Sun in Gemini, Moon in Pisces: The Professor of the Fantastic and the Phantasmal (Also, “The Astrological Anatomy of the John Friend Anusara Yoga Scandal”)
Gemini is the sign most associated with quickness and cunning, communication and cross-pollination, dexterity and duplicity. Symbolized as two twins talking to each other, this is the sign of the Messenger and the Trickster, the Blogger and the Bookseller, the Writer and the Journalist, the Sales Rep and the Spin Doctor, the Numbers Runner and the Negotiator, the Quick Thinker and the Quick Change Artist. When a person’s Sun (identity) is in Gemini their life mission will eventually come to encompass communication in some fashion. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Salman Rushdie, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Tupac Shakur, and Joan Rivers are all Gemini Suns who came to be identified with the ability to express their ideas with tremendous dexterity.
Sitting 90 degrees from Gemini is Pisces, the sign of Mystic and the Martyr, the Poet and the Artist, the Intuitive and the Psychic, the Sinner and the Saint, the Savior and the Dispossessed. Symbolized as two fishes swimming in opposite directions, Pisces is as sensitive to changes in emotional temperature as fish are to changes in water temperature. Stemming from its ocean going nature, Pisces understands that the psychic and emotional “spaces” where one person (or entity) ends and another begins are as permeable as the boundaries of the oceans:
When a person’s Moon (emotional needs) is in Pisces, they need to spend time in mystical, artistic, altered or meditative realms in order to feel emotionally nourished. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Edgar Allen Poe, and Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek) are all Pisces Moons who fed their emotional bodies by spending time in trans-dimensional pursuits.
Gemini Sun, Pisces Moon: Multiple Personalities, Multiple Dimensions
When a highly communicative, cross-pollinating Gemini Sun is paired with a trans-dimensional Pisces Moon, the result is one of the most imaginative, sociable, and truly original of the 144 Sun/Moon parings. Musician Prince, for instance, is a Gemini Sun, Pisces Moon. (Prince’s Chart) His ability to cross-pollinate between rock, funk, jazz, and soul has enabled him to produce music that has been as original as it is creative.
Gemini Sun, Pisces Moon natives tend to be more right brained creative types than left brained analytical types. They make for great musicians, artists, poets, dancers, and dream interpreters. As astrologers Suzie and Charles Harvey point out in their book Sun Sign Moon Sign, this pairing is at its best when working with the imaginative and the invisible, the mysterious and the opaque, the fantastic and the phantasmal:
You want to understand and express the intangibles about people and what makes them tick . . . you are a natural student of the non-rational and do not have to be convinced that ‘there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy’. You have an ability to work with symbols and images . . . your desire to express the inexpressible requires an art form, not a chat. (Source)
Prince, in addition to being one of the world’s most creative musicians, is famous for having changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol. That’s Gemini Sun, Pisces Moon for you: always original if occasionally perplexing.
The textbook Gemini Sun, Pisces Moon individual has the potential to earn money through creative pursuits but they’re usually not the best at safe-keeping of funds. This pairing really needs to be in art or music school, not accounting or business. Imagine, for instance, if Prince got a hold of your checkbook. You’d no doubt get it back at some point but the checks contained therein would likely have some incredibly creative calligraphy or art work on them, rendering them beautiful but not very usable. Less scrupulous Gemini/Pisces individuals might find a way to beam your money into dimensions unknown, none of which are insured by FDIC.
John Friend, the founder of the Anusara school Yoga, is also a Gemini Sun, Pisces Moon. (Friend’s Chart) A July 2010 NY Times article referred to him as “the Yoga Mogul” due to the popularity of Anusara and the dedication of its devotees to the school’s “Principals of Alignment.” (Source) Friend also teaches classes on symbols and the non-rational such as sacred geometry and pyramid power. Here’s a video of Friend at a 2006 teacher training seminar demonstrating the soft touch, charming sociability, and adeptness with the symbolic that made him such an effective and popular teacher:
As wonderfully creative and sensitive as the Gemini Sun, Pisces Moon pairing tends to be, it comes with its set of challenges just like each of the 144 Sun/Moon pairings do. In his 1978 book Sun Signs Moon Signs, astrologer Jefferson Anderson refers to this pairing as “The Split Personality” who must be absolutely sure to exercise discernment in matters of the heart:
The opposite sex is captivated by your charming disposition and subtle, incisive wit. You have a very romantic nature, but you’d better exercise all of your powers of discrimination and intuition when choosing a partner. (Source)
On a similar note the Harveys tell us that one of the greatest challenge for the Gemini Sun, Pisces Moon native is “a lack of boundaries . . .” (Source)
Transiting Saturn Square Friend’s Natal Mars: Accusations of Severe Ethical Misconduct
The ethical misconduct that Friend is currently accused of are, if even partially true, a very public example of what happens when the less pleasant aspects of the Gemini Sun, Pisces Moon pairing are not handled in an appropriate manner. The specifics of the accusations have been documented at length by the Huffington Post and the blog YogaDork. They need not be rehashed other than to say they pertain to professional and interpersonal manipulations far more serious than the standard “yoga guru sleeps with students” fare.
The accusations surfaced on February 3rd, 2012 just as transiting Saturn at 29 degrees Libra was making a precise square to Friend’s natal Mars at 29 degrees Cancer. Saturn is “the Lord of Karma” while Mars in a man’s chart represents how he projects his masculine “heat” into the world, both sexually and financially. Astrologer Robert Hand explains the meaning of a square from transiting Saturn to a person’s natal Mars in his book Planets in Transit:
This can be a time of intense ego conflicts with others and you are very likely to be the loser if you are not careful. Your ambitions may provoke others to try to stop you . . . . (Source)
The transiting South Node (blowback from the past) was also hitting Friend’s Sun (identity) in Gemini (The Twins), the shadow of which is associated with double talk, double dealing, and living a double life. Astrologer Celeste Teal explains the meaning of this contact in her book Lunar Nodes:
Changes in recognition, often with unexpected problems cropping up. The ego and identity is forced into a downshift and it will be difficult to maintain status and position. (Source)
While the accusations against Friend have not been proven, a very public exodus of some of the Anusara brand’s foremost teachers has occurred in the weeks since they surfaced. (Source) At least one of the brand’s most respected teachers has admitted to being complicit in unspecified misconduct on the part of Friend. (Source)
John Friend’s South Node in Aries: Past Lives About Courage but also Rule by Fear
The South Node is the primary past life indicator in a person’s chart. (If you are not comfortable with the concept of past lives, just think of them as a metaphoric narrative tool.) It tells us what behavior patterns a person most intensely expressed in past lives as well as where they got things wrong. Friend’s natal South Node is at 11 degrees Aries. This means that in past lives he was a pioneer or trailblazer who demonstrated great initiative but likely took Aries’ penchant for recklessness, rule by fear, and belief in the ethos of “my way or the highway” to excess.
John Friend’s North Node in Libra: Work to be Done on Balance of Power Issues
The North Node is the solution to whatever the pitfalls, shortcomings, excesses, abuses or traumas of a person’s South Node. In short, it represents “The Program” they’re supposed to get with in this lifetime. Friend’s North Node is at 11 degrees Libra, the sign most associated with equally balanced partnerships. This means the single most important lesson for him to learn in this life is how to move through the world in a manner where his authority is balanced with the authority of others.
While teachers and students of Anusara may have felt as equals among each other, the reality is that Anusara is a corporation whose shares are entirely owned by one person: John Friend. Money is a form of energy, so when you “follow the money” you automatically follow the *true* emotional and psychic energy flows of a situation. If one man owns all the shares in a company that means all the authority, both financial and psychic, ultimately rests with him. If all the authority flows to/from a sole shareholder then the organization is actually set up as a financial – and psychic – dictatorship. That the sole shareholder (sole authority) is extremely charismatic, has much in the way of esoteric knowledge, a superb teacher, or wears tie dye pants should not cloud the autocratic reality of the business structure.
The Anusara brand was thus structured much more along the lines of Friend’s self-above-others Aries South Node than his partnership-among-equals Libra North Node. Furthermore, if Anusara veteran Amy Ippoliti’s account is at all representative of how Friend has related to professional colleagues behind closed doors then the Aries ethos of singular authority extended beyond just the structure of the company. At the risk of veering into hyperbole, her account reads less like dealing with the yoga world’s version of Prince and more like confronting its incarnation of Suge Knight.
According to an article by Michelle Indainer posted to the blog BayShakti.com, “This (Anusara) has been a paranoid and punitive organization with little room for disagreement or true inquiry.” (Source) A number of blogs have mentioned something called “the Anusara Gestapo”. (Source) That Friend’s methods have helped a significant number of people does not change the fact his organization took both the form and function of a hierarchy led by a unitary authority figure, not a community based on power being shared between equals.
Saturn in Libra: Plant of Karma in the Sign of Balance of Power
The good news for Friend and devotees of Anusara is that Saturn, the “Judge” of the Zodiac, is currently in Libra where it is considered “exalted”. Saturn is about the application of justice and in Libra is about balance of power in relationships. Astrologer Jessica Murray has analogized Saturn in Libra to somebody opening a window in a closed room full of fetid stank. (Source) It’s during Saturn’s transit through Libra that misaligned relationship dynamics have their best chance of being rebalanced in a manner that is fair to all parties concerned.
But the window of opportunity afforded by Saturn’s exaltation in Libra will only be open through October 2012. Saturn won’t be transiting through Libra again until Friend is into his 80s so whatever he decides to do regarding his balance of power issues, the next six-to-eight months are his last chance to get it right in this lifetime.
Saturn moves into Scorpio October 5th, 2012 at which point it begins an incredibly powerful two and a half year long dance known as a “mutual reception” with Pluto (extremes, terror) in Capricorn (business structures). (Source) It will be a potent period of disruption and change – for individuals, communities, and society in general – far more potent than even the last three years. Fortunately, Saturn in Scorpio is also associated with opportunities for rehabilitation. But this isn’t yoga celebrity rehab at a resort town on the California coast we’re talking about here. Saturn in Scorpio is much more subterranean than that, psychologically if not literally. Think less $300/night beachfront yoga retreat and more moss encrusted cave or medieval’s witch’s lair if you want a metaphor for the vibe of Saturn in Scorpio’s brand of rehabilitation. Whatever the exact setting, it will be one that triggers a depth of seriousness congruent with the depth of the work to be done.
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Copyright Matthew David Savinar 2012
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