Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Astrology Just For Writers Part 9 - High Drama, Pluto And Politics

The intent in Astrology Just For Writers is to be very non-technical about astrology and somewhat technical about writing. Part 9 provides writers with an exercise in writing dialogue.

The previous 8 parts in this series can be found by following the links back in the post
There's a very old adage, "If you don't understand what's happening, follow the money and you will."

This is a great principle for plotting Mystery and Intrigue novels. It works gangbusters in Romance because the pursuit of wealth fuels our deepest motivations. It's a fabulous tool for plotting Time Travel stories, too.

Finance is the key a writer needs to build a world that seems real to readers, no matter what ridiculous stuff might be there too.

And as we've discussed, successful worldbuilders always echo our "real" world in such a way as to (Artistically) reveal some form or shape in our reality that we ordinarily don't notice.

So what's happening in 2010 that is fodder for the worldbuilding writer of today? (this principle works for Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Romance, plus any blend of those three with some other genre (detective, mystery, intrigue, western, etc).

Today the Federal Reserve (US Central Bank) is pondering how to get out of the trap they've dug themselves into, and what to advise the US Congress to do to prevent the kind of collapse we experienced in 2008, 2009 from happening again.

There's only one drumbeat I keep hearing.

This is a drumbeat you would hear on any planet populated by any sort of beings involved in any sort of commerce or business. This is the drumbeat of interstellar commerce, too.

Just listen to the drumbeat -- not the flute, not the violin, not the woodwinds, not the Hallelujah Chorus, just the drumbeat.

What is that drumbeat? Can you hear it? Can you understand what's actually going on in this world, and reveal it by creating another world where the drumbeat is louder, more distinct, reverberating with a more identifiable tone?

The drumbeat that I'm hearing is the rhythm of the transit of Pluto.

The "planet" Pluto was recently demoted from planetary status by astronomers; and don't forget the whole issue of Pluto being a "capture" maybe a comet from another solar system, not formed from the material of our own Sun as the other planets are.

Pluto is an element we've discussed in this series on using Astrology for plotting and worldbuilding.

http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2008/10/astrology-just-for-writers-part-3-genre.html -- has a primer on Astrology and mentions how the current financial crisis coincided with Pluto transiting the USA Natal Chart 8th House Cusp (other people's money) which is according to the chart I've been using, 0 Degrees Capricorn.

It's even relevant to marketing as you can use it to figure out what each age group wants more and more of.

The 2000's were characterized by excess in finance as in other areas of life, and that excess (of debt and spending and mad chase after luxury or the satisfaction of "beating" the opposition to an ever bloodier pulp) is blamed for the current situation of cascading bankruptcies.

This first week in 2010, the financial news is chock full of warnings by pundits that the USA faces bankruptcy (not paying our debts - defaulting on Treasury Bonds - the way Brazil did so many times over the last few decades).

Scroll way down in
to find the table of where Pluto has been transiting during the last few generations.

PLUTO IN SAGITTARIUS generation 1995-2008

PLUTO IN CAPRICORN (2008-9 - 2023)

Now the transit of Pluto through a sign of the zodiac doesn't just affect those born during those years.  As a planet moves from the point where it was when a particular issue, affair, relationship, or event begins, it marks the beat of maturation of the affair one step at a time -- in an orderly and fairly predictable fashion, or what I've called "the because line" of the plot.

Astrology can NOT predict "the" future, but it can pinpoint certain blocks of weeks, months or years when an affair begun at a previous point will now reach a crisis of change, of stress, of culmination or confrontation.  (those are keywords for certain "aspects").

In other words, Astrology sets the drumbeat to which affairs dance.

There are at least 10 such "drumbeats" rattling through our senses at any given time. The writer/artist's job is to separate them into meaningful sequences.

Astrology can not predict what will happen. The things that make a difference to us, that distinguish one novel from another, aren't coded into the drumbeats.

But in that drumbeat you can find what joins one novel to another to make a genre. Astrology is about what makes all humans the same, not what makes us different.

So, from 1995 through the Tech Bubble crash, and 9/11, we saw affairs of the world inflected by actions of the US Federal Reserve to plunge interest rates way too (Pluto is too) low and keep them there way too (Pluto) long, exaggerating the next bounce so that we went way too (Pluto) high on the debt curve.

1995 through 2008 saw Pluto transiting Sagittarius.

On another planet somewhere else in the Galaxy some other "clock" or drumbeat influence would be visible to time the excesses that would lead to what we're plunging into now. If you build your world to have such a rhythm at the foundation of it, Earth based readers will be able to believe in whatever Relationship Story you want to tell against that background.

OK, so what is Sagittarius? It's the 9th House (law) and ruled by Jupiter, inclusion, expansion, gaining too much weight, being round and jolly and truthful and accepting and out-going and charitable (Madoff comes to mind).

Sagittarius when constrained is HONESTY and JUSTICE.

Sagittarius can't tell a white lie. Sagittarius blurts out truths nobody really wants to hear stated.

When released from constraints (Pluto busts out of all constraints) Sagittarius is THE PLAYBOY HEIR TO THE THRONE, the wastrel, the drunken gambler, and in the Charity aspect becomes something like Barney Madoff's ponzi scheme (where he defrauded a whole lot of really big and ever-growing Charities out of the best and most urgent of motives, to do good for those who trusted him, and became trapped in escalating excesses.

And this pattern repeated all over the world (9th House is foreign travel, foreign countries, international affairs). The Mortgage excess started with some bright fellows in London who created the securitization of US mortgages and sold them internationally.

So in 2008 when Pluto finished with Sagittarius and tickled the edge of Capricorn, the whole world of connected Nations collapsed in agony.

This is the drumbeat, and you see it in personal lives as well as in the lives of Nations.

Excess, explosion, great unbridled violent BEAT, huge tsunami sized waves of good things in vast excess, hugely over-emphasized like the new tallest building in the world opened in Dubai this week, (a loud crash of the drum) followed by SILENCE in which to absorb the shock of that sudden blast of sound.

The SILENCE is as shocking as the SOUND of the beat, and silence is part of what it means "beat" (as in Beat Sheet). Silence is the pure essence of music. Stillness is the purified essence of dance. Empty white space is the defining essence of a printed page. Absence is the art form.

For the last 18 months or so Pluto has diddled around 0 Capricorn, up to 3 degrees, back, and now up again heading for a station at a new degree - 4 degrees of Capricorn. That's still the beginning.

So what comes after the SILENCE of the drumbeat? It's not a rhythm unless something comes NEXT.

Pluto is the ruler of Scorpio, the hidden, clandestine, underworld -- in Fantasy think the other dimension where Magical creatures and demons come from. Pluto is the planet of POWER. Uranium is attributed to Pluto for the Atomic Bomb association; as per my previous blog entry here


Think about Thorium.

Capricorn is the Natural 10th House, ruled by Saturn (restraint). Capricorn is the Prime Minister while Leo is The King. Capricorn is the administrator, the manager, the real decision maker, the down-to-earth firm and reliable ADVISER. Capricorn is the disciplinarian (the school Head Master), and in symbolism the 10th House also represents The Father - the source of discipline in the family.

Capricorn represents the rules of order by which society functions. The Father is the parent who introduces the child to the "realities" of the world.

You want the keys to the car? Show proficiency in the written Driving Test as well as the actual operation of a vehicle. Just because you can corner fast doesn't mean you're exempt from signaling first. Saturn takes all the fun out of everything.

That's Capricorn's mystical initiation - the Rite of Passage into adulthood.  Staying up late at night isn't a privilege or fun, but an arduous chore that comes with a big price the next day. Jupiter is the party; Saturn is the hangover, and Pluto makes both bigger and more dramatic.

Theoretically, Earth might have to pass such a Saturn style rite of passage test to gain entry to the Galactic Union. Maybe we just flunked.

Saturn which rules Capricorn is Tough Love. It's Daddy arriving at the teen's unauthorized house party and taking away the highly spiked punch bowl. "You're grounded for LIFE!" Daddy roars, red faced.

So what we can expect for the next "beat" is an "Excess" of "Rules" -- Pluto through Capricorn.


1) Here's an AP item on new regulations for Tax Preparers I found on Twitter:


And this week the Chairman of the USA's Central Bank is jawboning about THE ONLY SOLUTION IS MORE AND TIGHTER REGULATION.

2) Here's another item, a gem of an example of this pattern, which I found via twitter in The Charleston Gazette
http://wvgazette.com/News/200912280398  which is a URL that was there yesterday and gone today. It's a revival of a very old item.

The news article says:
C8 is another name for perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. It is one of a family of perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs. In West Virginia, DuPont Co. has used C8 since the 1950s at its Washington Works plant south of Parkersburg. C8 is a processing agent used to make Teflon and other nonstick and stain-resistant products.

Around the world, researchers are finding that people have C8 and other PFCs in their blood at low levels. People can be exposed by drinking contaminated water, eating tainted food, or through food packaging and stain-proofing agents on furniture or carpeting.

Evidence is mounting about the dangers of these chemicals. But regulators have yet to set binding limits for emissions or human exposure.
And it goes on to state that though the correlation is small, further studies are needed and we should "monitor liver enzymes" in people with low exposure.
Needing further studies is so very Capricorn, investigating, keeping records, holding the potential of regulation.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for regulation. What I'm pointing out here is the demarcation of an exaggerating effect by Pluto's cycle. Or put another way, "The Pendulum Swings."

Pluto doesn't produce the urge to regulate. Saturn and Capricorn are associated with the imperative urge to regulate. Pluto takes that urge and exaggerates it to melodramatic proportions - a loud beat followed by a louder silence.

3) http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_02/b4162024080832.htm?chan=magazine+channel_top+stories

Is a long article on the politics seething behind "reform" of the financial system to prevent this kind of collapse from happening again.

One proposal is to re-institute the separation financial system of investment banks from savings banks. The flow of mortgage securitization from local savings banks to international investment banks flooded the USA with cheap mortgage money, so there's a rationale behind that idea, but look at it another way and you see that in one era "regulation" was irradiated because it was the problem - regulation strangled growth. In another era, the exact same regulation is looked on as the solution to the problem of excessive growth.

Keep clamping your mind onto the idea here that this blog post isn't about which political policies are "right" or "should" be followed.

I'm not arguing any side of this issue. I'm pointing out that to engineer a solid conflict for the foundation of a novel, a writer must be able to argue passionately for any and every side that we have in our own world and then add a NEW SIDE to the argument. Each side is a character in whose moccasins you must walk your mile.

Many writers are bewildered when critics jeer at their "dialogue" -- and think they can take lessons in how to write dialogue. You can't. There are no lessons. The cure for bad dialogue is to be able to believe, truly and really and in your gut, the exact opposite of what you do believe. When you express that passionate belief your dialogue will shine.

So read this article in Business Week (a dull subject) and adopt the belief that's opposite to what you believe, then express that belief in passionate dialogue. That's the way to learn to write dialogue.

-------END EXAMPLES---------

The answer to any problem for the next few years will be regulation, throttle, control, impose accountability (Capricorn) - and do it all to a previously unknown extreme (Pluto).

That's it. Follow the money. REGULATION of monetary supply, fiscal policy, businesses handling money, regulations and more regulations and more and more and more because with Pluto there is never, ever ENOUGH.

If you've been reading this series on Astrology Just For Writers, you have a good grasp of how Pluto represents HIGH DRAMA, the very stuff of life that fuels the conflicts at the heart of all fiction.

Pluto influences bring on the dramatic, larger than life disasters that catapult your Hero into situations where he/she must exceed personal design specifications and perform at World Class levels, if only once in a lifetime.

And that "once in a lifetime" achievement is very typical of Pluto in the lives of those who are not "rich and famous" but just us average folk. In the lives of the Michael Jacksons of the world, Pluto wreaks its havoc repeatedly every time it contacts another natal planet because of the way Pluto was placed in the natal chart.

So until 2023, your readers will be living in world of increasingly intrusive regulation of every part of their lives, taking away all the "fun" they grew up enjoying.

The age group most severely affected will be those just starting their adult lives, those born with Pluto in Scorpio, 1985 to 1995.

The peak of that generation (and there was a baby-boom in the USA during the mid-1990's) will be 20 years old now, getting out of college or trying to.

They may have had their college education SMASHED (Pluto is the violent smashing of structures that have resisted Saturn) by the crash (parents losing everything, job, house, etc.) and college costs skyrocketing, scholarships disappearing because charity giving (Sagittarius is Charity) is GONE.

These 20 year olds are your audience, your readership.

Remember what we discussed in the entry on Targeting an Audience using the generational analysis,

The Pluto in Scorpio generation is Power Used In Excess (ever more vivid video games where everything in sight is destroyed -- BEAT THE ENEMY being the theme- beat-beat-beat). Pluto rules Scorpio, so that entire generation (no matter how the rest of their natal chart is deployed) has an extra-strong, extra-emphasized Pluto, whatever Pluto may represent personally.

Pluto is obsession (excess interest). Scorpio is hidden things such as government conspiracy, great secrets kept from mankind (Demons from another dimension; the revival of the TV series V where the aliens have SECRETS and there are conspiracies within conspiracies, 5th Column and Resistance fighters, secret sexuality, exaggerated sexuality, purely carnal sexuality).

Also note Al Queda conducting operations to "take over" (excess revolution by force; "terror" is exaggerated fear) is peopled largely by the current 1985-1995 20-something generation, the fighting age folks, whose age is appropriate for wanting to change the world and who live with an extra-strong Pluto influence. Pluto is also related to religion as it is associated with the Unseen and Unknowable.

The main tactic deployed against terrorists will have something to do with regulating finance. As I recall from a recent conversation, the Inquisition was ended basically because the Pope leading it needed money.

-------TECHNICAL ASIDE -------------

Here's a chart posted online for Tiger Woods that makes sense of what he did in terms of the Pluto transit.


When Pluto transited over Woods' natal Moon, he got himself into excess (Pluto rules Scorpio, secrets and irresistible carnal sexuality) trouble by overly intense obsession on fulfilling some sort of subconscious personal NEED (Moon is the reigning need of the lifetime - what a person gropes for in life, the thing you don't have that you will do anything to get and even when you've got more of it than anyone else you're still not satisfied, can't feel that you have it because it's the innate, in-built NEED).

He melted down PUBLICLY (Moon is The Public) when Pluto transited across the Mid-point of his Moon and Sun.

In his Natal Chart Pluto is pretty much opposite Jupiter, thus his exaggerated FAME and his monstrous meltdown. As Pluto transits his Sun, (probably mostly 2013-2014) he'll learn his lesson on a deep spiritual level, or not.

Religious conversion often happens under the transit of Pluto over the natal Sun.

If he had not built up such a secret, the revealing of it in pubic wouldn't have resulted in a catastrophic loss. Catastrophe is Pluto.

He's lost a lot of endorsement contracts -- remember the subject here is FOLLOW THE MONEY. He lost endorsements not because of what he did, but because of the politics ignited by it being made public -- politics and money.

Without that public revelation, the manufacturers would have been happy to have him as endorsing spokesman in any number of commercials.

Pluto transits reveal the hidden with catastrophic consequences.

---------- END TECHNICAL ASIDE -----

Tiger Woods' public melt-down is a perfect textbook example of the EXPLOSIVE action of Pluto in transit. Pluto touched off the explosion revealing something hidden by contacting both sources of energy in his personality (Sun and Moon).

Nobody could have predicted it would be infidelity that would bring him down, nor even that "down" was the direction Pluto's catapult was pointing.

He might have won some huge, unique honor. He might have quit sports to become a monk. He might have created a charitable foundation. He might have suffered a terrible bereavement or some horrible disease which he'd then become the champion of and finance the finding of a cure.

The only thing you can say for sure is that whatever the Event would be, it would be bigger than anything else in his life to date (which is huge), and very likely would "reveal" something very "private" to the "public." It would be something Woods himself would be able to see coming, see as inevitable, but refuse to look at squarely until this blast shattered his certainties.

See what I mean about drama?

So Pluto, Politics and Follow The Money.

Pick up the drumbeat of the Money, the ebb and flow of currency in the veins of the world, and hear the CRASH of the beat, and the SILENCE that follows, stretches, and eventually is broken by another CRASH.

What will be the next CRASH of that beat? Until 2023, the folks who grew up reveling in ever-more-intense video games will be under a harsh, severe, restrictive discipline, a noose that tightens around the neck the harder they pull on their leashes.

But that won't change their essential personalities. They are Pluto In Scorpio (and Scorpio has earned its sexual reputation, too).

In 2023, when Pluto enters Aquarius (freedom, innovation, technology, rebellion) the then-thirty-somethings will be taking over the reigns of Power (Pluto is power) from Regulators (Saturn) and will break the chains of regulation, intrusiveness into private lives (Scorpio obsesses on ultra-privacy; Scorpio is the most private sign of the Zodiac; Scorpio doesn't air dirty laundry in public but makes plenty).

So we had excesses in spending, now we'll have excesses in regulation to prevent spending, and eventually we'll get excesses in de-regulation again.

Remember Aquarius is "The Age Of Aquarius" the Flower Children, Beatniks, Hippies, Drop-Outs. Imagine that amplified by Pluto.

This generation that needs excess to feel anything will break out of any regulatory structure that can be built at this time.

On the other hand, the USA could go "isolationist" and withdraw from the international monetary flow entirely as the Flower Children dropped out of "society" to "find themselves."

Achieving Energy Independence with say, Thorium or Fusion power, could lead to instituting every other sort of "independence" -- which might afford the USA more privacy. The babyboomers of the 1990's will demand unfettered freedom and have the obsessive dedication to that goal to achieve it.

Write the fiction that will entertain people in such a mood and explode into the top echelons of the entertainment profession.

Now how will other countries react to Pluto through Aquarius? You know your country better than I do. Drop a note here about how your culture will respond to the pervasive conviction that more-more-more regulation is the solution to more-more-more acquisitiveness.

Use that beat of generations to build a World -- somewhere out in space, in another galaxy, or another dimension, but make it plausible by revealing the heartbeat that rams MONEY through the arteries of that people's economy.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg


  1. This is really interesting how it all works out.

    I always leave out details until the next to the last draft.

    Anyway, I took your advice and clung like a drowning victim (my metaphor) to THEME when sorting out my current WIP. The time finally came to choose Setting. Since the theme is 'Achieving the Freedom to Live,' (something which was near and dear to me as a teen) I needed to choose the most isolated place on earth for a teen to live.

    A small town in Alaska.

    There are towns up here where one avalanche can cut them off from the rest of civilization in an instant.

    As a conseqence, I chose the most isolating time of year here in Alaska to set the story, December and January.

    I'd already established as integral to the story that it takes place right before the Heroine's 17th birthday.

    This made her a Capricorn.

    She's caught in between two heavyweight-entities battling over resources. And the only way to save herself is to sort it all out.

  2. P.S. A major challenge for me to overcome between now and Queryland will be in how to convey to readers who've lived in cities and such all their lives the powerful emotion a person feels when they're out in the middle of the vast Alaskan wilderness. I've yet to meet anyone who could comprehend it without experiencing it or something similar, like being alone in a raft in the middle of Pacific Ocean.

  3. Good going, Kimber An -- but consider the temptation to portray the heroine as 'BEING FORCED' to do whatever rather than 'CHOOSING TO' do what she was born to do.

    If the theme is freedom, then she not only has a choice about whether to sort out the problem between the other 2 entities fighting over resources, but she also has a more attractive alternative course of action not involving them or their problems.

    Remember what Marion Zimmer Bradley showed us in the Free Amazon novels - the only freedom is the freedom to choose your chains.

    Your heroine has to make a free will choice.

    If she chooses to accept the responsibility of her job of "sorting out" - fine. But if she "is forced" (passive voice) to do it and chooses not to choose, that's an entirely different theme than freedom.

    If she doesn't know what her alternatives are and chooses not to find or create a better alternative than sorting out someone else's struggle, that is yet another theme and another story.

    Perhaps if the theme is freedom, then the real protagonist is one of the two entities engaged in the struggle for resources?

    Jacqueline Lichtenberg

  4. Kimber An

    To solve your problem of conveying the "vast silence" - reread the classic novels that became the TV Series LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE.

    And there are a couple others like that, set on the prairie in sod huts, that I read and REALLY felt.

    I know I felt correctly because eventually I spent some time in such a spot. Eeerie!

    Jacqueline Lichtenberg

  5. Actually, she does have an alternaitve, now that you mention it.

    I'd better make sure it's clear!

    And the motivation for the choice she makes.

    Guess it was another case of my subconsious mind putting in the right stuff and me going, "Huh?"

    I've discovered if I don't consciously make it clear, then it's as bad as it not being there at all. Maybe worse.

    Love 'the Little House' books. Am reading them aloud to my children right now, as a matter of fact, again. and again. and... Well, you know how it is. I'll pay close attention to that aspect this time around.