Killer Astrology Episode 1: Sources

Thank you for tuning into Killer Astrology! Episode 1 covers the case of Christian Longo, who killed his wife and three children in the winter of 2001. Listen to the episode on your favorite podcast platform. Sources for this episode are:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/17/us/oregon-man-guilty-of-killing-his-family-gets-death-sentence.html

https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Deputies,+sister-in-law+testify+against+Longo.-a0100082407

https://www.biography.com/crime-figure/christian-longo

https://kval.com/news/local/words-of-a-killer-longo-writes-about-family-he-killed

https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/04/the-real-story-behind-true-story/391376/

https://kval.com/news/local/words-of-a-killer-longo-writes-about-family-he-killed

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a6836/christian-longo-0110/

https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/true-story-killer-christian-longo-opens-letters-article-1.2189828

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-pretender-christian-longo-and-michael-finkel/

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/or-supreme-court/1410613.html

What Can We Do?

None of this is new. Not the fear, the heartache, not the ever-growing list of unnecessary deaths in the black community. Not the undercurrents of fury, fear, or sorrow that are so palpable in our society at this time. None of this is new, and it needs to stop…but don’t take it from me.

If you’re a well-meaning white person who is shocked and saddened by the deaths of black citizens at disproportionate rates, you’re probably feeling: anger, outrage, sadness, guilt, shame, indignation, hatred, confusion…check all that apply. Those emotions are real and raw and powerful. Many of us are asking ourselves “What can I do about this?” We know that if we can just funnel all of those emotions into the right place, we can create a lot of meaningful change. So, we want to act now. And that’s a good thing. It’s good that we want to be allies.

But how do we take our good intentions and turn them into something helpful? We listen. We listen to the communities that are most affected by the real tragedies and injustices that are ongoing in our society. And then we don’t just act, we respond. This distinction between acting and responding is incredibly important, because one requires much more attention than the other. To act implies a swift and energetic response, a strong forward motion! But we can often be so blinded by the desire to act that we lose track of our foundation. When we respond rather than act, we are forced to maintain a conscious consideration of the problem we are out to solve…taking in the facts, planning out the best possible solutions, and adapting our plan when needs change in order to serve the cause effectively.

Listening and responding are the first steps in the process. But, as white allies, we have other very important work to do. And it may be the hardest work we do, because it means being confronted with the darker parts of ourselves. We need to check in with ourselves every step of the way. And I don’t just mean checking in on our effectiveness. I mean checking in on our motivations, our personal drives, and the mistakes that we make in the process of responding and helping. Are we continuing to act selflessly? Are we leaving behind the prospect of personal gain? Are we stepping aside when we know we’re not in a position to be expert? Are we truly listening when we’re told we’ve made a mistake? Being honest with ourselves and confronting our fallibility are crucial in being effective helpers.

We all know that the destructive patterns of racism in our country need to end. But please…don’t take it from me. Listen to those who are calling for change based on their lived experience, and respond where you are needed. We are much more effective when we avoid assumptions and wait for our course instead.

Links to explore (in no order):

❤️ Laura

The Mathematics of Aspects: A Simple Hack

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I’m going to let you all in on a secret: I’m a total math nerd.  I almost majored in math in college, until I found out – while sitting in my Calculus 2 lecture – that my boyfriend was cheating on me.  I ran out of the class, missed two subsequent lectures on advanced integrals or vectors or some such topics, and couldn’t catch on after that.  Yes, it’s all Jon’s fault that I’m not working for NASA, making a six-figure salary and discovering new planets on the daily.  Isn’t it nice to have an ex to blame? 

No, it wasn’t Jon’s fault, although it did feel nice to hold him accountable for my first and last C+ as a student.  Years later, when I took the Harvard Implicit Bias Test for my master’s degree in Counseling, I learned that I sabotaged my own career in math due to a deeply ingrained belief that women were not meant to work in the STEM fields.  I wasn’t in college all that long ago, but since then, it seems that movements have sprung up left and right to recruit women into math, science, and engineering jobs.  Had I been exposed to those movements years ago, my life would be very different. But, then again, my life would be very different.  I don’t know if I would have found meaning through spirituality and astrology; I probably wouldn’t be writing this post.  Who’s to say which is better or worse (aside from my bank account)?

Anyway, while I’m not solving differential equations on the reg, I am able to put my 27º Capricorn sun to work by making simple mathematical associations using the zodiac.  The keyword there is “simple”.  Although I love calculus, this is certainly not that.  Just a simple association using basic math principles.  For the record, I’m not laying claim to a new theory of astrology…I’m really just having fun using math to understand compatibility between signs.

Here’s how it works.  Start at Aries, the first sign of the birth chart, and assign it the integer 1. Mark the second sign, Taurus, with the integer -1.  Continue numbering the rest of the birth chart alternating between 1 and -1.  When you’re done, you’ll have the following configuration:

Aries: 1  Taurus: -1  Gemini: 1  Cancer: -1  Leo: 1  Virgo: -1  
Libra: 1  Scorpio: -1  Sagittarius: 1  Capricorn: -1  Aquarius: 1  Pisces: -1  

So, what can this tell us about sign compatibility?

If you’re interested in seeing which signs can most easily harmonize with one another, multiply their assigned integers.  According to the laws of multiplication, a product can only be negative if a positive integer is multiplied by a negative integer (1 x -1).  Using this formula, signs that can most easily reconcile their differences will yield a 1.  Signs that have more trouble with this will yield a -1. 

Here’s an example: In the zodiac wheel, Taurus and Leo square each other.  This aspect yields tension; the bull does not look to the lion as her king, and the lion does not serve the bull.  With the mathematical formula we’re exploring, this combination results in a -1.  Using this method, all natural squares will be indicated by a -1.  The same goes for signs that naturally quincunx each other or are naturally semisquare or sesquihadrate.  These are aspects that indicate strain.  Harmonious aspects like trines and sextiles will always result in a 1, indicating more peaceful resolution of conflicts, like what we may see between Taurus and Virgo at work.

What about conjunctions and oppositions?  Both will result in a 1, even though these aspects (particularly the opposition) are mainly considered “hard” aspects.  This is my opportunity to clarify: this formula is not meant to indicate a relationship that is always roses and butterflies.  Rather, it is meant to determine the ability of two signs to compromise.  The conjunction gets a 1 because we’re just multiplying the same sign by itself.  No differences there.  Oppositions require a little more explanation.  Although oppositions can create difficulties in the lives of a native, they are really opportunities for balance rather than instigators of hard-to-resolve battles (like squares).  [For more of my perspective on oppositions, see my previous post, “Harmonizing Oppositions”].  After all, all opposites are really not so different…they are two sides of the same coin.  Here’s the math to prove it: although the equation -1 x -1 is opposite of the equation 1 x 1, they yield the same product: 1.

As Above, So Below

Photo by Sarah Trummer on Pexels.com

“As above, so below”; it’s an adage we hear time and time again. At its core, the phrase means that everything in nature is connected, that the same patterns are found in the smallest corners and largest stretches of the universe. It is an interesting scientific and philosophical principle to consider, but it also has some significant practical benefits, especially in astrology: we can learn about one area of our lives by examining another.

We often look to a particular house in our zodiac charts to understand an issue we’re experiencing. If we’re having trouble at work, we look to the 6th or the 10th for a resolution. When we’re unhappy in our relationships, we look to the 7th. But in order to have a full understanding of the issues we’re experiencing, we need to consider what’s happening in the house opposite the obvious choice. Why? Well, as the “as above, so below” adage implies, nothing exists in isolation.

The houses in the northern hemisphere (bottom half) of the chart are personal houses. They can be thought of as the “so below”, or the patterns we experience of an internal origin. The houses in the southern hemisphere (top half) of the chart are the interpersonal houses, the “as above”, or the patterns we experience in our external worlds. Sometimes we need to look at the bottom half to understand the top half, and vice versa. Below is an overview of themes that arise in each house polarity, along with some suggestions for reconciling the two opposite houses without focusing exclusively on just one.

First-Seventh Polarity

The 1st house, commonly called “the house of self” governs our personality, which can be described as the energies we reflect most abundantly out into the world. The 7th house is the house of partnerships and gives clues about the types of relationships we form. In this house polarity, our level of self-awareness will have a significant effect on the success of our relationships. In other words, how well we know ourselves (1st house) will impact the strength of the bonds we have with others (7th house).

Balanced First-Seventh Polarity: We find balance between taking and giving. We know what we can control and what we cannot. We share equal space with our partner.

Imbalanced First-Seventh Polarity: We may either give our power away to our partner, or allow our partner to have too much authority over us. We may take too much blame or give too much blame.

Balance the Polarity through: Self-reflection regarding our actions and impulses. Understanding our interpersonal strengths and challenges. Being open to giving and receiving feedback. Knowing our limits and setting boundaries.

Second-Eighth Polarity:

The 2nd house is commonly known as the house of stability. In this house we identify and collect that things that make us feel safe and secure. It is a house that helps us find control over our lives and therefore contributes to our sense of wellbeing. The 8th house, on the other hand, is the house where things can feel like they just happen to us. It is commonly considered to be one of the most mysterious houses and can certainly cause us to experience unexpected windfalls of luck or misfortune. When examined on its own, the 8th house is hard to understand and its impact on our lives can be somewhat unpredictable. However, when we examine it along with the 2nd house, we can identify clues about the types of windfalls we tend to receive. It turns out that the 8th house reflects what we manifest for ourselves. How well we do that depends on how well-adapted we are in our 2nd house.

Balanced Second-Eighth Polarity: We generally experience financial freedom. We feel safe in our surroundings. We tend to make it through hard times more easily than expected. We can compromise with others. We end a relationship on even terms (or may even come out on top!).

Imbalanced Second-Eighth Polarity: We may experience financial lack or extended periods of financial insecurity. We may experience difficulties when a relationship ends (e.g. losing a house in a divorce). It may feel like others are constantly taking from us, or we may take so much from others that we get into trouble.

Balance the Polarity through: Understanding our values; we often know what makes us feel stable, but we don’t always examine why. Building our self-worth and finding ways to feel worthy; we only manifest what we feel we deserve!

Third-Ninth Polarity:

In the 3rd house, we learn about ourselves and the world through interacting with other people, objects, and our immediate environment. We receive feedback from our interactions that shapes our perspectives on how we should behave in the world. The information we gather in the 3rd house is the foundation of our belief system, and through our 9th house we expand on those viewpoints and share our beliefs with others.

Balanced Third-Ninth Polarity: We are able to understand others’ beliefs without feeling overpowered by them. We appreciate other perspectives without trying to change them. We objectively analyze our beliefs when we hear conflicting opinions. We do not close ourselves off from experiencing new things. We are fully present in our learning and teaching experiences.

Imbalanced Third-Ninth Polarity: We are quick to alter our beliefs based when they are challenged. We expend large amount of energy trying to change others’ minds. We close ourselves off from adventure, or we explore without allowing ourselves to integrate our experiences. We keep our ideas to ourselves and as a result, harm ourselves or those around us. We cross ethical boundaries to our detriment or the detriment of others.

Balance the Polarity through: Giving ourselves time to reflect on the information we receive before forming an opinion. Examining our thought processes and taking stock of how we learn best. Allowing time to integrate new experiences. Trying something more than once if we didn’t like it the first time…and being open to having a different experience. Talking with others about our ideas rather than keeping them all in.

Forth-Tenth Polarity:

The 4th house, although commonly known as the house of home, is the house the rules our psychology. The homes we create in a physical sense are reflections of our internal experiences. Similarly, the people in our natural or chosen families are connected to us through common psychological themes. The 4th house also governs our karma, or issues from our ancestry or past lives that we are working on resolving in the present. The 10th house is where we share the sense of self we’ve developed through the 4th house with the world. We can choose to recreate our 4th house themes in adulthood, or we can forge new paths through the actions we take and position we create for ourselves.  

Balanced Forth-Tenth Polarity: We maintain a healthy work-life balance. We learn from the difficulties we’ve faced rather than being overcome by them. When we start families of our own, we correct the issues we experienced that were difficult for us. We feel comfortable sharing ideas related to our areas of expertise. We know when to lead and when to take a backseat to someone else who knows better.

Imbalanced Forth-Tenth Polarity: We have a hard time balancing work and home responsibilities. We expend too much energy trying to conform to societal expectations, or, we keep ourselves so far form societal norms that we cause harm to ourselves. We repeat harmful patterns in the families we create. We become tyrannical at work, or we keep good ideas to ourselves in a way that is harmful to ourselves or those around us.

Balance the Polarity through: Knowing what types of self-care practices work best for us, and engaging in those practices regularly. Finding a safe space of our own (e.g. an art studio, a room in the house, a comfortable place we create through meditation) and going there for respite time when needed. Participating in therapy to work though past and present issues.

Fifth-Eleventh Polarity:

In the 5th house, we create. We discover what makes us special and we put our unique print on the world through engaging in activities that bring us joy. In the 11th house, we work with others to create for the collective. We consider what the world needs and collaborate with others on making those ideas/structures/tools/narratives available for collective use. The manner in which we choose to express our 11th house is directly related to what we discover in our 5th house. Ideally, the groups in which we get involved will play to our interests and bring us joy.

Balanced Fifth-Eleventh Polarity: We understand our likes/dislikes, talents, and fears. We are not afraid of sharing those with others. We do not shy away from opportunities to display our talents, but we also do not overpower others. We form a community with others that share our similar interests and learn how to use our talents for the good of a group.

Imbalanced Fifth-Eleventh Polarity: We let fear keep us from expressing our talents, or we do not allow others the space to shine their light. We disregard the needs of the group to fulfill our own desires, or we disregard our desires to fulfill the needs of the group at our expense.

Balance the Polarity through: Seeking out opportunities to practice our crafts. Scheduling “play time” into our daily routine. Being present for others when they share their uniqueness. Occasionally going outside of our comfort zones (while staying safe) to try new things and express ourselves in new ways. Identifying how our talents can be of use to the world. Seeking out a group of likeminded individuals to share ideas and create with.

Sixth-Twelfth Polarity:

The 6th house governs our mind-body connection and our daily routine. It gives clues about the ways in which we do work and our attitudes toward that work. The 12th house, another mystical house, is our connection to the collective consciousness and all of the hidden knowledge we store in our own subconscious minds. The 6th-12th house polarity can give us insight into how spiritual imbalances can manifest as physical illness or disease. Sometimes, issues that are stored in our subconscious mind emerge, interrupting our routine. The 6th-12th house polarity can give us insight into how that process works for us.

Balanced Sixth-Twelfth Polarity: We find peace in the routines we carry out regularly. We stay mindful throughout those processes. We recognize when suppressed issues are arising and set aside time to work through those issues. We take care of our bodies and respond to our bodies’ needs with care. We find meaning in the tasks we complete and understand their benefit.

Imbalanced Sixth-Twelfth Polarity: We find it hard to find joy through completing responsibilities. We have trouble focusing or avoid taking care of necessities. We hyper-focus on our routines to our own detriment. We are inflexible to changing circumstances. We are lost in daydreams and fantasies, or we never allow ourselves to imagine other realities.

Balance the Polarity through: Regular meditation. Maintaining a schedule/routine. Keeping up with hygienic needs. Keeping a dream journal. Staying present while completing responsibilities throughout the day. Taking note of when dread/resentment/happiness/excitement arise while fulfilling responsibilities and examining those emotions.

♥️ Laura

Harmonizing Oppositions

Do you remember the first time you looked at your birth chart?  What was the indicator of existential dread that first jumped out of you?  For me, it was a startling jumble of Capricorn-ruled planets starkly opposed by a 0º cancer moon.  Naturally, my first thought was, “Well, I’m fucked.”  The opposition explained what I perceived to be a complete inability to control my emotions.  Although I felt somewhat validated, I assumed there was no hope for me.  But then I got real.  I learned more about astrology and became grateful that my cancer moon was one of the few things saving me from being the first child dictator of the state of New Jersey.

Just kidding.  What kind of Capricorn would I be if I didn’t use a little self-deprecating humor every now and then?  What I really learned was that the opposition between my moon and almost all of my other planets was an opportunity rather than an emotional death sentence.  Reflection on my chart, along with a fair amount of study, has helped me come to a conclusion about the “hard” aspects we experience in our natal charts and through transits.  Although they may present us with difficulties, those difficulties can be overcome.  In fact, it is our mission to overcome them rather than be afflicted by them.  And when we’re successful, we no longer need to be faced with those types of challenges because we’ve done the work of learning to master them.

Ok, so you may be thinking, “how am I supposed to master the energies of my opposition?”  The first step of solving any problem is to make sure you understand it.  You can gain an understanding of your opposition in a number of ways, but here’s what I did:

In order to better understand my Cancer-Capricorn opposition, I decided to identify what the rulers of these signs have in common.  I chose to work with the signs ruling the houses of my planetary opposition–rather than the particular planets involved–because I wanted to discover how the manner of expression of the opposing planetary energies would be affected. I made a table with two variables: Saturn (ruler of Capricorn) and the moon (ruler of Cancer).  I wrote down the opposite qualities of each planet on the same row, and later worked to identify the commonality between them.  Here’s a section of what I came up with:

Phase 1- The differences:

SaturnMoon
ConstantChanging
ExactingFlowing
ControlSurrender
HardSoft

The terms I listed to describe Saturn and the moon are all opposites.  At first glance, they look like completely different things.  But opposites are just extremes that sit on either end of a scale.  If I asked you to rate your anxiety on a scale of 1 to 10, you might indicate a 1 on Tuesday and a 10 on Thursday. 

Anxiety: 1——————————-10

You went from NO anxiety to TOTAL anxiety within a two-day span (I feel for you, friend!).  Although the two answers you gave are opposites, they’re measuring the same thing: anxiety! 

Using this logic, my next task was to identify the scales upon which each of the opposite qualities I outlined sit.

Phase 2- The reconciliation:

SaturnMoonScale
ConstantChangingPredictability
ExactingFlowingRefinement
ControlSurrenderRestraint
HardSoftResistance

Let’s create a scale using the variables on one of the rows above.  We’ll try the last one: Hard/Soft/Resistance.  Hard and Soft can both be considered qualities of an object’s resistance to manipulation. 

Resistance: Hard—————————-Soft

You will need to use a large (and probably scary looking) power tool to change the shape of your hard granite countertop, but you can re-form your soft down pillow by poking it with your pinky finger.  To mold either object, no matter how hard or soft it is, you will be fighting against the same force…resistance.  This principle is illustrative of a tenet that I hold to be fundamentally true in the physical and spiritual planes.  Although it doesn’t appear as such, opposites are really the same thing: one entity viewed from two different perspectives.  When we can’t pinpoint the entity we’re dealing with, all we see are two opposing forces. It is important to find common ground between those forces so we can see them for what they really are: two qualities of a whole.

When we made our first scale to describe anxiety levels, we left something important out.  I’ve taken the liberty of filling in the gaps.  Here’s a more complete version of our scale:

Anxiety: 1–2–3–4–5–6–7–8–9–10

Between the extremes of 1 and 10 are eight other numbers.  There’s a whole range of anxiety levels for you to choose from (thrilling)!

We can create a similar range for our resistance scale by filling in some words.

Resistance: Hard–Firm–Malleable–Flexible–Soft

Again, we have a range of levels of resistance to choose from to describe an object that is made of neither granite nor down.  We now have a word that describes something like a Gumby doll (flexible) or a piece of foil (malleable). 

Knowing that there is a range between the extremes of my Cancer-Capricorn opposition has helped me tremendously.  This opposition is one I will be learning from for the rest of my life, but the process I’ve outlined here helped me take a huge leap forward on that journey.  Now, when I’m feeling stressed about something I know is related to those energies, I stop and ask myself: What are the extremes I’m perceiving?  Where is the middle ground?  And I find more power in my situation.

I’d like to share one more visual with you regarding the sameness hidden in oppositions.

When we look up a birth chart, we’re seeing a number of different values contained within a two-dimensional circle.  An aspect line is drawn to indicate an opposition.  It looks like this:

A picture containing light

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On paper, it appears that the opposition line continues on and on indefinitely in both directions, extending further and further into different territories.  But unlike many of our ancestors, we now know that the earth is not flat, but spherical.  Here’s what that aspect line looks like in 3 dimensions:

A picture containing light, ball

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A circle.  The two ends of the line connect, forming a circle with no end and no beginning.  There extremes are one and the same.

❤ Laura

About the Founders

Hello, and welcome to the UC360 blog!  We are Laura and Andrew, co-founders of Universal Conjunction, and we are so excited to represent our brand by sharing our thoughts on astrology, magick and spirituality with you.

A little background on us: we’re two old friends who’ve reconnected after a long time apart.  Like most friends who’ve known each other since childhood, our story is complicated.  We’ll spare you most of the hairy details, but here’s the important stuff:

We met at sleep away camp while we were in middle school. As you can imagine, that was a pretty awkward time. Laura was in the middle of a goth phase, and Andrew might as well have been the poster child for American Eagle. Naturally, most pictures from that time period have been destroyed, but here’s one gem that somehow survived the purge:

Andrew, in true Gemini moon fashion, changed his hair color frequently and made lots of eclectic friends at camp. Laura, although not the most social, managed to con Andrew into spending time with her. Over the next few years, we shared a lot of firsts together…Like our first time eating an entire cheesecake in one sitting. And our first sneaky trip to a parent’s liquor cabinet (did you know dissolving Jolly Ranchers in a bottle of Bacardi doesn’t change the taste?).

And then something happened.  A mutual friend with malicious motives broke us up.  We tried to patch things up, but for almost a decade, things weren’t the same.  We went on to build separate lives.  We moved to different states and started careers.  We struggled with addictions, anxieties, and heartaches, but also celebrated some pretty important milestones.  In other words, life went on for us both.  

Sometimes friendships end unexpectedly and a long, important life chapter closes.  Maybe this is necessary for optimal growth.  We believe we’ve accomplished the missions that we were supposed to handle separately, and now we can open a new chapter in which we share what we’ve learned with each other.  

It took a lot of energy for our mutual friend to break us up all those years ago, but all it took to pick up where we left off was the right timing and a simple text message. It turns out that after all those years of following different paths, we wound up at the same pit stop on our journey. We both found astrology, magick, and the same brand of spirituality, which have brought new life to our friendship.

We’re coming together now with a three-part mission: to refuel our friendship, learn together, and share our findings and perspectives with like-minded listeners/readers.  We are so glad to have you with us on this adventure, and we can’t wait to see where it takes us!

Thank you for sharing this road with us!

❤ Laura and Andrew

P.S. Although we’d like to think we’re better looking and more fashionable now, we know that some things never change.