A joint publication of: Astro Logos and Zyntara Publications



November 2008

   VAN Archive - www.Zyntara.com


In this issue:
The Symplegades  - when the world changes.
A look at one of the sky markers of change in our own lives, as well as in the emerging story of the world.
Barack Obama's Outer Planet Parans

In this issue we are focusing on the markers of the world when it turns, and also the outer planet star and planet combinations of the man of the moment, Barack Obama.

Comments: For those of you who may have missed the September Visual Astrology Newsletter focused on the US elections, we talked of how the sky was reflecting the struggle for the "throne" and not only how the young "crown prince" would be victorious but that this victory had long legs.

Sometimes we have to stand back to see something a little more clearly and if we forget the actual candidates, the natal charts, the nation's chart, the election chart, the swearing-in chart or any other such charts, then we can see a more straightforward picture. The sky narrative at the time scheduled for the US elections showed the Moon passing underneath Jupiter, a symbol that power is being given to Jupiter. Indeed we could think of Jupiter as being "over the Moon" and thus in a joyful position. This empowered Jupiter was also being radiated by a brilliant Venus, another uncomplicated statement that Jupiter (symbolic of the Crown Prince) was being strongly endorsed.  

It is also using this same straightforward sky logic that we can look forward to future US elections, right now without needing to know who will be running and what are their charts, or even what chart to use for the USA. When we look at November 2012, it is just as straightforward to see that the ruling party does not lose the throne, so the Democrats win the 2012 election (hopefully still with Obama in the driving seat). More importantly, we can see that the Democrats also win the election in November 2016. Indeed it is not until Tuesday 3rd November 2020 that the Republicans regain the "throne".  So if you want the big picture, look up to the sky!

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The Symplegades  - when the world changes
 by Bernadette Brady MA

The Bosporus, a narrow strait that separates the continents of
Europe and Asia.

The world changes. Indeed that is one thing we can predict with certainty. There are many markers in astrology which indicate times of change and outer planetary cycles and combinations are astrology's major tool for understanding such times. Currently we have the Saturn/Uranus combination but this is only one of many that we watch.  Within these times heralded by the larger markers there are also places in the sky which are liminal spaces, zones which mark the place of bifurcation, a time of change where something can go one way or another.


I have been reminded of this lately not only by the current world events of a new era in USA, and thus world politics but also by a boat trip. The continents of Europe and Asia are separated by a long thin strip of sea known as the Bosporus which, at its narrowest point, is only 700 yards wide. This narrow stretch of water has been guarded since ancient times and is currently flanked by two ancient castles which once watched over this still-busy shipping lane.


This is a part of the world which is the stage for many myths. The city of Troy is only 100 kilometres from this narrow strait and mythology tells us that Jason and his Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece, sailed through these narrow waters. Indeed it is believed that this narrow point in the Bosporus may be the fabled Symplegades, the Cyanean Rocks or Crashing Rocks that threatened to destroy the Argo. For the Symplegades, guarding this narrow sea passage, are in fact symbolic of a gateway, a fearful "crossing", a place where there is the need for sacrifice, a place of  fear or anxiety. Sailing through the Symplegades was a test which one had to pass through, physically or spiritually, in order to move forward into a new world.

Thus as I sailed through this narrow point my thoughts turned to the death of Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, that had just occurred on that day, the day before the election, and it seemed to me that he to was facing the Symplegades and was mythologically paying the price demanded by these rocks.


Jason in the Argo sailing through the
Symplegades. Bernard Picart, 1733

Like all myths there were also "other world laws" at play. By casting her ballot before her death, Madelyn Dunham was able to speak from the underworld.


The sky also holds the Symplegades. In the constellation of Libra there are two stars, known as the gate keepers. They are equidistance from the ecliptic and used to mark the beginning of the Sun's journey into the underworld. The one that guards the northern side of the passage is named Zuben Eschamali (the northern claw)  and the other which guards the southern side of this narrow passage is named Brachium
(the upper part of the arm of the scales), also known as Zuben al akrab.


On Tuesday 5th November, it just so happened that Mars was riding through these Symplegades in the sky, and although this sky narrative alone would not be enough to reflect world events, as Mars travels this journey every two and a half years, for me this sky picture at the time of the elections held some wonder, as it was yet another confirmation of the union between the world of humans and the sky, that same reflection articulated by the the Stoics as the Cosmos of Humankind mirroring the cosmos without.


Adding to this power of the Symplegades is the observation that the orbit of Pluto always moves to the north of the constellation of Libra. Thus Pluto, the guardian of the underworld, has no need to cross through them but alone of all the planets, avoids them completely.

In this current era, any planet in a natal chart or transiting through it around 20o Scorpio will be passing through these "Crashing Gates". The person or situation is being asked to sacrifice something and hence will be living in a liminal place, a place between two worlds, a place that offers the opportunity for and hope of a new beginning, a new or different expression.

Pluto always passes well to the north of the Symplegades


Some examples....


Wallace Simpson (born 19th June 1895 or some say 1896), the divorcee whom Edward VIII married and whose action then required him to abdicate the throne of England, had her Uranus in the Symplegades, regardless of her year of birth. Since Uranus is a planet of the collective, on a collective level this heralded great change to the entire dynasties of the UK monarchy.

Mohandas Gandhi (born 2nd October, 1869),
a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement, had his Mars-Venus conjunction in the mouth of the Symplegades. As the pioneer of Satyagraha, resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence, he led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.


Neptune last passed through these Gates in the mid-1960s. This was a time of social upheaval, race issues, New Age thinking, the rise of personal freedom and the landing on the Moon. 


Uranus last passed through these gates in 1978-1980. This was the period when the first international packet switched network was created. This is a network communications method that splits data traffic  into chunks, called packets, that are then routed over a shared network, and was a major step forward in the birth of the internet.


Now great change has come to the world, heralded by the Saturn-Uranus opposition and highlighted by Mars in the Symplegades. In this change, President-elect Obama has not only redrawn the political map of the USA but through his background of being the child of a black Kenyan man and a white America woman and of being raised by a single parent, he has redefined the idea that being disadvantaged need no longer be a barrier to achievement.

Barack Obama has made personal sacrifices and no doubt there will be more to come. However, we are all, in effect, in the Argonaut with him and all of us are passing through the Symplegades. Therefore all of us may have to make sacrifices to bring into effect this dreamed-of and hoped-for new world.


The world has changed just a little but in what appears to be the right direction and once again, as I have often been since we started this newsletter four years ago, I am awed by the reflections of sky and state, sky and personal life and the continuing, never-ending dialogue that exists between the sky narrative and life on earth.





  Outer Planets and Stars - a look at Barack Obama's parans
 by Darrelyn Gunzburg


There is much that can and will be written about the chart of President-elect Barack Obama (born 4 August, 1961 at 19.24 in Honolulu, Hawaii) and prior to the election, in the September issue of this newsletter I looked at the the pairing of images on his eastern and western horizons as a way of determining, through visual astrology, what he brings to his relationships with others and therefore how he is seen by the world.


In this issue I want to look in detail at his natal outer planet star parans as a way of contributing our unique perspective on this man of the moment. I am specifically looking only at parans to his outer planets. In a natal chart we will not generally delineate the outer planets in the sign since, as this applies to so many people, it becomes a generational statement. However, when an outer planet forms a paran with a star, it does so along a thin band of latitude and is applicable only for about twelve months, so we can gain a more personal meaning to these outer planet star and planet combinations.

These parans are always deeply revealing about our drives and desires and for most of us they will not play out on a world stage but stay confined to our own lives. However, for someone prominent in the public eye, particularly at the head of an organization, or the representative voice of a people, a nation, state or country, the outer planets as planets of the collective take on a symbolic meaning. All of the following delineations are taken from Bernadette Brady's Star and Planet Combinations [1]  and use an orb of only 2 minutes of time. All three planets describe ways the collective seeks to change itself.

Uranus seeks change through the voice of the common person rising up to be heard in rebellion,
thus causing revolution.

Obama has three stars in paran with his 7th house Uranus in Leo:

Setting when Deneb Algedi is Rising  (the tail of the sea goat Capricorn)

To have a social conscience, seeking justice for the common folk. To listen to and work for minority groups.

Setting when Scheat is Rising  (In the chest of Pegasus the flying horse)
The journalist or reporter; to collect information on behalf of a group or the community. To be interested in bringing "truth" to a particular community.

Setting when Schedar is Rising (The alpha star of Cassiopeia,  the Queen)
A person who is a natural leader in their community or family; the one in a group who is respected for maintaining the dignity of others.

In hindsight it is easy to see how these parans have already matured through his legal and administrative work. Here are a few instances from his biography [2]:

* Director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), Chicago, where he helped set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization (June 1985 to May 1988).
* President of the Law Review,
Harvard Law School (1990), functioning as editor-in-chief and supervising the staff of eighty editors.
* Director Illinois' Project Vote (April to October 1992), registering 150,000 of 400,000 unregistered African Americans.
, Lawyer (1993-2004) for
Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a twelve-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development.
* Served on the board of directors of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Lugenia Burns Hope Center.


All of this experience helped shape the way Obama approached the 2008 election. We are told that after college, Obama's social conscience steered him to become a community organizer where he learned to listen to people and recognized where social change was acutely needed (Uranus-Deneb Algedi). Mixed in with this social conscience is the skill to collect information on behalf of a group or the community in order to bring in social change ("truth") for that particular community (Uranus-Scheat). However, what takes him into prominence is the final ingredient of Uranus in paran with Schedar, gifting him with "queenly dignity" and natural leadership ability, a trait that emerged in primary school.



Neptune seeks change by taking someone into an enchanted space and showing them an ideal.
Obama has three stars in paran with his 9th house Neptune in Scorpio:

Rising when Alphecca is Rising 
A person who can have successful endeavours in the virtual world, or one's who success prove to be ephemeral. Good fortune which seems to emerge with little effort, but can also disappear with little cause.

Culminating when Castor is Setting 

A strong intuition, a spiritual approach to life. Sensitive to colour and design.

On Nadir when Canopus is Rising 
To dare to dream; unrealistic thinking or a desire to pursue futuristic ideas. A lover of science fiction.

Again hindsight shows us the Obama 2008 Presidential campaign's mastery of the use of the virtual world (Neptune-Alphecca). Mobilizing the electorate through the technological tools of Facebook and MySpace and his own beautifully-designed website to gain widespread web presence and its organizational and money-making power (Neptune-Alphecca) were used with devastating effect. "Barack Obama" the BBC website notes, "has become the commander-in-chief by being the social networker-in-chief." [2] However, networking can only take a person so far. Unless there is substance underneath the network, the network falls apart. Obama also embodies the "dare to dream" American spirit (Neptune-Canopus) building on the philosophy of Lincoln and Martin Luther-King Jr.

The title of his book
Dreams From My Father However, in my opinion, what makes these parans to Neptune most interesting is Neptune-Castor. Castor is one of a twin, its brother being Pollux. These two stars are the classic twins of the heavens and in being twins they represent the essence of the universal struggle with polarity. Obama contains this polarity of black father-white mother, in his own DNA, so he is already sensitive to the blending and recognition of opposites, and thus the ability to build bridges between the two. With Castor as the active star in paran with Neptune, he seeks  the bright side of the story or situation and uses a strong intuition and a spiritual approach to life. He is also "sensitive to colour", and he literally wears that on his skin for all to see.

Pluto seeks change through intensity and irrevocable alteration.
has two stars in paran with his 7th house Virgo, Pluto:

Culminating when Agena is Rising 
To influence the opinion of a large number of people, to want to help to change society's attitude to a subject through politics or demonstrations.

Culminating when Fomalhaut is On Nadir 
To be able to make money from illusions or the virtual world. To understand that the virtual world is just as important as the physical world. To work in the media.

Agena, in the foot of Chiron, the Centaur, is concerned with the sacrifices required for growth. As a healer and a teacher Chiron carries a wound and with this star in paran to Obama's Pluto, he is always going to be concerned with some cause or issue that needs to be corrected or healed, either privately or collectively. By winning the presidential campaign Obama has already begun the healing of America's face to the world. This paran tells us there will be a great deal more healing during his presidency but that it will entail sacrifice in some way.

Fomalhaut is one of the Royal Stars of Persia (see VAN November 2006) and as such represents a trial or a temptation through which the individual must work before true success can be achieved. Being one of the Royal Stars, he is gifted with charisma, a touch of the mystic, a sense of magic based on high ideals or lofty visions. He has already shown himself to be a master of the virtual world in raising campaign money via the internet. Now he must be extremely clear and honest with himself about his motives in order to make sure that personal glory does not become the main driving force as President of the USA. If he can do that, he may just become one of the most loved presidents the USA has ever seen.

Finally, Obama
has one star in paran with his 7th house North Node (mean) in Leo:

Rising when Alphard is Rising 
To be interested in all things to do with life and the environment, to be concerned with balance and order, to seek the overall picture.

The Great Serpent and its red heart,
Alphard, is only just re-emerging in the human psyche as conscious passion. So here we see passionate strength and determination to bring in change (Alphard-North Node). However, Alphard suggests that as he begins to implement change for the American people, he will be working with extremely strong feelings and must always refuse to give in to anger. The presidential debates showed that when bated, Obama remained calm and resisted the temptation to name-call or bait. Howard Jacobson in The Independent [4] writes that "Obama has the kind of cool that can translate into political substance", that by remaining centred he allows the word "respect" to re-enter the  vocabulary by example. 



Paul Simon sang about "the days of miracle and wonder" in the latter years of the last century. Maybe they are just about to come to pass.

1.  Brady, Bernadette (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. Bournemouth, UK: Wessex Astrologer. 
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama#cite_note-Who.27s_Who_2008-23 - accessed 9th November 2008.
3. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7717578.stm - accessed 9th November 2008.
The Independent, UK, Saturday 8th November 2008, p.43. 



The software that allows you to work with the whole sky in your astrology is Starlight and it can be explored on the Zyntara home page where there are also online tutorials.