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So, You Want to be an Astrologer? Beginning Astrology Classes with Lorelai Kude (“Astrolojew”)

So, You Want to be an Astrologer? Beginning Astrology Classes with Lorelai Kude (“Astrolojew”)

12 Classes (Beginning October 7th, 2018)

The successful completion of this 12-part course will equip students in the basics of astrology and the Jewish and Kabbalistic astrological methods, as developed by Lorelai Kude (“Astrolojew”), during 35+ years of professional practice. At the end of the course, participants will be able to read and understand their own personal natal chart and will possess the skills to begin reading the charts of other people. Students will gain valuable insights and “best practices” for their own careers in astrology.

Tuition for the 12-part course is $360.

Classes will be held online in an interactive digital environment (Zoom or Google Hangouts, still to be determined).

Contact for details about the curriculum and to register.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

#Aretha: Respect for The Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul” died today at 76. As tributes to her amazing talent and groundbreaking accomplishments pour in from around the world, it is fitting we take a moment to examine her natal chart and ask ourselves if it can give us any insights into this legendary woman who has inspired so many for so long.

Aretha was an Aries with Scorpio Rising, making Mars and Pluto her ruling planets (Mars rules Scorpio in Classical astrology, while Pluto is the Modern ruler). Aretha’s natal Mars is at 11 degrees Gemini in her 7th House, conjunct both Black Moon Lilith and Jupiter. This expands, enhances and enlarges (Jupiter) her raw energy (Mars) and her inner image of herself as a sexual woman (Black Moon Lilith). Mars is Chi, the Life-Force, the “Yetzer” (neither tov nor rah, but simply the raw life force/impetus to desire), the drive that propels any human onward. 
Aretha Franklin, Natal Chart with Transits for 8.16.18

Aretha’s chart co-ruler Pluto is at 3 Leo, conjunct her Parts of Fortune (the way shefa or material blessings enter one’s life) and Chiron (the “Wounded Healer”) in her 9th House. Channeling our collective pain brings healing, and for all her tremendous Mars/Pluto power, nobody could channel vulnerability, longing, and the poignancy of loss and loneliness combined with raw strength like Aretha. An example of this can be heard in her cover of Leon Russel’s “A Song for You,” and “It Hurts Like Hell” from the “Waiting to Exhale” soundtrack, and many more.

The Essential Loneliness of The Powerful Woman

Yet it is Aretha’s tender, sensitive, maternal, nurturing, emotionally hungry Moon in Cancer on the cusp of her 8th/9th House tells of a woman enduring a tremendous range of emotional ups and downs in her relations with “others” – the things she shared and longed to share, the values and valuables, resources and intimacies, spiritual and religious feelings and beliefs, and philosophy of life. She wanted it all and deserved it all, but never got it all at once or all from the same person. Saturn and Uranus conjunct in Taurus in her 7th House made her too strong in the eyes of any partner, Mars in Gemini in her 7th House made her too mercurial and too powerful in ANY of her multiple selves as a partner – she was powerful as a woman, a lover, a cook, a gourmand, a hostess, a performer, a private giver of charity, a businesswoman. In each and every permutation her strength and power, competency and brilliance were barriers for the average man, who could only glimpse her most tender, passionate, intense, private longings. 

Private, Passionate, and Powerful
Her Sun in Mars-ruled Aries in her 5th House of Creativity and Creations and Children made her fearless, a pioneer and a leader in every creative endeavor (and an unwed teenage mother). Scorpio Rising made her intensely private and protective of her personal life and her possessions. Today on MSNBC I heard a lifelong friend tell of how Aretha insisted until the end in being paid in cash, which she’d put into a purse and place in the safekeeping of a friend in the audience, where she could see her money as she performed, as she’d been ripped off and robbed so many times when first starting out in show business.
Aretha with Transits and Progressions for 8.16.18

Where did she get THAT VOICE? Aretha’s natal Mercury in Pisces in her 4th House of Home and Family was exactly opposite her North Node, indicator of “tikkun” or destiny, in Virgo in her 10th (Public Persona of Career & Business) House. It was her soul’s job (North Node) to publicly (10th House) and perfectly (Virgo) communicate (Mercury) eternal and transcendent truths (Pisces), truths which she learned in her home environment (4th House) and expressed in her career persona (10th House). Venus, the planet of creativity, at 20 degrees Aquarius, was conjunct her 3rd / 4th House cusp. Her creativity came from the convergence of communication (3rd House) and the values and lessons of “home” (4th House). Venus in Aquarius is universal love – she didn’t reserve her love or her talent for only those things that came from “home” – her repertoire extended to genres far outside the gospel choir or the native sounds of the Motor City, Detroit, where she grew up. Her roots were in church and in soul and gospel, but her fruits were universal.

Symbolism of Passing In and Out of This Incarnation

Aretha Franklin dies as the transiting Moon entered Scorpio in her 12th House (endings), transiting Chiron conjunct her natal Sun in Aries, transiting Jupiter (expansion) conjunct her Ascendant (personality) at 15 Scorpio, giganticising her presence in media in death even as she did in life, and her Progressed Moon at 14 Taurus conjunct her Progressed IC (4th House Cusp) – in death she truly was “coming home” to the “seat of her soul” (4th House). 

A woman of deep faith who grew up in her father’s church, Aretha’s chart co-ruler Pluto conjunct Parts of Fortune and Chiron in her 9th House indicated the roots of her faith. 9th House is the “higher mind,” long-distance travel, religion and philosophy, higher education, “exotic” or “foreign” people places and things. Pluto is the planet of profound transformation: death and rebirth, the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes, resurrection of the dead. Chiron, the “Wounded Healer,” is where we take the wound life has delivered us and learn to heal ourselves by healing others bearing the same wound. Parts of Fortune, the cosmic opening or shefa-conduit of blessing from beyond, is deeply connected to both Chiron and Pluto here. Her special gift of connecting to collective deep emotions (Moon in Cancer / 8th House) and manifesting them in her art brought healing (Chiron), emotional and spiritual abundance (Parts of Fortune) and transformative, life-changing power to people all over the world (9th House).

August 16th - The Day The King AND The Queen Passed On

Finally, it’s impossible to ignore the time/space continuum calendrical convergence of the day of passing of Elvis (“The King) Presley on this same date – August 16th – 41 years ago. The Sun was at 23 degrees of Leo on August 16, 1977, the day Elvis left the building, just as it is today. 

The Sabian Symbols interprets 23 Leo as: 
"IN A CIRCUS THE BAREBACK RIDER DISPLAYS HER DANGEROUS SKILL. KEYNOTE: The audacity and perseverance required to control and play with the powerful energies of the vital realm in human existence. The horse has always been the symbol of the vital energies. In a wild state the horse represents the magnificent, raw, impetuous energy of the libido in all its forms. When tamed, this energy is put to man’s service. There are men who have dominated their natural energies so well that they can perform spectacular feats. Here these achievements are seen within the context of a social function and expressing a flair for dramatics. At this third stage, the ego is in control; he is a great showman, but he serves a purpose. The performance stirs the imagination of the young consciousness. It raises the mind above the commonplace. The Keyword is VIRTUOSITY."

For those who aren't familiar with the Sabian Symbols, they're an oracle meditation downloaded in a single day in 1925 to Marc Edmund Jones and Elsie Wheeler. They contain symbolic pictures for all 360 degrees of the Zodiac. I sometimes look at their symbolism to get a subtler take on certain Zodiac degrees, and in the case of such gigantic luminaries (no pun intended!), the KING (Elvis) and the QUEEN (Aretha) both exiting their bodies on the same day, it's an interesting perspective to begin to understand the particular energies of the day.

Significance of the Hebrew Calendar / Cycle of Sacred Time

In the Hebrew calendar, Elvis died on 2 Elul, and Aretha died today which is 5 Elul, they both died the week of Parshat Shoftim. Elvis died on a Tuesday which is the 3rd Aliyah of Shoftim, and Aretha on Thursday which is the 5th Aliyah. 3rd Aliyah: The kohanim as G*d's holy servants, who do not receive a portion of the Land because HaShem is their portion. 5th Aliyah: Cities of Refuge!

16 August / 23 Leo is also the birthday of both Madonna and Shimon Peres, as well as the Solar yartzeit (day of passing) of Babe Ruth, “Gone With The Wind” author and unsurpassed publishing sensation Margaret Mitchell, and one who made himself a (despotic) king: Idi Amin.

There is something about 23 Leo which seems to manifest as legendary/superstardom. Not just because Leo which is the theatrical performer of the Zodiac, but this particular degree of Leo. The Sabian Symbol keyword “Virtuosity” seems more than fitting here.

There is much to say about Aretha – but now let’s let her say for herself. Today she’s met her Maker, and may it be the happiest day for her soul. Her memory, music, and legacy will live with us forever. Aretha: you’ve been a legend in your own time, and now you’re immortal, forever the brightest star in the firmament – RESPECT!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Omarosa and Trump: When Narcissists Collide

I knew this picture of me and Omarosa Manigault, taken at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston, would come in handy one day. Today's the day when a 14 year old selfie-worthy random celebrity citing can be used as click bait to draw readers to examine the natal chart of Omarosa, currently in the news for secretly recording conversations in the White House during her tenure as Communications Director. We'll also look at a Synastry Chart between Omarosa and Donald Trump, and try to understand their weird relationship and what each of them got out of it before it went irreparably sour. 

Omarosa has an interesting natal chart. Her Libra Rising gives her charm, made all the more powerful by Pluto conjunct her Ascendant. Venus, her chart ruler (remember the ruling planet of any natal chart is the ruler of the zodiac sign on the Ascendant) in Capricorn in her 4th House reveals a practical, materialistic, luxury-loving individual who, while tending to conceal her true feelings as well as the truly personal aspects of her life, nevertheless requires the spotlight - Moon in Leo in her 10th House, which is the astrological signature for emotional need to be in the public eye. This aspect also makes her a performer, an actor, and with Pluto conjunct her Libra Rising, a power-seeker. 

The tight stellium in her 7th House in Aries of Asteroid Lilith, Chiron, Vertex and Parts of Fortune symbolizes the aggressive (Aries) nature of her relationships with others. She is either perceived as the aggressive, "pushy" one - or, the other in the relationship embodies those qualities. Having marketed herself as a villain during her Reality Television rise, she leveraged her natural powers to rise higher and higher, despite being "fired" a number of times from these television scenarios. I write "fired" in air quotes because what might be perceived as setbacks by outside observers are only "career segues" to this ambitious woman. Her incredibly persistent Mars in Taurus in her 8th House (shared values/valuables/resources/intimacies) does not recognize the concept of failure, and will endure far beyond the current scandal. Don't cry for her now, Argentina. 

This woman is a true survivor. But is she a liar?

Illusion-making Neptune in 3rd House Sagittarius makes a supportive Trine to her 7th House stellium, distorting (Neptune) communication (3rd House) to fit the agenda of the "partner" (7th House). Neptune in the 3rd House is also a signature for, shall we say, someone with tremendous dreams and/or a tremendous imagination. Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius adds the exaggeration factor (nobody with a 3rd House in Sagittarius gets through 24 hours without superlatives). Being a people-pleasing control freak drama queen aspiring celebrity isn't a crime. Neither is being a spin doctor, or a chronic exaggerator. But when the day comes when a personality such as this wants to be taken seriously and believed for telling the truth, it should come as no surprise that the media is skeptical. Mercury in Neptune-ruled Pisces in her 5th House of creativity squares her 3rd House Neptune in Sagittarius. Let's remember that in Classical Astrology, Jupiter is the co-ruler of both Sagittarius and Pisces. This understanding flavors her Mercury placement, both by Sign and by House, as one which has a fluid understanding of "truth" and "reality" - fluid because it changes according to her need for power (Pluto conjunct AC in Libra). Libra is sometimes called "the iron fist in the velvet glove," and not for naught. Beauty, charm, diplomacy, persuasiveness, likeability, "niceness" - all these tools are wielded with great power by this compelling personality, all the while her Aries stellium across the way in her 7th House broadcasting the subtext of her energy, which reads: "I'm out to get you, because A) You hurt me (Chiron in Aries), B) Getting you gets me paid (Parts of Fortune in 7th House), C) I know I always make the same self-defeating mistakes but I'm going to do it anyway (Vertex conjunct Parts of Fortune and Chiron), and D) I'm going to play the victim / female card to prove to the world that it's all your fault, not mine (Asteroid Lilith conjunct Chiron, Vertex and Parts of Fortune in 7th House).

So - how does someone like Omarosa end up with a mentor like Donald Trump? And what does he get out of a relationship with a person like Omarosa?
 This Synastry chart between Omarosa and Trump reveals a really crazy mutual need. The first thing we notice is Trump's Neptune (his planet of illusion/delusion) is conjunct Omarosa's Pluto! This clearly indicates that he does not have any actual gauge on the reality of their relationship (ironic, as they're initially related because of "reality" television show!). Her Pluto craves power, and his Neptune promises (hints, intimates, teases, etc.) what she desires. His Asteroid Ceres is conjunct her Sun in Aquarius.  Ceres indicates a parental role - it's the archetype of the mother who literally goes to hell and back to save her daughter. Ceres is where we act as a "savior" and nurturer. Clearly Donald Trump felt, for good reason, that Omarosa was his protege and his "child" who he rescued from obscurity (public anonymity being equivalent to "hell" for both Trump and Omarosa, both limelight seekers). 
Trump's Venus in Cancer is exactly opposite Omarosa's Venus in Capricorn. Trump may indeed feel actually hurt at Omarosa's betrayal, as this aspect reveals that, in a weird way, Trump felt he was her "father" - he "begat" her as a celebrity - without him, she'd never have made it on to television - at least that's how he perceives it.  When his illusion-making Neptune moves aside long enough for him to glimpse reality (which is a rare occurrence), he grasps that while he believed himself to be acting magnanimously towards Omarosa by employing her, she was using him for her own advancement. This hurts him even though he was using her for his own advancement, as his trophy negro (is that a term?), the token African-American female ("a two-fer!") in Trump's very white White House.

Finally, the not-close but still relevant conjunction of Omarosa's natal Saturn in Gemini with Trump's natal Sun in Gemini gives us a glimpse of perhaps the weirdest part of their dynamic: Omarosa's role as a teacher/tutor/"elder" to Trump. Despite the obvious opposite dynamics (she's a younger black woman, he's an older white man), his relationship with Omarosa gave Trump the feeling of being taught or tutored in some way by her. Did he feel he was getting a crash course in Black America by making her one of his White House entourage?

Perhaps the biggest difference between Trump's lies and Omarosa's habitual distortion of truth to fit whatever benefits her current situation requires is that Trump is completely convinced his lies are truth, and Omarosa isn't that stupid.  

When two celebrity narcissists battle it out in public as to who is the bigger liar, the only winners here are the astrologers, who can spend hours pick apart this overblown tempest in a tea pot. I'm sure other astrologers are writing their takes on this right now as well. But how many of them have a picture of themselves with Omarosa? Oh yeah, just me - because (full disclosure) I too have a natal Moon in Leo in my 10th House (conjunct Uranus), and I know a little something about spotlight-seeking. :)

Astral Weeks August 12 - 18th, 2018: Welcome Chodesh Elul

Astral Weeks
August 12 – 18th 2018
Sunday August 12th is the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, featuring a cool, clear Virgo Moon, inviting us to sift through our emotional responses and discern their root. Retrograde Mars enters the Cardinal Earth sign of Capricorn (backwards!) Sunday evening, where it will sit like a bird on a nest until September 10th. This brings the energy back to where it was mid-May of this year – another chance to recalibrate, re-choose and redo things we started back in May. Monday evening August 13th the Virgo Moon trines Mars in Capricorn, giving emotional strength and practical support to efforts to manifest new and more grounded understandings of ourselves and each other. The Moon enters romantic, partner-oriented Libra on Tuesday, making a conjunction to Venus and affixing those rose-colored glasses firmly on your face lasting all the way through Wednesday. It’s all hearts and flowers, sunshine and lollypops until Thursday’s Scorpio Moon demands you move past the superficial and into deeper waters. Scorpio Moon opposite Uranus in Taurus makes for abrupt and unexpected, surprising and even shocking emotional revelations. Friday morning’s Moon/Jupiter conjunction expands willingness to take emotional risks and go out on a limb for the sake of love. Saturday night’s First Quarter Moon in Sagittarius follows Shabbat Parshat Shoftim right on cue, as the Zodiac’s crusader for truth and justice is the natural accompaniment to the Torah portion which admonishes us: “Justice, justice, shalt thou pursue.” Mercury, which has been Retrograde in Leo since July 25th, stations Direct on Saturday evening, beginning the turn-around process which continues the rest of the month.

More About Chodesh Elul

The Hebrew month of Elul marks the beginning of the end of the Jewish Year. During Elul we blow the shofar every day, announcing to all within hearing distance that Rosh Hashanah is only a month away. Elul is associated with the constellation of Virgo and the Tribe of Gad. The Hebrew gad could be translated as “a troop,” which is fitting for this Mercury-ruled month during which we strengthen ourselves spiritually, like soldiers preparing for battle, to prepare for the upcoming Days of Awe.

It is said during Elul that “the King is in the Field,” that the presence of God is very near to us, on the same plane that we exist upon, as opposed high and lifted upon a throne as during the High Holidays. This closeness is meant to inspire teshuva (turning to the proper path, aka “repentance”) out of love, not fear; Elul can be read as an acronym for “ani l’dodi v’dodi li” (I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine,” a phrase from Song of Songs. 

Elul is the month associated with the mazal (constellation) of Virgo, the Mutable Earth (Transformative Manifestation) sign, whose function is that of sifting, analyzing and choosing that which is useful while discarding that which, while perhaps pretty or pleasant, does not serve the highest purpose.

This year, Rosh Chodesh Elul, a solar eclipse and the Torah portion Re’eh all occured on the same day (Saturday, August 11). The light of the Sun is blocked during a solar eclipse, making it harder to see (re’eh). The primitive psychological experience of an eclipse is heightened anxiety as the light is diminished, followed by relief at the light’s return. During the brief but dramatic episode of darkness, we face our own shadowy fears. When we can see again, we see things differently. May we see each other and ourselves in a new light, and may the light of Elul illuminate our path as we make our way towards Rosh Hashanah!