New Yorker magazine calls Astrology Witchcraft

On a Sunday night in June, the twenty-nine-year-old astrologer Aliza Kelly was preparing to broadcast an Astrology 101 live stream from her apartment, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. A glittering SpectroLED light panel made the living room feel like a tiny movie set. “My manager took me to get these lights at B&H,” she said.

A windowsill was lined with gifts from clients—an illustrated zodiac, a white orchid. Kelly sat cross-legged on a taupe ottoman, wearing cat eyeliner and large hoop earrings, greeting people and waving as they appeared in the online chat room. “That is one of my favorite things, as a Leo and as a person—building community,” she said. It was a little before eight-thirty, and some fifty-two participants—who had paid between $19.99 and $39.99 each—were typing hellos; one woman, in Europe, had set her alarm for 2:30 a.m., to log in.

Once the class started, Kelly clicked through a slide deck about ancient Babylonia; William Lilly, a devout Christian, was the “English Merlin,” who was consulted by both sides during the English Civil War; and the signs of the zodiac. To explain the traits of Aries, she put up a picture of Mariah Carey (“She loves getting presents”). For Pisces, she had Rihanna and Steve Jobs. “My main favorite thing is to talk about the signs as celebrities,” she said. “Because these are modern-day mythological figures. In ancient Greece, if you said ‘Athena,’ everyone knew, Oh, that’s what Athena is like.”
Kelly’s schedule is typical for a millennial astrologer. She writes books (on zodiac-themed cocktails); does events (at the private club Soho House); offers individual chart readings (a hundred and seventy-five dollars an hour); hosts a podcast (“Stars Like Us”); makes memes (“for lolz”); manages a “virtual coven” called the Constellation Club, with membership levels that cost from five dollars to two hundred; and has worked as a consultant for the astrology app Sanctuary.

She writes an advice column for Cosmopolitan and hosts an occasional Cosmo video series in which she guesses celebrities’ signs based on their answers to twelve questions. According to the editor-in-chief, Jessica Pels, who has expanded the magazine’s print coverage of astrology to nine pages in every issue, seventy-four percent of Cosmo readers report that they are “obsessed” with astrology; seventy-two per cent check their horoscope every day.

Astrology is enjoying a broad cultural acceptance that hasn’t been seen since the nineteen-seventies. The shift began with the personal computer, sped up with the Internet, and has reached new speeds through social media. According to a 2017 Pew Research Center poll, almost thirty percent of Americans believe in astrology.

But, as the scholar Nicholas Campion, the author of “Astrology and Popular Religion in the Modern West,” has argued, the number of people who know their sun sign, consult their horoscope, or read about the sign of their romantic partner is much higher. “New spirituality is the new norm,” the trend-forecasting company WGSN declared two years ago, when it announced a report on millennials and spirituality that tracked such trends as full-moon parties and alternative therapies. Last year, the Times, in a piece entitled “How Astrology Took Over the Internet,” heralded “astrology’s return as a compelling content business as much as a traditional spiritual practice.”

The Atlantic proclaimed, “Astrology is a meme.” As a meme, its life cycle has been unusually long. “My account, was  meant to be a fun thing for me to do on the side while I was a production assistant,” Courtney Perkins, who runs the Instagram account Not All Geminis, which has over five hundred thousand followers, said. “Then it blew up and now it’s like—I don’t know. I didn’t mean for this to be . . . life.”

In its penetration into our shared lexicon, astrology is a little like psychoanalysis once was. At mid-century, you might have heard talk of id, ego, or superego at a party; now it’s common to hear someone explain herself through sun, moon, and rising signs. It’s not just that you hear it. It’s who’s saying it: people who aren’t kooks or climate-change deniers, who see no contradiction between using astrology and believing in science.

The corporate world has taken note of the public’s appetite. Last year, the astrologer Rebecca Gordon partnered with the lingerie brand Agent Provocateur to produce a zodiac-themed event where customers could use their Venus signs to, in Gordon’s words, “find their personal styles.” This spring, Amazon sent out “shopping horoscopes” to its Prime Insider subscribers. In times of crisis, it is often said, people search for some hope that the troulbes will pass.

The change is fuelling a new generation of practitioners. Fifteen years ago, astrology conferences were the gray-streaked province of, as one astrologer told me, “white ladies in muumuus decorated with stars.” Kay Taylor, the education director of the Organization for Professional Astrology, said that those who came of age in the seventies were worried about the future of the profession. Now, she said, “suddenly there’s this new crop.” In the past year, the membership of the Association for Young Astrologers has doubled.

The first newspaper astrology column was commissioned in August, 1930, in the aftermath of the stock-market crash, for the British tabloid the Sunday Express. The occasion was Princess Margaret’s birth. “What the Stars Foretell for the New Princess” was so popular—and such a terrific distraction—that the paper made it a regular feature.

Astrology helped people decide when to plant crops and go to war and was used to predict a person’s fate and interpret his character. Would he have good luck with money? Would he ascend the throne? (When the astrologer Theogenes cast Augustus’ chart, Bobrick writes, the astrologer “reportedly gasped and threw himself at his feet.”)

According to Bobrick, Theodore Roosevelt kept his birth chart on a table in his drawing room, and Adolph Hilter, General Charles de Gaulle and François Mitterrand sought advice from astrologers.

In 1942 and 1943, the Allies distributed a fake astrology magazine called Der Zenit, which endeavored to disguise the Allied ambush of German U-boat operations.) Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff said that Reagan consulted an astrologer before “virtually every major move and decision,” including the timing of his reëlection announcement, military actions in Grenada and Libya, and disarmament negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev.

It’s hard to understand the deep appeal of astrological practice without having or observing an individual chart reading, an experience whose closest analogue is therapy. But unlike therapy, where a client might spend months or even years uncovering the roots of a symptom, astrology promises to get to answers more quickly. Despite common misconceptions, an astrologer is not a fortune-teller. In a chart reading, she doesn’t predict the future; she describes the client to herself.

The power of description can be great. Couching characteristics in the language of astrology seems to make it easier for many people to hear, or admit, unpleasant things about their personalities—and to accept those traits in others. (The friend who comes over and never leaves? She can’t help it. She’s a Taurus.) Most astrologers say that it’s important not to use your sign to excuse bad behavior.

Still, as the AstroTwins have written, “astrology is kind of like the peanut butter that you slip the heartworm pill in before giving it to your Golden Retriever. You can tell someone, ‘You’re such a spotlight hog!’ and they kind of want to slap you. But if you say, ‘You’re a Leo. You need to be the center of attention,’ they’re like, ‘Yeah baby, that’s me.’ ”

Co-Star outputs for Today

For centuries, drawing an astrological chart required some familiarity with astronomy and geometry. Today, a chart can be generated instantly, and for free, on the Internet. Astrology is ubiquitous on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and in downloadable workshops, classes, and Webinars. A new frontier has opened with mobile apps.

In July, I was ushered into a glass-enclosed conference room on the sixth floor of a building in Tribeca to meet with Banu Guler, the thirty-one-year-old co-founder and C.E.O. of the astrology app Co-Star, whose Web site promises to allow “irrationality to invade our techno-rationalist ways of living.” It’s available on IOS only.

Guler is a casting director’s idea of a tech executive. A vegan who used to design punk zines and was a bike messenger until she got into “a gnarly car wreck.” She has cropped hair, a septum piercing, and a tattoo of Medea on the back of one leg. A copy of Liz Greene’s “Relating: An Astrological Guide to Living with Others on a Small Planet” lay between us. Guler hasn’t read it, but it’s been on her Goodreads list forever. 

(“Literally, this one guy wrote, ‘I usually wish people well, and in your case I don’t, because you’re defying science and the Enlightenment era,’ ” she told me.) Now venture capitalists, excited by a report from IBISWorld which found that Americans spend $2.2 billion annually on “mystical services” (including palmistry, tarot reading, etc.), are funnelling money into the area.

Co-Star is backed by six million dollars. Since its launch, in 2017, it has been downloaded six million times. Eighty percent of users are female, and their average age is twenty-four.Co-Star has competitors. There’s the Pattern, an app whose creepily accurate psychological and compatibility analyses are generated by birth charts but delivered free of astrological references.

(The actor Channing Tatum recently had a meltdown on social media—“How do you know what you know about me, Pattern?”—after his pattern, apparently, hit too close to home.) The doyenne of popular astrology, Susan Miller, uses an assistant, four editors, and eight design engineers to produce her books, calendars, Web site (it has eleven million views annually), and app, which caters to those who find the forty-thousand-word forecasts on her site insufficient.

(Miller was an early Internet presence, and her style is at once maternal and optimistically pragmatic. At a recent event in Macy’s flagship store, in Herald Square, she told the audience, “Freezing your eggs is expensive, but I want every girl here who doesn’t have a baby to do it!”) Sanctuary offers free daily horoscopes and, for twenty dollars a month, a fifteen-minute text exchange with an astrologer. One person I interviewed compared it to “a psychic 900 hotline for the DM era.” The most informative app is Vice’s Astro Guide, which the company imagines as a “tool not just for self-care but for cosmic wellness.”

In “The Stars Down to Earth,” Theodor Adorno’s 1953 critique of a newspaper’s sun-sign column, he argued that astrology appealed to “persons who do not any longer feel that they are the self-determining subjects of their fate.” The mid-century citizen had been primed to accept magical thinking by systems of fascistic “opaqueness and inscrutability.”

It’s easy to name our own opaque and inscrutable systems—surveillance capitalism, a byzantine health-insurance system—but to say that we are no longer the self-determining subjects of our fate is also to recognize the many ways that our lives are governed by circumstances outside our control. We know that our genetic codes predispose us to certain diseases, and that the income bracket we are born into can determine our future. “Fate” is another word for “circumstance.”

Read more here.

Welcome Scorpio 10-24-19

The Sun moved into Scorpio on this past Thursday at around noon. There is a feeling of “regrets,” — in the worst cases being exploited or misled on your choices from others, so you’re wasting a lot of energy nitpicking and undermining others’ ability. Alas, Neptune and Nodes do that.

Cleaning up the house maybe an issue. Someone else could use those old things that you have neglected and they should be the first to go ala Swedish death cleaning.  Holding onto things now makes little sense as Sun is shedding some light on the prison you’ve created, and your deep desire to want out because a “man is born free but everywhere he is in chains” (J.J. Rousseau). Ignore Magnusson’s 65 and older warning and start now. Scorpio is aligned with the harvest and it’s time to shed those unneeded things from your life and slim down.

But do not clean too far. The chart is also recommending reconnecting with forgotten family members, particularly if you have a chip on your shoulder of how they have treated you in the past. It maybe time to shoot a card, letter or phone message and right past wrongs. Halloween is a good way to “treat” someone and say “Hello”.

Cash flow problems creep up now, and it’s best to tighten your belt and get a hold on them. The same idea goes for managing your time as it is slipping away with too many obligations, most that you either forget or misremember.

The job scene is bearing down hard and this could cause a desire to change jobs — if you are working this hard you want to be recompensed for it. Unfortunately, this change will put you back into square 1, paragraph 1, as the samsara of needs and wants keep turning your head this way because in reality you’re just itching to ride. As First Lady Nancy Reagan admonished, Just say No, because staying the course is the better part of valour for now; break loose and day-trip with your free time instead.

This is probably my last, or next-to-last post from the Nickel City. Nothing lasts forever, and I think I’ve overstayed my welcome anyway, so instead of regrets, I will take the planet’s advice and throw out and reconnect.

Happy Halloween — Mo.

October 13 1792 The Laying of the White House Cornerstone

We were impressed that the cornerstone for the White House was laid on the anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. It’s that thoughtfulness for tradition that has built this country into Washington’s shining empire and “city on the hill.”

This chart shows several important asteroids at the time of ceremony. Washingtonia is at 21 Sagittarius 21 right on the 11th to the 12th house graphically depicting how the White House was not only a public monument but a place where the President was secured, and the head of government resides.
Asteroid George itself is at 20 Leo 23 in the 7th House square Asteroid White House at 24 Aries 14 in the 4th house — the place home, hearth, position of the Father of the Country and end-times (after being president, most men have retired with the notable exclusion of Taft who went onto the Supreme Court).
Asteroid Virginia, depicted as a indehiscent shell, is in the first house at 04 Aquarius 52 — because Washington D.C. was carved out of the state.

The aspects for the Ceremony

The ceremony get a very noticeable bucket with a Saturn handle. Newly discovered Uranus is on the 8th House cusp right next to Asteroid George, because no man left such a mark on our country as General and President George Washington did, from declaring t the start that all the colonies must support the endeavour, to personally supporting the troops, marshalling them on the field, to declaring that it was to be republic and not another monarchy by being its first president.

Antique American Photograph: Early drawing of The White House, Washington, D.C., United States, 1900: Original edition from my own archives. Copyright has expired on this artwork. Digitally restored. Sketch showing the White House which was exhibited at the Centennial Celebration in Washington, D.C.

Nonetheless, its first resident was President John Adams and his asteroid, Asteroid Johnny, is right there in the fourth house nadir at 12 Taurus 22. The rising sign is 03 Capricorn, “the human soul receptive to growth and understanding.”

Alas the few sour notes appear on the chart as well, Mars is in Sagittarius, a fiery planet in a fiery sign in the essential house of Aquarius — the 11th. Saturn is opposite the yet to be discovered Neptune in the 10th depicting the war between philosophy and pragmatism; and Uranus is opposite the very far out Pluto highlighting the inventive nature that will become America’s heritage suggesting with the square to both the Sun and Saturn highlighting its Damoclean imperative as noted by President Kennedy.

After the 1929 fire

While the ceremony gets the Dynamic Aptitude of Jupiter to Neptune – a sensitivity to sufferings of others (immigration) and welcoming them aboard, it dominated by oppositions (4). Marc Jones writes that this gives the White House, and hence the greater house of the country itself, a naivete in dealing with others, forcing it to continually struggle for its supremacy of its charter.

Fast Forward to 2019

$70Gs and he’s yours.

Moving ahead for its 227th anniversary, things have changed. Mars is now right the cusp of the first house at 23 Taurus 39 and a “mounted Indian with scalp locks,” sort like those cigar store Indian totems that once advertised tobacconist’s ware, and it opposed Neptune on the cusp of the seventh in Scorpio. Saturn is still at the nadir with the Midheaven across and via a translation of light gets an out of sign conjunction to Pluto in the 10th. This of course creates another Cosmic Cross, a fixed one, as though the battle lines have been drawn and the ascendant at 12 Gemini “an eagle that crows” is having an identity crisis.

c. 1900 White House

Phases of the Moon

Here is a good site, from Eric Blackman, a professor of astronomy & physics at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, to understand the phases of the moon. It creates this wordcloud

Our favorite moon phase calendar site is over on Click to see it in action. And while reading all about the moon, here’s a good cover by the Japanese band, The Pascals, for inspiration.

This was revised on October 18, 2019.

Table of Contents, v.4

We are halfway there and creating this has been a lot of work, so all our efforts are now being put into getting the ToC and the site in tune. This week we are sorting by birthplace, but we finally have a searchable ToC so that can help you find what you are looking for also. In cases like “Tiger Woods” we have him listed as Eldrick Tiger Woods; Prince Harry is listed formally as Prince Henry Chas. Makes sense as I run with Mo Saladin but am still called “Joel” by those in the know. Everyone has a nick.

Those though are the least of our problems — the real headache lurks below the scene: so many natal charts are buried inside of mundane events. Right now, we are just doing the easiest first, and leaving the buried alone — it will give us something to do during the long winter.

Above, is the Autumnal Equinox chart. It is a Splash chart telling us that for the nation and most people, the next 3 months is all about doing things with people — particularly planning it seems for winter (Moon opposite Saturn 13 Cap 56). This could either be the holidays and travel (Jupiter in the 5th) or if you one of the many running for President, the New Hampshire primaries (Uranus conjunct the Midheaven 14 Taurus 48).

And no, no one was cutting off the Buffalo’s head, it was just a cropped shot of him a new ear tag. At 3000 pounds one has to be careful.

Everyone wants something

Speaking of which, with Pluto right next to Saturn in the 6th House, we are calling that Vice President Biden is going to have a lot of work to overcome the Hunter news — the next full moon on October 13th, 2019 at 5:08 PM ET, is the Hunter’s Moon , and it looks like the front runner, the Veep himself, will need good will, hunting for that top Democratic spot.

We feel that Venus in the 8th house means that the Supreme Justice will not be returning to the bench, this year or next. If so, we’ll all be singing the Witches Song from MacBeth.

Best of Luck – Mo Saladin

Table of Contents v.3

My interview with Chris Flisher will be available on Saturday. I had a lot of fun, so I do hope you get a chance to hear our repartee.

We added more names from our database and this week put it in alphabetical by surname order. We are about half way through with the nativities. As we review the charts, many are getting updated one way or another… & often the PDF version is available for download, but it is a large task so it will take a while.

Other changes have happened too..

We put up our new Sabian Premiere page, our discussion of the site and some of the charts; hopefully this will be become a regular feature. And we revamped the “About us” to a Team page and I jokingly put up shot of me back in the day.

Mundane Charts have moved? Maybe, Maybe not

Driving to the new site

Ric Ocasek of the Cars died and we have been playing his songs all day since we heard the news. Our header shot is of his beautiful wife, Paulina Porizkova who found he had fallen asleep after a recent surgery.

Speaking of Drive, the Mundane charts , those dailies & natural hazard reports, are now on Google Blogger as WordPress no longer allows free blogs and we do not want to continue posting here as we think it is confusing. Are we right?

This week we are in Iowa, next week New Hampshire and on the weekends we leave and go overseas — one for Saturday and one for Sunday — all chosen randomly. In the past we went to Japan and then Ethiopia; the coming weekend is Sri Lanka and Luxembourg.


We are debating about moving the old weeklies over there too, but not the event charts that are linked to people, and of course maybe the whole idea of a separate spot is just plum wrong. So we are asking for some feedback on this idea.

As always thanks for your support. It means a lot to us.

Soon the Titanic will be no more, Extremeophiles are eating it away

Titanic, a steel made ship, is slowly being eaten away by the microbe called a rusticle because it is eats steel and not the wood.

This microbe,  D. radiodurans , was thought to be from Mars and in the Guinness World Book of Records, is listed as “the world’s toughest bacterium.” It is classified as an extremophile, a living thing capable of surviving and thriving in conditions too hot, cold, or chemically antagonistic for the majority of life on Earth. Its toughness is so renowned, it is nicknamed “Conan the Bacterium.”

Table of Contents, v.2

This is the second update to the Table of Contents. We are expecting 3 more before it is finished and then probably another two to make sure it is correct i.e. errors, typos, etc. Unfortunately the TOC is not searchable, so each week we will sorting the list differently; this week is in surname order.

The fields are Column #1, the Jones 1000 numbers, column 2 the physical row number, column 3 is the person’s name, column 4 the birth month and column 5 the category they reside. The last column may not line up with the category they are currently under, so take that with a grain of salt.

Thanks. Mo Saladin