TMA This Week

The Conjunction of the Sun, Venus and Uranus in Aries

By Gary P. Caton | April 1, 2013

“Again and again some people in the crowd wake up.
They have no grounding in the crowd,
And they emerge according to much broader laws.
They carry strange customs with them,
and demand room for bold gestures.
The future speaks ruthlessly through them.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke (1)

There are three people through whom the future has spoken to me in my own astrological practice: Alexander Ruperti in Cycles of Becoming, Robert Blaschke in Holographic Transits, and Arielle Guttman in Venus Star Rising. The astrological theory and technique common to these three works are the importance of the solar conjunctions with the planets and a focus on their delineation. For several years, I’ve been tracking these conjunctions and their synchronous correlates in the experiences of friends, clients, and students. Here, I will share some of what I’ve learned and how it has informed the technique as I currently practice it.

Over the course of the 19-month synodic cycle of Venus, there are two conjunctions with the Sun. Venus’s conjunction with the Sun while in retrograde motion is known as the interior, or inferior, conjunction. Venus passes between the Earth and Sun at this time. Venus’s conjunction with the Sun while in direct motion is known as the exterior, or superior, conjunction, when Venus passes on the other side of the Sun from the Earth. These two conjunctions happen about 9-1/2 months apart.

For some reason, presumably because he likened it to the New Moon, Ruperti clearly gave primacy to the inferior conjunction. He considered the degree symbol (such as the Sabian symbols for each of the 360 degrees) and house position of the conjunction to be the basic factors in an individual delineation. Ruperti felt that the house placement of the transiting conjunction could be a place of Venusian problems (and a need to review one’s values), or of Venusian fulfillment. I have found indications of both. (2)

Blaschke looked at both conjunctions, but considered the degree of the inferior conjunction to be important in relationship analysis. He believed that if the transit inferior conjunction was conjoined to a luminary, planet, or angle in the nativity or secondary progressed chart, it could herald the arrival of a significant relationship. Blaschke also asserted that the effect of any transit synodic conjunction of a planet with the Sun is felt for the entire duration of that synodic cycle, which is 19 months in the case of Venus. (3)

Guttman focused her delineation of both kinds of Sun-Venus conjunctions on their zodiacal sign position. She notes that the most recent spate of conjunctions in Aries began in the same era with the conjunctions in Scorpio, in the 1920’s, and erects a horoscope for what she calls the Aries Venus Star Point, based on the first of these conjunctions on April 20, 1929. (4)

In my experience, all of the above techniques have been rewarding when applied to personal horoscopes. The sign and house of any Sun-Venus conjunction is often a clear focus of Venusian activity for the subsequent nine months. I’ve also found that when a transiting Sun-Venus conjunction contacts a natal planet, the person’s experience of that natal planet undergoes a profound shift. Finally, I’ve found it valuable to look at the whole conjunction chart, in order to discern the contributions of the rest of the planetary pantheon to the influence of the conjunction.

In the chart of the Sun-Venus conjunction of March 28, 2013 (drawn below for Washington DC), there are nine bodies between 8 and 12 degrees of various signs, making for a very complex, interrelated aspect pattern. Beginning in Aries we have the Sun, Venus, Uranus and Mars all between the 9th and 13th degrees. Jupiter is in the 12th degree of Gemini. Saturn is in the 11th degree of Scorpio. Pluto is in the 12th degree of Capricorn. Mercury and Chiron are in the 11th and 12th degrees of Pisces, respectively.

March 28, 2013
Washington, D.C. 38ºN54’; 77ºW02’ 1:05 p.m. EDT
Whole sign houses


Rather than seeing this as a fleeting transit, when viewed through a synodic lens, the influence of this Sun-Venus conjunction can be seen to last for nine months, until the next conjunction of the Sun and Venus. So, within the larger time frame of the Uranus-Pluto squares, I believe we could be on the verge of a shift in the energy, primarily because, in the chart for the Sun-Venus conjunction, Uranus is in a four-planet stellium with Sun, Venus, and Mars. This adds an emphasis on the Uranian side of the Uranus-Pluto squares.

Another interesting feature about this chart is that there are two yods present. One yod is formed by the Aries stellium which is sextile to Jupiter and both of these are quincunx to Saturn in Scorpio. The other yod is formed by the sextile of Saturn in Scorpio with Pluto in Capricorn and both of these are quincunx to Jupiter in Gemini. This double yod is especially interesting to me because recently I was reading Martin Schulman’s book on Venus where he noted that the signs for the classical essential dignities (rulership, detriment, exaltation and fall) of Venus form two Yods in the natural zodiac (see diagram below). Guttman mentions this pattern as well.


Schulman has much to say about this, but the thing that really struck me was the following: “There is a great mystical secret in the Venus Yod which becomes revealed to us when we realize that the Hebrew letter YOD means the point of creation from which all else comes. It is the divine spark of essence, the ultimate source of all beauty which we call Love.” (5)

Schulman uses words like creation, divine spark, and source which seem to imply an active, masculine or yang expression of energy, like the Big Bang which is believed to have created our Universe. It is interesting then that the two points of the yods formed by Venus’ essential dignities are the fire and air signs of Aries and Libra. The yang energy of the fire and air elements has always been symbolized by upward pointing triangles, because the nature of fire and air is to move up and out. The yin energy of water and earth is symbolized by downward pointing triangles, because their tendency is to move down and in (see diagram above). Thus, we can see that a basic component of most any Yod is a kind of indirect opposition of contrary elements. The sextile is usually between elements of the same polarity (masculine or feminine elements) and the other end of the yod will usually be in a sign whose element is contrary to the other two by polarity.

I am reminded of William Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Blake’s theory of contraries was a belief that each person reflects the contrary nature of God, and that progression in life is impossible without contraries. Two types of people exist: the “energetic creators” and the “rational organizers”, or as he calls them in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the “devils” and “angels.” Both are necessary to life according to Blake.

“Without Contraries there is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence. From these contraries spring what the religious call Good & Evil. Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing from Energy. Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell.” (6)

It occurs to me that we have inherited an astrological system that is set up perfectly to look at things this way. Malefic and benefic planets have been cast in the roles of devils and angels. Even if we have grown beyond a gross literal interpretation of good and bad or benefic and malefic, these terms still serve a purpose — to remind us that certain planets act fundamentally as polarized pairs. In the chart for this Venus conjunction, we have three of these pairs interacting: Venus/Mars, Jupiter/Saturn, and Uranus/Pluto. All of this begs us to look at our own tendencies toward being the “rational organizer/angel” versus the “energetic creator/devil.” Perhaps this conjunction is asking us to change something, to find balance in the way we express these energies.

Likewise, the astrological elements form polarities that correlate to what Blake is saying. Being feminine and receptive in nature, the earth and water elements might be the “good,” or the “passive that obeys Reason.” Being masculine and active in nature, the fire and air signs might be the “evil,” or the “active springing from Energy.”

Capricorn certainly has a reputation for “obeying reason.” Perhaps our current Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio symbolize not only the wealthy Plutocrats who will do anything to preserve the status quo, but also the passive masses — “angels” who obey the Plutocracy well past the point of reason, into absurdity. Blake would say it is only an active, creative, or “devilish” energy that can break this pattern, that only through contraries can there be growth.

Aries has a reputation for “active springing from energy.” Perhaps Uranus and the stellium in Aries, as well as Jupiter in Gemini, symbolize not only the destructive forces of misguided industrial enterprise unleashed by the Plutocrats, but also new energetic “devils” springing forth with fresh awareness and energy that is both destructive and creative. It could serve to tear down the ivory tower of Plutocracy, but also to rebuild a new world. In this sense, could it be that we desperately need more energetic “devils” in this World, and soon? On a personal level, perhaps, over the next nine months, you’ll be able to find and relate to your “inner devils” via the sign, house, and planets in the degrees of this conjunction in your chart.

May the angels and devils together bring growth, balance, and wholeness to us all.

References and recommended reading:

(1) Rainer Maria Rilke “About Art,” part 3, 1899.
According to the web reference below, the essay is from
Rainer Maria Rilke: The Complete Works. Volume 1-6

(2) Alexander Ruperti, Cycles of Becoming: The Planetary Pattern of Growth, previously published in 1978 by CRCS, Vancouver, WA. Re-published in 2005 by EarthWalk School of Astrology Publishing, Port Townsend, WA.

(3) Robert P. Blaschke, Astrology: A Language of Life, Volume 5 – Holographic Transits, EarthWalk School of Astrology Publishing, Port Townsend, WA, 2006.

(4) Arielle Guttman, Venus Star Rising: A New Cosmology for the 21st Century, Sophia Venus Productions, Sante Fe, NM, 2010.

(5) Martin Schulman, Venus: The Gift of Love, Golden Light Press, New York, NY, 1981, pg 65.

(6) The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Bio: Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 24 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with highest honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to practicing Astrology over 20 years. Visit Gary at Dream Astrologer

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The Eurozone Crisis 2013: Theory and Method in Mundane Astrology

By Nicholas Campion | March 4, 2013

The question before us: “How do we approach questions of political astronomy in relation to the present time?” I use the term “political astronomy” as an alternative for mundane astrology for two reasons. One is that in the pre-modern period the terms astrology and astronomy were not distinguished. The other is that the use of planetary cycles in order to measure and predict political events discards almost the entire technical fabric of conventional horoscopic astrology, i.e., houses do not matter, and neither do zodiac signs, except as ways of measuring astronomical positions. We could also use the term favoured by Rick Tarnas — archetypal cosmology.

Modern mundane astrology is largely a practice without a theory. Yet a practice without theory has no means of either understanding or improving itself. Neither is there much systematic method in contemporary mundane astrology. To establish both it is necessary to refer to the past authorities in the discipline.

The practice of using planetary cycles to measure or predict political events finds its literary origin in a passage in Plato’s Timaeus, dating from the early fourth century BCE:

“Wherefore, as a consequence of this reasoning and design on the part of God, with a view to the generation of Time, the sun and moon and five other stars, which bear the appellation of “planets” [i.e., ‘wanderers’], came into existence for the determining and preserving of the numbers of Time. (Timaeus 38C).”

We shouldn’t pay too much attention to the word rendered here as “God,” for Plato’s creator is best understood as a remote, original Mind, or Consciousness, not as a personal, anthropomorphised Christian, Jewish or Islamic God. If we remove the religious inferences of the use of the word “God” from Plato’s theory of astronomical politics, the Timaeus sets out the following hypothesis:

1. All political events in the material world originate as intention.
2. All phenomena in the universe, including intentions, political events and physical actions change and move forward in time in a mathematically measurable sequence.
3. As all things in the universe are part of a single mathematically measurable order, planets and politics are part of the same order.
4. The mathematical sequence of changes in all things, including politics can be measured by the movements of the planets.
5. As the planets return periodically to the same position, so political change is also characterised by periodic repetition. Nowhere, however, does Plato suggest that the repetition is of exact detail; rather it is of general theme.

Such a system, following the normal description of Platonic cosmology, can be called Idealistic. Broadly, Plato’s system assumes a form of determinism in which, as the timing of future events can be predicted by projecting planetary positions into the future, it follows that the general nature of future political events already exists, even if only in a potential state. That future events have a kind of existence then suggests that there must be a predictable formula: “When planet ‘a’ is here, then ‘x’ can be expected”, or more complicated, “When planet ‘a’ is here and planet ‘b’ is there, then ‘y’ can be expected.” This is not unlike the formula understood from Babylonian political astronomy: “If ‘a’ occurs astronomically then ‘b’ may occur.” There is no suggestion of cause or influence, but of correlation.

However, Platonic determinism is moderated by the possibility of human action and free choice acquired via “virtue” and appropriate education. As Claudius Ptolemy wrote in his discussion of Egyptian medical astrology, “They [the astrologers] would never have devised certain means of averting of warding off…the universal and particular conditions that come or are present by reason of the ambient, if they had any idea that the future cannot be moved and changed” (Tetrabiblos 1.3). In Ptolemaic cosmology, then, the only point of prediction is to change the future, actually making sure that undesirable predictions are not fulfilled. In this sense, astrology cannot be tested by the success of its predictions, for their failure might be a more reliable indicator of effective engagement by astrologers in the political process. There is a spectrum of attitudes to management of the future, though, and as we shift more towards a Stoic perspective from a Platonic one, room for human action is restricted, the deterministic component becomes stronger, and there is more of an assumption that astrological forecasting can be detailed and exact.

The importance of human action was emphasised by the greatest early-modern theoretician of Platonic political astronomy, Johannes Kepler. He believed, following Ptolemy, that the point in prediction was to change the future. Once problems had been foreseen, he argued, they could be averted by military leadership: “A great safeguard for the army,” he wrote, “lies in their loyalty to and high regard for their commander; for every victory depends on a driving force of the spirit” (Thesis 72). In practical terms this meant that all predictions of future events had to be conditional on intermediate political action. In his Thesis 72, speaking of the future Mars-Saturn conjunction of 1602, Kepler wrote “If a strong peace grows firm in the meantime, clearly there is no danger from the heavens alone.” The key to stability in Keplerian political astronomy is therefore sensible political management: “It is preferable for peace and quiet to prevail” Kepler wrote, “and if sedition is feared, let meetings not be held in August and September [1602], or let them be broken up, or better yet, let the causes exasperating people’s dispositions be taken quickly away, or by the introduction of some new deterrent, let their minds be changed” (Thesis 71). Kepler’s theory can be called Pragmatic on the grounds that it argues for a flexible political response to immediate problems.

There are a number of other theoretical positions relating to the assessment of planetary motions. One is that the slower moving the planet, the more significant are the political events with which it correlates. Another is that the Sun is the most important of the astrological planets. Both these propositions are generally assumed in the literature.

This brings us to the Eurozone crisis. Opinions on the future of the Eurozone have been polarised for the last three years, since 2009. The deterministic prediction holds that the inexorable logic of the debt crisis requires a break-up of the Eurozone. This might be either total, or it might be partial and if partial, perhaps just the north European members might remain as members. The deterministic position is partly economic and predicated on the notion that current debt levels cannot be sustained, and can only be solved if individual countries are allowed to revert to the former currencies and devalue. From this follows a secondary, political, determinism, in which the assumption is that the democratic response to current debt-reducing austerity measures must be the ejection of pro-austerity governments, a consequent worsening of the debt crisis and hence the triumph of economic determinism and inevitable economic collapse. The alternative, on which European politicians have been working, is to reach a solution in which political stability is maintained and economic reforms and austerity measures implemented in the hope that the debt crisis will eventually be brought under control. It is this policy that the economic determinists challenge. As the crisis has unfolded, especially as the Greek crisis has ebbed and flowed, so each side has been dominant in turn, at least in the British press with which I am most familiar. Each competing vision is connected to a metaphysics of time. The economic determinists implicitly assume that the collapse of the Eurozone, being inevitable, already has a kind of reality. They may not state this explicitly, but it is implicit in their model.

What we might call the “astrological mentality” of Plato, Ptolemy and Kepler, differs substantially from the non-astrological. Perhaps better terms for the two would be the Idealist mentality, following Plato, and its opposite, the Materialist. The Idealist mentality assumes a level of mathematical determinism in political events and, relying on planetary cycles as a measuring system, and therefore argues that it can look ahead indefinitely in order to identify critical periods, especially turning points which appear to be unpredictable in conventional systems. Astrological method, through its assumption of cyclical repetition can, it claims, predict upturns and downturns, which are otherwise unexpected. The Materialist mentality predicts by projecting current conditions forward; such projections are usually based on current trends coupled with the most recent event. Thus growth projections are constantly being upgraded and downgraded: “The Eurozone will grow by x% in the third quarter of this year and y% in 2014.” However, the weakness in this conventional, Materialist, model is that it cannot cope with the unexpected — as soon as current conditions change, all future projections must alter. Conventional forecasting methods are therefore inherently flawed. The basic assumption, that current trends can be projected into an indefinite future, even when there is an understanding of a business cycle, is unsustainable. The Idealist model’s claim to predictability may consist, at the very least, of the forecast that identifiable future periods can be defined as critical. The consequence is the occurrence of events which appear to happen by chance and which may throw the Materialist prediction completely of course.

This is not the whole picture, though, and there is a school of deterministic economic forecasting which depends on the analysis of business cycles which have mathematical or organic existence and in which potential future economic up and downturns are already fixed in time. Ideologically such practices rest on the same assumptions as do cyclical astrological forecasting, only without using planetary positions as measuring tools.

When we consider the Eurozone crisis, then, the Idealist position must be that there can be no solution until the separation of the current most important of the planetary alignments, the slow-moving Uranus-Pluto square. In addition, the hypothesis is that future critical moments in the Eurozone drama can be predicted. The Idealist hypothesis is that there should be more such moments of crisis in the Eurozone over the remainder of the period in which the square is in orb – that is, until early 2015.

The theory inherited and adapted from Plato up to the twentieth century holds that critical events should coincide with “hard” zodiacal aspects of 0º, 90º and 180º. A method then follows in which aspects with orbs of 1º and no more than 2º are mapped in order to indicate stress points. Granted, although the manner in which critical moments are identified is not systematised, and the rationale needs to be more coherent, the method is essentially this:

1. The aspect should be exact or as close to exact as possible.
2. Other superior planets should be in aspect.
3. New and Full Moons, especially eclipses, should also aspect the dominant aspect.
4. Aspects to mundane horoscopes for significant moments, including national charts, should be considered.

The other hypothesis we have to state, without it being too obvious, and in spite of the complex timing measures of conventional horoscopic astrology, the manifestation of an event should correlate in time with the astronomical pattern. There are plenty of anecdotal accounts of correlations between astronomical movements and political events, but little in the way of systematic study has ever been attempted. In this case let’s just assume that we are interested in conjunctions, squares and oppositions from other superior planets to Uranus and Pluto. The situation in 2013 and 2014 is therefore as follows:

March: Mars in Aries conjuncts Uranus on 22nd March and squares Pluto on 27th March.
May: Uranus squares Pluto on the 20th- 21st.
July: Mars in Cancer opposes Pluto on the 27th-28th.
August: Mars in Cancer squares Uranus on the 1st; Jupiter in Cancer opposes Pluto on the 6th, and squares Uranus on the 21st.
November: Uranus squares Pluto on the 1st.
December: Mars in Libra opposes Uranus on the 25th and squares Pluto on the 31st.

February: Jupiter in Cancer opposes Pluto on the 1st and squares Uranus on the 26th.
April: Jupiter in Cancer opposes Pluto and squares Uranus on the 19th-20th; Uranus squares Pluto on the 21st; Mars in Libra opposes Uranus and squares Pluto on the 23rd – 24th.
June: Mars in Libra squares Pluto on the 14th and opposes Uranus on the 25th.
November: Mars in Capricorn conjunct Pluto on the 10th and square Uranus on the 13th.

March: Mars in Aries is conjunct Uranus and square Pluto on the 11th and Uranus and Pluto are conjunct on the 17th.

On this basis, what is a more powerful indication? A Mars aspect to an exact Uranus Pluto square, as in April 2014? Or does Jupiter add required significance? In this case, July-August is the maximum pressure indication in 2013. In 2014 late April and early May are the maximum points.

The two most important mundane moments are those for the European Economic Community, out of which the European developed the Euro. (1) Given that the Sun on both days was at 10º Capricorn, and the proposition that outer-planet transits assume greater significance when they aspect positions in major mundane horoscopes, Uranus begins to move significantly out of orb in April 2014, followed by Pluto in November and December 2014. The final Uranus-Pluto square in March 2015 may be significant in itself, but not through its aspect to the dates for the foundations of the EU and Euro. (see charts below)

In Platonic terms, then, July-August 2013 and April-May 2014 are moments at which the Ideal realm is in a state of maximum tension, sufficient to indicate an event such as a break-up of the Eurozone. The difficulty with prediction is uncertainty, and the Platonic model builds this into its thinking. If we are Stoic Determinists we might look at July-August 2013 and April-May 2014 and clearly predict for both or either: “The Eurozone will break up.” However, if we are Keplerian Pragmatists, our forecasts must be conditional on intermediate political action; successful political leadership means that a break-up of the Eurozone at the specified times is not inevitable, but less likely. The Keplerian forecast must therefore be framed conditionally: “If the Eurozone is to break up, and measures to save it are unsuccessful, the most likely periods are July-August 2013 and April-May 2014.” A Keplerian would add advice such as, for example, “The European Bank must increase liquidity,” or, “Agreements on further financial integration should be finalised before July 2014.” In each case the prediction is not made on the basis of astrological assessment alone, but in line with a theory about astrology. Also, in each case, the political outcome tells us, within its own terms, about the claims of a more Stoic versus a primarily Platonic version of political astrology.



Editor’s footnote:
(1) The European Union (formerly known as the European Economic Community, EEC): January 1,1958, 00.01 CET, Brussels; and the Euro: January 1, 1999, 00.01 CET, Brussels. Source: The Book of World Horoscopes, Nicholas Campion, Wessex Astrologer Ltd, third printing 1999.

Bio: Nicholas Campion is Senior Lecturer in the School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, and Director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK. He is course director of the University’s distance-learning MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology. His many books include Mundane Astrology (Aquarian Press, 1984), The Book of World Horoscopes (Aquarian Press, 1987), the two-volume History of Western Astrology (Continuum, 2008/9), Astrology and Cosmology in the World’s Religions (New York University Press, 2012) and Astrology, Prophecy and the New Age (Ashgate, 2012). Edited volumes include Cosmologies (Sophia Centre Press, 2010) and, with Liz Greene, Astrologies (Sophia Centre Press, 2011). He is editor of Culture and Cosmos. His main interest is in how astrological knowledge is constructed and represented, and in competing truth-claims between different schools of thought in astrology, in any time-period and every culture.

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Oscar Pistorius

By Mary Plumb | February 25, 2013

Oscar Pistorius has gone suddenly from international renown as an athlete to being on trial for the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. (1) He has a remarkable life story and was the subject of an article with lots of biographical details in the New York Times last year. (2)

Pistorius was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on November 22, 1986. (I am using 10:30 a.m., rated A at Astrodatabank.) (3)

Oscar Pistorius natal

Everyone’s life is layered and multi-faceted; I am just looking at some of the astrological points that suggest the shocking events in this tragic story.

Oscar Pistorius’ natal Sun at 29º44’ Scorpio is exactly on the Uranus/Pluto midpoint (29º42’). (UR/PL=SU). Ebertin writes: “The urge for independence and freedom, untiring creative work, the tendency to make the highest demands on one’s physical energy, strong emotional tension. Over-excitement of the nerves, a breakdown, a catastrophe.” (4) (We might say that the current Uranus – Pluto square has torn his life asunder.)

In the natal horoscope, Pistorius also has Saturn at 10º45’ Sagittarius exactly on the midpoint of Sun and Uranus at 10º28’ Sagittarius (SU/UR = SA). About this connection, Ebertin writes: “Rebellion against limitation of freedom, inhibitions and difficulties are overcome through extraordinary efforts. Sudden separation, sudden loss, a separation from another person carried out in haste.” (5)

Transiting Saturn is at 11º Scorpio at the Midheaven of Pistorius’ natal chart as the eyes of the world are upon him.

Pistorius natal, transits for February 14, 2013

There is one more midpoint from the natal I’d like to mention: the Moon/Midheaven midpoint (21º13’ Virgo) is exactly on Uranus (21º13’ Sagittarius)(MO/MC = UR). Again, from Ebertin: “An unusual degree of emotional excitability, irritability, nervousness. Emotional crises, upsets through members of the female sex, an unusual emotional state.” (6)

Transiting Mars on the date of the shooting was at 9º Pisces; Pistorius’ solar arc directed Ascendant is 9º18’ Pisces.

Pistorius, solar arc to February 14

The directed Ascendant at 9º Pisces has exactly come to his natal Mars/Uranus midpoint at 24º21’ Capricorn (on the 45º dial) (MA/UR=ASC). Ebertin writes about this: “An excitable person with the inclination to commit acts of violence. An upsetting event, accident, physical injury, (arrest).”

Enough of this sad story for now.

Have a good week everyone.


(1) Wikipedia and

(2) New York Times

(3) Astrodatabank

(4) The Combination of Stellar Influences, by Reinhold Ebertin, Ebertin-Verlag, 1940; pg. 199.

(5) ibid, pg. 83.

(6) ibid, pg. 115.

(7) ibid, pg. 159.

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Taking Advantage of a Moment in Time: The NRA and the Push for Gun Control

By Trish Marie | January 28, 2013

“It is important to take advantage of a moment in time,” said Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fl), Chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention, during an interview with CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer. (1) She meant that since the Sandy Hook school tragedy is in the cross hairs of public outrage, now is the moment to push for gun control legislation that is more in keeping with rules considered reasonable by most other countries. 

No one need convince an astrologer of the need to be aware of the quality of a moment when initiating action: Take action at a time when the fabric of the cosmos supports our intent and odds of success increase. Do so when the celestial patterns run opposite to the goal in mind and failure becomes more likely, problems multiply, obstacles appear. 

So what does astrology say about this moment of time, in the context of gun control? “After watching the deranged, delusional National Rifle Association press conference on Friday (December 21, 2012), it was clear that the Mayan Prophecy had come true. Except the only world that was ending was the NRA’s.” (2) The words are from Emmy award winning filmmaker Michael Moore, but they may as well be from the stars of the celestial, rather than the earthly kind, for astrology agrees. 

We begin with the birth chart of the National Rifle Association. Founded on November 17, 1871 in Fairfax, Virginia by General Wood Wingate, William Conant Church, and General Ambrose Burnside (from whom we get the word “sideburns,” after his iconic style of facial hair), its purpose was to improve the quality of marksmanship among the general populace. (3) “Out of ten soldiers who are perfect in drill and manual of arms, only one knows the purpose of sights on his gun or can hit the broadside of a barn,” lamented Burnside.

NRA, natal sunrise

NRA, aspectarian

With Sun in Scorpio and Moon in Aquarius, the original stated mission of the NRA is well represented: Sun in Scorpio is concerned with right use of power; Moon in Aquarius wants to nurture large groups of people, such as the citizenry. Even more directly reflective of a desire to foster good marksmen is the near exact alignment of Mars and Saturn. Situated at 7° Capricorn, this pair also aligns with Facies, the nebulae in front of the face of Sagittarius the Archer. (4) Fixed star expert Bernadette Brady connects this star with “the penetrating stare of a lethal weapon.” (5) In less aggressive mode, this nebulae is about choosing our aim or focus. It perfectly describes an organization originally formed to upgrade its members’ marksmanship.

Just as weaknesses can become strengths if we work on them, our strengths can turn into weakness if we lean on them too much. Sun Scorpio/Moon Aquarius is a combination that can believe in using intimidation in the name of freedom and independence. Taken to extremes, independence becomes willful rebelliousness for rebelliousness’ sake. Even the Founding Fathers believed in law and order, and “instituted gun laws so intrusive that, were they running for office today, the NRA would not endorse them.” (6)

This Sun-Moon combination also fits an organization that, at its lunatic fringe (which lately never seems far from its center), says the government can have its guns when they pry them from their cold, dead fingers. (Sun in Scorpio rules threats, paranoia, and — it must be said — killing; Moon in Aquarius is an emotionally rebellious position). 

The December Full Moon, occurring two weeks after the Sandy Hook tragedy, aligns to exact degree with the NRA’s Mars-Saturn conjunction.

NRA & Dec Full Moon

When a Full Moon aligns with our Mars, our goals — or aggressiveness — will show; when aligned with Saturn, we see our willingness to acknowledge boundaries. If Facies is prominent in our chart and is highlighted by transit, we’re targeting something (focusing), or are in the cross hairs ourselves. 

So, with the spotlight on the NRA, who do they trot out to voice their position? Spokesman and organization VP Wayne LaPierre, who himself was born with Sun in Scorpio, Moon in Aquarius!  (7) This Sun-Moon combination is shared by Charles Manson, but before we go too far with that, also Vivien Leigh. As “Scarlett,” in Gone With the Wind, Leigh vivaciously channeled the rebellious but indomitable spirit that is one of the best features of this planetary combination. 

With the Full Moon indicating a need for good vision and wise aim, Mr. LaPierre proceeded to shoot himself and the NRA in the foot. His call for more guns, rather than fewer, in schools was wildly out of sync with public sentiment. 

The December 2012 Full Moon, appearing so soon after Sandy Hook and so directly hitting the NRA’s chart, signaled that now is the time to push for change. Transit Saturn is now moving through Scorpio, asking for an increased sense of responsibility on the part of all who have important planets and points in this sign. The Uranus-Pluto square has the NRA’s Mars-Saturn and Venus in the cross hairs. The NRA is feeling no love from the powers that be. Change is in the stars, and the NRA can either be part of the solution or find itself struggling to remain relevant as the laws of the land and the will of the people move forward without them.


(1) Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl) on Wolf Blitzer’s CNN Situation Room, December 21, 2012.

(2) Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns, Michael Moore, Huffington Post, December 24, 2012. 

(3) Wikipedia 

(4) The tropical zodiac sign of Sagittarius overlays much of the sidereal constellation Capricorn, which puts 7° Capricorn in the face of the Archer. 

(5) Bernadette Brady, Star and Planet Combinations, The Wessex Astrologer, 2008, pg. 166.

(6) Adam Winkle, The Secret History of GunsThe Atlantic, September 2011.

(7) Wayne LaPierre (chart not shown): November 8,1948, Roanoke, Virginia. Time unknown. Wikipedia

Bio: Trish Marie is an “astrologer with a bicycle.” Please leave a comment here, or contact her through her website: Trish Marie Astrology.

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The 2013 Inaugural

By Mary Plumb | January 21, 2013

Sunday was very clear in southern Oregon and the first quarter Moon perfectly visible in the day sky.

I was sitting outside my door, in the cold air and warm sun with my cat and a cup of tea, as I began to think about the inaugural chart.  

As others have noted, Mars is prominent in the inaugural chart, and thinking about sect, i.e., noticing the difference in a day or night time chart, makes it even more so. (All the charts herein are with whole sign houses. This one is set for 11:55 a.m.)

2013 chart

In a day chart, Mars (in sect at night) is the more problematic of the malefics, whereas Saturn is potentially more helpful. And, during the day, Jupiter is the more helpful of the benefics, while Venus’s gifts may wane. (1) 

Mars is very strong in the chart by other measures: it is angular; receiving a square from the 1st-house Moon, and exactly semi-square to Uranus. Mars rules the 7th house (Aries on the cusp) and the 12th house (Scorpio) — the houses of open (7th) and secret (12th) adversaries. 

Mars at 20° Aquarius is also very close to Obama’s natal Ascendant at 18°02’ Aquarius. 

The Moon in Taurus, applying to square Mars, is also exactly semi-square (45°) to Uranus in Aries. (This means that Uranus is on the Moon-Mars midpoint.) The Moon will precisely square Mars by secondary progression in early February.

The Moon is also powerfully placed; it is both exalted by sign and rising in the chart. The Moon signifies the public, the people.

The Moon in Taurus and the Ascendant ruler, Venus, with Pluto in Capricorn in the 9th, show that basic survival needs, the distribution of goods, trade, and financial matters are the predominant themes.

The volatility of the Moon, Mars, and Uranus tightly connected is well on display in the current contentious debates on gun safety and the debt, and the separatist impulse that has led citizens in 21 states to file for succession from the U.S. (2) These are some of the crosscurrents of the immediate political landscape.

Many have noted that political divisiveness and haggling over the deficit are taking precedence over addressing the financial and social issues that are imperative for the good of the country. Job creation, equitable distribution of opportunity, narrowing the income disparity, crumbling infrastructures, and countless other social needs are being overlooked in the national conversation as the mania over the debt has taken center stage. 

I’m sure we all remember the long-term transit of Pluto opposite the U.S. Cancer planets in the background of these issues. (3)

A more poetic and optimistic view of the symbolism of the exalted Moon is that the overall public good becomes a significant part of the national conversation. We the People are passionate about prevailing for the common good. In many areas I see this is true. 

The solar eclipse on May 10 at 19°31’ Taurus is exactly on the inaugural Moon. This is important symbolically. I’m sure we will see manifestations — in all directions — of a further empowered and impassioned national mood.

Moon is exalted in Taurus and on the Ascendant — the people are both in a strong position and agitated. I listened to commentators on Chris Hayes’ Sunday talk show discuss how the elation (in many) after Obama’s first inaugural led to a relaxation in his supporters in pushing a more progressive agenda, and that that won’t happen again. The notion that socially progressive activists are organized, focused, and ready to keep at it is another view of Uranus on the Moon-Mars midpoint in the inaugural chart.

The Midheaven in the inaugural chart is 25° Capricorn conjunct the President’s natal Saturn, the chart ruler of Aquarius rising, at 25°19’ Capricorn in the 12th (whole sign) house. (This was true in the 2009 inaugural chart as well.)  An obvious note is that the responsibilities have aged him. (4)  

Michelle Obama’s sunrise Sun is 26°27’ Capricorn and her Moon is 27° Aquarius, conjunct the U.S. Sibly Moon and her husband’s south node. 

2013 chart

New haircut and all, she is both hugely popular with the public and an inner anchor for him.  

Although Jupiter is now in detriment by sign, it is moving very slowly and in the degree of its direct station on January 30. If we consider that Jupiter is in sect in a day chart, its potential gifts are strengthened.

The chart for noon for the public inauguration today has the Moon in Gemini, closely approaching the President’s natal Moon at 3°21 Gemini. (This chart is set for 11:51 a.m., the time I noted as he took the oath.)

2013 chart

The midpoint of transiting Moon and Jupiter will be at 3°56’ Gemini. Jupiter is looking back to the Moon, surely an omen of protection and support, and maybe even of a stirring second inaugural address. 


(1) See Chris Brennan’s blog for an explanation of sect.


(3) Transiting Pluto first opposed Venus at 3°06’ Cancer in 2009 -10; Pluto next opposed the Sibly chart ruler, Jupiter, at 5°56’ throughout 2011, and is fast approaching five partile oppositions to the Sun at 13°19’ in 2014-15, and then on to Mercury at 24°11’ in 2020, and the Pluto return in 2022. The upheaval within and without, the demolishing and resurrecting of the U.S. national psyche, is well under way. 

(4) Maybe we can see transiting Neptune’s trine to the president’s natal Venus (1°47’ Cancer) in the very relaxed official 2013 Inaugural portrait.

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Anne Hathaway

By Mary Plumb | January 7, 2013

I saw Les Misérables this weekend. I wanted to see it — I have an appetite for pathos and catharsis — and I was especially curious about Anne Hathaway as Fantine, whose tragic life and death is pivotal to the story’s unfolding.

I was particularly intrigued because I had heard Hathaway in an interview say that her mother, Kate Hathaway, an actress, had played Fantine in the first U.S. Tour of Les Misérables when Anne was seven. She said how real the story always seemed to her, as she was a little girl watching her mother. (For those who aren’t familiar with Les Mis, it is an intensely emotional story.)

Anne Hathaway was born on November 12, 1982 in Brooklyn, New York. No birth time has surfaced yet, so I’ll look at the sunrise chart. (1)
Anne Hathaway, sunrise natal

Mercury, Sun, Jupiter, and Venus are in Scorpio. (She was born just after the superior conjunction of Venus and the Sun at 11° Scorpio on November 3.)

Mars is exalted in Capricorn, as is Saturn in Libra. Mars at 8° Capricorn is on Facies, the cluster of the stars in front of the archer’s face, in the constellation Sagittarius. Facies is associated with ruthlessness but brings success through an ability for deep focus. (2)

Saturn and Pluto began a new synodic cycle on November 7 when they were conjunct at 27° Libra. The two planets met just once in this cycle; that signature of depth and determination is very acute in her life path. (She has spoken publicly about depression as a teenager and her ability to get through it without medication.)

I don’t know what was happening in her life at the opening square of 1993-4, but at the opposition in 2001 she had her first role in a movie, The Other Side of Heaven, and starred in The Princess Diaries, which was a major commercial success. By the closing square in 2009-10, she was out of a bad news relationship (i.e., her boyfriend of four years “ended up pleading guilty to the 14 counts against him and was sentenced to four and a half years in prison,” and her career was well established. At the time she said,“ ‘Born under a lucky star, Hathaway!’ she exclaims.”) (3)

Hathaway was born in the Balsamic Moon phase. The Moon is in Libra; the deep waters of the natal Scorpio planets have a lovely and expressive lift from the Libra Moon.

The Sun, Venus, and Jupiter are parallel as well as conjunct. They are within 2-½ degrees of longitude, emphasizing their connection and impact. (Maybe that’s the “lucky star”?)

Mercury at 15° Scorpio is on the Aries Point in her chart. The Aries Point connects to the world at large and the potential for public projection. Mercury on the Aries Point makes speaking and communicating in the public eye a strong marker in her life. Mercury is also on the Uranus-Pluto midpoint (ME=UR/PL), which adds a creative and compelling quality to her words, thoughts, and voice.

Mercury rules siblings, of course. She was raised Catholic but left the church at 15. She said: “I realized my older brother was gay, and I couldn’t support a religion that didn’t support my brother.” She is now a prominent LGBT rights activist.

She is also born with the relatively rare condition of all planets in direct motion. Even now, by progression, there are no retrogrades. This must speak of her apparent ease (and drive) to be so publicly expressive, given the privacy of the Scorpio.

The North Node and Neptune are antiscia, i.e., equal distance from the cardinal axis, the so-called “hidden aspect” that connects a pair of planets. (4) There was a solar eclipse on December 15, 1982 (when she was six weeks old) at 23° Sagittarius within a few degrees of natal Neptune, so a life in art and film was triggered early in her life. This eclipse will perfect in her progressed chart in a few years, when she is about 33.

The solar eclipse on November 13, 2012, at 21°56 Scorpio, was precisely on her Venus and within two degrees of the Sun and Jupiter. (5) 2012 was a big year for her: along with her widely praised role as Fantine, she was married on September 29, 2012, a few days past the last exact hit of her Saturn return. (Venus disposits natal Saturn and the Moon in Libra.)

Check out this clip of Fantine’s signature song, with the immortal Scorpio line: “I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I’m living.” She sounds to me like she means it.


(1) All biographical material and quotes from Wikipedia

(2) “Facies in a chart will indicate that the planet it touches will be very focused and driven, and that you will need to be aware that the push to achieve goals and aims may well become ruthless.” Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars, Bernadette Brady, Samuel Weiser, 1998. Pg. 299.

(3) Telegraph

(4) See Kate Petty’s site

(5) In the sunrise chart, Venus is at 21°52 Scorpio.

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The Mercury Elemental Year 2013

By Gary P. Caton | December 24, 2012

before Gary’s blog, a note from Tem

Dear TMA blog readers,
I want to wish you all a very happy holidays and a satisfying 2013. For those of you less familiar with The Mountain Astrologer, I have posted our entire 22-page December/January forecast section online for free. It was recently reorganized and expanded, including Jeff Jawer’s Daily Forecast Calendar, Stephanie Austin’s New and Full Moon reports, Julene Packer-Louis’s Sky Watch, lots of data, and some short articles by myself, including a brief forecast for the 12 Signs for 2013. I hope you’ll enjoy it and consider subscribing to the magazine, either in print, or our lower-cost digital-only version. Also, TMA is available in stores, including most Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods stores.
Here is the link to our Free Sample Forecast Section.
–Tem Tarriktar, TMA Publisher

The Mercury Elemental Year 2013: A Watery Chapter in the Book of Revolution
by Gary P. Caton

In my article for TMA this summer, I called upon astrologers to become more aware of the astrological nuances within the Uranus-Pluto squares of the next few years and the corresponding “Epoch of Revolution.” (1) Because they are invisible and have orbital periods that dwarf most human activity, it is my opinion that the outer planets represent vast transpersonal/societal forces and/or levels of awareness beyond normal everyday reality. In my experience, this can make the outer planets very hard for many people to access in a positive and productive fashion. It has been theorized that one way to “humanize” the outer planets is to access them through the classical, visible planets that represent a similar energy, vibration/note, or “octave.” Since the asteroids dwell between the rocky personal planets and the transpersonal gas giants, they can be seen in the role of “octave transformer.” (2) For example, because of their mutual connection to mental activity, many people see Uranus as the “higher octave” of Mercury. Since they are orbitting between Mercury and Uranus, asteroids with a similar archetypal quality can be seen as transformers in the archetypal circuitry. Their role is to literally step up (or down) the archetypal energy between the personal and transpersonal planet. In the aforementioned article for TMA, I wrote “Pallas can be seen as an ‘octave transformer’ between Mercury, Jupiter, and Uranus, because all these archetypes are associated with somewhat unbounded mental creative principles. It seems to me that these four bodies constitute a sort of ‘archetypal complex,’ if you will…As we enter the next major Uranus-Pluto transits, it seems logical that if Pallas does correlate to a similar archetypal energy as Mercury, Jupiter, and Uranus, then we will see clear examples of this.”

Now transiting in Pisces, Pallas Athene is due to return to Aries — where she was at the last Uranus-Pluto square (on September 18) — on January 10, and will remain in Aries through March 30. I expect to see some emphasis on the more liberating side of the Uranus-Pluto alchemical equation returning to us soon. However, we must remember that because she is linking Mercury with Jupiter and Uranus, she can only “step up” that which Mercury is already in the process of establishing as fact. In this vein it is very interesting to look at what I call the “Mercury Elemental Year” as a possible foundation for the major transformations of our current “Epoch of Revolution.”

It is commonly understood that Mercury takes about a year to traverse all 12 signs of the Zodiac; however, this does not mean that he spends an equal amount of time in each sign. Because of his frequent retrograde motion, in 2013 Mercury will spend more time in the three water signs than all the other nine signs combined! In my follow-up post to the 2012 election, I explained how Mercury’s retrograde periods move through the four elements in a cyclic fashion, with four to six consecutive retrogrades occurring in a single element and 19 to 22 retrograde periods occurring over six or seven years before an element is repeated. (3) I call this phenomenon the “Mercury Elemental Year” because it is quite common for all three Mercury retrogrades in a calendar year to occur in the same element or elemental combination. As we can see from the diagram below, in 2013 the inferior conjunctions of Mercury with the Sun, which define the mid-point of the retrograde period, are all happening in water signs.

Mercury Tables 2012

With the strong emphasis on time spent in water signs, the “public discourse” driven by Mercury may have a decidedly watery or emotional quality for all of 2013. But what does this mean? How can we expect to experience this watery inundation? I would suggest that under the influence of water, nothing is as it seems. Aside from its remarkable reflective ability, all the truly interesting stuff about water is what’s going on under the surface or behind the scenes. Whatever we hear or see, it should be assumed to have a whole universe of emotive precursors behind it. We should ask about these and be prepared to listen and reflect back what we hear. Water is a feminine or Yin element. The alchemical symbol for water is an inverted triangle, representing its nature, which is to move down and inward. We may want to spend less time in outward action and more time going within ourselves. Water has no shape of its own and so takes on the form (earth) of whatever container it encounters. It will be important to have healthy containers and surrender those that are no longer viable. In terms of Aristotelian qualities, water is moist, which means it tends to bring people, places, and things together. We can allow ourselves to be drawn together via these watery currents. Finally, water is the slowest of all the elements to change. So we can cultivate the long view and the patience to go along with it. Since the rest of my analysis will focus on the socio-political realm, I refer the reader in search of a personal take on this subject to an excellent article by a talented colleague of ours, Austin Coppock. (4)

In 2013, we find ourselves in the midst of a series of Uranus-Pluto alignments with the Mercury Elemental year being so watery. It seems logical to look at the last time this happened for some clues as to what’s coming up. This just happens to be 1967, the year of the fabled Summer of Love.
Mercury Tables

Before I go any further, let me be clear that I’m not predicting another wave of hippies spreading peace, love, and music. Far from it. What I am pointing to is the existence of a similar opportunity for a progressive rebellion against the status quo (Uranus-Pluto) to gain new levels of cohesion (Mercury Elemental Year in water). However, one of the main differences between 1967 and 2013 is how the Uranus-Pluto alignments are aspecting the planetary nodes.

Planetary nodes are a very important, and yet underutilized, aspect of modern astrology. Planetary nodes are the places where a planet’s orbit crosses the ecliptic plane. We know that the Equinox points are defined by the places where the celestial equator crosses the ecliptic, and these form the very foundations of the tropical zodiac. The places where other bodies cross the ecliptic plane, like the lunar nodes, have also been important to astrology for some time. Just as the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic plane at her North and South Nodes, so do the planets have such crossing points, and they are also very important. Dane Rudhyar said that the planetary nodes represent places where the essential quality of that planet affects the very structure and the roots of our individuality as a member of the human species. (5)

The Uranus-Pluto conjunctions of the 1960’s occurred in mid-Virgo, square to the nodes of Venus, the planet of Love, and Uranus, the planet of Promethean awakenings. (6) By contrast, the current Uranus-Pluto squares are moving into aspect with the nodes of Jupiter (presently at the 11th degree of Cancer/Capricorn). As the greater benefic, Jupiter is generally fortunate and has a similar power to bring people and things together as Venus, but on a more abstract, philosophical, and detached level, like Zeus looking down from Mt Olympus. As a planet, Jupiter also has several moons (and Zeus fathered innumerable children). Jupiter thus represents the procreation of many diverse offspring and/or systems that bring and hold diverse elements together.

I noticed three emerging trends in the news recently that may reflect these themes. The first article I noticed tells us that the housing market appears to finally be on the mend, with new foreclosures the lowest in six years. (7) Since Jupiter is cash and cash flow, and the housing market bubble was the source of the economic downturn, this could suggest a more favorable overall economic outlook than we dared hope for in some time. The other recent news, which matches expectations for Jupiter’s influence on a long-term revolutionary aspect like Uranus-Pluto, is the report by the U.S. Census bureau that projects increasing diversity in the population (8). It is projected that the U.S. is becoming a “minority majority” country more rapidly than we’d previously thought. Non-whites are projected to be a majority by 2043 and will make up nearly 60 percent of the population by 2060. As I outlined in my recent blog for TMA on the 2012 election, this has enormous ramifications for elected officials who steer public policy.

The final theme, and perhaps the most striking, is the morphing of the Occupy movement from tent cities protesting income inequality into an organized effort to help Hurricane Sandy victims and to initiate a “debt resistance” movement (9). Perhaps, as the Mercury retrogrades moved from the element of fire to water, the Occupy movement has moved from having outrage (fire) in common to having compassion for victims and the chains of unfair debt loads. Given their ability to stay relevant during the Mercury Elemental Year transition from fire to water, it could very well be that movements like Occupy will find a new level of cohesion in 2013.

References & Recommended Reading:

(1) “The Synergy of Pallas Athene with Uranus-Pluto,” The Mountain Astrologer, June/July 2012.
Online readers can find a link to view a copy of the article here

Richard Tarnas coined the term “Epochs of Revolution” to describe the archetypal quality of the history surrounding major Uranus-Pluto aspects in his book Cosmos and Psyche. (2006)
Readers who are not acquainted with this epic work can get a preview here

(2) Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, Ibis Press, 2003.

(3) All Mercury Retrogrades are not Created Equal, November 12, 2012:

Erin Sullivan, Retrograde Planets, Weiser, 2000.
Readers who are not acquainted with this classic work can get a preview here

(4) The Astrology of 2013: Ship of Fools by Austin Coppock:

(5) Orbital Astrology and the Nodes by Dane Rudhyar

(6) See here for a list of the current locations of the Planetary Nodes

(7) Yahoo

(8) Yahoo

(9) Occupy Sandy
The Nation

Bio: Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic, process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 23 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993, his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to practicing Astrology over 19 years. Visit Gary at his website: Dream Astrologer

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The End of 2012

By Mary Plumb | December 10, 2012

I watched a NASA news conference this week. The astrophysicists and astronomers felt it was essential to communicate to the public after receiving masses of emails and calls from people in acute anxiety about what is going to happen on December 21, 2012. They responded to questions on the possibly imminent pole shift, or change in the earth’s rotation, the collision into earth by the rogue planet, Nibiru, solar flares, and other matters. (1)

It was informative, but, like most astrologers, I dwell in a land that includes myth and magic and all kinds of inexplicable phenomena. And the December 21, 2012 date, largely interpreted as the date of the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar, has taken a place in human imagination all around the globe.

Coinciding with speculation on Mayan cosmology, of course, is the longest night of the year (in the northern hemisphere), the winter solstice. After its light and power have been diminishing for the past months, the Sun reaches its maximum southern declination and stands still in declination. It is very low in the noon sky; its movement is imperceptible.

What if the light and warmth of the Sun never return? How will we survive? There is a layer of chill and terror in our primitive brains; our ancestors created ritual, lighting the Yuletide fires to evoke the Sun to return. It is still a time of ritual and prayer and petition.

I was quite taken this week with the report of a “collective mass psychosis” in a jail in Russia as prisoners were overcome with terror at the coming apocalypse. (2) I don’t know how much media access these prisoners have, but I think that this is an event arising from the collective unconscious as well. What is being activated in the collective psyche in these times?

The obvious sources for global anxiety — climate change, civil unrest, financial chaos, water and food shortages — are stunning and haunting. As are people talking about consciousness awakening, the activation of galactic codes that are changing the human bio-circuitry, and the downloading of templates “holonomically resonant with each individual’s point of soul evolution and organically regulated by their capacity for change.” (3)

Startlingly creative to challenging moments seem to be magnifying, and, at times, the world can seem whole and perfect and fiercely and longingly full of love.

Although I don’t really understand it, my capacity for mythic imagination is touched by a modern interpretation of Mayan cosmology, whereby the Sun, the essence of the masculine, is crossing into the dark rift, the deep feminine center of the Milky Way, whom the Maya saw as the cosmic mother. (As the good people at NASA remind us, the Sun is 28,000 light years away from the Galactic Center, so the Sun will not literally fall into the dark rift. But, if you just heard about the Sun falling into the dark rift and bringing our entire solar system with it, that could be cause for anxiety.)

We know change is everywhere — invisible and subtle sometimes, and also with enormous and blatant display.

Although everything counts, so I’ll just mention a few current planetary aspects as markers of this time in the calendar year.

Saturn’s first exact sextile to Pluto is on December 26. (The aspect will be exact again on March 3 and September 20, 2013.)  I find this an omen that we might be demolished and reconstructed — on whatever level or in whatever area there is a need — with a hint of gentleness and ease. (This is the waning sextile in the cycle that began with the conjunction in 1980; the waxing square was in 1993-4; the opposition in 2001-2, and the waning square in November 2009 through August 2010. The transition in the calendar year between 2009 and 2010 was accompanied by the waning square between these two planets.)

Perhaps we are in a time where the experience of being at the abyss, i.e., “the bottomless gulf, pit, or chaos of the old cosmogonies,” is becoming familiar and the moments for creative acts, resurrection within despair, the compression of death and rebirth into one easy flow, and the alchemy of transforming perceptions accompanies every step we take. (4)

And there’s Saturn’s trine to Neptune guiding us also across the end of 2012. This aspect forms exactly between October 2012 and July 2013; these two will not form a trine again until 2036.

There is a Sanskrit word, sav karuna, which means self-compassion — the practice of diving deeply into our own hearts towards compassion for self that then might be extended to others.

Saturn-Neptune suggests engaging with the invisible worlds, feeling the space between thoughts, cultivating our unique artistry, finding a pathway that is inclusive and spacious enough to hold our wildest imagination and aspirations.

I had a Saturn-Neptune moment the other morning. I was just awake from a series of dreams. My first conscious thought was, I don’t want to open my eyes; it was such a deeply contented state. (And unusual for me as I usually bound from bed several hours before dawn to go out and look at the sky.)

Sometimes the instruction to choose between fear and love is obvious and easy, but Saturn in Scorpio can also bring an inquiry into the contours of fear. Saturn is an anchor, and in Scorpio it suggests that ongoing openness to Scorpio motifs might keep us steady on the path. The sign has countless correspondences, of course, but the connection to that which is hidden, denied, or uncomfortable in the feeling life is an edge that we can notice.

The process of going back into the muck, into what is stuck or afraid, the experience of contraction, is a step toward the greater expansion that will inevitably and naturally follow. Staying open and vulnerable right at the edge of our defenses can be a practice itself, and the circumstances of our lives can change.

I watched a video about 2012. (4) My favorite part was an Indian gentleman, whose name I missed, who said: “Sprinkle some spirituality into whatever you do; be a sane person in this insane world.”

Have a great week everyone.


(1) NASA

(2) New York Times

(3) Template Portal

(4) Merriam-Webster Dictionary

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Venus-Saturn and endings

By Mary Plumb | November 26, 2012

I had been planning to write again on the fateful encounters brought by the Vertex point this week, but the solar eclipse at 22° Scorpio fell within a few degrees of my Ascendant and other situations rose to the surface. (1)
I have a friend (his wife of 30 years calls him “our Maverick Warrior” – he has Sun conjunct Chiron in the natal chart) who took his last breath on Saturday night. He was at home, where his body stayed in repose for 24 hours, surrounded by immense tenderness, beauty, and great love.
He has Capricorn rising in the natal, so Saturn is the chart ruler as well as the Annual Perfected Lord of the Year. (2)
He was born in June. In his 2012 Solar Return, the Ascendant is 22°19’ Libra, Saturn is precisely there, at 22°46’ Libra.
Saturn at birth was 16°54’ Aries. The leaded one turned retrograde 37 days after he was born. Now, by progression, Saturn is back exactly to his birth position: 16°54’ Aries.
The gentleman’s natal Midheaven is 3°34’ Scorpio. As he left this mortal coil, transiting Venus was at 3°46’ Scorpio conjunct the natal Midheaven, with Saturn at 5°58’ Scorpio standing guard closely nearby.
It was a dignified and peaceful passing. This is a simple tribute to Venus and Saturn, now traveling together in Scorpio, crossing his Midheaven and guiding my friend on.
On Sunday night I went to a festive goodbye dinner for another friend who is moving to a far away country. He has 4° Scorpio Ascending — another chart meeting transiting Saturn and Venus. It was an enchanted evening with rounds of affection, cocktails with fresh orchids as garnish, and champagne and superb food. No one wanted to say goodbye. (Come to think of it, maybe I was part of Venus-Saturn at the table too — I was the oldest female, but kept up quite well with my younger companions.)
The often-present fog and clouds were gone when I got home and the night sky was beautiful — the gibbous Moon, Jupiter close to Aldebaran in Taurus, Betelgeuse, Rigel and Orion. I know these are the easiest to find in the sky, but I was so happy that I could clearly see them all. I wish one of my star gazing friends had been there with me; we could have identified many others, but it was an exquisite final scene to a weekend of rare and tender beauty.
Please enjoy these fine writers on various themes of the time.
Margaret Gray has a piece on her site, Mars Conjunct Pluto in Capricorn – A Psychological Astrology Perspective. (The conjunction is also exact this week.) She writes: “What is ending and what is beginning? This Mars/Pluto conjunction represents the ending of a Mars/Pluto cycle that started with the last conjunction at 4°21’ Capricorn in February 2010.“

Over at Cosmic*Intelligence*Agency, a site with many wonderful articles, Margaret also has an in-depth blog on the Yod appearing on December 21, 2012. Jupiter is at the apex of the Yod, which is also called the “finger of god.” “Astrologically the term ‘finger of god’ has been mostly interpreted as bringing our attention to a core theme described by the apex planets’ identity and placement by house and sign, which we have undertaken at a soul level to integrate in this lifetime.”
David Crook of Stellar Insights keeps informed on lots of fronts. He has a graphic of the morning sky where, if you have clear skies, you can see Saturn, Venus, and maybe even Mercury. He also has pieces on this week’s lunar eclipse and the cease-fire in the Israel-Gaza conflict.
Always a keen observer of world events, Dharmaruci at Astrotabletalk looks at the US post-election: America’s Fragile Exceptionalism. “The US is in a similar position to the UK 100 years ago, when it was starting to lose its place as the world’s biggest and wealthiest Empire, and it had the same transit, Pluto opposite the Sun, but Cancer-Capricorn instead of Capricorn-Cancer.”
Diana Rosenberg researched fixed stars for 30 years. Her website has information about her book, Secrets of the Ancient Skies, published shortly before she passed away in June. The site, Diana’s Fixed Stars, has lots of her articles. In Medusa’s Head, Diana thoroughly documents Algol, known as “the most evil, violent and dangerous star in the heavens.” She concludes: “Some of the fixed stars are harsh, yes. But to a purpose. Each defines an area that will be tapped for good or ill; the tests are intense and unavoidable. Algol, like the other stars, confers tasks upon us which, if comprehended and accepted, offer great rewards of power and creativity. These stellar challenges are not to be feared, but understood and used in a positive manner.”
Richard Nolle’s is available. For a start: “December opens up with the tail end of a Mercury Max (ending on the 4th), so you can expect that it takes full concentration just to get by for the first few days of the month. Assume that nothing will work out short of close supervision and full follow-up, and you won’t be far wrong.”
Robert Zoller is the teacher of medieval astrology. He has an archive of work on his site, including
The Guardian Angel and Astrology, which begins with a mention of James Hillman’s view of the psychological significance of the daemon or guardian angel. Robert writes: “We are not tabula rasas or clean slates upon which our parents and educators delineate our subsequent histories. Rather, each incarnating soul brings with it, in the form of its daemon, a goal or agenda which environmental and parental influences can either collaborate with or interfere with.”
Demetra George’s October Newsletter has an article on Saturn in Scorpio: Transits and Time Lords. She describes an easy-to-try technique (which I mentioned in the story of my newly departed friend).
How many of us are lucky enough to have a sibling who is also an astrologer? My sister Kate Plumb has a very thoughtful look at Scorpio Eclipse Season. (Speaking of luck and siblings: we each have Mercury conjunct Jupiter – in different signs – in our natal charts.) Kate says: “I wrote this blog because I was struck by how many people’s lives have been temporarily or permanently altered this past month here on the East Coast from Hurricane Sandy and the second storm. Adding to that are all the people across the country who have finished their activities around the Presidential election. Crises and transformations of this magnitude are what Scorpio is all about. Is there a purpose? What are we supposed to think when our home and all our earthly possessions have floated away? What new decisions and commitments have to be made as a result?”
(1) Last week’s TMA blog
(2) See my link to Demetra George’s article where she teaches this simple method.

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All Mercury Retrogrades Are Not Created Equal

By Gary P. Caton | November 12, 2012

Despite the expectations and predictions of many astrologers for a repeat of the 2000 chaos, the 2012 election was mostly quick, clean, and decisive. (1) Why were so many astrologers fooled? Unlike the other classical planets, with their more predictable natures, Mercury is a wildcard. It is the archetype of the trickster, a shape-shifting shaman who blends into the nature of his surroundings like a chameleon. It is clear now that one cannot assume we’ll see similar results because Mercury was retrograde on Election Day in both 2000 and 2012. Mercury’s behavior depends a lot on his surroundings.  With Mercury, more than any other planet, the devil is indeed in the details.

One of the most basic, and often overlooked, detail of any Mercury retrograde is the element within which it occurs. Mercury’s retrograde periods move through the four elements in a cyclical fashion, with four to six consecutive retrogrades occurring in a single element and 19 to 22 retrograde periods occurring over six or seven years before an element is repeated. (2) I call this phenomenon the “Mercury Elemental Year” because it is quite common for all three Mercury retrogrades in a calendar year to occur in the same element, or combination of two elements. For instance, in the year 2000, all three Mercury retrogrades happened mostly in the water signs, with the final retrograde of the year stationing direct just into the last degree of the air sign of Libra on Election Day. (3) This presaged a movement into the air triplicity for 2001.

In the following tables you will see the sign and degree of the Mercury conjunctions for 2000 and 2012. I use the inferior or retrograde conjunction of Mercury with the Sun as the elemental marker because it happens at the midpoint of the retrograde period, and thus whatever element Mercury makes the conjunction in is the element within which he spends more time in retrograde motion (for instance, the next inferior conjunction is November 17 in Scorpio. Mercury spends eight days retrograde in Sagittarius and 12 days retrograde in Scorpio — thus the water element is more accentuated than fire.

Mercury 2000

In 2000, Mercury made the retrograde (inferior) conjunction with the Sun on March 1 in Pisces, on July 6 in Cancer, and on October 29 in Scorpio. As mentioned above, Mercury went direct on November 7 at 29° Libra. The next inferior conjunction was on February 12, 2001 at 21°  Aquarius, thus beginning the movement into the Air triplicity.

In 2012, however, Mercury’s retrogrades are moving from the fire to the water signs. 

Mercury 2012 

In 2012, Mercury had an inferior conjunction on March 21 in Aries and on July 28 in Leo. The next inferior conjunction is November 17 in Scorpio, and the following inferior conjunction will be on March 4, 2013 in Pisces. The retrograde will be primarily in the water element until 2014 and will not return to the fire signs until 2017.

This fundamental, or “elemental,” difference in the placement of the 2000 and 2012 Mercury retrogrades (within the six-to-seven year cycle through the elements) becomes even more important when one considers the fact that the United States of America was founded on July 4, 1776, during a Mercury retrograde period. In fact, in 1776 the Mercury retrogrades were transitioning from water to air signs, as in 2000.

Mercury 1776

In 1776, Mercury had an inferior conjunction on March 5 in Pisces, on July 11 in Cancer, and on November 2 in Scorpio. The next inferior conjunction was on February 16, 1777 in Aquarius, and the air cycle continued for another or so.

So, in both 1776 and 2000, the Mercury retrograde periods were moving from the element of water to the element of air. However, in 2012, the Mercury retrograde period is moving from fire to water. This then underscores a fundamental difference between the 2000 and 2012 elections — the 2000 election was resonating more strongly with the tone of the U.S. Sibly chart than the 2012 election. 

Now, does this mean there will be none of the reversals characteristic of Mercury retrograde in this 2012 election? Absolutely not, only that they won’t show up in the same way as 2000. So then, what does this election mean when put into proper context?

In the chart for the election, cast for midnight at Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, where voting begins, we see that Mercury in Sagittarius is in mutual reception to Jupiter in Gemini. 

Dixville Notch

In one of the best astrology articles  I’ve seen in years, my colleague Austin Coppock describes the Gemini/Sagittarius axis as “The One and the Many.” (3) The premise of his article is that this axis acts in a way that mirrors the alchemical formula Solve et Coagula, meaning break apart and put back together. In Gemini things are fractured into countless diverse and unique pieces and in Sagittarius they come back together through some divine unifying principle. This is similar to the phrase on the Seal of the United States, E Pluribus Unum — Out of Many, One.

Accordingly, the results of the 2012 elections were diverse. Rather than hanging chads leading to the involvement of the Supreme Court, the really meaningful reversals brought about by the 2012 Mercury retrograde election are so vast (Jupiter) that they haven’t really come into focus yet. When seen as a whole, I think it is clear that historically this will be looked at as a re-alignment election. Candidates can no longer simply rely on the white male vote to get elected president of this country. The 2012 election results suggest to me that the white/male, straight/square/Christian electoral hegemony may soon be over forever.

Does this sound hyperbolic? Let’s take a look at each of these heretofore fixed cultural conditions, with respect to these election results.

White: Barack Obama became the first two-term President who is not white. He is now one of only 22 men who have won election to a second term. If he completes his term, he will be only the 13th President to do so. (4) Nationally, non-white voters made up 28% of all voters, up from 26% in 2008. Barack Obama won 80% of these voters, the same as four years ago, while 89% of Mitt Romney’s vote came from whites. (5)

Male: Four newly elected and six re-elected female Senators will join the 113th Congress, giving us 19 female senators. (6) This is the highest number of women senators in history. Incidentally, this result is consistent with Mercury retrograde being conjunct the Sun in the 2012 vernal ingress chart, which this author read as showing the possibility for advancement of women’s causes at an historical level. (7)

Straight: Gay marriage measures passed in Maine, Maryland, and Washington state, and the first openly gay person was elected to the Senate. (8) (9)

Square: Marijuana de-criminalization measures passed in Colorado and Washington state. This could be an important turning point in the “war on drugs” that has been raging in this country for 40 years. (10)

Christian: The first practicing Hindu congresswoman was elected and will take her oath of office on the Bhagavad Gita. (11)

In summary, it appears that Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, in mutual reception with Jupiter in Gemini, has resulted in an election that would make the ancient alchemists proud. According to the formula Solve et Coagula, the old rigid electoral hegemony has been dissolved and has re-coagulated to a state more truly representative of E Pluribus Unum  — Out of Many, One.

References & Recommended Reading:
(1) See for instance this post from the Astrology News Service 

(2) Sullivan, Erin Retrograde Planets, Weiser, 2000

(3) Find An Astrologer

(4) CNN

(5) Voxxi


(7) TMA

(8) Huffington Post

(9) Kera News

(10) Baltimore Sun

(11) Jezebel

Bio: Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic, process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 23 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993, his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to practicing Astrology over 19 years. Visit Gary at his website: Dream Astrologer

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