TMA This Week

July Aspects and Astrology

By Kelly Surtees | June 29, 2015

July starts with a stunning nighttime visual as Venus joins Jupiter at 21° Leo. This pretty conjunction can be seen shortly after sunset, and will be best viewed in the first half of July. Look west and enjoy the celestial show.

As Venus appears to hang in the sky, slowing down for her upcoming retrograde, energy builds. Desires, dreams, and needs around relationships may deepen or intensify. Great insights can emerge, especially if you’re comfortable stepping back and turning your attention inward. The Moon joins Venus and Jupiter in Leo on July 18 – 20, adding extra emphasis to the “think big” themes of Venus and Jupiter.

A Venus – Jupiter aspect can arouse a sense of hope and optimism for the future. All things may seem possible, or a welcome and overdue connection may be made. Even though the conjunction peaks at the start of the month, the Moon’s influence may bring a little more of this celestial sweetness to the surface when she joins Venus and Jupiter from July 18 – 20. This infuses the first part of July with a sense of potential. Things that come to mind are the making of a generous gesture and the giving or receiving of heartfelt support. You may be inspired to go beyond familiar limits with loved ones.

This conjunction with Jupiter is one of two important but contrasting aspects Venus will make in the lead-up to starting her retrograde on July 24. After the July 1 conjunction with Jupiter, Venus in Leo will square Saturn at the tail end of Scorpio.

Venus to Saturn: A Relationship Reality Check

From July 12 – 16, Venus will square Saturn in Scorpio, from 28° Leo to 28° Scorpio. This brings the more intimate and profound themes of the Saturn-in-Scorpio cycle to the surface, and may remind you that there is still one layer of Saturn-in-Scorpio themes to excavate. Saturn is in Scorpio until September 18, and will sit at 28° Scorpio for all of July and August.

Venus square Saturn may invite you to put any new awareness you’ve developed since Saturn entered Scorpio in October 2012 into practice. This may involve honouring profound or stark truths, especially in the realm of relationships. Any Venus-Saturn angle highlights responsibilities to others, and can help you question the balance between care for self and care for those around you.

A hard aspect between Venus and Saturn, square or opposition, can bring a relationship reality check, where the truth about what really works — or doesn’t — in some of your most important partnerships may become crystal clear. This clarity highlights what really needs attention and can also help you understand what is irrelevant. Only core issues need raise their hands!

Under Saturn you may need to deepen your commitment, or be honest about where your commitment is waning. One client likened her Saturn to Venus transit to being in “dating or relationship school,” indicating an opportunity to learn, be honest, and make practical or realistic choices. This is not the stuff of romantic fairy tales, but rather the love of real life. It’s the love of balancing budgets and bills, trying to accommodate the needs of different careers, and working around parenting styles that may highlight values that clash. Events in mid-July can help trigger new understanding about commitment, boundaries, time, and promises, particularly in the context of relationships. Negotiations or adjustments may be required.

In terms of aspects, Venus shifts from the generous, upbeat, and optimistic influences of Jupiter, where anything — especially pertaining to dreams, love, and happiness — seems possible, to the serious, grounded, and practical influence of Saturn. You too may swing between hope and reality throughout the month.

Going Further with Venus: Retrograde + the Pentagram

There is a deeper level of meaning to be gained regarding Venus in July due to her retrograde phase, which begins on July 24, at 0° Virgo. Venus retrogrades in a predictable pattern, and her retrograde station degrees trace out a five-pointed star — a pentagram or pentacle — in the zodiac over a longer eight-year cycle.

In fact, through the course of our lifetime, Venus will only retrograde in the same five areas of the Zodiac: Leo/early Virgo, Aries/late Pisces, Scorpio/late Libra, Gemini and Capricorn.

The 2015 Venus retrograde occurs from 0° Virgo to 14° Leo, and runs from July 24 – September 5. Venus retrogrades in almost the same part of the Zodiac every eight years. In 2007, Venus was retrograde between 2° Virgo and 16° Leo, a difference of just two degrees from her retrograde this year. That last Venus in Leo/Virgo retrograde ran from July 26 – September 8, 2007. It’s not as simple as saying the same things that happened then will happen again, but you may notice themes arising in life and love during July and August that are similar to those you explored back then.

Venus starting her retrograde means that she will also be changing her phases in relation to the Sun. Venus phases are a bit technical to get into in this short overview, but if you’re curious, do read this post by Adam Gainsburg.

Jupiter Breaks New Ground

Jupiter moves into new territory in Leo this July, going beyond the limits of his retrograde in December 2014. At that time, Jupiter stationed retrograde at 22° Leo on December 7th.

This month Jupiter reconnects with the later part of Leo and pushes into new zodiacal territory. This can bring fresh possibilities, or may inspire you to stretch into a new opportunity. Jupiter in Leo can bring confidence and the desire to shed more of your bright, authentic light into this world. It’s an exuberant combination that encourages expression and celebration.

If you know your chart, and feel as though you’ve been expanding and exploring the topics associated with the house Jupiter in Leo is triggering for you, you may connect with one final opportunity or invitation around these topics or areas of life this month.

 Mars in Cancer: Juggling

Another feature of July’s forecast is Mars’ entry into the sign Cancer, which will energise this sometimes sensitive, and always conservative, sign from June 24 – August 8.

Mars can find it somewhat uncomfortable in Cancer. While in the sign of the Moon, this fiery, independent planet is asked to turn his attention and efforts toward family and the protection of loved ones. As Mars switches focus from his typically singular mindset and begins to prioritise the needs and care of others, assertiveness on behalf of personal needs and wants may wane.

Herein lies the Mars-in-Cancer conundrum: How do I get what I need while still providing for those I love? It’s this conflict between planet and sign that contributes to Cancer being considered the “fall” placement of Mars.

As a hot and dry planet, Mars is great at creating separation, or cutting ties, especially with people or obligations that may hold back or limit progress. Some of the frustration felt with Mars in Cancer can be the clash between the moist nature of watery Cancer, which wants to keep people and situations together, and the dry, separating quality of Mars, which prefers not to be held, or held back.

Mars in Motion: Aspects to Pluto and Uranus

While in Cancer, Mars will oppose Pluto in Capricorn and square Uranus in Aries. As Pluto and Uranus are moving out of their square aspect, this creates two separate and distinct aspect patterns. Between July 15 and 17, Mars will oppose Pluto (14° Cancer to 14° Capricorn), creating an intense energetic seesaw-like effect. Themes of power and control may be highlighted, especially in relationships.

An opposition pits two planetary forces against each other. Sometimes this plays out in real life as two people or two opposing groups get locked into battle. If a compromise can be reached, or you can channel this angle of pure force toward a worthy goal or project, you may be able to move mountains and smash through obstacles that stand in your way. The challenge will be to rise above a disagreement, or find a functional compromise that allows progress to continue.

The week of Monday, July 6th, when the Sun in Cancer opposes Pluto, may bring a preview of this feisty, frustrated, or focussed energy, preparing the groundwork for Mars to meet Pluto mid-month.

Mars then goes on to create a potentially combustible square with Uranus in Aries, just as Uranus stations retrograde, from July 24 – 27, between 20° Cancer and 20° Aries. This could be a fiery, explosive combination, but may more likely bring simmering emotions to the surface, given that Mars is in Cancer.

While events may reach a boiling point then, this exciting dynamic can also help spark new ideas or provide the courage and daring needed to make a wild decision. Choices and experiences may be surprising, unexpected, or dramatic, but they are sure to add excitement and keep you on your toes. Uranus’ buzz words of freedom, flexibility, and spontaneity may help you work with the changes this alignment is sure to trigger.

Mercury (finally) on the Move

Mercury leaves Gemini on July 8, after more than two months. Mercury will then fly through Cancer, from July 8 – 23, and add intensity to communication matters when he opposes Pluto in Capricorn around July 14 (note that Mars opposes Pluto at the same time). This configuration is also touched by the Moon, who will be in her balsamic phase in Cancer. Intensely deep and profound conversations may arise, as you experience emotions you may feel compelled to act on or express. One of the challenges of Mars in Cancer can be a passive-aggressive style of expression, so if you notice you’re churning inside about something but not expressing it, try to put words to your feelings, even if you only do so on the page.

Then, around July 19th, Mercury sparks off Uranus in Aries  (20° Cancer to 20° Aries), perhaps giving a voice to the wild ideas or dreams of freedom in your heart. A spontaneous declaration may occur, and even if it’s premature, it may be helpful to lay things on the line. A course correction, unexpected adjustment, or last-minute invitation may add spice to life then.

July looks dramatic and offers great potential for change and progress. If you have personal planets or chart points at any of the degrees highlighted, this may be an especially profound or intense month for you. However these planetary symbols manifest in your life, may you find a personally meaningful way to take heartfelt action and seize the day!

Bio:
Kelly is a consulting astrologer, teacher, writer, and editor who works with clients and students around the world. With more than 12 years in private practice, Kelly is experienced, warm, and insightful. She loves exploring astrology’s history as well as escaping into the ocean. Kelly’s passion for astrology is infectious, and her specialty areas include Moon Phases, timing techniques like progressions, and incorporating traditional concepts. She can be found lecturing at conferences throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Kelly holds the Australian FAA Practitioner’s Diploma and is an expat Aussie who lives in Canada most of the year. Website: Kelly’s Astrology

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New Chart for Hillary’s “Official” Official Campaign Launch

By Pat Paquette | June 15, 2015

On June 13th, Hillary Clinton announced the official launch of her campaign for the 2016 presidential election. But wait …

Don’t we already have a chart for the “official” launch on April 12? (Charts for both dates below.)

Clinton explains that her earlier launch was just a “ramp-up” phase, and most of the mainstream media are dutifully reporting it that way, despite the hoopla surrounding the much anticipated launch of April 12. Not everyone is buying it, though. (1, 2)

So, which chart are we going to use? And which chart were we using in the first place? Her campaign web site came online just after 3 p.m. on April 12. However, her campaign manager, John Podesta, sent an e-mail to supporters at 2:33 saying her candidacy was official, and it was immediately reposted on Twitter by one of the recipients. (3) The media got the word days earlier in a press release, complete with a launch schedule with the announcement planned for noon. The Guardian, attributing the information to an unnamed source, didn’t wait and published the story on April 10. (4) Or what about the chart for when she filed the official paperwork declaring her candidacy or signed the lease on her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn? (5, 6)

What is it with Hillary Clinton? Her birth time itself is mired in uncertainty, resulting in a Rodden rating of DD. Astrologers have pondered and debated her birth time for years in an attempt to cast accurate election charts and to get a handle on the woman herself. Ironically, the confusion serves to reinforce the most probable birth time of around 8 a.m., which places her Scorpio Sun in the nebulous 12th house.  (7)

Clinton admitted an identity problem in her first “official” campaign launch, quipping that she was “the most famous person you don’t really know.” Her initial launch didn’t do a lot to address that deficiency, nor did she make a very convincing case for why she wanted to be president. That left her open to harsh criticism, among the most devastating being that her nomination was more like a coronation, with a sense of entitlement. (8, 9)

The re-launch has been described more as a “re-branding,” following a two-month trial during which campaign advisors had an opportunity to evaluate their strategies to portray the former first lady and Secretary of State as more approachable and down-to-earth. In past elections, she came off as aloof and detached. (10, 11)

Clinton’s campaign advisors also have been snapped to attention by the unexpected popularity of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a progressive candidate whose populist message has been drawing large crowds. Considered a nonstarter, Sanders has surged in recent polls, surprising even himself. Clinton’s speech at Saturday’s rally, held on Roosevelt Island in New York, was spiked with references to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, her mother’s difficult upbringing, and “income inequality.” (12)

Just a coincidence? Or is it a 12th-house thing? On her Twitter account, Clinton describes herself as “wife, mom, grandma, women+kids advocate, FLOTUS, Senator, SecState, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, 2016 presidential candidate.” One gets the feeling that she’s trying too hard to be whatever will appeal to voters, or at least what her advisors are telling her will make her more likeable. It’s like the old joke about putting a chameleon on plaid. And her Pisces Moon is the consummate chameleon.

From an astrological viewpoint, the re-launch chart is more favorable for getting a message out. Although both “official launch” charts have Virgo Rising, the June 13th chart has Mercury in Gemini conjunct the Midheaven, with a partile Sun-Mars conjunction in Gemini in the 10th house. Another coincidence? Or did her campaign wise up and hire an astrologer? 

April 12 Campaign Launch, 3:07 p.m. EDT, Brooklyn, NY. Source: The Guardian, see footnote (3)
Hillary April launch

June 13 Campaign Re-Launch, 11:53 a.m. EDT, New York, NY. Source: Hillary Clinton’s Twitter feed.
Hillary June launch

 
Footnotes:

1) “Hillary Clinton’s ‘talking points’ for ‘friends and allies’ just leaked,” by Hunter Walker, Business Insider, June 12, 2015.

2) “The 2016 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet,” by David A. Graham, The Atlantic, June 12, 2015.

3) The Guardian’s live coverage of Clinton’s April 12 announcement provides times via updates and Twitter images.
 
4) “Hillary Clinton to launch 2016 campaign on Sunday en route to Iowa,” by Lauren Gambino, The Guardian, April 10, 2015.

5) A copy of Clinton’s filing with the Federal Election Commission can be found online, with a time stamp.

6) “Hillary Clinton’s Brooklyn – It’s official: She’s signed the deal for a campaign HQ,” by Anne Karni and Gabriel Debenedetti, Politico , April 3, 2015.

7) Hillary Clinton, Astrodatabank.

8) “Hillary Clinton, Polarizing Or Misunderstood, Jumps Into Race For President,” by Tamara Keith, NPR, April 12, 2015.

9) “Good-Bill hunting — Hillary supporters attack de Blasio,” by Michael Goodwin, The New York Post, April 15, 2015.

10) “How Hillary Clinton launched her campaign’s latest phase,” by Anne Gearan, The Washington Post, June 13, 2015.

11) “Hillary Clinton’s journey to Iowa: 1,000-mile road trip in a ‘Scooby-Doo’ van,” by Paul Lewis, The Guardian, April 13, 2015.

12) “Hillary Clinton to #FeelTheBern — that’s Bernie Sanders — in Iowa,” by Jose DelReal, The Washington Post, June 12, 2015.

Bio: Pat Paquette is a writer, editor, and astrologer living on Vashon Island, WA. She has been blogging on astrology since December 2005. Her weekly astrological forecasts appear on the blog of her website, RealAstrologers.com, where you also can find a collection of her past articles.

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June Astrology and Aspects

By Kelly Surtees | June 1, 2015

The featured aspect this June is an electric trine between Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries. Forming across the Zodiac from 20º Aries to 20º Leo, this aspect peaks from June 21 – 27, but it will flavour the weeks leading up to it with excitement and a sense of possibility.

This is the third time Jupiter and Uranus have formed this dynamic aspect. The first time was in September 2014, from 14º–15º Aries/Leo, and the second time in late February/early March 2015, again at 14º–15º Aries/Leo.

Jupiter brings luck, gifts, and opportunities. It describes the rewards you receive for your efforts, as well as those magical moments where you seem to be in the right place at the right time. Uranus shakes up the status quo and invites you to explore exciting alternatives. Uranus demands that you resist tradition and routine and instead experiment with a fresh and unique approach.

Together, Jupiter and Uranus create an energising aspect that may motivate you to take a meaningful leap of faith. Ebertin, in The Combination of Stellar Influences, describes this combination of planets as “optimism, a lucky chance, blissful realisation.” (1) He also notes that they can bring “the ability to have fortunate ideas and to realise them.” According to Ebertin, probable manifestations of Jupiter and Uranus include “fortunate turns in life, a sudden change in destiny, and successful speculation.”

To see how this aspect may trigger your life, locate the houses that hold the degrees of 20º Aries and 20º Leo. The topics associated with those houses are the areas in your life where you can benefit from any bright ideas and breakthroughs that emerge from this lively pairing.

Typically, these two houses will have some themes in common because they connect via the 120º trine aspect. For instance, you might have the sign Aries in the 7th house or on the Descendant and Leo in the 11th house. Similar themes between these two chart sectors involve relationships with others, including social, personal, and professional contacts. If you have Aries on the MC or in the 10th house and Leo in the 2nd house, common themes between these houses would be career and work issues and the income and value (2nd house) derived from your 10th-house role.

As this is the third in a three-part process, June may bring completion or a sense of achievement regarding goals and projects that you first connected with in September 2014, when this configuration began.

This exciting angle between Jupiter and Uranus is energised repeatedly by other planets — Mars, the Sun, and Venus — throughout June.

June 5 and 9: Mars
Mars in Gemini leads the charge, making a sextile to Jupiter on June 5th and a sextile to Uranus on June 9th. The month may start with a bang, or a surge in energy that drives you to take on a new challenge. Confidence and determination may help you overcome any previous barriers to progress.

June 8 and 10: Sun
The Sun in Gemini follows, repeating the same sextile aspects — to Jupiter on June 8th and Uranus on June 10th. New forms of self-expression may emerge, or you might be inspired to implement an innovative project. The need to be authentic and to express more of your true self may help you overcome any fear that’s held you back.

June 28 and July 1: Venus
Venus is moving slowly through Leo, in anticipation of her upcoming retrograde, which starts on July 24th. Venus’ involvement with Jupiter and Uranus, this time via a trine to Uranus on June 28th and a conjunction with Jupiter on July 1st, can add a magnetic quality. Powers of attraction may be heightened or you may be blessed with support and encouragement for a quirky or independent dream.

Two other planetary shifts are worth noting as you contemplate the month ahead.

Mercury Direct: June 11

Mercury in Gemini, currently retrograde, will station direct on June 11th. For the remainder of the month, Mercury will retrace his steps through Gemini, gathering up forgotten ideas or helping to remake connections that have been neglected.

In the days immediately following a retrograde Mercury stationing direct can bring second chances on recently missed opportunities or help you catch up on unfinished business. I like to use this influence in my business to follow up on leads and projects, or discussions that have stalled. Often times, a change in circumstance reveals a revised, and usually better, strategy.

Saturn into Scorpio: June 15

Saturn retrogrades back into Scorpio for one last trek through this intense and probing sign. Saturn is in Scorpio from June 15th to September 18th, giving you one last season (summer in the Northern hemisphere; winter in the Southern hemisphere) to tie up any loose ends relating to the Saturn-in-Scorpio cycle, which began back in October 2012. This adds an air of completion, or possibly a sense of urgency.

Take stock of what you’ve achieved since October 2012 and what goals remain unfinished. Can you reassess how you use your time to help you create closure or a sense of achievement for something important now?

Generally speaking, June is a month during which the planets mostly move through yang signs, especially Gemini and Leo. Yang, or masculine-toned, signs tend to be outgoing, expressive, and active. They want to get things done, initiate forward movement, or take a stand. May you too be inspired to put plans into action under the vibrant skies of June.

Footnote:

(1) Reinhold Ebertin, The Combination of Stellar Influences, Ebertin-Verlag, 1972, p. 172.

Bio:
Kelly is a consulting astrologer, teacher, writer, and editor who works with clients and students around the world. With more than 12 years in private practice, Kelly is experienced, warm, and insightful. She loves exploring astrology’s history as well as escaping into the ocean. Kelly’s passion for astrology is infectious, and her specialty areas include Moon Phases, timing techniques like progressions, and incorporating traditional concepts. She can be found lecturing at conferences throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Kelly holds the Australian FAA Practitioner’s Diploma and is an expat Aussie who lives in Canada most of the year. Website: Kelly’s Astrology

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Review: a new book on the dwarf planets

By Mary Plumb | May 18, 2015

Sue Kientz’s new book, More Plutos, is an encyclopedic volume of (some of) the ongoing discoveries of objects in the Kuiper Belt: “Pluto’s pals” — Eris, Makemake, Haumea, Sedna, Quaoar, Orcus, Varuna, and more.
 
All of the Dwarf Planets under investigation herein, except for the tiny TX, are larger than Pallas, the second largest asteroid. The author makes a case that size does matter and she has found specific themes for many of these new bodies that she elucidates in her book.
 
Kientz suggests that these newly found Dwarf Planets are “the real Trans-Neptunians,” that is, actual bodies in space that Alfred Witte might have intuited when he described the hypothetical planets (e.g., Admetos, Vulcanus, Appollon, etc.) in the early 20th century. 
 
Perhaps it might sound odd until you see what she is up to, but the author’s goal is to simplify astrology. She recounts that Kepler was focused on aspects — not signs or houses — an approach that she takes by tracing specific patterns and repeating themes with a whole new set of bodies.
 
She is a widely-read researcher and acknowledges the work of others, which allows the reader to place her discoveries within the context of what has previously been written.
 
She tells the stories of the discoveries and namings of the dwarf planets, i.e., planetoids. Rather than relying exclusively on the myths connected to the new bodies’ names, or speculating on what their respective (often eccentric) orbits may reveal, Kientz’s work is based on observing the planetoids’ placements in many, many charts. (Before describing a profile for Makemake, for instance, she studied 1,200 charts of events and people over the course of seven years.)
 
Only sometimes has she found the myth associated with the name to be congruent with her observations, which are drawn from many different spheres — events, arts and culture, biographies, etc. — over a long range of time. The earliest event I found is a speculative date for the death of King Tutankhamun (January 1, 1323 BCE); the latest is the deliberate crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 on March 20.
 
The book, which contains a massive amount of research and ideas that are new to many astrologers, is very well designed and clearly laid out, with extensive footnotes for each chapter and an Index. Her chart graphics are unique, but are very easy to follow once you see what she’s doing.
 
Another very helpful feature is her inclusion of many key phrases, followed by chart examples, for each body under discussion. Here are some examples of this shorthand:
 
Makemake:  No One Saw It Coming, They Got Away with It for Awhile
Eris: The Discomforting Other, Eris in the Arts, Eris Behaving Badly and Well
Varuna: To Tell the Truth, Out and Out Liars
Haumea: Boom Goes the Dynamite, Pluto and Haumea, A Love Story
Orcus: Celebrity Obsession, Putting Things in Order
 
The author uses transits and secondary progressions in her many examples of well-known events (including crimes and shocking events) and great successes and setbacks in individuals’ lives. Her research throughout is based on noting “milestone” events (and birth and death) in any chart, whether it is the chart of an event or a person.
 
Along this line of thinking, one of the examples Kientz relates is the milestone event in U.S. history of JFK’s assassination. She traces the patterns of the key dwarf planets by progressing the Kennedy death chart to future (e.g., Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, 911, etc.) and past (e.g., Pearl Harbor) milestone events in the U.S.
 
Her demonstrations of progressing and regressing charts (to “pre-birth milestones”) are fascinating. In a section on the death of King Tut mentioned above (“Charge Up the Super-Wayback Machine”), she looks at significant placements for the day that his tomb was opened — November 26, 1922 — and further dates in King Tut’s lifetime.
 
Throughout the book, Sue Kientz weaves the notion that astrology is based on fractals and is close to being recognized as having a scientific basis.
 
She is an entertaining and accessible writer with a sense of humor. This book has countless ideas and observations that you won’t find anywhere else. I have barely traced the content in this very creative astrologer’s book. It is describing another order of astrology. If you are curious, More Plutos offers a very comprehensive guide to the Kuiper Belt objects.
 
The book is available from moreplutos.com ($29.95) where you can also read samples of some of her previously published essays.

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Ready for Your Close-up, Pluto?

By Ray Grasse | April 6, 2015

I’ve written a number of times over the years about the striking synchronicities that have occurred in tandem with our first close-up views of the planets Uranus and Neptune. In much the same way that the discovery of any astronomical body is widely seen as signaling the emergence of a new state of consciousness into the collective, so our first close-up looks at those planets via hi-tech spacecraft seem to bring their energies into even sharper focus than before.

For example, during the period of the Voyager II fly-by past Uranus in January of 1986, there were news stories underscoring the challenges of high-technology and the legacy of the Industrial Revolution, including the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger the same weekend as the fly-by (the tragedy occurred literally within hours of the photos from the fly-by being processed) and the Chernobyl disaster (occurred not long after the fly-by, on April 26th of that year).

And when the Voyager II spacecraft flew past Neptune, media outlets showcased the mounting sense of dread over the escalating drug crisis taking place in both North and South America, as drug lords openly declared war on the Columbian government the very same day as the fly-by, while President George W. Bush asked American TV networks for air time to address the growing crisis. On a more artistic front, that was also the period when James Cameron’s blockbuster film “The Abyss” had just been released, with a storyline set deep in the ocean. (1)

With that in mind, it’s worth taking a moment to speculate on what we can expect this July, perhaps even all summer, when we’ll get our first close-up look at the distant planet Pluto, by means of NASA’s “New Horizon” spacecraft (scheduled for closest approach on July 14th). Can we expect a similar flurry of synchronistic news events in connection with this planet’s presence? Let’s look briefly at a few possibilities.

On the upside, I’d keep an eye out for breaking news about important discoveries by scientists or historians, due to the “uncovering” aspect of Pluto and its tendency to disclose what had previously been hidden. Archeologically, it could usher in important findings concerning our history as a species or a civilization, or scientific breakthroughs in physics and astronomy. It’s possible we could see the discovery of previously unknown species of animals in remote regions of our planet, or the rediscovery of supposedly extinct “living fossils,” like the coelacanth found by fishermen in 1938. Because Pluto is so remote from the Earth, one wonders whether there is even a chance its close-up could symbolize an important breakthrough by scientists of intelligent life far out in space. (Curiously, a press conference has been announced for May 5th to showcase recently uncovered photographic slides from Roswell, New Mexico, allegedly showing a dead alien body. Whether that turns out to be legitimate or not, the symbolism of the event is certainly fitting, considering Pluto’s association with death.) (2)

On the downside, Pluto also awakens turbulent forces deep in the collective psyche, so the days and weeks surrounding the fly-by could well see a dramatic escalation of the violence and terrorism that has been inflaming the world scene in recent years. Whether that involves ISIS soldiers in the Middle East, home-grown terrorists in our own first world nations, or simply criminal acts of an especially dramatic sort (abductions and hostage situations are particular favorites of Pluto), it’s likely we could see some very unpleasant headlines stoking our collective reptile-brains in a big way. And, of course, since Pluto is in Capricorn, don’t be surprised if we see more sex scandals in the news involving prominent celebrities or politicians!

Whatever the outcome, I’d suggest focusing your attention on the July 10th – 20th period in particular. Stay tuned!

Footnotes:
(1) I discuss the synchronicities of the Uranus and Neptune fly-bys in considerably more detail in my book, Signs of the Times, Hampton Roads, 2002; pgs. 62-64, 156-165.
(2) UFO International Project
 
Bio: Ray Grasse is Associate Editor of The Mountain Astrologer magazine, and author of The Waking Dream (Quest, 1996) and Signs of the Times (Hampton Roads, 2002). His websites are Ray Grasse and Ray Grasse Photography

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Aspects in Focus for April 2015

By Kelly Surtees | March 23, 2015

After the dramatic aspects and energising angles formed during March, April appears comparatively, dare I say without jinxing us all, mild. For most of the month there is at least one planet in steady-as-she-goes Taurus, which can inspire a slower pace, or a more measured approach to events. Jupiter, also in a fixed sign (Leo), stations direct, returning to forward movement on April 7. Progress might take extra time, but it looks like stalled plans, especially those for adventure, discovery, and the search for meaning, may be finally implemented.

The first half of April includes the Sun and Mercury in Aries, both of which will make aspects to Uranus and Pluto. This may bring a little chaos or a reminder that a big change you’ve had in mind is still worth pursuing. Later in the month, aspects to Saturn and Neptune are active (discussed below) and triggers to Uranus and Pluto look potentially productive.

One thing to keep in mind this month is that Mars, traditionally considered a malefic or difficult planet, is in a classically weak condition. Mars in Taurus is the sign of Mars’ detriment. This combination can indicate some challenges, especially with Mars things like action, progress, or wanting to move quickly. A cautious or considered approach can help minimise any difficulties that might arise from a reactive or impulsive decision.

Venus and the Sun will both be in comfortable signs for part of the month. Venus is in Taurus, one of her rulership signs, until April 11. The Sun is in Aries, its exaltation sign, until April 20. This can add strength or vitality to both planets and the things they represent. Each can offer support or access to a particular kind of resource.

Venus in Taurus may symbolise women, little luxuries, pleasure and enjoyment. Your ability to fully indulge any goodness this placement might offer could be limited by the presence of Mars, also in Taurus.

The Sun in Aries can highlight leadership, as well as the passionate or inspired desire to boldly follow a dream or push ahead on something you want. If you want to create progress with the Sun in Aries, it may be best to go solo, rather than wait on others.

Early April: Opportunity + Drama

In the first half of the month, there are two aspect patterns that stand out.

April 2: Sun trine Jupiter, 12°–13° Aries/Leo
This classically lucky aspect can lead to opportunity and growth, or invite you to try an experience outside your comfort zone.

April 5 – 8: Uranus and Pluto, 15° – 16° Aries/Capricorn
During this period both Sun and Mercury will conjunct Uranus and square Pluto, one after the other, like a series of dominos. This occurs just after the Libra Full Moon Lunar eclipse and is likely to be the most dramatic period of the month.

There are two ways people typically respond to this type of celestial drama. If you are someone who normally takes your time with any decision, this may inspire you to make an impulsive or unexpected yet totally right-for-you choice. If you are someone who is often quick on your feet, you might be over-the-top responsive or reactive. Adjust your normal way of operating accordingly!

April: Variety is the spice of life

The second half of April is more varied. I have highlighted seven different aspects that will form, involving the Sun, Venus, and Mars at various times. Mercury is moving quickly through April (almost 2° a day at the start of the month and around 1°30′ by the end of the month), and moves through two entire signs (Aries and Taurus), so discussing his aspects would require a separate post in itself! I have chosen to focus on the other (relatively) slower-moving planets.

Mars in Motion

Aspects from Mars occur the least frequently of those on this list, as Mars moves more slowly than Venus or the Sun. Mars spends approximately six weeks in a sign when moving at average speed, typically visiting each zodiac sign just once every two years. Even though I mentioned that the Mars-in-Taurus combination has a detriment quality about it, we mustn’t be too picky. The house in your chart ruled by Taurus can receive the energy or drive of Mars through this combination, so there is still progress or activation likely around topics associated with your Taurus house in the month ahead.

Mars aspects can be active for one-to-two days before and after the exact date listed. Three aspects that Mars will make this April include:
·       April 12:  Mars sextile Neptune, 8°–9° Taurus/Pisces
·       April 17: Mars square Jupiter, 12°–13° Taurus/Leo
·       April 21:  Mars trine Pluto, 15°–16° Taurus/Capricorn

Creative projects or holiday plans might be highlighted when Mars aspects Neptune. This can be a day of low or reduced energy. It might bring the desire to escape, especially from any situation that causes stress or tension.

When Mars aspects Jupiter, a stretching energy, like that of a tightly pulled elastic band, is activated. This can encourage moving beyond familiar territory or getting out of your comfort zone. Of course, it also includes a caution against excess, since the elastic, if pulled too tightly, will snap back or break. Try to go a little further than normal, perhaps to a point where you feel a little uncomfortable, but not so far from what’s familiar that you feel unsafe.

Mars trine Pluto may be the most productive of all the Mars aspects this April. This might reveal a hidden obsession, but it also highlights the progress that’s possible when you focus exclusively on one goal or outcome at a time. Together Mars and Pluto represent pure force or directed will, and a narrow focus can help you move through a previous barrier.

Venus Delights

Venus spends time in two signs this April — the latter part of Taurus and the first two-thirds of Gemini. Venus moves close to her fastest speed, though by month’s end it begins to slow down in anticipation of her upcoming retrograde, which will occur mostly in Leo starting in July.

Venus makes two aspects in April:
·       April 14: Venus opposite Saturn, 4 –5° Gemini/Sagittarius
·       April 26: Venus sextile Uranus, 17°–18° Gemini/Aries

Venus opposite Saturn can highlight challenges and choices, especially within relationships. (If you’re familiar with your chart, check the houses that hold 4°–5° Gemini and Sagittarius to further personalise the topics that might be highlighted for you.) This is like a see-saw energy, under which your focus can shift. You might need to decide between honouring a commitment and looking after yourself. The idea of an opposition is that you change perspective or see things from another’s point of view. Don’t be shy about adapting as circumstances change.

Venus sextile Uranus can bring excitement and energy, especially in a dating or relationship situation. This is an aspect of activation, where things that have been stuck can start moving. Thus, it’s likely to bring progress or highlight new areas of opportunity. Again, check the houses in your own chart for the degrees noted above. As an example, if either Venus or Uranus is in your 2nd house of money, this might bring welcome progress regarding a financial matter rather than mean something about love.

Last But Not Least — the Sun

The month closes with one final aspect from the Sun, a supportive, flowing sextile to Neptune on April 29, at 9°–10° Taurus/Pisces. This aspect combines planets in signs that are compatible by element, that of earth and water. Together earth and water create mud, which is like comfort. It may inspire you to reach for something that fills your spirit or adds ease to your daily life.

April offers plenty of variety. Many different signs, elements, and modalities are triggered, so there will be an aspect for almost everyone. You can simply enjoy the astro weather as it rolls in and out, or take the time to see how your personal chart may be triggered. Either way, you’ll be better able to make the most of each day with your planet tips in hand.

Bio:
Kelly is a consulting astrologer, teacher, writer, and editor who works with clients and students around the world. With more than 12 years in private practice, Kelly is experienced, warm, and insightful. She loves exploring astrology’s history as well as escaping into the ocean. Kelly’s passion for astrology is infectious, and her specialty areas include Moon Phases, timing techniques like progressions, and incorporating traditional concepts. She can be found lecturing at conferences throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Kelly holds the Australian FAA Practitioner’s Diploma and is an expat Aussie who lives in Canada most of the year. Website: kellyastrology.com

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Russia and 19º Libra

By Smiljana Gavrancic | March 9, 2015

Russia, the largest country in the world when measured by territory, is traditionally linked to the sign of Aquarius, where the Sun (i.e., life, the king) is in detriment. Russia is a country where human heads (Sun) have fallen frequently, as with the last Russian royal family, the Romanov dynasty. (1) In this article, I will begin to trace the importance of 19º Libra, the degree of the Sun’s fall, to events in Russia’s history. (2)

The fixed star Algol is also prominent in Russian charts. In Moscow, the capital city, the first Russian emperor, Ivan the Terrible, placed a guillotine in front of the Kremlin, where heads were cut off, a theme similar to the imagery of the Sun’s fall at 19º Libra. (I mention Stalin’s “purges” (1936–1940) to also demonstrate this symbolism.) (3)


The USSR

Looking at the chart of the founding of the USSR, we find Saturn, ruler of the 10th house Capricorn, in the sign of its exaltation at 19° Libra, the degree of the Sun’s fall. This is a symbol of Soviet leaders who don’t have strong self-awareness, and see danger in everybody  in front of them. This is an image of the very authoritarian Soviet leaders. When the Sun is strong, it works on the principle, “All for one and one for all”; this is a Sun that cannot be defeated, which is how it acts in the degree of its exaltation at 19° Aries. In this chart, we also see that the Moon, representing the people, is located at 23°44′ Taurus, very close to fixed star Algol in the constellation Perseus.

Formation of the USSR
December 30, 1922
12:00 standard time Placidus
Moscow, Russia 55N45 37E35
USSR natal

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Another example of the importance of 19º Libra for Russia is with Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, a leader of the Bolshevik Revolution who founded the communist party in Russia. Lenin was born on April 22, 1870. (4) On November 7th, 1917, when the Bolsheviks seized power, Lenin’s secondary progressed Moon (herein symbolizing the Russian people) was at 19° Libra, the degree of the Sun’s fall. This is an image of the Russian people and their not-so-easy destiny within their country. (Lenin’s secondary progressed Moon was also conjunct Saturn at 19° Libra in the USSR’s founding chart.) (5) As mentioned above, the royal family paid with their lives at the founding of Bolshevik Russia.

Vladimir Lenin natal
April 22, 1870 DD data
21:42 LMT  Placidus
Simbirsk Ujanov Russia 54N20 48E24

Vladimir Lenin natal

Vladimir Lenin, progressed to Bolshevik Revolution, November 7, 1917 Placidus

Lenin, progressed


Saturn return of the USSR chart (2011)

The Saturn return (19° Libra) of the USSR founding chart (1922) was on October 6th, 2011, one day before the birthday of the current Russian president, Vladimir Putin. (5) The Sun in the USSR Saturn return chart is at 13° Libra, the degree of Putin’s natal Sun. This shows the crucial role this man has in the country’s destiny.

Saturn Return for USSR (2011)
October 6, 2011
6:09:01 pm DST
Moscow, Russia 55N45 37E35
Equal houses

 Saturn return Russia 1922 chart

Eclipses
Eclipses are always important,  both in mundane work and at the personal level. I will mention three eclipses in recent history that impact the 19° Aries–Libra axis.

The first was a solar eclipse on October 12th, 1958 at 19° Libra.  This was the period of Nikita Khrushchev, who had an important role during the Cold War.  But a most important event for Russia happened a few years after this eclipse on April 12th, 1961 — astronaut Yuri Gagarin’s journey to space. He was the first man to fly into outer space, fitting the symbolism of a solar eclipse (a new beginning). After a successful flight, Gagarin was promoted and received many awards and titles. However, with the eclipse on the degree of the Sun’s fall, 19° Libra, life is in danger. Yuri Gagarin lost his life a few years later (March 27th, 1968), during a routine flight with another pilot

There was another solar eclipse at 19° Libra on October 12th, 1977. As mentioned above, two years later, the Soviets started the war in Afghanistan, and Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet leader, died after this eclipse in 1982. Both events fulfilled the symbolism of the degree of the Sun’s fall (i.e., reputation, leader, president): The Soviets lost their reputation in the war in Afghanistan, and their leader died.

A third solar eclipse occurred on April 9th, 1986 at 19° Aries. Four years after the eclipse, the USSR came to an end. This activated the axis of exaltation and fall of the Sun (19° Aries/19° Libra), which led to a realignment of power with the last president of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev.

All of these eclipses activated 19° Libra, the degree I am linking to Russia.

My concluding thoughts: The Sun (e.g., president, king, leader) is weakened at 19° Libra; it is necessary, therefore, to work on improving one’s self-awareness. Symbolically, when we purify our Sun (identity), all fears cease to exist, the need for conflict or defense (Mars) perishes, and we then embody harmony and beauty (Venus) and feel secure (Saturn).

Reference:
Mundane chart data from: The Book of World Horoscopes, by Nicholas Campion, Wessex Astrologer, revised 1999.

Footnotes:
(1) “In Yekaterinburg, Russia, Czar Nicholas II and his family are executed by the Bolsheviks, bringing an end to the three-century-old Romanov dynasty.”  (July 16, 1918)
This Day in History

(2) Editors note: A greatly expanded version of this article appears on the author’s web site. astrologsmiljanagavrancic.blogspot.com

(3) The Great Purge

(4) Although this birth data for Lenin is widely used, it has been given a DD Rodden rating.

(5) The author is demonstrating how different charts in a country’s history can “work.” She writes: “The founding of Bolshevik Russia is a chart that still ‘works’ very well due to the fact that the awareness of  the Russian people still vibrates on that level.”

(6) Vladimir Putin, October 7, 1952. Wikipedia

Bio: Smiljana Gavrancic obtained her astrological education at the Institute for Astrological Research and Education “Johannes Kepler” in Belgrade, where she graduated in October 2010, defending her thesis in Mundane Astrology, “European Union – In Varietate Concordia” (united in diversity) and obtained the status of a graduated Astrologer Researcher. In February 2011, she met requirements to work as an Astrological Consultant and in March of the same year, she became an International Certified Professional Astrologer (ISAR C.A.P.).

Smiljana is a member of ISAR (International Society for Astrological Research) and of the Astrological Association of Great Britain.

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Aspects in Focus for March 2015

By Kelly Surtees | February 23, 2015

March is a dramatic month, with plenty of high energy astro activity to keep you hopping. Fire is the dominant element in the first half of March, with a series of supportive trines to encourage progress. This promises action, fast paced evolution and a twist or two to keep life interesting.

In the later part of the month, Venus in Taurus brings a gentle, softer influence. Combined with Mercury at his poetic best in Pisces, both of which link to Neptune and Pluto, the astrological ambiance is more intuitive, romantic, and artistic towards the end of the month.

Jupiter, Uranus, and Excitement
March begins with lucky Jupiter forming an exciting trine with electric Uranus, from 14° Aries to 14° Leo, until March 10. This repeats the trine that first formed between Jupiter and Uranus in late September 2014. It will re-form for the third and final time in June 2015.

Together Jupiter and Uranus have a visionary quality. They can help us see beyond known realities and to imagine results or possibilities that might be out of this world, innovative, or experimental. Rather than following the safe, familiar path, this aspect can be a call to explore, to adventure, and to try something different.

On March 4 and 5 Venus in Aries joins Uranus and also trines Jupiter. Venus’ magnetic quality can add a sweetener to current events, perhaps pointing the way to a solution or compromise. With Jupiter and Uranus working together to shake up things as they stand, by opening minds and dangling a sense of what’s possible, Venus may act as an intermediary to help smooth things over, or highlight the value of holding on to what’s right for you, regardless of the opinion of others.

Just as Jupiter begins to move away from the exact trine to Uranus, Mars will show up. From March 9 – 13 Mars will join Uranus and trigger this potentially positive trine, but will also clash with Pluto, via a fractious square aspect. This period looks to be the most volatile or dramatic of the month. It can stir things up, which, depending on your circumstances, might bring welcome progress or can incite an already hot situation. It’s a little like the match meeting dry kindling. A little nudge and things can take off or blow up. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Uranus square Pluto: For the Last Time
March also brings the final exact square between Uranus and Pluto, at 15° of Aries and Capricorn. This aspect has taken up a lot of ink in the past few years and, while going forward, much will still be said of Uranus and Pluto before this particular configuration, the dynamic opening or waxing square, is done. 

Whether you have a large-scale revolution in mind, inspired by the dramatic upheavals of the 60s, when these planets were conjunct, or whether there’s just one area of your life that needs to be reworked, March 2015 is like the last call at a closing bar.

If you ache for freedom but haven’t yet dared to throw things in the air to make it happen, seize your chance this month. Uranus and Pluto make their final exact square from March 11 – 29. If you have personal planets or natal chart points (like the Ascendant or Midheaven) at 15° of any cardinal sign, this will be the last exact hit of the Uranus transit, though Pluto will continue to energise 15° Capricorn until November 2016. For all of us the winds of change blow strongly through March, and, if there’s restlessness in your spirit, this might be the month you take charge, dive in, and make a bold choice that is totally right for you.

Venus in Taurus and Mercury in Pisces
And after all the fire, which can mean drama, action, and outbursts, Venus lands in lush Taurus. After March 18 things might stabilise, or a bright spot might appear amidst any chaos that has occurred. Venus in one of her ruling signs creates a beneficial or protective energy that can reveal softness, support, or the potential for security.

Venus ultimately wants to unite and to enhance companionship. Finding new ways to connect, or common ground on which to bond, will be possible. Mercury is also in Pisces, a fellow yin sign, from March 13 — 31.

Both Mercury and Venus will aspect Neptune and Pluto, which can provide opportunities for creative or artistic expression, random acts of kindness and compassion, or the possibility of shifting a stuck situation or relationship into something more functional.

Dealing with details might be tricky around March 18 – 19, as Mercury and Neptune join at 8° Pisces. However, this is a lovely aspect for anything soulful, spiritual, creative, or about rest and retreat. Mercury then sextiles Pluto March 22 – 23, at 15° Pisces and 15° Capricorn, which can reveal hidden information or make it easier to talk about typically taboo topics. Heartfelt conversation or creative out-pourings that touch on deep or secret subjects are likely.

If you have a dream to make things, either in a crafty kind of way or simply wanting to make your home or work space more beautiful, the sextile between Venus and Neptune from 8° Taurus to 8° Pisces on March 24 will be ideal for letting your muse out. The boundless touch of Neptune can help release the beauty locked inside Venus, so go with your feelings then. See where the wings of your imagination might take you.

Practical, financial, or relationship changes will be possible when Venus forms a trine to Pluto, at 15° Taurus and 15° Capricorn on March 30. A little push can lead to a profound or lasting change. Since Venus has her full array of talents and resources available, from her position in one of her ruling signs, this may spotlight women, art, beauty, or generally anything to do with being able to provide comfort or small luxuries.
 
Bio: Kelly Surtees is a consulting astrologer, teacher, writer, and editor who works with clients and students around the world. With more than 12 years in private practice, Kelly is experienced, warm, and insightful. She loves exploring astrology’s history as well as escaping into the ocean. Kelly’s passion for astrology is infectious, and her specialty areas include Moon Phases, timing techniques like progressions, and incorporating traditional concepts. She can be found lecturing at conferences throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Kelly holds the Australian FAA Practitioner’s Diploma and is an expat Aussie who lives in Canada most of the year. Website: kellysastrology.com

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Selma

By Samuel F. Reynolds | January 26, 2015

Dr. Martin Luther King, played by David Oyelowo in “Selma,” marches along Selma’s Edmund Pettus bridge for the first march after “Bloody Sunday,” an event that occurred two days earlier and riveted the world’s attention with images of the police brutality against peaceful, unarmed protesters. Now, the marchers, led by Oyelowo’s King, face off against the same state police troopers. Reflecting what did happen in history, the state troopers grandly step aside to let the marchers pass. King kneels in prayer. Everyone alongside and behind him follows suit. Perhaps he kneels, the audience might think, out of gratitude and appreciation, or perhaps to scan the heavens for a sign on whether to move forward. King finishes the prayer, stands up, and moves toward the rear, leading the way back to the church. Most of the crowd seems confused, and the scene in the film that immediately follows is a meeting of mostly younger voices airing their discontent with what looks like King’s utter lack of faith or courage. That day is known by marchers as “Turnaround Tuesday.”

History tells a slightly different story. All of the events of those few days happened as recorded in the movie, except that King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference had planned to go only halfway over the bridge. Going the full distance would have jeopardized a relationship with the only White southern judge who appeared sympathetic to their case. “Selma” dramatically pictures King as a wise general who somehow knows that the state police could be stepping aside as part of a trap — cutting the marchers off from supplies, media, protection, etc. Yet it’s a work of “faction,” a cross between fact and fiction (a term that I mention in the Roots article I penned with Frank Clifford). (1) Although it might have been tempting for King and the marchers to continue on, especially with the state troopers appearing to allow them free passage, King had already determined not to move forward. Lamentably, however, he hadn’t told anyone else beyond SCLC leadership.

This is an important moment because it captures one strand of the film’s DNA about King that is woven through very well. In fact, the film gives a more complex vision of King and the Civil Rights Movement than I’ve seen in most other films.

King, the General and Generous

“Selma” does a remarkable job of highlighting King’s luminaries — his Sun in commanding Capricorn and his Moon in dreamy, sensitive Pisces. The film makes it clear from start to finish that the marches were a strategic part of a Civil Rights Movement, not the furtive, spontaneous pleas of oppressed African Americans for their rights.

Martin Luther King, A data
January 15, 1929
12:00 p.m. CST
Atlanta, Georgia
33° N45’46” 84° W25’21”
Placidus houses, True Node
Martin Luther King, Jr. natal

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was indeed a general in a movement with many officers and soldiers of every stripe who were never officially decorated or even recognized by history as such. There’s been debate about how much of this African American agency was supported or challenged by U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson, especially as presented in the film. (2) However, there’s no question that the movement strategized carefully about the most effective ways to solidify voting rights. (On the books, African Americans already had the right to vote in the Deep South. However, the practice was to frustrate that right with unconstitutional regional and municipal requirements, much like what’s being advanced even now.) (3)

As Oyelowo’s Dr. King prepares to receive the Nobel Prize at the start of the film, he and his wife Coretta Scott King (played by Carmen Ejogo) joke about his promise to her that they would have a quiet life: he would be the pastor of a small Southern town’s church with a few speaking engagements away a year. The awkward moment that ensues between the couple is because they both know the truth — King was never going to be that person. His astrological chart corroborates.

King has his charging Capricorn Sun conjoined his Midheaven. He may not have had exorbitant ambitions, but he was never someone who was going to play it small. In fact, his Sun’s out-of-sign and only slightly wide square to Jupiter and trine to his North Node in the 1st house amply indicate that he was marked to stand out…and to lead. He may not have wanted this life, but the opposition between lofty-minded Saturn, his Sun’s dispositor, and on-the-go Mars indicates that he would likely be a man who would have to learn to do much with a little, to churn his Martian zeal to do many things (Mars in Gemini) into a discipline that prompts deep thought and monumental achievement. “Selma” definitely shows us this King.

The King that America knows best is the one favored by his Moon, the Dreamer, based on the “I Have A Dream” speech he gave to cap the “March on Washington” in August 1963. I memorized and delivered that speech for oratorical contests in grade school. It is the speech we hear most often when we celebrate his birthday or when the spirit of King is invoked to soothe and sort out racial tensions bubbling up in America. The speech was delivered when King was 34 years old. “Selma” captures events during the early part of King’s 36th year of life. He was shot dead at 39. In the span of five short years, the King who delivered that famous, impassioned speech at the Lincoln monument transformed into a different King, one who had a laser-like focus on economic equality and racial justice. (4) Although King’s widely conjoined Moon and exalted Venus in Pisces were dreamy, privately and publicly, and evoked paradisiacal visions of racial harmony, there is another side to Pisces that’s often overlooked. King was not so lofty in his visions for America that he lost sight of the people who were around him daily.

King also had a deep sense of compassion for people’s pain, another thing that this film captures beautifully. I had never given as much thought to the pathos and empathy that King’s chart promises, and I’ve read biographies of Dr. King nearly all of my life. However, the film captured King’s compassion and sense of responsibility for the people who marched with him, like Jimmie Lee Jackson’s grandfather who lost his grandson to senseless police violence. He even had that moderate and gentle composure for those who opposed him, like when he encountered the white man who punched him as King extended his hand to shake his. King didn’t lash out or curse the man. He even admitted the “boy could hit.”

Coretta and Martin

Inner wheel: Martin Luther King (data above)
Outer wheel: Coretta Scott King, AA data
April 27, 1927
4:00 p.m. CST
Marion, Alabama
32° N37’56” 87° W19’09”
Placidus houses, True Node
Martin and Coretta, natal

Another important side of Martin shown in “Selma” is his wife, Coretta. There’s no doubt that King was emotional. However, both he and his fellow Moon-in-Pisces wife, Coretta, lived with the emotional gut churning “fog of death” alluded to in the film. Perhaps the square of King’s Moon to his Saturn in the death-aware 8th house prompted him to acknowledge how death ominously clouded everything around him. However, Coretta’s Moon conjoined his own, so she could feel that cloud along with him, as well as what she felt on her own. There was also deep understanding between them. Her Jupiter conjoined Martin’s Moon and his Jupiter conjoined her Sun. They were bound to experience and expand the emotional and spiritual horizons of the other. Martin and Coretta may have indeed had their differences, especially with Martin’s documented infidelities and his absenteeism from home for the movement, but the film does demonstrate what the astrology confirms — that there was a closeness between them.

Selma

There’s no doubt that Selma was a defining moment in King’s relatively short career as a civil rights activist. The Selma marches happened in the aftermath of King’s third Jupiter return and within a year or so of his Saturn square. I consider the third Jupiter return as “Crossing the Threshold,” much like what happens in most three-act films when the protagonist passes the point of no return. At a point like that, it’s time to summon your courage, because the world is asking you if you have what it takes to honor your Jupiter mission in life. This certainly was true for King.

Inner wheel: Martin Luther King (data above)
Outer wheel: Turnaround Tuesday Selma march
March 9, 1965
2:00 p.m. CST
Selma, Alabama
32°N24’26” 87°W01’16”
Whole sign houses
Martin and Selma march

Not only did King have a Venus return on “Turnaround Tuesday,” but transiting Saturn was on Venus as well. Likewise, transiting Sun was exactly conjoined King’s natal Moon that day as transiting Mars opposed both. King was definitely in the window of an emotional confrontation with someone or something. Fortunately, transiting Jupiter was in his 1st house while transiting Neptune was in a partile trine to his Moon and the day’s transiting Sun. He had the spiritual foresight to do what, in retrospect, was the wise course of action. Perhaps it wasn’t right for participating marchers to have no clue that he wasn’t going to cross the bridge, though. (This seems to be the foggier side of Neptune’s manifestation.)

Today

Now the story of the march on Selma has been dramatically brought to life, thanks to the pairing of producer Oprah Winfrey and breakout director Ava DuVernay. The film premiered November 11, 2014 at 6 p.m. PST in Hollywood, California for the annual American Film Institute festival. It couldn’t have aired at a more poignant time.

Inner wheel: Turnaround Tuesday Selma march (data above)
Outer wheel: Selma premieres at AFI
November 11, 2014
6:00 p.m. PST
Hollywood, CA
34°N05’54” 118°W19’13”
Whole sign houses
Selma march and film premiere

Recently, the country has been embroiled in civil and racial unrest over a string of deathly encounters between African Americans and law enforcement officers. The most notable was the August 9th, 2014 death of unarmed 18 year-old Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson.

The premiere chart for “Selma” and the charts for the historical Selma marches that the film dramatizes have many outstanding parallels. I’d like to focus briefly on two. The film premiere’s Sun is conjoined by partile degree to the Selma marches’ Neptune at 19° Scorpio. Likewise, the conjunction of Mars, Uranus, and Pluto at the Selma marches has bloomed into a square between the same three planets for the premiere. Likewise, there was a triple conjunction of Mars, Uranus, and Pluto at the Selma marches, and Uranus is square to a Mars-Pluto conjunction at the premiere, i.e, the same three planets are connected at both events.

Neptune is classically the go-to planet for all things fluid, like film and photography. The “Selma” film’s Sun on the historical Selma marches’ Neptune is pure celestial poetry. Neptune becomes the instrument of illumination (Sun) for a period that has only been partly revealed to the public. However, the public did see quite a bit in Selma in 1965, but only on the bridge on “Bloody Sunday.” Neptune was powerful then because photography and film were strategically used to highlight police violence against the protestors. This is clearly visible in the charts for “Turnaround Tuesday” and “Bloody Sunday.” For those charts, transiting Neptune trines the transiting Sun, sextiles Mars, Uranus, and Pluto, and opposes Jupiter.

Inner wheel: Bloody Sunday event
March 7, 1965
2:00 p.m. CST
Selma, Alabama
32°N24’26” 87°W01’16”
Whole sign houses
Outer wheel: Turnaround Tuesday Selma march (data above)
Bloody Sunday event and Turnaround Tuesday

For the film’s premiere, Mars and Pluto are conjoined in Capricorn — not too far from the salient 9° Capricorn that Frank and I discuss in the Roots article — but square Uranus. The film premiere captures a moment where the cogent intention of the conjunction of these three planets during the 60’s Civil Rights Movement is now at a crisis point. Will the civil rights gains of yesteryear hold? With so much unrest and racial tension in the country, despite electing America’s first Black president, has there been enough progress and change? It seems the stars and “Selma” are asking these questions while pressing us to remember the past. It’s up to us, however, how we’ll shape the future.

Footnotes:

(1) See the current issue of TMA (Feb/March 2015): Alex Haley’s Roots: In Black and White and All the Stars Between by Frank C. Clifford and Samuel Reynolds.

(2) Huffington Post

(3) The Daily Beast

(4) For more on how Dr. King’s vision for America evolved, please see his last book, Where do we go from here: chaos or community? King outlines a different program for America that goes beyond racial justice to economic equality and parity. He also touches on the timely topics of the Vietnam War and the “Black Power” movement.

 

Bio: Samuel F. Reynolds, a former skeptic, had a life-changing visit to an astrologer and has since spent 23 years doing charts and studying astrology. Now Samuel consults, writes and teaches astrology full-time. He currently serves on the boards of directors for the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR) and the Astrology News Service, and he’s a co-founder of the International Society of Black Astrologers.  He’s also an entrepreneur who helps others build their businesses as mind-body-spirit practitioners. He writes horoscopes for Ebony.com, MySign.com,  and Pride, a British Black women’s magazine. His home website is UnlockAstrology.com.

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Saturn’s ingress into Sagittarius….

By Mary Plumb | January 12, 2015

Saturn’s ingress into Sagittarius was on December 23. Except for a three-month dip back into Scorpio (mid June through mid September), we’re in the zone of working with compression and boundaries within mutable fire until December 19, 2017.

When looking at natal charts using whole sign houses, as soon as a planet ingresses into a new sign, it will impact a different house in the horoscope.

I’ve noticed some headlines that speak of the new emphasis on Sagittarius and decided to do a mini-survey of people that I know. (1)

I have three stories of Sagittarius rising birth charts, in which Saturn has moved into their whole sign first house.

I hadn’t talked to one friend in awhile and I asked her if anything in her life circumstances or feelings about her situation had changed recently. She said, with Sag’s typical gusto, that “everything has changed.” She has thought about making a “change in her living arrangements” for years, but in the last week she “feels clear that she needs to do it.” She’s beginning to visualize the move, beginning to set it up and plan it so it will go well. Her Ascendant is 19° Sag, so she has time; she said it will not be “impulsive,” which is her usual style.

Tellingly, she also said that all of her previous moves have been for family or business concerns, but this move is the first time she “is moving for me.” It’s what she feels is right for her being; she is not responding to any external demand. (I know her well and this decisiveness and change in perspective is very noticeable.)

I had a long conversation with another Sagittarius rising friend the other day. I was just listening to her talk about what is going on in her life. (It was this conversation that actually sparked the idea for this blog). She said that “all of a sudden” she was feeling very cramped in her living space, happiness with domestic partner notwithstanding. It’s small, and she actually said that having the fireplace going “all the time” in such a small space is such “dry heat, very uncomfortable.” (Those could be Saturn in Sag’s words: “dry heat, too cramped.”)

Another Sagittarius rising story: This friend is a long-time meditator and healer. He very intimately accompanied a friend through her dying process on December 29 and he told me the story. It was a stormy night. His friend’s breathing was very labored, she was “deeply struggling,” but he was able to sit very close to her head and breathe deeply with her, and she was able to settle into a calm state. My friend invoked his prayers and guides, as he had practiced for years, and was with her for the transition.

He said that he was “ignited” by the experience and it has “changed his life.” He said that “his faith became real; what you work on inside yourself is real,” and that he was a guide for her “without any doubt.” He said that the experience “confirmed to me that the inner worlds are real.”

I’ve had two conversations with Gemini rising individuals, who have had Saturn move into their 7th house. One person (her Ascendant is 1° Gemini) told me that an event in the past week had been quite dramatic — she was able to have a very direct conversation with her partner about something that has been emotionally charged and upsetting for a long time. She relayed that she was able to speak to her partner very clearly, as she said, “just the facts,” without emotion, describing what she observed. She was amazed at how clear she felt and how easily the partner listened. She reported it to me as a very significant breakthrough in their dynamic.

Another (anonymous but dearly loved) person, also with 1° Gemini rising, spoke somewhat similarly. She reported that she felt an “energetic shift” from being in a role of service and necessity in her relationship, to one of wanting a more equal partnership. She also said that a significant conversation occurred with her partner on the very day of Saturn’s ingress. (She is an astrologer, so she may have chosen the time for the conversation a bit more consciously than the first example.)

Here’s another example, perhaps more subtle, as Saturn’s ingress is not connected to an angle: someone with Sag on the 3rd-house cusp told me about going through piles of old files at his desk. In a hidden away file he found a list that he had written “long ago.” It was “five important things to keep in the front of your mind every day.” It sounds like it was Buddhist precepts written in accessible language. He told me how touching it was to find that again and how deeply that guidance was perfect for where he is in life now. He’s placed it right where he can see it easily everyday. (I’m thinking of the 3rd house as information from the immediate environment.)

Someone else has Sag on the 2nd house and within a few days of the ingress, she realized that her income needed boosting and applied for Social Security retirement benefits (a bit early). She took this action decisively, after thinking about it for at least a year. Another person with Sag on the 2nd-house cusp just found out she will be unable to work for quite awhile as she needs a minor surgery; she is going to write a new resume and look for a less physically demanding source of income.

Saturn changing signs is often something we notice. When considering whole sign houses, the focus of our attention changes, from the matters of one house to the next house. It’s in our immediate lives, our connection to time and space, it is tangible and real, or crystallized, as the old books say.

Along with the change in house, we can look at any natal planets in very early Sagittarius as having a current transmission to take us through what might seem to be a melancholy passageway into a teaching that we are ready to hear.

I’d love to hear any of your stories.

Footnote:

(1) I know it’s not a funny subject, but I did think this was a funny headline for Saturn in Sagittarius: “Bad Luck Plays Predominate Role in Cancer.” (The study has been refuted by some since its publication.)
Hopkins Medicine

Also, Pope Francis gave a “withering critique” to Vatican leadership just as Saturn ingressed into Sagittarius. Some of his points (which sound like antidotes for Saturn in Sag):

“Other items on his catalog of 15 illnesses included:
‘Excessive planning,’ not leaving room for spontaneity and surprise.
‘Existential schizophrenia,’ inducing people to ‘hypocrisy’ and a ‘double life.’
‘Excessive ‘melancholy,’ producing a ‘theatrical severity and pessimism’ that the pope said are often ‘symptoms of fear and insecurity.’ Officials should never forget, he said, ‘how much good is done by a healthy sense of humor.’ ”
Boston Globe

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