by Boots Hart, CAP

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Minerals Management Service: Digging for Truth

Created by the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act (a name long enough to require refueling) the Minerals Management Service originally came into being on January 19, 1982 charged with three  basic and separate tasks.

One: to grant (or deny) leases to corporate interests wanting to plumb and create gain from various underground assets held by the United States government in trust for its people.

Two: to collect fees on such leases.

Three: to oversee those operating under such leases so that disasters like the current BP-Transocean-Halliburton oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico don’t happen.

The oily trail of malfeasance here is wide and frankly, sticky. Back in September of 2008, scandalous stories began to surface, including one particularly feisty tale of drugs being snorted off toasters (another way to get toasted, one imagines) and members of the MMS being caught not just figuratively but literally in bed with employees of the oil companies (drillers, et al). Honcho-in-charge at that moment (one Earl E. Devaney) delivered several reports on what was termed “a culture of ethical failure” to a US Congress which responded with outrage.

Outrage - do you hear? OUTRAGE! But then did they DO anything about it? Apparently not much, as questions about ongoing problems with collecting all those pesky royalties continued. A few employees from the MMS were shed, but despite the recession they apparently found new employment rather soon.

And who hired them? The oil companies, riggers and all those folk. One wonders if they had to bring their own sheets and toasters – or only the bread and jam. 

Obviously, something’s not working here – including safeguards, employees, regulatory laws…and heaven only knows what else. But astrologically – why would this be?

In any given chart, the first place we look for information are to the two ‘lights’ (Sun and Moon) and the horizontal axis (Ascendant and Descendant) of the chart.

The Sun in this chart is at 29 Capricorn. Capricorn being the premier sign of structure, government and commerce is all well and good. Being at 29 degrees – the last degree of the sign? Known as ‘critical’ 29 degrees of any sign is where the sign can either push to ‘complete’ it’s job or totally lose control. How do you know one from the other? This being Capricorn (with a Capricorn Midheaven), the first place we would look to is Saturn, ruler of Capricorn – which in this chart is in Libra but intercepted in the 6th house.

In organizations, the 6th house tells us about the quality of work done and the employees. To have Saturn intercepted (without a “voice”) here is obviously really, really, very problematic. And lest we miss the point, the sign/degree on the cusp of this 6th house is 25 Virgo, a degree known for its ability to promise but well…maybe not deliver. And which looks the part, but doesn’t act the part – and which in this instance may have described a culture where unqualified people were hired for certain jobs.

Just to make this a little more taste-terrible (as if it needs to be), the ruler of Virgo is Mercury, and the Mercury of this chart is at 17 Aquarius (problems which go unnoticed) conjunct Medea – she of Greek Myth lore famous for her love so selfish it became her doom.

Dare we describe employee doings as the work of some slick operators? At the risk of downplaying the disastrous ecological side of current events, yes.

But management seems suspect as well. Whenever the Sun is conjunct another personal planet (Mercury, Mars, Moon or Venus) what’s indicated is a lack of perspective in that particular area – it’s rather like wanting to live it, not worry about it. There’s just too much focus on that thing to see how something else might be equally (or more) important. Spoken of in astrology as being ‘burned up’ (the Sun being obviously very fiery) here we have Venus (the symbol of making things concrete) in Aquarius, the sign of social systems, the marketplace, society and income. Whether this is taken to be that MMS management was so into the oil market, marketplace, oil companies, the well-heeled perks or the excitement of being wooed by lobbyists with wallets filled with fossil fuel money – whichever way you go here it’s plain MMS management became part of the oil pipeline it was supposed to be minding.

Further notes: standing with this 29 Capricorn Sun conjunct a 2 Aquarius Venus we have Mnemosyne (memory), and Atropos (cut-offs). In the sense of management, this astrological picture backs the idea that apart from what employees (qualified or otherwise) were doing, management wasn’t minding its own job. To have the term ‘memory’ and ‘cut off’ conjunct the MMS’s managerial Sun gives us a big ‘fuggeddaboudit’ …the astro-speak equivalent of a management which brushes aside records and proof of breach of conduct, rules, regulations, safety measures and financial commitments in both the running of the agency and granting oil leases. Sometimes charts will project this sort of image with a Pollyanna ‘they’ll do better this/next time’ note attached. Not in this case – the Venus at 2 Aquarius part says that management was for whatever reason willing to assume risk in the name of possible discoveries, networked connections and pure, hard cold profit – probably personal.

Undoubtedly everyone at the MMS will claim they were overwhelmed with and by their work (South Node conjunct Amphitrite and Atlantis deposed by Saturn). It is also likely that there is/was some sort of connection with matters of State – foreign influence, foreign competition, threats on the part of foreign entities…we will probably never know the most of it. And we shouldn’t think that every member of this agency went in to work each day rubbing their hands at the gleeful thought of how they could screw their fellow citizens and help increase world pollution in the process. They didn’t. The 8 Scorpio Jupiter just below the horizon in the 6th house opposition a 6 Taurus Sedna/Scheherazade just behind the Ascendant is the perfect picture of truly passionately intelligent who were all theory and no human reality. In other words, this agency was like as not greatly staffed by people of sufficient intellectual intelligence to fall prey to manipulation and the untrained or inexperienced depths of their own human nature.

Interesting also to note here is the ongoing debate and efforts towards moving towards use of alternative energy sources. As a national credo, President Bush signed The Energy Act of 2005 on August 8 of 2005, with Chiron (the thing which needs doing which no one feels they know how to do) at 29 Capricorn, exactly conjunct the MMS critical degree Sun giving us the picture which suggests that there was some understanding as the bill was being signed nobody really knew how to get the job done and that there would be reluctance to do anything about it until things got critical.

Also in this chart is Juno (protection of household) at 28 Taurus, one degree off trine to the 29 Capricorn Chiron (and the MMS Sun) and perhaps more importantly, only one degree off opposition to the powerful, stubborn and fearful 29 Scorpio Moon.

Scorpio problems often include fear – fear of change or fear being used as a means to drive or inhibit change. So is this a picture of a challenge to make a change or the challenge of interrupting a pipeline which pumps not just oil, but money and stability from country to country, in essence gluing international economies together? Many think of the Bush/Cheney administration as a presidency of ‘oil men.’ But whether or not that’s true, oil has also become a virtual modern currency, which makes any change to use of oil part of an immensely daunting challenge: that of weaning national economies around the world off oil and onto renewable, passive energy sources like wind, wave and solar. It’s not just about supply and demand of oil here – what happens if the world moves to a non-monetary-based source of energy? How do countries which hold a check and balance on each other by holding up supply or not paying off debt maintain a balance of monetary power if wind, waves and sunlight are providing all the energy we need?

Or perhaps even worse – all the energy only some of us need?

So did the Bush administration really dilly dally? Or in some behind-the-scenes conversation did they oppose conversion to renewable energy because it might possibly destabilize the world’s economy?

Apparently it was time for that test to be undertaken by society anyway, as with the 29 Cancer Solar Eclipse of July 2009 the world economy fell out of the sky. Cancer being the sign of real estate, it’s not surprising the central theme was that of mortgage derivatives. Opposing the Sun of the MMS chart, this event also ‘eclipsed’ a chain of symbols at the base of the MMS’s chart: the North Node at 22 Cancer conjunct the Nadir at 24 Cancer, Charybdis (do or die) at 26, Medusa (fearful or fear of knowledge) at 27 Cancer, Polyhymnia (blithe happiness) at 0 Leo and Orcus (dispassionate final judgment) at 2 Leo.

The North Node being what one should do, to have it at the Nadir speaks of a need to do the basics right, lest all you build atop that topple. In this case, that Cancer Nadir is ruled by the Scorpio Moon and since Scorpio is also the sign of joint/invested assets, this clearly points to big trouble in how the MMS is doing business to whatever extent its business is not being conducted in a totally squeaky clean (right – not oily!) above board sort of way.

Scorpio honors angels, but it tends to attract devils. And with a Moon at critical 29, those devils are likely to be really nasty, really secretive, and really, really hard to unearth and eradicate.

Well, until Uranus (transpersonal changes) gets into the act. Saturn (planet of commerce and regulation, remember?) happened to be retrograding back through 29 Virgo at the time of the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Retrogrades always representing ‘internal’ process, it’s not surprising to hear that all the companies involved (BP, Transocean, Halliburton) were in something of a dispute about what did or didn’t need to be done to get the well capped off safely.

There have been mentions of failing hydraulics, which astrologically would be Neptunian. That this is all happening in very deep water is also Neptunian. Recent reports have spoken of a number of ‘plugs’ which needed to be inserted into the well shaft – that’s structural (Saturn), as are mentions of broken seals. But nothing outranks the Saturn/Capricorn issue of management of the operation as a whole – and that’s an issue which plainly tracks back to the Minerals Management Service, which had a lot of paperwork detailing problems BP (in particular) has had over the years – problems which have cost millions if not billions of dollars, a number of lives and uncalculated costs in terms to damage to the environment and the lives of those who while not killed have been compromised by exposure to toxic chemicals. Oil, while a valuable commodity of our modern age, is plainly toxic.

So along came Saturn and the well blew out. Astrologically, had not Uranus been poised to also move into 29 degrees (this time in Pisces) the astrological picture would not have been as strongly negative for the MMS. But 29 Pisces is the position of fixed star Scheat – a star all about bad publicity. Thus metaphysics say that something was going to happen that was going to put the MMS in a bad light, seeing that we have the following chain of logic describing the placement of Scheat in the MMS

1.    25 Pisces is on the cusp of the 12th house of corporate (passive) income and possible/probable limitations thereof.

2.    Scheat opposes Scylla (monster of the deep)

3.    Jupiter, first ruler of Pisces is positioned in the 6th house of employees and responsibility at 8 Scorpio. Jupiter tends to ‘misbehave’ (act negatively) when in the 6th when not used purposefully for productive control/amelioration of situations. Scorpio is not only a sign of investment (in)/joint assets but compromise through ‘wanton control’ by others or situations.

4.    Neptune, ruler of the Pisces ‘outcome’ is in the 8th house of the MMS chart. When the MMS functions with proper oversight, this represents a proper and ‘rich/enriching’ flow of money into the agency (oil royalties). Because Neptune is in Sagittarius – a Jupiter ruled sign – the positive/negative  is determined by employees and proper efforts to oversee operations.

5.    The 6th house cusp (telling us the nature of the Jupiter) is at 25 Virgo, with Scylla at 24 Virgo. Virgo is ruled by Mercury and the Mercury in this chart is in the 10th (social standing – government – laws and regulations) in Aquarius (corporate income) conjunct Medea (self destructive adoration).

This is plainly a recipe for disaster which was metaphorically/metaphysically and ultimately realistically set off when the MMS allowed drilling ‘in the deep.’ The ironic comment here is that the Energy Act of 2005 (August 8, 2005) which emphasized/empowered the MMS to move into authorization/diversion of energy into wind, wave and solar power has Chiron at 29 Capricorn – exactly conjunct the MMS Sun.

Known colloquially as ‘the wounded healer,’ Chiron is the thing we need to do but which seems so ‘painful’ to do that we all tend to avoid it until we are forced to.

With Uranus at 29 degrees and oil spilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the sextile (opportunity) to this point suggests the MMS may get back on track. This won’t be instantaneous; we already know President Obama has called for an overhaul of the MMS, separating the obvious conflict of interest regarding granting leases versus collecting of royalties.

Equally important here however, is where overseeing of drilling operations occurs – which in this chart would be represented several ways – most of all by the North Node in Moon-ruled Cancer being within 2 degrees of the Nadir or the bottom of the chart, giving us a picture of drilling. Ruled by the critical Moon conjunct Uranus in the 7th, several things are noted clearly from the astrological point of view. Lease holders (whether they be after oil or coal or the conversion of wind, solar or anything else) must be separate as entities but not separated from the MMS in operation. For this agency, there is no such thing as hands off when it comes to OPERATIONS. Hand off the money (and the employees!) and hands on in operations. With caretaker of the harvest Ceres on the Descendant, this is an agency meant to control how others operate and the standards at which they operate. The standards must be for the US people (Cancer at the 4th is also the US population) and not for the corporations – that’s just self-serving convenience, and though it is probably well known within the MMS that certain people should go to prison for what they’ve done, with the Neptune/Jupiter set  up in this chart it’s doubtful anyone will.

The 29 Cancer solar eclipse of July 2009 set cosmic wheels in motion. Solar eclipses run over a period of three years and we never really know the true outcome until the transit period is nearly at its end. So for good and ill, we don’t know what’s going to happen yet. This eclipse set off the MMS Sun, the Midheaven (public reputation, goals) of this chart and its (employee/responsibility)Moon.

The Sun/Midheaven was hit again by the January 2010 solar eclipse at 25 Capricorn and the Nadir (the other end of the vertical “who I am in the world” axis of this chart will again be hit by the 19 Cancer, July 2010 solar eclipse. This is without question, enough energy to bring the MMS to a stunning halt of its current ways.

But we aren’t done yet. The solar eclipse of July 2011 hits the 2nd house of this chart (11 Gemini) exactly. And as it does so, it also opposes the calculated Lilith of this chart – a shadowy side of the MMS we don’t know anything about.


Stand by.


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