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

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