Friday, October 14, 2016

Neptune in Pisces and the Submerged Museum

Reading ‘The Changing Sea Scape of our Times’ by Antonia Case in Womankind magazine (#7, February-April 2016) prompted me to examine the current Neptune transit and its place in the zeitgeist. More specifically, it got me thinking how Neptune and Pisces relate to the artwork of English artist and naturalist, Jason deCaires Taylor, the article’s intriguing subject.

Jason deCaires Taylor is a British born underwater sculptor who has gained worldwide recognition as one of the first artists to integrate contemporary art with the conservation of marine life. His artificial coral reefs installations divert tourists away from endangered natural coral reefs, providing these systems the opportunity to regenerate.

One impressive example is Vicissitudes, meaning changeability. Submerged in the Caribbean Sea in Molinere Bay, in the world’s first public underwater sculpture park, stands a circle of Taylor’s cement figures. With defying postures, they face outward, holding hands in an unbreakable link while algae and other marine life slowly alter their bodies over time. Within years, these sunken artworks will be transformed. Taylor’s work is a commentary on humanity’s relationship with the natural world and the need for conservation, decay and rebirth. Works such as Vicissitudes portray how human interaction with nature can be positive and sustainable, and that living in a symbiotic relationship with nature is possible.

The connection to Neptune in Pisces is discernible (to me, anyway). Planet Neptune transits the constellation of Pisces between 2012 and 2025. Neptune is Pisces’ ruling planet. Both are synonymous with water, especially the depths of the ocean, and both have a comprehensive understanding that all life is interconnected. As a gaseous and nebulous planet, Neptune’s boundaries are elusive; we are unsure of where the planet begins and ends. Neptune acts as one of the planetary gateways to a consciousness that is free from the limitations of Saturn and all planets inside Saturn’s orbital path (that is, the planets that are visible from Earth). Neptune symbolises the urge to dissolve a rigid sense of individuality and separateness in order to reconnect to the underlying unity of all life, qualities synonymous with Taylor’s work. His underwater sculptures plug into something primal - the ocean is too boundless and overwhelming for us mortals to comprehend. Once these manmade figures are submerged, they cease to belong to the material realm. Instead, they become part of the mystery that is the sea and, ultimately, life.

One critic described Taylor’s installations as ‘enigmatic, haunting and colorful commentaries about our transient existence, the sacredness of the ocean and its breathtaking power of regeneration’, but you can make up your own mind:

Neptune and Pisces rule museums, art galleries, and libraries. For Taylor, the ocean is an exhibition space and museum, embodying unlimited room, natural lighting, and infinite visitors at all times. It acts as a sacred place to conserve and protect objects of value for posterity. Taylor bemoans the fact that many of us don’t regard our oceans as sacred – we don’t see the sea.
The Neptune-Pisces cycle signals the importance of compassion and empathy. Global issues associated with Pisces are surfacing, such as rising sea levels and growing concerns over the availability of fresh water in parts of the world. Both Neptune and Pisces rule art and culture, and artists such as Jason deCaires Taylor have a role to play in engaging people on an emotional level. On writing, Taylor had placed approximately seven hundred underwater sculptures around the globe, generating masses of robust marine systems. His largest underwater sculpture to date, Ocean Atlas, located on the western coastline of New Providence in the Bahamas, is a metaphor for modern times: Ocean Atlas is burdened by the weight of the ocean pressing down on her shoulders. It symbolises global warming and the load that will be carried by future generations if we don’t take action. Ambiguity, confusion and passivity are hazards to growth and healing during a Neptune-Pisces cycle. We drift along with the oceans current at our peril. Only with self-actualisation we get to see the sea.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Remembering Bowie

It’s been seven months since David Bowie’s death - 11 January 2016 - and the outpouring of feeling is ongoing, the evidence of which can be found on social media and in the various cultural events held in his honour throughout the world. It’s difficult to pigeonhole David Bowie as an artist and as an individual; he represents many things to many people. His natal chart reflects his multi-faceted and contradictory nature, where layers of personality and talent seemingly clash, causing internal frustration but manifesting outwardly creatively, sometimes brilliantly, sometimes not. Here, the Air element is powerful. In the early stages of Bowie’s career at least, this airy quality overshadowed his more subdued and traditional Sun in Capricorn, which hid away in the twelfth house, the horoscope’s sanctuary. Bowie’s story reflects what some astrologers call ‘growing into our Sun signs’, the mythology for which Capricorn as tenacious goat climbing the proverbial mountain to reach its pinnacle is noted for.
Outwardly, David Bowie embodied the qualities normally associated with the air sign Aquarius – scientific, futuristic, progressive, prophetic - despite his Sun’s placement in pragmatic Capricorn. With Aquarius rising, the planet Uranus becomes chart ruler, giving Bowie an alternative edge. Uranus’ glyph resembles a satellite designed to explore the far reaches of time and space, a theme often repeated in Bowie’s early work. His 1969 breakthrough single Space Oddity, released close to the moon landing, covers cosmonaut Major Tom’s existential space journey. Through classics such as Space Oddity, Ziggy Stardust, Life on Mars, Starman, Moonage Daydream, and Loving the Alien, we learn of the visions and possibilities forgotten on the earthly plane.
His chart ruler, Uranus in Gemini, in the fifth house of romance sextile Pluto in the seventh house of relationships alludes to Bowie’s experimental and transformative sex life. He was magnetised by the gay scene, which was still underground in the early 1970s, and became a camp icon in an era when homosexuals lived in fear of discovery. Critics such as the queer writer John Gill condemned Bowie for using and betraying gay culture for his own commercial gain. Nevertheless, Bowie set a precedent that heralded in a new generation of androgynous stars who were successful in the 1980s: Gary Numan, Boy George (Culture Club), Marilyn, Phil Oakey (Human League), George Michael (Wham!), Morrissey (The Smiths), Pete Burns (Dead or Alive), and Steve Strange (Visage) who appears in the Ashes to Ashes promotional video:

Bowie was aware of his role as an interpretative performer and the fact that his personas only had a short life span (one or two albums). He found it easier to write for his characters than for himself (twelfth house Mercury) and wasn’t sentimental about them; he could move on (Aquarius rising). Bowie's image developed as time progressed, earning him the moniker of ‘pop chameleon’ (chart ruler Uranus in Gemini):
‘… I wanted to be the instigator of new ideas. I wanted to turn people on to new things and new perspectives … I decided to use the easiest medium, which was rock n roll, and then add bits and pieces … so that by the end of it I would be my own medium’
Occultism flavoured Bowie’s life and work up to his last recording. His twelfth house Stellium (Sun, Mars, and Mercury) indicates a rich inner world and psychic possibilities. The Sun and Mercury in this sector of the chart function as mediums for the expression of mythic or archetypal images in the collective unconscious through art or some form of psychic work. Bowie had the capacity to bridge the conscious and unconscious, and communicate to an audience what was operating in the murky depths of the psyche:
‘All I knew was that there was this otherness, this other world, an alternative reality, and one that I wanted to embrace’

The above is a extract from the next issue of Astrobabble, copies of which I will be flogging at Manly Zine Fair in September. See you there.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Going Home

I guess it’s a cliché to revisit your childhood home and get all heavy-hearted for the good ol’ days of youth. With rose-coloured glasses on, some of us insist that our formative years were magical, innocent and simpler than life is today. I am certainly guilty of this. True to my Cancerian nature, roaming around in the past is something I do regularly. Recently I had the opportunity to savour this fetish in a real way when I revisited the house I lived in from birth to twelve years of age when it came up for sale.

The experience was strangely consoling. The house is a three bedroom, red-brown brick American bungalow built in the 1920s. Curiosity drew me along with my mother and niece to have a peek when the property was open for inspection in September. Aesthetically, not a lot had changed except for the garden, which had been developed and maintained in a thoughtful way and included a well and picnic table. I noted that the front door with its stained glass of oversized red roses and green petals remained unchanged, more polished and fresher than I remembered. The wallpaper in the hallway had been replaced with a pattern similar to the one I’d known in the 1970s. The fact that these features remained unchanged or altered slightly to resemble what was there before gave me a strong feeling of de-ja-vu. I recall how straightforward and liberal life was then. As children, we drank wine diluted with lemonade at dinner, allowed to puff on our grandfather’s cigarette, encouraged to read books that grabbed our attention, and permitted to watch hours of television without ‘recommended parental guidance’. More importantly, we were let loose in the neighbourhood to run around, play cricket with other kids in the middle of the road, ride bikes or skateboards streets away, and let off steam in a healthy, physical way. There wasn’t much that was regulated in my childhood.

I don’t want to give away the entire address out of respect for the residents, but I do have to mention how significant the house number and street name are on a cosmic level - 40 Fourth Avenue. The prominence of the number four reveals a stable and traditional home, a stronghold well-shielded from the anguishes of the outside world. Occupants of number four dwellings tend to live there long term and are often entrenched in routine. My family lived there for fifteen years (1965 to 1980) before selling it to the couple who recently put it on the market (1980 to 2015). Our next-door neighbours also lived at 40 Fourth Avenue for a couple of decades prior to my parents purchasing the property, and before our neighbours owned the home, their own parents had lived there for some decades from the 1920s when the house was built! I find all this refreshing and comforting in our wobbly times where the status of ‘the home’ is demoted to nothing more than a box where workers go to be watered, fed and rested between long intervals of productivity at the office. It was gratifying to see the place lovingly refurbished to look, feel, and function like a ‘family home’, not an airbrushed real estate brochure. The current Black Plague of overdevelopment spoiling the Sydney suburbs means that houses like Fourth Avenue are an endangered species. Such properties are often targeted for demolition by developers to make way for depressing tower blocks of small cubicles marketed as 'luxury apartments'. On writing, Fourth Avenue would have sold for a ridiculous amount of money, probably to an overseas investor. I don’t know what fate has in store has for the property, but I hope the Gods are kind.

I am three years away from my number four pinnacle and turning the milestone age of fifty. It worries me when I think about this combination – a middle age where hard work and financial management are at the forefront of my life. How boring is that? I had hoped that by this stage I would be breaking off the shackles of conventional work. The visit to my old family home shifted my perspective. Having Saturn in the fourth house of my natal chart proved restrictive in my adolescence for many reasons, but I now witness the pearl forming inside the gritty shell.  The positive aspect of a fourth house Saturn is symbolised by 40 Fourth Avenue – stability, security, reliability of the people around you, and the certainty of knowing your place in that space. I can take these qualities with me into my number four pinnacle and believe that such a solid base is the perfect springboard for jumping into the activities I want to develop.

As a kid, I was madly creative. Bursting with ideas for plays, films, writing fiction, drawing, painting, and song writing, I knew who I was and what my talents were.  That knowing got lost on the way to adulthood, as it does with some of us. I believe my early development was a result of great schooling and a solid home base. It’s taken me many years to discover the gem hidden within the number four vibration and fourth house Saturn. I have 40 Fourth Avenue to thank for that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Life according to Keefe

I am currently producing this year’s issue of Astrobabble, the first in a new cycle where I rehash the astrological signs and planets in my revered and unparalleled style (yeah, right). Anyway, I decided to revisit all things (some things) Sagittarius since I had covered the sign in one of the earlier issues about a million years ago (yeah, right) and felt it needed refreshing, given the current Saturn-Sagittarius cycle.

To get motivated, I began the year with the challenging goal of ploughing through Keith Richards’ autobiography Life - which is the size of a house brick - before my birthday in July. It was effortless. What an engaging tale! At over six hundred pages, this epic work captures the Sagittarian spirit of ‘the journey’ through the well-worn themes of rock n roll, illicit drug taking, and intrepid travel. What elevates this story above the usual rock star dross is Keefe’s unique and unfettered voice, and his profound insight. For the Centaur, the real sport of life is to make ‘the journey’ stimulating, varied, and as expansive as possible. The goal is insignificant. This has been the undisputed path for Keith Richards since the mid-1950s (when he discovered rock n roll), leading to the formation of the Rolling Stones with Mick Jagger in 1962. What followed was a smorgasbord of life experiences spanning decades that would leave more sober astrological signs breathless.

You could argue that it’s difficult to dislike Keefe the man, even if you’re not a fan of the Rolling Stones’ music. While Mick Jagger has the air of a manipulative prima donna, by contrast, Keith appears accessible and genial (Sun in Sagittarius / Moon and Jupiter on Midheaven / Moon sextile Venus). A stellium of planets in the tenth house (Chiron, Moon, and Jupiter) is indicative of popularity and success on a large scale. Shrugging off the clichéd junkie image is a challenge (Scorpio rising / Pluto as chart ruler semi-squaring Saturn in opposition to the Sun / Chiron square Sun), however, the public graciously forgives Keith for his shortcomings and recognises him as one of the ultimate rock star icons (Uranus square Moon on Midheaven / chart ruler Pluto conjunct node in Leo).

A strict Virgo Moon on the Midheaven reflects the need to perfect his craft (blues guitar) with discipline. The Virgo Moon individual finds it difficult to express feelings and can be out of touch with their emotional side altogether if the Moon isn’t supported by meaningful factors in the birth chart. One of the more surprising revelations in Life is Keith’s inherent shyness with women. He claims that when it comes to approaching the opposite sex, he holds back (Moon in Virgo square Mars in Gemini) and waits for the object of his desire to make the first move. An eighth house Saturn in opposition to his Sun indicates his insecurity in intimate situations and the fear of being swamped by feelings that his Virgo Moon works hard at controlling. As a young single guy, Keith struggled with pick-up lines and had a preoccupation with finding the right line or one that hadn’t been used before.

‘I just never had that thing with women … “hey, baby” is just not my come-on’

The life of the mind is important to Sagittarius and Virgo. Both signs travel on a mental level. Intellectuals of the zodiac, they devour books and absorb all forms of knowledge. Another unexpected admission is that Keith is an avid reader who takes pride in developing libraries inside his homes in West Sussex, England and Weston, Connecticut. It's alleged that he attempted to classify his collection using the Dewey Decimal classification system but found it too overwhelming. Moon in Virgo, indeed!

'When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully - the church (Sagittarius) ... and the public library (Virgo) ... the public library is a great equaliser'
On writing, Keefe at seventy-one shows no signs of slowing down. He says that he is still partial to beginning the day by smoking a joint. With the imminent release of his new solo album Crosseyed Heart next month, fellow Sagittarian Tom Waits has penned a interminable poem to celebrate the Rolling Stones guitarist’s legendary status. Part homage to Keith’s questionable physical attributes such as pissing blue urine and smelling like a campfire, the following lines are endearing:
Hands like a woodworker
Arms like a swabby
A back like a soldier
A mind like a detective
Shoulders like a boxer
A voice like a choirboy
And a country-western face

Keith Richards is testament to the Sagittarian adage that if you create your own luck, the road can go on forever. Read more in the new issue of Astrobabble, available at the Manly Zine Fair in September.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Saturn in Sagittarius and the Consequence of Progress

‘As far as your self-control goes, as far goes your freedom’Marie Ebner Eschenbach, writer
The contradictory forces of Idealism (Neptune) and Realism (Saturn) butt heads this year, thanks to Saturn’s entry into the constellation of Sagittarius on 23 December 2014, squaring Neptune in Pisces. Fortunately, the volatile Uranus-Pluto transit has moved into a separating phase, offering us Earthlings an opportunity to observe the interplay of Neptune’s nebulous idealism with Saturn’s blatant reality check.
Saturn’s once-in-thirty-year cycle in Sagittarius raises issues around freedom, growth, and humanity’s perpetual search for meaning. On the transit’s closure - 21 December 2017 - we will have endured a considerable test of faith, both personally and collectively. Saturn equals boundaries, discipline, responsibility, and mastery of skill. Sagittarius, on the other hand, represents expansion, belief systems, spirituality, and the call to adventure. Questions surface in regards to how we master our faith and freedom, and the way society currently manages growth fetish.
Saturn in Sagittarius argues that true freedom comes from discipline. With the square to Neptune in Pisces, the principles we currently live by need to be scrutinised in order to create valuable life experiences. Society needs to examine the ethics behind some (most) decisions made by the current political and corporate forces supporting uncapped economic growth. In the midst of overwhelming materialism, Neptune in Pisces asks benevolent questions: does success by society’s standards come from an honourable place? Is the human race functioning at a lower vibration and is concerned only with what it can get away with? And how long can we continue to function in this concentrated alpha state before we cannibalise? Saturn tells us that growth requires boundaries and responsibility if it is to continue and benefit the majority (as opposed to the ‘one percent’).
The last Saturn-Sagittarius transit - November 1985 to February 1988 – saw the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (then officially the Ukrainian SSR) destroyed by fire in April 1986, leading to long-term health, economic, and social difficulties for the region and parts of Western Europe and Britain. The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere that diffused over western USSR and Europe. Classified as a level seven event (the maximum classification) on the International Nuclear Event Scale, it involved over five hundred thousand workers and cost an estimated eighteen billion rubles. The after-effects are expected to endure for at least a century. There was a substantial increase in human digestive, circulatory, nervous, respiratory and endocrine diseases and cancers in Belarus and Ukraine. The disaster became a key factor in the Soviet Union's eventual 1991 dissolution and a major influence in re-shaping Eastern Europe. Unsurprisingly, the cosmic lesson of tragedies like Chernobyl is that expansion beyond a responsible limit brings consequences.

It was around Saturn’s ingress into Sagittarius that I picked up a copy of issue six of New Philosopher magazine, the theme aptly titled The End of Growth. It opens with editor Zan Boag asking the rhetorical question of whether our unquestioning commitment to ‘progess’ is destroying all that sustains us. Boag makes the analogy that our society parallels the ancient Greek myth of Icarus flying into the sun. Soaring to great heights (Sagittarius) on wings made from wax, Icarus ignored his father’s (Saturn) warning of flying either too low or too high, and instead flew towards the sun where the blazing heat melted the wax on his wings causing him to plunge to his death. Likewise, we continue to soar in our quest for unlimited growth at any cost.

Saturn in Sagittarius exposes a broken economic model where perpetual growth results in the depletion of natural capital. It’s prudent to look to Pluto’s ingress in Aquarius (2023 - 2024) for clues on how to move forward sustainably. Transiting Pluto offers us the chance to let go of things that aren't working to rebirth and evolve. Pluto in Aquarius is symbolic of people power; the transference of power from an oligarchy to the masses begins at the ingress (the last Pluto-Aquarius transit in 1789 triggered the French Revolution). Possible experiences with transiting Pluto in Aquarius may include: robust reactions to duplicitous use of technology; a resurgence of egalitarian principles; people power gaining political clout; increasing unorthodox lifestyles as conventional forms of housing and employment become unobtainable; the mainstreaming of alternatives to money such as bit-coin and bartering; developing complex human relationships and an intolerance for superficiality; breakthroughs in psychology; progressing abstract thought through astrology, metaphysics and other higher forms of learning.

Bring it on.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Goat Boy

Why aren’t there more zines like Goat Boy?

A few months ago, I was lamenting to my BrisVegas comrade, Tamara Lazaroff, about the lack of esoteric zines produced by DIY defenders; a whine-fest that resulted in the formation of the panel Spiritual Conversations with Punks at the Zine and Independent Comics Symposium (ZICS) in August. Tamara’s involvement in establishing this panel included the arduous task of finding zinesters whose work is spiritually or esoterically themed. Not an easy feat considering that the zeitgeist dictates topics of a fluffy nature. So, it was a delight to acquire Goat Boy (as part of a trade with its creator, Animalbro) and to discover that it’s a zine dedicated to the Greek god, Pan.

For the uninitiated, Pan, in Greek and Roman mythology, is the god of nature, shepherds, hunting, and rustic music. He is linked to the Spring Equinox and fertility, and is an archetype of male virility and rugged sexuality. His physical attributes – legs and horns of a goat – classify him as a faun or a satyr in art and literature and allot him the astrological sign of Capricorn. The Christianisation of Greek and Roman mythology marred Pan as the personification of Satan or Evil; an association highly popular in Victorian and Edwardian Neopaganism. Hence, his connection with the Devil card in the Major Arcana of traditional Tarot decks such as Rider-Waite-Smith.

Goat Boy is an old school zine. A straightforward, sixteen-page, black and white job, it doesn’t depend on glossy or pretentious production techniques to impress the reader because it contains a unique selling point: substance. The zine is a measured balance of text and images. It’s well written and loaded with narratives from various cultures, subcultures, and civilizations. The illustration selection displays the many interpretations of Pan by artists such as Sydney Long, Mikhail Vrubel, and Animalbro herself. Included are diagrams of the physical components that configure Pan, such as horns, hair, human and goat DNA, and the interconnectedness of these parts to the natural cycles and to the Divine.

The most surprising thing for me, though, was to discover that the American comedian, Bill Hicks, propagated (if that is the correct word) the concept of ‘Goat Boy’. His posthumous book, Love All the People: Letters, Lyrics and Routines of Bill Hicks (2004), contains evidence of this. The hero of the zine’s title is Bill Hicks’ version of Pan: a randy but good-natured goat through which Hicks celebrates his own irrepressible libido.

It’s refreshing to encounter a zine like Goat Boy amid the plethora of great nothingness that dominates modern zine culture. I hope Animalbro continues to create work of this caliber, and that it reaches a wide audience. She deserves the accolades. You can purchase Goat Boy and other works by Animalbro at and

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's Time: the Passing of Gough Whitlam

‘He was a man. Take him for all in all, I will not look upon his like again’Shakespeare (Hamlet)

‘Dying will happen sometime. As you know, I plan for the ages, not just for this life’ Gough Whitlam, 11 July 1916 to 21 October 2014

The passing of Edward Gough Whitlam, on 21 October 2014 at the age of ninety-eight, has divided the nation into Gough enthusiasts and detractors while generating a tumult of emotions from both camps - an almost spooky re-enactment of the 1975 Dismissal. Whatever the triumphs or shortfalls of his government were, it’s difficult to dispute Whitlam’s role in our country’s development. Labor politician, Tanya Plibersek, stated that it was fitting that Whitlam was Australia’s twenty-first prime minister because it marked our nation’s coming of age. Under Whitlam, Australia changed the way it saw itself, helping to create an open, inclusive, and compassionate society.

In its three short years (1972 to 1975), the Labor government under Whitlam activated, with lightning speed, the policies that engineered social change, dragging Australia into the modern era. For those who remember a pre-Whitlam Australia will recall a dreary and insular period of the White Australia policy, protectionism, and social conservatism; a sleepy, cultural backwater wangled by the Menzies government in the 1950s. Australia bypassed the 1960s altogether. While hippies experienced free love and wore flowers in their hair in San Francisco and other parts of the world, Australia was comfortably slumbering in a social and cultural coma.

To give a clearer picture, 1960s Australia went something like this:
  • left wing political movements were under routine surveillance
  • James Joyce’s novel, Ulysses, was banned, as was Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • there was no film industry to speak of
  • the music scene was a joke
  • talented Australians such as Germaine Greer, Clive James, Barry Humphries, Brett Whitley, and The Easybeats left the country to gain recognition elsewhere
  • the contraceptive pill was only available to married women
  • abortion was illegal
  • single mothers, homosexuals, and lesbians were ostracised from mainstream society
  • women and children abused in toxic nuclear families were invisible and lived lives of quiet desperation
  • women in general were treated as second class citizens and were denied the social and financial opportunities gifted to men
  • indigenous and new Australians (Italians, Greeks, and Lebanese) were low on the social and political rung (Aboriginal land rights were not recognised and indigenous people did not have the vote)
Need I go on?

By the early 1970s, social change was germinating. The Labor party's 1972 campaign’s catchphrase, It’s Time, adds up to 32/5, which signals a shift in consciousness. Whitlam was extolled as an Agent of Change (Uranus bi-quintile the Ascendant/Uranus quintile Jupiter on the Midheaven/Moon semi-square Pluto). A psychically loaded birthdate – 11 July – expresses Messiah-like qualities. Such was his persona that he was applauded for introducing reforms that were already in place (such as no-fault divorce and the removal of troops from Vietnam). A mythological figure with a penchant for cherishing ideals that weren’t always practical, Whitlam reached for a higher ground (first house Neptune square Jupiter on the Midheaven). An influential 26/8 life path denotes a visionary leader of Roman God proportions with the ability to direct the Australian Labor Party out of the wilderness of twenty-three years of conservative rule.

A Stellium of planets in Cancer (Sun, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and Pluto) indicates a strong humanitarian streak. Whitlam was genuinely interested in and concerned about people. He cared deeply and intensely about his country, and had the ability to regenerate it (Scorpio Moon as chart ruler in the fourth house). A fourth house Scorpio Moon can dramatically end certain life phases, as illustrated by the dismissal of Whitlam’s government on 11 November 1975 (transiting Sun eclipsed his natal Moon). Altruism is expressed via the Jupiter conjunct Midheaven quintile Uranus aspect:

‘In spite of repeated disappointments, he never lost that faith in humanity. This, above all, made him such an attractive human being’
Mungo MacCallum, political journalist
The Whitlam family’s own experience of living in the post war electorate of Werriwa highlighted the disadvantages in education, health, housing and infrastructure that were prevalent in Sydney’s western suburbs. Whitlam tried to correct the deficiencies that Australians in the new suburbs such as his were facing (even up to the 1970s, Sydney’s outer areas such as Blacktown and Penrith lacked sewerage systems, for example). For Whitlam, government was an instrument to improve life for all Australians. He took public service seriously (Sun conjunct Saturn sextile Jupiter on Midheaven).

As a politician, Whitlam was incorruptible (Jupiter conjunct Midheaven). He shaped public opinion and didn’t pander to focus groups or big business (Jupiter conjunct Midheaven quintile Uranus square Moon semi-square Pluto/Moon quintile North Node). Whitlam possessed an independent mind and a unique way of looking at the world. Quick witted and good with words, he had a wide variety of interests and an impressive body of general knowledge (Mercury sextile Jupiter/Mercury conjunct Pluto), qualities severely lacking in our current batch of political leaders. He also believed that education was the key to equal opportunity.
A highly physical Taurus in Jupiter sits on the Midheaven. Liberal frontbencher, Malcolm Turnbull, states that what people remember most about Whitlam is ‘a bigness, a generosity, an enormous optimism’. Indeed, at 194 centremetres tall, he was an inescapable human tower of power and fortitude. Smugness is often associated with this aspect. Modesty was never Gough Whitlam’s strong point:
‘He was someone who, whether in a small room … or at a public event, everyone else seemed to fade to black and white, while this giant of a man – physically, intellectually – appeared in full colour and dominated wherever he was’Anthony Albanese, Labor politician.

To list and elaborate on the changes brought about by the Whitlam government would require a sizeable amount of blog space. I don’t need to regurgitate what is already (better) articulated across the internet and in modern history books. But I do want to mention Whitlam’s commitment to culture (Stellium in Cancer/Venus conjunct Pluto/Venus sextile Jupiter-Midheaven), because it’s one of those formative things that shaped me as a young person, especially the birth of one of his more exciting ventures, that of a youth radio station in 1975 - Double J (now Triple J). Idealistic young Australians in the late 1970s and 1980s enjoyed the opportunity to form bands and develop their craft free from exorbitant financial constraints. Punk rock, with its anti-establishment philosophy, gained momentum in the mid-1970s as both a musical genre and a lifestyle choice. This newly found DIY culture influenced kids from the suburbs to create some of Australia’s most innovative and experimental music. Double J was instrumental in giving this underground scene a voice. In retrospect, it’s difficult to believe that the following bands – some of them considered unlistenable – were given air time:
~ Severed Heads ~ Tactics ~ Boys Next Door ~ The Birthday Party ~ Radio Birdman ~ The Scientists ~ The Saints ~ SPK ~ The Riptides ~ Machinations ~ Laughing Clowns ~ The Triffids ~ The Go Betweens ~ David Virgin ~ Primitive Calculators ~ The Stems ~ Died Pretty ~ Sekret Sekret ~ Sardine ~ Do Re Mi ~ X ~ The Eastern Dark ~ Wet Taxis ~ The Celibate Rifles ~ The Sunnyboys ~ Cosmic Pyschos ~ The Hard-Ons ~ The Plunderers ~ Pel Mel ~ Mark of Cain ~ La Femme ~ The Riptides ~ Makers of the Dead Travel Fast ~ The Numbers ~ Toys Went Berserk ~ The Moodists ~ Box of Fish ~ Scared Cowboys ~ XL Capris ~ TISM ~ The Whitlams (of course) …
Love or hate him, it’s almost impossible to feel indifferent about Gough Whitlam. I’m not alone in my yearning for that era when politics was open, positive, and about governing citizens instead of managing the economy at the cost of civil liberties. The Whitlam government certainly had its flaws, but it always pushed the boundaries of stifling conservatism. Before fear and greed kicked in, vision was still considered an honourable quality in a leader. Gough envisioned that Australia could be a progressive, exciting, and benevolent society where equality of opportunity belonged to everyone. Oh, how far we have fallen. In the name of Edward Gough Whitlam, we need to maintain the rage.

Vale, Gough.