TMA This Week

Paula Deen: From the Frying Pan into the Firestorm

By Alex Miller | July 1, 2013

On Wednesday, June 19, 2013, the National Enquirer released transcripts from a deposition taken from noted TV chef Paula Deen in a racial and sexual discrimination suit by a former employee. According to her testimony, Deen replied, “Yes, of course,” when asked if she ever used the “N-word,” and also admitted to telling racial jokes “in the past.” Deen went on to place this in context, describing an incident early in her first marriage when a black man held a gun to her head during a bank robbery (something not likely to endear him to her), and also related instances of recounting “a conversation between blacks” to justify her use of the pejorative. Deen also admitted to briefly considering giving her brother “a true Southern plantation-style wedding” in 2007, before realizing how the media would portray that. When questioned by her restaurant manager, who is now suing her, as to what that meant, Deen allegedly replied, “Well, what I would really like is a bunch of little n*****s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties…you know, in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.”

The public response was immediate and devastating for the Food Network star, age 66, known for her high-fat, high-calorie, down-home Southern-style cooking. On June 21st, Food Network executives decided not to renew her contract when it expired at the end of the month, costing Deen her salary of $50,000 per episode and bringing their 11-year relationship to an end. Not content with the future, Food Network is apparently trying to rewrite the past, pulling all old episodes of her series from syndication — she has simply vanished from the air.

Smithfield Foods (of Virginia Ham fame), with whom she has had an endorsement contract since 2006, cut ties on June 24th, and retail outlets Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot followed suit on the 26th, stating they would no longer carry inventory on her line of cookware, health and wellness products, and fresh food items. On the 27th, Deen lost another endorsement contract with Novo Nordisk, manufacturer of diabetes drugs. (Deen had been diagnosed with the disease in 2009 but did not alter her cooking style or disclose her illness until 2012, when she announced her endorsement deal with the Danish pharmaceutical company whose main export is insulin.) Caesars Entertainment also stripped her name from four buffet casino restaurants in which they had partnered with Deen, who still co-owns two restaurants in Savannah with her sons and brother.

The litany of corporate rats leaving the sinking Deen ship rolls on — by Friday June 28th, Deen had lost product deals with Kmart, Sears, Walgreens and J.C. Penney. Also on the 28th, Ballantine Books announced they would not be publishing her forthcoming cookbook, Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Recipes, All Lightened Up (despite a huge increase — more than 1000% — on pre-orders for the new book at since the story broke) and was also canceling her five-book contract.

The plunge down the rabbit hole seems complete for Deen, recently named the fourth highest-earning chef in America by Forbes magazine, which estimated a gross income of roughly $17 million in 2012 for the Southern cuisine diva. The rise to fame and wealth was a stupendous one for the Albany, Georgia native, who began her culinary career as “The Bag Lady,” selling box lunches from her home kitchen in 1989, developing this into a full-fledged catering business and then opening her first restaurant, “The Lady & Sons” in Savannah in 1996. She self-published her first two cookbooks in 1997, and 11 more have followed, with the 14th to have been released this fall by Ballantine. She has also written an autobiography, It Ain’t All About the Cookin (in which she relates a story of being blocked by Food Network when she wanted to present her viewers with her recipe for a “Sambo burger”). Television came calling in 2002 in the form of the Food Network, when the “Paula’s Home Cooking” series premiered, shot in her home kitchen, followed by “Paula’s Party” (2006) and “Paula’s Best Dishes” (2008).

After canceling an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today show on Friday June 21st, Deen released a video apology on YouTube, where she stated, “Your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me, but it’s what’s in the heart, and my family and I try to live by that. I offer my sincere apology to those that I have hurt and I hope that you forgive me because this comes from the deepest part of my heart.” Deen later rescheduled with the Today show and appeared live on Wednesday the 26th in a tearful, sobbing segment reminiscent of Tammy Faye Bakker. Giving answers somewhat sympathetic, but also somewhat inconsistent, Deen stated, “I’m no actress, what you see is what you get. … I is what I is, and I’m not changin’,” a declaration of dubious utility given the circumstances.

Born on January 19, 1947 (time unknown), Paula Deen’s chart reveals a driven, career-oriented individual, with a potential for business success but also devastating loss. A mini-stellium of Sun, Mercury, and Mars in late Capricorn is joined by centaur Pholus and asteroid Paula, the last possibly subconsciously suggesting to her parents the name they would give her.

The Sun at 28° Capricorn with Mars at 25° suggests someone driven and energetic, with a strong will and a desire to excel. But there can also be a spontaneity to that placement which can prove a handicap, especially with Mars also conjoined by Mercury at 26° Capricorn, which can evoke sudden outbursts or unfortunate statements without due consideration of the consequences. There isn’t a lot of verbal control with this pairing, but Mercury’s detail orientation and communication skills and Mars’ tireless energy do add to the business acumen suggested by the strong focus on Capricorn, which also houses the Moon (its degree unknown, but in that sign all day), a perfect alignment for a cooking (Moon) professional (Capricorn). Pholus here at 24° Capricorn is also unfortunate, as it relates among other things to a certain level of toxicity, in this case allied to Mercury’s rulership of communication, sometimes capable of sparking mean-spirited or poisonous utterances.

But perhaps the most difficult aspect of this combination is the Sun’s placement directly in the cross-hairs of a Galactic Grand Cross, comprised of an exact conjunction with the Pulsar at 28° Capricorn, an exact opposition to one Black Hole at 28° Cancer, an exact square to another at 28° Libra, and a looser square to a third Black Hole at 26° Aries. Pulsars are stellar remnants which rotate rapidly, emitting radio or x-ray signals at regular intervals. They are informational in nature, and persons with strong contacts often gravitate to the media, as Deen finally did with the TV work which made her a national celebrity. Black Holes, the remnants of stars which have collapsed into pinpoints of such gravitational power that not even light can escape them, are very difficult to deal with. They can provide enormous reserves of energy, not always easy to tap into, but also sap strength and vitality, and tend to build one up only to tear one down. Their essence is one of change and transformation, a sudden, sweeping and unexpected alteration in the status quo, and they can be devastating in their effects. Deen’s stupendous and breathtaking fall from grace, with the virtual self-implosion of her empire within days, is typical of the kind of havoc they can wreak when roused. In particular, her total disappearance from the Food Network airwaves, no longer available even in rerun, is classically Black Hole in nature, making her effectively invisible.

The Sun and Mercury also oppose asteroid Pandora at 29° Cancer, making Deen subject to the release of unintended consequences of a disastrous nature, simply by being who she is (Sun) or via statements she has made (Mercury). Pandora’s conjunction with the Black Hole at 28° Cancer, conjoined by transit Venus (worth or value) at the height of the corporate bailout, is likely the spur for this sudden turnabout of fortune.

Current transits and eclipses colluded with Deen’s fall. Neptune had come to its retrograde station at 5° Pisces less than two weeks before the Enquirer story broke, from where it was exactly conjoined her natal asteroid Damocles, that point of doom hanging unseen and unsuspected overhead. The Lunar Eclipse of May 25th at 4° Sagittarius also t-squared Damocles, activating it further and evoking its latent potential for destruction.

Additionally, the ground was well prepared weeks before the May 17th deposition, when a Lunar Eclipse at 5° Scorpio, conjoined transit Saturn, exactly squared her natal Saturn at 5° Leo on April 25th, activating career matters but also potentially engendering loss or limitation. That point is natally conjunct Pluto at 12° Leo, this combination promoting a steely determination to succeed and attracting the many millions of dollars Deen has accrued, but also creating the possibility of a devastating collapse in career ambitions at some point in the life.

When Deen’s statements became public knowledge on June 19th, an exact transiting square between Mars and wound-maker Chiron at 13° Gemini and Pisces was exactly conjoined by asteroid Phaeton at 13° Gemini, the whole forming a t-square with natal Venus at 12° Sagittarius, to which transiting Uranus at 12° Aries was exactly trine. Mars represents Deen’s actions, while Chiron suggests nonconformist, maverick behaviors causing a fatal wound, and Phaeton signals a sudden, explosive and total breakdown or self-created destruction. All of this became focused on natal Venus’ emphasis on earning potential, personal values and ethics, with Uranus providing a severe shock to the system. Mars/Phaeton was also just coming into orb with natal Uranus at 18° Gemini, ruling shocking, controversial acts or statements, and linked to racist attitudes in the form of its rulership of xenophobia, a fear of “alien” persons.

There was also an exact union of the Sun and Jupiter at 28° Gemini that day, exactly inconjunct Deen’s 28° Capricorn Sun, and focusing attention (Sun) on her life philosophy or beliefs, reputation and social status, and interactions with the court (all Jupiter).

Perhaps most telling is a combination of transiting asteroid Paula at 23° Pisces exactly opposed natal asteroid Nemesis at 23° Virgo, a point related to vengeance, retribution, and undoing, which was itself conjoined to natal asteroid Karma at 21° Virgo, suggesting a moment of comeuppance or a fated circumstance based in past behaviors.

It’s hard to say where all this leaves Paula, amid the tatters of her butter-braised culinary empire. Her many fans seem to be sticking by her. As mentioned above, advance orders for her next cookbook shot up more than 1000% on before Ballantine cancelled its publication; two of her already published cookbooks have risen to the top of the bestseller list; lines still stretch around the block for her Savannah restaurant, and the Food Network’s Facebook page is blowing up with angry messages decrying the decision not to renew her contract. She may one day rise phoenix-like from the fallen soufflé of her ambition, a la Martha Stewart. But for now, the mistress of Southern comfort food appears to be one very dead duck, with or without orange sauce.

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

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The Me Nobody Knows: Edward Snowden’s Mercury

By Eric Francis | June 24, 2013

When Edward Snowden’s birth details arrived by mail from Elizabeth City, North Carolina this week, as I cast the chart I knew he was going to have an interesting Ascendant. That turned out to be true — his cluster of planets in Gemini is rising — though there is a subtle point: Mercury.
Before we get to that bit of analysis, we learned overnight Saturday, right during the Full Moon, that Snowden managed to catch a flight from Hong Kong to Moscow. From there he was expected to fly onto Cuba, then according most reports, he has been granted political asylum in Ecuador.
Snowden was reportedly accompanied out of Hong Kong by a member of WikiLeaks legal team named Sarah Harrison. Hong Kong authorities allowed him to leave the territory despite the United States requesting his arrest, in essence telling the United States to bugger off. In a statement, Hong Kong said that the United States had not properly completed legal documents justifying the request and therefore there was no legal basis for detaining him.
Snowden commenced his trip just as Jupiter was conjunct his Sun in the last degree of Gemini, exact to a few arc minutes. Astrology students may note that while this is exactly how Jupiter is supposed to work — right down to representing accompaniment by an international attorney — it doesn’t always. But it’s fun when the astrology textbooks are right.
Jupiter, which has been prominent in his late-Gemini chart throughout the events that ensured on June 5 when The Guardian released a secret court order compelling Verizon to hand over telephone records of its customers, seems to have given Snowden some cover, protection and a touch of the exotic. Everyone who has seen this chart has marveled over this Jupiter transit, as well as noting that the charge of espionage was revealed on his solar return.
Jupiter has certainly “expanded” his reputation — Snowden is currently the most famous person in the world — someone who we may never know or understand, or perhaps it’s better to say someone who will never fully let on who he is. The presence of Jupiter is one illustration of various pundits claiming that he’s too big for his britches. But that remains to be seen.
Let’s take a look at that Ascendant, about which I have a comment before we even look at any planets. Snowden has 12+ Gemini rising. This is remarkable for two reasons — one is that it’s the exact opposite degree as the United States Sibly chart. This is a kind of “identical twin” kind of setup and also it means that the U.S. and Snowden will experience transits to their Ascendant simultaneously.

Snowden natal

The one that jumps out right away is the Saturn-Pluto opposition that happened a month before the September 11 incident. That opposition went right across 12+ Gemini/Sagittarius. The United States was directly affected. And so was Edward Snowden. It’s my impression from this transit that Snowden was profoundly influenced by the events of 9/11/01 and that his response — to join the military and then work as an intelligence analyst — was sincere.
In particular, Pluto on his 7th house cusp during that incident felt like the attack was personally directed at him. Saturn transiting his Gemini Ascendant was a call to a mature response, again experienced as a direct call to action.
Now for some planets. Snowden has four major points in Gemini: the Mercury, the Sun, the North Node and Mars.
Of those four points, just one — the Ascendant ruler Mercury — can be found in the 12th house. Some would call that the chart ruler; some would say it’s a significator for Snowden.
When there are planets around the Ascendant it’s helpful to study the chart closely to sort out what stands for what. We have three bold points in the 1st house — the Sun, Mars and the Node. That’s the image of someone direct, outgoing, clear in their intentions and focused on their mission — all could be used to describe Snowden.
Then Mercury is in the 12th house. The 12th is the hidden zone, a kind of blind spot. Mercury is the Ascendant ruler and the dispositor of all those planets. It’s running the show from behind the scenes. That’s the big question mark over this chart; the point of mystery; the version of Ed Snowden known only to himself. 

When you consider the fact that he has four points in Gemini and therefore eight or sixteen different points of identity (Gemini tends to multiply), that Mercury in the 12th house clearly knows a lot that it’s not saying. The question over his intent is therefore seemingly amplified. But just because we don’t know everything does not predict what we don’t know. There are indeed a lot of possibilities.
Neptune opposing his Mars and Sun adds to the sense of mystery, a sense of an encounter with the unknown. Mars opposite Neptune is not necessarily easy for others to experience; it can describe an intensity about the person, a willingness to take risks, and also a kind of “walk through walls” quality: powerful Neptune aspects like this one can give a person a sense of boundaries that only they understand.
Jupiter and Uranus oppose Mercury, in Sagittarius in the 6th house. This adds to the clear sense of mission and drive — and also describes Snowden’s intelligence as well as his tendency to get himself into international intrigues. Jupiter and Uranus are retrograde, adding more seeming mystery about his motives and his sources.
He has the Moon in Scorpio in the 6th house. All in all, this is the perfect chart for someone who handles confidential information and who actually can keep a secret.  But he chose to reveal a surveillance program that was in itself damaging to the American people and its government. He did everyone a favor by making this public.*
My take on this chart is that in sum, it reveals a person who makes his choices based on authentic values, even ones that are articulately stated — but he has the aura of doing his own thing due to Mercury in the 12th and the oppositions from Neptune. He lives with this tension as the struggle with his conscience. Most people can sit on that tension and ignore it. Snowden’s astrology is too bold for that. The Mars, Sun and Node in his 1st house demands correct action; it’s the embodiment of dharma.
He has not revealed everything about what he does or why he does it — and for that matter, neither does anybody else.

Editor’s note: This is a correction from the earlier version of the text which read: “But he chose to reveal those secrets of activity that were, in fact, damaging to the American people and its government.”

Bio: Eric Francis is a TMA contributor and editor of Planet Waves. Listen to his weekly podcast at Planet Waves FM.

A note from The Mountain Astrologer: Be sure not to miss Eric’s new article on the astrology of Monsanto and GMOs in the new Aug./Sept. edition, which is available now (in print or digital) by subscription. Please go here to order a subscription.

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Heath Ledger

By Mary Plumb | June 3, 2013

Actor Heath Ledger was born on April 4, 1979 in Perth, Australia (no known time). He died on January 22, 2008 of an accidental prescription drug overdose. (1)

Heath Ledger, sunrise natal

His father is participating in a documentary called Too Young to Die. He showed a reporter the actor’s journal that he kept during filming of The Dark Knight, for which he posthumously received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. The movie opened six months after Heath Ledger died. On the last page in his journal, he wrote “Bye-Bye.”(2)

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. This gives prominence to the Sun and both benefics, certainly a life with much grace and fortune. 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 is ruler of the Sun in Aries and is conjunct Mercury, which is retrograde and in its detriment in Pisces.  The water planets show sensitivity and empathy; the Cancer Moon responds to life and is popular 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)

Using whole sign houses and a solar chart, Mars is also ruler of the 8th house, the conditions of death. The debilitated Mercury rules the 3rd and 6th and is conjunct Mars, dispositor of the Aries Sun and ruler of the 8th-house.  Sadly, he died alone from “accidental intoxication from prescription drugs.”

He had been known to suffer from insomnia. Soon after his death, his former fiancée Michelle Williams said: “For as long as I’d known him, he had bouts with insomnia. He had too much energy. His mind was turning, turning turning – always turning.” (Mercury ruling the 3rd conjunct Mars.) The autopsy reports were complicated and delayed amidst the massive media assault that accompanies the sudden death of a public figure. (Transiting Mercury was exactly conjunct Neptune at the actor’s death, squaring his natal Uranus at 20° Scorpio in the 8th.)

transits at death, Heath Ledger
Ledger had also been suffering from exhaustion and a respiratory infection that he caught while filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Christopher Plummer, an actor in that movie, said: “We all caught colds because we were shooting outside on horrible, damp nights. But Heath’s went on and I don’t think he dealt with it immediately with the antibiotics… I think what he did have was the walking pneumonia.”  This is another echo of an inherent vulnerability in the lungs — debilitated Mercury ruling the 3rd (the lungs) and the 6th (illness).

Along with the charisma granted by the exalted benefics, Ledger was also known for intensity; he had natal Sun applying to an opposition with Pluto.

He has a daughter, Matilda, born on October 28, 2005. She has Sun in Scorpio conjoined Jupiter (a larger-than-life father). The Sun is applying to square Saturn in Leo, speaking of the early loss of her father. Her north node is 13° Aries, conjunct her father’s Sun. The Sun rules his solar 5th house; the transiting north node was on his Sun when his daughter was born. (In a photo I saw of her, she looks exactly like her father.)

Matilda was born on a Friday (Venus’s day), with Venus conjunct Pluto at 22° Sagittarius.

Matilda Heath, sunrise natal

I like to look at the prenatal solar eclipse set for the place of birth. Heath Ledger’s PNSE was 7°30’ Pisces, giving even more emphasis to natal Venus at 7° Pisces. This PNSE chart set for Perth has the critical degree 29° Sagittarius on the Ascendant. On the day of his passing, Venus and Pluto were conjoined in the sky at 29° Sagittarius.
Heath PNSE

As a hint of the potency of a planet’s station, Mars stationed retrograde at 12°27’ Cancer on November 15, 2007, squaring his natal Sun. On January 7 transiting Mars retrograde, at 27° Gemini, squared natal Mars. He died on January 22 with Mars at 25° Gemini, out-of-bounds at 26°N49’.  (This is the degree of the station direct a week later. The autopsy suggested that he died close to 2 pm in NYC; Mars was on the Ascendant then. See the chart above.)

Furthermore, Ledger died at the Saturn return. The second exact passage was two weeks before he died, on January 9, within two days of the transit Mars square Mars.

The solar eclipse before his death was on September 11, 2007 at 18° Virgo conjunct the natal north node in the 6th. Transiting Uranus at 16 Pisces opposed the eclipse, which is on the natal south node. Furthermore, the transiting south node was at 7° Virgo, conjunct natal Saturn.  (The north node was conjunct natal Venus.)

bi-wheel: Heath natal and pre-death solar eclipse

I was very sad when he died. I thought he was a mesmerizing actor. No surprise, my natal Sun at 8° Pisces is on his PNSE and natal Venus.

(1) Biographical material and quotes from Wikipedia

(2) Huffington Post

(3) In an article called An Appraisal – Prince of Integrity With a Lightness of Touch (written right after his death), 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

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Jackie Robinson (“42”): Civil Rights Pioneer

By Jan de Prosse | May 20, 2013

Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson is known to many as the man who broke the color barrier in the late 1940s by becoming the first African American to play major league baseball, ending the racial segregation that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues for six decades. He was actively recruited by Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey had wanted to find a person of color who could rise above the sustained harassment he was sure to receive, and in Jackie Robinson he found just the man he was looking for.

As a baseball fan, after seeing the movie “42” I became curious to see what Robinson’s chart would show about this trailblazer’s talents and abilities. Not the least of these was the ability to withstand the virulent abuse that he suffered from racist members of the public (and some of his teammates) and the tremendous pressure that he endured to succeed and prove to the world that he deserved to play in the highest echelons of the sport of baseball.

Let me say that Robinson’s natal chart and the chart of his first major league game do not disappoint! Robinson was an all-around magnificent athlete, and (as his chart will show) definitely had the temperament to fulfill his destiny and turn the other cheek in the face of unimaginable opposition.

When an astrologer looks at Robinson’s birth chart, she will notice that he was born at the New Moon.
Jackie Robinson: January 31, 1919
6:30 pm CST
Cairo, Georgia
Source is B: bio/autobiography

Jackie Robinson natal

He has two notable conjunctions in his chart: Venus–Uranus and Jupiter–Pluto. And he has Saturn rising in Leo, which symbolizes public prominence and the hard work and obstacles that must be overcome. Venus conjunct Uranus in the 6th near the Descendant represents doing something new in a public sense. (This conjunction also suggests explosive personal relations.) The several oppositions in his chart, including Venus–Saturn, reflect the push–pull between his private life and his controversial public life.

Robinson’s Aquarius stellium in the 6th (including his Sun and Moon) definitely relates to work in service to humanity. One of the things I had hoped to find in his chart was something to indicate that his fate had been thrust upon him (in this case, by an ambitious and open-minded baseball manager), and his 6th-house stellium represents his true calling. He was here to change the face of this sport forever.

Jupiter exalted in Cancer conjunct Pluto in the 11th gave Robinson good fortune in interacting with groups — but Pluto makes this hard! This man’s life was never meant to be a walk in the park. Because of Saturn in Leo, he was able to subsume his ego to take responsibility for others. And what a huge responsibility he shouldered!
There is a preponderance of fixed signs in Robinson’s chart, so he was stubborn but certainly persistent. And his dogged persistence may have saved him from collapsing under the strain of what he was attempting to accomplish.

There is lots of communication in this chart — lots of aspects. However, Mercury in Capricorn is virtually unaspected (except for a quincunx to Saturn), so he probably needed to make constant adjustments in the Mercurial arena. This means he had the tendency to think before he spoke, which would have been a godsend whenever he was being goaded to lose his temper. Mars in Pisces trine Pluto-Jupiter has backbone, and Mars is conjunct the Descendant, which adds prominence. This watery Mars placement undoubtedly helped him to keep his cool. (If Branch Rickey had selected a man with Mars in Aries, this would probably have been a very short story with a bad ending.)

April 15, 1947 was the day of Robinson’s first major league game, playing first base for the Dodgers in Brooklyn (time unknown); we constructed a noon chart for this event.

Robinson’s first major league baseball game
April 15, 1947
Brooklyn, New York

Event chart: first Major League game
As it happens, the Moon was in Aquarius all day; it conjoined his natal Sun–Moon, so Jackie Robinson was obviously exactly where he was meant to be. Mars is in Aries in this chart, and the transiting Sun is also in Aries trine his natal Saturn and sextile his Venus–Uranus conjunction.

The event chart shows that Robinson was having a reverse nodal return (also called a half-nodal return) which can show a turning point in one’s destiny. Transiting Jupiter formed the apex of a t-square with natal Saturn opposite Venus–Uranus, which indicates powerful conflicting energies during that time, but also tells us that this man had the wherewithal to face the music. (Incidentally, he was selected Rookie of the Year at the end of the 1947 season.)

Besides his cultural impact, Robinson had an exceptional baseball career and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. The irony of Jackie’s legacy is that, today in the early 21st century, relatively few African Americans choose the sport of baseball. (The black players you see are mostly Hispanic.) I have heard it said that baseball is not considered “cool” in the ghetto; most black athletes choose either basketball or football. However, in 2004, Major League Baseball adopted a new annual tradition, “Jackie Robinson Day,” when every player on every team in both the National and American leagues, wears the number 42 on his jersey. What a fitting tribute to a wonderful man!

My sincere thanks to Nan Geary for assisting me with the astrology for this blog.

Bio: Janette deProsse, TMA‘s Managing Editor, has learned almost everything she knows about astrology from editor Nan Geary and from reading and re-reading every single word that has been published in The Mountain Astrologer since the Leo/Aquarius issue (Feb/March 2000). Her extracurricular passions include reading, Latin jazz, baseball, European travel, playing Scrabble, and watching Downton Abbey on DVD. She lives on two wooded acres on Rattlesnake Road with her partner and two marvelous cats.

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Sun-Mars, Part Two

By Mary Plumb | April 22, 2013

Warmest welcome to the Sun, Venus, and (even) Mars in Taurus, after the events of the last week had the country on edge.

There are lots of astrological factors involved and I link to many fine blogs below.

I wrote about the Sun-Mars new synodic cycle in last week’s blog, and I wanted to mention it again as it captured my/our attention in this past week.

As we know, the Sun and Mars were conjunct at 28º08’ Aries on Sunday, April 17. What I hadn’t noticed (and thanks to Kathy Allan for pointing it out) is that they were also parallel in declination, intensifying their connection.

Part of my personal draw to this conjunction is that I have a sensitive point in my natal horoscope at 28º Libra. I knew that events surrounding the conjunction would be very obvious in my life. That was the motivation last week to write about working with the inner Mars and the shamanic possibilities of a new synodic cycle.

The marathon bombing was on Monday the 15th and, like some of us, I was riveted to the news.

Although that horror dominated the headlines, on April 16, the Constitution Project, a nonpartisan legal research and advocacy group, issued a report that concluded: “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” in the years after 9/11. (1)

On Wednesday the 17th, the explosion at the fertilizer plant, in West, Texas, killed at least 14 people.

Outer events marked by Mars and the Sun were painfully, dramatically obvious.

I watched a lot of coverage of the events in Boston. I felt that Ruslan Tsarni, the uncle of the suspects, was a good demonstration of Mars and the Sun; he was direct, impassioned, and forceful when he spoke. When asked by reporters what he thought had caused his nephews to commit such acts, he spoke of the brothers as being unable “to settle themselves and thereby hating everyone who did.” (2) I don’t really know how he meant this, but “settling” oneself reminds me of befriending one’s interior self. It was a rare public comment that hinted at the inner struggle with Mars, side by side with the shocking and violent acts we had been watching. It struck me as a fairly psychologically aware statement amidst the chaos, violence, fear, and anguish of the days’ events.  We know that a disenfranchised, disempowered Mars can act in aggressive ways.

Aside from my fixation on the unfolding events, how did Mars appear in my immediate life? On Wednesday, the day of the conjunction, I burned a batch of beans in my favorite pot, leaving a lingering scorched smell and inedible food. Soon after that, the space heater I had rolled into the kitchen inexplicably lost a wheel and fell over, leaving a dent in the bamboo floor. I also had a friend whose young child was badly burned in a fire in her school chemistry class and a client reporting to me from Hawaii that the Sun had been “blood red” at sunset the previous night.

I decided it might be wise to meet Mars a bit more directly and went to a challenging midday yoga class that was quite soothing — meeting fire with fire, so to speak. (Still feeling a bit frayed, on Friday I went for a detoxifying herbal wrap at a local spa, which was also therapeutic and relaxing until the heat got too intense and I had a momentary arising of panic.)


(1) New York Times

(2) YouTube 
Here are some astrologers with astute observations on the events in Boston. May we have an easier week, Full Moon eclipse and all. 

In Astrology Update April 2013: Boston Bombings, Current Patterns, Lara Owens writes on recent events in “this dear old world of ours.” She analyses the chart for the Boston bombing and ends with what sounds like a good idea: “So what can we do during such difficult times? As much as you can, STAY OUT OF TROUBLE!”

Here’s a blog from a prolific (un-named) astrologer at Astroblog, with many specific details, including a timeline of events in Boston, the chart for the City of Boston, midpoints for the chart of the bombing, the explosion in Texas, and the suicide bombing that killed 27 in Iraq on the 17th. 

Of the horoscope for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: “A date of birth has been released — the planets on his day of birth revealing a young man of many contradictions, frustrations, conflicting needs, low self esteem, feeling disempowered, wanted to be somebody, given to fantasies of being in control by challenging the system, issues with father/authority figure archetypes and The State, sensitive side over-ridden by cold and detached frame of mind, deluded thinking, highly impressionable, clear capacity for cruelty. These are his worst-case scenario potentials — capable of being aggravated or accentuated — in effect, triggered by transitory planetary movements.”

David Crook at Stellar Insights Astrology writes on The Boston Marathon Bombings. He notes connections between the recent event, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and this week’s eclipse. “Traditional methods further confirm a strong link between today’s bombing in Boston and the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. The antiscia or solstice points for the 1993 event shows the Ascendant at 26° Gemini, with the Boston Marathon bombing Moon also at 26° Gemini.” David also notes the Aries ingress chart: “The 2013 Aries ingress (Spring Equinox), which sets the tone for the astrological new year, has the highly volatile and explosive Mars-Uranus conjunction in Aries rising at Boston, Mass. The same chart for the US capital has a Pisces Ascendant with the Mars-Uranus conjunction further below the horizon, so not as powerful.”

Ed Tamplin’s Political Astrology tracks events of the past week. This entry begins with Mars Madness and includes the earthquakes in China and on the Iran-Pakistan border and the Marathon bombing.”Besides the obvious connection of the Sun and Mars combination to acts of violence, the most obvious factor is the nefarious Neptune setting in Pisces. Neptune is in the longitude of the auspicious Fomalhaut, a combination described by the authoritative Vivian Robson as ‘secret enemies, or violent death through secret enemies’.”

Eric Francis wrote this entry at Planet Waves while Boston was still in lockdown: The War Comes Home, to Boston. He has the charts for the Tsarnaev brothers and the event chart. “Mercury is that planet that ruled the Virgo ascendant of the Boston Marathon bombing chart. So it’s very much the star of the show at the moment, and is very much about a developing story that fits a much larger pattern of events. Mercury — illustrating a young individual — is about to lead authorities back to a larger group (Uranus), but we don’t know what happens next. That’s because Uranus always indicates something unpredictable happening.”

In The Astrology of the Boston Bombings, written the day after the event, Leah Whitehorse looks back to the Aries New Moon chart. “In the last New Moon chart I noted ‘The problem is that Mars is conjunct Eris shortly before the New Moon, which brings a compulsive, competitive edge to this lunation. It’s every man for himself in this position.’ Now we are just over a week away to the beginning of eclipse season, where light becomes dark and the unexpected happens. Sometimes events occur before eclipses.”
She also takes note of Orcus. “I notice that asteroid Orcus (a trans Neptunian object) is directly conjunct the Ascendant. Orcus is named after a God of the Underworld who was ‘the punisher of broken oaths.’ With Neptune lying on the Descendant opposite, it makes me think that the person or group who committed this terrible act feel justified in their actions — like they are meting out punishment.”

In The Astrology of the Boston Bombings: Shaken to the Soul (written on the 17th), Beth Turnage looks at Boston’s symbolic significance in U.S. history, and connections from the current event’s chart to the 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing charts. She makes what seems to have unfolded as (at least in part) an accurate assessment: “Aside from a weak association to Alexandria, Egypt, the charts do not support foreign involvement. However, local location associations to Pisces are Massachusetts locations — Fall River, Lowell, and New Bedford. This is a person who lives somewhere close to Boston, Massachusetts, possibly in one of these three towns.”

Thanks to all these astrologers and many others who try to help us understand what on earth is going on. All comments and suggestions for other links are warmly welcomed. 

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Meeting Mars: Inside and Out

By Mary Plumb | April 15, 2013

Brightest in the sky at the opposition, Mars is now invisible to us, hidden by the light of the Sun. (1) Mars and the Sun are traveling closely together now for an extended time, most of the month of April. (This is not always the case, since Mars’s orbit is eccentric.)

The synodic cycle of Mars and the Sun is the period between two consecutive conjunctions of these planets. The synodic cycle with Mars is not totally consistent, but somewhere around 25-26 months. The actual length will be between 762 and 819 days, with an average length of 779 days. (2)

On Sunday, both planets were in the 26th degree of Aries, and they come to the all-important conjunction on April 17 at 28º08’ Aries.

Ann Coulter was born a week before a Mars-Sun conjunction. Based on a sunrise chart, her natal Mars is 18º Sag, with the Sun at 16º. (3) Although she has always been known for her sensational rhetoric, this past week she went even farther than usual in making a joke about murdering Meghan McCain (John’s daughter). Most people didn’t find it too funny. (4)

The threat of a missile strike from North Korea, the gun control issue and today’s explosion in Boston show Mars’s current and obvious place in the news.

We may or may not be directly involved with these matters, but we are all coming under the spell of a new synodic cycle.

I know someone with a stellium (including Moon, Mercury, Neptune, and Ascendant) in Libra, with the Sun at 28º. After years of living a rather hermit-like life, in a remote area in the mountains with lots of time spent alone, she has moved to a new state and is currently surrounded by a crew of men who are quickly building her a simple and efficient new dwelling. I know two other people who have been exhausted and ill for several weeks — one with Chiron at 27º Capricorn and the other with the Sun/Moon midpoint at 27º Cancer. Someone else, with three planets in Capricorn, including the Sun at 26º, was suddenly offered a much longed for new job.

As in myth, when not visible, Mars (like Venus) can be thought of as being in the underworld, where real change can occur; we change from the inside out.

Maybe we can get on better terms with Mars and start this round (lasting until the next conjunction in June 2015) with our blood clear, our vitality strengthened, and the essence of courage integrated into our very cells.

I don’t expect to have a fully formed strategy (some of you might), but I’m keeping my attention on an awakening passion and direction from my heart of hearts. I imagine that the pure essence of each of our unique selves is being anointed by the ever ready Mars, who wants to fulfill the purpose of the Sun.

Look at the houses with Aries — and Scorpio and Leo — on the cusp if you want to make this grand archetypal event more concrete or accessible. (Although Mars joins the Sun every two years or so, there are only six times in 200 years when they meet in Aries, where Mars has rulership and the Sun is exalted: March 29, 1902; April 14, 1934; April 2, 1981; April 17, 2013; March 20, 2028, and April 5, 2060.)

You can also set a chart for your place of residence for the time of the exact conjunction (e.g., 5:19:54 pm, PDT), on April 17th, to see connections to your birth chart and how this new cycle is part of your life story.

In the spirit of personal inquiry, the days around April 17 are also suited for observation of anger, or where we feel powerless or victimized. For some, anger can be available to us when other more tender or vulnerable emotions are stored just beneath a more solid edge.

Sometimes the presenting symptom of Mars seeking attention is irritability or depression. We may or may not recognize it in ourselves; others may see the signs as a clue to our state of mind.

Someone I spent time with recently seemed to be in a childlike, almost regressed, state, and I thought about that first Mars return and the self-definition and autonomy that may have been thwarted in this person’s case.

Psychologically, Mars is connected to individuation and a distinct sense of self and autonomy. The first Mars return at around age two is a crucial developmental stage, where things can be amiss, leaving an incomplete or less than fully developed sense of our own autonomy and “right to be here.” There are therapeutic models that aim to recreate and rebuild developmental stages that we may have passed through without having correct or complete support.

The Sun and Mars suggest infusing passion and meaning into life, which sounds simple enough until you spend time with someone consumed by depression or a feeling that life is meaningless or absurd. (5) But onwards we go, each individually tasked with finding purpose in these both fractured and resplendent times.

Mars rules muscles and blood, so physical activity can a good remedy to regulate our Mars; sometimes vigor and a display of strength, or taking a dare, is the right call. But, there are other moments when the movement is subtler. If we think of the Sun as the essence of our being that connects us to all that is, and Mars as the protector whose desire is to serve the Sun, we may have an interior moment whereby we can understand Rumi’s words: “What you seek is seeking you.”

Mars rules knives. As another (I realize, subtle) ode to Sun conjunct Mars, the first century mystic Rabia said (she did not leave anything in writing): “I am so afraid of separation I do not even own a knife.”

Onwards to the next moment, challenging and sweet, all at once.


(1) Last year, close to the opposition, I wrote about The Sun-Mars Synodic Cycle

(2) Astrology, A Language of Life, Vol. V: Holographic Transits, by Robert P. Blaschke, Earthwalk School of Astrology, 2006.

(3) Ann Coulter, December 8, 1961, New York, N.Y. Wikipedia

(4) Huffington Post

(5) AstroFix: the blog of an astrology addict has 146 phrases for Sun-Mars aspects, including: “Fighting against authority. Fighting against yourself. Inner tension caused by fighting against your own best interests. Depression when there are no worthy opponents and nothing worth fighting for. Depression through not reaching your potential. Depression through not taking opportunities. “I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody.” Depression through boredom. Needing goals and challenges to reach your full potential. Needing goals and challenges to feel vital and alive. Seizing the moment. Setting the bar higher and higher. Having a direction. Having aim. Directing your energy toward something. Having things to do. Physical activity as a way to get in touch with your core self. Needing outlets for aggression and hostile tendencies. Needing activities to funnel your competitive spirit into. Identifying with champions, fighters, heroes and heroines, and people who generally kick ass.”

AstroFix: Sun Mars aspects

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By Alex Miller | April 8, 2013

On Tuesday and Wednesday, March 26 and 27, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two cases involving same sex marriage. On Tuesday, opponents of California’s controversial Prop 8 referendum, which denies marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples, had their day in court, and on Wednesday, it was the turn of the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) supporters to defend denying federal benefits for same sex spouses legally married in one of the nine states currently allowing these unions.

Three major celestial configurations told the story in astrological detail.  Prominent among these was a t-square incorporating the ongoing Uranus-Pluto square and Wednesday morning’s Libra Full Moon. With Pluto at 11º Capricorn squaring off against Uranus at 8º Aries, the struggle involves entrenched power and calcified social structures versus the energies of change and innovation and the rights of individuals to order their lives as they see fit. 

This basic conflict was enhanced by the Full Moon, with the Moon at 6º Libra opposing the Sun at 6º Aries, bringing awareness and fruition to the issues highlighted. With the Moon was asteroid Justitia, named for the Roman goddess of justice, at 7º Libra, here representing the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) and its members. Also here was Sappho at 2º Libra, named for the ancient Greek lesbian poet, and a general symbol for gay-themed issues. With the Sun, in addition to Uranus, that revolutionary change-maker and forward-thinking rebel, was Venus, planet of love, romance, and partnership, at 5º and 6º Aries, over the course of those two days, and Mars, planet of sexuality, at 11º Aries.

This would be enough to tell the tale, but two other patterns emerged that further describe the issues at hand. These comprise two Yod patterns, also known as “the Finger of Destiny,” which indicate a fated, karmic resonance for the time. The first involves Pluto as well, in a close sextile to Saturn at 10º Scorpio, both of these inconjunct to Jupiter at 10º – 11º Gemini, at the apex of the Yod, from where it is conjoined by asteroid Themis, Justitia’s Greek counterpart, at 14º Gemini. Pluto and Saturn are in mutual reception, meaning they inhabit each other’s native signs, and have a special reciprocal relationship. Pluto in Capricorn is an image of generational change and transition coming to social forms such as marriage, while Saturn in Scorpio is an image of conservative traditions encountering deeply transformative energies, particularly in the sexual sphere. Jupiter in aspect to both of these suggests a broadening of how society interprets these issues, as well as reiterating the importance of the Supreme Court in these events. With Themis close by, the inescapable conclusion is that the social scope of justice and equality is extended.

The second Yod is of the “pierced” variety, meaning that in addition to the three planets of a standard Yod, there is a fourth that opposes the Apex planet and bisects the sextile at the base of the pattern. In this case the central opposition is from asteroid Hera, Greek goddess of marriage, at 28º Virgo, to asteroid Eros at 23º Pisces, at the Apex, or focal point, of the Yod. Today Eros is generally considered to be representative of erotic passion, but in ancient times he was viewed as patron of homosexual unions in particular, so together these polarized energies quite simply and clearly spell “gay marriage.” Forming the arms of the Yod are asteroid Ganymed at 20º Leo, named for Zeus’s mythic cup bearer and boy-toy lover, another gay-themed point, and TNO (Trans Neptunian Object) Rhadamanthus at 22º Libra, named for a Greek mythic judge of the dead, once again bringing the theme of justice and the court into the planetary picture for the day. During the period of the two days when the Supreme Court heard arguments on these issues, the Moon opposed Eros, conjoined Hera, and then went on to conjoin Sappho and Justitia as it reached its full phase, an indication of public engagement on the issues represented by these points.

Asteroid Juno is also involved. Juno, named for the Roman goddess of marriage, is at 4º Aquarius closely trined Sappho, Justitia, and the Full Moon in Libra, and more broadly forming a loose Grand Trine with Jupiter/Themis.  Juno is also square to Saturn, suggesting a conflict between the traditional form of marriage and the egalitarian views of Juno in Aquarius on the issue of who can legally wed.

Rulings from the Court will likely not be handed down until the end of the current session in late June, but initial auguries based upon the audio recordings released, which detail the questions asked by the Justices, suggest that the Court is unlikely to make major changes, but to decide these cases very narrowly on their own merits, and not as a reflection of the changing social norms on the issue of same sex marriage.

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

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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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