By Mary Plumb | March 27, 2017
Barry Jenkins is the director and co-writer of the film Moonlight, which won an Oscar for best picture at the 89th Academy Awards. (1) In “an epic bungle before 33 million viewers,” the wrong film — La La Land — was mistakenly announced as best picture. (2)
The film tells the story of Chiron, a young African-American gay man growing up in a housing project in Miami. His story is divided into three segments — boy, teenager, and adult — and played by different actors at each stage.
The film, produced for $1.5 million, has earned over $50 million, and has won praise on many fronts (e.g., the cinematography, the score, the cast), but also for its sensitive depiction of Chiron’s emotional life. (3) For astrologers, Chiron evokes pain and redemption and experiences that take us to a new edge of perception or vulnerability.
The film was described by an early reviewer as “a disarmingly, at times almost unbearably personal film.” (4) Jenkins said about Chiron: “He’s someone who’s very curious and open about the world, but that’s slowly beaten out of him by the reaction of the world around him. In love we expand, and in fear we retract. He’s a character who wants to love and be loved.” (5)
In another comment about the character, producer Jeremy Kleiner said: “There are people who will see the film and feel somehow less alone than they were when it began. I feel that way, and I don’t have much in common with the literal experience of Chiron. But I feel like I’m watching the most specific human experience and, through that, I access the importance of love and what its absence can do.” (6)
Now, for a brief look at Barry Jenkins solar chart. Without a known birth time, I’m not going to try to synthesize the chart, just mention a few planetary themes — kind of a cookbook approach.
Barry Jenkins, sunrise chart (no known birth time)
November 19, 1979; Miami, Florida 25N37 80W12
The Sun, Mercury, and Uranus are in Scorpio. The Moon was in Scorpio until about 8:00 p.m. on the day he was born, which was the day of the New Moon at 26°48′ Scorpio. Mercury retrograde was at its conjunction with the Sun that day as well. The chart has Venus conjunct Neptune in Sagittarius and Mars at 29° Leo, with Saturn, Jupiter, and the North Node in Virgo.
The eloquent emotional depth of Scorpio is obvious in the film, as is the artistic impulse symbolized by Venus-Neptune. Naomie Harris, the actress who plays Chiron’s sometimes crack-addicted mother, initially did not want the part. However, “after reading Jenkins’ words and hearing him make a passionate case for the character of Chiron’s troubled mother, Paula, she realized ‘he had a vested interest in ensuring this character didn’t become a stereotype and would be given her full humanity.’ “ (7) I view this as a display of Venus conjunct Neptune, seeing beyond her troubles into “her full humanity.”
Along with the gentle artistry of Venus and the emotional and sexual intensity of the Scorpio planets, the director’s Virgo placements are apparent — in the interview referred to above, Jenkins said: “I am a craftsman.” (8)
Mars at 29° Leo is on the fixed star Regulus, the kingmaker. Without a time of birth, one thing we can do is set the pre-natal solar eclipse (PNSE) chart set for the place of birth to get a feel for the big themes and purpose of the life. Barry Jenkins’s PNSE was at 29° Leo on August 22, 1979. The Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury are all in Leo straddling the MC, surely a sign of a brilliant and visible career in the arts.
August 22, 1979
Miami, FL 25N37 80W12
The item that got me started on this topic was Jenkins’s remark on February 26th, the night he won the Oscar after the aforementioned goof with the wrong film being named. Jupiter and Uranus were opposing in the sky. (9)
“The last 20 minutes of my life have been insane,” Barry Jenkins, the director of Moonlight, told reporters backstage after the awards. “I don’t think my life could be changed any more dramatically than the last 20 or 30 minutes.’ “ How’s that for Jupiter-Uranus, especially with Mars and Uranus exactly conjunct and opposing Jupiter?
Academy Award night
February 26, 2017
set for 7 p.m.
Los Angeles, CA 33N55 118W20
Mars, significant in Jenkins’ natal chart as dispositor of the Scorpio Sun, Mercury, Uranus, and maybe the Moon, and also conjunct the royal star Regulus, was precisely triggering Jupiter-Uranus by transit that night. Now that’s a memorable and fortuitous turn.
(1) The film is based on an “unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney.
(2) NY Times
(4) NY Times
(9) Jupiter opposite Uranus, exact on Dec. 26, 2016; March 2; September 27, 2017.
(10) Live Entertainment
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By Mary Plumb | March 6, 2017
Mars has been in Aries since January 27 (and moves into Taurus on March 9). Crossing into Aries brings the militaristic Mars prominently onto the world stage. No one needs to be reminded of the dangers and troubles in world events. (1) Mercury moving into Aries on March 13 will have something more to say about these matters as well.
Since being in Aries the red planet has squared Pluto (February 22nd), conjoined Uranus (26th), and opposed Jupiter (27th).
The cardinal signs are all activated by a red hot Mars, and that’s a lot of agitation, inflammation, and generally riled up energy for each of us in the Aries house in the personal horoscope. There can be too much activity to assimilate, and Aries can be effective at throwing off what it doesn’t have time for, hopefully not creating harm along the way.
Someone I know (with Aries on the 1st-house cusp) said today, “Any little thing puts me over the edge.” Someone else with Aries on the 11th-house cusp told me she felt very aware of her friend’s “over wrought” emotions, and another person with Aries in the 6th has been dealing with a painful injury.
On February 3, Venus joined Mars in Aries, slowing down before her station retrograde on March 4 at 13° Aries. Venus will join the Sun at the interior conjunction on March 25 at 4°57′ Aries. (2) That degree will remain sensitive until the next conjunction, which will be with Venus on the other side of the Sun (the superior conjunction) on January 18, 2018 at 18°57′ Capricorn.
Lovely — and desiring-of-love — Venus is in a tangle with Chiron and Saturn now as well.
Venus in Pisces made her first square to Saturn in Sagittarius on January 27. They square again (both retrograde) on April 8 and, lastly on April 21, after Venus has gone direct.
We are in a cycle of Saturn square Chiron as well: the first was on December 28, upcoming (with Saturn retrograde) on April 30, and lastly on November 2.
Another way of looking at this: Venus was conjunct Chiron on January 24 (22° Pisces) while squaring Saturn (23° Sagittarius).
The wounding words or thoughts or actions have already been given and received. Emotionally painful issues have been revealed and scars torn off. There’s more than enough hurt to go around.
Yet Venus in Aries is going back. Hold up, wait, I’m going back. I want to be in the cool water. I want to make amends, to listen for Chiron’s words, to find forgiveness and healing.
She’s going back to Chiron in Pisces where she turns direct on April 15 at 27° Pisces.
The most significant celestial marker as Venus retreats is her conjunction with the Sun on March 25.
In these inflamed times, when we need to choose our battles wisely, the interior conjunction can help us see the most essential quality to take as our own hidden jewel-like mantra of self-awareness and perception. The Sun is connected to sight, vision, and perception. The cazimi is deeply personal; it is a moment to align with our own inner life and balance within. Venus in Aries goes back to the Sun to polish our deepest heart’s delight.
Parallel with self-awareness is the ongoing question of how are we treating others?
The momentum, assertion, and angry outbursts of Aries planets are moving within the backdrop of the recent Pisces solar eclipse. In Pisces, our default setting can be one of lurching between idealism and escapism, yet Venus is exalted in Pisces.
I heard a Tibetan teacher on the evening of the Venus station speak on these “troubled times.” He said we must realize that love and compassion are as necessary as water and air for our survival — an inspiring teaching for these troubled times.
Onward, friends. May we all have a productive and inspiring week. It’s good to know we are all together.
(1) Well, if you do need reminding: President Trump created worldwide uproar when he signed the executive order restricting travel from seven countries on the day of the Mars ingress into Aries. On February 11, North Korea, considered by some to be the most dangerous location on earth now, upped the ante by launching ballistic missiles across Sea of Japan. And, in another tribute to Mars, the president is seeking a great increase in military spending with a concurrent budget reduction for the State Department.
(2) Venus, the planet of beauty, has an “enduring symmetry.” No matter where one considers the start of the Venus cycle to be — at heliacal rise, at the inferior conjunction, or the superior conjunction — Venus will always make a five-pointed star in her eight-year journey with the Sun and the Earth. Here’s a graphic showing the perfect geometry in her orbit around the Sun:
If we could see from above the earth (located at the center of this diagram), the pattern looks like this — the Venus rose pattern:
The late Robert Blaschke’s research showed that the Venus cazimi (i.e., “the heart of the Sun”) degree in a prominent place in the natal horoscope would bring an important relationship into the life during the time of that transit.
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By Angela Slezak | February 6, 2017
In a PBS News Hour interview last week, former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was commenting on the current administration’s handling of the National Security Council when she said, “Disruption is not a bad thing for bureaucracy. Destruction, however, is very dangerous.” (1)
Had Albright been an astrologer she might have said, “A little Uranus (disruption) is okay to shake up Capricorn structures and authority, but Pluto (destruction) is very dangerous.”
Is the American bureaucracy being destroyed?
Pluto in Capricorn
Pluto entered Capricorn in early 2008, although it spent some time retrograde in Sagittarius before going direct in November 2008. Pluto will not leave Capricorn until 2024.
If you don’t remember Pluto changing signs because you were hiking Mt. Everest without your cell phone, you might recall some of its effects, which arrived remarkably soon after the ingress into Capricorn. The first thing you might have noticed is that you owed more on your house than it was worth as the value of houses in the United States collapsed after the mortgage-backed securities market imploded. (2)
Soon after the United States’ mortgage market collapsed, the domino effect liquidated other financial institutions and spread the financial crisis to the global markets. The domino was stopped in the U.S. by government intervention and the Federal Reserve. (3)
Capricorn is the 10th sign of the zodiac and represents our social consciousness. It’s associated with career and reputation and seeks positions of status and authority. Capricorn and its ruler Saturn make up the rules and are most comfortable in institutional settings where levels of expertise and experience are clearly defined, such as government, banking, universities, and the military. In these places, you are hierarchically defined and have clear rules for “moving up the ladder.” You know your place, the place of others, and the rules of engagement.
Pluto as destroyer wasted no time in leveling Capricorn structures. If we dig deeper into the meaning of Pluto, we have to accept that its ultimate purpose is evolution, which is gradual until it develops enough momentum for a big shift that becomes obvious when the planet transits into a new sign — in this case, the perceived destruction in the external world of Capricorn.
Perception is the key here. Pluto didn’t destroy the housing market; the housing market was built on an unstable foundation that Pluto revealed by doing its work. Pluto simply shook the floor and the house collapsed. Pluto does that.
After the global financial crisis of 2008, a cascade of Pluto-in-Capricorn situations involving authority and structure arose around the globe, aided by Uranus moving into Aries in 2011 and Saturn moving into Sagittarius in 2015. These situations included the role of government surveillance, the forced removal of authority, the role of non-elected players in global politics such as groups and corporations, mass human migration, and the composition of nations, such as the attempt to limit immigration of certain groups.
The U.S. in particular has struggled since its founding with the role of federal authority versus individual, local, and state authority. Like beauty, the role and reach of authority are often in the eye of the beholder. When we complain about a particular energy, we are often complaining about one polarity of that energy.
Stereotypes, for example, are rejected by those receiving the negative side of the stereotype. Positive stereotypes, in contrast, are often embraced. The challenge is to reject all stereotypes, positive and negative, as they are equally unearned.
The overreach of authority is labeled “authoritarianism,” defined by Merriam-Webster as “of, relating to, or favoring a concentration of power in a leader or an elite not constitutionally responsible to the people.” (4)
It’s easy to say we dislike authoritarianism until it enacts a law or rule that we deem necessary for the benefit of society as a whole. Yet our various personalities have differing viewpoints on when authoritarian energy is needed. One person’s authoritarianism is another person’s justice.
Capricorn Evolution in the United States
The Pluto transit of Capricorn is particularly relevant for the U.S. If we use the signing of the Declaration of Independence as our birthday, it has natal Pluto at 27° Capricorn. (5)
People don’t have Pluto returns, since the planet takes 248 years to return to its natal position. But the United States will soon turn 248 and will have a Pluto return in 2022-2023.
To provide an example of Pluto evolution: Slavery existed in the U.S. from 1619 to 1865 — 246 years, and a few years shy of an entire Pluto cycle! (6) And where was Pluto during the slavery cycle?
Pluto was in Taurus, which rules the physical body, property, and assets. Our Pluto-in-Taurus evolution taught us (hopefully) not to own people. Pluto in Taurus also saw the U.S. develop into the materially prosperous nation it is today.
If our Pluto-in-Taurus cycle taught us about property and assets, what is the Pluto-in-Capricorn cycle teaching us?
The U.S. was founded as the result of a break with authority fostered by strong idealism, as represented by the natal Moon in Aquarius. Yet at the same time the country condoned slavery, a clear disconnect with those ideals.
After the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it took 89 years (close to an 84-year Uranus cycle) to end slavery, 144 years (close to a 165-year Neptune cycle) to allow women the vote, and 100 years to establish civil rights.
In 1776, the U.S. parted from perceived authoritarianism, but apparently the habit wasn’t quite out of our national system. As Pluto returns to its natal position 248 years later, it may represent the culmination of the original Aquarian ideals.
In 2015, Pluto at 13° Capricorn opposed the U.S. natal Sun in Cancer. Cancer is about personal consciousness, in contrast to the social consciousness symbolized by Capricorn. Cancer, associated with mothering and emotions, ultimately wants to belong. As transiting Pluto in Capricorn opposed its natal Sun in Cancer, the U.S. once again debated the issue of who “belonged” in the country. This is not the first time this discussion has arisen in the U.S., a country populated by immigration. (7)
Prior to its 2022 return in the U.S. horoscope, Pluto will first hook up with Jupiter and Saturn in 2020 for an enhanced impact in Capricorn. We will have more Capricorn before we have less.
2020 lines up with the next U.S. presidential election. If 2016 was disruptive, 2020 may be the destruction that Madeleine Albright fears. The U.S. may be moving into a different style of government, possibly even different borders, as Capricorn likes to set boundaries.
If Pluto does create destruction in governmental structures for the U.S. and other nations, what might be next?
Pluto’s Next Stop
When Pluto leaves Capricorn in 2024, it will move into Aquarius. It will take until 2040 for Pluto to make it to 27°Aquarius, the degree of the U.S. natal Moon. By this time, the full potential of the U.S. Moon-in-Aquarius idealism may reach fruition.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the planets Uranus and Neptune traveled together, first in Sagittarius, then in Capricorn. There’s a generation born between 1990-1995 that has these two planets conjunct in Capricorn. These individuals are charged with the Herculean task of rebuilding and recreating what Pluto in Capricorn is leveling.
Uranus and Neptune conjunct in Capricorn created disruptions but also idealizations of the structures of society. This group of youngsters experienced several societal and economic disruptions — the dot.com bubble, the Asian financial crisis, the rise of non-state regimes (e.g., ISIS), 9/11, and then a global financial crisis.
Hints of Pluto in Aquarius abound in such things as the rise of hand-held technologies, the breakdown of strict gender roles, crowd funding, and group consciousness through social media. While Pluto may change signs with a great show of drama, energies generally don’t change overnight. Aquarius is already with us.
Astrologers are often associated with predictions of doom and gloom, but doom and gloom are not truly the outcome of any astrological aspect. Astrology is about cycles. How any energy manifests is dependent upon what has occurred in all the prior concurrent cycles of our lives. In other words, we reap what we sow.
While former U.S. Secretary of State Albright fears the destruction of government protocol, and maybe government itself, she may not be noticing the trends of the future.
Do we really want to hang on to systems that have not evolved? Do we hang on simply out of habit and training? Letting go is not easy and is often forced upon us from the outside, and that outside force is often Pluto, whose actions bring us to a necessary regeneration.
(1) PBS News Hour
Bio: Angela Slezak enjoys data and patterns of all sorts, from art to astrology, which she has studied for the past 30 years. The global changes occurring today are particularly fascinating and astrology has an important place in helping us to understand how our patterns and thoughts lead to the present energy. Read her work at Ohio Astrology.
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By Alex Miller | January 23, 2017
It seems the Russian bear may have been ambling through the U.S. electoral process more than we’d like of late. Allegations by U.S. intelligence services emerged as early as the late summer of 2016 that state-sponsored Russian hackers had broken into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, chair of the Hillary Clinton campaign, then given this data to WikiLeaks for public release. A virtually daily drip-drip of leaks continued right up to the election itself.
During the same period, FBI Director James Comey made some startling insertions into the political process, in previously unprecedented ways. In July, Comey held a press conference to absolve Hillary Clinton of any legal wrongdoing in her use of a private email server while serving as U.S. Secretary of State, declaring the case closed with no recommendation to prosecute, but then lambasted her as careless, reckless, and irresponsible with national security. Just ten days before the election, Comey sent a letter to Congress to notify them that an unrelated probe into Anthony Weiner’s emails found material that might have further bearing on the Clinton case, which could potentially be reopened. Two days before the election he sent another letter, notifying Congress that nothing new had been discovered in the Weiner email cache.
Both these unwarranted intrusions into the U.S. presidential campaign, Russia’s and Comey’s, were likely contributing factors in the stunning Clinton loss in November, which catapulted Donald J. Trump into the Oval Office, against all expectation.
In early January both these situations were revisited when a report on Russian hacking activities, ordered by Obama, was released to Congress, and the existence of a highly sensitive dossier on Trump’s connections to Putin and Russia, complied by a British espionage officer, was made public. Congressional and Justice Department investigations into these matters were announced, the results of which should prove highly interesting.
Helping to make sense of this astrologically are several minor bodies of the solar system, asteroids of the Main Belt, which resonate to the names of the principal actors involved in this political drama. These include Russia (#232), Moskva (#787, Russian for “Moscow,” that nation’s capital), and Nemesis (#128), named for the Greek goddess of vengeance and retribution.
Originally, Nemesis’ role was one of karmic balance, a doling out of punishment in consequence of prior bad actions, the sense that no one is able to forever escape justice, but will ultimately pay the price. In modern parlance, however, Nemesis has come to represent anyone or anything that curbs our ambition, prevents our agenda, or simply stands in our way — any opponent, competitor or rival. Asteroid Nemesis played a leading part — as the campaign season rolled out and in the election itself — and its effects are even prefigured in the charts of the principal combatants.
Born on October 26, 1947, Hillary Clinton’s natal Nemesis appears at 27° Libra, within orb of her 2° Scorpio Sun. In many ways, she is her own worst enemy, and classical Nemesis’ emphasis on “self-undoing” is easy to see in the choices she made. Chiefly, this revolves around the decision to opt for a private server for both public and private email correspondence during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. Much of the damage to Clinton’s reputation, campaign, and career can be traced to this single decision, which violated government precedent, regulation, and, subsequently, law. If Clinton had simply followed the rules and used a government server, none of the accruing negative publicity, including the FBI investigation, would have happened.
Nemesis with the Sun indicates that prior bad actions, decisions, or circumstances will carry a price, one that will be paid in due course. We can get a sense of what areas this might involve by looking at the tightest aspect in Clinton’s birth chart, an exact square from natal Saturn at 21° Leo to natal Mercury at 21° Scorpio. This suggests a crisis (square), perhaps including a loss or restriction, or even a penalty (Saturn) that is somehow related to communications (Mercury). It’s a great placement for a policy wonk to have, that is, focused and detail-oriented, engrossed, even fixated, on practical solutions, and Clinton’s career arc shows that she put this planetary team to work efficiently and reliably on numerous occasions. But that deliberate use didn’t preclude the corollary: that there would be hell to pay regarding some decisions.
For our purposes, it may be instructive to look deeper into what else contacts Hillary’s natal Nemesis at 27° Libra. We can almost see the wry smile playing on the “face” of the cosmos when we examine additional PNA (Personal-Named Asteroids) connections, for in close proximity we see asteroid Bernie at 23° Libra! Asteroid Sanders is also broadly conjunct, at 18° Libra — these two asteroids together precisely identify the first major roadblock to Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, the Democratic Socialist septuagenarian Senator from Vermont, who came very close to derailing her candidacy.
But Bernie Sanders isn’t the only embodiment of Nemesis foreshadowed in Clinton’s chart. Incredibly, asteroid James appears at 26° Libra, just one degree shy of exact conjunction to Hillary’s natal Nemesis! Whatever effect Sanders may have had on wounding Clinton in the primaries, it’s indisputable that James Comey made the greater impact once she’d achieved her Party’s nomination. When Comey called a press conference to simultaneously exonerate and excoriate Clinton on July 5, 2016, transiting asteroid James at 21° Scorpio lay exactly atop Clinton’s natal Mercury, bringing out the negative potential of that Mercury-Saturn square. Transit Nemesis at 25° Libra was just one degree shy of Clinton’s natal James and about to make a return to its own natal degree, reinforcing her chart’s inherent potential for self-undoing sparked by someone of that name. (By the way, transiting James was at 21° Sagittarius for the election, exactly conjunct Trump’s natal Moon and opposite his Sun, placing FBI Director James Comey firmly in his camp, by effect if not intent.)
Vladimir Putin is another bad actor in Clinton’s presidential debacle. According to intelligence reports, the Russian president personally ordered the hack on the DNC and the Clinton campaign chair, perhaps in retaliation for Clinton’s denigration of his own election during her time at State. As of this writing, it’s unclear if Putin was pro-Trump or merely anti-Clinton, but his interference may have cost Clinton the election. Regardless, it was certainly a contributing factor. Asteroid Vladimir in Clinton’s nativity falls at 24° Aquarius, in trine to her natal Nemesis and putting it in direct contact with her natal Mercury-Saturn square (transforming it into a t-square). Transiting asteroid Damocles, representing the doom that hangs unseen overhead, was crisscrossing that degree all summer and autumn, coming to station at 20° Aquarius on Election Day itself.
Nemesis dogged the Clinton campaign from the start. When Hillary announced her candidacy on April 12, 2015, transiting Nemesis appeared at 6° Leo, paired with transiting asteroid Whitehouse at 5° Leo, and closely inconjunct transiting asteroid Hillary at 5° Capricorn. But perhaps more powerful was its exact conjunction with transiting asteroid Juno at that time, representing the spouse. Certainly Bill Clinton was a mixed blessing at best for the campaign — his record as president was a good one, but the memory of his personal life and the constant drama of the Clinton years cast a pall. Voters were uneasy with the prospect of seeing him once again in residence at the White House.
Nemesis has one more tale to tell us in regards to the 2016 election. On Election Day, transiting asteroid Hillary, paired with asteroid Lie, was stationary in the heavens at 16° Cancer, turning retrograde four days later. And 16° Cancer just happens to be the degree of Donald Trump’s natal asteroid Nemesis! The ultimate bar to Clinton’s path to the Oval Office, her celestial referent was activating his inherent ability to act as nemesis.
Which brings us to the other half of the story, Russia’s involvement. For over a year, press and populace have speculated about Donald Trump’s apparent fascination with, and approval of, Vladimir Putin. Trump always seems to give him the benefit of the doubt — comparing his leadership style with Obama’s, to the sitting president’s detriment; stating that Putin has always said nice things about him, and so he’ll reciprocate; praising the Russian’s restraint when sanctions were increased in response to his meddling in the U.S. election. Just how far does this political “bromance” go?
Perhaps all the way. Born on June 14, 1946, a look at Donald Trump’s birth chart reveals some startling connections to Russia. Chief among these is the placement of asteroid Moskva, named for the Russian capital. At 22° Virgo, Moskva squares Trump’s natal Sun at 22° Gemini exactly, a possible indicator of a deep-seated personal identification (Sun) with Russia (Moskva) in general. What’s more, this placement exactly conjoins the U.S. natal Neptune (22° Virgo), bringing in elements of subterfuge, deception, even espionage, on a national scale, as in the hacking done by the Russians for Trump’s benefit. Aligned with the U.S. Neptune is its natal Moskva, which at 25° Virgo is close beside Trump’s own; and TNO Chaos, emblematic of the disruption and anarchy Putin attempted to sow in the U.S. electoral process by his intervention. Trump is himself a natural agent of chaos, with his natal TNO Chaos at 24° Pisces in close square to his natal Sun, and transit Chaos conjoined it throughout 2016, and was exact on Election Day.
Trump’s natal asteroid Russia at 12° Aries opposes his natal Jupiter, ruling politics, at 17° Libra, suggesting potential intrusion from that quarter. It was also opposed exactly by transiting Jupiter at 12° Libra on Election Day, providing a final boost to his chances. Transiting Russia at 18° Gemini on Election Day, conjunct Trump’s Sun (22° Gemini), further reinforces the sense that the two are linked, while transiting Moskva at 12° Pisces conjoins transiting Neptune at 9° Pisces, reiterating Trump’s natal Moskva connection to the U.S. Neptune and encouraging ongoing deception and subterfuge.
Natally, asteroid Vladimir appears at 23° Scorpio, just one degree off Trump’s natal IC at 24°, indicating a vital role to play of a foundational (IC) nature, suggesting support and substantive backing. Natal Vladimir is also in a grand trine with Trump’s natal Saturn at 23° Cancer and Chaos at 24° Pisces; this becomes a Kite with Chaos’ opposition to natal Moskva at 22° Virgo. This suggests an easy working relationship (trine) between Putin (Vladimir), Trump’s career (Saturn), and his ability to shake things up in a big way (Chaos), all manipulated by and geared toward the advantage of the point at the “string” of the Kite, Moscow (Moskva), who is here quite literally pulling the strings. On Election Day, transiting Vladimir at 28° Virgo was loosely square Trump’s natal Sun, pulling away from its recent conjunction with the U.S. Neptune.
Going forward, what can we expect of the Trump administration vis-à-vis Putin and Russia? On Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, the Sun at 0° Aquarius sextiled transit Moskva at 3° Aries and trined transiting Russia at 4° Gemini. This suggests a high degree of engagement with the Russian government, sometimes of an opportunistic nature (sextile), sometimes working hand-in-glove (trine). That Moskva degree (3° Aries) conjoins Trump’s natal Eris, named for the goddess of strife and discord, while the Sun/Russia trine becomes a grand trine with the insertion of Trump’s natal Neptune at 5° Libra. Trump’s fascination for all things Russian, should it continue, will likely provoke a disagreeable response (Eris), perhaps pushing Trump into more hidden or underhanded involvement (Neptune). Meanwhile, transiting Vladimir at 19° Libra conjoins both transiting Jupiter at 22° Libra and Trump’s natal Jupiter at 17°, and is also trine Trump’s natal Sun. One expects good times and smooth seas ahead for the Russian president, facilitated at least in part by his American counterpart.
Nemesis isn’t done with the administration either. At 0° Capricorn, transiting Nemesis is coming to conjoin Trump’s natal asteroid Whitehouse at 4° Capricorn; the open question here is whether his tenure in the Oval Office will lead to Trump’s undoing, or the country’s. Given the fact that transit asteroids America at 14° Capricorn and Whitehouse at 22° Capricorn are both within orb of transit Pluto at 17°, the latter seems most likely. In any case, a radical transformation (Pluto) — both of the office of the presidency (Whitehouse) and the country itself (America) — is intimated. What form this takes has yet to be determined.
Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of “The Galactic Calendar,” and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society. His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. His work with deep space points and asteroids appears monthly at DayKeeper Journal. Alex can be reached for comment or services at email@example.com
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By Mary Plumb | December 26, 2016
May all of you, your loved ones and everyone in the whole world have countless moments of blessings, deep peace, laughter, forgiveness, courage, gratitude, lightheartedness and all that nourishes the soul as we turn towards 2017.
Thank you, dear readers, for your ongoing support and interest in TMA. It wouldn’t be the same without you..
Happy New Year!
Tem, Mary, Kate, Nan and the entire team
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By Anne Whitaker | December 12, 2016
A Baby-Boomer comments on Millennials…how brave is that?!!
(But I also talk about planetary cycles…so it’s not all about them. My thanks go to astrologer Jessica Adams for our recent email conversation, which got my brain cells ticking on the ever fascinating topic of the upcoming Millennial Generation.)
I still recall with great clarity my first encounter with planetary cycles in 1983. In the early days of a developing obsession with astrology, still grappling to acquire reasonable fluency with natal patterns, my focus — of necessity — was limited to unlocking the complex symbolism of natal horoscopes. I had no idea that the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction at 6°- 9° Sagittarius that year, trining my 12th-house Mercury, was about to provide a wake-up call.
It came via a wonderful lecture on mundane astrology by the late, great Charles Harvey. “Time is the flowing Image of the Eternal…and the planets are the instruments of Time,” began Charles, quoting Plato’s Timaeus. That hour passed in seconds, or so it seemed. I was riveted. The idea that each horoscope is a unique “chip” of the prevailing planetary pattern, which also symbolizes the ebb and flow of collective and world affairs, was a revelation. Although no great expert in mundane astrology, my fascination with the great planetary cycles’ timing of the unfolding of collective and personal life, and their interweaving, has never waned.
The mighty Neptune/Pluto cycle of 500 years begins whole epochs: the most recent conjunction in the 1890s in Gemini began the Information Age.
The 172-year Uranus/Neptune cycle began at 2°- 3° Capricorn in 1821; the next Uranus/Neptune cycle began at 18°-19° Capricorn in 1993.
Seminal thinkers such as U.S. Transcendentalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817-62) and Germany’s political philosopher Karl Marx (1818-83), whose socialist ideas changed the world, were marked by the influence of the conjunction.
Neptune longs for a new, perfect vision of how life could be; Uranus breaks down the old order in ways never before envisaged, letting those new vistas take shape, paying little attention to the ensuing chaos. Those long cycles are change-makers, ensuring that nothing stays the same shape for long, either in our personal lives or the patterns of the Big Picture.
The start of the 1821 Uranus/Neptune cycle saw Karl Marx’s early life and growth to maturity. The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, when Saturn in Capricorn joined Uranus and Neptune at the end of that cycle (and the seeding of the new one in 1993) saw the collapse of the Communist system birthed by Marx’s ideas.
Each generation bears its own stamp. The most recent Uranus/Neptune group began to appear with the applying conjunction in 1986 in late Sagittarius/early Capricorn; the two planets stayed in close range of each other throughout the sign of Capricorn and the middle of Aquarius until 1999. (1) They are the ones now rising with the new Millennium, as we Pluto-in-Leo baby-boomers sink slowly into decrepitude and irrelevance…no doubt kicking and screaming as we go.
The Millennials are the future. So what can they expect, and we expect from them, as the new world order recently birthed by Uranus/Neptune arises and takes shape? I wonder who will prove to be their Marx equivalent? I wonder who will be their Thoreau? Here are a few brief thoughts, which I hope will stimulate yours!
The 20-year Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions, the “Great Chronocrators,” or Rulers of the Ages, are “concerned with the formation of our sense of social purpose and direction, our quest for concrete achievements in the world.” (2) The next Jupiter Saturn conjunction in 2020, which grows closer and closer in late Capricorn throughout that year, finally reaches exactitude at 0° Aquarius at the winter solstice. (Their previous conjunction, at 23° Taurus in May 2000, was the last in the earth element for around 800 years.)
Next, Pluto shifts from Capricorn into Aquarius in 2024, beginning a long trine aspect to the 1892 Neptune-Pluto conjunction in Gemini, bringing more air. The next Uranus-Neptune conjunction, in 2165, will take place in early Aquarius, their first meeting in the air element for a thousand years.
Thus, since 1980, when the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction at 5°- 8° Libra entered the air element for the first time since its last entry in the 12th century, we have been moving gradually into an air-dominated era, with the sign of Aquarius in high focus. We are moving from an emphasis on material development and planetary exploitation (characteristics of the Industrial Revolution and the materialistic culture which arose) to one of global social development — of ideas, information, communication, and relationships expedited by technology — for the coming 200 years or so. (3)
This upcoming Uranus/Neptune generation, with its Capricorn/Aquarius mix, are a challenging bunch. They aren’t inclined to be gullible: Saturn’s influence, via his rulership of Capricorn and Aquarius, sees to that. They like proof. My 23-year-old nephew, just having finished a Politics degree and currently doing a Masters in Overseas Development, is very much like that. He is interested in astrology and very open-minded, but I have to present the subject to him with grounded clarity. I like that challenge!
The young folks whose charts I have read are having to learn to dance on a wobbly board, as it were: Capricorn craves order, whilst Uranus is bored by it and Neptune loves to dissolve it to see what lies in the open spaces of spirituality and imagination.
This generation will thus be arriving at maturity as the energy patterns dominating collective life shift from an earth element base to an airy fundament. The dominant sign energy, as we have seen, will be airy, collective, revolutionary, idealistic Aquarius. We are already seeing the early brushstrokes of this upcoming era, with the fast rise of the Internet and social media over the last decade, and with it young people who are expert at surfing those new cultural waves.
Let’s hope this Millennial generation arising, then their children, will slowly create a new kind of global interconnectedness: perhaps, even, a way of living which is not rooted in the despoliation of Mother Earth.
(1) Editor’s note: The author is using a 10° orb for the conjunction, both applying and separating.
(2) Quote from the article Jupiter-Saturn Astrology by Greg Bogart.
(3) The Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions fall in the same element (with very slight deviation) for approximately 200 years.
(This blog originally appeared on Anne’s site. We greatly appreciate her offer to reproduce it for TMA‘s blog.)
Bio: Anne Whitaker is a writer, astrologer, and astrology teacher based in Glasgow, Scotland. She holds the Diploma from the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London, U.K. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter @annewhitaker, at Astrology Questions and Answers and email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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By Pat Paquette | November 15, 2016
As Donald Trump was walking to the podium to give his victory speech, it looked to me like he was about to cry. (1)
Perhaps it was simply fatigue. After all, it was 3:00 a.m. and the end of a grueling campaign that would have exhausted anyone, let alone a 70-year-old man. Even so, with the ultimate spotlight upon him, you would think a Rising Leo would be beaming ear to ear.
Maybe, like everyone else, he was in a state of shock. Only two weeks earlier, his own pollster conceded that he was way behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the odds-on favorite. (2) The abrupt reality that in six weeks he would be responsible for running the most-powerful nation on earth had to have been sobering, enough to humble even a billionaire business tycoon of the greatest, most amazing immodesty.
Trump’s brief address was uncharacteristically gracious, conciliatory, and restrained. Although it couldn’t erase 18 months of divisive rhetoric, it garnered cautious support from political leaders key to his future success or failure. President Barack Obama set the tone in an address to the nation the day after the election, followed by remarks the next day in a joint appearance with the President-elect.
“As I said last night, my number-one priority in the coming two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our President-elect is successful,” Obama said following a 90-minute meeting with Trump that was scheduled to last half an hour. “And I have been very encouraged by the, I think, interest in President-elect Trump’s wanting to work with my team around many of the issues that this great country faces.” (3)
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent who ran as a Democrat against Clinton in the primaries, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the progressive Democrat from Massachusetts, both said they would be willing to work with Trump. “To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him,” Sanders said. “To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.” (4)(5)
For his part, Trump indicated that he would rely on Obama’s counsel — a revelation that can’t have pleased Republican leaders hard at work on an agenda they hope will fly through the Republican majority in both houses of Congress. (6)
It’s too early to tell how much of it Trump will go along with. Already, he’s softening his positions on hard-line campaign statements, such as repealing Obama’s healthcare legislation and prosecuting Clinton. After months of calling her “Crooked Hillary” and suggesting she should go to jail, he now says it’s not a priority. (7)
For all practical purposes, all bets are off on what a Trump administration will do. The pundits have been making predictions for months, even though very few gave him any chance of winning. Even fewer predicted he would get support from liberal lawmakers such as Sanders and Warren. New estimates are coming out daily as information emerges from Trump’s transition team, but circumstances are changing so fast that they may not have a very long shelf life.
Astrologers didn’t fare much better in predicting the outcome of the election. There were some who correctly predicted that Trump would win, but most favored Clinton, including a panel of astrologers at the annual conference of the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR). (8) ISAR President Ray Merriman has some good observations in his latest weekly forecast on how we missed it, not the least of which is that Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote. “I cannot think of a single astrological model that would be able to measure or project an electoral vote outcome with more probability than a popular vote,” he writes. (9)
Maybe we can do better at forecasting his first 100 days in office. There are many charts we could analyze: the chart for the time the election was called for Trump; the inauguration chart; charts for the solar eclipses on September 1, 2016, and February 26, 2017; the 2016 and 2017 Aries ingress charts; Trump’s transits and progressions, and charts for major planetary transits, such as the Mars-Neptune conjunction on New Year’s Day (late New Year’s Eve in western time zones) and Venus retrograde on March 4. Many astrologers will have others, with many different ways to interpret them.
The three I’d like to consider here are for the moment the election was called for Trump, plus transits to Trump’s natal chart on his first and one-hundredth day in office. This isn’t intended to be a thorough analysis but rather a preliminary discussion of the astrological influences at work during the first 100 days of his administration.
The Associated Press called the election at 2:29 a.m. on November 9. (10) The chart has 25°14′ Virgo Rising, with Mercury at 24°53′ Scorpio in the 3rd house of communications, in an applying sextile to the Ascendant and partile quincunx to the Midheaven at 24°36′ Gemini.
All charts Placidus houses, True node
Election called for Donald J. Trump
Nov. 9, 2016
2:29 a.m. EST
Mars is at 0°02′ Aquarius, having left Capricorn less than two hours earlier, as the last glimmer of hope for a Clinton victory was vanishing. (11) Mars is exalted in Capricorn, which is associated with the established order. Among its traits are patience, discipline, and respect for the rules. Conversely, Aquarius represents the rule-breaker and upstart, rebellions, shocks, and upsets. With Uranus in Mars-ruled Aries since late May 2010, world affairs already were in a volatile state. (12) We can expect major upheavals between now and December 19, when Mars enters Pisces. However, even after Mars enters laidback Pisces, there will be more surprises, possibly in the form of shocking secrets revealed to the public.
On January 27th, just a week after Trump takes office, Mars will enter its own sign of Aries. At the solar eclipse at 8°12′ Pisces on February 26, Mars will be conjunct Uranus by exact degree, in an ominous cardinal T-square with Jupiter and Pluto reminiscent of global civil unrest in 2013 and 2014.
Another standout feature of the election night chart is the close conjunction of Neptune with the lunar South Node at 9-10° Pisces, and the Moon in an applying conjunction. Neptune represents confusion and possibly deceit, although the fog is so thick that even when you know it’s concealing something, you just can’t see it — maybe because there’s nothing there after all. At times like this, we need reliable instrument panels, because we can’t trust our own eyes and ears. Unfortunately, anything with electronics can be hacked. Until the fog lifts, we need to proceed with caution, concentrate on remaining stable and upright, and remind ourselves that we don’t know what we don’t know.
Mars conjoins the South Node at 5° Pisces the day after Christmas, crosses 9° Pisces on New Year’s Eve, and conjoins Neptune on New Year’s Day. If there were any irregularities in the election or other unforeseen consequences, these are key dates to watch.
Much already has been written about the Inaugural chart for the United States, so I will only mention a few points. The Inauguration is always held on January 20 at noon. (13) This means the Sun is always in the first or second degree of Aquarius, and Taurus will always be on the Ascendant.
Jan. 20, 2017
12:00 pm EST
The Inaugural chart features a stellium of Neptune, Venus, and Mars in Pisces, plus Chiron and the lunar South Node. I realize how contentious this election cycle has been, with passionate arguments on both sides. Maybe, just maybe, it’s a good sign that Chiron, the planet of wounds and healing, is snugly tucked between Venus and Mars, which represent the polar opposites of female and male, all in Pisces, the sign of unity and compassion. Of course, Pisces isn’t the fish, but the fishes, whose negative characteristics include excessive secrecy, passive-aggression, addiction, escapist behavior, and feeling that one is always the victim.
One additional point worth mentioning is that the Inaugural chart has no retrograde planets, which is relatively rare and bodes well for the new administration. Inauguration Day happens to fall within a four-week window that is the only period of the entire year when all of the planets are direct.
There also has been enough written about Trump’s natal chart that it’s not necessary to go into a lot of detail here. (14)
Donald J. Trump
June 14, 1946
10:54 a.m. EDT
The one thing worth repeating is the conjunction of his Sun, lunar North Node, and Uranus in Gemini. Sun-Uranus people display many characteristics we associate with Aquarius. There’s no denying that Trump can be shocking and that he’s anti-establishment. For those who wonder how any of his supporters could see him as an “outsider” when he’s one of the billionaire class that has reaped most of the benefits of the economic recovery while working families struggle even harder to make ends meet, remember that many top Republican leaders refused to endorse him precisely because he’s not a member of their “club.” In short, he’s not a Davos Man. (15)
Let’s turn to Trump’s transit charts for his first day in office and his 100th day. Technically, it’s the 101st, which just happens to be the day of the Full Moon in Libra, but it’s in the wee hours, well before the start of his 101st workday.
In the debate over who would win the election, much was made of Saturn’s pass over Trump’s Moon at 21° Sagittarius. Saturn transits usually occur in three phases. In Trump’s chart, the first pass falls on December 30, just as transiting Mars is closing in on the conjunction with Neptune mentioned above.
Donald Trump/transits for Inauguration
Bi-wheel: Inner: Donald Trump, natal
Outer: Inauguration Jan. 20, 2017
Saturn stations retrograde at just under 28° Sagittarius on April 5th and stations direct on August 25, two seconds from Trump’s Moon. That means he will have a prolonged Saturn-Moon conjunction, within 5° of exactitude from May 22 to November 16, 2017, and in a partile conjunction from July 24 to September 26. Saturn’s second and third pass over his Moon essentially will be a 12-day conjunction in late August, during which there is a total eclipse of the Sun directly over the United States — the so-called Great American Eclipse. I don’t know about you, but I’m all in favor of making American Eclipses Great Again!
The Saturn-Moon conjunction happens once every 29 years and is generally regarded as a depressing and lonely time. Trump might not feel so great about himself, which is easy enough to imagine of someone who has taken on a gargantuan job for which he is ill prepared. His confidence in his ability to forge deals could be badly shaken in the first 100 days, as could his confidence overall. He won’t be able to ignore the advice of staff and wing it, as he did during the presidential debates. And while he campaigned on “draining the swamp” of political insiders, those people know their way around Washington politics, and Trump could find himself in the weaker position.
We don’t know the “real Donald Trump” and so don’t know whether he really thinks he’s as great as he lets on. But if he does, the Saturn-Moon conjunction could bring a real come-uppance – not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Ultimately, this could be a profound growth experience for him.
On the brighter side, he will be in the midst of a Jupiter return on Inauguration Day. This is another transit that usually happens in three phases. The first pass will be on December 4, 2016. By Inauguration Day, Jupiter will be slowing to its station retrograde at 23° Libra on February 5, in a tight square with Trump’s natal Saturn. This could help him meet challenges, particularly in choosing advisers. It won’t be surprising if he goes through several major personnel changes (as he did in his campaign) before assembling a team he’s comfortable with and that’s comfortable with him. With transiting Uranus opposing natal Jupiter and squaring natal Saturn, there could be some serious shakeups, and it won’t take long for embarrassing internal conflicts to be leaked to the media. There also will be adjustments to his everyday life that he could find confining and irritating. Sagittarius Moon needs freedom, but President Trump will not be free to go anywhere he wishes, whenever he wishes, and his personal life is going to be in a fishbowl.
Despite the overwhelming challenges, there are indications in the charts that President Trump’s first 100 days in office could be surprisingly successful. While Saturn on his Moon may bring a constant barrage of discouraging criticism and negative press, and with the stress of a T-square to his natal Saturn suggesting constant upheavals in staff and surroundings, there is an ace in the hole: Transiting Jupiter and Uranus, (while squaring natal Saturn) also form a tight trine/sextile to his Sun-Uranus conjunction. If he does manage to make good on some of his campaign pledges to help the suffering middle class, he will get the credit for it.
By the Full Moon at 21°32′ Libra on April 11, Trump will be two days away from the second pass of his Jupiter return, and the Full Moon in Libra will reinforce the “mystic rectangle” formation with Sun and Moon conjunct the North and South nodes of the Moon.
Donald Trump/April Full Moon
Bi-wheel: Inner: Donald Trump, natal
Outer: Full Moon April 11, 2017
If he can climb the steep learning curve between now and Inauguration Day and also find a way to allay fears that hate groups will have free rein during his presidency, his first 100 days will give him the momentum he’ll need to make it through what’s sure to be an intense summer, when the eyes of all the world will be on him.
(1) Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Victory Speech, C-SPAN, Nov. 9, 2016.
(2) Kellyanne Conway Says It’s ‘Disappointing’ Some GOP Leaders Are Not Voting for Donald Trump, ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos, Nov. 8, 2016.
(3) Remarks by President Obama and President-elect Trump After Meeting, Nov. 10, 2016.
(4) Sanders Statement on Trump, Nov. 9, 2016
(5) Read Elizabeth Warren’s speech about working with President-elect Donald Trump, by Nik DeCosta-Klipa, boston.com, Nov. 10, 2016.
(6) GOP Congress Begins Crafting Agenda for President Trump, by James Arkin, Real Clear Politics, Nov. 10, 2016.
(7) Trump and advisers hedge on major pledges, including Obamacare and the wall, by Jose A. DelReal, Nov. 11, 2016
(8) Astrologers Align Against Trump, by Edward Snow, Astrology News Service, Oct. 20, 2016.
(9) Raymond Merriman’s Weekly Preview for 2016-11-14, The Merriman Market Analyst, Nov. 12, 2016.
(10) The Latest: Trump promises ‘I will not let you down’ The Associate Press, Nov. 9, 2016.
(11) Mars entered Aquarius at 12:36:28 a.m., November 9.
(12) Uranus entered Aries on May 27, 2010, but stationed retrograde a month later and returned to Pisces in mid-August. It re-entered Aries on March 11, 2011, and will remain there until May 2018.
(13) Unless the President-elect has an astrologer who insists on fine-tuning the Inaugural chart to the arc second. Incidentally, if January 20 falls on a Sunday, the president is sworn in officially in a private ceremony, and the public celebration takes place on Monday.
(14) Donald J. Trump, June 14, 1946, Jamaica, N.Y. Rodden Rating AA, BC/BR in Hand.
(15) “Davos Men” refers to an elite group of wealthy (predominantly) men exemplified by members of the World Economic Forum, which hosts an invitation-only annual meeting in the winter in Davos, Switzerland. From Wikipedia: “According to political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, who is credited with inventing the phrase ‘Davos Man’, they are people who ‘have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the élite’s global operations.'”
Wikipedia: World Economic Forum
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By Pat Paquette | October 31, 2016
Astrologers are always arguing over something, and it’s not uncommon for a debate to devolve into a food fight. Even so, it’s a safe bet that no one ever compared another astrologer’s data to a [rhymes with spit]-burger until the recent brawl over Hillary Clinton’s birth time. (1)
I won’t take up space recapping the chain of events, which Eric Francis covered commendably in a TMA blog post on October 4. (2) If you weren’t following the exchange, you might want to take a few minutes to read his account. This article picks up where his report left off and addresses some issues that didn’t get resolved in the radio silence following collector Marc Penfield’s startling admission that he had fudged some of the details.
I was following multiple threads on Facebook and online discussion forums. Amid the torrent of accusations and blame-shifting, a link to a particularly lucid observation caught my eye:
“We astrologers are more than a bit conflicted on the point of criticizing our own. I have a letter on my desk from a well-known astrologer who writes, ‘It is so destructive for astrologers to carry on such a vendetta when we should be supportive of each other.’ I might respond, ‘It is so destructive for astrologers to present data that they can not substantiate. I would rather know when a colleague has a blemished record, in order to make up my own mind as to whether they can be trusted.’
“I totally agree that it is really tacky to call someone a liar. At the same time, a valid point remains. Whenever there is any question of validity of data, the issue may only be resolved with hard evidence. When data is questioned, it must be presented as C data: “Caution, source not confirmed.” Period. No editorial. No name-calling, no defamation of character. The bottom line on this point is, don’t just tell me the data came from B.C. I want to know who has the B.C. Who sez so?”
You might be thinking, “I was following this whole thing very closely, and I don’t remember reading that.” Well, that’s because the astrologer who wrote it is dead. In fact, it was written 17 years ago and had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. The writer was none other than Lois Rodden herself. The above quote is from an essay posted on Astrodienst, which acquired Rodden’s company, Astro-Databank, five years after her death in 2003. (3) Until finding the link to her article in a Facebook comment, I’d never read it. I reckon that many others haven’t either.
Preceding the above paragraphs is Rodden’s description of the circumstances that led to her commentary:
“Recently an astrologer gave out two data over the ‘net for which he stated that he had the [birth certificate]. He further claimed that two astrologers had seen the B.C., but for reasons of confidentiality, no one else would be permitted to see the documents. Others responded that it was impossible to get a birth certificate from these states and a debate exploded about whether or not the data was accurate or a sham. If the alleged documents may not be examined by someone who could compare them to other actual documents on file, it remains suspicious. Some of the correspondents presented valid evidence of prior deceptions, but some became ugly with personal aspersions — responded to by threats of legal action.”
What I found most remarkable, other than that Rodden was describing the current clash almost exactly, was her clarity. Does a birth time meet the reliability test or doesn’t it? If it does, great; if it doesn’t, end of story. Insisting that it does and twisting the rules to fit is guaranteed to piss off a lot of people. It was as though Lois heard what was going on and threw a hammer through the transom from the other side.
As Eric Francis noted, the most obvious problem with Penfield’s “true birth data” for Hillary Clinton was the lack of documentation; not simply inadequate documentation, but none at all. Penfield claimed to have called the Illinois Vital Records Division and persuaded a clerk to play a game in which he would give times, and she would say “no” if he was wrong but remain silent if he was right. According to Penfield’s original story, the clerk remained silent when he gave 2:18 a.m.
Setting aside for a moment Penfield’s retraction three weeks later, it’s difficult to understand how any professional astrologer could claim that the elusive key to Clinton’s birth time had been found. Accusations began to fly about the motivation. Was it a cheap publicity stunt by ISAR (International Society for Astrological Research) to sell its upcoming conference? It’s a reasonable question, but from that point on, the debate descended into an ego battle, making it difficult, if not impossible, to have an objective discussion about whether the birth time met Rodden’s rules for anything higher than a DD rating.
Back in February, I wrote a post for the TMA blog challenging an alleged birth time for Bernie Sanders that had been circulating the Internet. (4) It was incomprehensible to me that anyone would have taken it seriously, when it supposedly came from an unnamed source claiming to have seen a chart 30 years ago that he got from Bernie’s girlfriend at the time, also unnamed, and since he didn’t recollect the exact degrees, he rectified it to 12:27 p.m. Even Astro-Databank fell for it briefly, inexplicably giving it an AA rating. Better judgment prevailed and they downgraded it back to X (date without a time).
After the post went live, there were comments around the web by folks who were absolutely positive that the 12:27 p.m. time was accurate, because it fit him perfectly and the chart “worked.” My favorite was by a blog reader who commented that while The Mountain Astrologer was disregarding the time, it came from “many sources,” including a chart done by Bernie’s former girlfriend, “who would most definitely know.” By “many sources,” the reader meant it had appeared on numerous websites and popular blogs. We can roll our eyeballs at the lack of critical thinking, but it’s not any worse than the arguments that were used to justify an AA rating for Penfield’s alleged “new” birth time for Clinton.
Again, setting aside Penfield’s eventual retraction, why wouldn’t a time sleuthed from an anonymous records clerk at the Illinois Vital Records Division qualify as AA? According to Rodden’s rating system, AA data “may include quotes from the Registrar or Bureau of Records, Baptism certificate, family Bible or Baby Book.” (3)
Registrars and records bureaus are reliable precisely because they are official government sources. A quote by a registrar or clerk is a citation from an official document, the type of which is specified. When acting in their official capacity, government employees can be quoted by name and title. An anonymous person who answers the phone and can’t be quoted, because giving out any information is illegal, can in no way be considered an official source, nor can silence be construed as a “quote.” Rodden was clear that data must be verifiable: “There is no reason to assume that any astrologer has valid data if he or she does not quote a source that can be backed up with documentation or verification.”
Illinois administrative code also is clear that it’s illegal for Vital Records personnel to give a birth certificate or any information contained on it to anyone unauthorized to have it. That’s pretty much everyone except the person whose name is on the document, parents of minors, and legal representatives. (5)
There’s nothing in the code saying it’s illegal for someone to obtain information. Accusations that Penfield broke the law are baseless, as are charges that he caused the clerk to violate the law and thus lose her job. Even if the clerk had played along, which Penfield later denied, he didn’t hold a gun to her head. Her response was her choice and her sole responsibility. However, there are ethical considerations, which in turn pose a practical dilemma.
Although there’s nothing illegal or unethical about getting information, there is an ethical responsibility to protect the source. The question then becomes how information gained in this manner can be used. The short answer is, “It can’t.” The dilemma of exposing a source to possible disciplinary action versus giving no source at all makes unauthorized data from a registrar totally worthless. It doesn’t merit even a mention, let alone a top rating.
While we’re on the subject of investigative reporting techniques, I need to point out that old-school journalists like Woodward and Bernstein didn’t rely on one “Deep Throat” source for an entire story. Moreover, their editors had to know who they were talking to. I have no idea what the current standards are (there don’t appear to be many), but when I was an investigative reporter in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s, I was required to reveal the identities of my unnamed sources to my editor, who once or twice had to share the information with his boss and corporate attorneys.
When Penfield told a reporter for The Washington Post that his story was “a bit of an exaggeration,” there was a lot of gloating by those who were convinced from the beginning that he made up the whole thing. (6) One enterprising blog reader even contacted Vital Records officials and cited, as proof of Penfield’s mendacity, their denials that information was ever given out over the phone. Well, of course they’d deny it! Does anyone seriously think they’d admit to an illegal violation of someone’s privacy, particularly when that “someone” is the likely future president of the United States? It’s called “covering your ass.”
Penfield’s retraction makes it difficult to believe any part of his story. However, he was consistent all along in his claim to have made the call. Whether he backpedaled because he was threatened by accusations that he committed a crime, or for some other reason, we can never know. Consider, though, that he had nothing to gain by sticking to his story. The only people defending the AA rating were those using it for publicity. Almost everyone else immediately recognized that Penfield’s time didn’t meet the requirements even for a C rating, because it wasn’t the “hard evidence” needed to override all other reported times.
That being the case, and given the real possibility that the clerk who spoke to him might get into trouble, Penfield did the honorable thing by saying he exaggerated, despite the irreversible damage to his reputation. Besides, it wouldn’t be the first time. Frank Clifford, a close friend of Lois Rodden’s, knew firsthand about her issues with Penfield. In a tribute to her following her death, Clifford wrote:
“During my stay at [Lois’s] home in Yucaipa, California, in June 1996, she took me to meet various astrologers, including Ed Steinbrecher, Dana Holliday, and Marc Penfield. Dana became a friend and we had lots of fun chatting and writing over the years. As for Marc, well, I was intrigued to meet him because Lois had spent many years chiding him publicly for what she felt was his ambiguous data sourcing. It wasn’t until years later that I understood that, in her crusade for accurate data, she probably needed a villain, a bête noire. And, for her, Marc fitted the bill.” (7)
In the years that followed, Penfield became more exacting in his data collection and has done some valuable work, including impeccably sourced birth times on Astro-Databank. Clearly, he knows the standards, but for whatever reason, slipped back into his earlier habits.
The decision to promote the 2:18 a.m. time wasn’t Penfield’s alone, though, nor was it he who condescended to astrologers who refused to accept the flimsy arguments in its favor. Yet he was the one who took most of the heat.
In the food fight over Hillary Clinton’s chart, there’s egg on more than a few faces. If Lois Rodden is peering over the transom, what thoughts must be going through her mind?
1. Why Marc Penfield’s 2:18 AM Birth Time Claim for Hillary Is a Japanese Turd Burger Patrick Watson’s astrology blog, Oct. 4, 2016.
2. It’s October 2016 And We’re Still Speculating About Hillary Clinton’s Missing Birth Data by Eric Francis, TMA Blog, Oct. 4, 2016.
3. Lois Rodden, “Data Collecting.” Original publication Sept. 16, 1999, archived on Astro-Databank.
4. The Startling Success of the Insurgent Bernie Sanders by Pat Paquette, TMA Blog, Feb. 8, 2016.
5. Illinois Administrative Code pertaining to birth records. See paragraphs (b) and (g).
6. ‘This is not to be trusted’: Astrologers are battling over Hillary Clinton’s true birth time by Justin Wm. Moyer, The Washington Post, Oct. 14, 2016.
7. “Lois Rodden – a personal and professional recollection,” by Frank Clifford, The Astrological Journal, journal of the Astrological Association of Great Britain, Nov/Dec 2013.
Bio:Pat Paquette is a writer, editor, and astrologer living on Vashon Island, WA. After eleven years of astrology blogging, she is taking a break to devote more time to a new project in the works. A collection of her past articles can be found on her website, RealAstrologers.com.
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By Mary Plumb | October 17, 2016
On October 13, 2016, Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature, the latest of many awards and tributes in his life. As in any horoscope, especially in someone so prolific, there are many astrological points that we can trace in his biography; I will mention a few highlights in this brief sketch.
He was born Robert Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. (1)
May 24, 1941
9:05 p.m. CST
Placidus houses, True node
He was born with Sagittarius rising on the day before the New Moon — the Moon is in Taurus and the Sun in Gemini. Mercury and Venus are also in Gemini — trickster, wordsmith, nimble minded-one, and bringer of the news are within Gemini’s sphere.
Mercury is strongly dignified in the horoscope. It’s in Gemini, the sign it rules, it is also triplicity ruler and in an angular house where it has emphasized power to express itself.
If you were a young person in the 60s, The Times They Are A-Changin‘ (1964) was the call you had been waiting for.
“Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
Cause the times they are a-changing” (2)
(The Uranus-Pluto conjunction was exact for the first time in 1965. Bob Dylan has the natal the Uranus/Pluto midpoint at 29°30′ Gemini, and the North Node at 29°52′ Virgo, both on the Aries Point.)
Astrologers know that Gemini collects, differentiates and reassembles.
David Remmick encapsulates Dylan’s lyrical diversity in a tribute in The New Yorker: “The songs—an immense and still-evolving collected work—are the thing, and Dylan’s lexicon, his primary influence, is the history of song, from the Greeks to the psalmists, from the Elizabethans to the varied traditions of the United States and beyond: the blues; hillbilly music; the American Songbook of Berlin, Gershwin, and Porter; folk songs; early rock and roll.” (3)
A significant astrological marker in his early biography was in 1962 when natal Mercury was immensely highlighted — the solar arc directed Sun came to natal Mercury at 23° Gemini.
His first album, Bob Dylan, came out in March 1962 and in August 1962 he legally changed his name to Robert Dylan.
In Martin Scorsese’s 2005 documentary No Direction Home, Dylan describes his early life in language that captures his natal Balsamic Moon phase: “I had ambitions to set out and find, like an odyssey or going home somewhere… set out to find… this home that I’d left a while back and couldn’t remember exactly where it was, but I was on my way there. And encountering what I encountered on the way was how I envisioned it all. I didn’t really have any ambition at all. I was born very far from where I’m supposed to be, and so, I’m on my way home, you know?” (4)
The wanderer, the mystic, the traveler pulled towards some as yet unrealized future are some qualities of the Dark Moon phase birth. An unusual artistry and a deeply individuated life path are also common with a natal Balsamic Moon.
A brief note in testament to the exalted Moon in Taurus: In 2005 in an interview, Dylan’s son Jakob said: ” My father said it himself in an interview many years ago: ‘Husband and wife failed, but mother and father didn’t.’ My ethics are high because my parents did a great job.”(5) (His parents had divorced in 1977.)
When asked about his name change in a 2004 interview, Dylan said: “You’re born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself. This is the land of the free.” (6)
Here’s a planetary signature that speaks to this quote: the Sun/Moon midpoint (27°30′ Taurus) is on the Uranus/Jupiter midpoint (28°08 Taurus’).
And a funny story (perhaps an echo of natal Mercury 23°02′ Gemini square Neptune 24°56′ Virgo): “Dylan famously turned the Beatles on to marijuana, at the Delmonico Hotel, in August 1964. Before they all smoked, the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein told Dylan that the band members hadn’t tried the drug before. Dylan was shocked: He’d been mishearing the line ‘I can’t hide’ in the chorus of ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ as ‘I get high.'” (7)
Take a change from the usual channels and listen to some songs:
(1) Bob Dylan, May 24, 1941; 9:05 p.m.CST; Duluth, MN. AA data. Astro-Databank
(2) The Times They Are a-Changin‘ lyrics © Bob Dylan Music Co.
(3) The New Yorker
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By Eric Francis | October 4, 2016
It’s been an interesting week to be an astrologer. It all started when The Wall Street Journal published an article on September 29, Who’s Demanding to See Hillary Clinton’s Birth Certificate? Baffled Astrologers
That would be us. Astrologers are the new birthers.
As if on cue, The Wall Street Journal did its once-per-11-year front-page article on astrology. The last time was their piece on how astrologers were responding to the demotion of Pluto and the naming of Eris (that was in August 2006).
While the rest of the political dialog swirled around Donald Trump’s $900 million write-off, his tax returns, and his comments about an allegedly zaftig Miss Universe, the astrology world was abuzz with a newly revived discussion about Clinton’s missing data, thanks in part to Dow Jones and Company.
Why exactly is WSJ the only mainstream news outlet that takes astrology seriously enough to write a real article every now and then? Maybe they have fond memories of Evangeline Adams counseling J. P. Morgan about how to be a billionaire.
“There is one crucial detail Hillary Clinton hasn’t divulged to the American people, and it’s driving Michael O’Reilly bonkers,” the article by Yogita Patel begins. O’Reilly, from Bend, OR, has loads of other birth data on major political candidates, but he’s got nothing substantial on Clinton.
“Mrs. Clinton was born Oct. 26, 1947, at Edgewater Hospital in Chicago, Ill., according to the Cook County Clerk. After that, astrologers must play gumshoe to get any closer. There’s decent historical evidence for two times at either end of the day. The Clinton campaign declined to answer questions, ensuring the mystery will continue,” Patel writes. (quotes from WSJ article linked above)
This must be a running joke at both Clinton headquarters and Cook County Vital Records.
The article goes through the litany of birth times and various sources for them. Phoenix-based astrologer Patrick Watson provided the Journal with Clinton’s widely used 8:02 a.m. chart, which the newspaper published in the web edition. Watson used a whole-sign house version of the chart. Score one for Hellenistic astrology.
Although Watson provided the Journal with Clinton’s 8:02 a.m. chart, based on the Journal’s research, it would seem that the 8:00 p.m. time is better documented. With the 8:00 p.m. chart, Clinton would have the last degree of Gemini rising; at 8:00 p.m. and 47 seconds, it would be the first degree of Cancer rising. There are moments when the exact birth time matters, and this is one of them.
“The resulting evening chart, astrologers say, shows strong Gemini-Uranus influences, suggesting an erratic or unpredictable nature. Yet fast-forward the chart to 47 seconds after 8:00, and that could indicate a nurturing disposition,” the Journal informed its incredulous readers.
“There are two disappointing things about this article,” one reader commented. “One, that the WSJ published and printed it.? Two, I learned that I share the same sign as HRC. Keep me away from sharp knives and tall bridges!”
“In an era where the internet rules political discourse, and things which are demonstrably and empirically untrue can alter the thoughts of voters so dramatically, pandering to nonsense astrology is stupefying,” wrote another commenter.
“Nowhere in the article is the premise of these ‘astrologers’ questioned as they should be. You write their ‘conclusions’ without questioning their basis in empirical fact. This article contributes to the disarray in our political discussions. One cannot have rational discussion about irrational beliefs.”
You can say that again.
Adding to a week of intrigue, on September 25th, ISAR (the International Society for Astrological Research) announced that it would be revealing Clinton’s true birth data at its conference in California next weekend.
ISAR’s press release said that data collector Marc Penfield “will reveal the Democratic contender’s time of birth then, and the process he went through to find this KEY missing astrological link for forecasting the 2016 USA presidential election.”
Notably, this revelation was planned for the end of the conference, which would have kept the data concealed for all of the preceding discussions of the forthcoming election.
Other astrologers, not afraid to point out that this looked like a way to get people to come to the conference, put the pressure on ISAR and Penfield to reveal the data sooner. ISAR responded by releasing a video on Sunday, October 1st, in which Raymond Merriman and Shelley Ackerman interviewed Penfield.
Both are well known astrologers: Ackerman is reputed for having obtained Bill Clinton’s birth time from his mother in 1992. Merriman is a noted financial astrologer whose work is actually read by traders.
Introducing Penfield, Merriman said, “Marc has rocked the astrology world with the revelation of a new birth time for Hillary Rodham Clinton, the time that we’ve been seeking for so many years as astrologers.” Merriman said that this would be AA (double accurate) data based on a birth record.
Penfield, in the interview, said that this was actually old data, first published in March 2008 in the AFA Journal. He started with the story of how 2:18 a.m. data purportedly originated with an unnamed cousin of Hillary Clinton, who, in turn, got it from Clinton’s mother.
However, he added that he got the same data from Zayin Cohen, who claimed to have got it from the Court Clerk of Cook County, Illinois. (Other versions of this legend have him getting the data from an unnamed source in “Israeli intelligence.”) Several political astrologers I spoke to said that over the years, Cohen has given out three different times for Clinton’s birth (1:18 a.m., 2:08 a.m. and 2:18 a.m.).
Penfield said, “I called the records office in Springfield, the state capitol, and I asked the gal there to verify this birth time for me. I knew that she could not give me the information verbally over the phone. So we worked out a deal which a lot of reporters do whereby if I’m wrong, you tell me so, and if I’m right, say nothing.”
Using this method, he determined it was a morning birth, thus eliminating 8:00 p.m. and 8:02 p.m. Then, he said, they went through a number of questions: “We worked around a couple of other times and I got down to 2:18, at which point she said nothing.”
“We saw that in All The President’s Men. Woodward and Bernstein used that device as well,” Ackerman said.
“This is a trick that reporters use all the time!” Penfield added. However, Penfield did not claim to have recorded the discussion, which would be required by most fact-checkers and editors. Many apps make this easy from a cell phone. He does not have anything on paper.
Patrick Watson, the Phoenix-based astrologer, said this scenario seems implausible, because revealing private records in the State of Illinois is a felony carrying jail time and a $25,000 fine.
So, it would seem that something intended to resolve the controversy over Clinton’s birth time has only added to it.
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