by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rachel Maddow and Tread Cred: Human Rubber, Meet Road

 Tire tread
(photo credit: Clearly Ambiguous,December 2006)

It’s summer in Los Angeles, and on my way home from somewhere in 101 degree heat (with no air conditioning in my vehicle) I heard a Very Bad Sound.

Anyone who knows anything about cars knows that moment: you hear The Sound and your brain begins exploring the nether world of dark and rather fervently pronounced vocabulary.

It took me a bit (and two stops) to figure out what had gone wrong. At first I thought (rather hopefully, I guess) that something had gotten hung up on the undercarriage of my car. Lest you think I was being simply dim (which yes, is always possible) a decent sort of fellow obviously headed for a nearby park to do a run or some such stopped to ask what was wrong.

This led to both of us getting down to inspect from front, back and side.

He saw me off, wishing me well.

It didn't quite work out that way; I ended up stopping again some two blocks away. And this time, I saw the problem – one of my tires had separated: the steel belts had split and were doing a good job of thrashing the steel wheel wells.

Did I mention it was 101 degrees (F)?

And of course - irony of irony - the first time I had stopped (under a nice shady tree) the tire was perfectly rotated so as to hide the damage.


 Shoreline Butte, Death Valley (CA)
(converted to gray scale)
(original/color photo credit: Daniel Mayer, March 2002)


Fortunately this only took about an hour and a half to sort through. Still, since I couldn't wait in a cool car for help to arrive...considering I'd cleverly not brought water with me, suffice it to say that by the time I got home I was half-past bleary from the heat.

After taking two days off to recoup and one more simply for sulking (after which I had to deal with the always fun issue of a mass family gathering), today became the day to go deal with the tire thing.

And it was while I was sitting there that I began  innocently (??) reading a copy of Rolling Stone that a neighbor of mine had pressed into my wee pudgy hands.

In fulfillment of the requirement that I notate before I quote, this was Rolling Stone issue 1160/1161 dated July 5-19, 2012. (I’m way behind in my reading, if you can’t tell.) The article I’m citing is called “Rachel Maddow’s Quiet War” by Ben Wallace-Wells (with photographs by Peter Yang, if you must know)…and the lines which caught my eye were these:

“From the start, Maddow’s brand is (sic) full-on nerd: the chunky black glasses, the flailing limbs. She doesh’t seem to care much about the question that Olbermann has fixed on…(sic)...what interests her (is) not politics as personality but politics as mechanism.”

No, this isn’t a post about politics, so don’t go all  bleary-eyed.

And what IS it about?

It's about Rachel Maddow. Or rather, what seems worth learning from Rachel Maddow's chart.
Rachel Maddow’s natal horoscope has been documented and recorded at Astrodatabank. Said chart has an AA rating, which makes her sound a bit like an egg, though I don’t think of Ms. Maddow as either over easy or scrambled.

Here is that chart, double-A rating et al…

 Rachel Maddow (natal chart)
April 1 1973 - San Francisco - 12-23pm
(AA rating/source: AstroDatabank)

One of the first things which caught my eye in Ms. Rachel’s chart was her Neptune-trine-Venus thing.

It reminded me of the astro-great mystery of sexual proclivity.

Ms. Maddow, as you may (or may not) know, is partnered with a person of her own gender. And that issue of proclivity...whether you are attracted to someone of your own gender, someone of the ‘other’ gender, or turned on by both genders is (oddly enough) one of the things astrology is really really bad at.

Oh yes, given a real chart with a birth time and place, astrologers can tell you a lot about your sexual fantasies, whether you’re the assertive person in your relationship, whether you’re the monogamous type or not – there are even distinct signs for how many marriages (or bonded partnerings) you’re going to have in your life.

But your sexual orientation? Not so much! I’ve heard a dozen ‘rules’ on this score and when I've tested them out, their metaphysical rubber skidded off the road.

Nothing worked across the board.

(Just for the record here, I’ve never even heard of a ‘rule’ about bi-sexuality.)

After all those dozens of rules went flat, I realized the essential flaw in the concept. That starts with how all the 'gay rules' were ‘formulated.’ In essence they all said something like this: IF you see x-y-z in the chart, then the person is gay.

The implication there (from the perspective of such rules) would be that if you DON'T see x-y-z, then the person is straight.

And there's the bias, the error, the incorrectness of it all. That 'formulation' includes a mainstream sort of assumption that struck me as suspect because astrology begins with no way to delineate gender in the chart. We can see traits which might be easier (given society's habits) in a male chart...or a female chart. But there's nothing in a horoscope which tells us if that chart is of a man or woman. Or corporation, beloved pet or supermarket product, if you must know.

So if we can't tell gender, it stands to reason that we couldn't tell sexual proclivity, particularly in the aforementioned 'if you see x-y-z' manner. For that to work we'd need not just a set of 'these indicators mean gay' formulas, but a set of 'these indicators mean straight'...or bi-sexual...or even a-sexual.

And that we just don't have. The horoscope is a ‘fingerprint,’ a blueprint, an energy map of our incarnation, yes. But it only describes our dynamic patterns. It's about existing.

Yes, we can tell you if you will have children. We (that's the 'astrologer's we') can even sort out the difference between your relationship with your mother and your father and their relationship with their mother and their father. But whether you’re the person doing the impregnating or the person bearing a child, whether you’re doing that as part of a same-sex couple or a heterosexual pairing…that isn’t hard-core visible in the natal chart.

That means that from the perspective of astrology, we truly are all born equal - no matter who and how and as what we're born.

That's what ran through my head when I saw Rachel Maddow’s Sagittarian Neptune trine Aries Venus.

And from there, we move on.
On the generational level, she’s got Pluto in Libra – so she’s a member of the Gen X tribe. And for the second time in a couple of weeks, I’ve gone and pulled out a chart which has a really prominent Eris.

(The last one was Zak Bagans’, and the blog on that can be linked to HERE.)

In Rachel Maddow’s case however, the run doesn’t stop at Venus-Sun-Eris as it does with ghost hunter Zak. No, with Rachel Maddow the run is Venus-Sun-Eris-Sappho-Midheaven-Chiron/Bali.

Which brings us to a point about Sappho. Sappho is not an asteroid named for a myth. Sappho was a person – a famous poet (Greek, I think) who lived on the island of Lesbos, from when the term ‘lesbian’ comes (apparently during the 19th century).

Sappho the person was a female. She lived through a lot of political turmoil and by the by, gave birth to a daughter.

Meanwhile, the point Sappho (now we’re talking about the asteroid) has come to be regarded as one which can indicate ‘alternative sexual interests’ mostly because Sappho’s poetry was about love of every kind for all people and all things. Wherever we see Sappho in the chart, by sign and placement we are likely to see an interest – a ‘love’ of something – which could be another human being, but then again, could be a love of gardening and roses.

There is a tendency to see this point in reference to sexuality and in particular to see asteroid Sappho as a sign of love of one’s own gender because Sappho lived on Lesbos. But considering how late in history the term ‘lesbian’ came into being (that’s ‘late’ in a relative sense) that ‘homosexual’ connection is not mandatory.

 A surviving original fragment of one of
Sappho's poems (2nd century CE, housed at Oxford
University, UK)

What we can say is that when we do have a chart of someone with a marked love which for their time and place is not in step with the societal norm of the day, then we tend to see Sappho in connection with a planet, nodal point or as we see here in Rachel Maddow’s chart, her Chiron/Bali, Midheaven, Eris, Sun and Venus.

Chiron/Bali in this chart is ‘I need to find a way to make me happy.’ The positioning of this combination in Aries is the “I” part and that it is conjunct the Midheaven tells us that as most who have watched Rachel Maddow on television would say in a hot dog second, Rachel Maddow appears to really LOVE her job.

Moreover, Eris/Midheaven is to be shaken up by world events and to put the Aries Self out there to be a catalyst of same.

As for the astrological markers of how she came to be the Rachel Maddow so many listen to and enjoy, here are the dates I was able to dig up on the subject.

April of 2005 was evidently when the radio version of The Rachel Maddow Show debuted. That was during the couple of months the ‘expander of all things’ (Jupiter) was wandering back and forth over Ms. Maddow’s IC – the bottom point in the chart.

Part one: Rachel Maddow’s IC is 14 Libra. That makes it a Venus-ruled point. That ruling Venus is part of the Venus-Sun-Eris-Midheaven-Chiron/Bali conglomerate, spelling ‘work’ and ‘public visibility.’ That this is Jupiter moving (basically) into Ms. Maddow’s 4th house is a fine example of how planets in the 4th describe building for the future and the laying of groundwork upon which we then build. With Rachel Maddow’s Jupiter natally in the 7th house (the house of I/thou and how we reach out to others) that makes what her doing something interactive (with others) a natural positive outlet.

The really lovely kicker on the signature (at least to my thinking) is that Ms. Maddow’s natal Jupiter is positioned in Aquarius.

Why’s that so lovely, you ask? As soon as I remind you that Aquarius is the sign of ‘societal power’ and therefore income, electricity and all things electronic, techy and – yes – geeky in nature (which would include television and radio) I’m betting you get where I’m going with this.

What she did – and that she started her show in radio, moved to television and has expanded on the internet…it’s all rather nicely expressive of her Jupiter!

The next date I have for Ms. Maddow is the end of her Air America show – an event which happened in January of 2010. I sat puzzling over this one (staring at my ephemeris, which is an occupational hazard of being an astrologer) until I noticed one wee widdle thing: a solar eclipse at 25 Capricorn on January 15, 2010.

 Einstein's photo of the 1919 Solar Eclipse

Rachel Maddow’s Descendant – the point of intersection with ‘the other’ is at 28 Capricorn. Five degrees being the orb of conjunction, with the eclipse at 25 Capricorn and her Descendant at 28 Capricorn, we're well within the limit...plenty close enough for the solar systemic version of ‘government work,’ as the expression goes!

Meanwhile, Ms. Maddow was already at MSNBC. The date I find for her becoming an MSNBC political analyst is January 2008, which astrologically looks like a mentally fluid time at best. (I’d love to know details pertaining to this time but have them not!) What we do know is that MSNBC announced she would be having her own show in August of 2008 as another solar eclipse went off at 9 Leo – in opposition to Ms. Maddow’s Jupiter.

The show itself debuted on September 8, 2008. And guess when Jupiter went stationary/direct…that’s right! September 8, 2008.

Let’s note for the record that all this ‘work stuff’ has pointed us to Jupiter – that (evidently) handy-dandy Aquarian Jupiter in Rachel Maddow’s 7th house.
We’ve heard nothing about that giant complex at the top of the chart, other than Jupiter’s setting off the Venus-ruled IC with its passing.

But that may be the point. The vertical (Midheaven-IC) axis in the chart is rather like our ‘standing there’ in metaphysical space. It’s the ‘what we’re being’ part of the chart as opposed to the horizontal axis, which is the ‘what we’re doing’ part of the chart.

And if I tell you that…and then add just the reminder that the left side of the chart is the ‘moving into the future’ (proactive) side of the chart and the right side of the chart is the reactive/interactive side of the chart because the horoscope is actually a representation of the Earth revolving through its day…(and thus our evolving through our life)… THEN it will probably make sense as to why other houses – the intermediary houses between the ‘where we’re going in our head’ Midheaven and the ‘what I’m doing’ Ascendant are about accomplishments in life – the securing of our place in the world, the earning a living and all that.

And yes, that was just my longest run-on sentence of all time. (Thanks for noticing.)

But getting back to my more gobal, ultra-Rachel Maddow point. This woman’s Midheaven is in Aries, the sign of “I Am” and ‘beingness,’ if you will. That Midheaven – her being Rachel Maddow – is out there for all to see. Her job is public, and in a metaphysical sense her job is to ‘BE’ in public, and to become what she is going to become in part through her interactions with the world connected with being out here in full view of the world.

All that Aries at the top of her chart…it’s ruled by Mars. And her Mars? Rachel Maddow’s Mars is also in Aquarius. In fact, it’s very not shocking at all that her Mars conjuncts her Jupiter.

Considering how vital Ms. Maddow’s Jupiter is, I pick Jupiter as the position to ‘expand’ upon…to use the bad astro-pun.

So again, I’ll go to the Sabian Symbol. Same book – An Astrological Mandala by Dane Rudhyar. Remember, the symbols themselves are universal (there are only one set of Sabian Symbols and Dane Rudhyar had nothing to do with inventing them).




(Can I tell you how many men have remarked to me how beautiful they think Rachel Maddow is?)


The inspiration one may derive from the appearance of Exemplars who present to us the archetypes of a new culture.


That just about says it all. Yes, there’s more – but that Rachel Maddow is obviously inspired by what she does and the Exemplars she sees, and that in her finding her way to being herself openly, with all the nooks and oddities which come with any human individual (which would be her Chiron/Bali/Midheaven)…she becomes an Exemplar for us all.

No, we won’t all become MSNBC broadcasters. We won’t all get super hyped and frisky-giggly over political matters.

Maybe more important is what this really says about Ms. Maddow's Jupiter. Yes, she teaches us. Her Jupiter is involved in, speaks of and learns from how society functions, how people function in the world.

And as she helps us see what's going on, we go on with our lives and help her learn. That's the beauty of the Jupiter way of things. Wherever our Jupiter is, that's our means of learning and teaching - and we all have a part to play in each. Rachel Maddow's Jupiter is in Aquarius. Mine is in Gemini - I am born to communicate. So I write, I play with words. I listen, I read, I learn.

Her Jupiter is in the first decanate - in a degree between zero and nine. That's all about who we are and what we do. So Rachel Maddow is all she is in her own life because she does the social and societal thing. She does an Aquarian thing through disseminating information through 'electronic' means.

And as she does all this, she becomes an Aquarian figure to us all. Her Gemini is in the 7th house of interactive cause/effect. Her actions are her cause - and we are affected, delivering to her the supportive effect for her to thrive on.

That's just how it works.  

Yet with all of this, I'm betting that what we will in time probably learn from Rachel Maddow is far more basic than that. And yes, maybe more valuable. Through her inability to be anyone except who she is, Rachel Maddow is one of those people who prove that being who we are, by learning how to make that work in our world, by being okay with however the world responds at any given point can be okay with us.

And yes, the world will be okay with our moments of discomfort and human goofs.

Rachel Maddow, with her Aquarian Jupiter, is really imaging something important about all our futures.

I keep talking about the incoming Aquarian Age. The Age we are leaving – the Piscean Age – was an Age which among other things, valued our being above to ‘put on the societal mask and play the part.’

Moving ahead, being honest about who we are while finding ways to make our ‘commerce’ with the world, our life social and societal, functional – that’s the new mask.

In other words, unmasking is the new mask. Being real is the new mask. And it’s not necessarily about strength per se. It’s more about the strength of admitting that as human beings we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

It’s about knowing that the finding our way through life and owning that in plain sight is the finest thing we can do and ultimately be.

When I started writing this post I thought it was going to be more of a discussion about Ms. Maddow and Keith Olbermann (who was also talked about in that article).

Apparently not. I got distracted. Charts do that with me.

We’ll talk about Mr. Olbermann some other time.

(PS. I ended up having to get four new tires. Did you know tires have a maximum life of ten years whether you’ve worn through the tread yet or not?)

 Tires heaped and abandoned outside of Hooverville,
Portland (Oregon) in 1936
(photo credit: US Library of Congress)

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