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Death of a Shalesman 03/04/2016

Posted by zoidion in Hellenistic, History, Long Emergency, Photography.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The sorrel has been poking out of the ground for several weeks now, through several sharp chills amid a couple of record-warmth days. Any day now: the first sampling of those tender, lemony-flavored leaves.

The “tent” is up in the backyard: the “low tunnel” of white fabric that helps one raised bed warm up a bit sooner. Even before that, the garlic bulbs were sending their green shoots up to grab the sun. So far, so good, despite concerns of setting them by the calendar (October) rather than by the weather (mild well into December).

The winter’s accumulated food scraps — no need to promote an overpopulation of tree rats — are now incorporated into a pile of leaves, ready to begin “working.”

The first steps into the gardening season . . . 

The shift of seasons is perhaps most dramatic not so much in terms of temperature, after a mild El Nino winter, but rather in the movement of the sunrise point on the horizon. As always, it’s an amazing phenomenon to behold.

On a bright morning recently — 2 March 2016, at nine o’clock, just outside Oklahoma City — a golden boy who’d lately lost his luster drove, seatbelt unbuckled, his outsize car at top speed into a concrete wall.

Mission accomplished.

The day before, a federal indictment had named him for conspiring to suppress land prices in Oklahoma by rigging bids for his company’s profit. Similar charges on a state level in Michigan had led to his company paying huge fines.

In actuality, the glory days for shale-oil huckster Aubrey McClendon and Chesapeake Energy were long gone. But McClendon had lived big. As Andrew Nikiforuk, long-time investigative journalist on the doings of the energy industry, summed it up:

“Between 2000 and 2006, McClendon went on a real estate binge. He borrowed billions to acquire drilling rights on more than 45,000 square kilometres [over seventeen-thousand square miles] in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The company hired more than 5,000 landmen to plant the Chesapeake flag across the country. McClendon often made more money flipping real estate to competitors than he did extracting gas.”

At the peak, his personal theoretical wealth reached three billion dollars.

He bought a personal share in every company well, using that to garner over $1 billion in personal loans; in addition, he operated a $200-million hedge fund from within corporate headquarters. When these arrangements were revealed, the company stock price plummeted.

And like most who rake in big money, he spent lavishly.  He accumulated a collection of over 100,000 bottles of wine; bought a basketball team and moved it to Oklahoma; set up his corporate headquarters health center offering such “amenities” as teeth whitening and botox injections.

It was all rather mythic. And like Icarus, he flew too high on dubious wings.

McClendon was born 14 July 1959 to a wealthy and prominent family already deeply involved in the oil business: His great-uncle Robert Kerr, co-founder of petro-business Kerr-McGee, was Oklahoma governor during the oil-boom 1940s.

This is a clue to the proper disbursement of his natal astrological configuration: Jupiter most likely in the fourth place (house).

Aubrey McClendon

Other characteristics contribute: his boundless energy, confident outlook, inquisitiveness (a history major at Duke University) and loquaciousness indicating prominent placement — the first place (house), say — for his natal Mercury and Mars in Leo.

(And who else has Mars in Leo in the first place? Oh yeah — Donald Trump.)

Putting McClendon’s Cancer Sun — lord of the rising zoidion Leo — in the unfortunate twelfth place. (Shades of Dubya Bush.)

Perhaps the key to his natal configuration is the combination of Mars and Jupiter, at a right angle or “square.” This indicates the brash risk-taker, the one who, in Adrian Ross Duncan’s words (Astrology: Transformation and Empowerment), has “a drive to be the best, to come out on top, and to be right. . . .  There is little consideration for the sensitivities of others, as the overwhelming energy used to make a point or achieve a desire precludes being receptive to the response of the other person.”

Such characteristics were in ample evidence, for example in dismissing experienced industry geologist Art Berman as a “third-tier geologist,” saying it was “ludicrous” to give credence to Berman, who had said that the “whole shale gas adventure is just not profitable. . . . Why does McClendon have to borrow to cover his losses if they’re profitable?”

Images of the “wizard” in the cavernous halls of Oz come to mind.

The start of McClendon’s land-acquisition binge was the year of a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction (which recurs every twenty years, defining the economic and political nature of the period), that time in zoidion Taurus. The configuration then indicated an era of major disruptions to what seemed a viable situation: a perpetual-growth globalized economy.

For McClendon, Jupiter-Saturn activated the tenth place of his provisional chart: the place of vocation, public prominence and power.

But the price of methane collapsed in the wake of the 2008 global economic crisis, and with it, in time, went McClendon’s empire. (At the time, Saturn – symbol of limits — had moved to Virgo, his provisional second place and home to Venus: the domain of his personal financial fortune.)

Along the way, though, he spent big money to promote shale gas as the energy of the future: He donated nearly twenty-five million dollars to the Sierra Club to help fund its Beyond Coal campaign, a disastrous decision for the Sierra Club’s credibility. And he derided opponents of fracking practices as “Luddites.”

Anyone could see the desperation and dishonesty, especially in one who had studied history.

The end game — for McClendon and the fracking racket — is matching up with the “closing square” of Jupiter and Saturn: the right-angle five years before the following conjunction. Saturn, now in Sagittarius where Jupiter is lord, is saying (as in 1929-30): This round of expansion and speculation is over. Jupiter, signifying growth, lacks “dignity” in Virgo: The economic system’s principles are both impractical and destructive.

That, in a nutshell, is all that’s needed to grasp the unraveling that is running rampant: economically, politically, culturally, ecologically.

The manner of Aubrey McClendon’s exit is an apt symbol. Greed and addiction to risk, as usual, trumped historical perspective and any inclination toward measured movement.

Just as in a slew of myths and legends.




1. Mary Louise Turner - 17/04/2016

Interesting interpretation of Aubrey McClendon’s chart. One wonders if this particular soul ever learned anything for the next life. Somehow I doubt it. Had he not ended his life, I might have had hope that he did. He led a wasted life. Anyway, as always, thanks for sharing.

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