TMA This Week

The Lance Armstrong Scandal

By Audra Stenger | November 5, 2012

On the day before the U.S. elections, I thought it fitting to examine what one man has done to win: Lance Armstrong. He has allegedly deceived and inveigled everyone in his personal and professional life, yet he continues to deny it. Though not a politician per se, he has thought of running for governor of Texas; he is known to be a friend to former President George W. Bush; he was previously engaged to the singer Sheryl Crow; he has multiple celebrity friends; and he is best known around the United States and the world for being one of the best athletes in history.
Unfortunately, his hubris and ambition have caused him, like Icarus, to “fly too close to the Sun.” Now he has been brought crashing down to earth in a drug doping scandal, the depth, breadth, and scope of which the sports world is just coming to grips. Let’s examine Armstrong’s chart, his prenatal eclipse, the upcoming eclipse, and his transits, to gain some insight into what has happened. Lance Armstrong was born September 19, 1971 in Plano, Texas. (1) The time is unknown, so his chart is Rodden Rated “X” and I am using a sunrise chart.

Lance Armstrong sunrise
Armstrong demonstrated exceptional athletic ability at an early age, winning teen triathlons. He moved into the sport of cycling in his early 20s and would eventually go on to participate in the 2000 Olympics, several more triathlons, and, most notably, to win seven Tour de France titles. He was diagnosed with metastatic testicular cancer at the age of 25, underwent invasive treatment (though his chance of survival was low), and beat the odds to survive. It is this feat, and his subsequent winning of the Tour de France titles, that made him so famous. (2)
Although not the first hint of his involvement with doping, this past August Armstrong was accused by his former team (U.S. Postal) of having put in place a systematic scheme of doping for himself and everyone on the team; allegedly, the doping went back for years. All in all, 21 members of the team, from cyclists to doctors, have come forward to testify to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Subsequently, their evidence was used by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to ban Armstrong for life and to strip him of all titles won since August of 1998. (3)
First things first: his pre-natal eclipse

Lance’s pre-natal lunar eclipse (PNLE) is on August 6th, 1971 at 13° Aquarius. This eclipse occurred at the degree of his natal Mars-North Node conjunction and shows his capacity for exceptional athletic ability and the drive to succeed in the world (Mars conjunct North Node). Furthermore, having that conjunction on the point of the PNLE acts as a catalyst in his life. The eclipse gives an extra push to that conjunction, helping to propel Lance into the realm of extraordinary athletic ability and world-class status.
A few more words about Armstrong’s birth chart

As I mentioned earlier, his teammates have accused Armstrong of being the ringleader — organizing the entire doping scheme and also coercing them to participate. For someone born with Sun conjunct Pluto, this is not uncommon. Sue Tompkins writes in her book, Aspects in Astrology, about Sun-Pluto types: “These people often have a very powerful presence and can sometimes exert an extraordinary magnetic hold over people…” (4) Perhaps this explains why even though 21 people allegedly took part in the doping scheme, it took many years for everyone to come forward. It was only possible after Armstrong had retired from the team.
Armstrong and his attorney have strongly denied the allegations, refuting the legal authority of both the USADA and the UCI to do what they have done to Armstrong. In response to the scandal, Armstrong has replied that he is “focusing on the future.” (5) This is quite apropos for someone with a tight Jupiter-Neptune conjunction. Lance may have always been running or biking, always trying to get away from something (an escape route, if you will), in a bid for personal freedom. Though this aspect is found in humanitarians — and Armstrong is one — it is also found in those who dream large and often have their bubbles burst. People with this combination run the risk of not facing up to reality, after creating a fantasy world that comes crumbling down around them.
The breaking of the scandal

The Armstrong scandal first broke on August 24th of this year. Almost three months later, on November 28th, there will be a lunar eclipse at 6° Gemini, exactly on Lance Armstrong’s Saturn. This is a South Node lunar eclipse, which indicates that something is coming to a peak, in this case, a negative peak that needs to be released. In the end, though, it may turn out to be a good thing for Lance that this scandal has come to light; it all depends on how he uses this time period and how he sees this event.
The passing of the South Node over Saturn indicates a diminishing of that planet and the house it rules. Saturn represents our careers and our standing in the world, and lessons to be learned. It also indicates how disciplined and ambitious we are, how hard we work, how we seek recognition and fame, and how well we carry our responsibilities — in short, how we structure our lives. Transiting South Node passed over Armstrong’s natal Saturn in the spring of 2012, signifying that he was due for a change of fortune regarding any of these matters, or even a change of career. (6)
Armstrong’s Midpoints

In order to further peel back the onion layers of Armstrong’s chart, I took a look at his midpoints. In September, when his teammate Tyler Hamilton published a tell-all book, the second of seven exact Uranus-Pluto squares was applying at 7° Aries/Capricorn, respectively.
Armstrong has two very important midpoints at 7° of the cardinal signs. The first is Neptune/North Node at 7° Capricorn, which was conjoined by transiting Pluto in September. According to Noel Tyl’s book, Solar Arcs, a hard transit of Pluto to this midpoint (Neptune/NN suggests possible breakdowns in relationships) is a time of “difficulty blending personal perspective with others’ views.” This is combined with a hard aspect of Uranus: “self-willed motives disrupt group ideas.” (7)
One could easily expand on these midpoint interpretations to explain why Armstrong is depicted in teammate Hamilton’s book as a willful person; the group didn’t want to go along with him, but Armstrong would kick any member who wouldn’t comply with his doping scheme off the team. Herein lies the rub of not taking into account other’s views and opinions.
Armstrong’s other important midpoint, activated at the time of the book’s publication, was Venus/Uranus at 7° Libra. Tyl describes this midpoint as “being appreciated, desired,” but with Pluto squaring it, Tyl adds “potential notoriety.” (8) If we expand on the darker energy of Pluto, we can add “undesirable, no longer appreciated,” and, with the opposition of Uranus, all of it precipitously.
“Focusing on the future”

Lance said he was focusing on the future as this scandal broke, and as an astrologer, so am I; let’s look at his upcoming transits. Currently Lance is experiencing the first of his two midlife crisis transits: Neptune square Neptune. Because his natal Neptune is one degree from natal Jupiter, the effects of this transit will most likely be somewhat mitigated. During this transit, we often begin to ask deep questions about how well we have lived our lives so far, and whether we have fulfilled our dreams. We may decide to make major changes if we are not satisfied with the answers. The downside of a Neptune transit is that people don’t necessarily think clearly under its influence, yet they think they do.

With Neptune also squaring his natal Jupiter, Lance may be even more overconfident than he already is natally, perhaps thinking that he can’t lose, and feeling he has no limitations or restrictions. Let us hope he puts this transit to good use.

Uranus and Pluto are not done with him yet. Armstrong’s second midlife crisis transit begins next year: Uranus opposition Uranus (June 2013 – February 2015). As we know, the Uranus opposition to natal Uranus is one of the most important transits in a lifetime; it feels more like a crisis than Neptune square Neptune. We become aware that we are no longer young, that we have missed certain opportunities, and our time is running out fast. But Armstrong’s second midlife transit comes with a twist due to his exact natal Chiron-Uranus opposition. With transit Uranus conjunct natal Chiron while opposing natal Uranus (May 2013 – February 2015), Lance may have to deal unexpectedly with old wounds that have never healed properly, or possibly the emergence of new injuries or illnesses.
After that, Pluto will square his natal Uranus (January 2014 – November 2015) and Chiron (May 2013 – October 2015). Though these are generational transits, I nonetheless feel that because he is such a huge cultural icon, he may become a public symbol of how these transits manifest for his generation, and maybe even for our nation.
As we know, people in the public eye often become agents for social change. It is interesting to note that a major U.S. transit — Uranus and Pluto aligning with the U.S. Sun in April 2014 — will occur in the midst of Armstrong’s major midlife transits (9) How well he deals with this scandal (truth and reconciliation vs. further deception and obfuscation) may well reflect how our country deals with its upcoming transits and this very same issue.
Final Thoughts

There is more that could be discovered about Lance Armstrong’s chart. Unfortunately, without his exact time of birth, much of it would be of a speculative nature. I chose to write this article now to present the notion that we ought to strive for a country (and a world) that does not idolize athletes or persons who go to any lengths, however perverse, to win. On the day before the U.S. elections, how to accomplish that end is something not just to ponder, but also to act upon.

(1) AstroDatabank
(2) Wikipedia
(3) BBC
(4) Sue Tompkins, Aspects in Astrology, Destiny Books, Rochester, VT, 2002, p. 124-9.
(5) BBC
(6) Judith Hill, Vocational Astrology, American Federation of Astrologers, Tempe, AZ, 1997, p. 82-4.
(7) Noel Tyl, Solar Arcs, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, p. 446.
(8) ibid., p. 413.
(9) Robert Hand, Planets in Transit

Bio: Audra Stenger started in astrology over 15 years ago while working as a paramedic. She holds a B.Sc. in Physician’s Assistant. She currently has a full time astrology practice near Santa Fe, New Mexico. She loves astrology because it explains the unexplainable, and finds that it provides a wisdom that nothing else can. Her website is Yellow Lotus Arts, and her e-mail is

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Michelle Obama & Ann Romney

By Mary Plumb | October 22, 2012

I’ve been wondering about Michelle Obama and Ann Romney ever since they appeared onstage after the last debate in the same bright pink garments.

I don’t know of verified birth times for either of them, although there are times for their respective spouses.

Ann Romney and Michelle Obama were both born a few days after an eclipse, which suggests that their lives are colored by larger collective forces and fates.

Michelle Obama was born on January 17, 1964, in Chicago.
Michelle sunrise natal
Her prenatal eclipse was a solar eclipse on January 14. Set for Chicago, the chart has 29° Gemini ascending with the lunation at 23°43’ Capricorn in the 8th.
Michelle PNSE
To quote from a blog I wrote in November 2008: “This is a signature of 8th-house matters being paramount for expression and fulfillment of the life purpose. The 8th house, of course, signifies resources shared intimately with others. Capricorn will naturally take very seriously the matters involving the intimate partner. Barack Obama’s natal Saturn, co-ruler of his Aquarius rising chart, is placed in its own sign at 25° Capricorn, almost exactly on Michelle’s prenatal solar eclipse. I think this is a striking symbol of a marriage destined to be connected to governance and the public life.”

Venus is elevated in the eclipse chart at 27° Aquarius, the degree of her husband’s south node and the U.S. Sibly Moon.

Ann Romney was born on April 16, 1949, in Detroit, the day of a Sun-Venus superior conjunction at 26°33’ Aries.
Ann Romney sunrise natal
On April 12, there was a total lunar eclipse at 23°56’ Libra. When set for Detroit, her birth place, the chart has Aries on the 5th-house (whole signs) cusp, with Mars, Venus, Mercury, Sun, and north node in Aries, in part, a marker for the mother of five sons and the grandmother of 18.
PNLE Ann Romney

Ann’s natal Juno at 5° Gemini is conjunct her husband’s Ascendant and north node.

Mitt Romney was born on March 12, 1947, at 9:51 a.m., in Detroit.
Mitt Romney natal
Mitt Romney’s natal Moon in Scorpio is precisely conjunct Jupiter — stationary and turning retrograde — which, along with being a signature of ambition and a drive for power, can show something about his wife.

The eclipse before Ann Romney’s birth was a total solar eclipse on November 1, 1948. This eclipse was at 8°43’ Scorpio conjunct her husband’s natal Chiron. Also, Chiron at this prenatal eclipse was at 26°28’ Scorpio, conjunct his natal Moon conjunct Jupiter at 27°33.
PNSE Ann Romney
The Chiron-Moon connections suggest that some kind of healing, teaching, or mentoring is a theme in his emotional life, activated strongly through his connection to his wife.

The year of his Chiron return (exact on November 4, 1997), Ann Romney became seriously ill. Transiting Juno was also at 8° Scorpio, his natal Chiron (and her PNSE degree) on November 8, 1998. (See chart above, Ann Romney’s PNSE.)

“During 1997, Ann Romney began experiencing severe numbness, fatigue, and other symptoms, and just before Thanksgiving in 1998, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Mitt Romney described watching her fail a series of neurological tests as the worst day of his life. He later said: ‘I couldn’t operate without Ann. We’re a partnership. We’ve always been a partnership so her being healthy and our being able to be together is essential.” (1)

(Mitt Romney’s prenatal Sun-Venus conjunction (November 17, 1946) was an inferior conjunction (Venus retrograde) at 24°50’ Scorpio, with Juno exactly at that degree, too. This certainly suggests a very deep loyalty to partner as an underlying theme in his relationship life.)

I haven’t done extensive research into their lives, but a few highlights stand out. Mitt and Ann were married on March 21, 1969, three days after a solar eclipse at 27°25’ Pisces.

The year she was diagnosed with MS, there was a solar eclipse at 28°47’ Leo. The August 22, 1998 eclipse was conjunct her natal Saturn (29° Leo) and square his natal Moon-Jupiter conjunction at 27° Scorpio.

There is a total solar eclipse on November 13 at 21°56’ Scorpio. This is close to the president’s natal Midheaven (29° Scorpio); conjunct Romney’s progressed Jupiter (22° Scorpio) and opposite his progressed Sun (25° Taurus); conjunct Joe Biden’s natal Mercury (21° Scorpio); close to Michelle Obama’s natal Juno (25° Scorpio); conjunct the president’s Uranus/ASC and NN/ASC midpoints (at 22° Scorpio), and much else I’m sure. (It is also within a few degrees of my natal Ascendant; maybe that’s why I’m so nervous about the whole thing.)

Onwards! Let’s see what the ladies are wearing tonight.


(1) Wikipedia

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Libra New Moon: Proving Moment for Eris

By Eric Francis | October 15, 2012

Monday is the Libra New Moon — the Sun and Moon making their monthly conjunction in the sign of Libra. What’s distinctive about this Libra New Moon is that it is opposite the minor planet Eris. The discovery of Eris informed everyone that the minor planets exist, and was, in part, responsible for the demotion of Pluto (when it became minor planet [134340] Pluto). The number in brackets is the minor planet catalog number, stated in formal notation.

Nobody doubts that Pluto is just as potent as ever, despite being a “minor” planet; now it’s time to consider a more recent discovery — (136199) Eris, a body about the size of Pluto, with an orbit more than twice as long. At this point, Eris is so far from the Sun that it will be spending more than a century in Aries, a factor that is feeding the sense of identity chaos so prevalent in our phase of history.

In an article in the current issue of TMA, I describe the process of deciphering what new planets mean and how they work. I give numerous examples of what I call “proving moments” — significant news or personal events, at which times the newly discovered point is involved in something like a New Moon or a Full Moon, especially when there is an unusually tight alignment, say, two degrees or less. When this happens, it’s possible to witness the expression of the newly discovered point as it reveals itself. (By newly, I mean within the past 20 years or so.)

We are about to have just such a proving moment with Eris. What we witness over the next few days will be expressive of the nature of Eris. In fact, what we’ve been witnessing in the past week is offering some insight, although an asteroid called Psyche has been very active as well. Psyche brings an atmosphere of healing crisis in personal relationships, deep self-doubts, and the quest for authentic faith in one another and ourselves. 

I’m proposing that the Sun-Moon conjunction in Libra represents an idealized view of relationships. Libra is one of the signs that most vividly describes relating to others (it’s the sign opposite Aries, which is about self-focus). At this time, we’re noticing that prefab views of relationships are not working well; people are behaving differently than the rules say they should. In fact, the rules seem to be a cover-up of actual behavior.

All of this is coming under special focus now. Eris in Aries is a factor that stirs up chaos within the psyche. There is a sense that “I don’t know who I am, this is all so confusing, what do I want.” One typical way to resolve this kind of dilemma is to shift one’s identity into a relationship and ‘find oneself’ there. 

We invest so much energy in relationships, often with persistent disappointments. We can learn something about this from Libra. This is an unusual sign, having two very different planets associated with it: Venus (its ruler) and Saturn (in its exaltation there). Libra at its best is a perfect morph of both: the attractiveness, emotional affinity, and creativity of Venus, melded with the structure, firmness, and respect of Saturn. We need both of these in relationships.
Most of the time, we fake it — often in support of maintaining an image, or in a struggle to handle intimacy. Now, these appearances are being challenged by forces emerging from deep in the psyche.

Named for the Greek goddess of discord and chaos, Eris often does have this quality when you study it in news charts. It can also represent the sly move, subterfuge, or the covert long-term plan for domination (whether political or within the politics of love). Its motto in such cases is “by any means necessary,” regardless of whether the goal itself is legitimate or necessary.

In personal charts, Eris seems to be related to the identity chaos that we’re experiencing here in the postmodern world (the modern world, with the rug pulled out from underneath logic). We spend much time wondering who we are these days — going through identity crises, transforming ourselves, and collecting business cards for the various things with which we might identify ourselves. We’ve all met the person who is the bank vice president, the Reiki master, the doll clothing designer, and, simultaneously the house organizer. That’s a reminder that Eris is in Aries.

Yet Eris is saying that we have to be ourselves, and that it’s not possible to use a relationship to substitute for that. The usual chameleon-like attempts to be the person you think your partner wants you to be are not going to work under the stress of this opposition, and you may even begin to realize that they never did. Within this context, we might call Eris “the thin line beyond which we can’t fake it.”

However, when this method suddenly stops working, we can feel like we don’t know who we are — perhaps with the sensation of vertigo, or our world crumbling. The sense of not knowing can be profoundly unsettling and disorienting. Removing the false foundation can lead directly to feeling as though we don’t have any foundation at all.

In my view, this is part of the reason why many people stay in relationships that don’t support their growth. At least they feel supported on the level of ego identity, even if it comes at the expense of personal independence and freedom. Notably, it also saves many of us from the responsibilities that come with true independence and freedom. Many have spent their lives going from relationship to relationship, trying to establish stability there, yet at the expense of their growth and evolution.

Things can get very weird when one person or the other reaches the point where they can no longer remain static. If one person’s identity is “founded” on that of the other, both people can become unstable when one of them starts to grow. Often there’s a reaction to suppress this new growth. Eventually, it is likely to fail, and there may be a collapse, drama, or crisis. That crisis might involve jealousy, which is one of the ultimate threats to a relationship when it has been a substitute for having a life.

And it looks to me like this particular pattern is coming into focus with Monday’s Libra New Moon opposite Eris in Aries. I said earlier that this is a proving moment, when we get to observe what’s happening to us personally, as well as to watch the world around us for information about Eris and what it represents. I’ve made a few observations here that I trust you can take into consideration and still study yourself and your environment for more information.

One last thing about today’s astrology: there is a square between Mars and Chiron, which is about working through sexual and creative blocks — the perfect assistance for today’s Libra New Moon. I cover that in greater detail in Sunday’s edition of my own blog.

Bio: Eric Francis is the editor of Planet Waves and host of Planet Waves FM. Connect with him at Planet and

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Election Day’s Mercury Station

By Alex Miller | October 1, 2012

Perhaps the most important indicator of the outcome of the 2012 U.S. presidential election is the planet Mercury. This little powerhouse rules virtually every aspect of the electoral process, from the data processing and decision-making of the populace; to the voting places, machines, and ballots; the advance and exit polls; and the tabulation, recording, and reporting of the vote. And on Election Day 2012, Mercury forms its retrograde station, at 5:58 p.m. EST, just as after-work voting heats up on the east coast. 

The importance of this event is highlighted by Mercury’s placement, from the perspective of the nation’s capitol. (1) Mercury is exactly on the Descendant at 4° Sagittarius, an angular position that emphasizes Mercury’s pivotal role in determining our choice. Angular planets are strongly emphasized, “louder” than they normally would be, and carry an out-of-proportion weight in the chart. The Descendant symbolizes how we relate with others, the alliances we form, and the ways we use these to structure our interactions with each other.

A retrograde station signifies a reversal, a pause in the forward momentum of the affairs governed by that planet. Although no planet ever actually travels backward, it can appear to, from our vantage point here on earth, and these times inaugurate periods of stepping back to reconsider where we’ve been and where we’re headed. Mercury retrograde in particular is (in)famous for creating problems and glitches with data, information and communication, and for evoking some very unlikely circumstances while generally pretty effectively gumming up the works.

Four degrees of Sagittarius is also the degree of a Black Hole, a deep space anomaly that promotes instability, pervasive change, reversal, and the substitution of an alternate reality for the one previously in place. Black Holes are stellar remnants of collapsed stars whose gravitational force is so great, not even light can escape them (hence the name). They both attract and drain energy, and represent the expenditure or waste of vast amounts of energy and resources. When Black Holes are active, things are not as they seem — the surface appearance belies the underlying reality.

Mercury coming to station exactly on a Black Hole is a rare event. It has only happened once before on Election Day in the U.S., and that was the calamitous election of 2000. Yes, the contest that brought us the Florida voting debacle, with its Palm Beach Butterfly Ballot, the mysterious 16,000 “anti-votes” cast for Al Gore in Volusia County, and the interminable recounts, with their fascinating new lingo of hanging, dangling, dimpled, and pregnant chads. A succession of legal challenges eventually led to a 5/4 split decision along Party lines in the U.S. Supreme Court, which handed the presidency to George W. Bush, loser of the popular vote, some five weeks later.

But that was a direct station, with Mercury poised to resume normal forward motion. In 2012 we’re dealing with a retrograde station, and the effect could conceivably be much worse. The period surrounding the station is known as the “Mercury storm,” and that’s a very apt descriptor, as the period can be chaotic, random, and turbulently hectic.

Vote tampering is a very real possibility, with the Black Hole’s propensity for altering realities, and we’ve already seen a strong push toward making many of these potential votes disappear even before they’re cast, in true Black Hole style. Voter suppression is back big time in the U.S., with almost half the states passing new voting laws since 2010. In GOP-run legislatures across the country, tougher voter ID laws aimed at disenfranchising poor and minority voters, likely Democratic constituencies, threaten to rob as many as five million Americans of their Mercury-ruled power of choice and having their voices heard.  Changes in early voting procedures and times have added to the likelihood that not everyone who wants to will be able to cast a vote. (For example, in Florida, the electoral armpit of America, Republican legislators eliminated early voting on the Sunday before the election, the traditional day when black churches organized and bussed their congregants to the polls.)

Mercury also rules the weather, and station periods are notorious for erratic or extreme conditions. If the weather turns foul on Election Day, voter turnout will be even further suppressed. (Weather has already been a factor in the campaigns: the first day of the Republican National Convention was cancelled due to concerns over Hurricane Isaac, and Obama’s DNC nomination acceptance speech was moved indoors, to a much smaller venue, over threat of severe thunderstorms.)

With Mercury on a Black Hole on Election Day, both advance and exit polls are virtually meaningless; whatever the pundits and experts say, this election has a mind of its own, and its outcome is very much in doubt. This also raises the specter of deliberate manipulation of the polls, in an attempt to either deflate enthusiasm or encourage over-confidence in one camp or the other, both of which can result in fewer voters bothering to show up.

Adding fuel to the fire is Mercury’s contact with other celestials at its station, principally a square to Neptune and Chiron at 0° and 5° Pisces and a trine to Uranus at 5° Aries. All these points are also retrograde, implying a less than helpful stance in how they manifest and a willingness to go against the grain or promote reversals.

Neptune here suggests that confusion and illusion will be the order of the day, along with a healthy dose of deception or misdirection. Beware electoral sleight-of-hand in the tabulation process, with electronic voting systems that are notoriously easy to hack and amend. Chiron evokes maverick behaviors and suggests a wounding of some sort, while Uranus rules shocks, upsets, regime change, and sudden, unexpected disruption, and also ties directly, via its rulership of electronics, to potential e-vote fraud.

Expect system breakdowns, long lines, disputed results, and general confusion or chaos. Many races may not be decided on election night, and Jupiter in an exact inconjunct to the day’s Sun (14° Gemini to 14° Scorpio) may indicate that the final decision ends up in the courts again.

Stationing Mercury also makes some dramatic contacts to both candidates’ charts, and this emphasizes the zodiacal areas they share. Mercury is squared Obama’s natal Chiron at 5° Pisces and Romney’s natal Mars at 6° Pisces. That could spell a wounding for Obama and a victory for Romney, but regardless, it’s a sure marker of a real slugfest between the contenders, opening wounds and making for a very nasty campaign. 

Mercury is also trine to an exact synastric conjunction of Romney’s Saturn with Obama’s Mercury, both at 2° Leo. This could suppress (Saturn) Obama’s vote (Mercury), and has already soured his message (Mercury), emphasizing fear (Saturn) over the “hope and change” banner of 2008.

Finally, Mercury conjoins Romney’s natal Descendant at 1° Sagittarius and opposes Obama’s natal Moon at 3° Gemini. This could signal a fundamental alteration in how the public (Moon) reacts to both men, with Romney forming a closer bond (Descendant). There is also a suggestion, with the Black Hole involved, of an unexpected domestic (Moon) alteration for Obama, which could signal a return to Chicago.

Whatever the outcome, the 2012 election is likely to be another for the record books, as Mercury stationing retrograde on a Black Hole says, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

Editor’s note:

(1) The chart set for 5:58 p.m. on November 6 in Washington, D.C. has 4° Gemini on the Ascendant and Mercury at 4° Sag on the Descendant.

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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In Deference to Saturn

By Mary Plumb | September 24, 2012

As Saturn creeps through its final days in Libra, it seems there are moments when we can’t wait for it to move along.
The sense of being at the very end of some theme or chapter or area of difficulty can accompany a planet as it gathers itself before moving into a whole other land, in this case, the land of Scorpio on October 5.
In each of our personal charts, Saturn has brought its diligence and grinding stone to the affairs and situations of the house with Libra on the cusp for the last two and a half years. We are in the last days of encapsulating what we can learn about this area of work, both inner and outer. Saturn in Libra may accentuate our awareness of beauty, and, for me, this is one of astrology’s most beautiful treasures — the gift of perspective. 
I wrote about (what I think is) a modern concept about the end of the sign in a previous blog: “The first reference I’ve seen to the 29th degree (of any sign) as “the degree of expiation” is in Isabel Hickey’s Astrology: A Cosmic Science (1970). The degree of expiation suggests that all conditions and situations related to the sign have this one last degree, this one last moment to resolve themselves. It has the suggestion of atonement, propitiating a god, or the means through which atonement is made.” (1)
Heaven knows what’s next for any of us, but I’m finding myself wanting to acknowledge Saturn in Libra. (I thought of calling this blog An Ode to Saturn, but then Wikipedia informed me that the definition of ode means a lyrical verse, which I can’t quite conjure up just yet. (2))
So, I am thinking about Saturn’s diligence, faithfulness, and its being the honored guest in Libra, its sign of exaltation. (3)
We can think of one-to-one relationships as the most obvious sphere of Libra; the sign that stands across from Aries pure individualism. In Libra we can listen, cooperate, be diplomatic, and see what the others see. 
I actually have had three distinct conversations in the past few days involving a clear intent to sort out areas of confusion and face what was incomplete. I was anxious about one situation in particular, which I had been avoiding for quite a while — nearly a year (!), in fact.
The appointed hour for our meeting came. (4) We both were anxious. A few deep breaths set a slow, steady tone and we were able to be open and vulnerable and forgiving and forgiven. It was a deeply rewarding conversation and I defer to Saturn for helping me stay on track and offering a gentle and dignified passageway into a new time.
These days I’m also collecting my thoughts and examining my priorities. Where is my inner commitment? What am I holding fast to for equipoise, balance, and stability, as we move ahead into the great and wildly unknown future?
I can strive for diligence and honesty — inside myself and with others — in just the right measure, without being rigid or dry or fearful.
Isabel Hickey offers a lovely thought in A Cosmic Science  (1970): “Saturn is exalted in Libra for it is through the sign of relationships that we grow in grace.”
The insights offered by Saturn, about to leave his place of being the honored guest, may be strong for many of us now.
Saturn, thank you for your time in Libra; it will not be until 2039 that you pass this way again.
(1)TMA blog: Total Solar Eclipse
(Although I remember references to early writers who thought a planet lost strength when it was at the very end, i.e., the 29th or 30th degree of any sign, I didn’t have time to research that for this article.)
(2) I did, however, get what we might consider an ode to Saturn in Libra in my email today:
O Lord, it is time
The summer was so vast
Put your shadows on the sundials
And in the fields let the wind loose.
Order the last fruits to become ripe
Give them two more sunny days
Push them to fulfillment
And force the last sweetness into the heavy wine.
He who has no house now will not build one
He who is alone will be so for a long time to come
Will stay awake, read, write long letters
And restlessly walk in the park among the blown leaves.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(Translated by Charlotte Schmid)
(3) For more on planetary dignities, see Skyscript.
(4) Although I didn’t elect the time, the stars, as ever, were eloquent. My friend, who is usually extremely punctual, arrived three minutes early, which placed Antares at 9° Sagittarius directly on the Ascendant. In The Horary Textbook John Frawley writes: “Being directly opposite Aldebaran, star of the spring equinox, Antares is associated with the autumn equinox. So as Aldebaran is about inception and new cycles starting, Antares is about closing down and cycles ending. This is by no means always negative.”

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Obama gets a bounce

By Mary Plumb | September 10, 2012

I followed many of the key speakers at the DNC and was mesmerized by tracking the astrology as it unfolded, but I do not have the objectivity to make a prediction about the upcoming election. I’m happily optimistic about those predictions that have called it for Obama, and very happy that he has gotten a bounce in the polls. (1) (Those of us watching the astrology, especially at the end of his speech, could feel that coming.) 

Chris Brennan diligently and impeccably covered all three days of the convention. Check out his fine contribution here: Day IDay 2 and Day 3

I have some highlights and impressions below.

Bill Clinton’s amazing, warm-hearted speech was the big event on Wednesday, September 5th; many have commented on the content and specificities in his talk. He was in very good form: Clinton was having a return of his exalted Moon in Taurus that night and he started his (long) speech as the local Moon (the chart set for Charlotte) was on the Ascendant. 

Clinton’s speech ended and Obama walked out onto the stage at 11:23 p.m. for a hug with Bill and a brief wave to the crowd (which was going wild). The Ascendant at that moment was 3° Gemini, the degree of the president’s natal Moon. The Moon, of course, connects us to the public; in these moments you could sense the delegates’ affection for these two men. (One TV commentator who had attended both conventions said that the biggest difference was the genuine warmth and family feeling at the DNC. I didn’t watch the RNC — Chris Brennan and his crew did — but according to this fellow, there was not much of a feeling tone present.)

The president spoke on Thursday, September 6th, and there were many moments that were positive omens for his success in November. As mentioned above, one in particular was at 10:26 p.m. as Obama accepted the nomination: transiting Venus (ruling the Taurus Ascendant) was at 1° Leo, exactly conjunct the IC. This placed 1° Aquarius at the Midheaven, the degree of Obama’s natal Jupiter. 

Another striking observation: A big shout out to Kate Petty for so vividly noting that Obama has a natal antiscia between the Midheaven (29° Scorpio) and Jupiter (1° Aquarius) that was lit up by the transiting Moon-Venus antiscia, and precise as Obama accepted the nomination! (2)

The north node was at 29° Scorpio; Obama’s natal Midheaven is 28° 53 Scorpio. The Moon was exactly conjunct the south node at 29° Taurus. 

There were many more remarkable moments; do read Chris Brennan’s three-part series for the moment-by-moment account. (And, his report on the RNC.)

In looking back to the 2008 election, Obama’s solar arc Mars, ruler of his natal Midheaven, was 8°16’ Scorpio, exactly on natal Neptune (8°36’). In hindsight, this suggests the idealistic hope (I was right there) and subsequent mood of disappointment for some. He has no exact solar arcs at the time of this election. At least, that particular moment in time is behind him. 

A brief look at some other difficult aspects that have also passed:
Transiting Neptune was square the natal Midheaven from March  through December 2011. (His reputation suffers and/or his goals are confused?)

The transiting south node (3° Gemini) was conjunct Obama’s natal Moon during the summer of 2012. That has passed, and the transiting nodes have changed signs, with the north node conjunct his Midheaven at the time he accepted the nomination.

His progressed Sun moved into Libra in November 2010, just in time for that powerful ingress onto the world axis to be opposed by transiting Uranus throughout 2011. 

There is another stressful series of progressed and progressed-to-natal patterns that have passed exactitude. It’s a bit complicated to write, so let’s look at the current (secondary) progressed chart first:
Obama progressed to Sept 2012

In summary:

Progressed Mercury conjunct progressed Mars in July 27, 2008

Progressed Mercury square progressed Saturn on November 11, 2008 (the election was on November 4)

Progressed Mars, ruler of the Aries Ascendant, precisely square progressed Saturn, ruler of the Midheaven, in March 2009

Progressed Saturn square progressed Ascendant on November 16, 2010 

Progressed Mercury square progressed Jupiter on May 7, 2012

Progressed Mars opposite Ascendant on August 25, 2012 (a few days before the convention)

To add another layer, here’s the president’s natal chart:
Obama, natal

Saturn and Mars rule the angles in the natal chart (as well as the progressed angles). Saturn rules the natal Aquarius Ascendant and Mars rules the natal Scorpio Midheaven.

Transiting Saturn has been squaring natal Saturn since November 2011 and was precise for the last time at 25°19’ Libra on August 21, right before the convention.

During this same time, transiting Saturn was opposite the progressed Ascendant, conjunct progressed Mercury, and square the progressed Midheaven ruler (see chart above), i.e., Saturn at 23° Capricorn and conjunct Ascendant ruler Mars at 25° Libra; both rulers are also on the progressed angles. One further detail: slow-moving progressed Mars has also passed the exact square to natal Saturn in April 2012. Yikes! I’d say this is a life well-tempered by Saturn. 

The president’s natal Jupiter is retrograde at 0°51’ Aquarius (in the 1st house in whole signs). In January 2011 Jupiter went direct by progression. This is a hopeful note as well, perhaps a (slow) improvement over the conditions he has inherited. (3)

Very recently, the U.S. Sibly progressed Moon was conjunct progressed Mars (exact on September 1, 2012, right before the DNC).
US Sibly progressed 9.1.12

With that riled up Moon just behind us, maybe the U.S. populace will start to get along a bit better. (I must be channeling Bill Clinton: this conjunction is at 18° Libra; he has Libra Ascending with Mars, Neptune, Venus, and Jupiter in the 1st house. His natal Venus/Jupiter midpoint is 17° Libra and Chiron is at 18° — an echo of Chiron’s role as the wounded healer. He spoke memorably at the convention about bringing people together and the fact that he “never learned to hate” his opponents.

This leads me back to my overall impression of Obama’s speech. Saturn at 25°19’ Capricorn is his chart ruler (Aquarius rising) and transiting Saturn has been squaring natal Saturn since November 2011. As noted, the last exact square was on August 21, 2012. He gave a sober, serious speech, a realistic assessment of what’s ahead. He was critiqued in some places for not being inspiring or lofty enough; I thought it was a perfect display of a natal dignified Saturn. I hope he wins. 


(1) Huffington Post

(2) My friend Robert Blaschke was always trying to get me to pay attention to antisica. I never saw it so clearly as that night, an unforgettable moment. Thanks, Kate. 

(3) Thanks to Gary Caton for this comment to a blog I wrote in 2009: “Jupiter in fall explains the extraordinary circumstances which he has inherited through no fault of his own.”

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Thoughts on the Election

By Mary Plumb | September 3, 2012

There are many diverse and wonderfully informative blogs on the election. I’ll post a sample after a few thoughts of my own.

I am intrigued by eclipse charts (and their path of visibility), including the prenatal solar eclipse. Working with the prenatal solar eclipse (PNSE) was initially introduced by Edward Johndro and Charles Jayne in the 30s and expanded by Bill Meridian. (I reviewed his recent book, The Predictive Power of Eclipse Paths, for the Aug./Sep. TMA.)

Bill gave a workshop at UAC in May with his latest research, which includes his reading of heretofore unpublished early work of Johndro and Jayne. In the workshop (and the book) he describes finding the “birth eclipse,” which can be before or after the actual birth date. (To find the birth eclipse, you first consider all the eclipses for about a year around the birth (i.e., prenatal and postnatal, solar and lunar) to see which is the best fit, with connections to the natal chart being one important factor.

I’m starting to research this expanded view of the birth eclipse, but I have used the PNSE for a while. (1)

Barack Obama’s prenatal solar eclipse is 27° Aquarius, conjunct the U.S. Sibly Moon, which I feel shows his connection to the American populace (at least enough of us to get elected to the presidency once.)

Obama PNSE & Sibly
There was a solar eclipse on August 11, 1961, a week after Obama’s birth. This postnatal eclipse chart is also interesting: the lunation is 18° Leo, the degree of his natal Descendant. The Ascendant of the eclipse (set for the birthplace) is 1°12’ Gemini, quite closely conjunct to his natal Moon (3°21’ Gemini).

Obama natal & postnatal eclipse

I haven’t looked more deeply into this eclipse and his life story, but Bill Meridian has found that a person can have more than one eclipse that is significant in the life. (This presumably might be especially true for someone of Barack Obama’s fame and prominence.)

Although these eclipses around Obama’s birth show striking angular connections, this is not always the case, nor is it the only way to determine which eclipse around a birth date is especially significant. Bill gives examples, for instance, of a planet’s prominence in the eclipse chart signifying a defining theme in the individual’s life. Also, the eclipse path can show important connections in the life. (He gives an example of his own birth eclipse, which goes through Vienna, where his wife was born and he resides.)

Mitt Romney was born on March 12, 1947. Here are a few initial observations about the four eclipses surrounding his birth. (The eclipses are set for Detroit, his birthplace.)

The prenatal solar eclipse (PNSE) was on November 23, 1946 at 0°49’ Sagittarius, conjunct Romney’s natal Descendant.
Romney natal & PNSE

The Ascendant is 11°01’ Aquarius; Romney’s natal Venus is at 8°32’ Aquarius opposite Pluto 11 21’ Leo. (Who can argue that vast — and hidden? — wealth is a part of Romney’s story?) At first glance this chart does seem to be relevant: there was a solar eclipse on May 2012 at 0°20’ Gemini and on Election Day in November, transiting Neptune will be at 0°22’ Pisces, squaring this degree.

There was a prenatal lunar eclipse on December 8, 1946 at 16°03’ Gemini. The Ascendant (in Detroit) is 15°25 Pisces, conjunct Romney’s natal Mercury (13°55’), the ruler of his Gemini rising and the Sun (21°11’), both in the natal 10th house (whole signs).

On May 20, 1947, a few months after his birth, there was a solar eclipse at 28°42’ Taurus, opposite his natal Moon-Jupiter conjunction. (Johndro found that eclipses conjunct or opposite a natal planet make that planet powerful for the entire life.) This chart has 20° Cancer Ascending and 0° Aries on the Midheaven.

This eclipse will be exact by secondary progression in February 2016, suggesting that that will be vital in his biography. (This axiom, originally described by Johndro, is something I have found to be very consistently true.) (2)

Eclipses come in pairs: the lunar eclipse on June 3, 1947 was at 12°22’ Gemini, conjunct the Sibly Ascendant/Descendant. The Ascendant is 7°54 Libra, with Neptune sitting right there at 8°06’ Libra. (This eclipse will not perfect by secondary progression until spring of 2030, when Romney would be 84 years old.)

Now, on to some of our fine astrologer friends on the election.

Patrick Watson (with Chris Brennan) wrote a prediction in April. He uses Zodiacal Releasing. “Zodiacal Releasing from the Lot of Spirit is particularly useful for studying different periods in a person’s professional life, as it is capable of showing high points and low points during the course of a person’s career.”

Here is Chris Brennan’s day-by-day analysis of the Republican National Convention:

And his article on Mercury stationing retrograde on Election Day.

Susan Miller is short and to the point in Business Week.

Lynn Hayes has a nice summary of the famous UAC panel (and her own assessment).

Wolfstar, who uses the Scorpio rising chart for the U.S., explains details of his method for predicting at Neptune Cafe. He includes the inaugural day chart, the condition of the Midheaven and its ruler in the candidates’ charts, and their respective connections to the U.S. horoscope.

Larry Schwimmer writes on The Romney-Ryan Ticket at Huffington Post. (Next week he’ll discuss the Obama-Biden ticket.)


(1) If you’re interested in this technique, here’s a blog on Michelle Obama’s PNSE.

And another PNSE story currently in the news: I wrote about activist Rachel Corrie a few years ago.

With no known birth time, I looked at her PNSE chart (set for the birthplace). Her PNSE degree is 8° Pisces. On August 28, several days before the Full Moon at 8° Pisces, an Israeli civil court ruled that the military was not responsible for Rachel Corrie’s death.
New York times blog

(2) Following this reasoning, Barack Obama’s postnatal solar eclipse mentioned above (August 11, 1961) would mark his 6th year as pivotal in his biography.

Have a happy Labor Day and a good week, everyone.

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Lightning Bolt

By Mary Plumb | August 13, 2012

I don’t follow track and I watched very little of the Olympics, but the first time I tuned in, I saw Usain Bolt dancing on the track after he had won the 100 meter gold.

I’d never heard of him before, but he is a very famous (and wealthy) athlete. (1) His full name is Usain St. Leo Bolt, and he is nicknamed “Lightning Bolt.”

Here’s a sunrise chart for him, born on August 21, 1986 in Trelawny, Jamaica; the Sun is in Leo and the Moon was in Pisces all day. (2)

Usain Bolt, natal, sunrise

There is an abundance of planets in their signs of rulership: Sun in Leo, Jupiter in Pisces, Venus in Libra, and the generational marker Pluto in Scorpio. Mars is exalted in Capricorn.

On the 45° dial, Mars is very closely on the Uranus/Pluto midpoint — fitting for the “fastest man in the world.” (Another way of saying this is that the Uranus/Pluto midpoint is semi-square (45°) to Mars.)

Mars is also way out-of-bounds, at 28°S10’. (The nodes are in Aries/Libra and planets go to the most extreme out-of-bounds when the nodal axis is in those signs.)

Mars is also in a sesquiquadrate (135°) aspect to the Sun and ruler of the north node in Aries.

He is very tall (6 ft 5 in), which adds to his large, dominating presence.

The TV commentator during the race I saw said that Bolt “responds to pressure and the spotlight better than anyone in history.”

Some have noted his arrogance: “I’m now a legend, I’m also the greatest athlete to live.“ (3) But what can one do with a Leo Sun, Mars exalted, and a very strong Jupiter?

I remember a modern astrologer pointing to a potential problem with planets in exaltation: they think they’re better than everybody else, i.e., they are above the rest. And as for Capricorn, well, I have a beloved person in my life with Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter in that sign. She once confided to me: “You know, Capricorn really does secretly believe they are better than everyone else.” (I hope my humor is coming through here. Why is it hard to sound playful about Capricorn?)

“The 25-year-old is arguably as spectacular a showman as he is a sprinting legend…..Bolt is known for hamming it up in front of the cameras in the warm-up area prior to a race. While others try to get into the zone, Bolt is offering hand gestures, dances, and plenty of smiles.” (4)

On a personal level, Bolt is known as a lover of music. “Bolt expresses a love for dancing and his character is frequently described as laid-back and relaxed…… In 2010, he also revealed his fondness of music, when he played a reggae DJ set to a crowd in Paris.” (All of this sounds to me like natal Moon in Pisces with Jupiter.) (5)

With no time of birth, we can look at the prenatal solar eclipse set for the place of birth to see some underlying themes in the life, i.e., the collective story the individual was born into. For Bolt, that is the solar eclipse on April 9, 1986, set for Trelawny.

Bolt, PNSE

The Sun and Moon are at 19°06’ Aries, the degree of the Sun’s exaltation. (6) Mars, dispositor of the lunation, is conjunct Neptune in the 1st house, and Scorpio, also ruled by the exalted Mars, is on the Midheaven.

Here’s to Mars and his part in showing us the world’s fastest man.


(1) Bolt earned $20 million in 2011.

(2) Wikipedia

(3) The Independent

(4) CTV Olympics

(5) Wikipedia

(6) The Origin of Planetary Exaltations

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Uranus-Pluto: One More Time

By Mary Plumb | August 6, 2012

I’ve been thinking about people who have planets or angles at 8°- 9° degrees (or earlier) of the cardinal signs. I wanted to see what kinds of experiences some have had as we’ve made it through the first exact portal of the Uranus-Pluto square. (This was precise on June 24 with Uranus at 8°23’ Aries, and Pluto retrograde at 8°23’ Capricorn.)

World events are awesome for astrologers to witness. (1) The unfolding display of these majestic aspects will continue for years and there are many layers to their meaning. (2)

As I wrote in an earlier blog, Richard Tarnas made the association between the planet Uranus and the Titan, Prometheus, in his book, Prometheus the Awakener (1995). I wrote: “A personal revolution is at hand for each one of us as Prometheus steals fire from the gods now through the sign Aries, the sign of individuation and singularity. It will feel scary; we are at the limit of convention and security in some significant way inside ourselves.”

If Uranus holds a deep memory of our ability to steal fire from the gods and Pluto’s helmet of invisibility alludes to the mystery of his power, we know that unusual inner experiences are a theme of the time. Being startlingly present to the irrevocable, unrelenting pressure of transformation, we are entering a landscape that may feel intimidating, yet carry the experience of awe as well.

I sometimes experience Uranus as what is over the edge and just out of view. Pluto takes us into murky places: both dark and damp swamps of clogged waterways, and the hidden tunnels of wealth ready to be mined in our own interior lives. (I’ve heard about two brothers who recently became obsessed with gold panning in the Colorado mountains; this might be a very good activity for some.)

Pluto always takes us further in or further back, no matter how much ‘work’ we have done, how many awakenings or insights we have had. This combination of energies is upon us all — both beginning travelers, (those newly being drawn to the unseen worlds), and those who’ve been focused for years on discovering life’s deeper layers (perhaps accompanied by years of trauma or healing, or therapy or spiritual practice) — and is a deeper call to authenticity.

The conditions and placements of the planets in our individual charts are needed for specific advice, of course, but here are a few general suggestions for dealing with what the planets might bring. For some people, it might be useful to enhance natal Saturn — both for stability, and to encourage an appropriately contemplative state of mind if inner/outer conditions are rocky and feeling out of control. Depending on the individual constitution and situation, engaging natal Mars — with its ability to recognize when action needs to be taken — can be a good strategy. With my natal Moon in Cancer, my timeless method is creating a safe space for rest and retreat when the demands of the outer planets, that which we are sharing with the greater collective, become overwhelming or overbearing.

Here are a few personal stories.

I know someone with 9° of the cardinal signs on all of the angles; Libra is on the Ascendant. Transiting Uranus at the Descendant has brought a new theme into his longtime domestic partnership; both people are openly exploring the idea of including someone else in their intimate lives. (So far, all appears to be going well in this somewhat unconventional arrangement.) He is also in a hugely successful period in his work life with his business growing very quickly into international markets. As transiting Pluto is on the nadir, his youngest child is about to depart for college and he is surprised at how anxious he feels about this upcoming, inevitable event.

Someone I know, who is well into what has been a dramatic series of events in the midlife transits years (i.e., already past Pluto square Pluto and Neptune square Neptune), has natal Uranus at 8° Libra. With the first Uranus-Pluto square, he spoke of a newly discovered ability to “witness” himself, i.e., to observe. This is a great potential of Uranus – the detachment required to view our lives and conditions. With this first opposition to natal Uranus, he has spoken of having a wider view and a new understanding of “human nature.”

My friend has 2° Libra rising with 2° Cancer/Capricorn on the IC/MC axis, i.e., 2° of the cardinal signs on each angle. In the last few years everything in her life has changed: she moved to a different state, and has a different job that brought a completely different life style and social milieu. She has natal vertex at 8° Aries in the 7th house. With Uranus having precisely crossed the point of “fateful encounters,” her former partner has come back into her life. My friend, who has had Uranus and Pluto transiting her angles since 2009, has moved through their life-altering energies successfully. She is stable in her inner life; her former partner is struggling mightily with the current transits. It is an emotionally challenging situation, but so far, she has been able to bear witness or hold space for his acutely turbulent state of mind.

Another friend has natal Mars at 8° Libra (ruler of the Aries Midheaven) in the 4th house. She has Cancer rising and she told me that her “tendency to nest” has been uprooted. She said she’s rediscovered the “gypsy” part of her nature. She left an apartment she’s been in for years and is literally moving around a lot in paid caretaking situations. She’s been in all kinds of different environments — palatial and simple — and she said it’s been “creative and unconventional” (some of her friends think she’s gone off the deep end) and a “very liberating experience.” This friend is a long time Buddhist practitioner so the experience of liberation is especially meaningful to her.

For easy reference, here are the dates of the Uranus-Pluto squares:

June 24, 2012: Uranus at 8°23’ Aries and Pluto rx at 8°23’ Capricorn

September 19, 2012: Uranus rx at 6°57’ Aries and Pluto at 6°57’ Capricorn

May 20, 2013: Uranus at 11°14’ Aries and Pluto rx at 11°14’ Capricorn

November 1, 2013: Uranus rx at 9°25’ Aries and Pluto at 9°25’ Capricorn

April 21, 2014: Uranus at 13°34 Aries and Pluto rx at 13°34’ Capricorn

December 14, 2014: Uranus rx at 12°35’ Aries and Pluto at 12°35’ Capricorn

March 17, 2015: Uranus at 15°18’ Aries and Pluto at 15°18’ Capricorn – both planets are now direct for the first, and only, of their partile squares

I’m eager to hear what’s going on in your worlds!


(1) I’ve been using that word (awesome) a lot lately. Although I know it is an 80s (90s?) verbal idiom, I was heartened by this short video about The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck.

(2) Here are some other recent TMA blogs on Uranus-Pluto:
Early Uranus Pluto Citings
Uranus-Pluto-Time Blogs
The Higher Vibration of the Uranus Pluto Square

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The Aurora Shooting: What’s in a Name?

By Alex Miller | July 23, 2012

By now the general outlines of last Friday’s tragedy in Aurora, Colorado are familiar to us all. Twenty-four-year-old James Holmes, a graduate student working for his Ph.D in neuroscience, donned a black SWAT-team-like outfit and shot up the premiere midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises with a shotgun and an assault rifle, killing 12 and wounding 58 others.

The broad brush strokes of this horrific event are plain to see in the heavens — the long-awaited Uranus-Pluto square reached the first of its exact aspects in late June, setting the stage for violent, volatile acts of death, destruction, and mayhem. This square is the first major aspect between the pair since their conjunctions made the turbulent ‘60s what they were, and represents an overriding atmosphere that permeates our time. But in the days leading up to the shooting, Mars, planet of confrontation, conflict, attacks, guns, and violent death, entered the fray and, as a personal planet, it brought the more rarefied energies of Uranus and Pluto down to an all too human level.

But this is just the start of the story, not its ending. The specifics of the “Who, What, and Where” are indelibly carved into the celestial patterns of the moment as well, focused in very potent ways on the “When” of that grisly attack. A remarkable number of personal-named asteroids dovetail with the particulars of the story, and their sky positions uncannily record the specifics with all the accuracy of an AP reporter.

To begin with the “Where”: when James Holmes opened fire in that sold-out crowd, the asteroid Aurora (#94), namesake of the city, was just cresting the Midheaven, the most visible, elevated point of the chart, clearly defining the venue and marking it for notoriety and public attention. When the first 911 calls came in at 12:39 a.m. MDT, Aurora was at 17° Capricorn, just four degrees past the Midheaven at 21° Capricorn, indicating that within the past 15 minutes or so, as the rampage began, it had been exactly on the Midheaven.

So we have the town portion of the “Where.” The shooting itself occurred in the Century 16 movie theater, and while there is no asteroid “Century,” there is a Centenaria (#1240), meaning “one hundred years,” the same span as a century, and this point falls at 8° Pisces, conjoined both Neptune and Chiron, at 2° and 9° Pisces. Neptune rules movies, theaters, the mentally unhinged, and toxic gases, like the canisters of tear gas Holmes released before he started firing. Chiron rules loners, maverick actions, and woundings, and together these form a very accurate picture of the venue.

So we have the building as well. The timing itself was very important to Holmes, who picked the very first screening of the much-anticipated latest installment of the Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises, as his holocaust of choice. Holmes had dyed his hair flame red and calmly announced to police when apprehended, “I am the Joker,” arch villain of the previous Batman film. Asteroid Knight (#29391) appears at 13° Leo, in conjunction with the Moon and Mercury, at 10° and 11° Leo. The Moon rules the public and public spaces and Mercury rules news events. So now we have the town, the building, and the very movie itself, all in significant placement at the time in question.

What about the “Who?” Asteroid James (#2335) falls at 3° Virgo, from where it forms a tense grand cross, with squares to the nodal axis at 2° Sagittarius and Gemini and an opposition to Neptune at 2° Pisces. We have already seen the pervasive influence of Neptune on this story, with a protagonist (James) clearly enveloped in some fantasy world, unmoored from reality, and making his dramatic, theatrical entrance, all part and parcel of Neptune’s illusory realm. The contact to the North and South nodes suggests some sort of karmic situation, something that was fated to play out, for good or ill.

In perhaps the most potent placement, we see asteroid Holmes (#5477), which incredibly, at 9° Libra, is an exact match for Mars! As this planet of violent death and guns marched into the arms of the Uranus-Pluto square that week, it did so in company with an asteroid exactly matching the surname of the shooter! (As an aside, it should also be noted that in James Holmes’ birth chart — December 13, 1987 — asteroid Aurora appears right here also, at 8° Libra.) This type of cosmic synchronicity cannot be denied and is staggering in its implications for the issues of fate and free will.

So there we see the shooter, placed in full cosmic view. What about the other half of the “Who” — the victims? All of the 12 people killed have at least one asteroid connected to their names, and all fall in significant aspect in the chart for the tragedy. In the interests of brevity, I’ll single out just one name — Alex. Three of the dead shared this name, Alex Sullivan, Alex Teves, and Alexander “AJ” Boik, fully one fourth of the casualties that night.

What are the chances that in a random mass shooting of this nature, a quarter of the dead would have the same name? Actually, the chances are pretty good, considering that asteroid Alex (#3367) appears at 6° Capricorn, just one degree shy of Pluto, modern ruler of death, now at 7° Capricorn. There were also two Sullivans who died (unrelated to each other), equating to the asteroid of that name, and a Jessica and a Jesse, both represented by asteroid Jessie, as well as a John and a Jonathan, each denoted both by asteroids Johnny and Johannes. All of these, and the rest, fit snugly into the celestial patterns of the day like a hand in a glove.

There is no understanding a crime of this magnitude. There is no way to predict it in advance, even with the vast accumulation of cosmic evidence. Although the celestial placements record the reporter’s litany of “Who, What, Where, and When,” we will never truly know the answer to the most haunting of questions, the “Why.” All we can do is remember, mourn, and bow to the inscrutable workings of the cosmos as it manifests so clearly in the world around us.

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

Mary Plumb’s note:
Thank you Alex for sending TMA this eerie and amazing blog.
For another view of the tragic event, here is Ed Tamplin’s blog. He includes the chart for the state of Colorado, a look back at Columbine, and how President Obama fits into the picture.

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