TMA This Week

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

By Trish Marie | January 28, 2013

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

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

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

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

NRA, natal sunrise

NRA, aspectarian

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

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

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

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

NRA & Dec Full Moon

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

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

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

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


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

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

(3) Wikipedia 

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

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

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

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

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

6 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

The 2013 Inaugural

By Mary Plumb | January 21, 2013

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

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

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

2013 chart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2013 chart

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

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

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

2013 chart

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


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


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

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

8 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

Anne Hathaway

By Mary Plumb | January 7, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


(1) All biographical material and quotes from Wikipedia

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

(3) Telegraph

(4) See Kate Petty’s site

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

12 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

The Mercury Elemental Year 2013

By Gary P. Caton | December 24, 2012

before Gary’s blog, a note from Tem

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury Tables 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References & Recommended Reading:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(5) Orbital Astrology and the Nodes by Dane Rudhyar

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

(7) Yahoo

(8) Yahoo

(9) Occupy Sandy
The Nation

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

1 Comment - click to read it or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

The End of 2012

By Mary Plumb | December 10, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week everyone.


(1) NASA

(2) New York Times

(3) Template Portal

(4) Merriam-Webster Dictionary

9 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

Venus-Saturn and endings

By Mary Plumb | November 26, 2012

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

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

13 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

All Mercury Retrogrades Are Not Created Equal

By Gary P. Caton | November 12, 2012

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

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

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

Mercury 2000

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

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

Mercury 2012 

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

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

Mercury 1776

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

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

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

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

Dixville Notch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(3) Find An Astrologer

(4) CNN

(5) Voxxi


(7) TMA

(8) Huffington Post

(9) Kera News

(10) Baltimore Sun

(11) Jezebel

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

6 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

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

12 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

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

3 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

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

17 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer
Page 11 of 22« First...910111213...20...Last »