The Galactic Center - A Radio Mystery. Credit: N.E. Kassim, D.S. Briggs, T. J.W. Lazio, T.N. LaRosa, J.Imamura (NRL/RSD), APOD.

Greetings from the Galactic Center: Pluto Sends His Best

ON MAY 5, 1933, two months after Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office as the 32nd president, The New York Times -- not Sci-Fi Weekly or a radio program by Orson Welles -- published the following on the front page:


Mysterious Static, Reported by K. G. Jansky,
Held to Differ From Cosmic Ray.


Recorded and Tested For More Than Year
to Identify it as From Earth's Galaxy.

Known to stargazers and scientists alike as 'The Sun of Our Sun', the Galactic Center presently located at 26 Sagittarius 57, is the source of most of the gravitational energy in our galaxy.

Discovered in early 1932 by engineer Karl G. Jansky, who was working for Bell Telephone at the time, the black hole at the Galactic Center turned out to be where the strange 'hissing' static affecting overseas telephone lines was coming from.
By the 1960s the importance of the magnetic power emanating from the black hole at the 'GC' was officially acknowledged by astronomers (why does the scientific community always drag its feet?). But it's still left to the astrologers, poets and metaphysicians among us to interpret the greater implications and the possible spiritual significance of this black hole, which reportedly has the equivalent mass of 4 million suns -- hence the extraordinary gravitational pull that holds the galaxy together.

Regardless of the International Astronomical Union's misguided ruling demoting Pluto last August, for the better part of 2006 and through much of 2007, the planet of death, rebirth and undeniable powerful transformation has been and will continue to transit back and forth over this point in the zodiac for the first time since its 1930 discovery, and astrologers the world over have been buzzing about what it all means: Does it portend, as many hope, a huge awakening on and for Planet Earth, which will accelerate on Dec. 11, 2007 when Jupiter conjoins Pluto at those super 'hot' and dare we say, 'critical' Sagittarian degrees?

Today, all bets are off: we're in uncharted territory here as we contemplate what can be expected of this occurrence. There is little or no relevant history to compare it to, and with the history we do have, there are so many new variables, not the least of which is the technological growth of the past 250 years, that we are hard-pressed to come up with the whole story. The last time Jupiter conjoined an unknown Pluto in Sagittarius within degrees of the (yet to be discovered) Galactic Center, was in 1758, a year that saw the births of Maximilien F.M.I. de Robespierre, one of the key leaders of the French Revolution, daring British naval commander Horatio Nelson, and Noah Webster who compiled the "American Dictionary of the English Language."

And it's logical to assume that issues involving language, communication, philosophy, religion and political ideology will all be central themes in the evolution of the next few years, as well as the very survival of our beloved planet. Astrologers always look to the lives of individuals and the specific conditions: aspects, configurations, etc. and in this case specific degrees in their charts to help us understand the nature of those conditions and degrees. Much astrological learning is back-engineering: people teach us about their charts.

Those Who Shape the World

It's not surprising that many born on or around Dec. 16-19, or those who have that 24°-28° degree of Sagittarius (as well as 24°-28° of the other mutable signs -- Gemini, Virgo and Pisces) very prominent in their horoscopes, tend to impact the world -- for good or evil, with an influence that lasts. Some examples are: filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who first struck fear of the oceans in our hearts (Jaws) pioneered the concept extraterrestrials were friendly and could indeed be more humane than we are (ET).

Australian film director Gillian Armstrong offers an elegance of thought and deeply reflective view of life, the lives of women, and relationships between men and women.

Ludwig Van Beethoven needs no introduction but it's worth mentioning that he never actually heard many of his own compositions because he was increasingly deaf over the second half of his life. At around 30 years old, be began to lose his hearing, suffering from tinnitus, which both creates a noise, and also makes it extremely uncomfortable to hear. The background noise from this disorder is an early precursor the hiss and static that would lead Jansky to the discovery of the Galactic Center 130 years later.

We have television producer Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues, LA Law and NYPD Blue); as well as actor and director Ossie Davis, an omnipresent and highly respected and beloved figure in the New York theatrical scene for almost 70 years. He was among those who broke the color barrier in both stage acting and motion pictures, refusing to take menial roles, such as a butler. He brought a rarified dignity that raised the bar for African American actors in a time when their talent was overlooked or taken for granted altogether.

Liv Ullman, born with the Sun conjunct the GC, is an international film icon. Her work with Ingmar Bergman, writes the Wikipedia, "especially in the powerful Scenes from a Marriage, turned her into a 1970s feminist and cultural icon, as well as one of the most respected actresses of her time." Having planetary contact with the Galactic Core creates a likelihood that the person will  have a special energetic access, one that is capable of pervading "the galaxy" and certainly Planet Earth.

Ramsey Clark is another example of this kind of effect. Clark was the famous attorney general under Lyndon Johnson, in the era of civil rights, who 40 years later was a defense attorney for Saddam Hussein.

'Master builder' Robert Moses offers another example. Although he moved society forward in a huge way, his tactics and methods were considered Machiavellian. The Wikipedia sums it up nicely: "Moses was arguably the most powerful person in New York City government from the 1930s to the 1950s. He literally changed shorelines, built roadways in the sky, and transformed vibrant neighborhoods forever. His decisions favoring highways over public transport formed the modern suburbs of Long Island and influenced a generation of engineers, architects, and urban planners who spread his philosophies across the nation."

Fittingly, composer Galt MacDermot, who wrote the music for the Broadway musical HAIR -- a pervasive classic that changed the stodgy face of Broadway -- and is known for introducing the world to the concept of the "Dawning of the Age of Aquarius," was born on Dec. 18 as well. Regardless of individual musical tastes, HAIR changed Broadway forever. Hardly a day goes by where it is not being performed at least somewhere in the world. It was the first musical in which there was nudity (symbolic of freedom), and the 'make-love not war' sentiment though controvertial to some, was the right message at the right time.

Astrologically speaking, it can be argued that some of the attributes ascribed to Aquarius (during the Sixties) could also fall under Sagittarian rulership: a celebratory feeling, spiritual focus, a freewheeling spirit and a visionary sense of the future. Perhaps 'Galactic Center' Sagittarian MacDermot's music influenced the Aquarian agenda more than we realize.

Historical events that have occurred with the Sun conjunct the GC have a tide-turning, history-making and life-altering quality. For example, on Dec. 18 in 1865 slavery was abolished with the 13th amendment; the Wright brothers flew their airplane for the first time on Dec. 17, 1903; in 1969 capital punishment ended in the UK; and on Dec. 19, 1974 the first PC, the Altair 8800, went on sale.

The GC does have a shadow, which can be seen in this example. On Dec. 18, 1969, less than five months after the Americans landed on the Moon, the Air Force officially denied the existence of UFOs, stating that belief in flying saucers is "a mild form of mass hysteria, Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or seek publicity, Psychopathological persons, and Misidentification of various conventional objects." This is an ironic twist on, "Radio Waves Traced to Center of Milky Way."
A Setup of Cosmic Proportions

Since Y2K, planets seem to have taken turns dialoging with the Galactic Core, as if paving the way for Pluto's grand visit. In just the past five years, several planets have made key transits to, and stations on the Galactic Center.

In mid-February 2001, Mars entered Sagittarius for a very lengthy transit which lasted through September 7. That transit included a retrograde period beginning on May 11 at 29° Sagittarius through July 19 with a station at 15 Sagittarius. During those months, we were occupied with the disappearance of Chandra Levy and her affair with Congressman Gary Condit (D-California). Little did we know that as soon as Mars would leave Sagittarius and go into Capricorn that the World Trade Center would be destroyed on 9/11.

That year, astrologers were mostly focused on the Saturn-Pluto opposition, which of course was the perfect backdrop for the explosiveness of that tragedy. But leading up to that fateful day in 2001, Mars was revving things up quite a bit too. He opposed Saturn, conjoined both Pluto and the Galactic Center 3 times. The void of course Moon on the morning of September 11 was at 28 degrees of Gemini, just past the opposition to the GC
From August 2002 through May 2003, Saturn in Gemini opposed the Galactic Center (again 3 times). It was during that period that the US launched its attack on Iraq under false pretenses. As a matter of fact on the day the war began (March 20) both the Sun and Mercury squared the GC

In August 2003, Mercury stationed retrograde at 26° Virgo, squaring the GC The next Mercury retrograde began on December 17 and ended on Jan 6, 2004 at 26° Sagittarius, right on the Galactic Center.

In May 2004 Venus stationed retrograde at 26° Gemini opposite the GC (and Pluto). In late November 2004, Mercury again stationed retrograde at 26 Sagittarius 43. And on March 2, 2006, as Pluto crept closer and closer to the GC, Mercury stationed retro at 26 Pisces 55, precisely squaring the Galactic Center. By mid-summer '06, the Nodes in Pisces/Virgo also squared the GC
Is Someone Trying to Tell us Something?

Clearly, a significant pattern involving the Galactic Center is at play. When planets station retrograde and direct during a relatively short period of time at the same degrees over and over again there is some sort of a message implied. The activity leading up to Pluto's visit at the Galactic Center has corresponded to an extremely dramatic and, some say, 'dire' time in human history.

There has been an incomprehensible attack in New York, a devastating tsunami, three hurricanes which have destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and a couple of million lives, a horrible war that most say can't be won, hangings that are recorded by cell phones and broadcast on the Internet and television, possibly two stolen American elections, a loss of individual freedom and rights, a serious erosion of the checks and balances system which has been the backbone of American Democracy, and growing apprehension about the reality of global warming and the very survival of our planet.

At a lecture 15 years ago, UFO researcher Frank Chille said that there is at least a one-thousand year discrepancy between the technological and moral/ethical development on Planet Earth. This rift seems to widen exponentially every year. As of this writing in 2007, we cannot even sit on a bus or shop in a store without hearing the personal details of someone's life on a cell phone. Technology has ceased to serve us, it has consumed us. Greed is out of control as is evidenced by the ever-accelerating pace of planned obsolescence.

But there has been a lot of good that has happened too. The Human Potential or self-help movement has provided opportunities for growth as never before. There is a new understanding and an appreciation of what it means to operate from a place of authenticity. The Internet has made it possible for people to connect from all over the world in an instant.

As we anticipate Pluto's ingress into Capricorn in January 2008, and are reminded of the time 250 years ago that led to the American Revolution, we are also aware of the upcoming Jupiter-Pluto conjunction on Dec. 11, 2007 at 28 Sagittarius 24 preceding said ingress. As a rule, Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions are consistent with great energy and astounding wealth (George Soros, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mick Jagger, and Ross Perot, for example).

But this time, in late 2007, the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction opposite the exact degree of the Moon on 9/11/01, and 3 months after after the Solar Eclipse on 9/11/07. Adding to the celestial drama is Mars in Gemini retrograde and opposing those critical degrees opposite the GC (Mars stations retrograde in mid November at 12 Cancer, close to the US Sun), so one can't help but be concerned about the potentially militant/confrontational expression of the conjunction. Mars-Pluto oppositions on a good day are fierce, and Jupiter in the mix expands it all that much more.

Mars was retrograde at similar degrees in late 1928-early 1929 and in late 1943-early 1944.

Both were tumultuous times. It would be naive to expect an uneventfully smooth ride.
But without getting Pollyanna-ish or sounding outrageously wacky about it, here's a thought: If we can imagine the Galactic Center as having some profound intelligence to offer and the planets prodding and urging this intelligence to come forth, might we here on Earth be well advised to take a humble and receptive stance to what might come next? Perhaps a surprise is in store (Uranus squares the GC in 2009) not a horrible attack, or catastrophic weather, but something that forces cooperation between nations -- or else. Could there be a threat to our very geography or 'visitors' from far away?

Saturn and Uranus both square the GC in September/October 2009, in Virgo-Pisces suggesting a complete restructuring of how we work and provide healthcare.
It was Albert Einstein who asked if the Universe was when all is said and done, benevolent.

I have always believed that it was and is, and that it is humanity itself that is in question. Perhaps this sequence of Pluto at the Galactic Center will provide an opportunity for us to get to know ourselves somewhat better, and to see what -- if anything -- we have learned in the past 250 years.

Planets of Famed Individuals and Events at 24°-28° Mutable that are (either) conjunct, opposite, or square to The Galactic Center

Sun: Bernardo Bertolucci, Albert Einstein, Greta Garbo, Maxim Gorky, Stephen King (sq Uranus), Paul McCartney, Edith Piaf, Sylvia Porter, Salman Rushdie, Upton Sinclair (conj Mars), Twiggy, Jeffrey Wigand, Venus Williams
*Sun/Pluto midpoint: Frank Sinatra
Moon: Kathy Bates, Cecil B. DeMille, Billy Graham (conj Mars), Rupert Murdoch, Sugar Ray Robinson, O.J. Simpson, Martha Stewart (sq Neptune), Barbara Walters (opp Saturn), 9/11 attack
Mercury: Louisa May Alcott, Alexander Graham Bell, P.T. Barnum, The Dalai Lama, John Hinckley (conj S. Node), Lena Horne
Venus: Barbara Hutton, Harvey Milk, Liz Smith, Tina Turner, Vladimir Nabokov
Mars: Giorgio Armani, Ben Franklin (Mars at 21° Sag- GC was at 22°-23° in 1706), Betty Friedan (opp Saturn), Billy Graham (conj Moon), Janis Joplin, Henry Kissinger (conj Asc), Evel Knievel, Mistinguett, Jean Nidetch, Eugene O'Neill, Vladmir Putin, Sherron Watkins
Jupiter: Charles Dickens, Steffi Graf, State of Israel (opp Uranus), Roger Moore, George C. Scott
Saturn: Rudolph Giuliani, Julio Iglesias, John Kerry, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., George Lucas, Jim Morrison, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Eleanor Roosevelt
Uranus: Robert Bly, Hugh Hefner, Timothy McVeigh, Leontyne Price, Rachael Ray, Joan Sutherland
Neptune: Joan Baez, Dick Cheney, Ernest Hemingway, John Lennon, Karl Marx (Sq Pluto), Spencer Tracy, discovery of Uranus
Pluto: Jean Harlow, L. Ron Hubbard, Joseph McCarthy (conj N. Node), Jack Ruby, Uma Thurman, Tennessee Williams
Nodes: Joseph Campbell, Salvador Dali, Betty Ford, Rose Kennedy, Mary Tyler Moore, Percy Bysshe Shelley
Asc or MC: Pope Benedict XVI (John Ratzinger), Elvis Presley, Ringo Starr, Ben Stiller, Rick Tarnas, Orson Welles, Prince William
Juno: Diana-Princess of Wales, Jack Nicholson

Shelley Ackerman is an astrologer, entertainer, journalist and broadcaster. To learn more, visit her website at

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