eclipse-mania!…

is in full swing. Right now we are just a couple of days away from what is probably the most anticipated event in at least a few years, possibly decades (think 2000, the Millennium?) – the total solar eclipse in America. As people will be traveling to points along the path of totality, getting to the event – wherever you are – is shaping up to be the “Mother of All Clusters” on the highways and byways. A few days ago Channel 7 here in Denver posted this graphic…

Courtesy of Colorado Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) and Channel 7, the Denver Channel.

600,000 freakin’ people… Hey, I told you Wyoming was booked up! And they will be on the road that day just here in this part of the country. In fact, that’s more than the number of people who actually live in Wyoming and call it home. Wyoming will double in population on August 21st. And I sure wouldn’t want to be heading up to Casper that day on I-25, usually a parking lot from Colorado Springs up to Fort Collins on good days… or Ogallala, Nebraska on I-76 and I-80, or on the road anywhere else. So we’re not.

Motel rooms have been booked up for months, the prices steadily going up into the stratosphere of motel room pricedom. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event – that’s true (although I do seem to recall we had a partial solar eclipse in the early 1960s when I was at elementary school in Dallas that day and we made pinhole cameras out of cardboard boxes to look at it safely). Services and restaurants in all the small towns along the path of totality will most certainly be overwhelmed for that one day. Business will be good, pumping some much-needed money into the local economy… and chaotic.

Path of the Total Solar Eclipse across America on August 21, 2017… Images courtesy of NASA.
The eclipse, brought to you by… Grease Monkey? No… don’t think so, and now apparently, they’ve run out of the free glasses.

It’s… ECLIPSE-MANIA!

A couple of links (please feel free to share):
From Space.com
And check this out…
Simulation of the eclipse in your area 

Here’s the deal: whether you’re in Caribou, Maine or Yuma, Arizona (or even in Nome, Alaska and Honolulu, Hawaii), you’re going to see something of the eclipse. In parts of Canada and Mexico as well. It may be partial, but it’s going to get dark. How dark depends on where you are. Here in the Denver Metro/Front Range area, we will have 93% totality… so it’ll be plenty dark. How dark? Well, after the Moon, the planet Venus is the brightest object in the night sky and currently it’s moving through the sign of Cancer; above 97% totality you should be able to see it. It’ll also get anywhere from 2-8 degrees (F.) cooler, depending on the totality of where you are.

Of course, when viewing the eclipse, wear the appropriate safety glasses/eyewear. Do NOT look at the eclipse directly or stare at it even with the glasses on. And it’s not a “Triple Dog Dare” moment.
Here’s an excellent post on this
.

Some new music from Nights on Venus from the new album…

So yes, the eclipse is a very big deal. This is perhaps one time where the hype surrounding an event is actually justified. Hopefully if you have paid a fortune for a motel room wherever you go, it will not be cloudy that day.

Astrologically, what could be the possible significance of the new Moon/total solar eclipse be in Leo? It depends mainly on the house placement and any aspects to other planets in the natal chart and also the progressed and solar arc charts. Since this is being billed as the Great American Total Solar Eclipse what possible significance would be suggested for the U.S. during this time? Let’s take a look at the chart of the U.S. for Monday…

Natal chart of the U.S.A., July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m…. Snapshot of August 21, 2017 at 1:31 PM, EDT. The total solar eclipse… note the Sun-Moon conjunction (new Moon) in the 9th house (Click to enlarge).

It is interesting to note that this is only the 3rd coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in this country’s existence. The first two: 1776, when we declared our independence and became the United States of America, and in 1918, which marked the end of the first World War and when the short-lived League of Nations was formed.

In the Transit to Natal chart above, the Sun-Moon – new Moon – conjunction occurs in the 9th house at 28 degrees, 53 minutes Leo. Aspects to: natal Pluto in the 2nd house (inconjunct), natal Moon in the 3rd house, opposition (wide orb, but significant I think, so allowed), transiting Uranus, 4th house (trine).

Emphasis here is on the 9th house, which in the broadest sense represents learning on the level of identity – learning, or in this case, re-learning who we are. Applied to an entire country: learning/re-learning who we are as a nation. We literally have to decide who we are now at a time when we, as a nation, are at our most politically divided and polarized since 1860.

In an individual’s chart, 9th house integration would usually occur through philosophy, religion, higher education, travels and long journeys – anything that would expand (Jupiter as the natural ruling planet of the 9th and Sagittarius) a person’s horizons intellectually and their own self-awareness and of the world they live in. The 9th house also symbolizes the principles (or lack thereof) that a person was instilled with – i.e., the law or social/moral code. Again, Jupiter. In the chart of a nation, this would symbolize the law, the code of ethics that guides a country, and would play out in the sociopolitical arena and also represent, along with the sign on the cusp of the Ascendant, the “face” that nation presents to the world at large. So some of what I’m going to talk about here has to do with law and those principles as they have come to the forefront at this particular time of the total solar eclipse on 8/21 in the U.S.

Eclipses themselves symbolize or signify an ending and/or a beginning. Where a solar eclipse occurs in a chart generally sets the tone for the next 4-6 months depending on when the next lunar-solar eclipse pair happens. Eclipses are also harbingers of change, sometimes profound change, and I would expect that is what we’re going to see over the next 6 months through the lunar-solar eclipse pair in February, 2018. I would go so far as to say that this is one of the most important 6-month periods ahead in the life of this country – especially in light of the events of the last few days – as we have now arrived at a crossroads. There also seems to be widespread awareness in this country that we have reached a crossroads now.

This eclipse comes right as we have an existential crisis in government.

The first thing I’ll say about this is that if you think these last 7 months have been chaotic, and they have been, the next month has the potential to be even more so. And then things should gradually stabilize more by February, 2018. Given the events now that have happened since last Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, the ending indicated here by this eclipse, is that this current “presidency” will come to an end. Trump will leave, or be removed from office within the next 6 months. It also would not surprise me if he resigned as early as Monday, August 21st, the day of the total solar eclipse. Being the total narcissist he has shown himself to be, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he would try to upstage this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event just to draw attention to himself. This is one possibility signified by the eclipse. That he would resign would be the “easy” way.

The hard way? That’s where the aspect of the law comes into play. The Constitution provides remedies in times of crisis. Impeachment of course, is the one most people are familiar with, but that will take many months and does not guarantee removal from office. The most expedient way involves removal via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment. Trump has shown no interest in actual governing, only ruling, and he has nothing but contempt for the laws of the land. He thinks and acts as if he is above the law and also now faces several legal battles (e.g., the emoluments hearing on October 18th), in addition to the grand jury hearing on his alleged collusion with Russia to secure the election. In other words, the law is currently operating as it should, acting as a check and balance to someone who would run roughshod over it, but the laws of the land could be severely tested during this time and if Trump will not abide by them, then that becomes a constitutional crisis and a long drawn-out battle that this country, as we’ve known it, may not survive.  This is not hyperbole.

Thomas Cole (1801-1848): “The Course of Empire – Destruction”, oil on canvas, 1836.

I hope he will take the easy way. That would be best for everyone, including him. In a very real sense, Trump’s “presidency” ended the day he did not denounce and disavow white supremacists, the KKK, and the neo-Nazis.

What happens next is up to all of us. It revolves around some central questions: who are we as a country now? What kind of nation do we need to be and become? Certainly not the nation we’ve seen these last 7 months.

Also from the new Nights on Venus album…

Enjoy the show Monday. Be safe. ‘Til next time…

Album cover for “We Are All Haunted by Something”, which was released on July 23, 2017. This is the old abandoned Apache Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico – shot taken in 2009. The image of the night sky is from Justin Marsh, added with his permission.
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…

The new album, “We Are All Haunted by Something” has now been released. Includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. Now available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, and Amazon MP3.

Speed of Life“,Unearthly, Santos and all previous Nights on Venus albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and also the NoV Website.

Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT
My two Reverends… “Goldenboy” on the left (a Rocco from 2002), and “Prince” (a Charger LE with the P-90 pickups from 2014) – not purple, but it came to me from Minnesota.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. He is available for personal astrological consultations. Contact via e-mail at carrington.ct@gmail.com

 

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album released…

The new album, “We Are All Haunted by Something“, has now been released officially as of 7/23/2017, on the night of the New Moon in Leo. In a few weeks, the next New Moon… is also in Leo, which is something of a rarity, astrologically speaking, though it does happen every few years, and this is also the Total Solar Eclipse which will be occurring across the U.S. on August 21st.

Path of the Total Solar Eclipse across America on August 21, 2017… In typically American (exceptionalist) fashion, it is being called the Great American Eclipse. Image courtesy of NASA. Click on the image to enlarge.

I’ll be talking about that – what it might possibly signify for the next six months, astrologically – in the next blog post here in a couple of weeks, and yes, it IS a big deal. View responsibly, wherever you are. [Solar eclipses typically suggest the tone of events – in whatever house they occur on a chart for individuals or countries – for the next 6 months or until the next solar eclipse, which in this case, will be February 15, 2018.]

Erin and I will be here in the Denver metro area viewing the partial eclipse which will be fine. We’ll both be at work that day and it will get all dark and eerie for about half-an-hour. I had made reservations in Ogallala, Nebraska a while back (only because Wyoming was already booked up), then watched as the hotel jacked up the prices every few weeks, saw what we would be paying, until I finally cancelled, and now I see that Nebraska is sold out as well. I have no idea what the going rate is now other than exorbitant (also in typically American fashion, i.e., greed).

So for now here’s the album… available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon MP3, and Bandcamp; you can listen to the full album here…

Or SoundCloud, full album here as well…

It is a Sunday afternoon right now and we are having a thunderstorm here in Golden – a good soaking rain which is always welcome in what is usually a dry summer, now as we head into August. Everything still looks green. Almost done with summer… thankfully.

The last couple of weekends we’ve gone up to Central City in the mountains… to see the opera. The Central City Opera is now in its 85th season at the opera house, a national historic landmark that was built in 1878. We saw “Carmen” by Georges Bizet, then Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” yesterday… both excellent productions. If you’re here in the Denver area during July and August, I highly recommend going up there to take in a performance. Year in, year out, they are at the very top of summer opera companies in the U.S. so go see them.

The Opera House in Central City, CO…

I am taking something of a break for the time being, but usually that never lasts long. Originally, “We Are All Haunted by Something” was to be a double album and there are 9 songs in various stages of completion that didn’t make it onto the album as released. I will be working on those, finishing them up over the next couple of months and hope to have 4-5 completed by mid-November to release as a follow-up EP sometime in December, possibly also as a 2-disc CD offering.

"Speed of Life" single, released on 10/9/16...
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…
Album cover for “We Are All Haunted by Something”, scheduled for release in July 23, 2017. This is the old abandoned Apache Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico – shot taken in 2009. The image of the night sky is from Justin Marsh, added with his permission.

The new album, “We Are All Haunted by Something” has now been released. Includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”.

Speed of Life“,Unearthly, Santos and all previous Nights on Venus albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and the NoV Website.

goldenboy_and_prince

Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT

 

 

 

 

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

election day, 2012 as mercury goes retrograde… part 2 of 2

Writing late Saturday night now… there are no further news items on whether the election should be postponed or not and I just read an article on how displaced New Jersey residents will be able to vote by e-mail. But what’s going on in Ohio? A friend of mine on Facebook posted this news story on his timeline. If you’ve been on Facebook at all these last 2 1/2 months… well, you know what that’s been like, unless you have some very mellow, apolitical friends.

Social Media and Mercury Rx – A few observations:
This has been the most contentious election season I can ever remember, even more so than the Bush-Gore election in 2000. Social media as a relatively recent phenomenon since the 2008 election – ruled by Mercury as well since it is communication –  has added a new level of rancor to this, especially on Facebook. In general, Twitter has been a much more civil place to hang out (at least for me), probably because of the 140 character limit. No matter who people are for, I think for the overwhelming majority of us, we’ll be glad when this is all over and the political posts come to an end. Another manifestation of Mercury retrograde (and remember, we’re not even there yet – it starts Tuesday) is that civility usually gets tossed with the bathwater as emotionality is heightened, so if this election process goes on for days or weeks, which it very well could, let’s all ease up on each other… shall we? Or should we just go back to bumper stickers and ripping off the ones we disagree with?

Part 2: The Present… Onward thru the Fog
Almost everyone has been saying how important this particular election is – well, it is, but they all are, and I would say that based on where we are now in the U.S. and with what has happened since the 2000 election and the way that election played out, the last time transiting Mercury was retrograde on Election Day, that may well turn out to be the most important election we’ve seen in this country. Does the 2012 election give us a chance to start to rectify the problems we saw most dramatically in 2000 or are the results and process itself going to be increasingly called into question with each successive election?

Specifically what I’m referring to is the situation where a candidate loses the popular vote yet wins the election through the electoral college. Might this year be the 5th time in U.S. History that this happens (the 3rd with Mercury retrograde on Election Day and the 2nd time in only 12 years)? Some pundits have already suggested that this might be the case again in 2012. [And think of poor Samuel J. Tilden who won both the electoral vote and the popular vote and still lost the Presidential election to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 – how did THAT happen? Mercury was not retrograde then but was at 0 degrees Scorpio, same degree and sign as in the 2000 election.]

In astrology, Mercury is often known as the “cosmic trickster,” particularly when it goes retrograde (three times a year, every year). Could it be that when it is retrograde during a general election, one of its functions is to point out any inherent flaws in our election system and process? Might it also mean that there are more “shenanigans” behind the scenes from those who would try to manipulate the system?

That it goes retrograde that often each year and yet there are only 9 instances (since 1848) of it happening during a general election – doing the math, 9 times out of 492 times Mercury has been retrograde since then, and 9 times out of 42 elections – indicates a special set of circumstances. In other words, not the norm and not “business as usual” in the life of the United States. The meaning of that would seem to be that these periods indicate when significant events are about to happen or a significant change in direction takes place in this country, particularly in a very close race.

Go back to yesterday’s post (Part I of this little ‘cosmic’ treatise), and the table…

Taking a look at the last 4 elections where Mercury was retrograde, here’s very briefly what happened:

2000 – Bush elected amid controversy, 9/11 attack the following year, Patriot Act passed, invasion of Iraq in 2003
1980 – Reagan elected handily, an end to the hostage crisis in Iran, changes in policy direction across the board, the country ‘swings to the right’
1960 – Kennedy elected in close election with the results not known until the following day, the ‘new frontier,’ manned space exploration begins, Cuban missile crisis, JFK assassinated in 1963
1940 – Roosevelt elected for unprecedented 3rd term, Pearl Harbor attack the following year, U.S. enters World War II, end of the Great Depression

What will the election of 2012 bring over the next few years?

A Second Observable Pattern with Mercury During Elections
During my research I came across another repeating pattern which applies not only to Mercury retrograde but Mercury in general in successive elections. Since Mercury is never more than 28 degrees apart from the Sun from our vantage point here on Earth, it can only be placed in a chart in the same sign as the Sun or the sign immediately before or immediately after. Since elections are always held in early November here, the Sun is always in Scorpio, so Mercury can only be in 3 signs – Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. Most of the time it’s in Scorpio (23 out of the 42 elections since 1848).

In general, elections that take place when Mercury is in Scorpio suggest a certain stability in leadership and direction (e.g. – both Roosevelts, FDR and Teddy, Eisenhower, Reagan), Scorpio being a fixed sign which means exactly what ‘fixed’ implies.

When Mercury does fall in Libra in one general election year, the following election year, 4 years later, you will find it in the mutable sign of Sagittarius. Mutable as in change based on information and perception. This pattern repeats itself without fail since 1848, so you can take those two election years as a pair – 1856 and 1860; 1896 and 1900; 1908 and 1912; 1928 and 1932; 1948 and 1952; 1968 and 1972, and most recently, 2008 and 2012. 7 pairs of election years in which during 5 of those paired years, there was a change in President; all of those Presidents served only one term. The only exceptions were in 1896 – William McKinley won the 1900 election as well – and in 1968 when Richard Nixon won both the ’68 and ’72 elections. Both were Republicans. This little phenomenon of the incumbent winning a 2nd term hasn’t occurred on the Democratic side.

Well, you can see where I’m going with this as a possible predictive tool, but there’s really not enough of a data set here to draw any conclusions and of course Mercury is going retrograde this year. The one instance of the Libra-Sagittarius sequence that involved a Mercury retrograde was the 1908-1912 pair, when Woodrow Wilson (D) replaced William Howard Taft (R). It would seem to suggest a change in office… We’ll see.

The symbol for a planet retrograde in astrology is Rx, actually the same symbol you’ll find for pharmacies. Is a prescription involving a change this year going to be good for what ails us or do we all just need more cowbell?

Before I get into any predictions… first, I’ve only looked at one specific thing here: the occurrence of Mercury Rx in general elections on the U.S. natal chart. That’s a very small data set from which to draw conclusions from – I didn’t even look at the aspects between Mercury and other transiting or natal planets on the chart or this blog would be twice as long (and there’s a doozy of an aspect – Mercury square Neptune which only contributes to the confusion and lack of resolution). For a full analysis, you’d look at the U.S. chart, the natal charts of Obama (the Leo showman who shines in the spotlight), Romney (Pisces, the traditionalist), and Gary Johnson (Capricorn, the pragmatic achiever… I include Johnson because he will probably garner 3-5% of the popular vote, thus he is a factor) and I have, and again this blog would be considerably longer.

Second, I never really like making ‘predictions’ for the simple reason that it reinforces the stereotype of astrology as “fortune-telling,” which it is not. Describing some of the things and issues that come up and what possible outcomes might be is just one part of it. Astrology is the interpretive art of a symbolic language used as a tool to gain better understanding of self, others, and the world we live in. It is more of an ART than anything else, which means its meanings are somewhat subjective, even based on observed phenomena and tendencies, and based on the skill-level and relative consciousness of the person who is doing the interpretation. Now, having said that…


So You Want Predictions? Here’s a Few…

1. I do not expect things – specifically, the counting of votes – to run smoothly.
2. Results will be scrutinized, questioned, and challenged… heavily.
3. I expect at least a few disputes of vote totals.
4. I expect President Obama to be re-elected, with the following caveats

IF the election results are finalized quickly, within 5 days to a week. Remember, there’s the Solar Eclipse coming up as well on November 13-14th in Scorpio in the 12th House. If we’re still sifting through the returns at that time or there are challenges to the results, it could mean more delays, including some (or all) of the following…

We may see full investigative activities begin after the 13th if election results are still in question, including civil lawsuits and possibly even a couple of criminal ones. Already we’ve seen a couple of incidents of alleged voting fraud and charges filed against at least one person for voting fraud. Is this the tip of the iceberg?

One thing with Mercury in Sagittarius this year is that Sagittarius tends to bring things like this out in the open, rather than remaining hidden when Mercury is in secretive Scorpio.

Finally, IF this becomes a repeat of the 2000 election and drags on unresolved into late November (beyond the 25th) or December, the longer this continues, it begins to favor Mitt Romney and if we hit mid-December without a clear winner, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up being declared the winner, especially if it ends up in the courts.

Personally, I don’t think this election process will go beyond Nov. 25th… but it could (imagine how ugly things could get on FB by then).

5. I expect there will be a considerable concerted effort and push to eliminate the electoral college following this election. Since it is written into the Constitution, that can only be done by amendment, but look for some kind of proposed full-scale election reform here.

So we’re into the final stretch, the last couple of days, and we’ll probably find ourselves moving further into unknown territory. If you haven’t already voted early… go vote on Tuesday! Then, in the words of Bette Davis, “fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night…”

Craig Thomas has studied astrology since 1976 and has practiced professionally for 29 years.

“In 4 the Evening” is the second and current album from Nights on Venus and is available as a digital download on CDBabyiTunesAmazon.mp3Bandcamp and other fine online retailers. On CD through the NoV website.

Follow Craig and NoV on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.

election day, 2012 as mercury goes retrograde… and through previous (and future) U.S. general elections, part 1 of 2

Prelude/Background:
It was about a week-and-a-half ago (10/22 apparently, from my posts on Twitter)… I was sitting at the dining table working on my laptop when I heard Erin call to me from her office, “Hey, when does Mercury go retrograde again?” Since we both have Mercury as the final dispositor of our charts (i.e., ruling planet), it’s an important question to ward off any potential verbal misunderstandings that may come up between us. We both tend to take a walk on the cerebral side a bit…

“Pretty soon I think,” I answered back… and then looked it up in the handy-dandy online ephemeris. I had no idea how soon though – it goes retrograde on November 6th… Election Day here in the U.S this year.

At first I thought ‘well, that’s interesting,’ and then, knowing what Mercury retrograde means and how it usually manifests – in mis-communications and misunderstandings with others and in routine transactions (including electronic malfunctions), a certain amount of confusion, delays in outcomes and decision-making, and a general feeling of things seeming to be blocked or of not being able to get much of anything accomplished – I revised that to an “uh-oh.”

[Understand, planets retrograde or in certain signs, houses, and aspects do not cause anything to ‘happen’, but rather suggest what types of events we may encounter and heighten our awareness of what actually does happen, bringing some clarity, hopefully, to our awareness of our own responses to events as they occur and what they might mean].

I wondered where else a Mercury retrograde might have occurred… and thought back to the election of November, 2000. You know… the one that ended up in the courts and was only resolved a month later in which George W. Bush was eventually declared the winner over Al Gore. Hanging chads, Florida, etc….  Since this is still somewhat fresh in most Americans’ minds, even after 12 years, I had a hunch, and it was a good place to start…

Of all astrological phenomena, Mercury retrograde is probably tied with knowing one’s Moon sign, or Ascendant, for second after the basic knowledge of one’s Sun sign. Sure enough, Mercury was also retrograde that year – moving from retrograde to stationary that exact day – November 7, 2000, the day of the election. What ensued after that was some full-blown research of how many times Mercury has been retrograde during our November general elections and looking at the birth chart of the United States.

Well, this is the kind of stuff that astrologers get excited about…

As far as which birth chart of the U.S. I use, I work from the Sagittarius rising birth chart – the Sibley chart (July 4, 1776, 5:11:30 p.m. EST, Philadelphia, Pa.) shown below, for many of the same reasons outlined by astrologer Dane Rudhyar in his article “The Riddle of the USA Horoscope.” I mention this because there is [still] some disagreement among astrologers as to whether the USA birth chart has Sagittarius or Gemini rising – I’ve had discussions with a few astrologers on this (a couple of them quite ‘spirited’) – and I want to lay that to rest here. Even as a constantly shifting ‘ambiguous collective,’ the character and personality of this country – as indicated by the Ascendant and 1st House – is still much more Jupiterian (optimistic, expansive, generous, and faith-based, i.e., religious, with a concern for getting at the truth) than it is Mercurial (intellectual, inquisitive, chameleon-like – changeable – and detail-oriented, i.e., factual-based). As a country, we tend to focus more on the ‘big’ picture and paint in broad strokes… and oftentimes overlook the small details (Mercury).

Birth Chart of the United States… rectified to 12 degrees, 40 minutes Sagittarius on the Ascendant… Note that Mercury is retrograde at 24 degrees in Cancer in the 8th House in the natal chart…

Once I’d compared the Election Day transit charts of this year with the one from 2000, and even before Hurricane Sandy began bearing down on the East Coast, the placement of retrograde Mercury at 4° Sagittarius in the 12th House suggested a high possibility/probability of delays in knowing the results of the election. Whether that would be days, weeks, or a full-blown repeat of what happened in 2000 wasn’t (isn’t) known, but figured, in a hotly contested, close and highly contentious Presidential race, it would be 2-5 days at the least and even up to 3 weeks if there were allegations of improprieties (fraud) and voting ‘anomalies’… longer if it went to the courts as in the 2000 election.

And then Hurricane Sandy, the ‘superstorm,’ did hit, taking the expected left turn into land and into the New Jersey shore on October 29th…

First of all, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this storm, who have suffered and are still suffering now in the aftermath of Sandy – those who still have no power, no drinkable water, no food, no heat – particularly those on Staten Island – and now the long lines at the gas stations. May you, your families, and everyone stay safe and get all the help you need quickly

Flooded coastline of New Jersey on October 30th…

The images of devastation are truly amazing, humbling, and unimaginable. I was born on the Jersey coast (Asbury Park) and have family members in 7 of the states that have been hard hit by Sandy – 4 of my family evacuated from New York City and New Jersey a couple of days before the storm made landfall (they are now staying in various places in Pennsylvania, itself affected, though less, for the time being); all have been accounted for as of 10/31. As of this writing (Friday evening), the NYC marathon has been cancelled/postponed, as it should have been – there are far too many people who are stranded and need help NOW! The race can wait. Donations are being accepted through the American Red Cross…   Please give generously.

And yet, as the story continues to unfold on the Eastern seaboard, the machinery of the U.S. political process as we head into the election on Tuesday, rolls on. Here in Colorado, we’ve seen President Obama at least 4 or 5 times over the last month, Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, will be here twice this weekend, and Gary Johnson (Libertarian) has also been here a couple of times in the last 2 weeks. We are a swing state this election and between Obama and Romney it’s too close to call here.

Many have wondered if the Nov. 6th election can and should be postponed. As of now, it has not… and is not likely to be postponed for the following reason: “Without passage of a new federal law, voting for president is required to take place on Tuesday, November 6 [the first Tuesday of November], as planned.” For the full article explaining this, click here.

A flooded tunnel in New York City on 10/31…

Personally, I believe the election should be postponed (if it still can be) or should have been postponed once the extent of the damage had been determined. What has happened the last few days on the East Coast is unprecedented, even aside from the fact that this takes place right before an election, and in the interest of fairness and greatest representation of the populace, the election should take place once power has been restored in all areas, but it would take a vote in Congress to do this now. It has been suggested that polling hours could be extended, but how much would that really help? Voting in the general election on Tuesday is, for many people at this point, probably the last thing on their minds as they’re just trying to survive and living with the uncertainty of one day at a time. We shall see…

Part I: Through the Past Darkly (with a flashlight)
Once the link between this election and the 2000 election had been established – both with transiting Mercury retrograde – I had to keep going with it… back through the 20th century, all the way back to the 19th century, eventually stopping at the general election of 1828. For purposes here, I stop at 1848 because that appears to be the first year that election day was affixed to the first Tuesday in November – before that, the general election appears to have taken place over the course of roughly a month-and-a-half. (1848 was also the last time in the U.S. that a “third-party” candidate… i.e., something other than Democrat or Republican… won the Presidential election – Zachary Taylor of the Whig Party, and since he died while in office, his successor, Millard Fillmore, also of the Whig Party at the time).

How many times has Mercury retrograde occurred at the same time as the general elections?

What was discovered – along with revisiting a lot of American History (because even though my knowledge of it is pretty good I think, things become a little sketchy on the other side of William McKinley and the election of 1896… just sayin’) – is that the occurrence of Mercury retrograde during the election happens every 20 years,  with the notable exception of 1920 (missing it by 3 days) and 2020, in which case it’s happening this year instead. The 20-year occurrence pattern also continues on into the future, starting up again 20 years from now in 2032 (more on this a little later).

A brief look back…

OUTCOMES OF U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS WHEN MERCURY WAS RETROGRADE (1st Tuesday in November)

Year Sign House Winner – Party
2012 Sagittarius 12th ?????
2000 Scorpio 12th George W. Bush – Republican*
1980 Scorpio 11th Ronald Reagan – Republican
1960 Scorpio 11th John F. Kennedy – Democrat
1940 Scorpio 11th Franklin D. Roosevelt – Democrat
1908 Libra 11th William Howard Taft – Republican
1888 Scorpio 11th Benjamin Harrison – Republican
1868 Scorpio 12th Ulysses S. Grant – Republican
1848 Scorpio 12th Zachary Taylor – Whig

*  This marked only the fourth election in U.S. History in which the eventual winner failed to win the popular vote (the other elections being 1824, 1876, and 1888). The final electoral vote count was 271 for Bush, 266 for Gore. There was the controversy of the awarding of 25 electoral votes from the state of Florida, the hand recount process there, which ended up in the Florida Supreme Court. Bush was not declared the winner until over a month later when Al Gore conceded, on Dec. 13th (click here for a full timeline).

Observations:  So much of astrology is about looking at patterns and then interpreting the symbolic language to see what these patterns might actually mean for us. The 20-year pattern here seems to have a pretty clear and fixed sequence: 5 instances of Mercury retrograde (on U.S. Election Day) spaced apart every 20 years, followed by an instance 12 years later, then back to the 20-year cycles 5 times before another 12-spot. The only place where this doesn’t hold true was in 1920 when the general election was held on November 2nd and Mercury went retrograde on the 5th. Moving forward into the future and looking at the ephemeris, Mercury retrograde on Election Day happens 5 times – in 2032, 2052, 2072, 2092, and 2112 (not the Rush album), and then again 12 years later in 2124 (depending on when the 1st Tuesday in November falls on the calendar).

That Mercury is retrograde in the natal chart of the U.S. and, by transit, is retrograde on Election Day in a fairly consistent sequence suggests, at least to me, that this is something “built-in,” woven into the fabric of the unfolding of this country and its national destiny. There is a link here. There is also another astrological pattern that was discovered during the research and I’ll talk about that too.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re still with me, settle in – I know this is already quite lengthy, but there’s still a ways to go. If you’re wondering where I get to the part where there’s a ‘prediction’ for Tuesday’s election and you just want to skip ahead to “get to the point,” click here

TO BE CONTINUED…

“In 4 the Evening” is the second and current album from Nights on Venus and is available as a digital download on CDBabyiTunesAmazon.mp3Bandcamp and other fine online retailers. On CD through the NoV website.

Follow Craig and NoV on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.

the venus transit of 2012… and 2004

This coming Tuesday, June 5th, the rarest astronomical phenomenon – and also the rarest predictable astrological one – occurs: the Transit of Venus. The transit is the movement of the planet Venus across the face of the Sun from our vantage point on earth and is the rarest eclipse we will see because it only occurs every 105-130 years. These transits happen in pairs, 8 years apart – the previous transit being in 2004; before then, the last pair of Venus transits were in 1874 and 1882. The next time a Transit of Venus will occur will be in 2117 and 2125.

Much of the world will get to see the transit on Tuesday; for those of us in North America, the transit will take place around sunset.

Since this is an eclipse, standard eclipse-viewing rules apply, i.e., do not look directly at it! (for safe-viewing precautions, please go to http://www.exploratorium.edu/venus/question2.html). And fortunately you don’t have to: there will be live webcasts of the event from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii on June 5th beginning at 22:00 UT (6:00 pm, EDT – click here for when the Webcast will begin in your time zone) at http://www.exploratorium.edu/venus/index.html. This is an excellent, informative website by the way so check it out.

We’ve had a number of astronomical events recently – the total Solar Eclipse on May 20th, a partial Lunar Eclipse tomorrow (6/4). So what is the significance of a Transit of Venus? For one thing, historically, these transits have been very important in scientific research and specifically in establishing the measurement of the Astronomical Unit (AU).

In a broader sense, and taking into account astrological significance as well, these transits seem to indicate periods of time in human activity when new breakthroughs occur on a global level in which we come to view our world in a very different way.

Transit of Venus images from the NASA Website….

The last 4 Transits of Venus: A few examples from history…

The Transits of Venus in 1518 and 1526 coincide with the “age of the explorers” – Magellan completed the first circumnavigation of the globe on his expedition between 1519-1522.  The Renaissance was in full swing bringing with it a rebirth in the arts and after the 2nd Venus transit, the Polish astronomer Copernicus published his work that placed the Sun at the center of the solar system rather than the Earth (heliocentric model vs. the established/accepted geocentric model).

Shortly before the next Transits of Venus in 1631 and 1639, the telescope was invented and the astronomer Galileo used the new invention to confirm Copernicus’ heliocentric theory by observing the phases of Venus. Rembrandt painted his famous “Night Watch” painting around the time of the second transit and Sir Isaac Newton’s works were published a little later, advancing the Scientific Age.

With the Venus transits of 1761 and 1769, the works of Voltaire and Rousseau in literature, and Mozart in music significantly changed the world and this was seen as the ‘Age of Enlightenment.’ The American and French Revolutions happened soon after the 2nd transit and the planet Uranus was discovered.

And finally, the transits of 1874 and 1882 saw the acceptance of many new inventions, such as Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone (first US patent for the telephone awarded in 1876), and it was the age of industrialization on a mass scale. A new form of art, Impressionism, appeared on the scene during this time concurrently with the increasing use of photography.

So, now that we’re up to date, what did the Transit of Venus bring us in 2004 (after having sat out the whole of the 20th century)? Well, for one thing, it brought us Facebook (online in February, 2004) and shortly before that, MySpace (August, 2003). Now, before you laugh (and ponder the absurdities of going from the Renaissance and Mozart to… um,  Facebook)… consider that from its beginnings in a Harvard dorm room, Facebook has grown in just 8 short years to have approximately 1 billion usersor 1 in 7 people on the planet! Think about that for a second… 1 in 7. And even though MySpace has by now become pretty much an afterthought and doesn’t receive anywhere near the traffic it used to, at one time (2006) it was the busiest website on the Internet, surpassing even Google.

Love it or hate it, curse it at times and grumble about the Timeline or whatever (personally, I like it), Facebook has become the de facto social networking site (for now) and its “timeline” lines up nicely with these current Venus transits – launched online in 2004; becoming a publicly-traded company in 2012 when it went IPO about a month or so ago. According to reports, Facebook is now getting into the hardware business and is hoping to build its own smartphone by next year.

Of course, Facebook is only one of several popular social networking sites, including Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google Plus, YouTube, etc. and then throw in all the blog sites, all of which can be grouped together as social media. Social media itself wouldn’t be possible without the Internet, which we’ve been enjoying since the early 90’s – in fact, in just 20 years we probably take it so much for granted now that it seems like it’s always been there (for the ‘young-uns’ this would certainly be true) and it’s hard to imagine now that we ever ‘functioned’ without it (although we managed to). The world changed and so did our perception of it.

So, taking into account the technological developments of the last 20-25 years or so, we could say this pair of Venus transits can be seen as signifying ‘The Internet Age’ or ‘The Information Age’ or more broadly – The Digital Age, and it has already been called that. Given the extent of social media and how quickly it has grown, might this also turn out to be the Age of Global Socialization? A time when borders/boundaries become less defined, less important, and blurry, and more people begin to realize that there is more that unites us in a common experience than divides us?

Astrologically, the planet Venus symbolizes love, beauty, pleasure, comfort, relaxation and enjoyment, and rules all forms of the arts. It is also indicative of one’s value system and the Venus function is an important socializing factor – it’s how you make social contacts and friends. This is more of a one-to-one social interaction with others which prompts us to reach out and connect in a loving (Venus as natural ruler of the 7th house on a chart), or at least harmonious, way. It’s a nice bit of synchronicity that on Facebook, ‘friends’ was the term decided upon for the contacts you make online; conversely, ‘de-friending’ someone makes a statement of its own.

There’s an excellent article that appeared on the Whiskey and Gunpowder website a while back entitled “Why Facebook Works, and Democracy Does Not” (slightly misleading title – substitute “Government” for “Democracy”). In it Jeffrey Tucker says that part of the reason for Facebook’s success is that it is “based on the principle of free association” and a “mutually satisfying” arrangement between individuals (again, Venus – the principle of satisfaction in a social context).

‘Kittehs’ on my Timeline…. BUSTED!!

Although Facebook bills itself as “social entertainment,” I think we all know it’s a lot more than that – or potentially can be – no matter how many pictures of cute ‘kittehs’ you put up on your page or videos you share… for example, the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011. Which should also tell you why governments and certain moneyed interests  are working so hard to control the Internet, its content, and social media in general… and why those kinds of controls must be opposed by all of us.

How will social media evolve in the years ahead? What, if anything, will replace Facebook? Yes, it may be easy to scoff at the idea of Facebook or Twitter being a major force in the ongoing evolution of humanity but probably only because if we’ve been on these sites long enough, we’ve become familiar with the quantity/quality and relative nature of the content that’s posted. How will content change (if at all) – i.e., what kinds of things will people be talking about online in 40-50 years or at the time of the next Transit of Venus? What will people in 2117 be talking about on whatever social platforms still exist then online and how will they characterize this current time period we’re now living in?

How much change will we see over the next 20 years? As important as the technological advances have been over the last 20 and the sea change they’ve brought to the world, I think the social connection component may actually be the more important of the two. We’ll see…

To sum up, the significance of this Venus transit seems to be that this is a window of opportunity for global social consciousness and awareness to evolve for once as rapidly as our technology does.

With Nights on Venus, my modest musical endeavor (MME), I’ve seen the reach of my music and this blog extend far beyond what I could have expected. The map below shows all the countries in the world where NoV has fans/friends/listeners/readers since Oct., 2010. I see this and it kind of blows my mind (and thank you for continuing to tune in). This would not have been possible even 20 years ago – without selling millions of albums and touring – much less earlier (I can also take note of fun facts like… that I have a number of fans/friends in Indonesia and yet not one in Wyoming which is just ‘next door’).

It is a small world after all and getting smaller all the time… or maybe it’s just becoming closer and more connected. Despite the obvious dangers that still exist in the world, might this be the beginnings of a more ‘friendly’ world even with those halfway around the globe you haven’t met and may never meet in person… and a more harmonious one as well?

What if the things we take for granted now as ‘entertainment’ – a preoccupation of the previous century right through current day – turn out to be  much more than just mere entertainment?

Be sociable and share!

“In 4 the Evening,” the 2nd album…

In 4 the Evening” is the second album from Nights on Venus and is now available as a digital download on CDBabyiTunesAmazon.mp3Bandcamp, and other fine online retailers. CDs will be available on or around June 7th.

In addition to being a musician and producer with Nights on Venus, Craig has studied astrology for 36 years and has done it professionally for 29 years. Follow Craig and NoV on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.

hermit of north golden….

‘Tis the end of January, this first month of 2012, and whether it’s from a lingering holiday hangover (the recent holidays which seem like ages ago now) or a funk caused by the feeling that I’ve just been spinning my wheels the entire month, I’ve been staying close to home and have become the ‘hermit of north Golden’ with only the implacable southwestern face of North Table Mountain and Maxx, the cat, for company during the days.

Fellow Todd [Rundgren] fans will recognize the title of this week’s blog as a reference to his 1978 album “Hermit of Mink Hollow.” Fortunately, I have a job that allows me to work from home, but then conversely, only serves to reinforce my hermit-like tendencies these days (when we move in March, I will then become the ‘hermit of West Golden’, holing up in the new Man-Cave Recording Studio) .

I could just as easily attribute this month’s seclusion to a double whammy of Saturn-Neptune aspects on my chart (transiting Saturn conjunct natal Neptune, transiting Neptune square natal Saturn for all you budding astrologers following along at home) and talk about that, but decided it was too esoteric and I don’t want to turn this into an astrology blog. There are already some good astrology blogs and websites out there – e.g. Lynn Koiner’s website at http://www.lynnkoiner.com.

In regard to Saturn-Neptune aspects, I will say that when you have these two mismatched planetary energies hook up on your chart – Neptune, symbolically, the planet of dissolving or no boundaries, and Saturn, which is all boundaries and structure – well, they don’t exactly play well together and it can be a little disconcerting and alter your perceptions of things… for a while (how this might manifest, if you’re a musician or artist for instance,  is the classic lament – “Everything sounds/looks like shit!” – and you’re not happy with anything you do).

Effects of Saturn-Neptune transits notwithstanding, every artist struggles with this stuff at various times. You think, ‘just when the work was going so well and moving along’ – brick wall… but that’s exactly when and why it happens – because the work has been going along so well. You have to re-stock the pond, replenish the hopper, and heed the ’10 commandments’ of what not to do below:

Something that came across my Facebook news feed a while back.... original source unknown.

The best remedy for something like this if you’re doing creative work is to just keep working at it, take breaks when you hit a creative wall (or need to), and suspend all judgment. Watch some bad movies (“Just Go With It”)… watch some good ones (“Black Swan”). Go skiing… or bowling. Listen to some Head East, an almost all-but-forgotten Midwestern classic rock band from the 70’s.  Which pretty much describes January, 2012 for me.

Nothing much got written blog or otherwise because not a whole lot has been going on… well, the new Nights on Venus website did go live last week and it can be found here….

and also this month, Nights on Venus has signed a 20-album, 20-year deal with Excellent Sky Records. This would perhaps be more newsworthy if NoV, Excellent Sky, and myself were not all one and the same or the fact that I’ll be 75 (yikes!) when said contract expires.

This past week though, something of a breakthrough. I went back and revisited a song idea that I’d begun last fall, before the move back to Colorado, and developed it further and now have the title track for the forthcoming album, “In 4 the Evening” (I4tE). I am currently doing final mixdown on it and should have it up on the blog and Reverb site next week along with some photographs of the annual Breckenridge Ice Sculpture competition, which is really cool (literally) if you haven’t been. Looking forward to getting back up there.

So until then…

Nights on Venus - the debut album (2011)

The Nights on Venus debut album is available as a digital download (MP3) and can be found on CDBabyiTunesAmazon.mp3eMusic, and other fine online retailers.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.

a ‘new’ paradigm for the artist, pt. 1…

Well… no new music this week. I had planned to have the song I’ ve been currently working on for what seems like an eternity finished over the weekend but the ‘real world’, maybe (probably) aided and abetted by Mercury retrograde – the cosmic trickster – threw me a couple of major curves that had to be dealt with. It’s Tuesday night and for now, those things have been dealt with. New music next week…

Instead, I find myself now writing about some things that had been on my mind and bothering me since the death of Amy Winehouse 2 1/2 weeks ago. Specifically, this idea that “great art is born out of great pain”. In other words, the whole ‘romantic notion’ and myth of the ‘tortured artist’. I really started wondering and asking a few questions about that… again. For instance: is great art produced only as the result of great pain? or… unless you’re suffering sufficiently, does that mean you can’t ever produce great art?

It’s kind of amazing to me that these are still prevailing assumptions about art/music and what it takes to make art, probably not among most artists themselves, but in the way it persists in society in general. As if to confirm this, I was in my favorite little coffee spot this past Sunday morning – Drip on Lovers Lane (in the U.P.) – talking to a couple of people and the subject of music and Amy Winehouse came up; one woman said, “artists have to suffer to make their art.” Well…  I countered by saying that “that was a dangerous assumption to have about art because it just perpetuates that whole tortured artist thing – it’s a stereotype”, but that’s how deeply ingrained this idea seems to be (the “starving artist” would be a close corollary).

So I wondered… Does being engaged in the process of creating necessarily incline one to having inner ‘demons’ or do you create works of art because you know you have them and are trying to keep them at bay? Does that become the necessity?

What about those artists who are simply expressing joy through their work? Does that automatically disqualify those works from being great art? And why should it come down to a choice, seemingly, between being happy and healthy, relatively speaking, or producing great art? Which do you want more? Why not both?

An excerpt from a popular book I read about 20 years ago (has it been 20 years now?):

“In retrospect, I am astounded I could let go of the drama of being a suffering artist. Nothing dies harder than a bad idea. And few ideas are worse than the ones we have about art. We can charge so many things off to our suffering-artist identity: drunkenness, promiscuity, fiscal problems, a certain ruthlessness or self-destructiveness in matters of the heart. We all know how broke-crazy-promiscuous-unreliable artists are. And if they don’t have to be, then what’s my excuse?

“The idea that I could be sane, sober, and creative terrified me, implying, as it did, the possibility of personal accountability…”  – Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

“Personal accountability”… hmm, that doesn’t sound terribly ‘romantic’. Sounds kinda… boring. The last part of that paragraph:

You mean if I have these gifts, I’m supposed to use them?” Yes.”

In one sense, it would seem that not much has changed. What has changed in 20 years is the proliferation and speed of media, just the sheer saturation of it on a daily basis. Perhaps that tends to reinforce this kind of [pop] cultural myth where artists are concerned. You can see where I’m going with this, but I don’t want to get into all that just yet…

Who and what defines what ‘great art’ is anyway? It’s all subjective… ask 20 people what they consider to be great art/music and you’ll get a list of their personal favorites/preferences and 20 different answers. Why be concerned about great art at all? Because you can’t think about making ‘great art’ while you’re in the process of doing it, i.e., that designation doesn’t come from artists themselves. We’re just doing our thing, man, whether it’s pushing paint around on canvas or banging on the drums or piano keys – just makin’ some noise. You express what is yours to express or what you have to express. If it’s authentically yours – filtered through whatever influences you’ve digested – you can only draw from your own experience and vocabulary.

This cultural myth goes a lot deeper and back a long, long way and I can tell I’m probably going to drag poor old Orpheus and Narcissus into this somewhere down the line, so this is Part 1. The basic point is that I think we need to challenge (defuse) and re-think most of these commonly held beliefs/assumptions where art and artists are concerned in society, particularly where they are perpetuated through media outlets, and start to come up with a better model. The first thing is just to start by asking questions. I don’t necessarily have any answers, but something I’ve found useful is to remember that creating is just something you do, it’s not who you are…  or as Frank Zappa put it: “Shut up and play yer guitar.”

Part 2 sometime soon…

Nights on Venus - 1st album

The Nights on Venus debut album is available as a digital download (MP3) and can be found on CDBabyiTunes,  Amazon.mp3eMusic, and other fine online retailers.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.

This is Lap Cat. Lap Cat is to Nights on Venus what Eddie is to Iron Maiden... sort of.