by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, May 31, 2012

June 2-6: Neptune Embraces the Lunar Eclipse

 Planet Neptune
 (photo credit: NASA-JPL)

You may have heard the expression ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’? Well, though the term ‘damned’ is out of place here, there are a couple of things about Neptune’s June turnabout to go retrograde which have that perplexing, quixotic sort of feel which could make us all feel a bit in purgatory - at least with our selves.

First, the facts: Neptune will go retrograde on June 4th at 9:06 in the evening (in the +0/UT time, of course. You’ll need to adjust to your local zone!). What that means however, is that Neptune’s station effects begin on June 2nd…and maybe even late on the 1st, depending.

After all, we are dealing with Neptune here, and if there’s one thing Neptune symbolizes, it’s knowing that you don’t really know exactly for finite sure.

Two days before, two days after – that’s the standard stationing rule. So theoretically, Neptune’s station begins on June 2nd and extends through June 6th. Stations are important times, and if something was to occur during Neptune’s station, or if you were thinking it was going to happen and is doesn’t…this could be a ‘turn of affairs’ for you.

Though again, since this is Neptune, you wouldn’t know for absolute, positive sure. That’s the Neptune gift – and curse. Nothing is so terrible as it seems right now and nothing is as wonderful. Nothing is as finite and nothing is as empty as you might think.

Neptune is life's symbolic mirage.

 Mirages - something which appears to be true but isn't, are
entirely Neptune. Here the sun appears to be pouring
 into the sea...though we know it isn't true.
 (Andres Kuusk, April 2007)

The great Neptunian rule applies now more than ever. Neptune’s First Rule: allow yourself not to know. Accept the vacillations. If something nice happens, enjoy it. But don’t think the rest of life is going to be nirvana. If something unpleasant happens, it may be painful yes.

But there is something more you have yet to learn.
That’s a very curious quality about Neptune. There is always something to be learned. We see this idea most clearly through Neptune’s association as secondary ruler of Pisces – after all, the first ruler of Pisces is Jupiter. Usually considered a symbol of knowledge (particularly in its role as ruler of Sagittarius), the Jupiter which rules the entre to Pisces is the symbol of life asking us if we really know what we’re getting into.

This is where the Pisces ‘twin-fish’ thing comes into play. Let’s use falling in love as an example. We know that when we fall in love, we’re risking getting hurt. And yet the experience of love and feeling connected to and accepted by another human being is unparalleled.

It’s what we live for. You can have all the money in the world and if you don’t feel loved and loveable and accepted, you’ll still feel empty and terrible. There are plenty of people on this planet who have no money and lots of love.

Guess what – they’re happy.

That dotted line…the one between the illusion of happiness and the reality of it, that’s the Pisces challenge. Can you tell what in life is the illusion? Can you tell what is real? Can you tell the person who really likes you from the person who just tells you what you want to hear?

The difference – what makes one thing the illusion (whatever it may be) and the other thing the reality worth risking for…that difference, the thing which makes the bet worth taking? That difference has nothing to do with ‘them’ or that venture you might get into or that belief you want to live by…no, that difference has everything to do with your emotional integrity.

Dreams are Neptunian. Angels are Neptunian.
Are they real?
Frage an die Sterne
 by Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1898)

So ask yourself: how well do I know my emotional Self? And maybe even more importantly than that, do I know why I react emotionally as I do? Do I know why I think this will make me happy and that will make me yawn?

That ‘knowing’ is the Jupiter of Pisces. And depending on how well you know yourself – that’s what Neptune energetics are all about. If it’s disappointment, if it’s elation, if you’re moved by the plight of a child or an injured soldier…those qualities are your experience of your values. Your emotional values, and what makes your life here on Earth worth living.

That gratitude, that appreciation of life – or that despair – whichever you feel and whenever you feel it, that’s Neptune.

Having said that much, Neptune is going retrograde at 3 Pisces, a degree typified in the Sabian symbols as heavy car traffic on a narrow isthmus linking two seashore resorts.

There is goodwill in this degree, and a lightheartedness which can be the essence of true goodness. Then again, such good (or good will) can be frittered away under the influences of 3 Pisces, squandered through lack of appreciation for the gifts we have been given, whether by others in our life or simply by the grace of how and with what talents we were born.

Do you know which is which? Which you embody and which cards those around you are holding in their hand?

Neptune’s Second Rule: the thing you are sure is true probably isn’t true…and that you think really can’t be true is true.

The metaphysical logic behind this brings us to the Great Neptune Corollary: the best of Neptune is found only where and when our egos are not involved. This is the positive side of Neptune as love – real love is caring about the other person, not what you can get for yourself. Charity is Neptunian, as is spiritual devotion and any kind of caretaking, simply because they require that you have faith that your efforts will mean something.

You can’t know…you just have to do your best, then trust. You have to do what is needed – not what you prefer. The protocols of medicine are all Neptunian – as is healing and shamanic work. We bring our best to the effort yes, but our aim has to be the good of those we care for. Do no harm, the doctor is told. And when the doctor or the caretaker or the clergy person thinks of themselves first, we see them as having transgressed.

Neptune committed to its transit of Pisces only just recently – in February of 2012. As ‘outcome’ ruler of Pisces, all the ‘helping professions’ are going to come under fire and undergo a lot of changes during the 8 years or so that Neptune is in Pisces. And when Jupiter joins Neptune in Pisces come 2022, we may be assured we will see the best and worst in a lot of people.

But I digress.

(And I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m really not sure I am!)

Anyway…I told you that this station is a tricky one. And it is. Not only is it happening on the same day as a lunar eclipse, but Neptune is going stationary-retrograde while conjunct asteroid Lilith and fixed star Fomalhaut.

The lunar eclipse part of this means this is going to be a very emotional time. Some people feel lunar eclipses ‘coming on’ – generally a week or so ahead, so don’t be surprised if things start amping and ramping up about now.

But the Lilith and Fomalhaut part? Well, that’s just downright complicated. First we have Neptune on station. This is a very large planet with a bunch of parameters which together sound very odd. It’s surface area is almost 15 times that of Earth and Neptune has about 17 times the amount of mass (the ‘stuff’ of which Neptune is made) as Earth does.

But by volume, Neptune takes up 57…close to 58 times the amount of space Earth does.

In metaphysical terms, we might childishly ask if Neptune is “pretending” to be a bigger planet than it really is. And in a way it is (if we judge by how Earth is made)…but it’s perfectly valid as the Neptune that Neptune is.

Oh…and in spite of how big it is? Neptune’s day is only 16.11 Earth hours long. That’s one serious whirling dervish of a planet!

Anyway…back to Lilith and Fomalhaut (sorry…I get all excited when I talk about Neptune!) ….asteroid Lilith symbolizes emotional denial. Just what we needed to add to Neptune effects, right? So now we don’t know…and we’re supposed to allow ourselves not to know…and we refuse to acknowledge the truth about knowing but not knowing?

You see my point, surely.

The cherry atop this cornfuzzling sundae is surely Fomalhaut, one of the most important stars in our sky.

Fomalhaut promises success – in this case success when it comes to feeling good about who we are – IF our dreams, our goals, our intentions aren’t corrupt, corrupting or corrupted.

If they are, then plan on heartache – or whatever your favorite term for ‘majorly upset’ is.

If things go wrong, chances are you’ll be in denial that it was your fault. Oh no…it CAN’T be me…! There will surely be those who try to justify things which on the face of them would be rejected by a lab rat sleepy after eating a pound of sunflower seeds.

Seriously…expect some jaw-dropping claims about now.

On the other hand, this could be just the time for a party. Or a vacation – especially one where you don’t have any firm plans.

 Marina Beach, Egypt
by Haddara

Yet since somebody has to be minding the store, don’t be lax about where you go or what you get into. Remember – everyone is affected by these kinds of global transits. So everyone is going to be a we bit la-la.

The fact that there’s a solar eclipse on the date that Neptune goes retrograde highlights the emotionality of this time. If something does come into being or disappear now, you’re going to feel it.

Then again, it may not be real.

But your feelings are. And that’s the bottom line here. Whatever you feel now, it’s an emotion and you should feel it. That doesn’t mean you get to inflict it on anybody else, but the feeling is valid – and more to the point, why you feel as you do is important.

That’s the real crux of Neptune. Neptune educates through emotional provocation. Neptune dissolves and enhances so that we experience the full breadth of our soul and in that, come to know ourselves more completely. More realistically.

That’s also how we come to know one another. The more feeling we are, the more we understand how human it is to feel – and that everyone goes through the kind of things we do. Maybe not for the same reasons and certainly not in the same moments, but from the kings and queens and privileged of this world down to the most humble and deprived spirits living on our planet – our humanity is the constant.

And here’s a final thought: those who do have privilege, they often use their social position or their wealth to insulate themselves from a lot of life’s inconveniences. From the problems, from the grunge. Back when I worked in film production my crew friends and I used to laugh about big budget pictures because on a big expensive film, they just throw money at problems until they solve it. On a tiny budget film where every single penny is precious you have to use something else to get the job done.

You have to use your humanness. You have to talk to people. You have to make friends. You have to connect at that nitty-gritty point where you admit that you only have what you have.

 Sunset on Samurai Beach in Australia
photo credit: Warrenlead (Jan2004)

Every one of those films got made. And today, twenty years later, the people I still know from the film industry are mostly those I met on the tough films, the films which tested our ability to see each other through the grueling days and interminable schedules.

Where there’s Neptune, there is vulnerability, most of all to ourselves and what we can't do. And I’ve often thought that some of those little pictures were better films – and certainly better film experiences for someone working on them – simply because we had nothing but our humanity to work and bond with.

I have a whole bunch of comments on the lunar eclipse, but for a whole bowlful of reasons, discussing the eclipse separately from Neptune seemed to be the thing to do.

Or maybe I'm just human and didn't want to write that on top of having written all this today? That could be, too. And since it'll all post in good time, is that so bad?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Venus Transits the Sun

 An actual 2004 photo of Venus transiting the Sun
photo credit: Jan Herold

I got yet another email today about the upcoming Venus-Sun transit. People seem to be very into it.

Is it because NASA's gotten all excited about it?

Or is it yet another manifestation of Venus retrograde?

This being the third or fourth email I've gotten asking about this, I thought I’d post a little info on the subject.

First of all, "shockingly"…NASA is absolutely, positively right – Venus will indeed transit the Sun on June 5th. (And yes, I’m being sarcastic about that ‘shockingly’ thing. NASA is pretty much the holy grail on such subjects.)(Or at least the temple mount.)

But astrology isn’t astronomy. So astrologers are going to see this whole event differently. And as we start into that 'differently' concept, the biggest part of same would involve the ‘orb of influence.’

What's an 'orb of influence'? Way back when (just after BCE turned into CE), the one and only Claudius Ptolemy was a Greek living in Egypt. Egypt being one of the hotbeds of astrology in that day and age, Ptolemy got into the swing of Things Astral and in time established a set of concepts about how far apart celestial bodies could be and still be said to have an 'influence' on each other's energetics.

 A Baroque artist's rendering of Claudius Ptolemaeus,
 known to us as Ptolemy (born 90 CE, died c. 168 CE)

This orb concept applies to this Venus-transiting-the-Sun thing precisely because Venus will enter the orb of the Sun’s influence on June 2nd and will leave it on June 9th, perfecting the conjunction (as NASA says) on June 5th.

In case you're wondering, yes - I know this blog is posting a few days in advance. Part one, I was asked by a number of readers to post in advance of astro-events so you-all could be ready to use the information 'on the day.'

Ask and ye shall receive! That makes perfect sense to me, and I'm doing what I can to help out there.

Part two! We're heading towards a June 4th lunar eclipse - in which this Venus transit is a backdrop. The next post will be on Neptune's station (which is also on the 4th) ...and then will come the lunar eclipse post.

In other words, it's a busy time and it seems logical to post this Venus/Sun thing first.
Getting back to the meat of the thing, let's remember that all this is happening with Venus in retrograde. So from the astrological perspective, no matter what else gets said about this Sun/Venus transit, it’s about us – the internal 'us-dealing with-us' stuff.

This is how I put it to an email friend: ‘This is not a major transit; particularly as Venus is retrograde it is unlikely this will be about something happening in your world. Yet to the extent that what we learn about the world is valuable, to that extent it's a meaningful occurrence.’

In fact, there’s a lot of statistical astro-study which has been done in particular on planets in conjunction with the Sun. Some use the rather poetic if dastardly sounding phrase ‘burned by the Sun’ in reference to same and there’s a special term (Kazimi) which refers to planets within 1.5 degrees of the Sun.

Before you panic, it’s not all drastic and bad news here. Planets which are Kazimi (conjunctions to the Sun) tend to exhibit a ‘fusion of influences’ which can be very good or not good, depending on how you use them. (The tendencies for that we’d read through sign and house placement, etcetera, etcetera.) What is lacking however, is a sense of perspective.

Think of it this way: the Sun represents consciousness. Therefore anything too close to our consciousness is not something we can consciously have any real perspective on. It’s just ‘part of us’ and our nature.

That’s what this Venus conjunction to the Sun will act like. So with that said, the real challenges here come from Venus being retrograde and the modifying factors hanging around in the zodiacal neighborhood at the time of this transit.

The retrograde part I’ve summarized above. To that I’d add the fact that some of us are feeling this Venus retrograde far more personally than others. Are you one of them? That we’d see (astrologically) by where this retrograde falls in your chart. Venus went retrograde at 23 Gemini. It will end it’s retrograde (on June 27th) at 7 Gemini. Anyone whose chart emphasizes either of these two degrees is really going to be ‘feeling’ this retrograde – and those with a natal chart which emphasizes both ends of this retrograde spectrum are really going to be going through something - though it doesn’t have to be all bad, to be sure. (And I say that as someone with both ends of the retrograde active in my chart.)

Yes, you will feel ‘cut off’ from some thing(s). But if you turn from what you want to what you can do about putting yourself in a better place in your own life, this becomes an empowering time. That's what the retrograde is for. Life gives us moments and (yes, months) when life so doesn't work that we're forced to think things over. Or when things become sufficiently unappealing that we take a step back and consider what to do.

Okay…enough about that – except to add that if you’re a Sun sign Gemini, Taurus or Libra (Taurus and Libra being signs ruled by Venus), this retrograde has your name on it. Maybe in bas relief. You’re really, really, really likely to think it’s about ‘them’ and the world. “It” (your life) isn’t about ‘them’ or the world…it’s about how you live your life and what you make of your abilities, talents and personal values.

So as Venus comes into this period of solar transitizing, whassup asteroidally? Or TNO-ishly? Or planetarilly? Even fixed star-ishly?

Venus comes into standard orb with the Sun at 12 Gemini and Venus at 17 Gemini (retrograde) with Venus conjunct Rigel and just having opposed Ixion.

Ah yes, my buddy Ixion. The ‘how can I undo myself by doing it wrong yet again?’ Plutino.

 The fall of Ixion by Cornelius van Haerlem

What this says is that June 1st will have a ‘here we go again’ note to it…or that we will be considering how many times we’ve done the same thing and not gotten the result we want or need. Ixion in this equation says we really, REALLY don’t want to think that it’s about something we’re doing or how we’re doing it or our out-and-out lack of humility and sense of boundaries, ethics and such…but with Venus retrograde, that would be the point of recognition.

No, this doesn’t mean you’re all wrong. What it means is that you have some tweaking to do, and that the first thing on your metaphysical list like as not has to do with not thinking of yourself as deserving the right to do, have or be ‘that’ (or be in, or have that situation, that title, that leeway, that attitude…something!).

If you want to catch up on the Ixion Thing, here’s a link to an entire article posted here at astroPPM on the subject:

Fixed star Rigel is known as ‘the Teacher.’ That Venus comes into conjunction with Rigel (in Gemini) just after opposing Ixion is the very essence of learning (Rigel) a lesson (Gemini) about what will and won’t work for us (Venus retrograde). With the Sun at 12 Gemini, to that we add a quality of ‘so hopeful’ or ‘so disappointed’ which is particularly suggestive of having hurried to do something which didn’t pan out as you wanted it to because you didn’t go step-by-step-by-step, minding all the rules, dotting all the ‘I’s and crossing all the ‘t’s.

That there’s a lunar eclipse on June 4th will tend to exacerbate everything going on. The eclipse will have its own effects (and get it’s own post!) but the emotive ‘multiplicity’ factor here – for many – is likely to feel burdensome in a ‘what now?’ and ‘don’t I have enough to contend with?’ sort of way.

The Venus-Sun conjunction occurs at 15 Gemini with TNO Chaos in attendance and Rigel still at 17 Gemini, Tantalus at 10 Gemini and Mars getting into the act, squaring from 16 Virgo conjunct (trumpets, please…) Medea.

What this amounts to is what may be a (TNO Chaos) endless set of choices: we can work towards (Mars) what we want or our desired aims, and to the extent that we maintain our moral perspectives (Medea in Virgo) all will be okay although…we do have to be aware of ourselves and our effect on people (Sun/Venus-Tantalus-Rigel). Ignorance on our part (Rigel) or any tendency to do what we want because we think we can get away with it (Tantalus) is going to prove poisonous and activate Medea’s ‘self-undoing’ quotient.

 Medea by Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys (1868)

As a degree, 15 Gemini brings in issues of sensitivity and over-stimulation. Poets and musicians and people like that have natural creative outlets for this kind of energy, but the rest of us? Not so much. This sensitivity being universal, you may manifest it, those you deal with may be all touchy and squicky (that would be ‘ikky’ plus ‘squeamish’ put together: squicky)…or the situation may provoke reactions.

This transit ends on June 9th with the Sun and Venus pulling away from each other as Venus retrogrades into 13 Gemini (conjunct Tantalus) as the Sun heads through 18 Gemini.

The combination here is ‘too smart for your own good’…in particular when it comes to someone or something you love, or trying to reconcile multiple things you want to think you value equally.

Where errors have been made, those errors show up now. It’s not that everything’s lost…it’s just that your may have outsmarted yourself.

Fortunately for you, there’s still more Venus retrograde to come. Between now and July 15 (which happens to be the date Mercury will go retrograde) you have an opportunity to work out with yourself what really matters to you…or not.
Whatever happens, the whole of this astrological amalgam is all about learning from what happens.

And again – it does also depend on where this falls in your personal natal chart. My friend who wrote me this morning as Atropos (endings) natally influencing this degree of transiting conjunction. So I said this to him… ‘it suggest your stopping (Atropos) and learn better (Rigel) about something. Or perhaps you will end something (or how you have been doing something) because you have learned something. Or you merely may have figured out (learned) that your efforts are going nowhere and cease putting energy in that given direction.

Learning to ‘conjugate’ in astrology from the me to you to situation to taking in to feeling about others is a skill each of us develops over time as we come to recognize that while it’s our life…we are also important to the whole of life. And that metaphysically, what happens to us in life is all about what we need to learn.

And that, my friends is a really important thing to think about, especially when you get to really big questions like ‘why do bad things happen to good people?’

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Facebook: Going Public Under Venus Retrograde


When I first wrote about Facebook, the idea of the company going public was not yet a whisper in the wind.

Then I heard the news: Facebook was getting set up for an IPO (initial public offering) and joining the world of publicly held corporations.

I wondered how well Facebook would do with all that public regulation and scrutiny. So I did what astrologers do - I pulled the corporate chart out. And there indeed was a whole lotta commentary!

Facebook’s Saturn (the hallmark of any business being Saturn)...that’s way up high in the chart. And for a business, that's great. The business ‘holds’ the concept of being a business very high, and with this Saturn being in the 9th, there 'mission' of the company is likely to be held equally high.

Mind you, that doesn't always happen. But with this Saturn? Uh...yeah. With this Saturn, Facebook started out understanding that it's business was the functionality of its users. Facebook’s Saturn is in Cancer. Cancer is the sign of people or 'populations.' Saturn in Cancer is thus Facebook as a company about people, and Facebook is a company whose business is people.

Still, it's not all service and roses. Saturn in Cancer is Saturn in its sign of fall. As a business, that means the prospect of the company as a company can be a little too limited...or a company which tends to be a little prickly (even snarky) with users or (seeing as this is a 9th house Saturn) entitles which embody 9th house 'rules and regulations.'

Going back to Cancer as the sign of ‘the people,’ native populations and corporate 'customers,' it's a great emblem of the zillions of people who have joined Facebook - and a sign that zillions of people would be inclined to join Facebook.

By itself, that's mucho fabuloso. But since Saturn in Cancer would be ruled by the Moon (the Moon rules Cancer) it's really the Facebook corporate chart Moon which affirms this 'popularity' thing. The Facebook Moon is in Capricorn, and Capricorn is ruled by Saturn. 

This creates a nice little closed-circuit system where Saturn (Facebook the company) supports the people (Moon = people) who thus support the (Saturn) success of Facebook. Nice! Facebook is indeed a business about people (Saturn in Cancer). Moreover, Facebook's Saturn business success has been fed by tons of real time and digital word-of-mouth fashion - and that's very Capricorn Moon in the 3rd house.

(FYI, these kinds of astrological ‘closed circuits’ are known as ‘mutual receptions.’)

Facebook’s “meteoric” rise is written in the chart as Moon conjunct Icarus (Icarus being a symbol of being ‘quick to take flight’). And there is Pluto in the 3rd house too. That lends (and describes) the whole obsessive, ‘life on Facebook’ sort of aura.

Oh, it's all so very nice, eh?

Eris on the Descendant of the corporate chart is a huge and positive mark towards changing societal organization. I can change the world is one yell yelled by this chart very loudly.

Though it is – let’s face it – also something of a ‘buyer beware’…first in the exultant treasure trove of data Facebook members have ended up providing for their host, then just as obviously with regards to the IPO.

One note about that ‘invasion of privacy’ and data mining thing so many grumble about with regards to Facebook. Eris and the Descendant are in Aries, which points to Mars, ruler of Aries.

That Mars is in the 10th house of commerce at 22 Leo conjunct the 23 Leo 11th house cusp of corporate income. One conjugation for Leo on the 11th would surely be entertainment income. Another would be enthusiastic fans – which Facebook obviously has by the bucketful.

A screen clip of Facebook's 11th house cusp

With Orcus (consequences of actions which cannot be undone) at 24 Leo and thus just inside the 11th (coloring 11th house operations by being so close to the cusp) - that's the sign to anyone dealing with Facebook-the-corporation-and-social-network that Facebook can rightly claim that before you join, you should read the fine print (and that) there are costs to being part of any group or society…

Namely, you're not just in public (watch what you post and don't blame us, says Facebook!) but that Facebook has the right to treat your data as it's "product."

Lo and behold: data mining in horoscope terms!

However! This Mars/11th house/Leo/Orcus thing is not just a statement to users. It's also a warning to Facebook, by which I mean to the likes of say, Mark Zuckerberg. After all, the sound of going public is probably enchanting. It’s probably exciting as all get-out to go through all the steps and realize your once tiny company is going to be listed on the big board at the stock exchange.

This happens to be the Phillippine Stock Market Board and
Facebook isn't on it (the photo was taken in July of 2008)
but can you just imagine how exciting it would be to know
that YOUR company is going to be one of those listed on
a worldwide exchange?
 (photo credit Katrina Tuliao, July 2008)

But there is a 'down' side there. Once you go public, it’s a whole new ball game – in this case the Orcus ball game. Remember - the 11th house of any horoscope is the "public marketplace." And where in your chart or that of a privately held corporation it would be your product and fitting in at a company and anything-plus-everything which would create income, that changes when a company goes public.

There's a couple of parts of this. One is that when a company becomes a "public entity" then the society (represented by the 11th house) gets a bigger vote not just in how it values your company stock, but in what it thinks of your attitudes towards the public - you know, the how you treat people part.

Astrologically, we would also see this as taking the lid off the Leo (Sun-ruled) qualities in this chart. All corporate charts are Sun-ruled (they're all timed for noon) but with Facebook, there is that important Saturn-Moon mutual reception which has up until the 'going public' moment certainly represented the incredible organic drive which has grown Facebook as a company.

Will going public take some of that ‘drive’ out of the Saturn-Moon connection, in essence diverting that energy into Facebook’s 10th house Leo Sun (which is inconjunct that native Moon-power thing)? One would think it would. Facebook has always been a company. It's always needed to earn it's way in the world. But this going public thing may well turn the business of Facebook into Facebook the business in a whole new way and at a whole new level.

Is this bad? Well, just on the face of the domestic chart (no pun really intended there…) this is isolating. Once Facebook becomes a ‘true corporate entity’ it’s going to be less a thing of the people.

Ever hear of that expression “jumping the shark” ? This is not to say that Facebook is going to go away or anything, but the internal ‘us the people’ Cancer thing is now officially a whole different thing than the company’s interests. It is – to use the plain spoken vernacular – now truly out to make money. Before the IPO there was an organic quality to Facebook which now has in part, even greatly, been shifted out of the hands of the ‘regular folks’ (the users) and into the hands of not just those running Facebook, but all those who will seek to regulate Facebook.

And the metaphysics there are a bit grizzly. After all, on the metaphysical level…with regulation comes the need to regulate. And with Facebook, this is a whole scattering slew of fractious forms of bad behavior. Not on Facebook’s part necessarily – but on its users.

This sounds odd, I know. But this is at the heart of metaphysical concept: once you impose the structure, then there is a need for structure. Before structure was there, everything may have been ducky. But once you put that structure in place, the need for it arises.

If this was a cast on someone’s leg, we’d be speaking of atrophy of the muscles. In the case of a company like Facebook going public, it would be more like ‘public atrophy’ or a ‘laxness of user interest.’

We’ll have to see, obviously.

But then we get to the actual IPO...and why, when I heard when Facebook was going to go public that I gasped in futile alarm. Who told Mark Zuckerberg it would be a good idea to go public under Venus retrograde? (…bangs head on desk…) That’s about the biggest no-no I know of!

Oh, wait…he also got married, right?

(heavy sigh...)

Yes, well…I wish him and the wife all the love and luck in the world, though as an astrologer I know there are painfully few personal and joint (Davison relationship) charts with internal indicators which say they’ll thrive under a marriage committed to under Venus retrograde.

As for Facebook, there’s also the specifics of this Venus retrograde to contend with. Venus went retrograde at 23 Gemini. And guess where Facebook’s corporate Venus is?

22 Gemini.

To stage an important ‘moment’ at any planetary station suggests it’s an important ‘turn of events.’ And there is some symbolism about Venus’ turn to retrograde which fits here. Retrogrades are a ‘turning inward’ and Facebook certainly did ‘take in’ a whole lot of money by going public.

But if you’ve been listening to the news, the stock didn’t just take off and fly. And that is the sign of the Venus station chosen being that which is going INTO retrograde as opposed to that coming OUT of retrograde.

Of course to make this all more exotic, this means that the 2012 Facebook ‘Venus Return’ would, on first processing through the brain, seem to have happened just prior to Venus going retrograde. Maybe Venus was in it’s ‘on station’ period – and wouldn’t that be good?

Well, not exactly. Let’s remember that retrograde is a function of planetary orbits and relative planetary speed. Venus isn’t actually going backwards…it’s just that because of Venus’ orbit and Earth’s orbit, from our perspective it would seem to look that way.

Or it would if we could see Venus. While planets are retrograde, they are on the other side of the Sun – from Earth, I mean. So Venus in retrograde is Venus ‘out of sight.’ And since this relative planetary motion thing doesn’t happen all at once, that means…

Bottom line: the Facebook Venus return happened on May 7th.

Actually, make that the initial Venus return. With retrogrades, the planet comes up, does a station-to-retrograde, moves back down zodiacal degrees, does another station (this time station-direct) and then comes back to conjunct the point again.

Got that? That means there’s one initial (direct) Venus Return, a Venus-in-retrograde Venus Return, then after Venus goes direct, a final Venus direct Venus Return.

The initial Venus return for Facebook was May 7th.

 Facebook, Inc - the initial (May 7, 2012) Venus Return chart

The retrograde return would be May 22nd (the date of my writing this post, as it happens…).

 Facebook Inc - 2012 Venus Return (retrograde pass at May 22nd)

This is a picture of much verbal speculation...without much in the way of answers. Legalities (Saturn in 9) are still very much in the (9th house) news and a grand trine between Mars in 8 - Vesta (in a sensitive position just shy of the 4th house cusp) - and Pluto in the Sagittarian 12th (which has 'inherited' all the energy of the Sagittarian 11th) suggests several things, all of which are probably valid on some level.

1. A lot of pension funds and major corporate entities are interested in Facebook.

2. The general economy and greater international (Sagittarius = foreign) concerns is having something of an effect on this initial offering.

3. There is something 'internal' which pertains to money and the control of money, parceling out, transacting in, retention of (etc.) which involves promises (Vesta) which need sorting through. Considering this is in the aftermath of an initial public offering, that doesn't seem unusual. Is it something more?

With Vesta so close to the IC (Nadir) we'll have to see. That Taurus Vesta is ruled by the Venus-trine-Saturn in 9 however...? One would expect some cursory questions at least...especially (speaking here metaphysically) because the 'importance' of Vesta has just been moved up a notch (see previous post).

The point is that Vesta is about our promises. But what those promises are on the inside...which here is very clearly pictured as Vesta/IC (the IC-Nadir being the 'innermost' point in any chart). Motivations noble and craven are Taurus...which in real terms here, considering Taurus only at the very most basic level would be money or 'worth' - the value of the company.

In IPO terms that would be the valuation of the company. And that Vesta is at the Nadir in this Venus Return (retrograde) chart refers us to what the company is being on.

I'm thinking you get my drift. And whether voiced through corporate earnings, price stock, outside influences on the company, actions of corporate officers (the ultimate 'insiders,' one would assume) or the zillions of people on Facebook, a retrograde Taurus Vesta at the IC asks who has promised what and what the future promises.

We live in contentious times. This offering was made under Saturn-opposition-Eris which is as much as anything else about exposing problems in the system. So if Facebook has stepped in a gopher hole there, that's just part of what came with the choice of date for the IPO.

(And yes, I'd love to know how that date was chosen! Next time, get an astrologer, guys!)

The third Venus return, the direct return which will be the Venusian signature Facebook will ‘live out’ until May 2013 when it gets its next Venus return – that happens on July 29th.

Facebook, Inc - the July 29 (2012) final Venus Return pass

Would this be a good time to buy stock? Better than the initial day, one would suppose – though there is a theory in stock speculation (which is all a form of Leo-5th house ‘gambling’) which says buy low and wait it out.

As an astrologer, the best I can suggest on this score is that you go by your own chart, how that works with Facebook’s corporate and IPO chart with a fair perspective on your resources and tolerance of risk.

While it would be fascinating to do a ‘group analysis’ of everyone and every entity which bought into Facebook’s IPO, that’s simply not possible. (Alas!)

In that final chart, Venus is at the IC and conjunct Charybdis (continuing to try), Bellatrix (difficulty in getting the point across) and fixed star Phact, a signature of a ‘difficult struggle with one’s mentality’ which goes right along with Bellatrix.

Venus also rules an intercepted Libra Saturn/Mars in the 7th which is in opposition to an Aries Pallas an Eris in the 1st house. On one level, this is the recognition of how sometimes expectations outstrip results which may be perfectly okay, just not spectacular. On another, this would seem to be greatly about Facebook reasserting its value to users (it's 'product' base) as the corporation knows people need to continue feeling friendly about friending if the Facebook Phenomenon (as it's called) is to continue. 

As for the IPO chart itself. it has a highly placed Moon in Taurus (at 2 Taurus) which is followed by a cavalcade of points (Vesta, Ceres, Black Moon Lilith, Mercury, Sedna, Jupiter) …ending in the Sun at 28 Taurus.

This is all in the IPO’s 10th house, meaning the company is seen as valuable. But there’s also a Grand Square in this chart composed of Mars/Medea in Virgo in the 2nd house, North Node in Sagittarius in the 4th house, Chiron/Niobe in Pisces in the 8th house and South Node/Circe in the 10th house. 

To put this concisely, this gives the IPO a ‘dazzling’ quality. And yet…there’s something about it. It’s that Chiron/Niobe thing in the Piscean 8th. Is this company really capable of delivering on its value? That would be something of the question posed, and with Neptune having moved into Pisces last year, chances are we aren’t going to know for a while. Undoubtedly Neptune’s conjunction of Chiron (at 9 Pisces) is going to change the internal dynamics of the company and its operative priorities. We just don’t know what that means yet.

…Oh yes! One other thing about this IPO before I forget. It has Vesta/Phaethon at 7 Taurus, too, right at the top of this chart. Put simply, this is a headstrong and quite possibly self serving drive which is all about money and it’s to be expected that this filing will produce every variation on ‘stock greed’ and ‘stock hoarding’ and stock-as-security net imaginable.

So let’s think…Jupiter is about to enter Gemini. So from 2012 to 2013, Jupiter is going to be transiting Gemini and getting into/retrograding in/teaching us what Facebook’s 11th house ‘public corporate persona’ is going to be about. Jupiter not being known for excessive good behavior in Gemini, one would expect Facebook stock to be all over the place for a while.

Once Jupiter reaches Cancer (on June 26, 2013), things should settle down. What will make them settle down? Well, with Neptune taking its 2013 station/retrograde at 5 Pisces (which is just at the point where Neptune would be thought to be affecting the IPO’s natal Chiron), this is some sort of ‘handwriting on the wall’ moment.

Oh yes…that 5 Pisces position? That’s the position of Facebook’s natal (corporate) Uranus in the 5th house. 

This is something willful, something creative, or something having to do with children. There is a native vulnerability inherent with Pisces that even big corporations have to deal with. They all have vulnerabilities. With Uranus being the signature of all things digital and positioned in this chart conjunct Fomalhaut (success achieved only when there is a lack of corruption) and Byblis (defense of the indefensible) there are all sorts of uglies which may yet surface.
In fact, which will yet surface.

Does Jupiter’s continuing on into the IPO’s 12th house indicate stock stability? Some domestic-versus-international issue? Something to do with families? Some sort of ‘cultural’ divide?

Maybe. With the 12th house cusp colored by Athena (intellectual wisdom) and Sabine (held captive) it’s likely that come the latter part of 2013 it will be a wiser and somewhat more conservative or conservationist Facebook which faces this public world it has now – in essence – married.

Weddings under Venus retrograde can succeed. You just have to be aware of the emotional dynamics. 

So…Mister Zuckerberg? With all the respect in the world for what you’ve created, next time you decide to go public with some sort of company, consult all the bankers and lawyers - absolutely. But then maybe you also want to check with an astrologer.

In the meantime, good luck to you and the new wife.

Most of the world is going to look at the newly wedded Zuckerbergs and say they have everything. Yet while in the monetary sense that may be true (they absolutely have money)…will they have love?

That is, without qualm or question, a whole different thing.