by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Manti Te’o and Princess Diana: Jupiter, Neptune and Neptune / Mercury

 Jupiter's Great Red Spot as photographed by Voyager 1
(photo credit: NASA, February 1979)

Just about the time Lance Armstrong’s two-part Oprah interview hit the airwaves, a weirdly convoluted discussion about American (grid-iron) football player Manti Te’o and his ‘phantom online girlfriend’ also erupted.
From an astrological perspective, is this about sports stars? Or just celebrity?

I’d tend to say maybe both. And here’s why – starting with an Aries wheel of the zodiac indicating the current transiting positions of major planets.

Athleticism and the urge to compete are astrologically two different things. The physicality is Aries – the physical body, the “I Am” of corporeal existence. But the development of the body and the urge to test ourselves against others (otherwise known as competition) is a Leo trait. The real object of Leo is as part of the fixed sign cycle: Taurus, self-worth/resources…Leo, development…Scorpio, learning the worth of your resources or the current ‘state’ of your development process…and Aquarius, finding your place in the world, in the public, in the marketplace – and earning what can be earned depending on what you’ve developed in (or about) your Self.

All that is supposed to ‘complete’ the cycle and bring us back to Taurus having learned how to earn an internalized sense of self respect and self worth. Those who go through all the steps learn a lot. Those who avoid steps along the way, or who maybe inherit a lot of money or a position in the world which ‘allows’ them to ‘shortcut’ the process have an iffier time of it.

(No, we don’t like it, but evidently humans need to strive in order to end up feeling secure with themselves and within their Self.)

Celebrity is also a Leo trait. Leo – among other things – tests and teaches us how to deal with what might be loosely referred to as the ‘narcissism scale,’ hence those who become famous for nothing or famous for being famous, or the fact that we all know the difference between the person who is just ‘well known’ and the person whose depth or artistry or ability to touch our hearts makes them someone who will be known for all time? Not meaning to slight any reality star in particular, many of them are well known – they’re celebrity. But the enduring fame of DaVinci or Gandhi, that’s another thing.

Enduring fame is Piscean, Pisces is the sign of ‘universal emotionality’ where Leo celebrity is more the ‘entertaining image.’

This matters why?

This matters because it appears that a lot of what’s going on at the moment is life getting us to separate fame from celebrity through causing us to see how mortal some of our sports heroes really are.

Uranus is currently transiting Aries. And wherever we see Uranus, our lives in terms of those concepts gets (Uranus) ‘shaken’. Uranus symbolizes change – and all the forces which get us to change or which power that change. So whether the subject is Hurricane Sandy, the terrible doings in Libya, the saber-rattling of North Korea, the shootings in Newtown or the fall of sports heroes, there is an aspect of all of these things which is decidedly about our getting ‘shaken’ at some very primal and personal level, be that totally physical or through the other general aspect of that simple Aries phrase: ‘I Am’ which is so very much the essence of consciousness.

Life shakes us up so that we become aware. So that we will recognize that we value. And that what we do – or don’t do – in or with our lives matters. We all certainly have our ‘stuff.’ We each have a ‘personal mythos.’ And how we feel and relate to that mythos is – astrologically - made up of various symbolic parts. But when it comes to how we feel about sports figures and celebrities in general, there’s the part of that which is about them…and the part of that which is about us.

And that’s absolutely Piscean. Pisces, the sign of two fish headed in opposite directions is about reflections and the tendency to separate reality from the expectation.

 One of the stained glass windows of France's famous
Chartres Cathedral pictures the image of Pisces

But the success of that? That depends on whether we are having faith or supporting someone else (a connective urge) or whether we are avoiding being realistic about life…or our life in particular.

And that’s Jupiter-Neptune, the two co-rulers of Pisces.

One of the things to recognize about Jupiter and Neptune is that as planets, these are the two objects in our solar system which astronomers and other science-types tell us influence other objects. Neptune, as we’ve discussed, has an incredible quality called ‘magnetic resonance’ which literally controls the orbits of many other objects – the most famous of which is Pluto.

Jupiter’s magnetic resonance isn’t quite as obvious as that of Neptune (at least astrologically) but Jupiter does evidently affect the orbits of more than a few objects, notably those with orbits which cross various orbital tracks of planets without ever actually circling around the Sun.

Interesting, eh? Well, that’s what we get when we have a planet – Jupiter – which had it been just a wee bit bigger, might have been a sun.

There’s much to be said about Jupiter and Neptune as co-rulers of Pisces, but let’s go with the basics: Jupiter’s basic symbolism is about learning and knowing…which in Jupiter’s primary sign of (sole) rulership – Sagittarius – is about that vast bank of data we call knowledge. Seeking to know more, learning how ideas work in the world, education, new experiences – that’s all the Sagittarian Jupiter.

But as the ‘in’ door in Pisces, because Pisces is an emotional sign all about not just how we feel, but how we feel about our feelings, Jupiter poses the question ‘do you know your own feelings and why you feel as you do? Is that a valid premise?’

Thus, Pisces becomes the sign of all experiences and things which evoke or promote emotionality, and thus test our knowledge of our own emotions and the validity of those emotions – which is why Pisces is associated with delight as well as despair, and faith, spirituality and idealism on an equal basis with abandonment, loss and rejection.

All these things are coming to the fore now in the form of dozens of issues we’re facing and hearing about. The facts, the ideas, the learning about them and being presented with things which get us to scratching our heads and thinking is as I said in last weekend’s post a demonstration of Jupiter specifically being positioned at 6 Gemini over a period of time in advance of going direct on January 30th.

But the ‘well there’s this, but…’ factor which seems so pervasive whether the subject is Lance Armstrong, national economies, climate change or the current debacle in the life of Manti Te’o – that’s a state of emotional confusion which is being signaled by Jupiter (in Gemini) currently being in square (by sign) to Neptune in Pisces.

Both planets are powerfully placed, though what ‘powerful’ means in this regard differs. And how that differs is best seen through a handy-dandy chart illustrating what astrologers call ‘Essential Dignities.’

Here’s a version of same, showing the two basic types of planetary dignities:

Neptune is in its sign of rulership: Pisces. And Jupiter is currently in a sign of detriment: Gemini. To make this easy to understand, both planetary effects are STRONG. But rulership versus detriment? That’s more or less about ‘achieving the optimal aim.’

Neptune in Pisces is going to push us towards the optimal aim represented by the sign of Pisces: emotional realism and separating the fantasy from reality so that we know when we’re fantasizing and know not to substitute fantasy for reality. Given Neptune’s reputation for ‘dissolving’ that which isn’t ‘real,’ it’s thus not surprising that all the things we have wanted to ‘just think true’ which aren’t so true are melting away at a rapid clip.

Or at least our veneers are. The ‘thing’ probably won’t change. But our regard for it? That will.
And that’s what begins to shift our regard for celebrity. That’s where ‘famous’ can become ‘infamous’ and where notoriety becomes somewhat tarnished in the light of real ability and fame which is earned.

By the by…we tend to LOVE (love, love, love) people who have been one thing and evolved to be the other. Princess Diana, for instance, was initially a celebrity. But through the oh-so Piscean experience of ‘marrying the Prince’ and finding out that life as a princess is not a fairy tale, Diana’s disappointment didn’t stop her from turning around and going out to work with people dealing with the darker Piscean manifestations: poverty, illness, abandonment by society to a life among land mines.

Princess Diana in Bristol at the official opening of the Whitehall Road community center
(photo credit: Rick, May 22, 1987)

The ‘detriment’ of Jupiter in Gemini is that the Jupiterian tendency to expand on what we know may go in the wrong direction. Or overstep bounds of decency or legality or anything else. Through sheer mental (Gemini) strength we may decide and determine to make a choice or to hold onto a choice – even one which patently doesn’t work - come what may.

We may even learn too much. With Jupiter in Gemini, decisions tend to be big. Ideas are big. We’re all pushing ourselves to do more, and maybe too much. Or maybe we won’t listen. Jupiter in Gemini can turn what you want to hear into all you’re willing to hear. And when we add in the square to Neptune and the Piscean quality, in come the feelings. So ideas become convictions and we’re so afraid that we might be wrong that we may end up nailing ourselves to our own proverbial cross.

Pisces has a weird astrological reputation for a reason. We’re all about what we feel, but WHY we feel what we feel? Where that comes from? Why we something scares us? Why something turns us on? Why we deny this or ignore that and give in when we know darn well we should be standing on our own? Those are Pisces questions.

And Pisces being Pisces, the easiest thing to do is point at something or someone, whether it’s your parents or your culture or your faith (or scripture) or something and avoid working to understand your own feelings on the subject because…gosh, that’s so darn scary.
Admitting that under the skin being human is hard and challenging and far more so the more technological and complicated things get? That’s Pisces in a nutshell. (Or clamshell, if you prefer.) And none of this is made any easier by our living in a period of shifting astrological ages.

The Age of Pisces is ending. So being virtuous is on its way out.

 In the Age of Pisces, Pisces (color coded to the
picture's border) is on the first house.

But that doesn’t mean virtue and Pisces values are gone. Far from it.

 In the Age of Aquarius, Pisces (color coded to the picture's border)
is on the 2nd house

In the (incoming) Age of Aquarius, Pisces moves to the 2nd house of the wheel. In the Age of Pisces, Pisces on the first house of the wheel was the manifestation of humanity as being a vulnerable species. Now, in the Aquarian age, Aquarius – the sign of technology – is on the first house. We are our technology. We are our universality. To be elitist or apart or alienated is the vulnerability of the next 2,160 years (that being the length of an astrological age.) And with Pisces on the 2nd house, the Piscean ability to understand our own emotions and emotionality and to (2nd house) value that and utilize emotionality as a resource becomes the basis of the new ‘fixed house’ cycle.

I’ll write a blog just on that sometime. But at the moment, back to the current transiting Jupiter/Neptune square.

Neptune is where inspiration meets fantasy, where faith meets foolishness, where charity meets self-abandonment. Jupiter in Gemini wants to know. And the square between them says that where we can’t know, the high road is tolerance, ambivalence and caring interaction. But let’s face it – this is tough stuff. So in the absence of hard facts, people are going to try to make them up. With this Jupiter squaring Neptune with Neptune in Pisces, life is conspiring in a hundred different ways to get us to feel what we feel and why we feel that way. Or why we feel we need something. We’re being challenged (that’s the square aspect) to not just ‘go with our normal flow’ but to reconsider. 

And yes, maybe to change.

Adding in Saturn, planet of reality and hard facts, passing through Scorpio and we know that most of what is going to happen is going to come at us through others. Manti Te’o’s situation is a really good example of how things can be personal, social and societal all at once. That’s the combination we can expect since Gemini is in a purely personal sign (Gemini), Saturn is in Scorpio (an interactive sign) and Neptune is in Pisces, a global, universal, mass quotient sign.

If you didn’t read the blog on Saturn in Scorpio, you might want to read it. I got a lot of mail on that post, all of it saying it explained a lot of things. So here’s the link:

As of last Friday (January 25, 2013) Saturn moved into 11 Scorpio, the degree Saturn will go stationary-retrograde at come February 18th. This means we have had Jupiter sitting at 6 Gemini and going direct on January 30th while Saturn in now at 11 Scorpio, about to sit there for something just shy of two months, in the middle of which it will go retrograde.
This IS a significant overlap as Saturn and Jupiter as signatures of what we do and build in this world and in our life. Their retrogrades don’t always overlap. But sometimes they do, as shown in this diagram.

Right now we’re in a section of the Saturn/Jupiter synodic cycle which has the ‘expansive spin’ of Jupiterian lessons (Jupiter being just about to come out of retrograde) overlapping Saturn’s moving into position to go into retrograde. So this is a time where the (Jupiter) lesson is being brought into (Saturn) reality focus.

And then (she said, feeling a bit like Rod Serling narrating an episode of The Twilight Zone), then we add in a bit of celestial hocus-pocus. What’s that? That’s about 11 Scorpio – Saturn’s station degree – being the degree of the November 2013 solar eclipse.

To borrow from today’s sports theme, that’s a bit of a celestial lay-up. Put most plainly, those who say ‘that can’t happen to me’ are kidding themselves – a fact underscored by the fact that in going direct at 6 Gemini, Jupiter is activating the ‘Aldebaran Quotient.’

That means this moment is not just about Lance Armstrong or Manti Te’o’s integrity. Or the integrity of those they have dealt with. It’s about what integrity is. And Manti Te’o is a premier example of how you can get in trouble for trying to play the ‘integrity card’ blindly.

 Manti Malietau Louis Te'o
January 26, 1991 - (no time) AHST/+10 - Laie, Hawaii

By all accounts, Manti Te’o is either a spiritual or religious person. I make that clarification because religion is Sagittarian: it’s a body of doctrine, a codification of ideas (and rules) which in theory are supposed to help us to learn about being human and being better humans.

Spirituality is Piscean. It’s emotional. Some people are very spiritual but not particularly religious. Some people are by-the-book scrupulously religious. They’ll follow every calendar date and ritual, but the spiritual part of religion, the carrying the idea in their heart – that’s not their orientation.
In Manti Te’o’s chart, a couple of things leap out at us in this regard. One is that his 20 Scorpio Pluto is in opposition to a 17 Taurus Vesta. Scorpio – as we all know – is the sign of sexuality. (Pisces is also related to sexuality, but it’s more of the sexual fantasy or sensuality quotient we think of as sexual.) Vesta is what it takes to keep our promises. In Taurus, Vesta is about tests of self worth and self respect. So it’s easy to see Vesta opposition Pluto as a person who questions who the right sexual partner is, and what sorts of alliances (sexual and otherwise) to get into.
But with Medea conjunct that Pluto, we have the signal that this is loving the idea of control to the point where it undermines your control. And with Echo within a degree of Vesta’s position, there is going to be a quality of following that you are told to do which ends up creating trouble.
Mind you, Princess Diana also has an opposition to Vesta, but hers is from Neptune. 

 Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales
July 1, 1961 - 7:45 p.m. (-1:00) - Sandringham, England

The challenge here is different. Diana’s Neptune is conjunct Atlantis, and Atlantis is the signature of that we have to give up fighting before we can find our bliss, our happiness in what we find through letting go of – in this case Neptune, the dream.

The opposition to Vesta is also from Scorpio, but Diana’s Vesta in Taurus is conjunct Polyhymnia and Menkar: reconsidering (Polyhymnia) the cost of bad advice or unworkable associations (Menkar) which in her case would have been driven by Neptune, so long as she was ‘clinging’ to the idea that ‘all would be well.’

Once Diana accepted her Neptune quotient – the fame and the fact that the royal commitment wasn’t working – she got her divorce, got her (Taurus) self-regard back on track and that was when she began owning her power.

Menkar is a challenging star. Until we own its temptation to do the easy thing or take the easy way out and convert that power to doing the right thing and standing with those who deserve our support instead of those who merely like it…until then we stand to stumble from one difficulty and rejection to a next. But once we become willing to ‘divorce life’s trappings’ and take on doing what we are truly capable of instead of what others might like us to be, then Menkar becomes a great symbol of the power to do good.

Manti Te’o’s Sedna is at 10 Taurus and his Vesta is at 17 Taurus. With Sedna being the ‘stormy waters’ we each encounter before we ‘take the plunge’ and live as we should, not as we had expected to, between these two points lie Echo, Sappho (universal poetry), Chaos (the endless supply) and Menkar.

As someone who has watched a lot of charts over a lot of years, at a guess, Manti Te’o will probably stub his toe a few more times before figuring out how to let go of thinking he can control life. But it won’t come easily. With Niobe (pride which precedes the fall) at 9 Taurus and conjunct Sedna, this is a proud man who may well express his pride through humility.

The current fracas seems to have come to its raucous head late last year (prior to being exposed now) as we came into and experienced last November’s solar eclipse at 21 Scorpio (conjunct Manti’s Pluto).

That, plus transiting Pluto’s trine of his 9 Taurus Niobe and 10 Taurus Sedna coinciding with this very public debacle may indicate the turn in Manti’s affairs.

But there are at least two more very potent figures in Manti’s chart to be aware of.

The first is that he has Saturn/North Node in opposition to Chiron/South Node. This is a very hard lesson about the practical and pragmatic realities of life which in all likelihood Manti is not going to begin realizing the full parameters of until Saturn approaches and makes its return to its natal position. And that isn’t due to happen for another six years or so.
Before that happens, Pluto will arrive at what may well be the core configuration in Manti Te’o’s chart – though that’s hard to say in the absolute sense, given that we don’t have a birth time. Manti Te’o has Neptune, Mercury, Tantalus and Vega ALL positioned at 15 Capricorn.

Vega is a fixed star all about the powers of charismatic speech. Or powerful ideas. When Vega is activated, we are moved deeply – at our core. In Capricorn, Vega is ruled by Saturn. Hence we know that Manti’s Saturn return (like all Saturn returns) is hugely important, and probably more important to him than others as it’s to-the-degree conjunct his North Node.

Tantalus being ‘temptation,’ the real issue here is Neptune – the ideal versus the illusion – being conjunct Mercury, the symbol of mentality.

This is what everybody is asking about: is he lying? Or was he just lied to?

Neptune conjunct Mercury in the natal chart – in any sign – is a thought process which is ‘ruled’ by whatever sign, house placement and aspects are in play. We don’t know the house, but we know the rulership by Saturn. Manti will have a tendency to idealize and idealistic expectations for himself; how well that works/works out for him would be astrologically told through the house in which the Saturn/North Node fall. But with this Neptune/Mercury configuration trine to the natal Vesta (not the Pluto, just the Vesta) we do know Manti will spend some percentage of his life dealing with internalized ‘expectations’ for himself (fostered by others or societal forces) but that with Pluto opposition Vesta, at some point that mechanism is going to be – or get - altered.

Self determination is the goal here. But what that means is going to be – and to some extent remain - in flux. If and when there comes a day when Manti Te’o makes the same sorts of self-discoveries Princess Diana made, he’ll start working towards his goals for different reasons.

And those reasons will become his fulfillment.

 In a moment of playing weather satellite, NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft
photographed clouds at about 29 degrees north on Planet Neptune
(NASA- JPL August 1989)

Few notes on Jupiter’s current cycle. In going direct at 6 Gemini, Jupiter is obviously activating Aldebaran (at 9 Gemini) but has not yet reached Aldebaran’s position. After going direct on January 30th, Jupiter will slowly begin to pick up solar systemic speed (relative to Earth’s position), and that means it will reach Aldebaran’s celestial position in mid-March of 2013.

We can all look for ‘Edition 2’ of this ‘outing’ of ourselves at that time.

One of the things we may do well to remember is that with Neptune in its ruling sign of Pisces, our current Jupiter-Neptune cycle (the synodic cycle of how these two planets interact with each other as timers of our personal growth) is going to be ‘ruled’ by Neptune, as Neptune is always the ‘outcome’ ruler of Pisces and is currently doing a resident transit of Pisces.

That transit won’t end until 2025, which is the year of Jupiter’s next transit of Gemini.

But getting back to essential dignities, it’s this 2012-2013 Jupiter-in-Gemini and the 2015-2016 Jupiter-in-Virgo transits which are going to have everybody overstepping the(ir) bounds. But if we remember that the whole of Neptune’s transit of Pisces is about creating circumstances which promote those feelings and emotional situations through which we learn the difference between expectations and realities (or maybe the possibilities as opposed to unrealistic impossibilities) maybe we can all accept life with a little more grace…and in that, be kinder to ourselves and others.
At the moment, between Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter and Neptune, it would seem that we’re getting something of a lesson about fame – and about how famous people are just as human, just as insecure as we are…and just as frail when it comes to making good choices.

Which leads to the other part of the question: is the fact that being human is to be imperfect any reason not to try our hardest or hold ourselves to standards?

That’s one of those Neptune/Jupiter questions we each have to ask and answer for ourselves. But it surely is part of the cycle. And for us to be finding, witnessing and experiencing our flaws, our vulnerabilities, our mistakes now? That’s entirely apt, as Neptune is at this point moving forward and rolling over royal star Fomalhaut.

Remember Fomalhaut? You know, the star which promises success ONLY if our dreams and efforts aren’t corrupt, corrupted or corruptive?

The Jupiter-Neptune synodic cycle is 12.7 years long and the last conjunction was on December 21, 2009 at 24 Aquarius. As a degree, 24 Aquarius speaks to tragedies we experience (or witness) which are caused by not thinking things through.

Or maybe…since this is Neptune and Jupiter (the co-rulers of Pisces) we’re talking about, could that be because we don’t want to know?

There is a quality of ‘experience is the best teacher’ which goes with 24 Aquarius. But those experiences? They create hurt and harm and trauma and sometimes just more avoidance.

You know…avoidance which is going to deepen and get routed out in the next Jupiter/Neptune cycle.

The date of this last conjunction (December 21, 2009) was also when royal star Regulus was still at 29 Leo – in direct opposition to Jupiter-Neptune at 24 Aquarius. That adds in the lesson of Regulus, a star which says success will happen (or be lasting) ONLY if or where we avoid vengeance or revenge.

Considering Aquarius’ association with the internet (hello? Manti?) and income (anyone for a down-and-dirty economic discussion?) my thoughts point to the sense of perspective…the learning to feel dispassionately which difficult economies and hard moments like that Manti Te’o (or Lance Armstrong, for that matter) are going through.

This Aquarian idea also brings in why we should be keeping Saturn and Uranus (the co-rulers of Aquarius) in mind when we discuss any sort of current Jupiter-Neptune connections.

It all begins making sense. Strange, startling, evocative success. Where Aquarius is universality and humanity, Pisces is the humanness of our human condition: our vulnerability, our sheer mortal fallibility...and our willingness to forgive, accept and grow from what we learn not so much about others, but about ourselves.

If you care, the Jupiter/Neptune cycle prior to the current one began on January 12, 1997 in the late Capricorn. And yes, this does mean that these conjunctions go forward sign by sign by sign. So the next one will begin

Yes, it does. And that means that the next Jupiter-Neptune conjunction will be in Pisces…which would be with both of Pisces’ co-rulers in Pisces.

Think about it.

To accept reality is the Neptunian lesson. Wherever we see Neptune, we experience tests to see whether we can appreciate life’s most essential qualities. There is – and will be - no black and white here. You can make real friends and never meet them, or see someone every week and end up betrayed.

In the big blue world of Jupiter-Neptune, the question isn’t what happens, its whether you have faith enough in yourself to go on, accept the truth and be a bigger and better person for the experience. Neptune denies ego just as dearly as Jupiter teaches us to utilize our ego in the pursuit of ever-greater understanding. What other people think of us is never as important as what we know we feel about ourselves.

And what we’ve learned about why we feel that way, and that our feelings are real, valid and eternal. Being famously happy is not just the only real kind of fame which works, it’s the only kind of fame Neptune honors – and apparently it has to be earned through the effort to grow in appreciating the value of that which pushes us to the edge with ourselves.

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