (the Sun as well as Saturn can reflect the father). Simply put, without her father’s presence, Buffy is forced to go it alone.

Buffy’s watcher, the uptight Englishman Rupert Giles, becomes her sole male authoritarian figure. We’re back to Saturn (father figure) in that t-square with Uranus again because Buffy never fully accepts Giles’ authority. Despite her obvious affection and respect for him, she constantly rebels against (Uranus) and stubbornly questions (Mercury in Taurus) virtually everything he asks her to do and sarcastically talks back to him whenever he says anything she thinks is stuffy.

Finally, what about the show’s 'Big Bads', where are they in the chart? Season One’s Big Bad was The Master, an ancient vampire trapped in a cave (the underworld). He was destined to kill Buffy which he did (but she was brought back to life, long story) and bring hell to earth. The Master was of course the Pluto half of that Venus-Pluto aspect. No prizes for guessing that Buffy was Venus. In Season Two, the Bad was her boyfriend, the vampire Angel, turned into evil Angelus after they made love. We’ve already talked about him, he too is that Venus-Pluto. Season Four, the enemy is her boyfriend Riley’s secret (Pluto) military (Aries) task force who are capturing demons (Pluto) and imprisoning them in a top secret, subterranean government facility (Pluto). The project is called The Initiative (very Aries). Their secret agenda (Pluto) is to create a Frankenstein like fighting monster out of demon body parts. The monster is named Adam (the first man, that Aries theme again). More Venus-Aries opposite Pluto stuff in Season Seven, the final series, which sees Buffy and an army of young women, fledgling slayers, battling to overcome The First Evil, a malignant force that can take the form of any dead person it likes. 

I hope you enjoyed this analysis, which shows how the fictional character of Buffy is strongly reflected in Gellar’s chart. I think that looking for characters in actor’s charts is a really fun thing to do and a great way for an astrology student to learn how to read a chart, because fictional characters tend to display more extreme expressions of the actor's astrological aspects. Of course, we could look at Gellar's chart and try to work out how her aspects play out in her personal life, but I feel that this would be unfair and intrusive, because we can’t call her up and ask her to verify, it would be mere speculation. Remember that aspects can play out in many different ways and on many different levels, riding the spectrum between the positive and the negative, the extreme and the bland.

Usefully, Joss Whedon, Buffy's creator, gave Buffy a birthday. You can read a brief analysis of Buffy's chart over at Elsa Elsa.

This article is part of a series on how the characters actors play show up in their charts:

Monday, 18 April 2011

The Secondary Progressed Moon

I'm very proud to have a guest post at Joyce Mason's excellent Radical Virgo Blog...

My article explores how the the Secondary Progressed Moon Cycle informs our journey of emotional maturity through our lives.

Here's the link: http://radicalvirgo.blogspot.com/2011/04/emotional-maturity-secondary-progressed.html

While you're there, be sure to have a look around Joyce's blog.

My favourites are the monthly Moonwalk pieces and her fantastic Chiron insights.

with love,

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Neptune in Pisces Miscellanea

Picture by George Cruikshank, 19th Century caricaturist
As I begin to write this, Neptune will move into Pisces in less than four hours time and I’m sure that by the time I finish and post it, Neptune will be settling nicely in the sign of the fish.

Because Pisces is ruled by Neptune, the big blue planet will feel ‘at home’ in the water sign of the fishes, so all the things that are symbolized by Neptune will have freer expression, will become more obvious in the collective.

Here's, an exploration of just a random few of Neptune in Pisces’ astrological themes…

Neptune dissolves boundaries. In Aquarius, Neptune dissolved the boundaries of physical distance through technology. Thanks to the rapid spread of the internet the world became a smaller place, an intricate web of constant connection to anyone, anywhere. This was of course equally due to Uranus in Pisces, which for years was in a supportive mutual reception with Neptune in Aquarius. The connections we made in this way were mostly cerebral, the sharing of ideas and information. In Pisces, Neptune will begin to dissolve the boundaries of feeling, opening us up to swim in the collective miasma of the emotional experience. How that will manifest I can’t say for sure, but when it comes to social sharing on the internet, perhaps we will begin to feel more aware of how what we communicate online can stir strong emotional feelings in others.  This could a wonderful thing, but feelings of hurt, sympathy, anger, empathy etc. etc. are also easily triggered even in ‘impersonal’ cyberspace and we will all have to be more sensitive to the effect that what we say online can have on someone thousands of miles away that we may never meet.

Watery technology: I had a look for advances in communications technology from the last time Neptune was in Pisces (1847-1842) and discovered something fascinating. This period saw the beginnings of submarine telegraphy, where telegraphs were sent via underwater cables. The first commercial line was laid across the English Channel, connecting England with France in 1850:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Submarine_telegraphy  

What opportunities will the ocean bring now that Neptune’s in Pisces again?

The Spread of the Skirt: Neptune is associated with fashion and glamour. The last time Neptune was in Pisces was between 1847 and 1862. It was such a different age of course, but it’s interesting to see what was à la mode back then. Fashion, like everything else, goes in cycles, so perhaps we will see some elements making a comeback. The most notable trend in the 1850’s was the ever increasing width of women’s skirts. The introduction of the steel cage crinoline in 1856 meant that skirts could become even wider, reaching their maximum width in the early 1860’s, as Neptune was preparing to leave Pisces. However, by the early 1860s a backlash against complicated and structured fashion styles began. Called the Artistic Dress Movement, it advocated a simple but romantic design, with a focus on beautiful fabrics which harked back to earlier medieval styles. While this style didn’t catch on until Neptune had moved into Aries, it’s easy to see how it grew out of Neptune in Pisces. These styles were beautifully captured on canvas by the Pre-Raphaelite painters. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artistic_Dress_movement

Anne settling into her new home
Compassion for suffering is a major theme for Neptune and none more so in Pisces. A news story that broke just as Neptune was about to leave Aquarius really seized the public imagination. Anne was the last circus elephant in the UK. At 59 years old, she’s a grand old dame. Animal rights campaigners had been petitioning for years for her to be taken away from her owners, but to no avail. However, when Animal Defenders International filmed secret footage of her being abused by her groom and released it to the media, it sparked a massive campaign. Anne’s sad story of over 50 years in servile captivity really touched a nerve with the public and genuinely moved people to tears and to action. The day before Neptune moved into Pisces, her owners finally agreed to give her up and by the time Neptune was in Pisces Anne was happily ensconced in her new home at Longleat Safari Park. A new ingress for Neptune and a new ingress for Anne. Early indications are that she’s doing very well and happily settling into her retirement. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1373415/A-day-Anne-elephant-forget-retirement-begins-Longleat.html

As the government spending cuts start to bite, charities and organizations that help the vulnerable and the needy are bound to take a hit. However, I strongly believe that philanthropy will become a major theme of Neptune in Pisces. Already the UK government is passing new legislation to make it easier for charities to claim tax breaks on donations. They’re also making it easier for businesses and individuals to give to charities. Additionally, the government is trying to promote its Big Society idea, the notion that we are all in it together and must work together and support each other to create the society we want.  I feel that, as a collective, we will become ever more aware of the suffering of others and will work to find better and more effective ways to help. This was certainly the case when Neptune was in Pisces last time, when there was a change in how society viewed the poor. To quote an article about Victorian philanthropy at skyminds.net:

"During the first half of the 19th century, it was often claimed that poverty was the result of an individual’s inability to cope with life, linked to some defect, like laziness or alcohol dependency. It was felt that the deserving poor should be encouraged to help themselves out of their predicament through hard work, abstemious behaviour, thrift and godliness. The role of Government was limited: doling out large sums of relief to the poor would only have the perverse effect of encouraging poverty, especially among the undeserving. The second half of the 19th century saw other ideas about poverty come to the surface. Henry Mayhew (London Labour and the London Poor, 1851) wrote newspaper articles describing the abject living conditions of some of the more colourful characters among the London poor. It appeared to him that those living on or below the breadline were not all guilty of some moral defect. Many were simply unable to find sufficiently well-paid employment." 

The Cooperative Movement also saw important developments the last time Neptune was in Pisces:

“The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers was a group of 28 weavers and other artisans in  England, that was formed in 1844. As the mechanization of the Industrial Revolution was forcing more and more skilled workers into poverty, these tradesmen decided to band together to open their own store selling food items they could not otherwise afford. With lessons from prior failed attempts at co-operation in mind, they designed the now famous Rochdale Principles, and over a period of four months they struggled to pool together one pound sterling per person for a total of 28 pounds of capital. On December 21, 1844, they opened their store with a very meager selection of butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal and a few candles. Within three months, they expanded their selection to include tea and tobacco, and they were soon known for providing high quality, unadulterated goods.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_cooperative_movement

The Rochdale Pioneers methods formed the basis for the modern co-operative movement. The People’s Supermarket is a recent attempt to reinvigorate the idea in London, providing a customer owned business that also offers a good deal for local producers. Let’s hope it starts a new wave of similar projects elsewhere. 

Finally, here are a couple of great articles about Neptune in Pisces:

Neptune in Pisces by Adrian Ross Duncan: http://www.world-of-wisdom.com/blog/neptune-in-pisces/33/

Neptune and Collective Mythologies by Dharmaruci:

With love,

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Red Shoes and Razor Blades

Just a quickie…

I tried to buy a pair of cute red shoes yesterday, but they'd sold out in my size. Later on, I went to the pub and saw at least half a dozen people wearing red shoes. Perhaps they are subconsciously channelling all the current Aries and Pisces energy…

…Red (Aries) Shoes (Pisces - rules the feet)

This morning, I opened the bathroom cabinet to get some shoe spray (Pisces) and a packet of razor blades (Mars – rules sharp objects) fell on my head (Aries – rules the head). It made me see red! (Mars - anger)

Astrology in action!

With love,

Friday, 1 April 2011

April Astrology ~ Fire and Water

Welcome to April. The new season is in full swing - the Sun’s in Aries, Mercury’s retrograde and outer planet agitator Uranus is in Aries. And we survived the hyped up Virgo SuperMoon!

This April we have a stellium in Aries with the Sun, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus all in the impetuous warrior sign. They are joined on the 3rd by the New Moon, bringing emotional undercurrents into the mix. Their only counterpoint is an opposition from Saturn in Libra, which makes direct contact with Jupiter and the New Moon, urging us towards balance and consideration for others.

The other BIG news is Neptune exiting Aquarius after a 14 year stay to dip his toes in the watery depths of Pisces.

Read on for the full low-down on April's main action...

Mars enters Aries ~ Let’s Get Physical
April 1: No, it’s not an April Fool it’s really happening! With Mars in Aries the energy is direct, impatient and abundant, making this is a great transit for fiery, impetuous types who like get things done, and quickly! If you’re competitive and yearn to be ‘numero uno’, then go for it, this is not the time for wavering and worrying about what others think. If you’re the more peaceful type, then duck and cover because we could all get more argumentative under Mars in Aries. Getting physical and/or focusing your energy on new projects is a good outlet. Remember that Mercury in Aries is retrograde until April 23, which will stymie some of the Aries energy [click on this link for more on that]. Mars leaves Aries on 10/11 May (depending on your time zone).

Aries New Moon ~ An Aries Pile-Up
April 3: The Moon joins Sun, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus in an Aries pile up. 
Don’t get too carried away with self seeking, self initiated activities though, because Saturn in Libra opposes Sun, Moon and Jupiter, reminding us that we will ultimately need to take responsibility for our actions and urging us to balance our needs with the needs of others. Also remember that the New Moon is the dark of the Moon, we can plan and ‘plant seeds’ during this lunation, but we’re planting in the dark, so we can’t be totally sure what will grow out of our actions until a later date.

Neptune enters Pisces – Mystical Wanderings
April 4: As the Moon starts to wax, increasing in light and energy we start to dream of something magical and mystical coming our way… Neptune, after 14 years in Aquarius, dips its toes into watery Pisces, the sign it feels its most natural affinity with.  An article is coming very soon on this important ingress, with its themes of compassion, philanthropy, suffering, idealism, spirituality and sacrifice.

Neptune retrogrades back into Aquarius on August 5, re-entering Pisces on February 3, 2012, after which it will stay in Pisces until 2026.

Sun conjunct Jupiter ~ Illuminating Optimism
April 6: This transit only lasts for a couple of days at most, but it’s a nice one, so worth mentioning. When the Sun in Aries joins Jupiter in Aries, it’s a hot and jolly old union, great for firing yourself up with heart-felt enthusiasm and optimism. Enjoy!

Pluto turns Retrograde ~ Deep Intensity
April 9: Pluto spends over 40% of its time retrograde and has a retrograde period of approximately 160 days, so this is not a retrograde to get too worried about. However, during the few days it slows, stations and turns around, things do get tend to get very intense. From a world perspective, we could see drama around anything that vibes with the symbolism of Pluto in Capricorn including big business, plutocrats, the infrastructure and administration of government, power and the abuse of power, the super wealthy and the buried riches of the earth, including oil and plutonium. Keep an eye on the news for reviews, turnarounds, exposures and transformations in these areas around early to mid April. Let’s hope there is a positive turnaround at the Fukushima nuclear plant at this time, followed by an open review of the use of nuclear technology.

Pluto turns around at 7 degrees 30 minutes of Capricorn and from a personal perspective this will be a significant retrograde transit if you have planets or angles at 7-8 degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. A deep review of your emotional and material life could be called for, as well as dealing with issues around power and control and self-sabotaging habits. Pluto transits are not easy, but in the final analysis can signal the start of positive change. See Notes From A Pluto transit for a personal account of what a Pluto transit can be like.

Mars square Pluto ~ The Ram and the Goat
April 11: This is another short, one or two day transit, but it’s worth noting because Mars is in fiery Aries the ram - impatient, impulsive energy that doesn’t want to wait to get what it wants.  Pluto on the other hand is moving very slowly and retrograde through steady, patient Capricorn the goat. If the goat and the ram lock horns now it’s a bit like an immovable object meeting an unstoppable force! In other words, you would be wise not to get yourself involved in power struggles between April 10 and 12! If you’re feeling riled at this time, try and let it drop, but if you have to confront it, try to handle it correctly and sensibly.

Libra Full Moon ~ Me vs. You
April 17: Full Moons are lovely bright times when energy surges and emotions emerge into the light for full expression. If all the fiery Aries energy through April are making you feel a bit burnt out, this Libra Full Moon may come as a welcome counterpoint, inviting you to seek and find the right balance between focusing on your own interests and cooperating with others for the sake of keeping the peace. Libra is also one of the social air signs so this is a great Full Moon for getting out there and mixing and mingling. Enjoy!

Sun in Taurus ~ Sensual Pleasures
April 20: Come back early May for a post all about lovely cuddly Taurus.

Venus into Aries ~Self Love
April 21: All the self help books will tell you that you need to love yourself before you can truly receive love from another. Venus in Aries is perhaps a good time to work on loving yourself. Aren’t we all our own worst enemies, beating ourselves up for ‘faults’ in our-self that we would easily tolerate in others? Forgive yourself a little. We all know that Aries acts impulsively and in a self-focused way, but with Venus in Aries this tactic could tread on other’s toes if we’re not careful, so apply a little tact and diplomacy if you can. In short, if you need to go on the offensive, make sure it’s a charm offensive! Venus is in Aries until May 16. 

Mercury Turns Direct
April 23: Phew! Hope Mercury retrograde was OK for you...if you're reading this while the messenger planet is still going backwards, here are Astroair's suggestions.

Void of Course Moons for April
You can see a Void of Course Moon table for April here….along with an explanation of what Void of Course is and how to use it.

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With love,

Quincunx, Aversion & Venus in Libra

I always have great fun recording the Academy of Astrology UK weekly podcast, hosted by the wonderful Rod Chang. It's never scripted, w...