Weekly Update » April 16 - April 22, 2009
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Venus at 29 Pisces:
Susan Boyle, Ugly Duckling Songstress Triumphs
Venus Stations Direct, Conjoins Mars at Last Zodiac Degree
The Sun Enters Taurus; Mars Enters Aries on Earth Day

By Shelley L. Ackerman
[From my 'Shimmering Stars' column in The Westchester Guardian, © 2009]

Photo: Rich Press

Venus at 29 Pisces: A Parable

In 1961, when Susan Boyle was an infant in rural Scotland, a young, big-nosed, slightly cross-eyed, ‘kooky’ Brooklyn-born 19 year old singer named Barbra Streisand began making the rounds on American television. Her stunning voice, novel style, dramatic intensity, and, as Mike Wallace put it, “supreme self-assurance”, turned the entertainment world on its ear. Pop music would never be the same.

circa 1962

Before Streisand, big nosed Jewish girls could be Red Hot Mamas in the tradition of Fanny Brice and Sophie Tucker, but not a ‘siren’. Streisand changed that for good:  Her performances challenged us to think, question, and feel things much more deeply than before. She changed the standard of beauty and expanded it to include those who are ‘different’.

But things have regressed in the past 20 years, and original authentic talent hasn’t been given much air play: For the most part, music has a ‘canned’ quality, and shows like “Extreme Makeover” and “The Swan” have repeatedly and pathetically reinforced appearance over substance. Recently, Oprah Winfrey said that if she were to launch her show today- looking as she in 1986, she would have failed.

Susan Boyle

But the universe provides, and as Venus retrograded back to 29 Pisces, the most all-encompassing spiritually centered degree of universal love, scruffy, unpolished, humble, overweight and middle aged Susan Boyle appeared and won hearts and minds all over the world. When asked by Simon Cowell how old she is, she said “47, nearly 48.” Is she a Taurus? Does she have Aquarius or Uranus rising? Do her bushy eyebrows reveal her to be an Aries? Does her charity work and personal suffering speak of a strong 12th house? We’ll find out soon enough- but one thing is for sure: Susan is a world-teacher, part of a special continuum at a time when humanity desperately needs to wake up.

Whoever she is, God bless Susan Boyle (who might get to meet the Queen soon and appear on “Oprah”) and protect her from those who would exploit her. I have a feeling she’ll have none of it.

UPDATE: Word is that producers will leave her as is for the duration of the competition. Here's a link to Susan on the Today Show April 17, 2009.

THIS JUST IN: British Astrologer Jonathan Cainer gives Boyle's birthdate as April 1, 1961. She has Moon in Libra, Mercury in Pisces, and Venus in Aries square Saturn in Capricorn.

UPDATE II:The 4/19/09 Sunday Times online reported that Susan Boyle was born on June 15, 1961, NOT April 1, 1961. Maddening. Also upsetting is that many are beginning to question the authenticity of the whole phenomenon, claiming that it may have been 'staged'. Here's the link to the 4/19 article.

UPDATE III: Just got off the phone with someone at Birth Records in Edinburgh, Scotland: The June 15, 1961 birth date is WRONG and the April 1 1961 birth date is correct, according to http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/ Susan Magdalena Boyle's birth was recorded in Uphall-West Lothian as April 1 1961, the daughter of Patrick and Bridget

Captain Richard Phillips

Those Pirates in Somalia

Like any good American, I was thrilled to hear of Captain Richard Phillips' rescue and that of crew member (and New Yorker) William Rios and their safe returns to their respective families after a five day ordeal aboard the Maersk Alabama, off the coast of Somalia. And I felt strongly about the urgency to eliminate all and any pirates who threaten our fine sailors. But there’s another side to the story: What began Somalian Piracy? It’s not what you think: Here, Amy Goodman interviews analyst Mohamed Abshir Waldo, who informs us that Somalia piracy is a response to illegal fishing and toxic dumping by western ships off Somali Coast. And while you’re at it, check out Amy’s chat (Part 2) with Noam Chomsky on the Current Economic Crisis- the story behind the story.

Get a Room:

Through much of Spring 2009, Venus and Mars will be traveling as a couple, together again! The first conjunction, is at 29 degrees of Pisces on April 21st. Then the hot duo will duke it out in competitive Aries in late April and  in May, and exhausted, will finally languish in lusty Taurus in June.

Whether you’ve got someone hot to enjoy this with between the sheets or not, the next couple of months will be filled with creative energy and passion on so many levels, energy can and should be channeled wisely: Passion without consciousness or understanding is often dangerous. Venus will re-enter Aries (April 24) and will do a slow burn through the sign for several weeks. Crimes of the heart are likely-so put your weapons down, count to 30 before firing off an email that you’ll regret, twitter less, and have a good counselor on hand to avert any big problems before they get out of hand.

Have Something to Say? Mercury and Saturn Align on April 17

I often talk about the benefits of writing and of my close involvement with the IWWG, the International Women’s Writing Guild: On this astrologically auspicious weekend, perfect for expressing one’s thoughts, The IWWG will have its 57th bi-annual Big Apple Writing Conference/Meet the Authors-Meet the Agents at the Scandinavia House in Manhattan.

The conference begins Saturday, April 18, with Lisa Dale Norton's day-long writing workshop: "The Compassionate Memoir: Using the Process of Memoir to Change the World" from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. The next day, Sunday April 19th, will be divided into two parts: The first, is “Meet the Authors”, the second: “Meet the Agents”. And on Sunday, Guild founder Hannelore Hahn writes of a very special story that will be shared:

“One writer, (the now late Elizabeth Aleshire) went into the hospital last summer for a heart condition: She fully expected that she would recover and be able to complete her book 101 Ways You Can Help: How To Offer Comfort And Support To Those Who Are Grieving, which was under contract with Sourcebooks.

But this was not to be. Ms Aleshire was facing more than her writer’s deadline- she was facing the one that we all face, and died last October at age 59, leaving a third of the book unwritten.

But Ms. Aleshire was an active member of the IWWG, a network of women writers, all of whom met and bonded over a period of more than 25 years at the International Women's Writing Guild's annual "Remember the Magic" summer conference at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Having received permission from both Ms. Aleshire and her publisher to complete the book, the six author-friends went into "emergency mode" and each of the women wrote one of the six missing chapters to meet the publication deadline.

Kathy Barach, Marsha Browne, Zita Christian, Judy Huge, Paula Scardamalia and Anne Walradt will tell the story of how they completed Liz's book, which will be in bookstores by end of April.”

Let their story, and others like it serve as a reminder that there’s no time like the present, and that procrastination rarely serves anyone. As Mars enters Aries on April 22nd, the time is ripe to charge ahead and tackle all unfinished business.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about this and other IWWG gatherings, click here or call the IWWG at (212) 737-7536.

Chart: Taurus Ingress of the Sun
Click for larger view

The Planets This Week: All times EST.

April 16: Moon in Capricorn
April 17: Moon V/C @ 12:42 pm, enters Aquarius @ 2:19 pm
             Venus direct @ 3:24 pm, Mercury trine Saturn @ 8:52 pm
April 19: Moon /C @ 6:16 pm, Sun enters Taurus @ 6:45 pm
April 20: Moon enters Pisces @ 1:55 am
April 21: Venus and Mars conjoin @ 7:19 pm
April 22: Moon V/C @ 9:29 pm, enters Aries @ 10:09 am;
             Mars enters Aries @ 9:44 am, Mercury square Jupiter @ 8:53 pm

*Moon v/c = ‘void of course’, Best for spiritual not earthly pursuits

Bonus: 2009 Astro Crib Sheet

Major Planetary Activity for 2009.

Mercury begins 09 @ 0˚Aquarius07’ & ends 2009 @ 19˚Capricorn29’ Rx
Mercury Retrogrades 2009:
Jan 11-Feb 1, May 6-30, Sept 6-29, & Dec 26-Jan 15, 2010
Venus begins 2009 @ 27˚Aquarius48’ and ends 2009 @ 7˚Capricorn13’
Venus Retrograde: March 6-April 17, 2009
Mars begins 2009 @ 3˚Capricorn57’ and ends 2009 @ 18˚Leo54’ (Retro)
Mars turns retrograde on December 20th (thru March 10, 2010)
Jupiter begins 2009 @ 29˚Capricorn02’ and ends 2009 @ 26˚Aquarius15’
Jupiter enters Aquarius on January 5, 2009
Jupiter Retrograde: June 15-Oct 13, 2009
Saturn begins 2009 @ 21˚Virgo46’ Retrograde and ends 2009 @ 4˚Libra30’
Saturn Retrograde: Dec 31, 2008-May 16, 2009
Saturn enters Libra on Oct 29, 2009 (will retrograde back into Virgo in 2010)
Uranus begins 2009 @ 19˚Pisces15’ and ends @ 23˚Pisces05’
Uranus Retrograde: July 1-December 1, 2009
Neptune begins 2009 @ 22˚Aquarius27’ and ends 2009 @ 24˚Aquarius34’
Neptune Retrograde: May 28-November 4, 2009
Pluto begins 2009 @ 1˚Capricorn16’ and ends 2009 @ 3˚Capricorn17’
Pluto Retrograde: April 4-September 11, 2009

Weekly Horoscope

ARIES: Attenćion! ALL money issues that have been frozen stiff since March 6 will start thawing now! On April 17, Venus, the ruler of your 2nd house of income, turns direct. At the same time, the Mercury-Saturn alignment in your work-money houses promotes a fool-proof methodology guaranteed to yield tangible results-if you put on your thinking cap, put pen to paper and start writing. Time’s a wasting. So if you haven’t done so already, buy a clue and get your financial plan up and running. Your ruler, Mars, enters your sign on Earth Day (April 22) and will rev you up through May 31. Strive to accomplish the impossible and then some.

TAURUS: Spring 2009 could go down in your memoirs as the season of ‘Ooh La La’ as your ruler, Venus, will conjoin Mars not once, but twice! On the 17th, Venus slowly turns direct and readies to meet up with Mars (at 29 degrees of Pisces) on April 21: Then, a friendship based on compassion, empathy, and a shared vision for the world may show signs of a special ‘chemistry’. If so, savor this delicious development and delay gratification until June 21 when the love planets conjoin in Taurus. The same romantic and creative zest can and should be applied to all of your ventures with equal delight. Your energy blossoms when the Sun enters your sign on April 22: Glow, glow, glow!

GEMINI: Whether you believe in communication from the great beyond or not, be open to that possibility if you can: If not, you’d benefit from at least imagining an exchange between yourself and a departed parent or ancestor who is always looking out for you. This could come by way of a dream or while you’re awake and relaxed. Either way, you’re about to receive a ‘message’ from the other side that will help along very practical lines. On another front, zippy Mars enters your 11th house of friends and group activities. The next five weeks can be socially demanding but get too distracted- work has to come first now.

CANCER: As your ruler, the Moon, travels through Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces, the focus is on paying attention to the relationships in your life and to see if all are in good working order. If there are any unhealthy enmeshments, take emotional responsibility for your end of the problem and move forward. Have you, based on fear, been silent where you’ve needed to speak up? The build up of 4 planets (Moon, Uranus, Venus and Mars) in your 9th house of philosophy and beliefs may positively rock your world and send you into a zone that allows you to approach your life more up beat than before. Mars in your 10th house (April 22-May 31) energizes you in the professional arena.

LEO: Heavens to Betsy- is your 8th house of sex and intrigue up and running. On April 20/21, four planets are occupying that turf and the intense longing could be too hot to handle. With the Sun in your 10th house of career, and everyone watching- the timing’s wrong for any indiscretions- accidental or otherwise. It will be better to channel this energy therapeutically than romantically. Use the transit to delve deeply into what makes you tick. On April 22, Mars enters your 9th house driving you to fight for what is right and succeed.

VIRGO: Though you’re naturally modest and often too demure for your own good, please don’t hold back now. Someone in an authority position is willing to help with a legal or professional issue, but they need the green light from you before they’ll step up to the plate. Mars enters your 8th house and this will help you to fight for what is yours in a tax or inheritance battle. A unpleasant as this is, if you don’t take the reigns no one else will either.

LIBRA: The past few weeks have been somewhat excruciating and that’s about to end. As your ruler, Venus, begins to slowly move forward, the endless delays surrounding work and partnerships (of all kinds) will start to subside and things will move forward. It’s been difficult to not take the rejections of the past few weeks personally, but you will see that the stream of ‘no’s’ were blessings in disguise. Mars enters your 7th house of relationships on the 22nd and you’ll be shaken from any ‘maňana’ habits that have accumulated.

SCORPIO: Oh honey child- the gathering of planets in your 5th house of love affairs on April 20/21 would make anyone blush- but sorry-you don’t have permission from the cosmos to act it all out in ways that may be destructive. Though it may sound crazy, the best expression of the energy is either to dance it out, paint it out, or spend some quality time with your kids. It is possible that a romance takes a very soulful turn-in which case, congratulations are in order, but delay a commitment till June

SAGITTARIUS: No one clutters up their environment more than you Sadges, but as Venus and Mars meet up in your 4th house, you may wish to clean up and beautify your bedroom in particular to make it more conducive to romance than it’s been. Yes, things are looking up in that department- but you’ve got to help it along. A partner, co-worker, or BFF has a clever and practical solution regarding work and/or a problem with a superior so do yourself a favor and listen up.

CAPRICORN: On the 17th, a special alignment between creative/romantic and legal camps proves once again that the good guys do win from time to time. As a matter of fact, being on the up and up is looking sexier every day. And speaking of passion, as Venus and Mars meet up in your third house of neighborhood affairs-take note that any ‘indiscretions’ will be noticed and talked about. But not to worry - the Sun enters your 5th house of love affairs and before the end of Spring, you’ll have ample (and I mean ample) opportunity to indulge and enjoy- in private.

AQUARIUS: Someone at home (a family member?) will finally acknowledge all that you’ve done to make their life easier. This may not sound like such a big deal, but it is for this person who rarely shows his/her hand. Take it as a ‘thank you’ from the universe as well. Venus and Mars align in your 2nd house and the economic potential is huge: Suddenly, much of what you’ve been thinking and feeling is appreciated by those who can make it happen-so don’t give up the ship. As the Sun enters your 4th house, take time to plant some seeds of beauty- literally and figuratively- in and around the home.

PISCES: This week, spiritual and sexual energy merge as Venus and Mars meet at the last degree of the zodiac (29 Pisces) and boy oh boy, do you feel the love! Just don’t feel it with everyone you meet - if you catch my drift. Your capacity for empathy is admirable, but you must guard against being overwhelmed by the urge to ease the pain of the entire universe, especially on April 20/21 when 4 planets are in your sign. On April 22, Mars enters your 2nd house of finance and you have permission to put your economic problems first- at least through the end of May. Also on 4/22, the Sun enters your 3rd house of communication: A sibling who receives an honor will want you to cheer him/her on.