TMA This Week

Trump’s Russian Grand Cross

By Alex Miller | July 17, 2017

They say there’s no smoke without fire, and if so, then judging by the amount of smoke being generated over the various probes into Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and potential collusion by the Trump campaign, there must be one massive conflagration somewhere.

Consider: Trump National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigns just weeks into the new administration for lying about the extent, the timing, and the content of his interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak; Trump Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, recuses himself from any Russian-related investigations after it was discovered that he lied to Congress during his confirmation hearings about his contacts with this same ambassador; first son-in-law and presidential advisor, Jared Kushner, is reported to have had conversations with Kislyak regarding setting up a secret communications channel between Trump and Putin, which he “forgot” to report on his security clearance application; Trump himself fires both the acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, after she warned the White House that Flynn was compromised by the Russians, and FBI Director James Comey, avowedly to ease the pressure from his investigation into the Russian connection; and it was Trump who revealed classified information, and later opined on the firing of Comey to that same Russian Ambassador and the Russian Foreign Minister in the Oval Office the day after the firing. (1)

Up to this point, multiple investigations by the House, the Senate, the FBI, and now by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, have yet to reveal concrete proof of collusion or explicit wrongdoing. But, as astrologers, we have other tools besides subpoenas to help us get to the root of the matter. One of the most valuable of these are PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids), which can point the finger to specific places and people that might have a bearing on the story.

So, if one were to try to astrologically explain the seemingly dominant hold that Russia has on Donald Trump’s political psyche, where would one begin? How about with asteroid Russia (#232)?

Asteroid Russia makes a powerful statement in The Donald’s birth chart. (2) It is at 12° Aries, which squares Mercury at 8° Cancer; to paraphrase the old Ray Charles hit, that spells “Russia on my Mind” in no uncertain terms. Mercury also rules commerce and trade, and, according to Eric Trump’s conversation with a golf writer in 2014, Russian capital formed a huge part of Trump’s funding, especially after the economic downturn in 2008: “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” (3)

At 12° Aries, natal asteroid Russia is also trine to Trump’s natal Pluto at 10° Leo, another indicator of potentially deep pockets in that country for the Trump empire. There’s an element of coercion, power politics, and scandal when Pluto is involved, all of which lend their flavor to the Russian investigation.

But most importantly, Trump’s 12° Aries asteroid Russia opposes his Jupiter, which is stationary direct at 17° Libra and conjunct Chiron at 14° Libra. Jupiter, of course, rules politics, as well as foreign relations, diplomacy, and international commerce. Because it is stationary (it turned direct barely three hours after his birth), Jupiter is deeply embedded in Trump’s psyche. It acts as a still point upon which the chart revolves, a sort of gravity well that draws in whatever it touches. 

With Jupiter opposite asteroid Russia, Trump’s political philosophy naturally turns toward all things Russian. His iconoclasm on the issues affecting this country is made all the more dramatic by Jupiter’s exact trine to natal Uranus at 17° Gemini, which delights in upsetting the apple cart, shocking others’ sensibilities and flouting social norms, and espousing unconventional attitudes. Trump’s continual praise of Vladimir Putin, his unfathomable hesitation in ascribing the hacking of the DNC and the Clinton campaign to Russia, and his coziness with Russian officials, all demonstrate this Uranian inability to toe the line of others’ expectations. Natal Uranus is conjunct Trump’s Sun at 22° Gemini, also in trine to Jupiter, which makes all this very personal indeed. (4)

The contact with Chiron also indicates a maverick streak, reinforcing Uranus’s alternative, often-eccentric approach to politics, but also suggesting a serious wound from that quarter. Certainly if Trump’s political career comes crashing down, his connections to Russia will be a huge part of that disruption. 

And just as Chiron acts to reinforce those Uranian urges Trump seems unable to quell or resist, there is another player in the mix that reinforces Chiron’s emphasis on self-wounding. This is asteroid Nemesis, which, at 16° Cancer in Trump’s natal chart, forms a t-square to the Jupiter–Russia opposition. Nemesis is named for the ancient Greek goddess of divine retribution, a karmic force that intercedes to restore the balance when we mere mortals step too far out of line or fail to pay proper respect to Fortune for having blessed us. When we start to attribute our greatness or success solely to our own efforts — discounting the role of fate — Nemesis reminds us just how lowly we really are.

Originally a force of “due enactment,” a comeuppance for our sins, in modern usage Nemesis has come to represent any person, circumstance, or power that stands in our way, blocking our goals and ambitions, deservedly or otherwise. In that sense, we can see Nemesis’ hand in the rapidly decreasing political capital for the Trump White House, distracted and consumed by the pushback on the Russian investigation, losing focus on its agenda, and having difficulty enacting any sort of legislation.

But we said this pattern was a grand cross, and so far we’re only seeing three “corners” filled. This is where things get interesting, from a PNA perspective. The confluence of the Comey firing and the Russian Oval Office meeting made me curious about how these players might factor into Trump’s natal asteroid Russian ties. There are more than 17,000 named PNAs, so there’s a good chance that at least some of these names are represented celestially.

As for the fired FBI Director, there’s no “Comey” asteroid, but there is a Combe, a close phonetic match. (My research with PNAs over the past decade has shown that often these will work, appearing in natal and event charts in ways that drive the narrative from an astrological perspective.) And so it is with Combe: At 12° Libra natally for Trump, Combe activates and energizes his natal tendencies toward political (Jupiter) wounding (Chiron). Asteroid Combe is also exactly opposed asteroid Russia at 12° Aries! Initially, Trump had less to fear from the congressional investigations run by Republican chairs with potentially sympathetic views toward indiscretions committed by a Republican president. But FBI Director Comey was independent and therefore more of a danger; after failing to extract a loyalty oath or an agreement to pull back on the investigation, Trump fired Comey on May 9, explaining to his Russian guests the following day that this would ease the “pressure” he had felt. (5)

The Russian guests at that May 10 meeting are in the mix as well. Asteroid Sergej (a variant spelling of “Sergei”) falls at 13° Cancer in Trump’s natal chart, conjunct Nemesis and square the asteroid Russia/Jupiter opposition.This represents both Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is also represented by asteroid Lavrov, which, incredibly, has an eponymous asteroid that falls at 14° Capricorn in Trump’s nativity, filling in the empty leg of the Grand Cross! Sergei Kislyak is deeply involved in whatever this story turns out to be, and could well prove Trump’s nemesis, as prefigured by asteroid Sergej’s conjunction with asteroid Nemesis. As above, so below!

When we factor in the transits for May 9, the day of Comey’s firing, plus natal placements for Comey himself, we find a stunning resonance. (6) First, transit Jupiter at 14° Libra was effectively fanning the flames of this as yet unsourced fire. Jupiter was about to return to its natal degree in Trump’s chart and exactly conjunct his natal Chiron; the emphasis is on the political wounding that has lain dormant since Trump’s birth. Not to be outdone, Comey’s natal Jupiter at 10° Capricorn fits snugly into the pattern, and was reinforced on the day of his firing by asteroid Rosenstein at the same degree. (Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s recommendation was the initial reason given for Comey’s dismissal, until Trump himself exposed the Russian motivation a few days later in an interview with NBC anchor Lester Holt.) 

The confluence of these energies natally, and their apt reinforcement by transit, is a truly staggering display of celestial synchronicity, but it is by no means a rarity. These placements betray the internal fires from which all this external smoke issues, and give us excellent insights into the motivations and proclivities of this seemingly chaotic and abstruse story.

So, Comey’s out and Mueller is in. Will things get better for Trump?

Not likely. There’s also an asteroid Mueller, and on the day of the Comey firing, transit Mueller was at 16° Cancer, exactly conjunct Trump’s natal Nemesis. Worse, its natal degree is 13° Aries, just a degree off natal asteroid Russia, and very firmly tied to the Russian Grand Cross. Comey’s appearance as asteroid Combe may be judged to be tentative and ephemeral, a catalyst rather than a staple in the story. But Special Counsel Robert Mueller is emphatically and powerfully embedded in the pattern, so he’s going nowhere.

Not only that, but transit Pluto, currently retrograde, comes to its direct station in September at 16° Capricorn, exactly opposed Trump’s natal Nemesis at 16° Cancer. This is barely a month after the path of totality of the “American Eclipse” highlights the U.S. from sea to shining sea and falls atop Trump’s natal Ascendant. 

Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy summer!

Footnotes:

(1) Wikipedia

(2) Donald J. Trump; June 14,1946; 10:54 AM EDT; Jamaica, N.Y., Rodden AA.

(3) The Hill

(4) An exact square from Trump’s natal Sun at 22° Gemini to natal asteroid Mosvka — Russian for “Moscow” — at 22° Virgo reinforces this, making it a part of his core essence.

(5) NPR

(6) James Comey; December 14, 1960; Yonkers, N.Y. (no known time). Wikipedia.

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 glaktix@verizon.net, or visit him at his website: Alex’s Asteroid Astrology.

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Holidays, Astrological Style

By Angela Slezak | July 3, 2017

If you’re an astrologer, you might not experience holidays in the same way as your fellow countrymen, especially if you’re an American. When Valentine’s Day arrives on February 14 and your friends are buying flowers and chocolate for their sweethearts, you’re probably thinking “romantic love in the sign of Aquarius?”

When astrologers rule the world, holidays can be appropriately rearranged. In preparation for this great responsibility, we in the U.S. should plan the new holiday calendar now by placing holidays within astrological alignment.

Many holidays are religious holidays and follow astronomical and astrological configurations, such as Easter, Hanukkah, and Diwali. We’ll leave those alone as they already have underlying significance. In deference to business, the crux of the U.S. economy, we’ll make sure each month has a holiday that encourages vigorous shopping.

New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is January 1, in the sign of Capricorn. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn and describes contraction, caution, authority, rules, limits, structure, and tradition. In the northern hemisphere, Capricorn brings “Old Man Winter.”

Does this sound like the way to begin a new year, with Old Man Winter?

The New Year in some other cultures begins with spring. Let’s join them and put the New Year back in the physical and astrological spring — Aries. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and begins with the March equinox.

Not only does this adjustment solve for New Year’s Day, it also solves for New Year’s Eve, which will now be in 29° of the last sign of the zodiac, water sign Pisces. New Year’s Eve is primarily a drinking event and so properly belongs in a water sign.

Valentine’s Day

As already alluded to, Valentine’s Day, regardless of its religious significance, is, in the United States a holiday of romance celebrated with flowers, chocolate, and dinner at a fancy restaurant. Astrologers reading this know where this is going — to the opposite sign of Leo.

Aquarius is friendship and Leo is romance, so Valentine’s Day can move 180° to August 14. While marketers out there may fear for their February sales, they can rest assured that, in Leo, sales will be even greater than February sales, as the sun and warmth increase romantic feelings.

Innovation Day

I would like to propose a new February holiday: Aquarius — the sign of freedom, independence and innovation — could host Innovation Day. On this day, all citizens may make one recommendation for a societal or technological innovation. Each prescribed community will hold elections to vote on the innovation for their community.

Earth Day and Mother’s Day

At the very end of April in the sign of Taurus is Earth Day, a perfect placement as Taurus is the fixed earth sign, the Earth itself.

Mother’s Day is a toss up, as Taurus represents the stability of motherhood but not its emotional components, which are more properly placed in the mothering sign of Cancer. However, the Earth nourishes, so we can merge these two holidays into Mother Earth Day.

Mother Earth Day will celebrate all forms of mothering and nurturing. We can engage the Earth in activities that nurture it, such as planting trees. Earth mothers will, as usual, be honored with breakfast in bed, a full day’s activity of choice, and no household chores.

Memorial Day and Independence Day

Placed in early Gemini, the sign of mental acuity, friends, and neighbors, Memorial Day could find a slightly better placement. Gemini certainly has a good memory, but the emotional content of Memorial Day brings to mind the sign of family and clan connection, Cancer (July).

July already has a holiday — July 4, Independence Day — the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. On that day, the Sun was in Cancer, the Moon in Aquarius. Aquarius is the sign of independence and freedom, the utopian society, and universal brotherhood. Cancer, in contrast, is more about family, clan, and the sense of belonging.

Since July 4 is the date of an actual event, it is difficult to move. We can, however, re-name it more appropriately as National Day. Most countries have a National Day, so it should be easy to transition into this term, as it serves Cancer’s sense of belonging.

Memorial Day has lots of connections with the holiday now known as Independence Day, so we can combine these two into National Memorial Day. We can remember our Founding Fathers and all who served in the armed forces on a single day.

(You might have already worried that with New Year’s Day moving to March, taxes, normally due on April 15, might be rushed to be paid in this new calendar. National Memorial Day can also be tax day, which will reinforce the idea that our taxes support community services.)

Flag Day

On June 14, 1777, the flag of the United States (then with 13 states) was adopted. Like Independence Day, Flag Day is difficult to change, as it’s a holiday based on an actual date. However, Gemini is a very nice place for this holiday because it’s an air sign that naturally understands and conveys the power of symbols.

The U.S. flag began with 13 stars and now has 50, exhibiting its Gemini mutability, which not only embraces new experiences and friends, but also actively seeks them. The stars represent states joined in union, a concept well placed in the sign of siblings and neighbors. Gemini is the community and the flag represents that community.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day in June in the sign of Gemini is an okay placement, but, astrologically, fathers are ruled by Capricorn in January, as mothers are ruled by the opposite sign, Cancer, in July. Since we’ve moved New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day out of Capricorn, fathers can take this spot.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a strong Capricorn leader of people. Without diluting his holiday, we can have Father’s Day the day after King’s birthday, making for two days that we honor the strong and valiant males amongst us.

Honoring fathers on their special day will include Capricorn traditions ripe with dignity and respect. Fathers lead and guide us and shall therefore choose how to spend the day. No one will complain about any of his choices and will follow all of his rules. If he doesn’t want to stop and ask for directions on a long drive, that will not be challenged, as Capricorn represents respect for authority, even when it’s wrong.

Labor Day

Labor Day in the sign of Virgo, which rules work, health, and pets, is the perfect placement. No changes needed here. Many school terms also begin in this sign, which is ruled by Mercury and, like Gemini, is very intelligent and curious, with a desire to learn.

As with Independence Day, Labor Day could use a re-brand into Labor, Health, and Education, and Pet Day. Marketers should love the expansion of the holiday as now we can have a huge push for health and wellness products to pet supplies. I recommend vitamin shops and pet stores double their sales forecasts.

In this holiday realignment scenario, remember that astrologers rule the world, giving us the power to re-brand in a literal way. So let’s just call it Virgo Day. At that point, citizens will be so well educated in astrology that they will be aware of all that Virgo represents.

Halloween

Halloween has roots in All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day and, like Labor Day, is very appropriately placed, this time in Scorpio. Although it has religious connections, in the U.S. it’s been commercialized, so we’ll include it here.

In Scorpio, there is physical merging and boundary breaking, from sex to sharing money to giving a portion of your money to the community. In All Souls’ Day, we see the boundaries break between this world and the world of the dead. We spend most of our time ignoring the world of death, but in Scorpio we acknowledge its presence.

The “trick or treat” tradition also falls into the Scorpio realm because we are asking for others to share. We’ve made this one day an annual tradition, but, on other days, someone knocking on your door asking for treats would be considered the crossing of a boundary.

Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day in the sign of Scorpio doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, although, like Independence Day, it’s based on an actual event (a World War I armistice). Aries, ruled by Mars, is the sign of valor and is associated with war and aggression. A more accurate placement of Veteran’s Day is April, sometime after New Year’s Day, possibly in the middle of the month, since we’ll no longer need to worry about taxes at that time.

Veteran’s Day can be re-branded and expanded as Warrior Day to honor current armed services personnel, the defenders of the nation. National Memorial Day, as noted above, can cover veterans who are no longer with us.

Thanksgiving

Like the prior two autumn holidays (Labor Day and Halloween), Thanksgiving is also well placed in the sign of Sagittarius. Ruled by Jupiter, Sagittarius is about expansion and abundance. It’s fascinating that Thanksgiving is placed in early Sagittarius, where, in the United States, most of that sign is spent shopping and feasting. That shopping ends abruptly at Christmas when the Sun moves into contracting Capricorn.

Sagittarius is when we spend; Capricorn is when we pay the bills. New Year’s Eve is now in Pisces (March), so we can let Capricorn be Capricorn. As tax season has moved to July (Cancer), there is much more time to pay the bills, which — retailers please note — encourages more spending.

Creativity Day

Perhaps Libra, currently hosting Columbus Day (the second Monday in October) could use a more robust holiday.

Libra, ruled by Venus, is the sign of partnership and a love of the arts. Creativity Day would honor the spirit of Venus. On Creativity Day, all businesses will be closed and citizens will focus on a favorite creative endeavor, which today takes many forms — from traditional arts to technology. Creativity Day will also focus attention on how our lives are the result of our creations. The mirror of creativity can provide insights into our contribution to life on Earth.

In summary, here is the proposed Astrologically-Aligned Holiday Calendar:

Sign Month Holiday

Aries: March — New Year’s Day
Aries: March/April — Easter (religious, no change)
Aries: April — Warrior Day
Taurus: May — Mother Earth Day
Gemini: June — Flag Day
Cancer: July — National Memorial Day
Leo: August — Valentine’s Day
Virgo: September — Virgo Day
Libra: October — Creativity Day
Scorpio: October — Halloween (no change)
Sagittarius: November — Thanksgiving (no change)
Capricorn: December — Christmas (religious, no change)
Capricorn: January — Father’s Day
Aquarius: February — Innovation Day
Pisces: March — New Year’s Eve

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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Planets on the 1st: An Experiential Astrological Technique

By Tara Aal | June 19, 2017

A few years ago I began using an astrological technique, “Planets on the 1st,” which Adam Gainsburg had introduced to me. At the time I was deeply involved with his Immersion Soulsign astrology program and his Open Heart work. I wanted to stay connected to my heart and body without going straight to my head, and I was passionate about astrology, which is generally a very cerebral study. Adam offered a bridge and it worked for me! I began having more direct and visceral experiences, rather than merely intellectualizing life and myself.

We know that the birth chart is a diagram of the psyche, a symbolic representation of the individual person. The planets represent facets of our psyche, and all of the planets are included in the richness of how we experience ourselves and the world.

The birth chart is structured around the angles, beginning with the Ascendant. We habitually experience life through the sign and any planets on the Ascendant. In this technique, we imagine placing any planet — and the sign it is in — on the Ascendant to see what life is like from that new perspective. Even if outer circumstances cannot change, our perspective can! That is the gift of this technique.

To begin: Pretend you are in a very large space with numerous rooms, doors, and windows. If you have always stood in the same corner, looking straight ahead, your experience has been limited. However, the other rooms, doors, and windows are always present. Choosing a planet on the 1st is simply re-orienting you in your own space; you are opening yourself to a broader field of experience. We can consciously choose an experience of ourselves from a different facet within our wholeness.

Another way to describe this process is to imagine yourself as a cast of characters in a movie or play. Choosing a planet on the 1st is choosing whose perspective will reveal the story. You are the whole cast, but choosing to see your life through natal Mars will be a very different filter than natal Saturn. (I have some suggestions in the link below about how to evoke the different planets.)

Choosing planets on the 1st strengthens and develops parts of us that have atrophied or weakened. When we choose a planet on the 1st, we aren’t just getting more information or intellectually learning about this function within us. We are literally having an experience of ourselves living life through the function represented by that planet. For example, choosing the Moon on the 1st may increase the need for feeling emotionally secure, safe, and nurtured. Choosing Mars on the 1st may invoke the strong desire for action and assertion; Mars needs something to fight for. This is experiential and may take practice. Each person is different, and literal experiences of the planets will manifest in variations. Sometimes the changes will be subtle, although in my case the shift was dramatic.

The first time I tried the technique was in celebration of my birthday in 2015. I chose Venus on the 1st and my life completely changed almost immediately. My natal Venus is 0° degrees Cancer in the 3rd house, on the cusp of the IC and ruling my Descendant. I have a natal Pluto-Venus square; finding value and confidence in my feminine qualities has been challenging. Receiving life, including love, sustenance, and pleasure, is something I often reject. For much of my life, my Venusian self has operated underground, in the dark, just as she does at the root of my natal chart. Choosing Venus on the 1st brought her into the light and instinctual action of the Ascendant. I gave my Venus new agency and she sprang forth in many ways.

Simultaneously with my decision to choose Venus on the 1st, I quit my job as a compliance director at the University of Washington, marking the end of my 22-year career in health care compliance. The next month, I met my partner, Darren. I was not looking for someone; in fact, I was excited to meet creative, passionate people and pursue my own interests. Two years later, Darren and I are true partners, something new for me, despite previous long-term commitments.

I am almost 43 and my year as Venus on the 1st was the first time since the age of 15 that I did not have a traditional job with steady income. Darren and I traveled and I relaxed my previously restricted diet to include ice cream, cookies, and other treats. I gained at least 15 pounds and my hormones kicked back on. I felt like a teenager and experienced a strong desire to create a family, including babies. I moved to New York City to live with Darren after never having left my family and my hometown in Seattle. I just wanted to love and be loved. Creating relationships with my body, Darren, and myself were my full-time pursuits.

Portuguese astrologer Nuno Michaels teaches that Libra is about “learning to love.” Venus rules Libra, of course, and in so many ways, my Venus on the 1st year was exactly that. Venus also represents receptivity, and I was more open to receive than ever, including my own previously invested money. I took an early withdrawal from my retirement to support my needs and desires during this time.

I can look back and neatly summarize what happened, but living it was also messy, disorienting, and often extremely uncomfortable. Along with the deliciousness of indulging my senses, I experienced more fully the ways my body did/did not feel good. Clothes that I never minded squeezing into now felt tight and restrictive. Sometimes I felt fat and sloth-like, not doing much more than eating, sleeping, and making love. My physical health sensitivities and symptoms seemed relentless. I was feeling more, for better or for worse.

Most of this time I cared more about the harmony and well-being of my partnership with Darren than being right. I don’t know if I ever truly chose a relationship first prior to this year. My past is filled with a bipolar blend of sacrifice, suffering, and selfishness. My Venus on the 1st adventure began to reveal my authentic versions of caring and kindness, and with whom I wanted to invest the time to really connect.

In choosing Venus on the 1st, I dramatically changed my life and impacted the lives of others around me. I became more human, more embodied, and more accessible. I am committed to being honest and present, which often requires slowing down. I am now more capable of staying with myself and my feelings (a Venusian function). I’m experiencing more strength in, and enjoyment of, my femininity. In many ways, I was drastically less active and ambitious with Venus on the 1st, but my life expanded in depth and richness. And, without question, my resources (Venus’s domain) are greater, including my inner stability, self-sufficiency, ability to truly nurture myself and others, and a new-found capacity and desire for partnership, support, and cooperation.

Try it! You might be intrigued to discover how life can open up in new ways when you set your intention to experience more and are open to the outcome. Like me, you might find the planetary archetypes living as strongly within you as they do without.

Author’s note:

Here is a link to a PDF with some thoughts about how the planets represent parts of our psyche. These questions are intended to evoke experiences. You can use them as suggestions when trying this technique for placing each of the planets on the 1st. (Pluto is not included because in Evolutionary Astrology we use Pluto to represent the Soul and its journey. I feel that is hard to categorize, and so am not comfortable using it — not yet, anyway!)

Bio: Tara Aal uses astrology, writing, photography, and art to explore and express love, truth, and beauty. Tara has been practicing and teaching astrology and tarot since 2011.  She completed Laura Nalbandian’s Evolutionary Astrology three-year program and is a certified Soulsign Astrologer through Adam Gainsburg’s Immersion program.

Tara is currently full-time Lead Writer for Sage Goddess in Torrance, CA. In her hometown of Seattle, Tara practiced astrology and tarot at Stargazers Bookstore and Higher Wellness Health Care Practice. She offers private sessions and continues writing and speaking, including lectures at NORWAC and UAC. She is a regular contributing author for Infinity Astrological Magazine.

Tara is passionate about supporting people in their choice to be more natural, authentic, and honest. Her commitment to feeling and embodiment is radically changing her life and use of astrology and tarot. With the compassion and understanding that comes from diverse, intense, and transformative personal relationship and career history, Tara is especially available for people making life changes. Contact her at TaraAal.com

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Getting to WYSIWYG — the Solar Perspective

By Raye Robertson | June 6, 2017

The circle is primal symbolism — encoded in our psyches, if not in our genes. To a two-year old picking up her first box of toddler-sized crayons, a circle is the shape of the shining sun and the heads of Mommy and Daddy. Mommy, Daddy, and the Sun are her cosmos; ideally, they encircle her being in the same way that 12th century holy woman, Hildegard von Bingen, envisioned the “Godhead” embracing all within its arms.

We might distinguish between that cosmic circle’s center and its circumference. Joseph Campbell speaks of a model of the psyche where the hub or center of the wheel is the still point — our Self, that aspect of our being that is constant and eternal. As astrologers, we see the Sun as our nucleus, or our center, which embarks on the archetypal hero’s journey about which Campbell spoke so eloquently.

When looking at a circle, the eye is naturally drawn to the center, literally the “center of gravity.” Carl Jung referred to the “individuated Self” that can be seen as the solar “center of gravity,” which gradually draws us in throughout the labyrinthine course of life.

The circumference is where the planets, as the various agents, or “ego fragments,” of the Self are busy, scattered and diffused, as they play the roles demanded by our daily lives. It’s always great when these characters we harbor within are team players that pull in the same direction, but how frequently does that happen? We are a multitude, and things tend to get messy; ideally, over time these characters are integrated within our core Solar being, but it’s a lifelong process.

We can envision the circumference as being where our Solar selves gain awareness and wisdom from our interactions around the wheel of life. Astrologically, this wheel encompasses the entire solar system, and our evolution is driven by how well we internalize its lessons over time, lessons that are delivered via planetary aspects, transits, and progressions.

In a natal chart, it seems that the Sun and its planetary system create an evolving, dynamic web of energy exchanges or relationships within the human psyche — between our ego fragments (on the circumference) and our Higher Self (at the center). Ideally, our inner “team” gradually learns to pull together around a strong, coherent center.

This web of relationships amounts to an archetypal “hero’s journey,” as Campbell and the ancients he studied characterized it in tales like Homer’s Odyssey, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and Le Morte d’Arthur, describing King Arthur’s quest for the “holy grail.” Ideally, our personal epic journey ends where it began, by bringing our ego fragments home, integrating them finally into a sense of greater harmony and wholeness, a state of WYSIWYG: “What You See Is What You Get!

Importantly, we often explore these mysteries by journeying into the farthest reaches of our personal universe, the “Otherworld” of Neptune and Pluto. (1) Whenever Neptune features powerfully in a transit (especially to our Sun or so-called personal planets), in progressions, or even in a nativity, its influence tends to overwhelm our awareness and become our perceived “reality.” These dynamics operate on all levels, personal to collective: as we learned this past election season, Neptunian confusion, distortion, illusion, and outright deception are powerful weapons.

Under Neptune’s influence, we acquire a pair of filtered lenses that can dominate the “forest of our minds” in wildly different ways, from drug abuse and victim consciousness to compassionate service, from delusional obsession with conspiracy theories to a creative/artistic renaissance.

Extending Hildegard’s analogy, it seems that we feel “hugged” by the spirits conjured up for us by Neptune because they weave a comforting narrative into our lives, like a parent does when reading a bed-time story to her sleepy child. What do we dream, imagine, or believe? How do we envision our role in this cosmic fairy tale? What, if anything, does it all mean? These tales are drawn from our personal and collective unconscious and told by Neptune in the language of allegory and symbolism. The tales are key to our solar evolution, but there are dangers.

Neptune demands surrender and immersion in those tales, as any artist who’s made the journey through addiction into a second-chance career knows. It promotes that immersion by overwhelming our structured mental, physical, and spiritual defenses (Saturn is Neptune’s nemesis), but Neptune’s methods are quite different from Pluto’s: Pluto ravages, purges, and reduces us to essentials with its sheer chthonic force; Neptune seduces, wearing away our resistance, like waves lapping a rocky mental shore.

Emotion is a valued tool in both Neptune’s and Pluto’s kit, and it coalesces their force in disastrous ways at times. Our Plutonian survival instincts trigger a range of emotions that, with Neptune’s help, cascade through our body-minds like a feverish epidemic: fear and insecurity spawn hyperbole, irrationality, hatred, and outrage, in worst cases culminating in hysteria and mob rule. These dynamics operate on all levels, from tragic personal meltdowns to regrettable collective episodes.

Even recent history is filled with examples, from the internment of Japanese-Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor to the rise in hate crimes against minorities after election 2016. The tone of political rhetoric matters, and to deny the observable consequences of Trump’s rhetoric is the Neptunian equivalent of a battered spouse covering up for her Plutonian abuser. The “truth” is whatever a Neptunian mind wants it to be; add Pluto’s quest for “power over” to that distortion and the results are insidious.

With Saturn’s input, Pluto takes us back to basics, reducing our lives to the primal level of sheer survival; after a long bout with cancer, survivors often claim to feel incredibly alive, with new focus and purpose. Pluto has stories to tell, only these stories are told around the archetypal “Cauldron of Life” (there’s a reason Scorpio rules the 8th house and Pluto), and the themes are reliably fixed: that birth, death/transformation, and regeneration are one indivisible, scalding “brew” that feeds all Creation, from the microscopic to the astrophysical. (2) Nature is “red in tooth and claw,” and violence begets violence. (3)

For its part, Neptune breaches our Saturnian structures — including the principles and narratives that hold our public institutions together — and we rarely see the resulting changes in ourselves, in our relationships, our communities, or in the larger collective until those structures crumble around us. In keeping with the proverbial “frog boil,” Neptune’s spirit only gradually overwhelms, but at a certain critical threshold, it unleashes the deluge. By the time the hapless “frogs” realize their cozy warm bath is getting dangerously hot, it’s too late to leap out of the pot.

There’s a reason the 12th house and Pisces (naturally ruled by Neptune) are associated with chronic conditions, mental health issues, and institutions like hospitals, prisons, and spiritual organizations (churches, mosques, etc.). Neptune does indeed take prisoners, and in return it offers a glimpse of life beyond the Saturnian earth plane. Whether that context is positive and healthy is not always clear because it is subject to Neptune’s seductive “spin.”

In all fairness, however, we shouldn’t underestimate Neptune’s redemptive potential — probably the main reason its energies seem aligned with Christian and even pre-Christian dogma. The sacrificial lamb is a potent Christian image, but its genesis falls well before the Christian era. The “gods” were jealous, demanding, haughty, and vindictive in ancient times, and people sacrificed their finest, most valuable goods — in some cultures, even other people — in return for continued life, fertility, and prosperity.

The Great Deluge, a cataclysmic event recorded by many ancient cultures and mythologies, imprinted on humanity for all time that the gods will destroy Creation if we fail to keep them happy. Ironically, we’ve been far more likely to destroy ourselves, and if there’s to be an equivalent 21st-century cataclysm, it won’t happen in one 40-day inundation. It will simply continue the climate degradation that’s been going on for decades.

At some point, if this destructive process is not halted and reversed, the proverbial dam will simply wash away (Neptune), allowing devastation to cascade through the environment. If the Earth’s riches and ability to sustain human life are the sacrifice our contemporary gods are after, we need to find new gods.

This belief that sacrifice renders salvation runs almost addictively deep in the human psyche, so it’s hard to see how this concept distorts our responsibility for protecting the Earth. The major religions promise some version of salvation in a future “afterlife,” and for some believers, these Neptunian promises amount to a divine “reprieve” from that responsibility. Why bother if it’s all up to God, the “endtimes” are upon us, and this isn’t the real Paradise after all? Saturn’s appreciation for reality on this plane (enshrined in today’s beleaguered sciences) gets lost in the Neptunian fog.

In my observation, when we succumb to Neptunian addiction or Plutonian “tooth and claw” cynicism — or when we choose to chase an illusion rather than to care for what’s real, physical, and present — we are scattering our “ego fragments” to the wind and falling out of touch with our core Solar being. Whether it’s our digital age, our stressed working lives, the 24-hour news cycle and a constant state of being “on call” technologically, many seem to be struggling with an inability to feel rooted and centered. It’s impossible to find a direction forward if we don’t know where we are.

With all the doing out there on the circumference, we risk losing track of being itself. Perhaps it would help to stop occasionally, reel our many fragmented selves inward, and renew our solar, back-to-basics perspective. Our natal Sun placements offer deep wisdom if we pay attention and follow the bread crumbs from point to point. They all mean something in the end: we are not just a sign, or an inventory, of the scattered roles we play in the world: we are a being with a story to tell. Enjoy!

Footnotes:

(1) The Otherworld is a term used in Arthurian legends to denote that mysterious, challenging world “out there” where the hero journeys, proves himself, and seeks the Holy Grail. See John Matthews’ The Arthurian Tradition, Element Books Ltd., 1994 U.S. printing, Rockport, MA, p. 16-17.

(2) The “Cauldron” and the “Cup” were used interchangeably in Arthurian legend to mean a “sacred vessel which contained the potentiality of all wisdom and knowledge, and through them of understanding.” Matthews, p. 63.

(3) Phrases.org.ok

Bio: Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer, and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. She can be contacted at her blog, Diary of a Mundane Astrologer, or by email: robertsonraye.com.

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Some thoughts on the North Node, newly in Leo…

By Anne Whitaker | May 22, 2017

Impetus and inspiration for this post came from a very striking experience I had on May 9, 2017 at around 7:00 p.m. More about this shortly…..

The North Node’s transit through Virgo (South Node in Pisces) was from the end of 2015 through early May 2017. The transit picked up on the particularly undermining, painful, and difficult Saturn-Neptune square (from Sagittarius to Pisces) that challenged us all. This was especially true when the attendant eclipse seasons in September 2016 and February 2017 triggered the pattern. (1)

Collectively, we had the pain and trauma of waves of mass migration from the world’s trouble spots to European countries ill-equipped to cope, with many migrants drowning in overcrowded traffickers’ boats, their hopes for a better life perishing with them. We had the election of Donald Trump and the shock waves that event sent around the world. We also had the U.K. voting to exit from the European Union, with similar effects.

On a personal level, many of us experienced a great deal of confusion, uncertainty, family trauma, and other types of suffering. The impression I gained from astrological colleagues — especially via social media — was that the nodal axis through Virgo/Pisces had challenged us to grow and move forward on our personal paths through much worldly pain.

As the imminent shift of the nodal axis into Leo/Aquarius approached, there was a great deal of positive comment, hope, and anticipation across the astro-Web. A move from Virgo’s dense earth and Pisces’ deep water to Leo’s creative, optimistic fire, complemented by Aquarius’ detached, humane airiness, would surely be easier and more pleasurable to deal with?

The North Node crossed my 9° Virgo Ascendant and entered the 12th house with the South Node moving through the 6th house in November 2016, where they will remain until the spring of 2018. I was aware in late April/early May 2017 that the North Node’s shift into Leo was imminent, and so began reading some of the astro-Web’s outpourings on the subject.

However, I was too immersed in grappling with the inner challenges brought to me by trauma close to home — not of my making — to pay much attention to second guessing what the shift might bring for me personally, or indeed what day it was going to take place.

Then, on May 9, 2017, just after dinner, my inner turmoil suddenly resolved itself to the point where I was able to take constructive action to put some distance between what I know to be my main path for whatever life remains to me and the needs of others. (Protecting other peoples’ privacy prevents me from being more explicit than this.)

In essence, I re-affirmed for myself that night that the energy my creative life and spiritual path require was not going to be given away to grappling with old family pathology, from whose grip I have largely managed to extricate myself after decades of tough spiritual work.

Realizing that this was a key moment, I put up a chart and was stunned to note that the decisive action I had taken had been almost exactly the moment that the North Node shifted into Leo in my 12th house. That night, I was also even more aware than usual of the unconditional support my Aquarian husband has always given me to follow my creative path.

Looking for some nodal images I could use whilst writing this post, I came across this summary — brilliantly appropriate for where I am at the moment — from the website of Alison Gunn, Ph. D., an astrologer whose in-depth work I very much admire:

“…In a nutshell, then, this is the dichotomy of the 6/12 nodal axis: you have to find a way to live in the everyday world and, at the same time, keep the issues confronting your ‘immortal soul’ on the front burner…” (2)

I hope you will find this personal account of interest, and that it will inspire you to keep a close eye on the pair of houses being highlighted in your horoscope over the next eighteen months by the transiting nodal axis and its attendant eclipses. These are the areas in your life that are now ripe for challenge and change!

To end on a pungent, amusing, and I think very accurate piece of astrological shorthand that I learned from the incomparable astrologer Michael Lutin: Couched in the terminology of Alcoholics Anonymous he invites us to think of the South Node as the Bottle and the North Node as The Meeting … a very concise way of reminding us that the South Node represents the safe haven of familiar responses and patterns that, if we stay there, leads to no progress. We need to push ourselves in the direction to which the North Node beckons if we want to grow and develop to the fullness of our capacities as this lifetime unfolds. (3)

Footnotes:

(1) There was a solar eclipse on September 1, 2016 at 9°21′ Virgo and a lunar eclipse on September 16 at 24°13 Pisces. On February 11, 2017 there was a lunar eclipse at 22°34 Leo, followed by a solar eclipse on February 26 at 8°11′ Pisces.

(2) See Alison Gunn Ph. D., Beyond The Stars Astrology and Tarot, Analysis of the 6th house/12th House Nodal Axis through the Signs.

(3) See Anne Whitaker’s blog, where you can download a free copy of The Moon’s Nodes in Action, the author’s extensively researched and thorough (172 pages) work. Although written in 1998, the work is only recently available and a fine contribution to the astrological literature on the lunar nodes. Anne writes:I thought I’d never be able to resurrect the whole text of The Moon’s Nodes in Action from its cyber-grave of apparently unopenable files going back to the 1990s.” Luckily for all of us she was able to retrieve the text and has generously made it available.

Bio: Anne Whitaker is a writer, astrologer, and astrology teacher living in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work appears in many contexts including the UK’s Astrological Journal, The Mountain Astrologer, Astrodienst, Infinity Astrological Magazine, and Dell Horoscope magazine. Find Anne at astrologyquestionsandanswers

Editor’s note: This is a slightly edited version of a post that originally appeared on Anne’s blog…thank you, Anne, for letting TMA share your good work.

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Heath Ledger: A Remembrance

By Mary Plumb | May 8, 2017

Actor Heath Ledger was born on April 4, 1979, and he died on January 22, 2008. (1)

(no time known) Sunrise chart
April 4, 1979
Perth, Australia 31S47 115E51
Porphyry cusps, True node

The natal chart has some notable planetary placements: the Sun in Aries, Venus in Pisces, and Jupiter in Cancer are all in their signs of exaltation; they are the honored guests in someone else’s home. (2) This gives prominence to the Sun and both benefics, showing a life with a special fortune, though obviously not without complexity. The Moon was in Cancer all day, her sign of rulership. (He came from a prosperous and philanthropic family; the Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust is named after his great-grandfather.)

Mercury, Mars, and the South Node are all in Pisces. Mars, dispositor of the Aries Sun, is conjunct Mercury retrograde and in detriment in Pisces. The water planets show sensitivity and empathy; the Cancer Moon responds to life and instinctively connects with the public. Mercury and Mars show deftness with language; he was known for subtlety in expression and the range of roles he played. (3)

Along with the charisma granted by the exalted benefics, Ledger was also known for intensity — he had the natal Sun applying to an opposition to Pluto. His friend, musician Ben Harper, said:
“Heath was the most alive human, and if it wasn’t on the edge it didn’t interest him.” Ang Lee, who directed Ledger in the much-lauded Brokeback Mountain (2005), said: “Even if he was a supporting actor he would steal the whole show, that was the power of Heath Ledger.” (4)

On April 23 at 5:00 p.m. EDT, a documentary entitled I Am Heath Ledger premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. (5) Transiting Venus, in her sign of exaltation, had just turned direct while conjunct Chiron (April 15 at 27° Pisces), and the transiting Moon was between Chiron and Venus at the time of the film’s premiere. Saturn at 27° Sagittarius was square to the Pisces planets, evoking a bittersweet beauty and a sense of sorrow or loss.

film opening: April 23, 2017
5:00 p.m.
Manhattan, N.Y. (40N35 73W59)

In another testament to the timelessness of the natal chart, the planets at the recent premier were conjunct Ledger’s natal Mars at 27° Pisces, dispositor of his Aries Sun. Transiting Jupiter was opposite his natal Sun, highlighting his unique presence and bringing his story to life again.

Bi-wheel: inner: Heath Ledger natal; outer: transits for April 23, 2017; 5:00 p.m., Manhattan, N.Y. (40N35 73W59)

RIP Heath Ledger

Footnotes:

1) Biographical material and quotes from Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heath_Ledger

2) The Sun in Aries is also at the degree of its exaltation, 13°.

3) Film critic A.O. Scott wrote about Ledger’s performance in Brokeback Mountain: “What made the performance so remarkable was that Mr. Ledger, without betraying Ennis’s dignity or his reserve, was nonetheless able to convey that truth to the audience. This kind of sensitivity — the ability to signal an inner emotional state without overtly showing it — is what distinguishes great screen acting from movie-star posing.”
New York Times

4) Quotes from the film trailer.

5) Tribeca Film Festival

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Moonlight and its director

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.

PNSE
August 22, 1979
1:10 p.m.
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.

Footnotes:

(1) The film is based on an “unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Wikipedia

(2) NY Times

(3) Deadline

(4) NY Times

(5) Deadline

(6) Deadline

(7) Hollywood Reporter

(8) Deadline

(9) Jupiter opposite Uranus, exact on Dec. 26, 2016; March 2; September 27, 2017.

(10) Live Entertainment

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Venus and Mars

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.

Footnotes:

(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:

Venus synodic cycle

If we could see from above the earth (located at the center of this diagram), the pattern looks like this — the Venus rose pattern:

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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Capricorn Evolution in the United States

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.

Quite intense.

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.

Footnotes:

(1) PBS News Hour

(2) Britannica.com

(3) Treasury.gov

(4) Webster

(5) astrotheme.com

(6) History.com

(7) History.com

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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Nemesis, Russia, and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

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 glaktix@verizon.net

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