Astrologer Laura Craig

Jupiter-Pluto Conjunction Part 3: The Superpower

Ralph Steadman “Where the Buffalo Roam”

In 1887, John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, wrote in a letter to an Anglican bishop: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…” This statement has become an axiom—what do you think of it? Whether you agree or disagree, it was a subject the man was more than qualified to speak on, as he was born with the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Uranus in Capricorn, all in square to Pluto in Aries.

Today marks the exact conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto at 22° Capricorn. It is their third and final conjunction of the year. It has been an all-year-long stay for the Greater Benefic, and not an entirely pleasant one, Capricorn being the sign of his fall, and with Father Saturn breathing down his neck the whole time. Frustratingly, he has been mired in the home stretch since March, and now he is finally making his way out. The fresh air of Aquarius lies ahead and within reach, but there are two very big hurdles for the Big Guy to get through first. Pluto is Hurdle #1.

Jupiter and Pluto meet up approximately every 12 years, which means that approximately every 12 years Jupiter’s shadow is revealed, Pluto’s destructive tendencies are amplified, and we confront the dark side of expansiveness, worldliness, omnipotence and appetite (think of all the ways Zeus abused his power). The late degrees of Capricorn, where these conjunctions have been taking place, also correspond to the Eagle constellation. It’s a beautiful synchronicity: Zeus’s own avatar, bird of prey, emblem of power, and the national symbol of the United States. This year is showing us the seedy underbelly of capitalism, patriarchy, systems of government and institutions; the cruel legacy of colonialism, imperialism and white supremacy; and an exposé on greed, egotism and conspicuous consumption.

So many times during this pivotal year for America, I have thought about the late Hunter S. Thompson, and wished for the balm of his scathing political diatribes, and the comfort of his merciless mockery and condemnation of the corrupt, grotesque and perverted. It turns out, Thompson had Jupiter at 21° Capricorn, opposite a Sun-Pluto conjunction in Cancer. His chart is having its Jupiter return as we speak! (I believe charts live forever) His synastry with the US Sibly chart is also worth a look: his Sun-Pluto falling on top of the US’s Mercury; his Mercury falling on top of the US’s north node—both in the 8th house in Leo. His Mars falls in the US’s Scorpio 12th house, showing us, with both barbed humor and brutal honesty, the things that we cannot see about ourselves. Love him or hate him, like the aforementioned gentleman, he was more than qualified to speak and write about American culture. 

President Nixon was a particular nemesis of his. Consider this gem from Pageant Magazine in 1968: 

“For years I’ve regarded [Nixon’s] existence as a monument to all the rancid genes and broken chromosomes that corrupt the possibilities of the American Dream; he was a foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad. The Nixon I remembered was absolutely humorless; I couldn’t imagine him laughing at anything except maybe a paraplegic who wanted to vote Democratic but couldn’t quite reach the lever on the voting machine.” 

Now tell me, who does that remind you of? Jupiter and Pluto conjoined in Virgo that year. Or how about this one from the New York Times in 1974: 

“[He was] a mixture of arrogance and stupidity that caused him to blow the boilers almost immediately after taking command. By bringing in hundreds of thugs, fixers and fascists to run the government, he was able to crank almost every problem he touched into a mind-bending crisis.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Jupiter was in Capricorn from 1972-73, squaring Pluto in Libra, and this one from Rolling Stone in ’73 hits that nail right on the head: 

“[Nixon] represents that dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character that almost every country in the world has learned to fear and despise. Our Barbie-doll president, with his Barbie-doll wife and his boxful of Barbie-doll children is also America’s answer to the monstrous Mr. Hyde. He speaks for the werewolf in us; the bully; the predatory shyster who turns into something unspeakable, full of claws and bleeding string-warts on nights when the moon comes too close.” 

Doesn’t get much more Plutonian than that, my friends! What would Thompson have had to say about the Trump presidency, America’s recent flirtation with fascism, its enduring devotion to racism and sexism, and conversely, its inspiring, unwavering belief in itself, and its miraculous ability to snatch democracy from the jaws of defeat? I can’t help but wonder. 

The other day, I happened to catch an interview on NPR with a psychologist describing what he called the “power paradox.” He and his colleagues had found that, contrary to the Machiavellian way of thinking, power and influence are not taken but given; that kindness, empathy, altruism and emotional intelligence—not coercion, capital and control—give rise to power. The problem is, once power is attained, it begins to override those very empathic qualities, as the greater our sense of importance, the less interested or invested in others we become. It seems that Lord Acton was right: power does tend to corrupt. And since power dynamics shape all of our relationships, no one is exempt from this tendency. But there is hope: the studies showed that power in and of itself is not a bad thing. It’s all in how we wield it. On both a personal and a collective level, if we can maintain our sense of generosity, collaboration, and goodwill toward our fellow man, even while sitting at the top—in astrological terms, some of the best qualities of Jupiter—then we can avoid the forces of corruption. And that, as it turns out, is how you make an individual, or a nation, great.

Full Moon in Taurus: Fearful Symmetry

William Blake “The Lamb” and “The Tyger”

October 31, 2020 (8 Taurus)

On the night of the annual Hunter’s Moon, the fields are laid bare from harvesting, and the sky shines a short-lived spotlight over the land, exposing the deer and other game to the arrows of men lying in wait. The coming winter has all species in survival mode. And in the Celtic wheel of the year, October 31 begins the cross-quarter celebration of Samhain, ushering in the dark months, when the passage graves come alive and the doors to the Otherworld are open. 

As it happens, this year we have both together: a full moon on the day of the dead. The Moon in Taurus, expecting the creature comforts it so enjoys in the sign of its exaltation, instead wanders into the crosshairs of the Sun opposite in Scorpio. It then stumbles upon the tripwire of Uranus the Awakener, and a bolt of lightning suddenly strikes, illuminating the scene. It’s a gut check: fight, flight or freeze are the automatic responses, and every nervous system will choose one. The competing energies of Venus and Mars, who oversee this lunation, will also inform our reactions. Regardless, this moon is tapping us into our basic instincts and primal drives. It is hungry, and full of desire. It can be passionate, as well as polarizing. Where are you feeling your animal nature? What urges are coming up? What scent trail are you following, and where will it lead? Blood flowing can be ominous or arousing, depending on the context and point of view.

In his poem “The Lamb” and its companion “The Tyger,” 18th century poet and visionary, William Blake (perhaps writing under a full moon such as this?), pondered what he called the contrary nature of the human soul, and what that meant for the Creator that designed us all. How astounding, he reflected, that such different creatures—one a ferocious, sensuous and powerful beast, and the other a sweet, docile, gentle thing—could be made by the same God. It must follow, he concluded, that all life, and the universe itself, contains opposites; and that all souls are here to navigate the gamut from innocence to experience. Sometimes we are the predator, and sometimes we are the prey. Throughout the course of our lives, we can be both villain and victim; powerful and vulnerable. We all have the capacity to be fierce, dominating, and cunning; as well as playful, tender and childlike. And through some combination and expression of those very traits, we find our humanity, and it has allowed us to survive.

Wherever the full moon falls in your chart is where you can find the lesson of the lamb (Taurus), and of the tiger (Scorpio), and try to reconcile the two that live within. It is where you can connect to the natural, and the supernatural, world; to your wild wisdom. In this time of hunting and haunting, let us appreciate life’s complexity, as well as its simplicity. And as you begin to make room for all parts of yourself, remember that you are not here by accident, and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made

Venus Enters Libra

Hilma af Klint “The Swan No. 3”

October 28 -November 21, 2020

Venus leaves Virgo for her home sign of Libra today, and the Queen of Heaven is happily back on her throne. It’s welcome news for the planet, and for our inner peace, and it feels like well-earned respite. In Libra, Venus can do what she does best, taking what she learned during her trying time in Virgo, and smoothing over any bumps, softening any sharp edges, and patching any tears in the fabric of our relationships. She can use this time to reestablish harmony and goodwill, and lay the diplomatic groundwork, that it may prepare her for, and serve her, when her time in Scorpio comes. 

Venus is currently in her morning star phase, and we are all looking in her mirror via the people around us, evaluating our personal connections and closest bonds, defining our desires, and tuning in to our hearts. In Libra, she is Aphrodite Urania, who oversees our worldly values; the social rules of engagement; justice, judgment, and civic life. These next few weeks will provide opportunities, on both the personal and the collective level, to practice compromise and cooperation.

The not-so-good news, however, is that the Libran path has a few stumbling blocks along the way. Venus will encounter an opposition to Chiron in Aries almost as soon as the transit begins; an opposition to Mars in Aries midway through; and a square to Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn at the end. These confrontations, whether internal or external, will put all of our Venusian civility, charms, and mediation skills to the test. The Libran challenge: can we sit with the tension of opposites? Can we honor difference of opinion? And at the same time, can we have the courage of our own convictions, and not be coerced into betraying our hearts and minds, for the sake of getting along? Our style of relating, and of resolving conflict, will be called up during this time: if it’s serving you well, then the relationships in question can look forward to a growth spurt. If not, then this is an opportunity to take a different tack, or reevaluate altogether, and decide who or what is worth holding onto, and where it may be time to let go. 

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