Astrologist Jack Fertig talks about ‘Uranus, The Queer Planet’
Published Thursday, 12-Nov-2009 in issue 1142
Jack Fertig is the columnist behind Q Scopes, a syndicated weekly horoscope that runs in the Gay & Lesbian Times and is read in papers around the world. He lives in San Francisco where he has practiced astrology professionally since 1977. He gained fame in the late ’70s and early ’80s as one of the original Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in that city. Going by the moniker of Sister Boom Boom, he ran for County Supervisor and then for Mayor under that name, listing his occupation as “nun of the above.” This prompted the city to create an ordinance requiring candidates to run under their given name.
Fertig – who will speak about the astrology behind Marriage Equality for the San Diego Astrological Society, this Friday at the Joyce Beers Community Center – sat down with the Gay & Lesbian Times to give readers a glimpse into his upcoming talk titled, “Uranus, The Queer Planet.”
Gay & Lesbian Times: You call your talk “Uranus, the Queer Planet.” Can you explain a little bit what you mean by that? And does this reflect the usage of “queer” that we associate with contemporary activism?
Jack Fertig: Sort of yes and no. Contemporary activism has gotten rather mainstream. “Queer” has become fairly mainstream. And as we become mainstream we become less queer in the classical sense and we become less associated with the planet Uranus.
Uranus is about disruption. It represents anything that is new, different, unusual, and weird. My favorite examples of Uranian personalities are Gertrude Stein [born with Uranus opposite her sun] and Lewis Carroll [born with Uranus conjunct his sun] – people who just broke the barriers and did wild and crazy things. Certainly the queers who came out in the early days when it was really dangerous, daring, and radical are examples. “Dangerous, daring and radical” is what Uranus is about – not necessarily homosexuality.
In my research I really see Uranus as being the disrupter, the oddball, the weirdo, and not necessarily being gay, lesbian, or transsexual. As long as we are outside the society, as long as we are not fully accepted then, yes, there is a Uranian quality to us.
GLT: And this feeds into your talk about Uranus as the “queer” planet.
JF: Uranus acted as the instigator to create space and conditions for disruptive, creative, innovative communities outside of tradition, and this is what we have been going through. But as we become more accepted, I think Uranus will find other outlets.
Uranus was discovered at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and so it really is about the Industrial Revolution – the new technologies, the social disruption that created new space in the world. And it was the industrialization and urbanization that created space for queer communities. I actually have a horoscope for homosexuality.
GLT: What stands out to you in the chart for Homosexuality?
JF: The chart is for when the word “homosexuality” was first published by Dr. Ben Kurt in Berlin in 1868. It shows a whole new sexual awareness. Venus (the planet of how we love) is conjunct Uranus (new, innovative, explosive) – here we have the beginning of the ascetic of a queer community. There are all kinds of sexual, creative interplay in the creation of a new community. Also, Saturn in Sagittarius suggests an ideological structure and Jupiter in Aries creates a new spark of the soul. I’ll be going into all this detail again Friday night.
GLT: Are there any “Uranian” type personalities in the gay movement today that stand out to you?
JF: This is terrible, but the last major Uranian personality I can think of is Sister Boom Boom. The terrible thing about it is that I am Sister Boom Boom! I have Jupiter conjunct Uranus, and the whole political thing in San Francisco exploded when I had Jupiter conjunct Uranus in my 10th house. (The 10th house rules public recognition).
GLT: Do you link Uranus currently with state rulings about marriage equality and the narrow margin losses that have happened in state referendums?
JF: I don’t see these narrow margin losses as losses. A few years ago it would not have been so close. I think the elections have been a little premature, but of course they have been staged by the opposition out of desperation.
And that’s just it, it’s the last gasp. We are seeing that the state-by-state piecemeal approach is not working. I see this going to the Supreme court, which is absolutely necessary – it has to be resolved on a national basis. And with the ongoing Uranus-Neptune mutual reception in the sky I think that this should play out as a Supreme Court victory for us in 2011.
I’ve just been thrilled with a lot of the discussions that have been going on over the Internet since Prop 8. There is a marvelous discussion online started by a group that calls itself Queer Children of Queers Against the Marriage Agenda.” You’ve got these radical queer kids who are protesting the mainstreaming of the queer movement. It’s interesting. I’m an old gay-libber from 1970, coming out of the Stonewall movement back when we were all radical. We were fighting against marriage and the military and now we’re trying to get into it! I think that really encapsulates how much the gay movement has gone from being Uranian and has become mainstream.
GLT: And, finally, your take on the argument of fate vs. free will and astrology?
JF: A 20th century political philosopher, Bernard Beruch, was asked what he believed and he said, “Well, I believe in free will, of course. There’s no choice!”