Two Asteroids for Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz and his associates call themselves “skeptics” but they are actually rigidly dogmatic true believers in materialism. Their professed goal in life is to “save” humanity from such superstitions as religion, astrology, and anything connected to the psychic area. The article on Carl Sagan in this issue of The Mutable Dilemma includes additional material on the group called CSICOP which was founded by Kurtz. Most astronomers are “officially” materialists in order to retain their scientific standing. They discover and name the asteroids and assume that the names they choose are random chance and meaningless. Astrologers put the asteroids in horoscopes and find (for the hundreds tested so far) that they mean what they were named. At least, they hold appropriate aspects in the charts of individuals, institutions, and events. Since the astronomers named them, they can’t accuse astrologers of fraud. They can only ignore the evidence or call it coincidence.
I had lost Kurtz’s birth data, which I was given when we were on a TV show together around 1975, but a former student had saved it and sent it to me after I wrote about him in the Virgo 1995 Mutable Dilemma. When given his data, I was told that it came from him, and that he was born on December 21, 1925 at 3 P.M. in Newark, NJ. He currently lives in Buffalo, NY where he has been a philosophy professor in the university.
Naturally, I was eager to see where the newly named asteroids Kurtz and Skeptics would be in his chart. As we would expect, his horoscope shows a lesson in the area of faith. Though we are supposed to integrate the lunar nodes, to make a partnership in their sign and house polarities, much of the time I find the south node is more of a challenge. Kurtz has it conjunct Jupiter in Capricorn in the natural house of Jupiter. Saturn thus is also a ruler of the search for Truth, and it is in Scorpio in the sixth house. Taurus is intercepted in the twelfth house, so faith is repeatedly connected to earth, the element most likely to be skeptical, to want tangible proof of theories. On the other hand, Mercury, which rules the Gemini Ascendant, is in Sagittarius, and the Moon, which rules part of the first house, is closely conjunct Uranus in Pisces. Uranus and the Moon are also closely trine the north lunar node in Cancer and Saturn and more widely trine Mars which is conjunct Saturn. Paul Kurtz thus had the potential to be highly intuitive and open to the mystical side of life. Neptune is a major key to his conflict. It is conjunct Ceres in Leo in the fourth house square Saturn and Mars and forming a yod, a double quincunx, to the Moon-Uranus and the Jupiter-south node. It is also sextile Vesta in the first house and trine the Sun, which opposes Vesta from late Sagittarius. Mercury opposes the Gemini Ascendant and Pallas. Oppositions across Gemini and Sagittarius can be constructive, indicating a perpetual student, natural teacher, writer, and/or traveler. But in Kurtz’s case, they reinforced the inner conflict over faith.
I do not have any information about Kurtz’s mother or early life, but his chart certainly suggests that she played a vital role in his attitude toward religion and/or the psychic area. With the Moon in Pisces and Ceres on Neptune in the house which is usually the mother, she must have been Piscean in some way. There are always many possible details. She may have been an artist, a savior, and/or a victim in any of many ways. She might have been very religious or just had very high standards or been a dramatic martyr. Father was a personal role model with Mars conjunct Saturn. This aspect can point to a positive model the child wants to emulate or to a negative model, in which case the child tries to do the opposite of father’s example. Since most of the Saturn aspects are harmonious, there is a good chance he had a relatively effective, hard-working, and practical father. He might have been overly critical or controlling or even somewhat obsessive, but it looks as if Kurtz identified with his strict standards and realism in contrast to a highly emotional and possibly unstable mother. This is not to say that father lacked emotions, but the Virgo-Scorpio mix suggests someone who held them in, though he might explode if pushed too far. Kurtz’s identification with the search for truth led him into philosophy and a university career to which he added writing, publishing books, and doing media promotions which debunked any ideas that ventured beyond materialism. After his attacks on traditional religions became too controversial for the American Humanists, he founded his own society to supposedly do scientific investigations into the paranormal area. However, in practice, he continues to be a devout missionary for materialism.
It is possible that some of Kurtz’s zeal is connected to tension in other more current family relationships. I was told in the 1970s that Kurtz’s wife had left him and was studying astrology in New York, that his only and beloved daughter had run off with an occultist, and that his brother was teaching parapsychology in Virginia. If all of this is true, it looks like a case of projection. Kurtz’s relatives are expressing his mystical, psychic potential and he is over-doing the skeptical materialistic approach to life. If we deny any part of ourselves, it doesn’t just disappear. We may repress it and become ill as the subconscious tries to get our attention. We may project it and attract others who are willing to do it for us but who may overdo it. Or we may displace it and do it where it does not work well. Kurtz’s chart would fit a dogmatic missionary, and that is what he became—a missionary for materialism. But his denial of his own mystical potentials must be at a cost.
When the new asteroids were named for Kurtz and his society earlier in 1996, I was naturally eager to add them to his chart. Kurtz turned up in 24 Virgo in the same degree with Darwin and Fanatica! P Uranus is holding an opposition to them for years. Skeptics was in 22 Pisces, so P Neptune is holding a quincunx to it for years, and P Kurtz, Darwin, and Fanatica are slowly retrograding opposite it. Can you imagine any positions that would more clearly show his inner conflict? To repeat the message, just in case we didn’t get it, N Kurtz is on the midpoint of Saturn/north lunar node and square Saturn/south node in Sagittarius. How does the universe manage to deliver that information through the agency of materialistic astronomers?
We have three asteroids with names which are variations on Paul: Paul, Paula, and Paulina. The last was on Kurtz’s MC at birth, along with Venus, Prudentia, and Damocles. The stellium seems to be suggesting that he has a lesson (MC like Saturn) involving the handling of personal power or other forms of Venus pleasure. If he is prudent, he will stay voluntarily within the law which is symbolized by the MC along other factors. If not, Damocles hints of a sword hanging over his head. Paul in 1 Aquarius squares Kurtz’s local Antivertex and is trioctile his first house Pallas. Since all of these are keys to personal identity, the conflict aspects show inner conflict. Paula in 1 Capricorn lacked standard aspects to the traditional factors but it is currently very prominent with a conjunction to P Icarus in 4 Aquarius. I was also intrigued to find N Icarus on Kurtz’s N Sun along with Nemesis on the eighth house cusp octile the MC group. Icarus is especially likely to be a key to some kind of overreach when it is conjunct a fire planet such as the Sun, Mars, or Jupiter. The fire sign adds to the potential, as does a trine to the Sun from Chiron in Aries. You can see the missionary potential with Neptune finishing a grand trine in fire signs. All three corners of the fire trine are connected to beliefs and fire symbolizes our confidence in ourselves and in our right to do what we want. P Paul recently ended a long opposition to Neptune and it is still sextile P Chiron. P Paulina in 9 Pisces has been octile/trioctile the P lunar nodes and is approaching a square to N Mercury. The issue of faith continues to be highlighted.
Another asteroid which should be prominent is Aletheia, the goddess of truth. N Aletheia was in 23 Capricorn 22 so the P south lunar node will stay conjunct it for years, repeating the lesson connected to beliefs about the nature of truth. Capricorn fits both Kurtz’s materialistic beliefs and his willingness to be an authority enforcing his beliefs. P Aletheia is now in 22 Aquarius opposite P Neptune and square Saturn. Methinks he has a problem with truth. With the MC carrying the same meaning as Saturn, P Jupiter on his MC says it again. But also, his personal conviction that he owns the truth and his persuasive ability are currently making him relatively successful. His society is prosperous and growing even though the next few years are likely to be a watershed period for materialism as a viable belief system. Transiting Uranus edges close to Kurtz’s MC in the spring of 1998 but actually crosses it in early 1999. I wonder how he will react if we have substantial research supporting astrology by then?
I also wonder what Kurtz felt when Carl Sagan died this week. P Sagan was on his N Ascendant along with P Psyche. Such patterns can last for years, especially with these two asteroids, since they were retrograde in early Gemini when Kurtz was born and are now direct but moving very slowly. Psyche can be expressed in psychological or psychic interests, but it can also indicate intense self-absorption with little awareness of the needs of others. N Carla in Kurtz’s chart was in 16 Sagittarius opposite his Pallas. Both men lived in New York state for years and shared a belief in materialism, but both were promoters of their own vision and I suspect they felt considerable ambivalence about each other. As stated previously, oppositions can be expressed as partners or as competitors or can alternate between the two. P Carla is currently opposite P Pluto for Kurtz, again suggesting some kind of impact from Sagan’s death, if only to remind him of his own mortality and lack of faith in anything beyond this world. Repeating that message when Sagan died, Kurtz’s P Moon was in 16 Libra square P Mars in Capricorn in the eighth house, trine Pallas, but trioctile his N Sagan and opposite his Part of Death.
If he lasts that long, Kurtz has a P New Moon in the spring of 2008 which could mark his exit. His chart continues to show struggles involving faith and the danger of overreach. P Icarus and P Paula continue within a one-degree orb all the way to 2008 when they will be going over Kurtz’s local MC. The New Moon occurs in 22 Pisces as the P Sun is finishing two years on N Moon-Uranus and quincunx Neptune. Plus, there will be many other aspects indicating major change. Could Kurtz change his beliefs sooner and give up materialism? Theoretically, yes. He continues to have aspects involving factors connected to beliefs. But it would require almost superhuman courage to change a position which one has supported so publicly for so long. So, like Sagan, Kurtz may have a surprise when he graduates to a different dimension.