Medusa’s Head

Medusa's Head

One of astrology’s greatest puzzles is the semantic persistence of constellations and star legends. We of the 20th century have been so rigidly clamped into left-brain scientific “logic” that the persistence-in-consciousness of the ancient, mytho-logic sky patterns subtly offends and disturbs our sense of “rightness”, somehow making us feel that those odd, ancient constellation patterns shouldn’t have any meaning or power over us whatsoever. Nonetheless research indicates that they maintain a resonant presence in the universal and individual consciousness of mankind. A full moon in Cetus brings whales to our TV screens; a planetary station in the Scales of Libra attends a judicial appointment; a chronically bare-chested brawn-flaunting movie idol turns out to have Hercules rising (Yo!); the “rainy Hyades” of the ancient texts can be counted upon to bring downpours and flooding, and the Pleiades – the “Weeping Sisters” consistently, over centuries, predict and accompany sorrow, suffering, and exile, and possible blindness. The Bull’s Eye and the Scorpion’s Heart – Royal Stars both – still bring their possessors into sudden fame and power as they have since Chaldean priests noted their effect; (they rise and set with the lunar nodes in former Vice-President Quayle’s nativity) and Scheat in Pegasus still warns of shipwrecks, sorrows, drowning. Over and over, the stars in their sky-picture dominions reliably perform as they have for centuries, and no one can fathom why. Did the ancient priests and shamans (personified in the legend of the old centaur Chiron, traditional designer of the constellations), pattern these pictures according to observed events on Earth? Or is the universe a mind? Are we synapses in the brain of God?

When I began researching the stars in 1980 I wanted to be sure of their usefulness; I was very doubtful about adding so much more detail to the burdens of learning astrology, so I decided to choose just one star; one with a clear and testable traditional “effect”. If the star did what the texts said it did, I would set skepticism aside and love fixed stars forever. But which star should I choose?

“The most evil, violent, and dangerous star in the heavens” – the words in Manly Palmer Hall’s Astrological Keywords caught my eye, and I knew I had found my laboratory rat. This was *Algol, Beta Persei,from the Arab Ra’s al Ghul – “the Demon’s Head”. To the Hebrews it was Rosh ha Satan, Satan’s Head, and to the Greeks it was the severed head of Medusa, the serpent-haired Gorgon who was so horrible to look at that one glance would turn an ogler to stone. “Violence, beheading, hanging, choking, asphyxiation, electrocution, murder, mob violence.” (Just in case you missed the message, Algol is further described as “unfortunate”.)

Where our star charts show the head of Medusa clutched under the left arm of Perseus (“The Rescuer”), the Chinese, who had possibly the oldest astrological tradition in the world, saw Beta Persei as Tsi-Chi, The Heaped-Up Corpses, part of an asterism that stretched from 17to 29 Taurus, called Ta-Ling, The Great Burial Trench. It was visible during that part of the year when criminals and tyrannical chiefs were disposed of by dismemberment and cast into a great common grave, as it was unthinkable to bury them in sacred enclosures. It was said that if Tsi-Chi was bright, corpses would be “as numerous as grains of sand on the seashore”. If the star was invisible (Algol is an eclipsing binary – every 68 hours and 49 minutes the demon “blinks” for about 2 hours) it was a happy omen and there would be few executions. Ta-Ling was also associated with sickness and troop movements. It is extraordinary that two highly developed yet separate astrological traditions should both perceive this star as distinctly and extremely malefic. Some scholars of the history of science are certain that there were mutual influences between these traditions; one thing I hope to prove is that both the Chinese and the Babylonian scholars could very well have discovered the malefic qualities of this star independently. This ghastly image – the piled-up corpses – gave me my first tool for research; I made a list of all the historical events I could think of that had resulted in a mass of corpses; the Holocaust, the Guyana massacre, the massacre of the Huguenots, the fire-bombing of Dresden, the devastating 1976 T’ang Shan quake in China (300,000-500,000 dead), Hiroshima, etc. (this was not a formal study; I was simply “scouting” to see if there was anything to this star’s terrible reputation).

The Holocaust – the deliberate and systematic attempt by an advanced culture to kill an entire ethno-religious group – stands as one of the most appalling episodes in human history. But how to find a date and time to use for a chart? After some reading, I chose the Wannsee Conference in Berlin in 1942, when the Nazi leadership decided to implement “the final solution” – to convert their slave-labor concentration camps into death camps, and to build new death factories to speed the process. This activity was to take precedence over all other priorities-even troop movements and military supply! On the day of the conference, 1/20/42, (11 AM), Uranus, co-ruler of the MC of the Third Reich, was aligned with Algol. Next I tried the Guyana Massacre of 11/18/1978: nothing at Algol, but the Sun exactly opposite the star, which meant that on a helio chart, the Earth (which Edgar Cayce said “ruled flesh”) was on Algol. Next I looked up the infamous Massacre of the Huguenots in Paris on the eve of St Bartholomew’s day in 1572 (8/23, OS); nothing on Algol, but Mars exactly opposed it, and a chart set for 9 PM LMT had Algol rising. The fire-bombing of Dresden in WWII was next (11 PM, -2, 2/13/45): again, nothing on Algol, but the Sun (and Earth) square it; (These squares and oppositions became part of a pattern; more on this later). The huge T’ang Shan quake was next – in the number of deaths, one of the 3 or 4 worst in known history: 7/28/1976, 3:42 AM, zone -8, 39N30, 117E54. Here I hit paydirt – a Jupiter-Hades conjunction on the star. No planet or angle was on Algol at Hiroshima, but at “Trinity” – the first atomic explosion at Alamogordo, NM just 21 days earlier, Mars culminated on Algol, trined at Hiroshima by Jupiter rising. These experiments intrigued me enough to look further into the fixed star texts, and as a result of this research I have become convinced that one cannot be a good astrologer without knowledge of the major stars, especially in mundane astrology. Indeed, it is possible to do an entire reading based only on star (and black hole) positions! Now: back to Algol….

The French revolution seemed a promising area for research. Beheadings galore, and all the mob violence one could possibly wish for! At first I thought I had drawn a blank; Algol was 23 Taurus 14 then, and none of the outer planets were in Taurus in the 1790’s; but thanks to Von Oppolzer’s Canon of Eclipses, I discovered that on 5/15/1790 there was a solar eclipse at 23 Taurus 29 – right on target! The “Great Terror” of mass beheadings and mob rule followed as Pluto (in Aquarius) and then Uranus (in Leo), squared the eclipse; the Reign of Terror finally came to an end when Saturn came to Algol, (and thus to the degree of the eclipse), bringing Robespierre himself to the guillotine on the evening of 7/28/1794; (See how nice Saturn can be?) Later, trying out the heliocentric nodes of the planets on the 90o dial, I noticed that Algol is just a little past a semi-square to the heliocentric node of Jupiter, the planet of wealth and privilege; working back by trial and error (precessing Algol at 50.23″ per year and adjusting Jupiter’s node at 36.39″ per year) to find out when the semi-square was exact, it turned out to be the early 1790’s! That same 1790 Algol eclipse also announced a plague in Egypt (80,000 dead), and violent slave revolts in Haiti and Santo Domingo.

The next step was to collect data on every historical instance of beheading, suffocation, choking, injuries to the neck and/or head, as well as the other traditional goodies of Beta Persei: (I quote): “Mass tragedies: war, mass murder, fanaticism, ruthlessness, bigotry, propaganda, horror, violence, mass vandalism, mob violence, being torn to pieces, extremes of brutality. Death by hanging, strangulation, electrocution, wounds to the throat and neck.” {{Algol has been in Taurus for more than 1800 years, and Taurus rules the neck and throat…perhaps when it gets to Gemini this will change to wounds to the arms and shoulders ??}} “Often found in criminal or murder charts. In mundane charts it may presage great disasters such as mine cave-ins, fires, quakes, riots etc. Extreme sickness.”

* On 7/7/1937, the day of the atrocity-ridden Japanese invasion of China, Finsler’s Comet was in the latitude, longitude and declination of the star.

* On 7/29/1878 the path of totality of an eclipse ran directly through Memphis, Tennessee; a chart for the eclipse at Memphis had Pluto on Algol on the 6th cusp; two weeks later a terrible Yellow Fever epidemic hit the city – (remember Bette Davis in “Jezebel”?-the story was based on that epidemic.)

* With an 11/17/1910 Lunar Eclipse on Algol, 2.5 million Chinese in An Hul Province fell victim to the bubonic plague.

* Algol was on the MC of the Capricorn ingress in New Delhi in 1984, immediately after the Bhopal disaster and the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

* On April 6, 1994, when the terrible massacres began in Ruanda, the SNode was aligned with Algol.

WORLD WAR II: the SaturnUranus conjunction, helio and geo, goose-stepped back and forth over Algol’s longitude through the first 2 years of the war; here’s a run-down:

June-July, 1940 As Uranus came to Algol for the first time since 1856, the Nazis blitzkrieged their way through northern Europe; France capitulated, leaving England to fight on alone. Hitler ordered plans drawn up for an invasion of England, and the airborne Battle of Britain began. So fiercely and successfully did the Britons defend their celestial turf that Hitler was forced to “postpone” his decision on the invasion.

September 1940 Uranus stationed at Algol on September 1, as London was battered by massive air raids; (throughout “The Blitz” Uranus stayed with the star).

November 14-15, 1940 With a Full Moon-conjunct-Uranus-conjunct-Algol on the vertex of the city’s chart, Coventry was bombed and its 897-year-old Cathedral deliberately shattered — the Algol conjunction opposed the Cathedral’s Saturn. (Coventry data from Wigglesworth).

December 29, 1940 One month after the devastation of Coventry came what many consider the worst of the London raids: the incendiary terror-bombing of 12/29. Mars, that terrible night, exactly opposed the Uranus station on Medusa’s Head.

May 6 1941 As Jupiter conjoined Uranus at Caput Medusa Stalin became Premier of the Soviet Union (Algol was his natal Pluto). On the same day the Nazi hierarchy issued a “Decree Regulating the Treatment of Inhabitants of Enemy Countries”. No need for specifics here, history has documented the horrors they perpetrated.

May 10, 1941 Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Uranus come together at the terrible star, with Mars in a sinister square from Aquarius; another terrible air attack on London: this time more than 3,000 killed, the House of Commons devastated, Westminster Hall’s roof destroyed. (During this time the British, Australians and Germans were fighting bitterly in North Africa, and “wolf-packs” of submarines were taking a terrible toll of the merchant ships carrying desperately needed lend-lease supplies to England. In just this first half of 1941 Great Britain lost 2,900,000 tons of shipping).

June 21, 1941 Exactly on the summer solstice (Hitler had a fondness for paganism) came the treacherous German “Barbarossa” attack on Russia; Saturn was 23 Taurus and Uranus was 28; their midpoint was Algol (5 days later an 8.7 quake hit India).

July, 1941 As Saturn itself reached the star, Russian defenders were still reeling from the Nazi blitzkrieg; one line of defense was only 200 miles from Moscow, and Leningrad had been surrounded and beseiged. In France, the puppet Vichy regime pledged cooperation with their Nazi masters, and started sending French Jews to the death camps.

November 1941 Saturn had retrograded from its September station on the Pleiades (29 Taurus) and returned to Algol; the German army mounted a fierce offensive to capture Moscow, but a desperate and heroic defence held them off. Strong counterattacks and the severity of Russia’s “General Winter” were gradually bringing the Nazi blitzkrieg to a frigid halt. As Mercury came up to oppose Saturn, the Germans were forced to abandon the seige. In the west, peace negotiations between the US and Japan had come to an impass…

December 7, 1941 On this day of Jupiter’s perigee on *Rigel, the upraised left foot of the giant warrior Orion, came the devastating Japanese sneak attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Here again Saturn was 23 Taurus and Uranus 28, and again their midpoint was Algol. (Interesting: In August 1945, when Uranus reached Jupiter’s Pearl Harbor position at Rigel, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima…)

January 1942 he infamous Wannsee “Final Solution” conference took place, with Uranus at Algol {{Chiron had been on Algol in the spring of 1933 as Hitler came to power (it was the Chiron/Vesta/Asc. conjunction at his swearing in, 11:16 AM 1/30/33, Berlin; ref: Adolph Hitler by John Toland}}. The first extermination camps were ordered to be built, and concentration camps turned into factories of death.

Spring, 1942 With Saturn now on Algol came the surrender of Bataan in the Philippines, and the notorious forced death march that followed. In May as the SaturnUranus conjunction became exact (on the Pleiades), there was a new moon one degree shy of the Gorgon’s Head; this time it marked the tragic surrender of Corregidor, the beginning of the heroic Russian defense of Sevastopol (the previous great siege of Sevastopol, in 1855, followed a solar eclipse on Algol), and two of the most famous naval battles in history – Coral Sea and Midway – immediately followed. In Czechoslovakia, the Nazis razed the town of Lidice and massacred its inhabitants as a “reprisal” for the assassination of one sadistic German officer. From there Saturn and Uranus left Taurus and worked their way towards the Hyades (5 Gemini) and Aldebaran (9 Gemini)-but that’s another article…

Caput Medusa is well represented on WWII generals’ charts: it was Rommel’s NNode, Patton’s Neptune, Admiral Canaris’ Neptune, McArthur’s Pluto; Bradley’s Sun squared it from Aquarius, and Jodl’s Uranus and Montgomery’s SunMercury conjunction in Scorpio opposed it.

Another facet of this ghoulish star is its connection with – how shall I put it? – “horrible heads”. The master of hideous make-up, Lon Chaney, had Saturn rising on Algol, trine his MC, which it ruled. Horror film star Bela Lugosi had Neptune on the Gorgon’s Head, trine a conjunction of Jupiter (ruler of 1st and 10th) and the NNode. (The 1887 chart of Hollywood has Neptune on Algol). Two instances of face-lift surgery I personally witnessed involved transiting planets on Algol ticking off the natal charts, and in both cases the individuals’ heads were quite literally frightening to look at until they healed. Renegade Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky had Pluto in the 10th on Caput Medusa; on 8/20/1940 when Uranus came to Algol and the Sun squared it, he was assassinated on Stalin’s orders); a pickax was driven into his head. (Yecchh. I think I should have prefaced this article with a “viewers discretion” advisory… “WARNING…this article contains material that may seem offensive to some of our reading audience”)…but hey. To be an astrologer you gotta be tough. Sit back and take a deep breath. If you’re feeling stronger, we’ll go on. The same 1790 Algol eclipse of the French Revolution also accompanied a terrible famine in India, when parents ate their children; India has had many terrible famines in her history, but this one has gone into the books as the “Skull Famine”. (And dare I tell you that 11 days after an 1836 eclipse on Algol, the House of Representatives passed the famous “Gag Rule” tabling all abolitionist petitions? Nah, I’d better leave it out).

“for if the Significator of Manners

be with Caput Medusa, it begets in the

Native a certain dogged nature & violence,

whereby he either procures sudden death unto

himself, or is the cause of it to others”.

William Lilly (Sun conj Algol)

Christian Astrology

*Mars was on Caput Medusa 7/6/1535 when the “man for all seasons”, Sir Thomas More, was beheaded.

*Jayne Mansfield’s progressed Moon and progressed Mercury were conjunct on Algol on her natal 12th cusp/

Chiron conjunction when an automobile accident decapitated her.

*Chiron & helio Venus aligned with Algol when Vic Morrow was decapitated and 2 small children killed in

the 1982 “Twilight Zone” disaster.

*Murderers Richard Speck and Harry Tracy had Pluto on Algol and Charles Whitman Saturn & Uranus; it is

“Manson family” murderer Susan Atkins’ Mercury.

*Venus was on Algol in both the Lincoln and Garfield assassinations, and it was the Sun the day of the attempt

on Governor Wallace that left him disabled.

Suffocation, choking and Algol: * NNode of Bhopal disaster; * Jupiter at the Seveso, Italy dioxin chemical disaster; * Chiron at the Salang Tunnel disaster in Afghanistan; * It was the IC when the Titanic went down.

* Joan of Arc had Saturn on Algol; it co-ruled her 8th house; she was burned at the stake. * Dancer Isadora Duncan was born with Pluto on Algol; she was killed in 1927 when her long scarf caught in an automobile wheel and strangled her. (Pluto co-ruled her 8th). * Neptune was on Algol at the eclipse whose shadow passed over Vesuvius four years before the 79 AD eruption that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum; at its huge eruption in 1631 Pluto did the honors. * The Moon was on Algol at the 1902 eruption of Mt Pelee that killed the entire population of Martinique; * Helio Mars squared it from Leo at the Great Kwanto Earthquake and fire of 1923 that obliterated 600,000 homes in Tokyo and Yokohama – 143,000 dead, 200,000 injured, and half a million homeless. (I’ve already mentioned the T’ang Shan quake). * It was the Ascendant of the Cancer ingress preceding a 1201 quake which killed 1,300,000 in Egypt/Syria, * Jupiter stationed at Algol 1/21/06, 10 days before a 8.9 quake in Ecuador and 3 months before the great SF quake. * It was Mars at the Great Alexandria Quake of 365 AD. (I use a one degree moiety, that is, an allowance of one degree on either side of the star’s longitude, and all positions are corrected for precession).

The horrible war increases in the West

The next year comes the pestilence

So very terrible that neither young, nor old,

nor animal shall escape

Blood, fire, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, in France


Centuries IX:55

On June 9-10, 1917, when WWI had just “increased” with the United States’ April entry into the war, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter were aligned, not only in longitude, but latitude and declination as well. A virulent outbreak of influenza followed, killing an estimated 25 to 50 million people; it was truly pandemic – virtually every landmass on the planet was affected – 150,000 died in England, 500,000 in the US. The deadly strain of this virus erupted at Fort Riley, Kansas and was unknowingly carried by the American soldiers arriving in France; it spread through the battlefield trenches with horrifying speed. This June, 1917 three-planet alignment predicted by Nostradamus 362 years earlier was on the Asc of the chart for WWI (Great Britain’s entry, August 4 1914 llPM UT, London); which was 25 Taurus – Algol.

All the verbiage I have devoted to this heady charmer was originally inspired by Jupiter’s 1/20/89 station on the lady. (Algol is now 26 Taurus 03; the station was 26 Taurus 05). Some of the immediate manifestations of this station were:

* February 14: Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini called for the assassination of Salman Rushdie, an Anglo-Indian author residing in London, and put a very large price on his head; Rushdie’s book, “Satanic Verses” had deeply offended the Moslem world, and Islamic fundamentalists claimed that the Koran gave them the right, indeed, instructed them to execute the author. Jupiter is the planet of religious establishments and its station was on the Ayatolloh’s natal Sun: Algol! It opposed Rushdie’s helio Jupiter & squared the Islamic Republic’s helio Mercury (Black Hole Cygnus X-3).

* Ted Bundy, “The worst serial murderer in US history” (born 11/24/46 10:35 PM EST Burlington, VT) was electrocuted in Florida, and the details of his crimes filled the media; his modus operandi had been to decapitate his victims so that their corpses could not be identified. Bundy had Juno opposing Algol on his equal-house IC, and as he had 25 Leo rising, the star was on his Equal House MC. (He had a chartful of nasty stars).

* There was a TV special on Jack the Ripper; (at the 1st J-the-R murder Mars opposed Algol; Jupiter had just stationed direct at 26 Scorpio 30 widely opposite the star. Algol was then 24 Taurus 36).

* Lisa Steinberg, a beautiful illegally-adopted child, had been killed by blows to her head the year before; her foster father had just been found guilty of the deed; every night, on the news, we were shown photographs of her and her foster-mother’s battered heads. Lisa had the Sun just 2 degrees before Algol, with the star on her 12th cusp. The violence started when she was 2 years old, when her progressed Sun came to the degree of her Placidian 12th cusp: Algol).

* A quake in Russia buried victims in mud, suffocating them.

* A news item in the NY Times stated that 4,000 miners died in China in 1988, the worst year for mine disasters in China’s history.

* The public television channel featured WWII documentaries, replaying the events listed above; * The “Winds of War” miniseries and “The World at War” documentary, both about WWII, were both revived;

* TV Guide, the week of the Jupiter-at-Algol station, was full of ads for a “Faces of Fear” (!) horror movie festival – yummy nasty ghouls on every page; one ad featured the head of Medusa, snaky locks and all!

*”Columbo” was revived; the plot? I quote: “a psychic kills a professional magician with his own trick guillotine.” Speaking of guillotines, it was 1989. Because the Bastille had gone and gotten itself stormed in 1789, the slightly embarrassed French government felt obliged to hold bi-centennial celebrations of the bloody French revolution.

’tis a far far better thing that I do to take a break from this bloody article…

OK. I can handle it. It’s the next day.

* Ever wonder why Lebanon is such a horribly bloody and battered nation? It was born during WWII (11/26/41) and has Saturn on Algol.

* When the Iran Airbus was shot down 7/3/88, Jupiter was on Algol, and when the “reprisal” came with the terrorist destruction of Pan Am 103 over Locherbie, Scotland, helio Mars was on the star.

* At the coronation of Czar Nicholas II, Venus was at the Head of Medusa. During the festivities, a riot broke out over the food offered for the peasants; hundreds were killed. The Czar’s reign was ineffectual, and little was done to alleviate the suffering of the Russian people. He was deposed, and he and his family massacred. Was this “fate”? Would things have been different if he had acted differently? I doubt it. Character is destiny, and the placement of Venus (which ruled his MC) on Algol at the coronation may have simply represented what was likely to happen.

Now to the matter of squares and oppositions: all too often when one expects to find Algol, at historical beheadings, for instance, or massacres, what turns up instead is a square or opposition to the star: for instance, when King Charles I of England was beheaded, the Sun squared Algol from Aquarius. At the St. Bartholomew’s Massacre (of the Huguenots, 1572), Mars in Scorpio opposed it. 1945 Fire bombing of Dresden? Sun in Aquarius square Algol. This made me suspect that some other stars were actually the culprits in those cases, so I rounded up the likeliest suspects: zeta Librae at 25 Scorpio 17, beta Lupus, 25 Scorpio 18 (the Akkadians called Lupus “The Beast of Death”), and gamma Librae (Zubenelakrabi), 25 Scorpio 24; in China, this area was “The War Chariot” and “The Mounted Guard”. In Leo, square Algol, is omicron Leonis (Subra, the Lion’s Paw) at 24 Leo 31. Now for the squares from Aquarius: in the constellations of ancient China the area between 23 Aquarius and 10 Pisces was associated primarily with mourning and burial; some asterisms here had names like “The Lamentations”, “The Howling Dogs”, and “The Tombs”. The alpha Equuleus and beta Aquarius area (about 23-24 Aquarius) is called “The Funeral Mound” – this certainly would jibe with the traditional Algol effect. This area of Aquarius housed Pluto during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, and Uranus at the Great Fire of London in 1666, and Mars at the terror bombing of London on May 10, 1941; the Sun at the fire bombing of Dresden (2/13/45 11 PM), the SaturnJupiter Great Mutation of 1345 (4/1, 12:03 UT) as the Black Death swept from Asia into Europe; Uranus at the start of the influenza pandemic of WWI; Jupiter at the Challenger disaster, etc etc. So it is not really possible to know whether those events are squares to Algol, or effects of stars like lambda & mu Capricorni, gamma Cygnus, beta Aquarius, iota Aquarius, etc. – or both! Besides, there is a sort of “via combusta” of heavy star influences that starts around 21 Taurus (and 21 Taurus 26 is Septile 0 Aries), then goes to 23 Taurus (Zanrak-Capulus-Gyrus), then Algol, then the very powerful Pleiades at 29 Taurus and next the Hyades at 5-6 Gemini, the Bull’s North Eye at 8.2 Gemini and his “Royal” South Eye, Aldebaran, at 9.6 Gemini. Major news events of all sorts increase when planets tick these off; quakes, storms, wars, riots (especially race riots), summit meetings, nuclear disasters, plane crashes, floods, shipwrecks, etc. So it is difficult to isolate just one star; they frequently combine their influences. Just remember, if you see a square or opposition forming, dexter or sinister, to 25 or 26 Taurus, duck!

“The Grecian astrologers call him

the Devil’s Head; and yet all the

astrologers hold Jupiter and Venus

to have a share in his nature…”

Culpepper; Decumbitures

Do I have any kind words for Medusa? Indeed I do. Algol is much more than a creature feature in the sky; there is, for instance, an interesting pattern in the arts, where ghastliness and beauty can occur at the same time, and in politics, where highmindedness mud-wrestles with brutality for possession of the field:

*Pablo Picasso (born with Jupiter on Algol), horrified by the fascist atrocities in the Spanish civil war, created Guernica, perhaps the most famous anti-war painting in history.

*Just after the fall of France, during the desperate Battle of Britain, on the afternoon of 9/12/40 two French schoolboys accidentally discovered the magnificent prehistoric cave paintings of Lascaux. Uranus was at Algol, forming a trine with Mercury on Zavijava (25 Virgo). (Venus was conjunct Pluto: Venus, art, conjunct Pluto, underground caves, and hidden things brought to light).

*Viciousness, bigotry and beauty combined in the tragic life of Exra Pound (Neptune at Algol), a brilliant poet with an insane hatred of Jews – so extreme that he spent time in a mental institution.

*Poet Maraquita Platov (Mercury at Algo) was so moved during her childhood by the horrors of World War I that virtually all of her work was devoted to anti-war themes.

*Prima Ballerina Margot Fonteyn, one of this century’s greatest dancers, had a Sun-Mars conjunction at Algol (her husband was shot in the neck, leaving him paralyzed).

Some positive Algol effects: the 1989 station brought to the public’s attention the frightful slaughter of elephants that threatens them with immediate extinction, and the pervasive cruelty to animals both inside and outside labs. The founding of the London School of Veterinary Science in 1791, following the 1790 eclipse, supports my suspicion that there is an “animal connection” to Algol, and the tragic loss of wildlife from the oil spill in Alaska carries this point: Algol was setting when the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound (3/24/89, 0:04 AM 147W20, 60N46), and stationing asteroid Juno-of-helplessness squared it from Leo. This current awareness and concern for wildlife after the Jupiter station on Algol is, I think, welcome and long overdue.

People with Algol placements:

Asc: Christa McAuliffe, teacher (died in Challenger disaster); Carl Sagan, astronomer (active in anti-nuclear movement).

MC: Albrecht Durer, artist; Jackie Robinson, baseball star.

Sun: Prince Metternich, Austrian diplomat/statesman; Pierre Curie, scientest (killed in accident); Empress Maria Theresa of Austria (mother of Marie Antoinette); Paul Zindel, Peter Shaffer, Arthur Schnitzler, playwrights; William Lilly, astrologer; L Frank Baum, author (Oz books); Ayatollah Khomeini, Iranian leader; Jasper Johns, artist; Henry Fonda, actor; Liberace, pianist; Margot Fonteyn, ballerina;

Moon: Mick Jagger, rock star; John Calvin, religious reformer; Werner Von Braun, rocket scientist;

Mercury: Albrecht Durer, artist; Cole Porter, songwriter; John Browning, pianist; Oliver Cromwell, statesman/persecutor of Catholics; Byron “Whizzer” White, football star/Associate Justice, US Supreme Court; Pancho Gonzales, tennis champion; Zubin Mehta, conductor; Maraquita Platov, poet;

Venus: David Rose, composer/conductor; Prince William of England; Yogi Berra, baseball star;

Mars: General Andrew Jackson, US President; Mario Cuomo, Governor of NY; Charles Addams, cartoonist (“The Addams Family”); Franz Kafka, author; Salvadore Dali, artist; Martin Bormann, Nazi leader; Margot Fonteyn, ballerina;

Jupiter: N Lenin, communist dictator; Jean-Paul Sartre, existentialist philosopher; Samuel Pepys, diarist; P T Barnum, showman; Cecil B DeMille, filmmaker; Carolus Linnaeus, botanist; (Helio Jupiter: Tamerlane, conqueror); Pablo Picasso, artist;

Saturn: St Joan of Arc, warrior/martyr (burned at the stake-Saturn ruled her 8th house); Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi, Marcia Mason, actors; Richard Nixon, US President; Richard Speck, murderer.

Uranus: John Lennon (murdered), Bob Dylan, singers/songwriters; Samuel T Coleridge, poet; George Bernard Shaw, critic/playwright;

Neptune: C E O Carter, astrologer; Artur Rubenstein, pianist; Bela Lugosi, actor; Gen, George Patton; Neils Bohr, physicist; Ezra Pound, poet;

Pluto: Alexander the Great, conqueror; Joseph Stalin, communist dictator; Gen. Douglas MacArthur; Moses Maimonides, philosopher/physician/lingust/author of Mishneh Torah; Mata Hari, exotic dancer/spy (executed); Albert Einstein, physicist; Isadora Duncan, dancer (accidentally strangled); Wanda Landowska, harpsichordist;

NNode: Field Marshal Irwin Rommel; Ramakrishna, mystic/author; Winslow Homer, artist; Leo Delibes, composer;

SNode: Shah Reza Pahlevi of Iran; Manly Palmer Hall, astrologer; Sam Goldwyn, producer; Pierre Trudeau, Canadian PM; Natalie Wood, actress;

On the personal charts of ordinary people, it can manifest in positive and interesting ways. A young couple who asked for an electional chart for their wedding were not fazed when I told them they had chosen a day with a Sun-Hades conjunction on Algol, and described the star. They told me it fit very well – they were devoting all their spare time to the nuclear freeze movement! Carl Sagan, another nuclear freeze activist, has Algol rising.

When I was a child I took piano lessons from the sister of Roszika Schwimmer, who was the subject of a famous Supreme Court case. Ms. Schwimmer, a militant Hungarian pacifist who had devoted her life to opposing war and bloodshed, had applied for US citizenship, but could not bring herself to swear that she would take up arms in defense of this nation. (It was the principle that mattered – no one was going to ask the dignified gray-haired matron to take to the trenches!) The case received quite a bit of attention, and went all the way to the Supreme Court. In a landmark decision (Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes dissenting), the Justices decided that she could not become a citizen; but in deference to her age and dignity, she was allowed to remain in the US as a resident alien. The day the decision was handed down, 5/27/29, Jupiter was on Algol.

These examples demonstrate that having Algol represented on a chart does not necessarily mean that you will inflict, or be the victim of, horror and mayhem…but that you will be aware of the depths of suffering that can occur, whether through human depravity or “Acts of God”; and you will not be able to ignore suffering and horror, or brush it aside; your life path will require that you come to terms with that level of experience. A jounalist might be assigned to cover tragedies, while a clergyman might be called upon to comfort the victims and their families. A black child might hear of the horrors of slavery, and a Jewish child might grow up with the awareness that his grandparents perished in the Holocaust. A police officer might assist victims of a natural disaster, or a medical student be assigned to work in a trauma center (the medical term for the study of pain is “Algolology”!). The Algol placement on a chart insists upon a confrontation and assimilation of these harsh aspects of human experience in this lifetime. The polarities of bigotry or tolerance, violence or kindness, cruelty or compassion, war or peace are issues that are unavoidable and must be dealt with under Medusa.

As a light shining in the darkness,

a star is a symbol of the spirit.

It stands for the forces of the spirit

struggling against the forces of darkness.

-Cirlot, Dictionary of Symbols

Some of the fixed stars are harsh, yes. But to a purpose. Each defines an area that will be tapped for good or ill; the tests are intense and unavoidable. Algol, like the other stars, confers tasks upon us which, if comprehended and accepted, offer great rewards of power and creativity. These stellar challenges are not to be feared, but understood and used in a positive manner.

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