Dear Friend and Reader:
Tonight, a much-acclaimed television special on Farrah Fawcett’s battle with cancer will air on NBC. In what appears to be a kind of reality show, the program will consist of up-close footage of Fawcett’s sickness, treatment and subsequent decline reportedly from anal cancer. The program in effect turns her from sex symbol to death symbol. Heart-rending previews of her praying and pleading for her life have been used to sell the program to viewers, and newscasts have been promising the most raw, up-front self-exposés ever of a famous person’s struggle with illness.
The story — we are told — will bring awareness to the urgency surrounding cancer. Instead, it threatens to make death into a spectator sport and obscure the real issue: why exactly so many people (close to half of Western society, if you believe the statistics) will get cancer.
Clearly there are people who will find this docudrama empowering, vindicating or a kind of release. We have all gone through this with someone in our lives, or perhaps several people, and seeing a scenario reflected in the ethers of television can help us acknowledge that something is real. Yet there is another reality beneath the surface, one that is rarely allowed a single minute of television airtime.
With her Sun and many other planets in the 8th house, which addresses themes of sex, death, crisis and transformation, this role is almost as natural for her as experiencing the erotic adulation of millions of men and boys. Yet cancer is big business, even for the companies whose toxins are known to create it.
To demonstrate this fact, we need look no further than the network that is airing the special — NBC. The network is a subsidiary of one of the most notorious purveyors of Cancer, Inc.: General Electric. Of the many ways this company has spread carcinogens in its employees and the public, few are more notorious than PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls. These chemicals were used heavily by the electrical industry between 1929 and 1979, and much of the equipment manufactured during that time is still in place, ticking like time bombs that can and do go off randomly — just like we think of cancer itself.
The World’s Leading Cancer Manufacturer
PCBs are some of the most carcinogenic chemicals known, and they are often contaminated with dioxins, the most potent cancer promoter known. Widely used in industry between 1929 and the late 1970s, they managed to spread throughout the Earth’s entire environment; literally, from the cities to the rain forests to the polar caps. PCBs are now found in every animal product we consume, particularly seafood. To give one example how they got there, consider that GE single-handedly contaminated the entire Hudson River system with PCBs that were illegally dumped for many decades from its facilities in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, New York. Many, many employees died in the process of manufacturing electrical capacitors. The company then blew up a dam near the plants that was holding many of the toxins upriver, dumping them into New York Harbor and contaminating the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.
GE did not passively and unknowingly spread its toxins. My reporting work covering this company in the 1990s brought me into contact with former employees who were in constant contact with PCBs and were reassured on a daily basis that the chemicals were harmless. One was a man named Ed Bates, who was manager of the transformer test division of GE’s Pittsfield, Massachusetts plant. He told me he attended the funerals of more than 100 of his employees, who had died of what he called “head cancer and lung cancer.”
GE’s conduct is documented in writing. A 1950 GE instruction manual for PCB transformers assured electrical utilities (who used the products) that “transformer Pyranol [GE’s trade name for PCBs] may be handled in the same manner as mineral oil.” Yet by 1956 GE’s own files contained a bibliography of 43 references on the health dangers and possible lethality of PCBs and PCB component chemicals. This dated back to a German study conducted in 1899. The company perpetuated this deception on an ongoing basis; in 1993, Jack Batty, the top GE spokesman, told me that, “Public perception about the health risks of PCBs and the scientific facts are in conflict. Most scientists agree that PCBs are not the hazard to human health that was feared in the 1970s.”
Though it may seem improper to use the phrase “blatant lie” in an article, there is no more accurate way to say it. By the early 1990s, a special project of the Environmental Protection Agency, designed to reassess the dangers of dioxins and related chemicals, compiled copious evidence that due to its hormone-disrupting power, PCBs and other dioxin-like compounds were dangerous at far lower levels than ever suspected.
GE’s Warm, Caring Impression
Another employee, Steve Sandberg, worked in a GE facility that processed exploded, burned and worn-out transformers, and was only provided with a respirator or gloves on the few days that government officials were coming to visit.
Eighteen months into his career at GE, Sandberg started to show signs of systemic poisoning, beginning with severe chloracne (a disgusting form of skin pustules induced by exposure to chlorinated chemicals). A quarter-inch-thick coating of dead skin covered the bottoms of his feet. One day, Sandberg found a fat folder on his boss’s desk containing numerous documents on the dangers and health impacts of PCBs. He confronted his boss, who assured him that PCBs were essentially harmless to humans. It wasn’t until several months later, when he read in Business Week about lawsuits containing allegations of badly exposed PCB workers at a Westinghouse capacitor-manufacturing plant in Bloomington, Indiana that he finally began to warn his co-workers of the danger.
General Electric was also spurred to action. An October 28, 1991, memo from GE attorney Bill Thornton outlines a plan for dealing with Sandberg, who, he wrote, “seems to be escalating the situation day by day.” General Electric established a public-relations team and called an all-employee meeting at which medical experts flown in from around the country presented GE’s side of the story. One such expert was Marie Johnson, an industrial-hygiene nurse from GE’s plant at Hudson Falls, New York — best known for its massive PCB discharges into the Hudson River. Johnson is described in the memo as someone who “is very knowledgeable and gives a warm, caring impression.”
When I talked to him last week, he said he’s been treated for cancer about 50 separate times since winning his lawsuit against GE in the 1990s.
Today, GE not only is one of the biggest players in the PCB cleanup industry, it also runs a medical division called GE Healthcare, which provides services in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, disease research, drug discovery and other enterprises.
So I ask, not rhetorically: how many of Farrah Fawcett’s medical images, including the ones we will see tonight, were created on GE machinery? To what extent was her cancer caused by exposure to PCBs and dioxins, which were spread into air, water and food by the millions of pounds during her lifetime? And will anyone else make the connection between GE as a carcinogen and GE’s NBC as the broadcaster of her personal cancer story?
I have also seen documents which state that General Electric knew that silicone surgical implants it manufactured were contaminated with PCBs, one of which was copied to a then-vice president by the name of Jack Welsh. How many patients were sickened right in the hospital by supposedly pure, sterile products containing one of the most toxic known chemicals?
Farrah is an Aquarius — and she has her Sun in the 8th house. The 8th is where we exchange resources and karma. She feels like she belongs to everyone and we all feel a little piece of her as well. I can think of no better chart for the woman whose face and other assets appeared on 12 million copies of the famous red bathing suit poster, something that was designed to be hung over the bed or from the ceiling. Her big smile was designed to signal, “Take me, I’m yours.”
We cannot overlook the 8th house + Aquarius + big planets = group sexual encounter. I truly bow to Farrah as not only a sex symbol but a unique expression of erotic reality. This is not a woman who was hung up, or more accurately to the extent that she was, she turned her threads of resistance into deep, inquisitive and moreover, relational pleasure. Bright light often casts long shadows, and we find these in the chart as well; her placements suggest a significant and compelling inner struggle with her sexuality, one which made her a kind of erotic empath.
I would suggest that she considered the experiences of the people who saw her and yearned for her, most of whom she did not actually meet, as relationships. For this and many other reasons, I think she was an absolutely willing subject of sexual fantasy for which her name is basically synonymous. Check out this commercial she did early in her career, for Noxema. Or how about, this one, suggesting that you “let Noxema cream your face.”
Her abundant curiosity is affirmed by Chiron in Scorpio in the 5th house. Chiron in the 5th house will often result in burning erotic curiosity no matter what sign is involved; Scorpio would come through in all the shades you would expect of that sign. While Aquarius on the 8th will arrive with lots of ideas about sexuality, the 5th house wants nothing to do with theory: it wants experience, and to explore that experience until it is fully satisfied and moves onto the next experience.
Notice how Chiron (orange key, lower right) is part of an aspect structure. It is square Pluto and Saturn in the 2nd house (red golf tee and yellow lowercase H on the lower left); and an odd point called Transpluto, which is about focus, narrowness and restriction. All of these are in Leo. This is a person with self-esteem issues so deep they absolutely have to work them out. This grouping in turn is squared by Nessus in Taurus (light blue thing toward the top right).
Nessus is a planet that is about power dynamics, the circular nature of karma, and potentially inappropriate sexual contact. In Taurus in the 11th house, she expected to be judged harshly for who she was, and I feel that she responded by being exactly, precisely who she was. As she rose to fame and probably long before, she was conscious of the fact that nearly everyone who saw her thought about sex. This took on cosmic dimensions. She has Venus in Sagittarius directly on the Galactic Core. She felt like God’s personal erotic priestess, sent to the world to help people set themselves free.
To perfect this configuration, we have Mars in Aquarius in the 8th house, close to Pallas and the Sun. In all we get a grand cross aspect that includes Mars in the 8th, a Sun-Pluto opposition, and Chiron in Scorpio in the 5th house. This is a very, very kinky girl. She is so charming, sweet and innocent you could take her home to your grandmother or your spinster aunt and they would be just charmed.
However, there are very few people with this kind of Aquarius power who are not extremely intelligent. Aquarians are idea people, every one of them; and this woman has Mercury there, as well as an asteroid associated with strategy, law and politics. As mentioned, this whole Aquarius configuration is in the 8th house. She does not feel like she is her own property; what she has is up for grabs, or so she feels.
Her chart points clearly to the potential that she was sexually abused in a way that had unusual impact, and that she worked it out, or did her best to work it out sexually. In light of this, her medical diagnosis is not surprising, but I do believe that it was preventable. There is one last facet to this, which will lead us into the discussion her transition from sex symbol to death symbol.
Born at Moonrise
Look at her ascendant, the dark, horizontal line that ends on the left side with the Moon. The Moon looks just like you think it should. It is in the 12th house, right above the ascendant, in the sign Cancer. We see someone who identifies as someone who must nourish others. In the 12th house, she will nourish others through their fantasies of her. The image of her in that red bathing suit is about mother. Her nipples are displayed. Many years ago I had a client come in with the Moon in Cancer rising. She arrived in a black Jaguar, sat down in my consulting room, and the first thing I asked her is, “Do you lactate?” and she said, “All the time.” She had never had a child.
The 12th house grants us larger-than-life status; and a resonance with pre-birth and after-death states. It has the feeling of a fantasy that is everywhere. If the Moon is there, we have to take a careful look at her relationship to her mother. I don’t know her biography but there was something partially absent about her mother. This prompted her to reach for being the mother for everyone, granted what is known in the adult website business as a MILF.
Her 12th house Moon in Cancer is about to take an opposition from Pluto in Capricorn, and this is a kind of death knell. It does not surprise me that the cancer manifested in her digestive tract, which (along with breasts) is often associated with the sign Cancer. And the presence of Pluto is suggestive that the millions — many viewers who will see her tonight — will participate vicariously in her death just like they did in her sexuality. There is a certain beauty to this, and I have no doubt she feels this will make it easier for her to die.
Here is the problem: this plays right into the hands of polluters and of the purveyors of cures for cancer.
This kind of spectacle diverts our attention from the causes of the death that’s being portrayed, whether those causes be poverty, war, ignorance, or sheer greed, especially the latter. Cancer is a prime example: though it’s existed for a very long time, in truth it is a modern-day disease that has metastasized throughout the globe along with industrialization, caused primarily by the products and wastes of industrialization.
Profit being both the purpose and the driver of industry, distracting its victims from its carcinogenic effects is an economic imperative; after all, the same company that profits from cancer-causing materials often profits further by making the drugs, pain-killers, and machinery used to treat the cancers it caused, and in tonight’s case, a television program about the issue. Preventing cancer would thus be doubly damaging to profits. For this very reason, billions of dollars are devoted to research and development of cancer treatments, but nearly zero dollars are devoted to prevention of this eminently preventable disease. For this reason, the real tragedy behind the story, the entire nation/world will be lured into weeping over a single individual’s detailed and gory sufferings, to distract them from the causes of that painful, preventable death that many of us in fact will face and to some extent that all of us fear.
Yours and truly,
One last time, Hubble gets an upgrade
It is the world’s eye on the universe, responsible for the most magnificent images created in the history of astronomy.
But the Hubble Space Telescope is pushing 20 years old and gradually wearing down. So on Monday, May 11 (in perfect form, with Mercury retrograde), NASA launched the Space Shuttle Atlantisfor the 11th and final mission to provide maintenance and upgrades for this cosmic workhorse. It’s a job that will be incredibly complex, according to The Washington Post, because it involves replacing or repairing some mechanisms that were never designed to be replaced or repaired.
These missions are also becoming increasingly dangerous. Hubble’s orbit is 347 miles above the Earth’s surface, an area rife with debris from previous missions and satellite accidents. So the shuttle’s crew — who were profiled by The New York Times before Monday’s launch — will have to exercise extreme care. While the telescope will be anchored in the shuttle’s cargo bay for the mission, Atlantis crew members will do much of the work during space walks.
Because of the presence of so much debris — a four-inch-wide piece passed within two miles of the shuttle, NASA reported Thursday — the Space Shuttle Endeavor is standing ready on a launch pad to perform a rescue mission if Atlantis is damaged while in orbit. This is the first time NASA has taken that step during a mission. It is nearly unheard of to have one shuttle fully prepared at the time of another shuttle mission, as preparation takes many months.
As for Hubble, foremost in importance is replacement of the key component — the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, which is more than 15 years old; that was being done in a spacewalk Thursday morning. Its replacement, the Wide Field Camera 3, was which was built by a team of government, industrial and academic professionals under coordination of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
In addition to the coverage of the launch and the mission’s progress, The Washington Post’stechnology blogger Joel Achenbach wrote Monday about some of the equipment that goes into a mission like this.
And for something you don’t usually see, Spacewriter.com has linked to a NASA video showing the external fuel tank soaring through the upper atmosphere during its descent to Earth after separation from Atlantis.
Venitia Phair, who named Pluto as a child, dies at age 90
For almost 80 years, Venetia (nee Burney) Phair could claim a singular honor: She had named a planet that she didn’t personally discover — Pluto. Not a bad accomplishment for a girl of 11, but then many truths have come from the mouths of babes. Phair, who lived in Banstead, Surrey, England, died on April 30 at the age of 90, according to an obituary in The New York Times.
The year was 1930 and Pluto had just been discovered. Young Venetia suggested the name to her grandfather, who had been librarian at the Bodelian Library at Oxford University. He brought the suggestion to the attention of an Oxford astronomy professor, who passed it on to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, which had confirmed the planet’s existence. Eventually, despite many other suggestions (including Minerva, Atlas, Zeus, and Persephone), Pluto won unanimous approval from the Lowell staff.
Burney had Pluto in early Cancer. She lived long enough to come close to experiencing her Pluto opposition, as Pluto is now in early Capricorn. And her natal Pluto was heavily aspected: it was square Mars (an aspect that repeats in the Pluto discovery chart), as well as square Chiron and Nessus.
Her chart also features Mercury conjunct Neptune — an aspect that is associated with remarkable intuition. And Vesta conjunct the South Node says “reincarnated high priestess” like few things possible in a chart.
Phair’s naming of the orbiting body (now classified as a dwarf planet) had long-reaching impact. It was Walt Disney’s inspiration for naming a funny, happy dog owned by Mickey Mouse. The element plutonium was named in its honor. In 1987, Phair’s maiden name was attached to an asteroid in her honor, which NASA’s 2006 New Horizons mission to Pluto included a device that measures dust that was named after her.
A documentary, Naming Pluto, that featured an interview with Phair had been released in April.
Backyard astronomers get their due
Have you visited SpaceWeather.com lately? This nifty site not only has a bunch of interesting news about our solar system, it offers a great feature that allows backyard astronomers to show off their chops.
The SpaceWeather Sightings page features photos posted by astronomers from, quite literally, all over the world. Anyone with a telescope or camera (or both) pointed at the heavens who captures an interesting image can submit it to SpaceWeather. The Sightings page features a map of the world with a pin in it at each astronomer’s location; mouse over the pin to see a small image, and click on the image to get a larger one.
Currently, the Sightings page has images from the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Many of them are time-lapse photos of the Space Station Freedom taken from people’s yards, although one Paco Bellido from Cordoba, Spain, used high-power equipment to capture a (comparatively) up-close image of the station in orbit.
The Moon and the Sun are also popular subjects on the Sightings page. If you have an image or three you’d like to share with other astronomy buffs, you can use the form SpaceWeather has posted on this page.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, May 15, 2009, #766 – BY PRIYA KALE
Aries (March 20-April 19)
Pay attention to your conversations in the coming days and weeks; a friend or connection has an important message that may feel like it gently leads you toward your destiny. Your recent journey has taken you on a quest for a life with more meaning. Now as you get ready to make this shift be aware of both what makes you feel warm and fulfilled and that which you fear and pains you. Dig deeper when asking yourself what you want; you may discover a dream is more important to you than you’ve been willing to admit. If you are willing to go back and review an old idea — it has more juice in it than you first imagined. Understand that abundance and generosity go hand in hand, and what you share ultimately will find its way back to your world ten-fold. You have more to give and offer than most and this is what allows you to envision a dream of a great hope, not just for you but for a greater world.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)
Your ruling planet Venus has taken you through the depths of your soul in a way that you haven’t dared venture in a while. Although you aren’t completely out of the shadows yet, you’ve past a turning point and something in your heart is sure now. Hopefully you’ve recognized the depth of your own power and its potential to affect a greater world with its message of hope and awareness. This has never been about your ego, but simply about what you have to offer. Sometime towards the end of this week you seem to have an encounter with an an event that was predicted in the cards. Don’t be afraid to communicate clearly and ask for what you want and more importantly for what you KNOW you are worth. As long as you keep awareness of your noblest aspirations and deepest values you can’t go wrong.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)
Your journey has taken you through a tour of digging through your doubts. But you’ve triumphed over insecurities that kept you chained to a past that no longer belongs to you. You reach a moment of deep clarity this week, bringing you an important realization of what needs to happen and a taste of your destiny. Be brave in reaching for an aspiration or dream looming large and tantalizingly on the horizon. Something may have seemed too out of reach in the past, but be willing to dig deeper; there is more here than you first imagined. It may even concern an important partnership you have with someone. If you can keep an open dialogue without projecting your fears, a situation has the potential to open you up to your own hidden strength pointing the way to your destiny.
Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Something has the potential to light a fire in your heart this week, bringing you an awareness of your own passionate desires regarding a professional or personal ambition. When it comes to a deeply personal or financial situation be willing to listen to the voice of reason over fear. There is a conversation or idea that you may have dismissed in the past too quickly that is asking you to re-investigate it more closely. There is another side of the story that you had first missed which holds a deep, intuitive message for your destiny with regards to a partnership situation. This is likely to take you on an introspective journey over the coming weeks, which will require you to confront your fears as well as your ability to say one thing and be thinking another. You can have the freedom you seek to do more of what you want, but you need to be courageous and honest in asking for it.
Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
You’ve turned a corner within an important career or relationship situation and you have a date with destiny this week. A connection you share with someone is pulling you towards the future you’ve dreamed of, but this will require opening up to new levels of trust which can only come through honesty and communication. If you recognize you feel two ways about something or someone, you will be less inclined to project it. An idea or conversation you’ve had in the recent past is now asking you to go deeper within it. You know now what you have to offer and what you have to say is worth more than you give yourself credit for. More often than not it is your own doubts that keep you from voicing your truth to the world and the many in your life that thirst for its solid awareness. If you can let go of your own fears of rejection — you’ll see there are emotional, spiritual and tangible treasures waiting to rush in to your world not too far ahead in the future.
Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
You make a crucial discovery this week which may bring you to an instinctive awareness of the value of something you’d failed to recognize before. If you can be wise and patient, a conversation you have now within a partnership is likely to reveal a greater depth of connection you share with someone and its message of healing. Be grateful if what you learn this week has the potential to take you to new professional heights as you begin to find your true place in the world. There is more to you than even you thought or give yourself credit for, and there may come a moment this week that feels like a date with destiny. But far from being a thing of ego — this is your gift to the world that you give from your soul deeply and daily. And these are the rewards of your integrity, dedication and humility.
Libra (Sep. 22 – Oct. 23)
You may feel like you are going soft all of a sudden, just when what you thought you needed was to be firm and detached. You’ve made bold moves towards freedom and now suddenly you may be having second thoughts. Acknowledge these but be willing to look a little closer when it comes to your doubts regarding a deep partnership. You may not entirely be willing to trust what is being told, but you can’t deny what you feel. If you are willing to let go of old hurts and perceptions, you may gain a deeper awareness of what someone is trying to say to you. Trust now the events unfolding have a deep message for your heart and are taking you towards your destiny, with more hope for your future if you are willing to envision it.
Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
You’re not one to usually commit to something easily. This is not necessarily because of your lack of trust, but your own awareness of what lies deeper beneath the surface and your awareness of the ‘other’ side to every story. I’m not suggesting you start getting paranoid, rather be willing now to open up to the deeper truth about the value of someone or something in your life. If you keep awareness of your own wounds, you will be less likely to project your suspicions onto someone else and allow it to cloud your judgment with fear. A deeply sexually intimate or business partnership situation is now asking for an amount of surrender, but if you stay with the process it seems to be awakening you to your greater destiny, calling you ‘home.’
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22)
You are learning of the dangers of your own illusions and how any denial of your own awareness causes more pain in the long run. ‘Belief’ can be a powerful force but ultimately often a perilous one — what you seek is truth. Be willing to voice your doubts without projecting fears even if they are painful to speak up for, and listen to what someone is trying to say. The more you are willing to accept another’s reality the more they are likely to open up to understanding yours. Remember there are always two sides to every story and there is room for everyone’s truth. An extremely important conversation you have with a partner in the coming days has a profound message for your future together. Consider what follows to be a reward for your selfless devotion, which should put to rest any worries you’ve had about your reputation. Your integrity has not gone unrecognized and your sublime vision is a liberating force in this world — trust that.
Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
You’ve been seeking more love, warmth and security which may have made you nostalgic for a past when you were young and free to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Your awareness and ability to be honest with yourself above all is what will bring you closer to what you want. Dare to be bold, transparent and speak from the heart when it comes to an important matter concerning your emotional or financial needs. A partner is willing to offer you more security if you can overcome your doubts and ask for it. You have a profound gift to offer this world and your dedication to a long-held ambition has not gone unnoticed. But above all, recognize where your deepest values lie and allow them to be the guiding force of your life when things threaten to get cloudy. It is only when you can be in awareness of both your gifts and wounds, that you can attract in your life that which your soul deeply seeks — healing.
Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
More than anything right now hopefully you’ve been able to keep a deep awareness of who you are — at all times. With the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune you are more than susceptible to the influences of people in your life, which if you aren’t careful right now could make you doubt your own sanity; so “Know thyself.” Acknowledge your wounds and inner doubts, without projecting fear or letting ghosts of the past haunt you. There is more depth to you than you give yourself credit for, and you can have the security you want if you are willing to be bold enough and ask for it. Have faith in your ability to feel and think in bold, passionate colors and recognize please, in reality you are the keeper of a greater vision guiding forward a greater collective. A partner seems ready to take a risk and what you need now is faith in yourself above all.
Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
You are at a time in your life like few others, experiencing waves of awareness that tell the story of not just you but humanity at large. I say experiencing because you are too intuitive, sensitive and aware to know that ‘knowledge’ means little in comparison to what is coming through to your consciousness. As your awareness grows, your relationships grow in the light of it — but there is an element of the astrology highlighting the space between fact and fiction. Encourage honesty and transparency in all your conversations this week; there is a deeper truth waiting to be uncovered which could be worth its weight in gold. This could be the turning point you seek within a partnership towards a deeper understanding and greater security you’ve been dreaming of.