Yin Yang Portraits
The Magician by Andrew Salgado, 2019
Chart for the Magician, born August 5, 1966, time unknown, Kingston, Jamaica
Jupiter is what we love, what we acquire knowledge in, and what we’re gifted in. Jupiter in Cancer is love for safety, security, protection and comfort. It’s learning how to cook food to ensure that nobody gets food poisoning. It’s looking at a house and finding the best alarm system for it. It’s adding protection to a computer system so that nobody can hack it. It’s taking command of a police force and making it as effective as possible.
Mars and Venus conjunct Jupiter in Cancer add drive and passion to make a mark in a Cancerian field. The stellium in Cancer is the engine of this chart; it is the driving force behind the studies, the hard hours of labour, the travel, and the opportunities the holder of the chart reaches for.
Scorpio protects the purity of Artemis, and Neptune in Scorpio idealizes her purity. The chaste huntress, goddess of the crescent moon, stands behind the scorpion, ready to protect and defend her perfect purity. In a chart, this combination talks about upholding high ideals.
Cancer and Scorpio, two water signs, are joined together in a trine, enhancing the holder of the chart’s intuition. Sextiles connect both signs to a Pluto Uranus conjunction in Virgo.
Pluto and Uranus are the force of revolution, and in Virgo, they’re the force of flower power. Pluto digs deep and Uranus exposes what is no longer working. Together, they change people and systems of service from within, without breaking down whole structures.
The Pluto and Uranus conjunction in Virgo feeds the engine in Cancer and the high ideals in Scorpio. This is soft power, charisma, beautiful and well spoken words; a demonstration of erudition, compassion and understanding, but getting the work done, making changes and improving conditions. There’s also a need here to be liked and appreciated.
The Moon in Aries can have explosive, emotional outbursts, but the Moon is held in check by a Saturn conjunction. There’s control, discipline and rigour here, not to be fooled with. There’s also protection given by the holder of the chart’s natal community. Saturn restricts and Saturn protects.
The Saturn Moon conjunction trines Mercury in Leo. Leo is the solar house, and Mercury is at 0 degrees of Leo. This is a man who takes pride in wearing a uniform. He’s mastering the art of being on stage and showing his heroic skills on stage.
The Sun Neptune square teaches him lessons but also gives him a means to protect and defend himself. He’s learning to keep his ego in check when his high ideals are not met; he’s learning to be moderate in his criticisms and expectations. But if someone does him wrong, he will sting them and reveal their low standads; he will prove that he is better; it’s the Scorpio way.
Chart for October 28, 2019, 6:30 am, Ottawa, Ontario
There was a new moon in Scorpio, the crescent moon that Artemis rules, when the Magician became chief. A Venus Mercury conjunction brought words of wisdom that matched the optimism that Jupiter in Sagittarius brings. The talk of the town was the new chief and the Capricorn structure he was going to lead and transform. The timing was right, with Saturn only 5 degrees away from Pluto in Capricorn asking for transformation. The transformation would be discussed with all members behind the scenes. The promise in the air was that all decisions would be made in the manner of Mars in Libra, with unanimous agreement.
Neptune in Pluto reminded everyone that there are no cockroaches among us; we’re all equal in the eyes of the gods. Uranus in Taurus pressed for resource efficiency and to preserve old structures, and the Sun and Moon negotiated to meet somewhere in the middle. Rahu and the destination at 6:30 that morning was in Cancer, matching the Magician’s engine.
Bi-wheel synastry chart with the October 28, 2019 chart in the inner wheel and the Magician’s chart in the outer wheel
On October 28, 2019, the Magician’s stellium in Cancer and transiting Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn opposed each other. The Magician was hired to use his experience, knowledge and talents to oversee change in the police force, and the opposition confirmed that this would be the biggest challenge in his career.
His Mercury in Leo was in the spotlight. It squared transiting Uranus in Taurus and the Sun in Scorpio, challenging the old order. It also trined transiting Mercury, giving him confidence and ease with words.
He set his high ideals on the table and they were well received. His Saturn Moon conjunction in Pisces and Aries were in the transiting sixth house of work. He presented himself to his new community as a man of discipline who won’t waste time.
Brown Eyes by Andrew Salgado, 2013
Chart for Brown Eyes, August 4, 1981, 4:46 am, Los Angeles, CA
I’m a woman with brown eyes; beautiful, lively and quick-witted. Cancer and Leo are in my first house, and Rahu, Mercury and the Sun in Leo push me to stand out in a crowd. I’m meant to inspire people to be the best that they can be.
I’m an elegant woman and I call attention. The stellium in my third house tells you that my elegance is a studied elegance. I have a passion for etiquette and fashion. Saturn only rewards us when we work hard, and I’ve worked hard to develop a unique sense of style that has earned me a following. The Moon is a symbol of our community and our fans, and I have many fans, as Jupiter indicates.
A square from my stellium in Libra to Mars in Cancer in my twelfth house reminds me to give back to my community. Cancer is a house of nurture, and the twelfth house is where we act selflessly. I’m a social activist and I raise funds and speak for the rights of disadvantaged people around the world. Mars rules Aries in my tenth house of vocation, and my true vocation is to help others through charity work.
The twelfth house is also where we retreat from the world; it’s a private house and my Mars guards it fiercely. Paparazzi have been invading my privacy and inventing stories about me; they’re not playing fair and I’m all about fairness; my stellium in Libra testifies to that. So I’m right now on a mission; I’m on a mission to figure out how to be a public figure with a private life, a public figure whose privacy is respected.
Blue Eyes by Andrew Salgado, 2013
Chart for Blue Eyes, born April 21, 1926, 2:40 am, Mayfair, London, UK
You forgot to mention that all the attention you’re getting is because you married my grandson. What I see in your chart is that the Moon rules your twelfth house and your first, and it’s tied to your status as famous person in the third house; it’s conjunct Saturn and Jupiter in your house of daily activities and skills. Saturn and Jupiter can make royalty. Diana had this combination in her first house, and she married my son when Saturn and Jupiter were conjunct at 5 degrees of Libra, same as your birth chart; naturally, since you were born only six days after they got married. Maybe you will use your soft power to avenge her death and teach the British press a lesson.
I appreciate how you feel, but what I don’t appreciate is your lack of loyalty. You see, exactly where you have your Sun at 12 degrees of Leo, I have my Moon. A Moon in Leo in the seventh house of relationships needs loyalty above all. You eclipsed my Moon when you made a public announcement about wanting to step down from your royal duties. You should have come to me first.
Bi-wheel synastry chart with the chart for Blue Eyes in the inner wheel and the chart for Brown Eyes in the outer wheel.
Cancer is in my sixth house of work, and with Pluto there, it’s where all my crises begin. Cancer is home, and the Moon, ruler or Cancer, is in my seventh house. Breaches of contract, such as yours, bring me crises. Your Mars sits right on top of my Pluto, and your decision to move away has hurt me deeply and opened up past wounds. What saves us both is the wash of unconditional love that a trine with Venus in Pisces brings us.
When I see your stellium in Libra crowning my eighth house of crises and healing, I understand your need for freedom. Jupiter is freedom, and Jupiter can push Saturn to be free. At the same time, Saturn can limit Jupiter’s freedom, and in the eighth house, the limitations are financial. Your freedom right now depends on the money that I can provide for you and your security, and I’m putting my Uranus and Mercury, my brilliant mind, to good use, finding the right solution. It has to be right and it has to be fair for all the parties involved; you understand that more than anyone.
Your Uranus in Scorpio, in your fifth house of happiness, sits on my Saturn and Midheaven. It trines my Uranus, and simultaneously excites and threatens the structure that I stand for and that I serve. You should keep in mind that my Saturn and Midheaven, also in Scorpio, could in turn disrupt your fifth house, so we must act prudently. You have inadvertently stimulated the squares from my Saturn to Mars and Jupiter in my first house, and to Neptune in my seventh house. You have awakened all the power that I have and all the faith people have in me to make the right decision concerning you and my grandson.
Portrait of Man ’84 by Andrew Salgado, 2013
Chart for Man ’84, born January 20, 1984, 12:52 pm, Ottawa, ON
I’m a researcher who studies the genetics and neuroscience of addiction. Scorpio’s in my sixth house of apprenticeship and work, and the sixth house is my power house. I have Saturn there, the planet of commitment, as well as Pluto and Mars, rulers of Scorpio. I’ve attracted and been drawn to the best minds in the field of genetics; I’ve learned from them and now I work alongside them. My work life is great, but my love life not so great. My wife accuses me of being an absent husband, obsessed with work, and she’s right. With Venus and Uranus in my seventh house, I need space in my relationships; I like spending time alone.
My professors said that I had a brilliant and penetrating mind; I was gifted, top of my class, doing my apprenticeship with the biggest accounting firm in the city. Then one day I was struck by love; I met a girl, attractive and adventurous who threw me off course. She was hooked on drugs and I got hooked on drugs; I became a slave to addiction.
Neptune is spirituality and compassion, and Neptune is conjunct Jupiter in my eighth house of crisis and healing. I’m driven by a need to bring clarity and understanding to the problem of addiction; what is it in the genetic makeup that makes a person prone to addiction. I’m also driven by the beauty of genetics itself; god is in our genetics. I love finding the patterns that link people to each other, and the mutations that set us apart, make us unique. Gemini is my ascendant sign, and Mercury, ruler of Gemini, is also in my eighth house. I will leave my mark in the field of genetics.
Neptune can be deception and escapism, and Neptune is conjunct Jupiter and Mercury in my eighth house of hidden activities and all things taboo. I was supposed to be working at the accounting firm, auditing and investigating fraud. Instead, my sole purpose in life became feeding my addiction. I did whatever I had to do to feed it and ended up in prison.
Aries, Taurus and Gemini are in my twelfth house, and their ruling planets connect my twelfth house to the work I do. I have spent many years working behind the scenes in a research lab, but now my life is changing.
Aries, Taurus and Gemini are in my twelfth house, and their ruling planets connect my twelfth house to what should have been my brilliant career but became my addiction. I spent time in prison, but now I’m out. I’ve broken my drug habit and gone back to accounting. The chaplain has me doing the accounting for his church, and word is getting out that I’m efficient.
Progressed birth chart (birth chart with secondary progressions) for Man ’84, 36 years old on January 20, 2020, 12:52 pm, Ottawa, ON
We’re always our original birth chart, and we use it to do synastry work. But to understand ourselves better, the changes we go through, we look at our progressions, especially the Sun progressions. The Sun progresses one degree anticlockwise every year. Man ’84 was born with the Sun at 29 degrees of Aquarius, and at age 36, his Sun is at 6 degrees of Pisces. When our Sun changes sign, we begin to feel different, and may want something different from life. In Man ’84’s case, the Sun changed signs when he was 30 years old, around the time of his first Saturn return. It will change signs again when he’s 60.
This year my priorities are changing. I’m a new dad, and I’ll be spending less time at the lab and more time at home with my baby girl. I’m going to be working on a healthier work-life balance. I’ve also applied for a grant that will allow me to take time off work to finish writing my research paper. The preliminary draft that I submitted was applauded, so I’m hoping I’ll get it.
I’m now doing the accounting for three churches and thinking of opening my own accounting firm. I’m also in love with a woman who keeps me in line. My Venus has progressed into Aquarius in my eighth house, and she happens to take care of people like me before recovery. Chances are we’ll get married. Saturn, ruler of Capricorn in my house of marriage, is in my fifth house of romance. There she is standing guard between Pluto and Mars.
Portrait of Man ’64 by Andrew Salgado, 2016
Chart for Man ’64, born September 30, 1964, 11:50 pm, Ottawa, ON
I don’t whack things when they don’t work; I take them apart, figure out what’s wrong and fix the problem. Mars conjunct the Moon gives you focused attention and the ability to work with your hands, think with your hands. My Mars Moon conjunction’s in my second house of talents and I’m an engineer. I work with machines, powerful ones.
It’s true that a Mars Moon conjunction gives you incredible powers of concentration, but it can also make you short tempered. I had to take some of those anger management classes when I was younger, before I could get a job here at the college. Now I calmly concentrate on keeping the college safe. I’m head of security, and I’m also in charge of all those young punks who want to become security guards; I teach them all I know. You see, Mercury in Virgo quincunxes Saturn in Aquarius, and a quincunx is like the finger of god blessing you with a precious skill. Mercury in Virgo’s all about the details, and Saturn in Aquarius is the strict teacher in a place of learning. That’s me, the strict teacher blessed with the ability to train my students to be good security guards.
Mercury in Virgo quincunxes Saturn in Aquarius, and a quincunx is like the finger of god blessing you. I’ve been blessed with the ability to operate and maintain snow removal and construction machines, heating and refrigeration machines, any machine.
Pluto in the third house makes a good private detective, and I don’t just have Pluto in my third house, I have Pluto conjunct Uranus, the genius of the zodiac.
So do I. I can spot problems like nobody can.
I can spot an intruder like nobody can. If you don’t belong in the college, you’ll see me coming toward you, waving at you; I’ll make sure you know that I’m keeping an eye on you.
With Venus in Leo, I wanted to be in the spotlight when I was young; I wanted to be an actor. But after my dad saw me in my school play, he told me that I was no Lawrence Olivier, and that I’d have a hard time earning a living with my acting. That’s when he taught me how to operate one of his machines, and I found out that I was a natural. It felt better than being on stage.
I feel like I’m always on stage, that the college is not just my community but my stage. I’m always needed, always on the go, making sure everyone’s okay. I have to dress in neon yellow, and I feel like the sun people reach for when they need help. Let me tell you, my job keeps me energized and fit.
So does mine. But with Neptune in Scorpio, I’m susceptible to abuse; people think I’m such a nice guy, they take advantage of me and give me extra work. That includes the women in my life; I’ve gone out with some nasty and bossy women.
Oh yeah? My wife’s bossy too, but I put up with her. She’s involved with the church community; has me singing in the church choir.
I think this is where we pause and check the chart progressions.
Chart with secondary progressions for Male ’64, 55 years old on January 22, 2020, Ottawa, ON
Look at that, the Midheaven is conjunct Jupiter in Taurus. I’ve reached the pinnacle of my career in Security.
The Moon has separated from Mars, but Mars is now conjunct Pluto and Uranus. I’m at the height of my abilities; no detail escapes me. I must have reached the mentorship stage.
There’s a grand square in the fixed signs, and grand squares can bring tension. Jupiter opposes Neptune, and we’re making sure nobody takes advantage of us now, that we’re respected for our expertise. Saturn in the house of contracts opposes the Moon in Leo in the twelfth house, and again, that’s also about balancing work and free time. Saturn could actually be my wife calling me at work, reminding me not to be late for choir practice.
Saturn in the seventh house could speak of my desire to be in a committed relationship. I joined a theatre group not too long ago and met someone new. Hope things work out.
Say, how about a cup of coffee?
I could use a coffee, but the line’s too long.
Don’t worry about that. People know me here. They’ll take our order on the side. Follow me.
Portrait of a firefighter by Andrew Salgado, 2016
Chart of a firefighter born February 20, 1980, 4:11 am, Ottawa, ON
The Mars Jupiter conjunction in my eighth house could give me a taste for extreme experiences and the showmanship that goes with them. But a Saturn retrograde in the same house and a Sun opposition tame the intensity of the conjunction. I’m able to put any knowledge that I acquire easily into action, and I use this ability to be of service as a firefighter.
The study of the elements and of astrology belong in the eighth house of hidden knowledge. That’s because not everything in these fields of study can be taught in traditional ways. A firefighter cannot teach in which direction fire will travel; it’s the direct experience of fire that tells them that. The quincunx between Mercury in Pisces and Pluto in Libra gives the holder of the chart the ability to understand hidden languages.
Two quincunxes in my chart form a yod, a sacred triangle. The yod joins Uranus and Saturn to the Moon in Aries, and all the power of the yod is directed at the Moon by a Pluto Moon opposition. Inspiration, a sense of responsibility and intuition are brought together and oppose an innate need to understand what lies hidden.
A doorway leads to understanding when the time is right and when the holder of the chart is ready. A trine connects the Moon to Neptune in Sagittarius in the twelfth house. Understanding doesn’t come with words; it takes your hand and helps you direct the water hose exactly where water can help prevent the fire from spreading.
One thing I know is that I’m not always in control; there are forces greater than me guiding my actions. Maybe I’d be a different person if Mars were at a lower degree than Jupiter. I’ve been told that the planet holding the lowest degree in a conjunction has a bigger say, and if Mars had a bigger say in my chart, I’d probably be more willful, and I’d challenge the restrictions set by the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn.
Funny you say that because when I first saw your chart, I was struck by its power, and a name came to mind, Grant Hadwin. He was the man who gave himself permission to cut down a golden spruce considered sacred by the Haida people. I thought to myself that his eighth house could have resembled yours had Mars been at a lower degree, instead of flanked by Jupiter and Saturn.
Chart for Grant Hadwin, born October 25, 1949, 12:00 pm, West Vancouver, BC
His eighth house doesn’t resemble mine; it’s a different combination that gave him permission to commit an act that was considered sacrilege. Pluto, Mars and Saturn stand independent of each other in Leo and Virgo. There’s a personal need to conquer fear and to seek life transforming experiences. Jupiter in his first house quincunxes Mars, giving him a strong body and a strong mind, stronger than most. He was an expert in wilderness survival.
The quincunx leads to a Jupiter and Sun square. His actions challenged the law and asserted his own beliefs. Jupiter is the planet of beliefs, of law and religion, and the Sun is the ego.
He said he had a vision that made him realize what the logging industry and loggers like him were doing to the forest. They were cutting down trees as old as the golden spruce every day; they were gutting entire mountainsides.
He has a Mercury Neptune conjunction in Libra, in the ninth house of higher knowledge. Neptune is minutes lower than Mercury, and when Neptune overpowers the mind, you can be considered a visionary or delusional.
Either way, his convictions led the way; they guided the experiences he went after, the letters and the manifesto he wrote, the travels and the secret plans he made. His Mercury Neptune conjunction sextiles Pluto, and it sextiles Venus in his twelfth house of retreat. His happiness lay in the twelfth house.
With Uranus in his seventh house, he was considered an eccentric by the people who hired him; some thought he was a man ahead of his time. The Moon, ruler of the seventh, is in his twelfth house opposing Uranus. He married a nurse, but compromises had to be made in the marriage to give him space and freedom.
This is what the sky looked like the day he made deep cuts in the golden spruce. The tree fell two days later.
Chart for January 20, 1997, Queen Charlotte, BC
Bi-wheel synastry chart with Hadwin’s chart in the inner wheel and transits for January 20, 1997 in the outer wheel
He had just had a Jupiter return, giving him a renewed sense of purpose, but his Jupiter return came with a transiting stellium; Jupiter, Neptune, the Sun and Uranus, all hovered over his natal Jupiter. He must have felt like a god. His plan was to cut the golden spruce to raise awareness that it wasn’t the only tree worth protecting.
The Saturn transit in his third house was in opposition to the Mars transit in his ninth house. He must have felt the tension between the unwritten rules concerning the golden spruce, and his determination to prevent the destruction of the rest of the forest. Despite the tension, he pushed forward; he was going to force people to pay attention to what he had to say.
The Mercury transit in his first house was in opposition to the Moon transit and to his natal Uranus in the seventh house. Even though he understood how much sorrow he would cause, and that what he was about to do would sever him from the community, he still pushed forward; he used all his stamina to swim across the river with his chainsaw, and he made the cuts in the sacred tree.
He should have laid down his chainsaw and prayed. The Moon moves quickly, but when he stood in front of the tree with his chainsaw, Jupiter, planet of faith, Neptune, planet of unconditional love, the Sun that is life, and Uranus, planet of awakening, were all quincunxing the Moon. With all those fingers of god pointing at the Moon that is our Soul, he should have knelt down and left the tree alone.
It’s not about love I by Andrew Salgado, 2014
It’s about getting what I want through quiet insistence. Let’s say you’re a portrait painter, and you see me standing by the entrance of the building where you have your studio. Every morning, you get to work, and I’m there, leaning against the wall, having a coffee. We’ll nod to each other and say ‘hey’ the first couple of times; then you’ll ask me if I work in the building and I’ll say, nah, I’m just waiting for my ride; another time I’ll ask you what kind of work you do and you’ll tell me you’re an artist, and I’ll say, cool man, I’d love to see your work, but I’ll say it casually. We’ll talk more about your art, and a couple of weeks later, after we greet each other and chit chat for a bit, I’ll say, listen man, I’m changing jobs so I won’t be coming around here anymore, but it’s been nice knowing you. I’ll wish you luck with your work, and this is when I find out whether my quiet insistence worked on you who are my experiment; this is when you ask me if I have a moment to come up and see your work or you don’t. If you do, I’ll say, sure, I’ll come up. When I see your work, I’ll be impressed, and I’ll ask if you need a model because I’d be willing to model for you.
Like I said, it’s about quiet insistence, and if I get something out of it, like my portrait done, I’ll share my triumph with my colleagues who’re always in on my experiments. Sometimes we experiment together; they look up to me to lead the way, and I lead with assurance and persuasion and with the promise of satisfaction, even though I’m never satisfied. No one does anything better than me because I’m never satisfied; dissatisfaction makes me insistent; dissatisfaction makes me a pro.
It’s not about love II by Andrew Salgado, 2017
The first time I participated in one of his experiments, I was pretty nervous. I pressed my body against the wall hoping no one would recognize me; I was pretty sure my boss lived around here somewhere. I tried to relax when I saw the painter walk up to the building, and just as he swung the entrance door open, I said ‘hey.’ He threw a quick glance at me and said ‘hey’ back before disappearing inside, but I swear that in that brief moment, I heard his brain go ‘click;’ it must have registered that he’d seen this before.
So I did something different the following day. I stood beside the building which eased my fear of being recognized, and just as he came up the steps and reached for the entrance door, I came up from behind and grabbed the door for him. Here, let me help you, I said. What’s all this stuff you’re carrying? He thanked me and told me he’d just picked up a roll of canvas on his way there. You an artist? I asked him, and he said, yes, he painted portraits and had his studio in the building. I held my coffee with my left hand and traced the lines of my mighty jaw with my right hand and told him that I’d never had my portrait done before. He asked me if I worked in the building, and I said, no, I’m with hydro, waiting for a colleague; we’re checking trees in the area, making sure none of them need pruning. He said I was welcome to wait in the foyer, and I said, thanks man, have a good one.
This became my strategy for the next couple of days, and after that, when I held the door open for him, I said we were done with our work here, and that it had been truly an honour to have met a real Canadian artist. Thanks man, he said, and asked if I had a moment; he wanted to take some pictures of me; he was working on a new show and needed some new faces. I looked at him as if I were at a loss for words and stammered, why yes… Of course!
It’s not about love III by Andrew Salgado, 2018
I signed up for the experiment since I was already patrolling the neighbourhood. I waited in the parking lot until the artist got out of his car, and then got out of my cruiser and walked toward the building alongside him. He asked me if there was a problem, and I said, not at all; I’m just looking for a washroom; you wouldn’t know if that building has a washroom I could use, would you? He wasn’t sure but he said I could use the one in his studio. That’s mighty kind of you, I said. When I walked into his studio, my jaw dropped. His work is grand; I mean, it’s powerful, and I could see the finished portraits of It’s not about love I and II, and it was as if he’d captured their souls. He pointed to the washroom door, and when I was done, I stood in the middle of the room and told him I was having a hard time leaving; I was hypnotized by his work.
“Would you like me to paint you?” he asked me, and I said, yes, but I don’t have much time. He made a quick sketch and took pictures of me until my radio came to life. He said I could see the finished work at his upcoming exhibit. I thanked him and stepped outside his studio, but before I left, I turned and asked him what was he going to call his exhibit, and he said he was thinking of calling it Chance Encounters. I smiled and closed the door.
Nightwatch I by Andrew Salgado, 2015
I’m not on the kind of nightwatch you’re thinking; I’m not patrolling your neighbourhood while you sleep. I’m the guy they put up on a hill tonight to watch the sky and report on what the planets are up to. That’s the official version and the public loves it; they’re all about astrology these day and they find it hip that we’ve joined the movement.
Unofficially though, I’m really up here for a night of healing; that’s right, a night without having to fight crime, a night to myself. There’s this new study that says that bathing in the light of the night sky, the light of the moon, the stars, the planets, heals the body and heals the mind. So if one of us has had a stressful experience, they send us on nightwatch.
Let me tell you that it works. I sat on a rock looking at the sky and felt the tears come, tears washing away my sorrow. When they stopped, a melody came to mind and I started humming it, and a woman out walking her dog sat down beside me and hummed the melody with me. She pointed at a twinkling light above me and told me that I was sitting under Venus and Neptune; they’re conjunct in Pisces, soothing your soul, she said. She suggested that I sit on a rock across from where I was before I left, and that’s where I’m sitting now, writing my report.
The moment I sat here, I asked myself if I could live without the work I’m doing now, and after some thought, I knew that I couldn’t and didn’t want to live without it. I checked my stargazing app and saw that Jupiter in Capricorn was below the horizon, right at my feet, infusing me with a renewed sense of direction. My report reads, Had a good cry sitting under the influence of Venus conjunct Neptune in Pisces, and ready to go back to work thanks to Jupiter in Capricorn.
Nightwatch II by Andrew Salgado, 2016
When the world health organization declared a global emergency during the SARS epidemic, Venus and Neptune were conjunct in Aquarius, and this time, with the new coronavirus, they were conjunct in Pisces. It’s as if the planet of love and her higher octave come together when we need them most; they bathe us not just with love, but with love for humanity, and with feelings of solidarity and compassion. But, of course, not everyone’s receptive to these feelings, and there are some who’ll take advantage of those who are.
Happened to me, and I blame it not just on all the love in the air, but also on the moon in Gemini. Here I was, on the phone, under the influence of Venus and Neptune and a chatty moon, and I gave out too much information. They say that only women are affected by the moon, but I’m proof that that’s not true.
When I hung up the phone and realized that I’d been had, I resorted to Mars, but Mars is in Sagittarius and Mars in Sagittarius wants to save the world, and I didn’t want to save the world; I just wanted to catch the guy who scammed me. I was pretty mad and not my usual self at work, and I ended up on nightwatch.
The moon’s in Cancer tonight, and I’m all emotional sitting up here alone on this hill wondering what everyone’s up to. While I’m up here, the moon’s going to be cruising through Cancer and opposing all the planets in Capricorn; first Jupiter, then Pluto and last of all Saturn. I guess it’s going to be a long night of quiet introspection.
his phone rings
I’m okay, mom, don’t worry.
Yes, I do want to continue doing what I’m doing, mom; I like my job –
No, I’m not ready to make a change –
Well, I’ll consider it, but not right now –
My credit card? No, I haven’t… I can’t believe I forgot!
I’ll cancel it now and call you back.
Okay. Thanks, mom.
Report: I felt like I was the moon in Cancer being told what to do by all the planets lying across in Capricorn. Jupiter told me to listen to my mom, Pluto told me to say only what I needed to say and not to hurt her feelings, and Saturn reminded me to follow through with my promise of calling her back.
Nightwatch III by Andrew Salgado, 2013
I second what my colleague said there about the moon affecting men as much as women, and I’m not just talking about the moon transits; the birth chart moon affects us too.
See, if you put your finger on your sun and go anticlockwise and in proper zodiacal order around your birth chart till you reach your sun again, you’ve traveled 360 degrees. Now do it again, dividing your chart into four 90 degree quadrants from the sun. If your moon is in the first quadrant, then you’ve got a hot and wet moon called a sanguine moon. A sanguine moon is young, and she makes you the energizing and motivating type, supportive of people and bringing people together. Even if she’s in a sign considered quiet and reserved, she’ll push you to be more social and outgoing.
If your moon is in the second quadrant, then you’ve got yourself a hot and dry or choleric moon. A choleric moon makes you the energizing and motivating type, but you like to maintain a bit of distance; you plan and organize, but you like your separateness.
A moon in the third quadrant is a cold and dry or melancholic moon. A melancholic moon gives you a slower pace and a more measured kind of energy; you’re more reserved, more of a planner, and you prefer doing things alone.
A moon in the fourth quadrant is cold and wet and it’s called a phlegmatic moon. A phlegmatic moon is an older moon and she makes you more of the reflective type; you take time to connect with others, and you’re more measured in your interactions. If you have a phlegmatic moon in a fiery sign, you won’t get fired up so easily.
That’s the kind of moon I have, a phlegmatic moon, and I’m more of the reflective type. I don’t rush into things; I take time making decisions which I know annoys a lot of people, including my ex girlfriend. She left me during the Venus Neptune conjunction; she gently told me that I was cold and wet and she was cold and wet and together we weren’t getting anywhere. She said she needed to find some heat and she left me. So I came up here on this hill to sort things out. It’s cold and wet tonight and I can’t see the sky, but I know the moon’s in Leo; I can feel her trying to help me. She’s cheering me up, telling me that some people are slower than others; that’s just the way it is. She’s reminding me that I work better in a team because a team brings together a mixture of hot and cold and wet and dry. She’s suggestsing that I do what my ex girlfriend did; go find some heat to balance my phlegmatic moon.
I look for her with my stargazing app and find her directly above me. I blow her a kiss.
My report reads, I thought Neptune had dissolved my relationship, but now I think he triggered the need for a relationship that was more fulfilling, more ideal.
Nightwatch interrupted by Andrew Salgado, 2013
I sat up on the hill under the full moon in Leo remembering all the good times we’d had together. I must have been a fool to have left him. When I did, I had felt so dissatisfied with my life; I wanted more excitement, something more; but that feeling had passed and the fear of having thrown something precious away began to take over. I made myself calm down, look at the moon and calm down, and memories of how we met, our first date, our first kiss, flooded back. They stirred in me a longing for- a deep desire for- That’s when I called him up and told him everything. He said that Venus had left Neptune behind and entered Aries, and that Venus in Aries is hot and dry. He was sure that she’d help balance our phlegmatic moons, and asked if I wanted to give our relationship another try. I said yes and left the hill.
Portrait of a Lady by Gustav Klimt
Portrait of Two Conquistadors and a Lady, December 2019
Conquistador 1 This can’t be a work by Gustav Klimt. Didn’t he use gold leaf?
Conquistador 2 Looks to me like it’s unfinished.
Conquistador 1 How can it be worth millions if it’s unfinished?
Conquistador 2 No idea.
Conquistador 1 I wanted to be an artist when I was a kid. My teachers used to praise my art work.
Conquistador 2 What happened?
Conquistador 1 My dad said, Out of the question. I was destined to be a conquistador.
Conquistador 2 laughs
Conquistador 1 Don’t laugh. You’re a conquistador too. According to Freud, a conquistador is an adventurer, and that’s what we are, adventurers; we’re curious, daring and tenacious. Don’t you remember what the guy said when we went to the recruitment centre?
Conquistador 2 What did he say?
Conquistador 1 He said, If you’re looking for a career where every day’s an adventure, you’ve come to the right place.
Conquistador 2 I guess you’re right. Look at us now, protecting a famous painting.
Conquistador 1 So when are you going to tell me about Mars; you said March looks busy because Mars will be in Capricorn.
Conquistador 2 He’ll be there mid-Feb till end of March, energizing the planets in Capricorn, Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn.
Conquistador 1 So what’s going to happen?
Conquistador 2 How do I know!
Conquistador 1 Well, tell me something!
Conquistador 2 Shh! Let me think. Okay. You know how this painting went missing two decades ago? When the gallery was going through renovations?
Conquistador 1 Yeah?
Conquistador 2 On that day, Mars was conjunct Jupiter, and Mars conjunct Jupiter is the mark of a great athlete, of great effort, but it’s also the mark of someone who gets carried away and takes too many risks. So on that day, these two planets were giving people some extra oomph, if you know what I mean. At the gallery, the workers doing the repairs joined the gardeners during lunch break; they ate together and were being quite boisterous and one of them said, Let’s hide a painting. Sure, let’s hide a painting. There are so many, I bet nobody will notice. How about this one? The frame’s too big. Well, take it out of the frame! What do we do with the frame? Someone climb up on the roof and leave it there. Good idea. No one will find it up on the roof. I’ll climb up. I’ll help you. Now where do we hide the painting? Let’s look around for a good hiding place. Wrap it up in that garbage bag in case someone sees us. How about this vent out here in the exterior wall? Does it fit? It fits! Perfect, leave it there. Back to work everyone!
Conquistador 1 Then what happened?
Conquistador 2 You realize that I’m inventing this, right? I’m just giving you an example of the effect Mars conjunct Jupiter can have.
Conquistador 1 Okay, but then what happened?
Conquistador 2 When the gallery reopened and the missing painting was the news of the day, they all freaked out and decided not to fess up. The gardeners let the ivy around the vent grow and grow until it covered the entire exterior wall.
Portrait of Two Conquistadors fighting a fire, April 2019
Conquistador 1 I’d say that at this point in the story, Mars has crossed over Jupiter and reached Pluto.
Conquistador 2 Pluto’s the most controversial, don’t you think? He’s the shaman of the zodiac, but he also stands for all our shadows and all that’s forbidden and taboo.
Conquistador 1 True. When Mars energizes Pluto, good things and bad things happen. People find the willpower to transform their lives in some way; they overcome addictions, heal from an illness, fight an injustice. But they can also impose their will, manipulate and hurt and take revenge-
Conquistador 2 And hide a painting and get away with it. Those guys covered up their folly instead of owning up to it.
Conquistador 1 Imagine if this fire was caused by a lit cigarette left on the roof, and whoever left it there owned up to it.
Portrait of a Conquistador and a Gardener discussing ivy removal, December 2019
Gardener The museum hired my company to remove all the ivy from the exterior wall. It had gotten out of hand.
Conquistador Was this when Mars was conjunct Saturn?
Gardener Yes. The conjunction asked for order, but there was a twist to the conjunction; Uranus was trining it. I’m a fan of Uranus and pretty open to his suggestions. He said to me, How about renting goats to eat some of the ivy? So that’s what I did. I left a herd of them for about a week on the museum grounds. Certainly made my job easier. One day I saw one of them trying to chew a black garbage bag stuck in a vent. That’s when I took the goats back and finished the job myself. When I managed to open the vent and pull the bag out, I saw the painting inside.
Conquistador Took over two decades to find.
Gardener Gave all those people who hid it here enough time to transform their lives. Who knows, they probably helped rescue all that art at Notre Dame.
Conquistador Never know; Uranus has a way of putting us in the right place at the right time.
A museum staffer comes out of the building and calls out
Museum staffer Emilio! Signorina! I hear a child crying!
Museum staffer In the wooded area behind the building!
Gardener and Conquistador run to the back. They follow the cries and find a goat stuck in a fence.
Gardener (to the museum staffer) It’s the missing goat! (to Conquistador) When I returned the goats, the farmer told me that I was one goat short.
Portrait of a goat
Guys, I’m all you have left of the sea goat; I’m your Capricorn symbol on earth; and now that the Big Three are in Capricorn, I suggest you rescue as many goats as you can; it’ll help you gain favour in the months to come.
I’m back safely with my herd and I have so many to thank. Thank you Mars for keeping me alive when my head was stuck in the fence. You told me that can happen when Mars is conjunct Saturn, but Mars can also set you free. You said, Cry as loud as you can, and when I did, you rewarded me with a rescue. Thank you museum staffer for hearing my cries all the way inside your office. Thank you Gardener for gently prying my head out of the fence, and thank you to the signorina who patted me and rubbed my neck. You smelled nice.
Portrait of a Lady and Two Conquistadors, January 2020
Conquistador 1 How come everyone else was protecting her in regular uniform and we’re in glamour?
Conquistador 2 Because they’ve now confirmed the painting’s authenticity. The lady is who she claims to be, an original Klimt. Imagine if we’d been standing in all our glamour from the very beginning, and she turned out to be a forgery!
Conquistador 1 I’m glad someone thought of that, but I’m sure the museum knew she was the original one the first day they found her.
Conquistador 2 Shh! What are you saying!
Conquistador 1 Well, Klimt never repainted any of his work, except for this one. The Lady’s painted over an earlier portrait Klimt made of her that was thought to be lost. Nobody knew this until a year before the Lady disappeared. A research student noticed the similarity of the Lady’s pose with the earlier portrait and brought it to the museum director’s attention. The director had the work x-rayed, and they found traces of the earlier work under it. It was considered a big discovery.
Portrait of a Young Lady, ca. 1910, as it would have looked before the artist repainted it as Portrait of a Lady, 1917
Conquistador 2 So what you’re saying is that she’s impossible to forge!
Conquistador 1 Exactly; all it would take is an x-ray to reveal if she’s the real one or not. I’m sure they had her x-rayed as soon as the gardener brought her in.
Conquistador 2 Why didn’t they reveal her authenticity right away?
Conquistador 1 Because they learnt their lesson.
Conquistador 2 What lesson?
Conquistador 1 When the student made the discovery, everyone at the museum was excited to reveal it to the world. They wanted to organize an exhibit with the Lady and her x-rays as the centrepiece, but the museum was under renovations. The wise thing would have been to wait until the renos were over, but they didn’t. They chose to hold the exhibit at the city hall and to transfer the paintings there. When the paintings were unpacked, the Lady was missing; nobody remembered seeing her and nobody remembered packing her. In their rush, they had forgotten all about her.
Conquistador 2 So they’re not rushing things now.
Conquistador 1 They’re taking care of her properly.
Conquistador 2 I’m sure it also had something to do with building up anticipation.
Conquistador 1 She went missing for 23 years and her disappearance taught them to be more professional. Incredible that only a year before she disappeared, an 18 year old student gave them the clue that would help identify her. It’s as if-
Conquistador 2 I know what you mean. It’s as if she was meant to be lost and found.
Portrait of the Director of the Ricci Oddi Art Gallery and Claudia Maga, February 1996
I was at the library doing research for a paper on Klimt when I came across his portrait of a young lady. Where had I seen her before? My eyes welled up when I read that the painting was thought to be lost; I was suddenly overcome with inexplicable emotion. Has that happened to you before? Moments that you feel you’ve lived but can’t recall?
I checked the book out and made my way to the local museum; there was a Klimt in its collection. I held my breath when I approached his Portrait of a Lady. I dug the book out of my bag and compared the young lady to her and saw they were the same. I asked to see the director of the museum, and when I showed him what I saw, he saw it too. We took the painting to the hospital and had her x-rayed, and we saw traces of the earlier work beneath the surface. That’s when my tears began to flow and I felt that inexplicable emotion again.
The excitement after that was over the top. I was promised scholarships to study art, but really, I had already proven to have a trained eye. If I ever came across anything else, the world of art would pay attention. Somehow, I felt that this discovery of mine was meant for me; love reaching through time to touch me.
Klimt never wrote about his work; he asked the viewer to know him through his art. What does it mean when a painter repaints a portrait when he hears of the sitter’s passing? It means he wants to remember her as he came to know her; her alone without all the frou frou of her earlier years.
When the Lady went missing, I knew that nobody would pass a forgery for the real one; that was my gift of love in return, to have recognized myself.
Portrait of Klimt, 1908
I do not know much about matters of astrology, but I would imagine that to be a conquistador as you describe them, Mars in the chart would have to be unencumbered and free to express himself. I’ve been told that mine is conjunct Neptune, and that my vitality is best suited indoors; I’m a painter and often called a lover. There is nothing more exquisite to me than to watch the face of a woman during lovemaking, and to watch her body change during pregnancy. There is nothing more miraculous than to witness the birth of a child and watch her grow.
The woman you are protecting is my daughter Claudia. Like you, she wanted to be a conquistador, and she’d rush about the house chasing bad guys, and then spend days in bed recuperating from all the activity. You see, she was born with weak lungs, and she had to learn to temper her movements to match their strength, or should I say, their lack of it. She turned to fashion during her teens, and I painted her portrait for her eighteenth birthday, dressed in all the elegance of the turn of the century.
She died a few years later weakened by her lungs and broke my heart. When I could bear it, I repainted her as I last saw her, with the dream of opening up a school house. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see that our dreams carry forward to other lifetimes. I understand that she’s now a middle school teacher.
Portrait of a Conquistador, 2019
I was just a young lad when I said, Let’s hide a painting. Then when I heard how important the Lady was, I packed up my bags. I had always dreamed of leaving my home town and moving to Paris, but sometimes you need an impulse to make a dream come true, and trust me, fear is a good impulse.
When I got to Paris, it was as if Saturn came and sat on my Jupiter and helped me put my talents to good use. The city suited me and brought out the best in me; I became a firefighter, learned to play an instrument; I settled down.
When Notre Dame burned, I was first in the human chain that we firefighters formed to save the relics and the art work. Later on, I was praised for having known what to reach for; I was praised for having known what could never be replaced. A priest told me that I had an eye for what was priceless.
Now I feel that destiny brought me here to save all that art at Notre Dame. I was the one who said, Let’s hide a painting, and I was the one who chose to hide the Lady. The planets must have seen what a good eye I had for art. We’ve got to get this lad to Paris, they must have said to each other; we’re got to turn him into a firefighter before Notre Dame burns.
After the fire, I made up my mind to travel to Piacenza for the Christmas holidays. I was ready to fess up and show the museum where the Lady was hidden. But the day I got there, she was found. I don’t know about you, but to me that was a clear signal to leave things alone.
Polizia Scientifica, 2019
PS 1 Did you hear? The museum officially announced that it’s more interested in authenticating the painting than in the investigation.
PS 2 I think the director knows something and is not telling.
PS 1 I may know something but I’m not allowed to tell.
PS 2 Me too; I may know something but best not to talk about it.
PS 1 What did your dad do before he became a lawyer?
PS 2 Renovations; he saved up to go to law school.
PS 1 So did mine; I guess that’s how they met.
PS 2 Small town.
PS 1 So what are we looking for among this pile of rocks?
PS 2 Any organic matter that may help elucidate what happened to the Lady.
PS 1 Like paint.
PS 2 Yeah, like paint.
PS 1 My dad went to the director’s house.
PS 2 So did mine; the priest came to pick him up and they went together.
PS 1 The folly of youth.
PS 2 Yeah, the folly of youth.
PS 1 I hope the priest absolved them.
PS 2 The priest did renovations too before he got the call.
Portrait of Two Conquistadors, 2020
Conquistador 1 Why are people taking pictures of us!
Conquistador 2 They can’t come inside to see the Lady, so they’re taking pictures of us instead. We’re now part of her story.
Conquistador 1 I read that her story has tripled her value. She’s going to need personal protection all her life.
Conquistador 2 Her story has put our town back on the map when we most need it. We could use some tourism here. People will be flocking to Piacenza once the museum re-opens.
Conquistador 1 You mean, she’s done us a favour?
Conquistador 2 Indirectly, yes.
Conquistador 1 Did you hear the museum’s upgrading its security system? They’re doing background checks on all the people who’ll be installing the new wiring; I think they’re fingerprinting them too.
Conquistador 2 Good precautionary measures. Mercury retrograde probably has them rethinking how to run the place. Say, I hear you’re going to Paris for a week; met a girl or something.
Conquistador 1 One of my dad’s friends from Paris was here with his family over Christmas. Well, he’s from here originally, but moved to Paris a long time ago, Anyway, when I met his daughter, it was love at first sight.
Conquistador 2 Lucky you! What’s her name?
Conquistador 1 Antonia. You know, her dad helped save some of the art at Notre Dame.
Conquistador 2 Wow; that’s huge.
Conquistador 1 What do you think caused that fire? The company doing the repairs said it couldn’t have been a cigarette; a cigarette that hasn’t been properly put out can’t light up a wooden beam is what they said.
Conquistador 2 But it can light up a bird’s nest, and the roof of Notre Dame is full of them.
The Lady’s x-ray, 1996
I had just started working as a radiologist at the hospital when the museum director and Claudia brought Klimt’s Lady for an x-ray. The first thought that came to me when I saw the young lady beneath the surface was, She’s breathless. I now know that the Lady died young and I’m sure it had something to do with her lungs.
When I showed the x-ray to the director and to Claudia, they embraced and cried, but I could see that Claudia’s tears were more personal and profound; the painting had touched her in a way that it had not touched the director. I would have liked to have asked her out that day, but the timing wasn’t right.
When I heard that the Lady had disappeared, I found Claudia’s number in the phone book and called her. She sounded awful. I asked her if I could be of any help, if she needed to talk, if she’d have lunch with me. She said that she had been somnambulating around the house ever since the Lady disappeared, that she didn’t know who she was without her anymore, that she’d lost direction, and that she was in no condition to go out for lunch. So I came to her house and brought lunch with me, and I drew her chart while we ate.
Look, I said, you have Jupiter in Gemini trining the Sun in Aquarius; you’re brilliant! And Jupiter is sextiling Saturn in Leo. I think you’re meant to teach; the front of the classroom is a perfect Saturn in Leo stage. She said that I was right, that she had always wanted to teach. She came out of the rut she was in, got her teaching degree, and along the way, we moved in together.
A few days ago, the museum called to say that the Lady had reappeared; they were bringing her over for an x-ray. I immediately called Claudia to join me at the hospital. We x-rayed the Lady together, and then I gave them a moment alone. The painting belongs to Claudia in a way that only she with Uranus in Scorpio knows. If Scorpio can already sense what lies hidden beneath the surface, Uranus in Scorpio can reach through time and uncover what lies buried in the past.
Press conference in Piacenza, Italy, January 17, 2020
When I was told that I would be guarding the Lady during the press conference, I went and bought myself a Lenormand oracle deck; they were very popular in the salons of Vienna during Klimt’s time. It’s a deck of 36 cards with different pictures, and every picture has many meanings depending on the context. I usually use the Tarot, but I thought I’d give Lenormand a try for the special occasion. What I did was I shuffled my deck with a question in mind, pulled out 4 cards, memorized them, and then tried figuring out what they meant while I stood at attention. If you look at me closely in the picture, I’m keeping an eye on things and problem solving at the same time.
I practised once before the press conference. I asked the cards who hid the Lady, and I pulled out the rider, the mountain, the bear and the heart. If you were uninitiated, you’d think, oh, someone’s going to invite me on a hike and we’re going to see a bear, and the whole experience will lead to romance. But I’m initiated and I know better; I was born in the early 90s when Uranus and Neptune were conjunct in Capricorn. I’m part of the generation with x-ray vision; we’re the ones who can see through illusions. So this is what I came up with; the rider is the messenger who brings the idea of hiding the painting; the mountain stands for the obstacles one has to overcome to accomplish a task, which I presume were getting rid of the frame and finding a good hiding place; the bear can mean protection and also fear, and I’m sure the people involved were protected by higher forces, seeing that they got away with it, and no doubt they felt fear, who wouldn’t? Somehow, protection and fear unlock the door to love, to a life that is more fulfilling. In other words, I wasn’t going to get any specific names from the cards; more like a compassionate understanding of the situation, which is pretty Neptunian. But I have Uranus conjunct Neptune, and sometimes information comes to me in unexpected ways, not for me to call people out; the planets wouldn’t allow that; just for me to grow.
The cards I pulled out for the press conference were the birds, the man, the stars and lilies, and my question was, What was the meeting at the museum director’s house about? I had been asked to stand guard outside the house on very short notice, and keeping watch without a problem to occupy my mind piqued my curiosity. I mean, there were some very important people inside, otherwise I wouldn’t have been there. Sorry I cannot mention names, but like I said, all of this is just for me to grow and understand the world better. Besides, I have Saturn in Capricorn aside from the Uranus Neptune conjunction, and Saturn in Capricorn makes me faithful, faithful to my community.
This is what I came up with while I stood guard next to the Lady. The birds talk about communications and gossip and meetings, and obviously there had been a meeting going on in the director’s house. A man was taking the lead and talking to the director on behalf of all the people gathered there, and the talk had to do with the stars and how they affect our behaviour here on earth. For example, Mars conjunct Jupiter can get people excited and doing things they wouldn’t normally do, like have an affair. Mars conjunct Pluto can influence people to cross the line of what is considered legal and get involved in tax evasion. Mars conjunct Saturn can bring accords and agreements of some sort, like I won’t investigate this if you don’t investigate that. The result of it all is the card with the lilies of discretion and forgiveness and peace.
At the end of the press conference, I understood that the meeting had been about everyone just being happy to have the Lady back.
Press conference in Piacenza, Italy, January 17, 2020
There I am confirming the Lady’s authenticity to the press. I did not let anything interfere with the joy I felt at having her back with us, not even the memory of the meeting I had at home with select members of our community.
They came to me like Hephaestus did when he caught Venus and Mars having an affair, with a net of shame ready to expose me to the light of day.
I agreed to say that the museum was mainly interested in authenticating the Lady and not in the investigation. To be honest, it’s an embarrassment that we lost her, and that she wasn’t lost but hidden right here in a wall.
At least I know what happened and who put her there, and really, too many reputations are at stake. It’s best that it all remain a secret, an unsolved mystery; an unsolved mystery adds value to a work of art.
Press conference in Piacenza, Italy, January 17, 2020
I know my colleague is over there figuring out his Lenormand cards. Me, I prefer to free associate. I watch people and let my mind wander, see what comes up.
I sense something going on between the museum director and the curator; there’s like electricity between them. Who knows, maybe they’re having an affair.
I sense some hostility in the room; it’s coming from those men gathered in the corner over there. They’re looking at the museum director with their arms crossed and chins slightly raised; it’s like a dare.
I sense some hidden information floating in the room; it’s hovering over the director’s head. Who knows, maybe he knows something about the painting and how it got inside the wall.
I sense embarrassment.
I sense guilt.
The press conference is over.
I sense relief.
Resting on my easel, I remember the day when the wheels began to turn; the day Claudia saw the portrait of the young lady. I could feel her rushing and making her way to me. She had just turned 18, the same age I was when my father painted my first portrait. When she stepped into the gallery and saw me, she began to know, and later on, when she saw my x-ray at the hospital, she knew. I’m not talking about the kind of knowing that can be measured, but the kind of knowing that Neptune conjunct Uranus can bring you; when your soul feels something to be true. My portrait is her portrait.
Then I went missing and everyone who had been touched by me or who had touched me changed their life. As for me, I went to sleep in a hole that had just the right temperature and humidity level to preserve me for many years. With Uranus in Taurus, it should have been a bull to have found me, but you can’t have bulls roaming around museum grounds, so a goat found me instead. That’s what Uranus in Taurus does, it brings things buried in the past out into the open.
Sometimes they come raging out.
Minotaur for Manchester by Sculpture Studios, UK, 2010
But not me.
Freeing the Minotaur by a Santa Fe artist, New Mexico, 2019
I was led out gently, first by a goat and then by a gardener, to change one more life.
Press conference in Piacenza, Italy, January 17, 2020
She’s longing to reach out and touch the director, longing for him to look at her. I can feel it all the way here and it’s interfering with my card reading.
Wait a second.
This proves that I’m on the right track! There’s something going on between them and the meeting at the director’s house had something to do with it.
Things have changed between us ever since the Lady came out of the wall. Lady, you’re splitting us apart. Look at him facing the other way; he’s avoiding me.
Even in Vienna you fell in love with men who weren’t emotionally available.
I’ve been asked to restore a Klimt in another gallery; it’s my chance to get back into restoration. But I don’t want to leave him.
You should grab the opportunity.
Which painting would you be restoring?
A painting Klimt made of a pregnant woman; he called her Hope. Sometimes I feel that she could be me; she was in love with a married man, and abandoned after she got pregnant.
Are you pregnant?
You got pregnant and couldn’t find work, and Klimt gave you work. You modeled for him.
You should really find someone who’s free to love you.
Excuse me but how does this concern you?
I’m going out with the director’s daughter.
What! How did you meet her?
There was a meeting at the director’s house after they found the Lady. Some important people were there and I was standing guard outside. His daughter brought me a cup of coffee and that’s how it started.
the curator lets this information sink in and realizes her affair is over
Curator (whispering to herself)
It’s just the beginning. A painting’s calling you.
Hope I by Gustav Klimt, 1903, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Unsettling, isn’t it? He’s playing with us. Michael Jackson plays with us on stage and Klimt plays with us on canvas. They both have Venus conjunct Uranus, and they both use art to amaze, unsettle, and to give us a shock.
Momento mori have always been used in art; a skull in a painting is there to remind us of the inevitability of death. But look what Klimt does; he’s got Venus conjunct Uranus in Gemini, so he multiplies his momento mori, elaborates them and gives them prominence. We end up will Halloween costumes surrounding the allegory of Hope.
I was cleaning and touching up the teeth of the momento mori on the left, and I remembered him; I remembered the pleasure he took in painting these creepy fellows behind me. He didn’t care if his work alienated half of Vienna; he was enjoying himself and he meant to provoke. There I am, unmarried and pregnant, looking at you with a mixture of innocence and desire, and I’m posing as Hope, with my pubic hair highlighted and death looming over me; it’s scandalous!
I sit back and laugh, and then I cry; I do this every day. If someone walks in, I tell them that I’m recovering from a broken relationship. The truth is that I’m recovering from the vestiges of a previous existence. Now I know where I come from and the changes I would like to make. When I finish restoring myself and she goes back up on the wall, that’s where she’s going to stay; I’m not taking her with me anymore.
Portrait of Elisabeth Lederer by Gustav Klimt, 1916, on loan at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Both women were equally important to me; Hope allowed me to paint her naked, and Elisabeth’s family paid me handsomely to paint her portrait. With one I was myself, and with the other, my repressed self. I thought I’d bring in some Freud since you mentioned him earlier; he was, after all, my contemporary.
Hope knew me as I was behind closed doors; interested in the female body, in all stages of it, from birth to death. She would say that I was obsessed with it, and you can blame Pluto in Taurus for that; there’s obsession wherever Pluto is, and in Taurus, the obsession is sensory and sensual. She was a marginalized woman, paid to model, and I could paint her the way she was, without touch ups. With her, I could express myself freely on the canvas, play with gruesome momento mori, be inventive and naughty. We laughed together; she was in my circle, a circle made up of artists and the models who made us artists.
Elisabeth’s family knew me as the phenomenon that was breaking with Vienna’s classical past and scandalizing the establishment. But they recognized my talent; nobody else painted a woman like I did. Can a lion be tamed, they asked me. If the lion can be tamed, we would like him to paint a portrait of our daughter.
I learned to tame myself to earn a living painting the portraits of Vienna’s high society. My Saturn return had already activated my Jupiter Saturn conjunction in Virgo. Jupiter in Virgo gave me a talent for meticulous and detailed work, and Saturn in Virgo urged me to submit my talent to the requirements of my patrons; Virgo, after all, is a sign of service. The problem was that my Venus Uranus conjunction in Gemini squared and fought against my Jupiter Saturn conjunction; it fought against submission.
Chart for Gustav Klimt born July 14, 1862, time unknown, Baumgarten, Vienna, Austria
Klimt thought that he had submitted to the demands of Vienna’s proper society. He no longer shocked with his choice of sitters and with his explorations of sexuality and creatures of the night.
When I look at Elisabeth’s portrait, I see that he didn’t really submit; he just channelled his Venus Uranus in more acceptable ways. He ended up amazing people instead of shocking them; he amazed them with colourful abstract patterns and playful motifs. He has surrounded Elisabeth with miniature people from ancient China; I think that’s an emperor on the right.
I became more refined; sat at their table for meals; their children called me uncle.
My portrait and her portrait are really two sides of the same coin; his yin and yang.
Portrait of a White Box Truck
Mars Merc! When does your retrograde end? Look at that truck stuck in the snow; it can’t back out!
Merc Must be a front wheel drive; driving a truck with front wheel drive’s like being in Mercury retrograde denial; they’re denying the fact that they took their first steps back when I was in retrograde motion.
Mars They probably don’t remember; they just remember taking their first steps forward with me. Parents take pictures of that; it’s in their records.
Merc Maybe those two guys in the truck are your people.
Mars May- Impossible; no way; mine are in SUVs; they’re in four by fours; they’re in eighteen wheelers. Those guys must be- They must be Cancers. That’s right. You know how they’ve got those front claws? Maybe they think that’s all they need to drive.
Mars They could be your people.
Merc They can’t be Geminis. Geminis wouldn’t sit and do the same thing over and over again. Look; the guy at the wheel keeps pressing on the pedal hoping the truck will move, and the other guy keeps telling him, Let me try. Geminis would be on the phone or knocking on doors asking for help. Virgos would be under the truck clearing the snow.
Mars They can’t be Capricorns; with all those planets sitting in Capricorn, they’d be throwing a fit, and those guys look so calm.
Merc What do you think Libras and Taureans would do? Isn’t Venus in Aries these days?
Mars They wouldn’t get into a truck like that; it’s not aesthetically pleasing to the eye; just a box on four wheels, and it looks like it could flip. Venus in Aries wants shiny armour.
Merc Scorpios like mean armour. I see them in those get-out-of-my-way pickup trucks all the time.
Mars Leos prefer sports cars; eye catching.
Merc Aquarians are more discrete; the latest technology in a more discrete body.
Mars They could be Sagittarians. Sagis have faith that things will eventually change; they believe in miracles.
Merc Let’s send them a miracle. How about that dry cleaner’s van over there; it’s having no trouble getting around.
Mars All wheel drive.
Merc Yeah; an all wheel drive that managed to get a car wash. I’m sure whoever’s driving it will lend those guys a hand.
Mars Who do you think is driving it?
Merc Pisces; that’s where I’m retrograding right now. I’m giving Pisceans the stamina to go back and get things done.