but seriously folks…

Astrology is an ancient and intriguing discipline. I take it very seriously.  One can learn about oneself, the cycles of one’s life, current events, history, cosmology, relationships. We can get all worked up over eclipses, transits and things that go bump in the night.

As an astrologer–it is my job to empower you as you explore possibilities, what to do at certain times or how to look forward and make responsible plans or look back at your life and make meaning out of the past. I think it is the astrologer’s job to offer assistance as you wander through life’s peaks and valleys.  It is also my job (as I see it) to do my homework, work with integrity, study my craft, all the while weaving together the disciplines and research that allow us to experience aliveness, empowerment and an understanding of what it means to be human.

So–this week (upon returning from NORWAC–the Northwest Astrology Conference held in Seattle every year)—I am charged with the rather daunting task of sharing the wisdom I gained while studying my craft –


Question: What is the proper way to begin a conference and serious course of study?

Answer:  by laughing your head off… 

On Friday, Rick Tarnas conducted a seminar titled—The Comic Genius: An Archetypal Perspective

Tarnas on numbers of occasions joins John Cleese for what must be wonderful ways to spend a life!  Tarnas and Cleese at California Institute of Integral Studies

We spent the day watching various clips from Cleese’s Monty Python series and other comedians and entertainers.  We looked at their charts–and frankly in this day and age of rather serious events and transits that indicate a momentous time in our history—-laughing and remembering the healing power of laughter was a gift from the Celestial Comedy Gods.

Tarnas pointed out Mercury and Mars contacts in Cleese’s chart speaking to the notion that the mind takes in information (I’m not quoting him exactly – just from my memory and notes) and then one must defend the ideas. Cleese thrives on the thrust and counter thrust—Tarnas noted that he generally begins his pieces with an argument—a contest.

 Argument Clinic


Cleese also has a T-Square to Uranus and Tarnas points out thatbest humorists—have a high Uranian component”—the trickster (Mercury ) saying that which is taboo (Uranus). Think about some of your Aquarian friends—they are often the ones who at some point in the meeting–point at the elephant in the room with an innocent expression—stopping us in our tracks, so to speak. Tricksters indeed.  

And talk about talking about that which is taboo!  

John Cleese delivered a memorable memorial speech for Graham Chapman at a memorial service held two months later in the Great Hall at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Cleese delivered a humorous eulogy for his friend Chapman and took advantage of “this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf,” which he then went on to do.

Part of the speech is included below:

Video of Eulogy for Graham

Graham Chapman, co-author of the ‘Parrot Sketch,’ is no more.

He has ceased to be, bereft of life, he rests in peace, he has kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the Great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky.

And I guess that we’re all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, of such capability for kindness, for such unusual intelligence, a man who could overcome his alcoholism with such truly admirable single-mindedness, should now so suddenly be spirited away at the age of only forty-eight before he’d achieved many of the things in which he was capable, and before he’d had enough fun.

Well, I feel that I should say, ‘Nonsense! Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard. I hope he fries.’ And the reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn’t. If I threw away this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. It’s not a funeral, I grant you, but a memorial service is still pretty good.

It is magnificent, isn’t it? You see, the thing about shock . . . is not that it upsets some people, I think; I think that it gives others a momentary joy of liberation, as we realized in that instant that the social rules that constrict our lives so terribly are not actually very important.

Well, Gray can’t do that for us anymore. He’s gone. He is an ex-Chapman. All we have of him now is our memories. But it will be some time before they fade.
Cheer up—you know what they say:

Always look on the bright side of life…

Tarnas pointed out that great comics have strong Sun / Saturn components in their charts. That is to say that the Sun and Saturn are in some aspect to each other or prominent by house or sign—they are, if you will, in ‘conversation’ and depending on the nature of the relationship it becomes apparent how the comedic archetype takes hold in their manner of delivery.

One example a classic Sun/Saturn comedian is Woody Allen  who also has Jupiter in the mix such that even the expanding universe is cause for worry.

Woody Allen’s chart

 He said among many things:  I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. 

Colbert at Rally to restore sanity and/or fear 2010

Steven Colbert was born with the Saturn opposing Pluto conjoining Uranus era in 1964. This funny progressive liberal (Uranus) is a trickster cloaked as a conservative Fox News Commentator. He pretends to be the opposite of what he really thinks and says of himself. It is the only way he can stay sane—to laugh. He says if he didn’t – he’d cry. Did you see him at the Correspondent’s Dinner in 2006? Actually the clip watching Bush’s face is equally as interesting as the court jester speaks and shocks and gets away with it as only the court jester can do.  (you can click on the chart for an enlarged image)

Only the best comics (Court Jesters) can pull it off. Tarnas played the clip of Colbert interviewing the head of Ploughshares (an anti-nuclear organization) — the interview itself is a poignant example of the current SaturnUranus-Pluto catastrophe. Colbert begins the interview and with a serious face asks if the head of Ploughshares will “at least admit that a nuclear explosion is awesome”


And I cannot forget my favorite Ernestine aka Lily Tomlin. Able to transform into character after character—the characters are real and have a structured presence as well as that Uranian shock effect. Tomlin was born under the 1939 Saturn Pluto square, has Mercury squaring Uranus and her Virgo Sun opposing Saturn. She can make us laugh at ourselves as she becomes aspects that we often want to hide, but never fail to recognize.

Here she is as Tommy Velour w/ Michael Jackson & Elizabeth Taylor 2009  

And on the Johnny Carson show–she talks about all her characters–Johnny Carson was my dad’s favorite comic.  I’ll bet my dad has some similar planets in his chart–he was one funny guy. (gotta go look)

Spent time today going off on my own for a while, looking at charts of people/friends I think are funny. I am seeing how Mercury and Uranus and Saturnine flavors are present in their charts.  I see how those archetypes come alive when laughter just erupts around the dinner table.

Just think about when you are watching Jon Stewart (I don’t have his chart) or laughing with your friends as you or one of them says something that just has you almost on the floor. It is generally unexpected, taking you over and  — then it begins to take hold and even if you wanted it to end…you just can’t stop——Laughing.

Laughter loosens up the body, the heart and the mind and I’ll bet we can find all kinds of medical reasons for it being a healthy thing to do – and do a lot. One of the people I laugh with on a regular basis is my sister, Peggy. We just think about each other and the jokes start coming. Sister jokes. My favorite kind! Best friend uncontrollable laughter often accompanied with trips down memory lane (Saturn) when something erupted and took over and we had to pull over to the side of the road if driving. Those times make life worth living, the comedic archetype and the astrological signatures worth looking at. A hell of a homework assignment for this student!

In honor of my Gemini sister and Gemini friends with whom I have shared a world of laughter here is a clip from Victor Borge. He was our grandmother Peggy’s favorite comedian—and since my funny sis, Peggy, has a birthday this month, I chose Borge to honor her and our Nanny Peggy. Borge was a Capricorn, a classical musician with his Sun conjoining Uranus, Mercury opposing Neptune.  


Borge famously said: “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”.

Here’s laughin’ with you kids…


Birthday Song performed 2007         Victor Borge

April 2011 — WWSD?

And just What Would Saturn Do?

Why he’d pull out the yellow pad and make lists, of course.  He’d look for patterns and structures and containers and ways to get a grip on the situation.  He’d use the fiery energy to produce something practical.  He’d build an ark, if need be. He’d provide a safe space for the kids throwing tantrums.  He’d hold onto the kite strings so the kites could fly and yet come home.  He could be very useful.  

My sister and I used to make fun of our mother for having yellow pads Everywhere–and I do mean everywhere.

Our mother (with her Virgo moon in high gear) would make lists on yellow pads, write letters to us on yellow pads, leave notes for what we needed to clean up on yellow pads—-and my sis and I would, in later years,as a joke, send each other yellow pads for Christmas wrapped with–you guessed it!  ta daaaa  yellow pad

Now take a look at what is happening in the heavens planet-wise right now.  It is a lineup that Astrologers are busily writing about and teaching classes about and taking notes on (probably on yellow pads).  Look at the tons of Aries energy on one side of the chart (Uranus just moving into Aries after 7 years in Pisces) and Neptune moving into Pisces  (Mon Apr 4), for the first time since 1862 to stay in Pisces until 2026.

Saturn is currently in the sign Libra on the other side of the chart from that host of planets in Aries and that ruler of oceans, Neptune.  If you picture a bunch of hot air balloons and someone or something on the ground to keep them from flying off unattended and unable to land safely–enter Saturn to hold them in check and provide a foundation–stable ground.

Saturn down there, yellow pad in hand, making lists so that all that energy can be contained and come home still energized, still passionate, still full of possibility and perhaps hot air—but with a place to stand.  A grounding, if you will.  Saturn can provide that.

April 16 2011 chart for Nehalem, Oregon
April 16, 2011 Chart PDT

Let’s pay some attention to Saturn for awhile–get a yellow pad and make notes.  Where is Saturn currently transiting your chart?  He is at 12 degrees Libra currently–where is that degree in your chart?  Imagine Saturn visiting that house and perhaps having a chat with a planet there in your chart–what is the conversation? and what lists would give you ground to land on as the hot air balloons dance in the sky?

If you need help to find out where Saturn is for you now—consult your astrologer and by all means–get a yellow pad!

But wait—some of you are experiencing Saturn in many ways–check out what astrologer colleague, Marcia Buchart says:

I began my study of astrology during a significant Saturn cycle–the first Saturn return.

That occurs around 29-30, as you might know.

But other ages that mark significant passages occur at ages 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 36-37, 43-44, 50-51, 58-59, 66-67…shall I go on?

I think you get the idea.

What was happening to you in those years, that might presage what could happen to you in future years–

Take the time to note which factors the structures you have created to give shape to your life might need changing?

make lists

Saturn says: make lists

In 1975 my friends Susan and Andrea dedicated a little book to me.

 It was called, appropriately enough

saturn cycle : notation

Saturn speaks through Susan’s art and Andrea’s words

and in these unsteady times, I find myself on an unofficial Saturn Return.

Susan Walsh and Andrea Carlisle 1975 for Kalin

 Here are two of my favorite pieces from that sweet book.


now there are voices.  what do you fear, they ask me, make lists.

well. that i am not of this place, that i am not of it,

that it is not me, that we are not made of the same stuff.  my form is only seemingly

its form and anyway all of this is a mystery to me and i never liked

mysteries.  and i fear the power of this place, the darknesses, the 

places where it seems to flow together whether i am there or not and o

when bits of it break off and die and are gone then and the wind, i fear

the wind, its raspy voice chills me and since you ask i fear there

are tales to be told by all that live here and i won’t understand what they mean; i fear my 

ignorance then, and the longing in me.  but i love brushing against 

it as i go by, the feel of it, making new shapes in it.  i love the

birdsounds and purrs and screeches and growls of it, and its texture.

the spots that shine. the sparkles in the rock. 

© 1975 Andrea Carlisle and Susan Walsh

You can read more of Andrea’s work at her blog:  www.andreacarlisle.com and soon Susan will have a blog right here.  She is currently working on an edition of prints and continues to make gorgeous signs for our coastal communities.



In the meantime–get out your chart and in another post–we will look at where Saturn and the other biggies are speaking to you.  Will be helpful.

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