“Austrian daredevil” Felix Baumgartner fell to earth on Sunday from a capsule lifted by a helium balloon above New Mexico, traveling over 24 miles in four minutes, at times faster than the speed of sound. From the New York Times article:
He broke altitude and speed records set half a century ago by Joe Kittinger, now 84, a retired Air Force colonel whose reassuring voice from mission control guided Mr. Baumgartner through tense moments. Engineers considered aborting the mission when Mr. Baumgartner’s faceplate began fogging during the ascent, but he insisted on proceeding and made plans for doing the jump blind. That proved unnecessary, but a new crisis occurred early in the jump when he began spinning out of control in the thin air of the stratosphere — the same problem that had nearly killed Mr. Kittinger a half-century earlier. But as the atmosphere thickened, Mr. Baumgartner managed to stop the spin and fall smoothly until he opened his parachute about a mile above the ground and landed smoothly in the New Mexico desert. “It was harder than I expected,” said Mr. Baumgartner, a 43-year-old former Austrian paratrooper. “Trust me, when you stand up there on top of the world, you become so humble. It’s not about breaking records any more. It’s not about getting scientific data. It’s all about coming home.”
This last sentence got my attention: “It’s all about coming home.” Normally we would expect a daredevil’s astrological chart to have lots of fire, or a square of Mars (action) to Uranus (rebellion) which can be somewhat different. Baumgartner’s chart shows a different motivation. Baumgartner (born April 20, 1969, Salzburg Austria, time unknown) has the Sun in Taurus, the sign that more than any other is connected to life on Planet Earth and the natural world. This idea of ascending into the heavens and then returning to Earth is reflected in his chart by the an awkward aspect (quincunx) between the Sun in Taurus, representing a grounded existence, and Uranus, the planet of innovation and rebellion but also the broader view. Uranus was the Sky God, and the idea of an elevated viewpoint in which we can see all things and detach from our emotional viewpoints is a significant piece of the Uranian archetype. Astrologers, before you argue with me about my use of the word “quincunx” please read this article. This awkward aspect makes it difficult to find any real integration between life on Earth (Taurus Sun) and life from the sky (Uranus). Reinforcing the grounded practicality of Baumgartner’s chart is the conjunction of Saturn to the Sun which not only demands a grounded approach to life, but acts like a monkey on the back of the individual to continually prove that he is good enough. But Baumgartner also has Mars in Sagittarius which says “don’t fence me in.” There is a fierce need for freedom with this placement which struggles continually with the earthbound aspects of the chart. We also see a conjunction of Jupiter to Pluto with the South Node. Jupiter represents our effort to find meaning in life, and when it conjoins Pluto, the planet of life and death, there can be a somewhat rigid viewpoint. Often we find this aspect in the chart of religious zealouts and political operatives who desire to impose their will on others. The alignment with the South Node in Virgo (mundane reality) suggests a past life component that requires resolution so that a more natural inner peace (North Node in Pisces) can be attained. The combination of Jupiter and Pluto denotes a fair amount of personal power that can be used for good or for ill. This is the chart of someone who is struggling against himself- fighting the weaker aspects of his chart in order to find the power that lies within. Baumgartner has five retrograde planets which is found in only four percent of the population according to John McCormick’s astrological research. A strong retrograde emphasis denotes an individual who finds it difficult to express themselves outwardly and much of the processing goes on internally. This is a powerful time for Baumgartner since Pluto, retrograde in his chart at birth, is changing direction by progression. When Pluto, the planet of power and transformation, does something dramatic in the chart like this it is a time to face our demons and come into our true power. He is also undergoing a series of very significant Jupiter transits. Jupiter brings expansion and confidence and often helps us to liberate ourselves from barriers that have previously held us back (like the sound barrier?). These began back in June with a trine from Jupiter to his natal Jupiter, and there was a pileup of Jupiter events in July and August which is when the launch testing began. Read more about the “Mission” here, and watch the video below.
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