Thursday, December 29, 2016

Debbie and Carrie

©2016 J. Lee Lehman, PhD

The death of Debbie Reynolds a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher is quite shocking, and yet strangely appropriate. This mother-daughter relationship, so public through Carrie’s books and joint interviews, is a magnified larger than life version which nonetheless provides truths to many mothers and daughters. As an exercise in astrological interpretation, it is priceless as much for the questions it raises as the answers it provides.

On the surface of it, the time of Debbie’s decumbiture is “better” than Carrie’s, simply because it is more common to call 911 in a medical emergency than to have the pilot of an airplane do the equivalent.

We know that Debbie complained of problems breathing, and here is Jupiter in the 6th. Jupiter is generally given as a ruler of the lungs. Mercury ruling the 6th is given as the ruler of lung disease by Partridge and Kirby-Bishop. This already changes the interpretation of the 6th house away from the first blush, in which we were told that she was a victim of a possible stroke. Stroke by its nature is more Mars-Sun, as it involves the brain, which, located in the head, would have an Aries rulership, where Mars is the domicile ruler, and the Sun the exaltation ruler. When a decumbiture chart fully matches the sign and rulership descriptions, it is a hint that the chart is really worth noticing. There were other calls to 911 that afternoon – but not all of them had fatal consequences. It’s the ones that match that tell you they are the ones with the most extreme consequences.

Venus was the Ascendant ruler – and Debbie’s natal Ascendant was in Libra, so Venus had special meaning for her.  The alternate sign (here, Taurus, but natally, Libra), doesn’t seem to matter.  Venus in Aquarius was peregrine: it was weak, which again is descriptive. What else are you going to be the day after your daughter dies? Venus will make no more aspects before leaving Aquarius, although the Moon will conjoin Venus before Venus reaches Pisces.

Again, at first this looks like a good thing. Venus does not aspect Mercury, ruler of the 6th, until Venus moves into Pisces – Venus in fact aspects Mercury in the day of Mercury’s station direct. Venus has separated from the trine to Jupiter, ruler of the 8th, and posited in the 6th; and likewise separated from sextile Saturn, the exaltation ruler of the sign of Libra intercepted in the 6th, and likewise dispositor of Jupiter by exaltation as well.

In fact, we have a chart where  the 6th and 8th are extraordinarily inter-related. The usual reading of cross relations is that the Querent will have the disease unto death, meaning that the disease will never be cured, but not necessarily kill the person. So, when stroke was being floated, it would be reasonable to say that the probability would be that she wouldn’t recover, at least fully. And this would have been a reasonable prediction for an eighty-four year old woman.

However, some of our sources give the interaction of 6th and 8th as an argument of death. So when is it chronic, and when is it death? That’s what needs to be sorted out. In what is surely one of the more unusual astrological events, Jupiter translates the light from Uranus to Saturn! This adds the danger of a sudden event to our description of the circumstances. So we have this translation, we have a perfection between a 6th house planet to an 8th house planet, where the 8th house planet has dignities in the 6th, and the 6th house planet rules the 8th, and Jupiter and Saturn are in mutual reception by sign and exaltation: it is completely over the top!

Then, we have the metaphor of the waning Moon, with Mercury ruling the 6th in a partile conjunction (cazimi!) with the Sun. Planets conjunct are burned up: they are annihilating the old in preparation for the new cycle. But the phase is the death of the Moon.

So this chart has gone from maybe benign to actually quite extreme. But it gets more-so. Now add Carrie’s decumbiture.  The Sun at 2 Capricorn is now replaced by the Moon at 2 Capricorn! The Part of Fortune, being a hylegical point, does represent in part the physical body is posited in a partile trine to that degree. Could this be anything but the moment?

Noting that Debbie had just had her Uranus return, I have come to wonder whether one function of this return isn’t to “loose the bonds”  with earthly existence: not necessarily to die, but to create a space in which it’s easier to let go.

The death of a parent is a pain that rarely leaves. The death of an adult child is even more so because our minds cannot accept that it should happen. Debbie’s life was an exemplar of unsinkability. Until now.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Demonstration of Decumbiture: Carrie Fisher 1956-2016

 ©2016 J. Lee Lehman, PhD

The viewing of a life through the death is, to put it mildly, an odd way to operate. Astrologers often engage in ambulance chasing, and yet the ironic piece is that most astrologers get very nervous about the prediction of death within their own practice. Does fame somehow make this acceptable?

I would propose an alternative.  In Traditional Medical Astrology and other references, I have denied the absolute possibility of fixing the time of death in a particular life because there are more factors at work than astrological necessity. The ability of your mother to have access to good prenatal care is probably a bigger factor for you in the first few years of your life than the condition of your Hyleg. The efficacy of antibiotics and the availability of clean water is probably more important before the age of fourteen than the position of your Alchocoden. But, even though that may be true, astrology can identify periods of “death weather” – times when the being’s life comes into proximity with the veil, and when the outcome is open to discussion.

A further consideration is worth some thought, and even if you accept the possibility of free will, we can all be seen as being caught in the Norse god Wotan’s dilemma.  Wotan, or Odin, had a magic spear, but this spear was where he recorded all of his oaths. The problem was, eventually he would swear oaths that would conflict. Those oaths could destroy him. This is our dilemma, too. Each decision that we make opens doors, and closes doors, and as we grow older, our options diminish, because we carry all the ramifications of these past decisions. We can see this process metaphorically, biologically, or astrologically.

On a general astrological clock, we can examine Carrie Fisher’s solar return for 2016 and see Mercury, ruler of the Ascendant of her solar return at her birth location opposite Uranus – showing the possibility of sudden events that could be dangerous to her vitality, further argued by the fact that Uranus was in the 8th house. Mercury was combust in the superior conjunction – the direct one. The combustion itself can be seen as a death and rebirth experience. Mercury natally ruled her 6th house of illness and 8th house of death. Mars ruled her solar return 8th – and Mars was conjunct Pluto, with the Moon coming to oppose the conjunction. There is surely enough to say that 2016-2017 was an exit visa for her: a year where death was a possible outcome, and where if it would happen, it was through a sudden event.

This general reading was confirmed by looking at the solar return of Carrie’s mother, Debbie Reynolds. Mercury, ruling the 5th (daughter) is conjunct Uranus, and the 8th from the 5th has a Moon-Pluto conjunction in it, with the Moon partile square Mercury, ruler of both 5th and 8th. This is a very specific reading for the potential death of a child in this solar year.

What could you (or I, or anyone) have said? This could be a difficult year, don’t stress, etc. Would taking a polar flight of 11+ hours in length constitute a stress? My friends who are former flight attendants say yes, but would the average person agree?

Once the heart attack commenced, we the public got next to no information, other than the confirmation that she did in fact have a cardiac event, that she was taken to the hospital, and that her condition had been “stabilized.” There was one time which was shared: the time that emergency services on the ground in Los Angeles was informed that an ambulance would be necessary: 12:15 pm Friday afternoon, 23 December 2016.

From an astrological perspective, this can count as a decumbiture, although not the preferred one. The best decumbiture, which is the event of an illness, would have been for the time that she experienced the attack in the first place. In the coming weeks, we may discover this time, because doubtless, the airline personnel recorded this in the flight log. However, hospital admissions are recognized decumbiture events, and we could consider the request for an ambulance as at least an extension of that concept.

As a decumbiture, it’s pretty grim. Mars has taken over the chart. Mars rules both 1st and 8th houses, as well as disposing the Moon. The Sun, which rules the heart, is ruler of the 6th and conjunct the 10th – this was a very public heart attack.  The Sun is coming to the sextile of Mars, since the Sun is the faster body. Mars itself has minor dignity by out-of-sect Triplicity, unless you prefer Lilly’s Triplicity table, in which case it is the sole Triplicity ruler. As a minor dignity, we can hope, but it’s not as strong as we would like. The malefic quality of Mars comes through too easily. Mars is in the 12th, applying to the South Node and Neptune – not exactly the dynamic duo that would spell life. Of the two of them, I judge the South Node the more dangerous: I have seen it as a point of destruction in other deaths.

But decumbitures have a second function: they are the basis for Hippocrates’ doctrine of the critical days. This doctrine, which actually predates the use of Hellenistic horoscopic astrology, observes that diseases undergo crises at the points that we would now define as the 8th harmonic lunar returns. At these points, the patient can improve, get worse – or die. And sometimes if they are boring enough, there’s no change.

The four-chart graphic shows the decumbiture event in the upper left, and then the first three critical days. The first one occurred less than two hours before she died, and you can clearly see why I posted the comment on Twitter: “Best wishes #CarrieFisher! Her critical day on Tuesday morning is rough, but things improve after.” This statement also illustrates how I work with people when death is the probable (or a strong possible) outcome: I try to identify a point after which the primary danger has passed. Like breaking a board in martial arts, if you can visualize your fist on the other side of the board, then you have gone past your target and succeeded.

For December 27th, there are a whole series of arguments of death in the decumbiture which have become exact:

  • The Moon has come up to the position where it is applying to the Part of Fortune (a hylegical point), and also Saturn.
  • The Sun has come to the partile sextile with Mars, the planet which was so active in the decumbiture. The Sun is also precisely at sunrise – one might hope a new beginning, but a change of state.
  • Mars has come to the partile conjunction of the South Node, which was the aspect I was focused on in the decumbiture.

This, then, is the moment – and it was. She died at 8:55 am. If she had survived, the next critical day chart shows Mars applying to Neptune. While not as severe in scope, this suggests that she would have been unconscious. The prominence of the 12th house in the third critical day, and the Moon’s application to the square of Saturn shows she would still not have been better. She might have been “stable,” but the stability of intensive care can either be a life saver, or an eerie in between state.

So once we get past the shock, and this analysis, perhaps we will be able to get back to the essence of the woman who we are missing so much now. Journey well, Carrie. It is your life that enriched us.