In 1975 Paul McCartney sang, “A good friend of mine follows the stars: Venus and Mars are alright tonight.” But as of this week when a hacker group made public the customer database for the Ashley Madison website, Venus and Mars are not alright. In fact, they’ve been up all night fighting…
For those who live in Amish country, Ashley Madison is a Canadian website for adulterers. Their marketing line is, “Life is short, have an affair.” On that slogan, they’ve built an online cheating empire. And you thought Canadians were boring.
Back on July 11, a group known as the Impact Team hacked into the website’s database, thus accessing millions of user accounts, complete with names, emails, phone numbers, addresses and the credit card numbers used to sign up for subscriptions to the cheating website.
Ten days later, on July 21, Impact Team told Avid Life Media, the Canadian company that owns Ashley Madison, that they’d been hacked. Acting as judge, jury and executioner on a social morality issue, they threatened to make the database public unless ALM shut down its site. The company sought to downplay the incident, assuring users their personal data was safe, meanwhile tightening up their security. Otherwise, business as usual…
A month later, on Tuesday, August 18, Impact Team made good on their threat and released the entire database to the world. Appearing first on the dark web where it could only be seen with a special browser, the massive database (10 GB in compressed format) has since been opened up by third parties.
Websites are now springing up in the public domain, allowing laypeople to type in a name, an email, a phone number, etc, to see whether their wife, pastor, schoolteacher or senator is secretly a member of the world’s largest organized cheater’s club.
In all fairness, thousands of these member profiles are likely fake. Many are reputed to be phony accounts of available women acting as lures for the many married men who might be trolling the site to see whether it’s worth signing up. Other names, eg, Tony Blair, may have been enrolled as pranks or in smearing campaigns. Others may have been legitimate singles when they first signed up a decade ago, and their names have never been expunged.
But the data dump, which has now been verified as genuine, is reported to contain 37 million or more records. Even if only half of these are “legitimate” (please excuse the unintentional irony), that’s still a whole lot of folks who’ll be popping a serious sweat this summer of our discontent.
“Honey, is there something we need to talk about…?”
Yes, but not about us. You know I love you. Let’s talk about the astrological phenomenon of this whole mess.
Although we don’t know the time this elephantine database was released, we know it appeared on the dark web on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. Because it’s a Toronto-based company, I’ve used that location, and calculated the chart for noon, since monkey business, in the corporate world at least, is often scheduled under, “Let’s do lunch.” (…at a local hotel).
When we don’t actually have a timed event, however, I often simply rotate that noon-calculated chart to place the moon in the ascendant – giving us a Chandralagna chart. It should come as no surprise that this chart reflects so much of what’s going on in the larger social context.
Let’s start with Virgo lagna. The dual signs are notoriously twitchy with respect to marital fidelity. Warren Beatty, Bill Clinton, David Duchovny, Hugh Hefner, Jack Kennedy, and Tiger Woods spring immediately to mind without even reaching into my database.
Barely three days into the lunar cycle, this Moon in Virgo is a dark moon. On the Rahu-Ketu axis, the mind is adulterated with addictive desires, craving hedonism and sensuality, and inclined for out-of-the-ordinary experience. Much of this is fueled by fantasy within the online environment, where the internet’s capacity to create a world of smoke and mirrors is like nothing else in our modern experience. Might as well write it as an equation, Web = Maya.
The lords of the 1st and the 7th, Mercury and Jupiter signifying the Self and the Other, are together in the secretive 12th house, the place for “pleasures of the bed.” Their only companion is a powerful Sun in its own sign. If we recall that the Sun is a cruel planet and a karaka for the ego, we understand what drives these secret lovers. In the cold harsh light of its aftermath, anyone who’s ever had an affair knows at heart that they were guilty of being terribly selfish, of serving their own ego at the cost of their partner’s well-being.
Mars itself is a karaka for the sexual impulse and in this chart is lord of two dusthanas, the 3rd of desire and adventure, and the 8th of reversal and trauma, therefore something of an instigator for misadventures. Since it’s debilitated in the 11th house, we immediately see its capacity for wrecking friendships, social networks, and indeed, the very hopes and ambitions for many a normal person.
Morality is under great strain. Jupiter is a karaka for same, and as 4th lord carries that additional meaning. In the 12th house it suffers under the affliction of both the Sun and Saturn. The ethics of a 9th lord Venus is also under duress from that malefic and debilitated rogue Mars. And there’s the rub… the itch that can’t be scratched.
Venus has been retrograde since July 26, and will remain so until September 6th. And although it’s not immediately obvious from this chart, where the Sun and Venus occupy adjacent signs, between August 11-20 Venus was actually combust.
Although in Vedic astrology, we have no inclination to regard a retrograde Venus in the same light as western astrologers see retrograde Mercury, the very timing of this data dump on Tuesday, August 18, obliges us to sit up and take notice.
Tuesday is Mars’ day, but Mars is debilitated. Some people in the social media world have dubbed Impact Team’s action as “cybervigilantism” – taking the law into their own hands and wreaking retribution as they see fit. But the collateral damage will be huge.
Never mind the class action suits that Avid Life Media will undoubtedly face for failing to keep their users’ personal data secure and confidential. The ripple effects go far beyond mere financial considerations.
Venus is a karaka for love and marriage, but in this chart it is also a significator for family (2nd house lord), as well as ethics and justice (9th house lord). Its association with a debilitated Mars can only sully its reputation.
The Impact Team is well-named, for its data dump will certainly have an impact on Ashley Madison’s users. Within most personal profiles are fairly explicit checklists of the member’s sexual preferences as well as the desired characteristics of their liaison partners. “Frustrated professor seeks schoolgirl type to act out detention fantasies” could be the least of your worries…
Approximately 15,000 email addresses are linked to .gov and .mil domains, which could be the Waterloo for many a general, since philandering is considered grounds for dismissal in the military. These revelations, as they continue to spill out like a million gallons of oil from a stricken oil rig, have the potential to kill public civic careers for decades to come.
In the coming two weeks, as the database becomes more and more accessible to the public, there’ll be journalists, muckrakers, troublemakers and suspicious spouses dumpster-diving 24/7 to come up with something. By the next full moon, the stories will be coming out faster than the National Enquirers of the world can keep up with them.
Adultery is a trauma for every couple that goes through it. If they’re very lucky, it might remain a dark and dirty secret shared by only three or four people. But this atomic bomb has the potential to create a million clones of Hillary Clinton, who had to live with the entire world knowing about Bill and Monica. Not everyone has that much courage to face the world. Many normal folk will reach for a bottle, a gun or the yellow pages in search of a divorce lawyer.
Nothing will ever be the same again. As they used to say in The X-Files, “The truth is out there.” And if it’s on the internet, it will come back to haunt you…
Alan Annand is a Canadian astrologer (but not a friend of Ashley Madison). He’s a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. He’s written two books on Vedic astrology: Stellar Astrology, a collection of astrological techniques, in-depth celebrity profiles, and analysis of mundane events, and Parivartana Yoga, a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in Jyotish.
He’s also a writer of crime fiction, including his NEW AGE NOIR series (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) featuring astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”
Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com