On April 25, 2014, the sports and entertainment world was stunned by the release of a secretly recorded tape of a phone call between LA Clippers basketball owner Don Sterling and his former girlfriend, V. Stiviano, in which Sterling chastised Stiviano for posting photos of herself and Magic Johnson at a Clippers game, and expressed some shockingly racist sentiments. In Sterling’s words, “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. …You can sleep with [them]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want … the little I ask you is … not to bring them to my games.” Stiviano herself is half black, half Asian.
The tape, which was released a day before Sterling’s 80th birthday (Happy Birthday, Don!) created an instantaneous firestorm, and led to calls for Sterling’s ouster from the NBA. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver responded with a suspension for Sterling on April 29, imposing a $2.5 million fine and banning Sterling from any and all contact with his team, including attendance at their games or practices. Silver pressed further, encouraging the other NBA owners to oust Sterling from his ownership. A month of posturing, explanations and excuses, suits and countersuits ensued, until on June 4, Sterling sold the team, for $2 billion.
While it’s clear that Sterling holds racist views and is a creep of the first water, the case also raises some disturbing questions about rights of privacy. Sterling was having what he thought was a private conversation, he did not espouse his views publically, nor is he alleged to have discriminated against any of his black players (though he does have a history of prior racially-based discrimination suits in other areas of his varied business interests). Is he not entitled to his private views, however execrable? Should private comments form the basis of a public condemnation and forced ouster?
Regardless of the merits of the retaliation, the sky on April 25 well reflected the facts on the ground, as usual. With a woman at the center of the controversy, a particularly interesting cluster shows around Venus, ruling women in general and lovers in particular. At 21 Pisces, Venus is combined exactly with asteroids Arachne and Pandora, Arachne describing the intricate web of deceit which Stiviano used to goad and then record her former lover’s comments, and Pandora representing the release of a host of troubles and Sterling’s act in expressing his views reaping unintended consequences.
Amazingly, both asteroid Donn (#4689) and Stirling (#30445) appear together, at 18 and 19 Pisces, also conjoined Venus, with Chiron, representing both Sterling’s maverick behavior and the wounding the incident caused him, close beside at 17 Pisces. V. Stiviano, whose birth name is Maria Vanessa Peres, appears as asteroid Maria (#170), also conjoined Venus from 25 Pisces. Asteroid Vanessa-Mae (#10313, for Stiviano’s birth middle name), falls at 3 Pisces, conjoined Neptune at 7 Pisces, ruling deception. Even Earvin “Magic” Johnson, drawn into this mess by his appearance in the Instagram photo which offended Sterling, finds his place—at 22 Aries, asteroid Irvine (#6825, for Earvin) exactly conjoins TNO Eris, a point noted for spreading dissent and sowing strife. Asteroid Johnson (#5905) at 5 Aries squares asteroid Photographica at 9 Cancer, for the Instagram pic, and both asteroids have strayed into the controversy-provoking Uranus/Pluto square’s “hot zone”, with Photographica also conjoined transit Jupiter at 14 Cancer, inflating the situation and bringing publicity, as well as affecting Sterling’s reputation.
When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver weighed in on the controversy on April 29, his PNAs joined the fray as well, with asteroids Adams (#1996) and Silver (#5325) together at 6 and 14 Pisces, clustering about Neptune and Chiron, suggesting the attempt to isolate (Neptune) and wound (Chiron) Sterling with the punishments imposed.
Born 26 April 1934, Sterling has natal Stirling at 8 Pisces conjunct natal Silver 9 at Pisces, just coming under transit Neptune’s influence. Stirling/Silver in conjunction indicates an important “meeting” of individuals with these names at some point in the life, with powerful consequences and ramifications for the native. A pairing of natal Pluto at 22 Cancer with natal asteroid Adams at 24 Cancer shows the potential for devastation from that quarter, and a pairing of natal asteroid Johnson with Achilles at 20 and 25 Sagittarius suggests weakness or vulnerability exposed, related to someone named “Johnson.” Natal asteroid Mary (#2779, also for V. Stiviano’s birth name of Maria) at 28 Taurus conjoins natal Chiron at 2 Gemini, denoting potential wounding associated with that name. The natal Sun at 5 Taurus was hit by the Solar Eclipse at 8 Taurus on April 29, just days after the recording was released, and the actual day of Sterling’s suspension.
By now you’ve probably seen the footage of the astounding rescue of a small boy saved by the family cat from the clutches of a marauding dog. The Bakersfield, California tabby came to the child’s defense after a neighbor’s Labrador mix puppy violently attacked it, biting the boy as he rode his bicycle in the driveway, pulling him to the ground and attempting to drag him. Family security camera footage shows the peerless Tara fearlessly leaping into the fray to protect him, dive-bombing the startled dog, knocking him to the pavement, them running him off the property, tail between his legs.
The six-year-old tabby has been hailed as a hero, and has garnered international attention, as well as more than six million hits on the YouTube video, posted by the grateful family she adopted. She and the family made a guest appearance on “The Today Show”, and cat aficionado magazine “Cat Fancy” will be featuring her on its cover, and giving her its first-ever “Cat Hero Award”. And with the help of her owner, Tara also threw out the first pitch at the next game of the Bakersfield Blaze, a local minor league baseball team.
Tara probably deserves the accolades for her bravery, and perhaps moreso for the stereotype-defying actions which run directly counter to the perception that cats are self-involved, aloof creatures concerned more with their own contentment than any human interaction. Tara may well have redeemed her species in the eyes of many, but her media apotheosis is another symbol of how hero-starved and celebrity-crazed US society has become.
Those familiar with Tibetan Buddhism will recognize “Tara” as the name of a Buddha of compassion, known as “the swift protectress.” Was feline ever more aptly named?
That fact by itself makes this story noteworthy on a metaphysical level, but there is an asteroid named for this Tara (#5863), and we have the exact time of the incident from the family’s time-stamped security footage, so let’s take a look to see what the skies have to tell us about the hero cat.
Actually, they’re pretty clear, and confirm both the broad outlines and the details of the story with remarkable accuracy. In a chart cast for 4:51 PM CDT, May 13, 2014 in Bakersfield, California, asteroid Tara appears at 11 Gemini, close beside transit Mercury, ruling pets, neighbors, news and the media, at 10 Gemini. That alone is a pretty astounding combination. Ally it to the Sun’s annual conjunction with asteroid Heracles (at 22 and 23 Taurus respectively), perhaps the most recognizable “hero” in the classical sense, and you know all you need to know about the story: a focus on heroism for the day (Sun/Heracles), and the emergence of a news story (Mercury) involving neighbors, pets (both also Mercury) and a cat named Tara.
This Mercury/Tara conjunction fleshes out the story further with a Grand Cross, involving squares to transit Chiron (woundings—the boy required stitches after his mauling) at 17 Pisces (itself conjunct asteroid Catullus, #11965, for “cat”, at 19 Pisces), asteroid Labs (#5152, for the Labrador breed, often called simply a “Lab” by owners) at 13 Virgo, and asteroid Baker (#2549, for Bakersfield, the venue of the attack) at 7 Sagittarius. So we’ve pretty firmly established the event, its location, the result, and the major animal players in the drama, all tied together in the heavens when the incident became news.
What about the family? Mom Erika and dad Roger Triantafilo are well represented by asteroids Erika (#636) and Rogers (#7894), which are conjunct each other at 17 and 22 Aries respectively, and squared to asteroid Child at 25 Cancer, conjunct both the 18 Cancer Midheaven and transit Jupiter at 16 Cancer. This indicates a united front from the parents, and a child who becomes highly visible (MC) and “famous” (Jupiter) via some form of conflict (the square).
Son Jeremy is represented by asteroid Jeremias (#128586), which has strayed into the volatile Uranus/Pluto square and the Cardinal Grand Cross, and is likely the proximate cause of the kerfuffle. At 9 Capricorn, Jeremias conjoins Pluto at 13 Capricorn, squares Uranus at 14 Aries, and opposes that 16 Cancer Jupiter, but its most telling aspect is an exact square to retrograde Mars, planet of violent attacks, at 9 Libra. Mars appears on the 16 Libra Ascendant of the chart, with Jeremias/Pluto on the 18 Capricorn IC and Uranus on the 16 Aries Descendant, also conjoining Erika/Rogers, giving the entire family angular emphasis and importance, bringing them into focus at just that time, with the aggrandizing effects of Jupiter plus the Uranus/Pluto square quickly turning a private family matter into a global sensation.
In a further bit of celestial overemphasis, transit asteroid Katz (#22981, homophone and German form of “cat”) at 28 Gemini is conjunct asteroid California (#341), the state where the incident occurred, at 3 Cancer. I wasn’t able to discover the name of the dog, who was euthanized after the attack, but asteroid Labs’ sextile to Lachesis (named for the mythic Greek Fate who determines the span of life) at 14 Cancer and trine to asteroid Rip (which has been shown to function reliably as a death indicator in the form of the acronym “RIP”, “Rest In Peace”, a common gravestone inscription) at 10 Capricorn suggests his fate.
Once again we see a specific correlation between these “minor” bodies and the major stories of the day, down to the tiniest details. Not limited to mere human interactions, it seems the cosmos even reacts to feline heroes.
May 20 became a banner day for the marriage equality movement, when a Federal District Court judge struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage, allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally unite. Judge John Jones III declared the law unconstitutional, later adding “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”
We’ve been following these types of stories throughout 2013, while Hera (marriage) and Sappho (gay issues) traveled together, evoking rapid change in the status quo on this issue, including a supportive Supreme Court decision (for details, see that article in the July 2013 Daykeeper Journal). Though Hera and Sappho’s union is past, the skies on May 20 did not disappoint, and also gave me an opportunity for my first check of “double-named” PNAs (more on this later).
The atmospherics were in place for a decision of this type, with Hera at 21 Capricorn exactly squared Venus (love and partnership) at 21 Aries, and Sappho at 12 Aquarius closely squared Juno (Roman goddess of marriage) at 14 Taurus. The lead plaintiffs, Deb and Susan Whitewood, were petitioning for legal recognition in Pennsylvania of their marriage performed earlier in Vermont. Fittingly, they show up together in the sky that day, as asteroid Deborah (#541) and Susanna (#542! These two points were originally named consecutively!) at 22 and 29 Taurus respectively, both also conjunct the Sun of the day at 0 Gemini, bringing focus to the case.
Asteroid Deborah also ties to Hera by trine, and is part of a larger pattern incorporating asteroid Jones (#3152, the judge’s last name) at 21 Pisces, the aforementioned Venus at 21 Aries, Mercury (decisions, rulings) at 22 Gemini, Ganynmed (also noted for gay themes) at 23 Virgo and TNO Rhadamanthus (ruling judges) at 22 Libra. Also involved in this pattern is asteroid Johnjones (#126749), representing the judge’s full name as one word, which at 22 Leo squares Deborah/Susanna and is inconjunct Hera.
There are many “doubled” PNAs among the 17,000+ named asteroids, full names like Johnjones, which up to now, I have been uncertain how to deal with. Obviously, if the full name matches the person involved in the event, it should appear prominently, as it does in this case. The problem is whether this is the only instance in which the name can be used—or can it be broken into its component parts and used for both “John” and Jones” as well? While this instance doesn’t resolve that question, it does show that treated as a whole, the PNA performs as expected.
Defending against the suit for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was Health Secretary Michael Wolf, whose PNAs fell victim to the volatility of the ongoing Uranus/Pluto square, which on one level evokes massive cultural change. Represented by asteroids Michelle (#1348) at 16 Libra and Wolff (#5674) at 19 Libra, Michael Wolf found himself in an indefensible position, squaring Pluto at 13 Capricorn and opposed Uranus at 15 Aries, and also squaring off against Jupiter, ruling judges and the courts, at 18 Cancer, which was conjoined by asteroid Johney (#90308) at 12 Cancer, another referent for Judge John Jones.
A day later, Pennsylvania’s Republican governor Tom Corbett announced he would not appeal the court’s decision, making the Keystone State the nineteenth in the US to endorse same-sex marriage. A subsequent poll of state residents agreed it was the right thing to do, by 56% to 33% opposed.