Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice!

Night to Come, by Aiko Shimada

I wait for the night to come
I wait for the night to come
The darkness brings me light
The darkness brings me light

Stars, the proof
Stars, the proof
Stars, the proof
that I’m there

I wait for the night to come
I wait for the night to come
The light brings me the truth
The light brings me the truth

A Return to the Light -- Winter Solstice December 22, 2011 at 5:30 am GMT

Night to Come is a beautiful song by Seattle singer-songwriter Aiko Shimada, whose poetic and subtle voice evokes the quiet anticipation that many of us feel as we wait for the turning point of the Winter Solstice. Click here to listen:

Like Aiko I too am waiting for the longest night of the year to bring the return of the light. This year the Winter Solstice occurs on Wednesday, December 21 at 9:30 pm on the West Coast. The word solstice comes from the Latin sol sistere which means "the sun stops and stands still" and for a few days around the time of the winter solstice the Sun appears to stand still as its elevation at noon does not seem to change for three days. This moment marks the turning point of yin to yang, contraction to expansion, dark to light in the Northern hemisphere.  It is a time when many religious traditions celebrate and associate the return of the light with the return of the divine.  And thanks to Mayan calendar researchers like John Major Jenkins most of us have come to know that the winter solstice Sun has aligned directly on the Great Rift of the Galactic Center for the past decade receiving galactic evolutionary information and transmitting it to the Earth during the still point of the solstice. This alignment occurs every 24,000-26,000 years as a result of the precession of the equinoxes.  According to Jenkin's hypothesis, the Sun precisely aligns with this intersection point next year at the winter solstice of 2012, which he believes the classical Mayans anticipated as a signal that heralds the end of a world age and a spiritual transition for mankind.

In the Vedic tradition the Galactic Center is called Brahma, the creative force, or Vishnunabhi, the navel of Vishnu, and is the location of the central galactic Sun, whose influence emanates from the stars of the constellation of Sagittarius and the nakshatra of Mula meaning "root" or root star. Like the root system of plants and trees, this nakshatra also symbolizes all sorts of hidden things, realms, and events.  The deity associated with this nakshatra is Nirriti, the goddess of destruction who gives Mula the power to break things apart, barhana shakti, perhaps esoterically representing the black hole that many astrophysicists suspect is hidden inside the core the Galactic Center.   Nirriti is also connected with the goddess Kali as one aspect of the mother-creator-liberator deity.  She is said to live in the south, considered the land of the dead.  Thus it is intriguing that the Winter Solstice, the moment the Sun begins to head north, is under the influence of Nirriti for 13 days due to our current place in time and space -- the Kali yuga.  During this two week period Mula presents opportunities to return our attention to the divine light and to expand our consciousness, but we must surrender and let go of what is not working, leaving it behind in the land of the dead, in order to receive the galactic light and to allow new life to emerge.

It is believed by many traditions that a central Sun at the Galactic Center emits waves of energy that direct the evolution of consciousness.  As David Frawley describes in his book The Astrology of the Seers:
From the galactic Sun emanates the light which determines life and intelligence on Earth and which directs the play of seven rays of creation and the distribution of karma.
Hindu depictions of the Vishnunabhi portray Vishnu floating on the great cosmic serpent, Shesha, who floats coiled in the universal ocean of space as seen in the video above and illustration below.  This immense serpent holds all the planets of the universe in its hood and constantly sings all the glories of Vishnu from its many mouths.

Brahma (Ultimate Creator) sits on a lotus,the symbol of divine energy and divine grace. The lotus grows from the navel of Vishnu, who is the sleeping god, whose dream is the universe. . . . Brahma opens his eyes and a world comes into being. . . Brahma closes his eyes, and a world goes out of being. ~ Joseph Campbell

Other accounts suggest that when Shesha uncoils, time moves forward and creation takes place; but when he coils back, the universe ceases to exist. Shesha also means "remainder" as in that which remains when all else ceases to exist.  In my last post I shared a video that described how some scientists believe that space-time itself is expanding and creating more space between galaxies. This video portrays the fabric of the universe as an undulating field of what physicists term "dark matter" that reminded me of a great cosmic serpent (1:58 - end).

Like mysterious dark matter, much of the light of this central Sun does not exist in visible frequencies, but has a special effect on the Earth that is transmitted across the cosmos -- perhaps in the waves of serpentine dark matter.  Depending upon where our Sun is at in its long orbit around the galactic center determines how well this cosmic and divine light is received.   Frawley writes:

When the Sun is on the side of its orbit wherein its dark companion (binary star) comes between it and the galactic center, the reception of that cosmic light appears to be greatly reduced.  At such times there is a dark or materialistic age on Earth.  When the Sun is on the opposite side of its orbit and has an open reception to the light of the galactic Sun, then there is a spiritual or Golden Age on Earth.  Humanity then acts in harmony with cosmic intelligence and with the Gods or Divine powers that are its functionaries and emissaries.  The Sun's dark companion thus appears to possess a negative magnetic field which obstructs the cosmic light of the galactic center from reaching us on Earth.  Thereby it creates certain cycles of advance and decline in human civilization.

These cycles of light and dark periods on earth are called yugas or world ages: Satya meaning "truth" or golden age, Treta meaning the "third" or silver age, Dwapara meaning the "second" or bronze age, and Kali meaning the "first" or iron age. While there are many variation on the details, the basic concept is the same. The Manu Samhita fixes their duration at 4000, 3000, 2000, and 1000 years for a total of 12,000.  Two cycles of the four ages make up the 24,000 year precession cycle, a descending and ascending group.

During the ascending half the Sun moves towards the place in its orbit that is closest to the Galactic Center and during the descending half the Sun moves toward the point where it is farthest from the Galactic Center.  Currently it seems that we are deep in the Kali yuga, although the great yogi and teacher Sr. Yukteswar taught that we are at the beginning of the Dwapara.  Many researchers believe it is this alignment of the Winter Solstice Sun with the Galactic Center over the past decade that marks the shift of this world age from Kali yuga to Dwapara yuga -- or as some like Jay Weidner suggest marks the hyperspace shift of this age from Kali yuga to Satya yuga (click here and here for more).  Thus the Winter Solstice marks a moment in time when our Sun may be receiving information more clearly to bring the slow harmonization of humanity with the Divine as directed from the intelligence at the Galactic Center.   Many hope and believe the dark night of consciousness is shifting to a new era of light and ascending consciousness.  Thus the eve of the Solstice is a great night to sit in meditation and listen to the cosmic messages being transmitted by Shesha's song.

Devayana and Pitriyana

In addition to the galactic alignment, the winter solstice also marks a shift in divine energies expressed in the natural rhythms of the earth. The cycles of solstices and equinoxes mirror the world ages and effect consciousness here on earth.  In the Vedic tradition, the year is divided between the influence of the Devas ruling the first half of the year from Winter Solstice to Summer Solstice, and the Pitris ruling the second half from the Summer Solstice to the Winter Solstice.
When he [the Sun] turns to the North he is amongst the Devas and protects them; when he turns to the South he is amongst the Pitris and protects them. ~ Shalapatha Brahmann

Uttarayana is the six-month period when the sun travels towards the north on the celestial sphere and Daksinayanas is the six-month period when it travels towards the south.  Thus the year is divided into two paths called the Devayana (northern) and Pitriyana (southern).  
The Devayana, or the path of light, is the path by which the Yogis go to Brahman. This path leads to salvation. This path takes the devotee to Brahmaloka. Having reached the path of the gods he comes to the world of Agni, to the world of Vayu, to the world of Varuna, to the world of Indra, to the world of Prajapati, to the world of Brahman. This is the path of light; this is the path of freedom; this is the path of liberation. The Pitriyana path, or the path of ancestors and darkness, leads to rebirth. Those who do sacrifices to gods and other charitable works with expectation of fruits go to the Chandraloka through this path and come back to this world when their fruits of Karmas are exhausted. There are smoke and dark-colored objects throughout the course. There is no illumination when one passes along this path. It is reached by Avidya or ignorance. Hence it is called the path of darkness or smoke. The dark path is to the Pitris or forefathers. In this path, sadhakas do the Karma of sacrifices or charitable acts with expectation of fruits. This is the path of Bondage.  Click here for more.

The path of light leads to the world of Brahma, the Brahmaloka, Moksha, or liberation from the karmic bonds of reincarnation; whereas the path of darkness, sometimes called the path of man, leads to the world of the Chandra, the moon,  Samsara and the world of births and deaths. According to Sri Swami Sivananda:

Knowing the nature of the two paths and the consequences they lead to, the Yogi never loses his discrimination. The Yogi who knows that the path of Devayana or the path of light leads to Moksha (Karma Mukti) and the path of darkness to Samsara, or the world of births and deaths, is no longer deluded. Knowledge of these two paths serves as a compass or beacon-light to guide the Yogi’s steps at every moment. 

The path of light may also be viewed as a celestial road and the Devayana is also described as the akash ganga or celestial Ganges River.  In fact there are similar traditions from other cultures throughout the world that identify the Milky Way as a path used by mystics to access the realm of the gods, in other words a celestial path with a door in the Great Rift. The Cherokee Indians of America consider the Milky Way to be the pathway of the departing souls, and the Chinese have a description of a celestial river which corresponds to the Milky Way.  As our local Sun is sometimes described as a microcosmic symbol of Brahma, its entry into the Great Rift of the mouth of the Milky Way, the akash ganga, at the Winter Solstice and beginning of the Devayana may indeed suggest that we are all about to embark on the path of light.

The solstice still point occurs at 9:30 pm on Wednesday December 21, 2011 for those of us on the West coast.   At that time the Sun's constellation, Leo, will be rising on the eastern horizon in the nakshatra of Magha whose ruling deities are the Pitris, the ancestral fathers and protectors of the path of man, under a perfect trine from the great benefic Jupiter in the light nakshatra Ashwini whose ruling deities are the Ashwini Kumar, the twin healers who can bring life to the dead.  For me this is another thematic clue, albeit one related to location, suggesting that path of man will be coming to path of light.  We on the West coast may be the light bearers to our communities. According to the shamanic traditions of the Maya, Hopi and Inka we are about to evolve into a new species of human that Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D describes as homo luminous, light man. In his book The Four Insights he writes:

According to the prophecies of the Maya, the Hopi and the Inka, we're at a turning point in human history, a period of great turmoil and upheaval in which a new species of human will give birth to itself. We're going to take a quantum leap into what we are becoming, moving from Homo sapiens to Homo luminous – that is, beings with the ability to perceive the vibration and light that make up the physical world at a much higher level.

In addition the waning Moon will be in the sign of Scorpio in the nakshatra of Vishaka, which many of the readers of this blog will recognize as one of the portal asterisms associated with many of the astrological charts created to understand the Mayan calendar.  The 16th nakshatra Vishakha  is called the "star of purpose" and spreads across the two constellations of Libra and Scorpio and is thus called 'two branched' or 'forked.' Thus is often depicted as a large tree with forked and sprawling branches that provide protection and produces fruit as it ripens with age. This celestial Tree of Life represents the process of reaching and attaining one's goals. The ancient Maya also believed in a Tree of Life that was connected to Hunab Ku, the creative center of the Universe in Mayan cosmology. As you can see from the image below, there is a similar design for ascending and descending of life and consciousness as the four yugas.

There are two other symbols for Vishakha that are also quite intriguing: a potter's wheel and a triumphal gate adorned with leaves. The potters wheel symbolizes creativity and the cycles of time needed to build it. The Bible is full of references to the potter and clay and how God created or prepared the earth, the clay, before he formed man:

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground. ~ Genesis 2:7.

We are the clay, and thou are Potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. ~ Isaiah 64:8b

A triumphal gate is structure that can be swung or drawn that reveals an opening which may be an entrance or an exit. Could this gate imagery associated with the nakshatra rulers of this year's solstice Moon suggest that an energetic doorway may open for us to triumphantly pass though and travel along the path of light into the Milky Way? According to some interpretations Vishakha's triumphal gate comes not only with a celebration of success, but also with a promise of challenge. It symbolizes an ending in its attainment of a goal and the beginning of a new one. Like the eternal cycles of the Mayan Calendar, each end marks the beginning. Some New Age writers have suggested that the sudden disappearance of the Mayan culture was due to their departure through such a portal or star gate. Could this happen on a grand scale? Will a door open? Will you walk through it?
All creation is the interweaving of cycles. From Galactic manifestation to subatomic waves, the universe is a vast spectrum of cycles. The ancient Yogi's experienced the underlying unity of all cycles as the breath of Brahma and the universe as the rhythm of the life breath of a single harmonious Living Being. The cycle known as the in-breath of God, its exact still point is heralded by the return of the Christ consciousness and the end of the Mayan calendar. We have been experiencing the out-breath of Brahma. The period of no-time will arrive in December of 2012. It is the point at which the in-breath begins, at which the expansion within the cosmos ends and all that has been expressed outwards begins the long journey of moving upward to return to the Great Creator. ~ Bruce Berger, Esoteric Anatomy

As the final exhalation of this season releases all that which no longer serves us, notice the moment of stillness created during the solstice before the next inhalation.  Let BKS Iyangar teach you the power of just one breath to bring the light back into your body and life.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Rahu Gobbles up Thanksgiving New Moon

Watch what you eat, drink, and communicate during your Thanksgiving feast or you may have to endure more than the usual post-prandial stupor. Rahu gobbles up the New Moon during the evening hours of Thanksgiving and casts a fairly large shadow down-under in the Southern hemisphere. The North Node's taste for intoxicants will be at an all-time high during this eclipse. My teacher used to say that we are all drunkards, but what separates us is the quality of our wine. So what will you be imbibing? Will there be room for gratitude? Or will hidden and unconscious issues be placed on the table for just desserts? Remember how Rahu lost his head at the big feast celebrating the spoils of the Samudra Manthan!

Partial Solar Eclipse on November 24, 2011 at 10:10 pm pst

2011 has been a banner year for eclipses because the nodes changed signs over the summer. This one will be the fourth solar eclipse of the year and the second one at the South pole. Although it is a partial eclipse, the Moon will obscure most of the Sun (90.5%) with the greatest visibility occurring about 100 miles off the coast of Antarctica (click here for animation from Shadow and Substance). So, like the proverbial tree falling in a forest, what is the effect of this occultation if no one is there to witness and experience its darkening effects? Although Rahu's shadow will not pass over highly populated areas, its effect may still be quite strong as it consumes the energy of the New Moon in Scorpio and taps into the earth's magnetic grid through the South pole, where the last solar eclipse occurred in July 2011 (click here for my previous post).

The glyph for Rahu resembles a horseshoe-shaped magnet which denotes its polarizing effects and its ability to attract fortune and/or misfortune. Moreover, Rahu's magnetic power is amplified at the Earth's poles and its message may travel through through the core and out through the magnetic grid in a spinning torus configuration as demonstrated in the video below.

Rahu in Scorpio June 2011 - January 2013
In addition to taking advantage of its magnetic attributes, Rahu is also at the height of its power because it is transiting what many Vedic astrologers believe to be its sign of exaltation, Scorpio. There is much debate over the rulership, debilitation, and exaltation signs of the Nodes. Many Vedic astrologers insist that Rahu is exalted in Taurus and debilitated in Scorpio, while others suggest the opposite. This reasoning has to do with making a choice between Rahu's materialistic (Taurus) and occult (Scorpio) sides. Recently I was reading Hart deFouw's Light on Life in which he gives a fascinating rationalization for both Rahu AND Ketu being exalted in Scorpio:

A very small group considers both Rahu and Ketu to be exalted in Scorpio and both to be debilitated in Taurus. This approach seems to be verified both by experience and by the logic of the scheme of exaltation. In this scheme the grahas form contrasting pairs: Sun and Saturn, Moon and Rahu/Ketu (both nodes being the opposite ends of the same axis), Mercury and Venus, Mars and Jupiter. For each pair of planets, the exaltation constellation of the one becomes the debilitation constellation of the other, and vice versa. Within this framework it follows that the exaltation constellation of the Moon should be the debilitation constellation of both Rahu and Ketu, and that the debilitation constellation of the Moon should be the exaltation constellation of both Rahu and Ketu.

For me this approach makes a lot of sense, especially because the Moon is the great enemy of the nodes. Thus during this New Moon in Scorpio, the Moon will be weak by sign and Rahu will take advantage of it. Rahu in Scorpio is poised to get what it wants through any means, be it aggressive, coercive, secretive or mystical.

The mysterious sign of Scorpio imbues the great dragon with its intense power to transform the material world. In Western Astrology the sign of Scorpio has two symbols: the Scorpion which represents its lower expression, and the Eagle which represents its higher nature. The Scorpion can be aggressive, venomous, and downright deadly. Its claws grab its prey while its stinger strikes and paralyses its victims before pulling them into a hidden lair burrowed into the earth. Eagles also grab their prey with sharp talons, but instead of poison they use their talons to penetrate flesh. They can be equally deadly as scorpions, but can also soar above the chaos of the world. Eagles do not retreat into the dark, but rather reaches for the heavens and nest high in living trees. The Eagle represents clear vision, and intelligence giving Scorpios their ability to see things more clearly than other signs. Scorpio is a water sign but Mars bestows the essence of fire as well and with it the courage to enter the fire and become transformed through its ability to grab and hold on. Thus Scorpio gives Rahu the power to destroy any impediment on its path to full its desires.

Still I think Scorpio often gets a bad reputation for being vengeful, controlling and manipulative. Yes, it can express itself that way, but it also can be devoted, inspiring, talented, and focused on the great unknown and mysteries of the universe. Rahu also expresses a higher and lower nature. Its lower nature can be obsessive, demanding, and materialistic, whereas its higher nature can be psychic, inventive and attuned to the strength of the masses and collective consciousness. In the Vedic tradition, Rahu is the significator planet of all knowledge that is temporal called maya - the illusory quality of nature. Rahu initiates the karmic pull that brings our soul to manifestation on the earthly plane and under the influence of Scorpio becomes powerful, intense, and shrewd with plenty of concentrated energy to fulfill its desires and/or destiny.

And the Rahu has backup during this holiday. The wily North Node enlists the nearby and freshly retrograde Mercury in Scorpio to assist in amplifying its shadowy message while Scorpio's ruler Mars aspects the big event with a combustive square. Luckily Mars itself is under an uplifting trine from the great benefic planet Jupiter in another sign ruled by Mars, Aries, which promises to raise the martian energy to a higher level of consciousness -- or at least give plenty of fire to fuel the fireworks.

Rahu meets the Great Attractor?
Deep Space and Tropical astrologer Philip Sedgwick recently posted an email article on the North Node's upcoming alignment with a mysterious astronomical force called the Great Attractor:
Over the next days the Lunar North Node comes to align with the enigmatic Great Attractor. This amazing “thing” is one of the most powerful pulling influences in deep space. It radiates in every energy spectrum and is one of the most gravitationally potent objects in the Universe. It’s gravitational effects actually bend light around the Great Attractor such that it can be seen behind. The symbolic imagery is when one stands on tip toes wanting to know what looms over the next horizon. ~ Philip Sedgwick, Galactic Times newsletter cosmic blip email~ October 28, 2011

Tropical astrologer Gary Caton speculates that the world is being initiated into the energy of the Great Attractor via this eclipse. But what exactly is the Great Attractor?

In the 1970s astronomers were surprised to find that galaxies are very unevenly distributed in space, with galactic superclusters that are separated by incredibly huge voids of visible ordinary matter. Based on the observed galactic velocities, the unseen mass inhabiting the voids between the galaxies and clusters of galaxies is estimated to total around 10 times more than the visible matter in this region of the universe. In order to explain the unexpected mass they developed the theory of dark matter. It is believed that this dark matter dictates the structure of the Universe on the grandest of scales. Dark matter gravitationally attracts normal matter, and it is this normal matter that astronomers see forming long thin walls called "cosmic walls" of super-galactic clusters.

Thus the Great Attractor is an intergalactic anomaly whose gravity is apparently pulling in millions of galaxies, including our Milky Way, at an incredible speed of 14 million miles per hour. We are all streaming down this river in space, but the source of this mysterious flow is still unknown.

One of reasons that the source of the Great Attractor is difficult to pinpoint is because it seems to be located behind the center of the Milky Way in the Zone of Avoidance where the thick gas obscures our view and blocks everything behind it. The location of the Great Attractor was finally determined in 1986 and lies at a distance of 250 million light years from the Milky Way, in the direction of the Hydra and Centaurus constellations. There are also huge concentrations of galaxies that exist beyond the Great Attractor, near the Shapley Supercluster which is 500 million light-years away and the most massive known super-cluster. Mapping X-ray luminous galaxy clusters in the Great Attractor region has shown that the pull our galaxy is experiencing is most likely due to both the nearby Great Attractor and these more distant structures. For more on this fascinating astronomical enigma click here and here.

So to be accurate, the current evidence suggests that there isn't a single Great Attractor, but a series of Great Attractors that Sedgwick locates at 14 degrees 22' Sagittarius (tropical) and 19 degrees 18' Scorpio (sidereal), just about where Rahu is currently transiting. As Sedgwick indicated: It’s gravitational effects actually bend light around the Great Attractor such that it can be seen behind. The symbolic imagery is when one stands on tip toes wanting to know what looms over the next horizon. I can't think of anything that Rahu might want more than to get a glimpse at what is just out of mortal sight! Is it possible for Rahu to tap into the field of the Great Attractor by consuming the Sun which is nearing its own alignment with the Great Attractor (actually it will be closer to the exact degree during the lunar eclipse of December 10, 2011)? This should be a very intriguing eclipse period indeed!! And isn't it an interesting coincidence that our local great attractor, Rahu, gains exaltation strength when it aligns with the field of space that contains the Great Attractor?

In Myths and Symbols of Vedic Astrology Bepin Behari describes the esoteric symbolism of the constellation of Scorpio: The scorpion is like a reptile which resides in secret holes . . . Scorpio is also associated with a hole. Whenever we come across the symbol of a deep opening in the earth [or space?], a cavity, a hiding place, or hole there is reference to the mystic power concealed in every human individual. The energy dwelling in such a cavity, whether represented by a serpent or a scorpion, is the vital energy which ensouls every form of creation. Is the Great Attractor a hidden hole in space? Does it contain mystic power waiting to be shared during certain astronomical line ups? The association of Scorpio with both scorpions and serpents is intriguing and thematically demonstrated in its astrological glyph, a serpentine shape with an arrow affixed to one end. Rahu also governs all types of snakes and its glyph often appears on the hood of king cobras.

And it makes sense that the enigmatic Great Attractor is like a secret tunnel in space that pulls us cosmic walls aligned with Scorpio, in particular towards the long-forgotten 13th constellation Ophiuchus. Well, long-forgotten until last January when an astronomer Parke Kunkle made a snide comment about astrology and tried to point out that the current astrological zodiac does not line up with astronomical reality. He also remarked that astronomers tend to reckon the sun's position with 13 constellations instead of 12, and Ophiuchus is the 13th. But in the current astrology zodiac, there are just 12. So if you actually watch the stars in the background of the sun, it actually does go through the constellation of Ophiuchus. His comments set off a media frenzy that stirred an astrological identity crisis for those who do not understand the difference between the tropical and sidereal zodiacs (click here for my previous post). But it did put a lot of attention on this area of the night sky as though it was a preview for Rahu's sojourn into Scorpio.

In Western astrological traditions, the snake handler of Ophiuchus represents the legendary ancient Greek healer Aesclepius, who learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another serpent healing herbs. Like the Nagas of Hindu mythology, snakes are symbols of wisdom, secret knowledge, and immortality. Astronomical images of Ophiuchus, like the one below by 17th Century astronomer Johannes Kepler, depict Aesculepius resting his foot on Scorpius, the Scorpion. According to Greek mythology the great earth goddess Gaia sent Scorpius to kill Orion, the Hunter, who had threatened to hunt down all the animals of the Earth. Scorpius stings Orion who would have died had it not been for the intervention of Aesculapius. The healer gave Orion a sip of the Divine Elixir, revealed by serpents, that restored him to health. Later Zeus finally killed Aesclepius with a bolt of lightning to prevent the entire human race from becoming immortal, and he placed his image in the heavens to honor the healer's good works. In Hindu myth amrita is the divine elixir of mortality that Rahu so desperately desired and ultimately drank. So it seems the ancient Gods did not want humans or demons to drink this potion and share in the ultimate gift of immortality. And it is fascinating that Rahu again may find exaltation in a constellation associated with the serpent bearer Ophiuchus/Aesculapius who also possessed the elixir of immortality.

Kepler was fascinated by the constellation of Ophiuchus because it exploded during his lifetime. In fact it was the last visible supernova called Supernova 1604, or Kepler's Star. Like the Star of Bethlehem, this Supernova no doubt caused quite a stir as it was a visible and bright disturbance in the skies. First observed on October 9, 1604 Kepler's Star was brighter at its peak than any other star in the night sky -- and all the planets other than Venus -- with apparent magnitude 2.5. Moreover, Supernova 1604 was visible during the day for over three weeks at the end of the 12 baktun, and beginning of the last and 13th baktun of the Mayan Calendar which is suppose to resets at the end of 2012. There have been no observable supernova in the Milky Way since that time. Now that we are approaching the end of the 13th baktun, perhaps history will repeat itself and another galactic wave message might be sent from this area of space that houses the hidden flow triggered by the Great Attractor?

In the Vedic tradition, the constellation of Ophiuchus corresponds to the 18th nakshatra Jyeshta which consists of three stars in a row including the bright fixed star Antares. Jyeshta translates as "eldest" and I used to believe that this name was an astronomical reference as the last step before reaching the oldest part of our galaxy, the Galactic Center. But now I wonder if it is a coincidence that the stream generated by the Great Attractor includes many old and ancient galaxies -- intergalactic elders?

The deity associated with the nakshatra Jyeshta is Indra, the King of the Gods, and famous Hindu dragon slayer. In a classic myth, Indra must face a dragon-demon named Vritra, who had taken and hoarded all the waters of the earth causing a devastating drought over the world. To prepare for battle, Indra drank a large quantity of soma, the divine elixir of immortality, which also endowed him enormous strength. When he stormed the dragon's lair, the divine warrior split the belly of the demon with his thunderbolt, releasing the waters and regenerating life onto the planet.

Like the Greek myth of Orion and Aesculapius there are similar themes associated with soma, dragons, lightning bolts and the flow of water. According to Bebin Behari:

Jyeshta means the eldest sister, the middle finger, or the holy river Ganges. A sense of reverence is connected with it. The association of the eldest sister, who is regarded with almost as much respect as the mother in Hindu society, and the river Ganges, which is also regarded as the holy mother, suggest that this asterism functions like a female guardian angel protecting and guiding the development of its earthly children. In Pranayama, yogic breath control exercises, the middle finger is used for stopping the left nostril so as to direct the breath to flow through the right. The primary function of Jyesthta is to guide his spiritual evolution. There has to occur radical transformation at this stage of the soul's pilgrimage.

The stars of Jyeshta transmit arohana shakti, the power to rise and conquer conquer and gain courage in battle. Arohana also translates as "ascend" and this area of the sky is definitely associated with ascension predictions. This nakshatra literally mark the final step before entering the mouth of the dark rift of the Galactic Center of the Milky Way Galaxy, called the Vishnuabi, or Vishnu's belly button. Depictions of Vishnu, the preserver, often portray him asleep dreaming on the coiled-up thousand-hooded Shesha Naga, with his consort Lakshmi, floating on the Kshira Sagar which translates as 'ocean of milk,' the Milky Way.

I recently saw a video that described how some scientists believe that space-time itself isexpanding and creating more space between galaxies. This video portrays the fabric of the universe as an undulating field that reminded me of a great cosmic serpent (1:58 - end).

The expansion of dark matter has waves like an intergalactic ocean on which the twinkling light of the stars shimmer on its undulating surface. From the expansion of darkness follows the expansion of consciousness to infinity. Although most Vedic astrologers would not include new astronomical discoveries in a traditional astrological interpretation, I find it inspiring to ponder how the revelation of these phenomenon in certain symbolic areas of space reflect how consciousness is indeed shifting and expanding.

New Moon in Anuradha
Although Rahu will be in Jyeshta during the upcoming eclipse, the Sun and Moon will be in the 17th nakshatra Anuradha which contains three stars in the body of Scorpio, including that of our closest neighbor Alpha Centauri. These stars represent a row of offerings to the Gods and reflect its power of worship, radhana shakti. It is a wonderful nakshatra to offering up gratitude and thanksgiving to the divine in our family, friends, and life. Anuradha is called the "star of success" and grants success especially in foreign lands, but only through cooperation with others -- that success depends on coming together. This power of manifestation and group effort may be connected to the ruling planet of this nakshatra, Saturn, which has just entered its sign of exaltation where it will remain for the next two and a half years. Although its primary symbol is the lotus flower, it's secondary symbol is an archway -- or portal. Both symbols represent Anuradha's ability to bring the flowering of consciousness out of the challenges of the murky material world and perhaps open up a new portal for our enlightened souls to enter.

Thus as Rahu swallows the conjoined Sun and Moon it will absorb Anuradha's energy and its promise of success. Combined with its position in Jyeshta that gives courage in battle and the ability to ascend, Rahu may have a lotus moment bursting out of the shadowy darkness into the light. But given that Rahu is without a body to process this nourishing energy, this moment may be temporary and pass along with the Sun and Moon. Rahu in Scorpio is more likely to bring the natural extremes of both this sign and planet: great devotion or rejection, toxicity or healing, revolution or deception, fear or courage. Still, perhaps because I am under the illusory influence of Rahu's maha dasha, I can't help but hope that Rahu's transit through Scorpio will assist us to open the door at the galactic center so that we may ascend to a new dimensions in consciousness perhaps riding the ever expanding serpent wave of dark matter.

Most astrologers agree that an eclipse is not a time for any activity except meditation, mantra, and prayers, which may be up to 1,000 stronger under these special conditions. Isn't it an interesting phenomenon that prayers are stronger during the interlude of darkness. As many people will not, or can not, heed this advice, the collective is particularly susceptible to its intoxicating and illusionary power which propels us into the inevitable dramas that unfold under this obstructive and often destructive cloud. But clouds do pass; and sometimes the day of the eclipse is calm, like the eye of a hurricane, when the destructive force of the storm hit you before and after. As the bite of a serpent may kill or heal, so too is the power of Rahu. In its lowest expression it might create anxiety and fear, in its highest form it might bring insight into our karmic bonds and how to release them. Mantras to Durga and Ganesha are particularly protective and beneficial under eclipse periods. May Indra's thunderbolt awaken and release the divine waters of enlightenment within each of us.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Moon in Libra and Diwali Celebrations

Happy Diwali!

New Moon October 26, 2011 12:56 pm pdt

Wednesday's new Moon in Libra initiates the five-day Hindu festival of Diwali, or Deepawali. This Festival of Lights gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects us from spiritual darkness.

Celebrated at the Libra new Moon in October or November each year, Diwali originated as a fall festival that marked the last harvest of the year before the sun lowers into the winter skies. It was a time to give thanks and to ask for future blessings. Today it also marks the beginning of the Indian business New Year. Indians celebrate with family gatherings, glittering clay lamps, festive fireworks, strings of electric lights, bonfires, flowers, sharing of sweets to worship and welcome the goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi, into their homes. It has become a national festival that is celebrated regardless of faith. People of all casts and class participate in it with delight and exuberance. Though celebrated for different reasons, it has evolved into festivities uniting multicultural diversity with worldwide cultures.

This year the new Moon in Libra occurs in the nakshatra of Swati which means "the sword" and reflects the double-edge quality of balance. Swords can kill or protect depending on how the balance is tipped. Like the Libra card of the Tarot in which Justice holds a sword in the right hand and balance in the left, the sword indicates the ability to discriminate and bring objective balance through reason or natural force. In Tarot Swords are associated with air and the mental field, and Swati is ruled by Rahu whose vata nature amplifies its restless quality. The scales represent the balance between dualistic forces and this nakshatra sits in the middle of all twenty-seven nakshatras at the tipping point where the soul becomes conscious of its higher self and begins to focus on unselfish service. Saturn, the planet of service, is exalted in Swati.

One of the deities associated with Swati is Saraswati, the goddess of learning, knowledge and wisdom. Saraswati is represented in Hindu mythology as the divine consort of Lord Brahma, the Creator of the universe. She helped Brahma bring order out of chaos through knowledge and is said to reside in the single star of Swati, Arcturus. In the Rigveda, Saraswati is a river as well as its personification as a goddess -- the name Saraswati comes from saras meaning "flow" and wati meaning "a woman." So the goddess Saraswati is a symbol of knowledge which flows like a river and is captivating like a woman. Saraswati is also worshiped along with Lakshmi and Ganesha during Diwali celebrations.

Swati's primary symbol is a single plant shoot blown by the breeze indicating its ability to bend with the wind in order to survive the forces of change. Just as a young plant strives to grow towards the light, it requires determination and adaptability ,also associated with the air element, to grow and mature. The deity associated with Swati is Vayu, the demigod of air and wind who pervades the universe and sustains life through breath. Astrologically air and wind symbolism also reveal the power to move things and Swati's power to "scatter like the wind," pradhvamsa shakti, may send seeds of change across the atmosphere. Mass trends spread wildly under this energy and require Libran balance to serve the the highest good.

Whether in October or November, Diwali often takes place during a new Moon in Libra, which means the Sun is in its sign of debilitation, and this year near its exact degree of debilitation. Libra rules the 7th house and descendant, where the Sun sets in a chart. The glyph of Libra is in fact a representation of the setting Sun or Greek letter omega as in the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. Here the natural effulgence and individuality of the Sun dims, and allows the influence of Libra's ruler, Venus, to shift the interest of the individual from self to others. Venus is the planet of relationship, but Libra is not merely the sign of partnership, it is the sign of other people in general. It is literally the "balance" between the individual and society. When the Sun is debilitated it can no longer shine its power on leaders and authority figures, and instead may allow the Venusian vibration to bring compromise on behalf of the collective.

As we have seen during the Sun's current sojourn through Libra, the masses across the world have been inspired to join in the Occupy Wall Street protest that began on September 17, 2011. Both the balanced dancer (Libra) and raging market bull (Taurus) represent aspects of Venus and its signs. At the start of the protests Venus was debilitated in Virgo and still hidden in the light of the Sun because it was only 30 days past its superior conjunction. Venus in this position is viewed by Western astrologers as returning from her shamanic journey to the underworld where she was seeking justice from Hades/Pluto and transforming from Venus morning star of war to Venus evening star of peace. Moreover, the planet Pluto had just stationed making a square to this debilitated Venus that provided the power to release the repressed emotions and stress of the collective -- the so-called 99% -- to finally push back against an unfair system of wealth distribution. Later in the month, as Venus approached Saturn, it became clear that this movement was justified and was not going away, and in fact may indeed lead to significant change for the current structure of world financial markets. Moreover, once Venus entered the sign of Libra on October 4 and re-emerged as the evening star, its power to bring peaceful change was restored and amplified spreading the Occupy Wall Street movement to cities across the US and around the world. Its alignment with Mercury under this new Moon and will only heighten the call for justice and bring power to the people. Many believe this unrest and move to social change will culminate on Friday (Venus' day) October 28, 2011, the final day of the Mayan calendar according to Carl Calleman. As Barbara Hand Clow poignantly points out:

This New Moon is unusually influential because it arrives two days before the end of the Mayan Calendar on October 28, 2011. We have reached the evolutionary turning point of our species -- and we must each consider becoming intentional keepers of Earth. Those who continue to use Earth for their own desires with no consideration for the planet's multidimensional fields of creation are going to crash and burn. Those who accept their eco-sensitive creative mantle -- the new aura of Gaia -- are the new seeds for our planet's beautiful future. As October 28 arrives, the Nine Underworlds of Creation will rebirth many Earth Keepers. This exciting New Moon in Scorpio [ tropical] sets the field for the simultaneous culmination of the Nine Underworlds. The period from the New Moon through midnight on October 28 will probably be remarkable and mystical, so I will examine it with great care. [Please read the whole article for more fascinating observations!]
As we have seen in previous posts on the end dates of the Mayan calendar, Calleman proposes that we will see the culmination of a series of nine waves of increasing frequency which have influenced, and continue to influence, the development and evolution of both the physical universe and human consciousness. In one of his last articles he wrote: What we are witnessing is thus not another recession, but the end of the world capitalist system and the protests in the US against “Wall Street” may be an indication as good as any of this.
Thus this spin-off movement called Occupy Yourself which takes place on the final day of the Mayan calendar is a fascinating development!

The Occupy Yourself movement calls for us all to peacefully step out of the system and step back into our true selves by turning off all lights, unplugging electrical devices, abstaining from any digital media, abstaining from any purchases and doing do NOTHING that generates money into THE SYSTEM. Instead we are being asked to indulge in our greatest wealth: our inner light. Nothing could be more appropriate for this year's Diwali celebrations than to unite and celebrate the true meaning of prosperty: having health, family and the knowledge that there is enough for all if we join together in the light of human community and birth of a new level of consciousness that is in balance with mother Earth.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Technology Blues (Part 6 of Blues Series)

Part VI Death of the iFather

This week the iCONic Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs died after seven years of living with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. As President Barack Obama astutely commented on the White House blog:

The world has lost a visionary, and there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.

All around the world people used the virtual technology that Jobs created to acknowledge his pre-mature passing and to describe the impact that his stable of Apple iProducts had on their lives. Online traffic surged and Twitter hit near-record levels on Wednesday after the news of his death was released. So I was not surprised by all the condolences for the loss of this technological genius that streamed across my Facebook status and throughout the virtual world of social networks, but I was bewildered by all the comments and links citing Jobs' spiritual side and memorable quotes. Even one of my favorite astrologers posted this video tribute:

As I knew nothing about the man who created the Apple empire, I was amazed to hear Jobs speak about having faith and confidence in the guidance of the heart, even when it takes you off a well worn path. This was no ordinary CEO. Jobs was obviously a man who felt the pull of karma and destiny, endured pain and suffering, and came out the other side with an inspirational message for his generation: you've got to find what you love, and that is as true for your work, as it is for your lovers . . . the only way to do great work is to love what you do. . . stay hungry, and stay foolish. Jobs was clearly a man who was driven to rise above circumstances and stay true to himself. However spiritual some of these sentiments appear on the surface, they also reflect an outlook and world view that contributed to his illness and death.

To me "stay hungry" implies never being satisfied or content with what you have accomplished. It is a motivation based on the need for perfection and constant production, the cornerstone of the corporate model of success. The suggestion to "stay foolish" suggests both being innocent and willing to take chances, but also implies an immature or unenlightened state. Because the brand name Apple is associated with the fruit of the tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, I can't help but think of Adam and Eve living in this state of "foolishness" and satisfying their curiosity, or hunger, with a byte of knowledge. Apple's relentless quest to produce new information systems has resulted in amazing technology that loses its value as the next wave emerges faster and faster spurring consumers to buy the latest updates. In the Gnostic tradition, Yahweh (YHWH) is the Demiurge who keeps man chained to matter and ignorance in the prison of Paradise; whereas in the digital world companies like Apple keep man chained to matter by offering new products, programs and apps for restless minds to consume in the prison of a technological world.

The hunger for food and quest for knowledge are two conditions of man that keep him chained to the material world. Both needs are related to the third chakra, the energy center associated with power and digestion of not only food, but also of thoughts and ideas. I find it incredibly sad that Steve Jobs, who suffered from pancreatic cancer, would inspire others to "stay hungry" as cancer literally ate away at his physical body. The pancreas is the endocrine and exocrine gland in the digestive system that assists in breaking down food, in absorbing nutrients and in regulating blood sugar. In other words, it's what facilitates the exchange of energy from our environment to our material body. A failing pancreas might indicate the inability to enjoy the abundance of the earth, perhaps because so much attention is given to the mind's hunger. It certainly indicates an imbalance caused by inability to absorb sweetness and nourishment. So when I hear "stay hungry" I hear a call to keep looking for the next mental fix without digesting and enjoying the moment of contentment. And when I hear "stay foolish" I understand that Jobs meant to say stay open and not worry what other people think, but I also hear a call that encourages us to keep daydreaming in our own archonic cloud of thought. In the Tarot deck the Fool is the card of infinite possibilities, but he is also distracted by his own vision and thoughts. While it's wonderful to be enthralled with the world and excited by all that life has to offer, it is still important to remain aware and watch our steps or, like the Fool, we might fall and have to start over, and over again.

Foolish is another description of the unaware Demiurge who created Man by embedding spirit in matter which is termed the Fall of Man. As we have seen in previous posts of this series, Apple branding is completely immersed in archetypal patterns of the Demiurge whose unconscious imitation of the divine act of creation is echoed by the creation of alternate or virtual realities of the digital landscape. So it should be no surprise that the mythology surrounding Apple's co-creator is also linked to these archetypes.

The Birth Chart
February 24, 1955, 7:15 pm, San Francisco, CA

When I first looked at the natal chart of Steve Jobs, I was immediately struck by the 29 degree Leo ascendant whose chart ruler, the Sun, was located in the innovative and visionary sign of Aquarius. The bright and expansive rays of the Sun are tempered in the sign of its son, Saturn, whose shadow imparts a natural humility and seriousness to the chart ruler. The stars of the constellation of Leo transmit a creative and magnanimous vibration that gives rise to leaders and kings, which for Jobs was also filtered by the stars of the constellation of Aquarius that also gave a desire to benefit humanity and seek spiritual fulfillment.

The constellation of Leo is symbolized by a lion, the king of the animal world. As we have seen in this series of posts on Gnostic symbols emerging in technology, the Demiurge is often depicted with a head of a lion, like Apple's OS X LION platform. The Demiurge hides in a cloud or unseen world orchestrating the drama between good and evil on the earth.

Like the archonic LION operating system, Steve Jobs was the philosophical visionary running the operations of Apple. According to Apple's website: the OS X LION is engineered to take full advantage of the technologies in every new Mac. And to deliver the most intuitive and integrated computer experience. We could say the same thing about Steve Jobs who took full advantage of life's opportunities and created a product that delivers a computer experience to the average person and that integrates the computer into modern life by its intuitive design. Jobs also created a legendary drama between Mac (good) and PC (evil) that Apple appears to have won; or, as this ad hints, Apple may be beyond good and evil.

And if the recorded birth time is correct, the significant 29th degree, known as the Anaretic Degree, influences the intense dharmic insistence of Jobs' life. As the last degree of a zodiac sign, the Anaretic degree gives a real sense of urgency to finish the lessons associated with that particular sign in order to move on to the next sign. There is spiritual pressure to move forward, yet there is attachment to what is familiar and habit. In this case the dharmic lessons of the rising sign in Leo, in the nakshatra Uttara Phalguni, which is also ruled by the Sun, indicate the final lessons of a life destined for leadership, kingship, courage, and heart-centered matters. Crisis, fear of the unknown, and hesitancy often come with the Anaretic Degree, and through this stress comes growth and advancement. As Steve Jobs said in his famous 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford University:

Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have happened to me. The heaviness of being success was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything [like the Fool in Tarot]. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. During the next five years I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife.

It is so appropriate that his new company would be named NeXT as he literally leaped to the next level of his life's journey heading towards the next sign of Virgo, ruled by Mercury the indicator for thought, commerce, communication, and computer technology -- the digital nervous system.

The sign of Leo is also indicator of leaders and kingship, and the nakshatra Uttara Phalguni gives prosperity through marriage or union, chayani shakti. Jobs certainly found inspiration and success when he was in relationship, first with his business partner Steve Wozniak and later with his wife Laurene Powell Jobs.

The 7th house placement of his chart ruler in the Aquarian nakshatra Shatabhisha, indicates that Jobs was destined to prosper only through union with other smart, humanitarian, and liberated souls. However, the Sun in the 7th house can also burn out relationships, and Jobs certainly had his share of professional break-ups and legendary clashes with other titans of the industry, including Bill Gates. Jobs learned just as much from his adversaries as from his partners. The nakshatra Shatabhisha can give many ups and downs in life due to its ruler Rahu, which also promises the full arousal of the life force of kundalini. It is often called the "veiling star" indicating a secretive nature that wants to keep certain aspects of self hidden from view. Although Jobs certainly exhibit a big public persona, he maintained a private life that by all accounts was a happy one. Shatabishak also means "one hundred physicians" and usually brings a healing crisis that leads to revitalization, which, as we shall see, was a common theme in Jobs' life -- one that was initially kept secret, then brought into full public view. According to Dennis Harness: Shatabhisha counters difficult karmas through divine grace and repentance and Steve Jobs shared both with the world.

The Tragic Hero

It is clear that Steve Jobs lived life to its fullest pursuing his vision with great passion. He is the classic mythic hero whose humble beginnings set the stage for his epic rise, fall, and resurrection. Like many legendary heroes archetypes, such as Zeus, Dionysus, King Arthur, Oedipus, Skanda, and even Superman, Jobs' early childhood was shaped by the abandonment of his biological parents and adoption by surrogate caretakers. Jobs was born out of wedlock to two graduate students. His Syrian father, Abdulfattah John Jandali taught political science at several colleges (see Chris Knowles' blog The Secret Sun for an interesting discussion of the connection between Syria, Sirius, Phoenicians and $), and his American mother, Joanne Carole Schieble, became a speech pathologist. His mother (an archetypal Sophia) valued education so deeply that one of the conditions of his adoption was that he be placed with a well-educated family. However, when the first selected adoptive parents, who were lawyers, rejected Jobs upon finding out that he was a boy, the next in line for prospective parents were two high school dropouts. Jobs' mother only agreed to the runner-ups when his adoptive parents signed papers promising to send him to college.

This drama at Jobs' birth may be viewed by many of the astrological configurations in his natal chart, in particular the Pisces Moon in the nakshatra Uttara Bhadrapada placed in the 8th house of separation and loss. The mutable water of a Pisces Moon gives an intuitive and emotional nature which often presents as moody and conflicted, like the two fish swimming in opposite directions. It is ruled by Jupiter which imprints the mind with the ability to see the big picture as well as an innate understanding of philosophical and spiritual matters. Uttara Bhadrapada means "the latter one with lucky feet" suggesting a desire to keep moving. It indicates a restless nature that pushes its good luck. The nakshatra Uttara Bhadrapada consists of two stars, Pegasi and Andromeda, which forms the legs of a funeral bed that underscore powerful death themes in Jobs' chart. In addition, Saturn's rulership of this nakshatra imprints the mind with a serious nature and connects with Saturn's influence on his Sun and chart ruler. Thus being born under an exalted Saturn maha dasha set the stage for planetary karma to play itself out with heavy lessons concerning authority, rejection, and loss. The combination of Jupiter and Saturn's influences on this nakshatra give an emphasis on spiritual growth and melancholy nature. The Moon's placement in the 8th house gave Jobs a mind for exploring unseen worlds, a love of the mysterious and unknown, profound research ability, and an inclination to face profound transformation through loss, separation, and death.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
These are certainly the words of an 8th house Moon reflected in this unusual preoccupation and inspiration from death. One of the underestimated gifts of the 8th house is in fact power. Jobs used his 8th house Moon to delve deeply into his own fears which gave him profound strength and power.

The 8th house is also the house of chronic and death-inflicting illnesses; and the lord of the 8th house can indicate what systems are likely to be effected. For Jobs, Jupiter rules the 8th house. Jupiter is related to the lymph and endocrine system in Ayurveda. In the Chinese medicine model the liver is the organ associated with vision and insight, as well as the emotion of anger. The Moon is related to the digestive system and the emotion of worry and obsession. It seems to me that the separative effect of the 8th house Moon reflecting the rejection of his biological mother weakened his digestion and earth element. When the earth element is weak, the wood element ruled by the liver becomes excess and overcomes the earth. In this case, his rejection at birth caused an underlying resentment and anger to grow that ate away at Jobs' earth element, and over the years caused his pancreas to became full of cancer (stagnation of anger) which ultimately lead to his death.

And like his namesake, the Biblical Job, who patiently underwent what seemed to be unfair trials and persecution, Steve Jobs too was tested and faced each challenge with courage and faith that it all meant something, as he described in his now famous 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford University (click here for text).

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
It is the 8th house that reveals the hidden something -- destiny, life, karma -- which connects all the events, or longevity, of our life.

In spite of being rejected early on by his biological mother, Jobs developed a strong affection for his adoptive parents:

But Jobs considered it lucky that his adoptive dad, a machinist, moved the family to Mountain View when Jobs was a boy and gave him a workbench in their garage. "My father, Paul, was a pretty remarkable man," Jobs said in a 1995 oral history for the Smithsonian Institution. "(He) was kind of a genius with his hands (who) spent a lot of time with me ... teaching me how to build things, how to take things apart, put things back together." Tom Abate, James Temple and Casey Newton, SF Chronicle

The houses that indicate the parents (4,9) are ruled by the raja yoga planet Mars for a Leo ascendant. In this case Mars is in its own sign of Aries and placed in the 9th house of the father, fortune, higher education and spiritual beliefs. Steve Jobs was passionate about his adoptive parents, in particular his father who taught him how the material world worked. However, he was not so excited about formal education, perhaps due to the circumstances of his adoption, and perhaps due to the exalted Saturn creating a dynamic tension opposite Mars. Saturn is well placed in the third house of early education and courage, but it delays its karmic gifts and can give strong resistance to the authoritarian structure of traditional education when opposite a strong and creative Mars raja yoga planet.

Jobs' fascination with the electronics industry stood in contrast to his disdain for an educational system which, as he told the Smithsonian, "came close to really beating any curiosity out of me." Nevertheless, when he graduated Homestead High School in Los Altos, class of 1972, true to their word his parents sent him to the school of his choice, Reed College, an expensive liberal arts institute in Oregon. - SF Chronicle

After one semester at Reed College Jobs dropped out because he couldn't see the value in spending his working-class parents savings on his college tuition. Instead he let go of traditional education and followed his heart by choosing a alternate path.

Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating. None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. -- SF Chronical

Between 1975- 1982 Jobs ran the maha dasha of Ketu, the indicator of liberation, spirituality, and release. The Ketu cycle is one of burning off karma. Ketu's nature is fiery and abstract. It can give inspiration, mind-bending realizations, and incredible energy. Ketu is placed in the sign of Gemini ruled by Mercury and the sign most associated with the accumulation of knowledge. It is also conjoined Jupiter which gives an expansive philosophical nature. During these years Jobs dabbled in psychedelics calling his LSD experiences "one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." He also returned to Silicon Valley and joined a group of electronics buffs called the Homebrew Computer Club where he met up with his old friend Steve Wozniak, and together they co-founded Apple computer in 1977. The problem with Ketu is that any success during this dasha usually ends when the dasha itself does. And indeed: the restless Jobs soon lost interest in the nerdy Apple II and instead fell under the spell of an insanely great idea which he would pursue to both his glory and ruin - the Macintosh.

Job's incredible career was launched during Ketu, but skyrocketed under the influence of the maha dasha of his 10th house lord Venus between 1982-2002. Isn't it fascinating that Jobs would choose the symbol of Venus to become the most identifiable brand in world history during his Venus maha dasha. And don't forget that his initial product was distinguished from other computers by its beautiful and elegant typography. It was the first computer with beautiful typography.

Venus, the atma karaka by just a few seconds over Saturn, is placed in the fiery sign of Sagittarius with Rahu in the 5th house opposite the great benefic Jupiter-Ketu in the 11th house of gains creating incredible yogas for wealth and fame. Rahu is placed in the nakshatra of Mula, very close to the galactic center indicating this man was bringing new technology for a new age. Venus-Rahu in the 5th house of past life karma indicates this man was destined to use his creative energy to bring something new, beautiful and technologically groundbreaking to the public. Rahu also brings an element of cult-like adoration for the creative progeny, Apple products, of the great innovator Steve Jobs. Although the 5th house is primarily described as the house of creativity and past life karma, it is also a house associated with ministry and teaching. The slogan think different reveals the result of Jobs' marketing dogma. The personal computer has literally changed how modern man thinks and expresses his ideas. Moreover, Apple fans are so loyal to Jobs that their devotion has been described as religious or cultish. Skye Jethani of the Huffington Post writes: of “the power of consumer brands to supplant traditional religions in people’s lives,” that “new research has shown that Apple has achieved the same impact on the human brain as religion.” If, as Marx suggested in the often quoted paraphase that religion is the opiate of the masses, literally numbing aspects of the human brain, then this research indicating a similar neurological effect on i-products is quite disturbing -- and gives new darker meaning to Jobs' advice to "stay foolish."

Thus Venus was a cycle destined to unleash Jobs creativity to the public world and make him the celebrated entrepreneur that we have come to know. During the last year of the Venus maha dasha Jobs took on the role of the i-father, inventor of the i-line of products that have shaped today's digital landscape. The "i" was a common component of the names that Apple gave products in 2001 when the iPod was released.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the "i" in IPOD was a nod to the EVA POD (Eve egg) of Stanley Kubrick's 1968 masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. This appropriation aligned Apple's brand with the future evolution of technology and man, as well as connects it to the mythology of the Demiurge -- the creation of artificial worlds to entrap the consciousness of man. It became Jobs' crowning achievement and secured his mythic legacy described so eloquently by Texas A&M University media professor Heidi Campbell in her paper How the iPhone became divine. Scholars like Campbell describes the four myths at basis of Apple's religious milieu:

A creation myth highlighting the counter-cultural origin and emergence of the Mac as a transformative moment;
A hero myth presenting the Mac and its founder Steve Jobs as saving users from the corporate domination of the PC world;
A satanic myth presenting Bill Gates as the enemy of Mac loyalists;
A resurrection myth of Jobs returning to save the failing company.
Thus the Venus cycle made Steve Jobs the leader of a "religious" movement that keeps its devotee fans connected through digital devices and alternate realities. Another name for Venus is the morning star, or Lucifer, the bringer of light. And yes Steve Jobs was born with Venus in the morning star position. According to Michael Meyer

Lucifer direct types are often very successful at producing the sort of social and culture reforms and change. They excel at politics, leadership and the at art of making things happen. Bestowed with a strong sense of ideals, Venus Lucifer direct people are often of a humanitarian spirit, wishing, and often working long and hard, to make a beneficial contribution to society. About two weeks after turning direct, while rising about 40 zodiacal degrees before the Sun, Venus is most brilliant in the pre-dawn morning sky.

Venus was at this most brilliant pre-dawn position on the day of Steve Jobs' birth and certainly bestowed him with light bearer status.

Rotting Apples

However, Venus' dasha came to an end in 2002 when Jobs entered the maha dasha of his chart ruler the Sun. As his Sun is placed in Saturn's sign, the expansive energy of Venus and Jupiter came to a quick and sudden halt when Jobs was once again faced with concerns around death.

Although a publicity hound when it suited his purpose, Mr. Jobs zealously avoided unwanted scrutiny, which led to controversy over disclosures about his health in recent years. Mr. Jobs apparently learned of his pancreatic cancer in October 2003, and initially sought to combat it with a special diet before disclosing the illness in an e-mail to employees in 2004, revealing that he had undergone surgery to remove tumorous growths.
-- SF Chronicle

Thus we see how Jobs' Shatabhisha Sun kept his illness veiled from public view while he initially tried natural remedies to bring balance back to his body. Shatabhisha is also known as "the 100 physicians" indicating its remarkable power to heal, or power to bring illness that requires 100 physicians. It appears that Jobs made a full recovery as he disclosed in the 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford. However, he may not have learned the karmic lesson associated with this illness: to slow down and enjoy the sweetness of life. Instead he followed the model of success and continued to put all his energy into his work instead of himself. After all he loved his work, however the lesson of cancer is often to learn to love oneself.

But the strength of character that enabled Jobs to revive Apple also carried elements of his own excess. Deutschman, author of "Second Coming," suggests that Jobs made himself both feared and omnipresent to shock the company back to health. "It was as though everyone in the company reported to Steve himself," he wrote. "People worried about getting trapped with him in an elevator for a few seconds, afraid they might not have a job when the doors opened." -- SF Chronicle

Thus the pancreatic tumor reappeared in 2008 when Jobs entered the Moon's maha dasha activating the karma of the 8th house of death and 12 house of moksha.
In the summer of 2008, after Jobs appeared unusually thin in public appearances, questions resurfaced in media and financial circles about his health and the effect his illness or sudden departure might have on Apple. With no information coming from Apple the media became trigger-happy on stories of Jobs' health. An obituary was prematurely and inadvertently released by one news service, and a CNN-sponsored site published an erroneous report from a citizen journalist that Jobs had suffered a heart attack. -- SF Chronicle

It is intriguing that the rumor of Jobs' death would be heart related as his Leo lagna does rule the heart. His heart was fine, but his body and mind were suffering. Too much unsatisfied hunger had depleted not only the digestive ability of his pancreas, but also led to the emaciation of his body. In his natal chart the Moon rules the 12th house of debt, hospitalization, and spiritual liberation. It's placement in the 8th ignited the planetary karma of both moksha houses. He died under the Moon-Jupiter while the Moon was in the nakshatra of Uttara Ashada, meaning the "latter undefeated" or final victory. Uttara Ashada has ten ruling deities known as the Vishvadevas or Universal Gods, and their power is to grant an unchallengable victory, apradhrisya shakti indicates that the legacy of Steve Jobs is untouchable and as we have seen will carry on through Apple's creation mythology.

RIP Steve Jobs 1955-2011