TMA This Week

Early Uranus-Pluto Citings

By Mary Plumb | July 9, 2012

I have been fascinated with a few words (new to me) that have entered the mainstream lexicon in this past week, as the Full Moon (on July 3) dispersed the massive energy of the first Uranus-Pluto square (June 24). The LIBOR scandal and the Higgs boson are the events that came into public view (i.e., not just physicists and financiers) with the Full Moon at 12° Capricorn/Cancer.

The Moon at 12° Capricorn had just crossed Pluto at 8° Capricorn and transiting Mars was at 0° Libra — the Aries Point of high public visibility. Mars will keep moving to oppose Uranus and square Pluto on July 17 and 18.

The LIBOR index sets the interest rates that banks charge each other, kind of like a credit score for the bank. (1) On July 3, the CEO of Barclays, Robert Diamond, resigned in disgrace after the exposure of a massive LIBOR rate rigging scandal. No surprise to anyone, but the dark side of Pluto in Capricorn obviously has a ways to go, as this is apparently the biggest, baddest, most corrupt banking scandal yet. Commentators are saying that all the big international banks are undoubtedly involved in the manipulation. (2)

Matt Taibbi wrote a blog on July 3, the day of Diamond’s resignation, asking Why is Nobody Freaking Out about the Libor Banking Scandal? (3) He writes:
“This story is so outrageous that it shocks even the most cynical Wall Street observers. I have a friend who works on Wall Street who for years has been trolling through the stream of financial corruption stories with bemusement, darkly enjoying the spectacle as though the whole post-crisis news arc has been like one long, beautifully-acted, intensely believable sequel to Goodfellas. But even he is just stunned to the point of near speechlessness by the LIBOR thing. ‘It’s like finding out that the whole world is on quicksand,’ he says.”

But, who knows: with Uranus pressing into Pluto’s tyrannical tendencies, maybe the evil-doing bankers will fall gracefully into (or get stuck in?) the Higgs boson (“the most sought after particle in modern physics”) and never be heard from again. (4) (My understanding of the science is rudimentary, but Higgs boson has something to do with dark matter and, like all astrologers, I do have an imagination.)

As a tribute to the Uranian force of the square, a particle “consistent with the Higgs boson” was announced on July 4 by physicists at the CERN lab in Geneva. This appears to be evidence for the subatomic particle popularly called “the God particle.” In a splendid interview on BBC, Professor Brian Cox said: “This day will go down as one of the great days in the history of science.” (5)

Higgs boson is at least as complicated as the LIBOR scandal, but far more fun to ponder. There are lots of great descriptions and graphics, including this demonstration with ping-pong balls

And this,The Higgs Boson Explained on Vimeo.

John Ellis, a theoretical physicist answers the question, What is the Higgs boson?

The Best Analogies Scientists and Journalists Use to Explain the Higgs Boson

British physicist Peter Higgs (with colleagues from Belgium and the U.S.) first proposed the theory, that likely now has been proven, in the 1960s. Higgs was born on May 29, 1929, with Uranus at 10° Aries. (6) Happy Uranus Return, Professor Higgs.

(1) LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) is “widely used as a reference rate for many financial instruments,” including futures contracts, variable rate mortgages, currencies (especially the U.S. dollar), and thus “provides the basis for some of the world’s most liquid and active interest rate markets.” Wikipedia

(2) Here’s a discussion with Matt Taibbi and Eliot Spitzer.

(3) Rolling Stone

(4) Wikipedia

(5) BBC

(6) Wikipedia

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Happy Birthday Aung San Suu Kyi

By Mary Plumb | June 18, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi was born on June 19, 1945, in Rangoon, Burma (now called Myanmar). There is no known birth time, so I will be looking at her sunrise chart and the eclipses surrounding her birth to trace some of the highlights in her life.(1)

natal sunrise Suu Kyi

I have included astrological keynotes, but will not be interpreting the symbols in any detail. Said another way, this blog assumes a familiarity with astrological symbolism. I look forward to your comments.

As per Carl Jansky, I like to look at the prenatal solar eclipse set for the birthplace, especially useful when there is no known birth time. This can show themes and degree sensitivities that are carried throughout the life. The prenatal solar eclipse was on January 16, 1945.

lunar eclipse, set for Rangoon

This was a South Node eclipse with the Sun and Moon at 24° Capricorn in the 10th house, suggesting a politically prominent family, and a life replete with a sense of responsibility and duty. There is a tight square between Venus in Pisces and Uranus in Gemini, and an angular cardinal t-square between Mars in Capricorn, opposite Saturn in Cancer, both square to Neptune in Libra. (One visible Venus-Uranus theme in her life is separation from loved ones. Exalted Mars is opposite Saturn, which is disposed by the Moon; both are squared by Neptune — a pronounced commitment to fulfill obligations to family and country, fueled by personal sacrifice or a spiritual point of view.)

(The prenatal solar eclipse is also the waxing square of Mars to Neptune; the prenatal Mars-Neptune synodic conjunction was on September 2, 1944, at 3°05’ Libra, further strengthening the themes of altruistic action, spiritual warriorship, etc., of those degrees.)

The eclipse closest to birth is a lunar eclipse on June 26 at 3°39’ Capricorn/Cancer.

This lunar eclipse is marked by an exact square from Neptune, which suggests loss, sacrifice, and spirituality as strong themes in her life. The lunation on the Cancer/Capricorn axis points to her connection to both family lineage and her country.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s father, Aung San, was the architect of Burma’s independence from the British Empire in 1947. He was assassinated on July 19, 1947 when his only daughter was two years old. On that day, transiting Mars was at 13-14° Gemini, conjunct the child’s Uranus. She had two brothers. Aung San Lin, the brother closest to her in age, died soon after her father; he drowned when he was eight. I could not find a date for that event, but we can see the symbolism of loss in the family (through drowning) in the lunar eclipse chart.

On January 1, 1972 Suu Kyi married Michael Aris, a scholar of Tibetan and Himalayan studies, in England. They had a Buddhist wedding ceremony, “but it was always on the understanding that they would have to be apart if the Burmese people needed her.” (2) In one of many letters she wrote to Aris before they married, she said: “Sometimes I am beset by fears that circumstances and national considerations might tear us apart just when we are so happy in each other that separation would be a torment.” (3)

Suu Kyi and Aris photo

On the wedding day the transiting Sun (the husband in a woman’s chart) was at 10° Capricorn, conjunct her natal South Node (9° Capricorn). Transiting Mars at 4° Aries was opposite her natal Neptune at 4° Libra, and square the lunar eclipse (3°39’ Cancer/ Capricorn) after her birth.

Suu Kyi natal & wedding

There was a solar eclipse at 25°24’ Capricorn on January 16, several weeks after the marriage, repeating the prenatal eclipse. She was 27. The couple had two sons, born in 1973 and 1977. (In 1986, both sons took part in the traditional Buddhist ceremony of initiation into monkhood.)

The year 1988 was a pivotal one: Saturn and Uranus were conjunct in the sky all year in late Sagittarius and early Capricorn. Burma was in turmoil. The long-time military dictator resigned in July and popular demonstrations for freedom from military rule filled the streets.

Suu Kyi’s fateful nodal axis was again triggered: Mars and Neptune began a synodic cycle on March 8, 1988 with a conjunction at 9°52’ Capricorn, the degree of her natal South Node.

The total solar eclipse on March 18 (27°41’ Pisces) squared her natal Sun. On March 31, Suu Kyi’s mother, who was a prominent political figure in the Burmese government, had a severe stroke; the Sun had moved to 11° Aries, which is square Suu Kyi’s natal Saturn and her nodal axis. (See Suu Kyi’s natal chart above.) Years later, her husband said about that day, “I had a premonition that our lives would change for ever.” (4)

On August 3 Mars in Aries made a waxing square to Neptune in Capricorn. Several days later, there were mass uprisings throughout the country, followed by a violent suppression by the military that killed thousands of people.

On August 15, with transiting Mars at 11° Aries (again, square natal Saturn and the nodal axis), Suu Kyi took her first political action. She sent an open letter to the government “asking for formation of an independent consultative committee to prepare multi-party elections.” (5)

On August 26, the day before a lunar eclipse at 4°28 Pisces, Mars stationed retrograde at 11° Aries. On this day Aung San Suu Kyi gave her first public speech. She addressed several hundred thousand people and called for a democratic government. Her husband and sons were in attendance.

Following the lunar eclipse, there was a solar eclipse at 18°39’ Virgo on September 11.

On September 24 the National League for Democracy (NLD), with a policy of non-violence and civil disobedience, was formed. Suu Kyi was general-secretary and was now fully committed to carry on her family’s work on behalf of democracy in Burma.

bi-wheel natal & Sept 24, 1988

Transiting Mars retrograde was at 6° Arie, square transiting Neptune at 7° Capricorn. The Sun at 2° Libra was conjunct Suu Kyi’s natal Neptune at 3° Libra, also Neptune’s place at the bending of the lunar eclipse after birth — June 26, 1945 — and the degree of the prenatal Mars-Neptune synodic conjunction. (See lunar eclipse chart above.)

(Suu Kyi’s mother, who had suffered a stroke with the transiting Sun at 11° Aries, the degree of Mars’ station, died on December 27, 1988. The transiting Sun was with Saturn at 6° Capricorn, within a few degrees of Suu Kyi’s natal South Node.)

The following year, 1989, transiting Jupiter was conjunct her natal Sun on July 17. On July 20, 1989, she was placed under house arrest for the first time; transiting Saturn was at 9° Capricorn, directly conjunct her natal South Node. She was offered freedom if she left the country, but she refused. She remained in Burma, essentially under house arrest and separated from her husband and children, until November 2010.

Suu Kyi has received countless international awards and honors for her efforts to promote democracy peacefully, including the Nobel Peace Prize, which she received on October 14, 1991.

She was 46 years old; this was a half nodal return, precise several months later on December 21, 1991, the lunar eclipse at 29° Gemini conjunct the natal Sun.

bi-wheel natal & eclipse chart 1991

Suu Kyi saw her husband Michael Aris for the last time on Christmas 1995 when transiting Jupiter was opposite her natal Sun. The transiting Sun was at 3°- 4° Capricorn, again the fateful degree of the Moon at her birth lunar eclipse. Aris was diagnosed with cancer in 1997. “Despite appeals from prominent figures and organizations, including the United States, UN Secretary General Kofi Anan, and Pope John Paul II, the Burmese government would not grant Aris a visa, saying that they did not have the facilities to care for him, and instead urged Aung San Suu Kyi to leave the country to visit him. She was at that time temporarily free from house arrest, but was unwilling to depart, fearing that she would be refused re-entry if she left, as she did not trust the military junta’s assurance that she could return.” (6)

Michael Aris died of prostate cancer in London on his 53rd birthday, March 27, 1999, “without realising his wish to see his wife one last time.” (7)

On the day of her husband’s death, transiting Juno was conjunct transiting Pluto. Born five days after a Juno-Pluto conjunction at 8°33’ Leo, Suu Kyi has this aspect in the natal chart. The two traveled together again the year her husband died, conjunct (for the first of three times) on March 7, 1999 at 10°29’ Sagittarius.

Suu Kyi had a Venus return on her husband’s death day as well. Transiting Mars at 11° Scorpio was opposite Venus at 11° Taurus (her birth Venus), and both were square to natal Juno. Suu Kyi has a Venus-Mars conjunction at birth.

bi-wheel Suu Kyi natal & husband’s death

On November 13, 2010 Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. The transiting nodes were at 3°39’ Cancer/Capricorn — the exact degrees, again, of the lunar eclipse after her birth. (The Sun was at 3°39’ Capricorn, and the Moon at 3°39’ Cancer.) This was a month before a lunar eclipse conjunct her natal Sun — December 21, 2010, at 29°22’ Gemini. This is a metonic (19-year) cycle, mirroring the eclipse in December 1991 that heralded her Nobel Peace Prize.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s natal Sun is at the degree of Betelgeuse, the brightest star in the constellation of Orion. It is known as a star of great success and honor.

Throughout 2011 transiting Pluto was on her natal south node. On April 1, 2012 Suu Kyi won the vote for a seat in Parliament; she took office as a member of the National League for Democracy on May 2, 2012.

The past lunar eclipse (June 4 at 14°08’ Sagittarius) was conjunct her natal Uranus at 14° Gemini (the degree of transiting Mars when her father was killed). Suu Kyi is often shown with flowers in her hair. She has said that this is in honor of her father, General Aung San, a hero of Burma, “whom she remembers threading flowers through her hair.” (8)

On June 16, a few days before her 67th birthday, Aung San Suu Kyi gave her acceptance speech in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize she had been awarded in 1991. As mentioned above, in 1991 she had a lunar eclipse conjunct the natal Sun. At this weekend’s ceremony Aung San Suu Kyi said: “The Nobel Peace Prize opened up a door in my heart.” (9)

Her birthday is June 19. Many Happy Solar Returns, Aung San Suu Kyi.


(1) All biographical material from http:Wikipedia
and Nobel

(2) BBC

(3) New York Times

(4) New York Times

(5) Nobel

(6) Wikipedia

(7) BBC

(8) New York Times

(9) New York Times

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Regulus Awards

By Mary Plumb | June 11, 2012

UAC was more fun and more inspiring than I had even imagined – my only discord was a minor one that I am half-heartedly attributing to retrograde Venus: I did not have enough time to talk to everybody! There are so many of you whom I merely glanced at in the elevator journey or hallways of the hotel. It seems obvious that we must do this again soon.

I wanted to be there especially with Carol Cilliers Blaschke. Robert P. Blaschke was posthumously nominated for The Marion D. March Regulus Award for Discovery, Innovation and Research. He was in very fine company, so Carol and I were stunned when Robert was announced as the winner at the awards dinner on May 28.

(I recovered myself enough to note the time at about 9:30 pm. If anyone has a video of the moment with a precise time, I’d love to know.)

There were some sweet omens in the horoscope for that moment. Transiting Venus retrograde was at 20°25’ Gemini conjunct his natal Midheaven at 20°45’. The Sun that night was at 8° Gemini, just past his natal part of fortune at 7°36’ in the 9th house of publishing and teaching.

bi-wheel: natal & transits

In his last year he talked often about his natal Mars, ruler of the 8th house of death, in Libra (detriment) in the 1st house. (I am using Porphyry, his preferred house system.)

Blaschke natal

He was very aware of his progressed Mars coming to the progressed Ascendant. He told me once, in a rueful (and hopeful) voice that if he survived long enough to see another Scorpio rebirth, it would prove the strength of the progressed Mars dignified in Scorpio as outweighing the detriment natal Mars in Libra. (Robert was a proponent of Alan Leo’s idea that “sensitive souls” might feel the progressed chart more deeply than the natal.)

Robert’s secondary progressed horoscope has Mars at 13°59’ Scorpio exactly conjunct the progressed Ascendant on May 28. As many of you know, Robert was keen on precise aspects – I know this is especially significant for him.

Blaschke progressed

Alas, he passed away peacefully on January 18, 2011.

The eclipses close to the event are also connected to Robert’s natal horoscope. Midpoint watchers may note that he has three natal midpoints directly on the degree of the June 4 Full Moon eclipse at 14°13’ Gemini/Sagittarius: Moon/Ascendant, Saturn/NN and Venus/NN, all at 14° – 15° Sag. The eclipse triggered his personal connection with the public, and being appreciated and recognized for his work.

The next eclipse is a total solar eclipse on November 13 at 21°56’ Scorpio; Robert’s natal Sun is 22°44’ Scorpio.

One more note as a marker of the occasion: Robert’s wife Carol has Libra rising and Aries at the Descendant of the natal horoscope. Her natal Mars is in Sagittarius, disposed by Jupiter at 0° Virgo. Regulus, the King maker, bestows honors and fame. It is one of the four Royal stars of the Persians and has recently ingressed into Virgo after approximately 2,200 years in Leo.

The Descendant rules the marriage partner. When her late husband received the Regulus award, this great star was on 0° Virgo, the tropical degree of the dispositor of her 7th house ruler. (1)

On the birthday before he died (November 15, 2010) Robert wrote about his 2009 and 2010 solar return charts for TMA.

Here is his solar return for 2011, the year he received the Regulus Award:

Blaschke, solar return 2011

Robert used degree symbols in his work – the Sabian symbol for 4° Taurus, the degree of the solar return Jupiter is: “The rainbow’s pot of gold.” His progressed Moon had just past this degree as well.

This is a nocturnal chart with the Moon in Cancer conjunct the Midheaven – a beautiful tribute to the public honor of receiving the award.

Travel well, friend. We remember you always. (And, Carol and I danced with as many of your many friends as we could that night!)


(1) Agent 12 Julija of Cosmic Intelligence Agency has an article about the ingress into Virgo here.

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The Higher Vibration of the Uranus-Pluto Square

By Audra Stenger | May 28, 2012

It probably slipped by some people’s notice last month — considering all the news of war, civil protest (and governmental suppression) from nearly every corner of the globe. Yet, on the 26th of April something wondrous happened. Something that future generations may look back upon with wonder and scarcely believe that it ever happened; even astrologers of the future may very well wonder that it happened during the time of the seven passes of the current Uranus and Pluto squares. And yet, it did happen.

On that day, 40,000 Norwegians gathered en masse in Oslo and together sang a children’s song while waving roses in the air. Afterwards, they walked singing to the courthouse where Anders Behring Breivik was on trial for the mass murders of 77 people, including 69 children, and tied their roses to the security tape and barricades that surrounded the courthouse. The singing could be heard inside the courthouse. There were no rubber bullets, no tear gas, no violence — everyone was there to heal and transform their society.

The people of Norway, the Norwegian folk singer Lillebjørn Nilsen, and the song, My Rainbow Race, by Pete Seeger (known in Norway for nearly 40 years as Children of the Rainbow) had been criticized by Breivik in his court proceedings. He had blamed the song for promoting multiculturalism, leftist ideologies, and, in part, even his murderous rampage. However, the people of Norway disagreed with Breivik’s ideology and wanted to show it.

This video epitomizes what the highest potential of the Uranus-Pluto square can bring out in humanity. If you have not seen this video, I highly recommend taking a few minutes out of your day to watch it. Here is a link to it:


The people shown in it, including the police, chose to react with neither violence, hate, nor fear. For Norway, the evolution of Pluto and the revolution of Uranus came together, and they chose the higher vibration of the planetary combination, in this case, best expressed by joining together and singing a children’s song of peace and love. Though the words have been described as utopian – and can be read here – leaders of the march wanted to sing the song because they believed this is how the world could be.

But why has Pete Seeger’s song meant so much to the nation of Norway for nearly 40 years? Below is a bi-wheel of the charts of Norway and Seeger.

(insert chart: bi-wheel: Nation of Norway; Pete Seeger , natal)

bi-wheel Norway & Pete Seeger

Norway’s Independence date and time come from Nick Campion’s, Book of World Horoscopes, and are set for June 7, 1905 at 11 AM CET Oslo, Norway. Pete Seeger’s birth time is unknown, but according to Wikipedia he was born in Manhattan, New York, on May 3, 1919. (This is a sunrise chart.)

There are many alignments in the synastry chart between Norway and Pete Seeger’s sunrise chart (perhaps there would be even more if we were to know Seeger’s time of birth).

Without going into detail about all of the aspects in this synastry chart, I was immediately struck by the fact that Pete Seeger’s Neptune is exactly on Norway’s Moon. Seeger’s song, My Rainbow Race, has been described by Norwegians as utopian (Neptune). It is precisely Seeger’s idealism (Neptune) about how the world could be, and how the people (Moon) of Norway wish (Neptune) the world was (in harmony – Moon), that join them together through music (co-ruled by Neptune and the Moon).

The song, My Rainbow Race, according to the Christian Science Monitor, was written in 1967, to protest the Vietnam War, though not recorded until the early 70’s. It was written at the Uranus-Pluto conjunction. Seeger, born with a Uranus-Pluto trine, is no stranger to the power of transformation and has been an activist most of his life. It seems most apropos that one of the 60’s greatest musical peace activists, Pete Seeger, should have a song that was written during the Uranus-Pluto conjunction resurface during this first quarter square.

As astrologers, and those interested in astrology, surely our responsibility is to help point out to our fellow human beings that there exists another way, a better way , a way of life that embraces peaceful resolution based on our sameness, rather than the use of willfulness and violence in an attempt to subjugate those who are different than us. There is a higher vibration to the Uranus-Pluto square and this has been one example of it. Let us hope we see more examples of democracy and tolerance as this pattern unfolds.

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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Astrology as if the Sky Matters: Venus Retrograde

By Gary P. Caton | May 14, 2012

We are about to experience an extremely rare celestial event, wrapped within another relatively rare one. Venus is retrograde least often of all the planets; she does her backward dance only every 19 months, for a little more than 40 days each time. This time, Venus is making an extended stay in the sign of Gemini, traversing back and forth through the sign of the Twins for four months, from April 3 to August 7. On average, she spends only four weeks in any sign, so this is a significant burst of Gemini energy.

In the midst of this retrograde, beginning on May 15, we have the fabled “Transit of Venus,” where Venus will be seen crossing the solar disk, for the second (and last) time in a period of more than 200 years. The previous Venus transit to the current pair (i.e., 2004 and 2012) was December 1882, and the next transit of Venus will be in December 2117.  The rarity of this transit makes it obvious to me that the themes of Gemini are being powerfully activated in our times. These themes have to do with discovery (or re-discovery), learning, and communication of basic facts.

Over the last 20 years, we have seen a movement toward recovery and translation of our ancient astrological source texts, mostly by academics within the astrological community.  This is important work, but just as vital is the recovery and reintroduction to modern astrology of the observational and astronomical skills, an even more ancient heritage. This process was begun shortly after the translations became a well known factor in the astrological community, but, in my opinion, has yet to receive the same kind of generalized press and support. (1) We need to continue to remember to look up from our desks and our charts and re-learn how to understand what we see in the actual sky! I have found that a basic awareness of the nature of Venus (and other planets) as visible phenomena has the capacity to deeply enrich and enliven our field and each of us, both as professionals and as people.

The understanding of Venus as a visible phenomenon is the focus of my essay in the forthcoming book, Astrology: The New Generation (ATNG), in which I outline the Venus cycle in terms of a three-fold process. (2)  Visually speaking, Venus has three incarnations: Morning Star, Invisible (or Underworld), and Evening Star. We can see the flow of these three “phases” in the following diagram.

Diagram rendered by Vanessa J Keys © 2011 Gary P Caton

Venus’ visible cycle begins with her eastern appearance as Morning Star, which lasts about 258 days. This is separated from her western appearance as Evening Star by 60 days of darkness (invisibility), as she slowly passes through the crucible of the solar fire during her superior or exterior (direct) conjunction with the Sun. Venus then spends another eight months or so shining in the west as Evening Star. So, about 95% of Venus’ visual cycle involves a slow transmutation of over 18 months, and includes her morning star, underworld, and evening star incarnations. (It is18 months from first morning appearance to last evening appearance.)

Venus’ retrograde period, which lasts only 40 – 43 days, is about 5% of 584 days, the total synodic cycle. It also contains all three of Venus’ visible phases. But, in stark contrast, what previously took 18 months to unfold, we will now experience in a mere 14 or so days! If you begin watching the sky every evening, you will soon see Venus, one of the brightest stars in the sky, rapidly dim, disappear, and then reappear in the opposite part of the sky, that is, the eastern morning sky. This is a very dramatic transformation! Visually, what stands out the most is not so much Venus’ backward motion, but her rapid disappearance and change of horizons. What was previously established and slowly transformed, over the last 18 months, is now rapidly swept away. (3)

This rapid transformation has a parallel in the mythology associated with Venus. As I note in my essay for ATNG, many scholars have noted that the Mesopotamian myths surrounding Inanna seem to be clearly referencing the movements of the planet Venus. Most notable is that in mid-life, Inanna makes a prolonged journey to the Underworld, just as the planet Venus has an extended period of invisibility in the middle of her cycle. (4) However, it is what happens to Inanna in her early life that seems to parallel the retrograde part of Venus’ cycle.

Older than the Bible, the myth of Inanna and the Huluppu Tree is one of the earliest known recordings of a Genesis story. Central to this story is a theme that has become universal to many other creation myths, that of the World Tree or Tree of Life. The Tree is just one representation of what has become a larger mythical motif, the Axis Mundi, which exists at the center of the Universe and is the place of connection between Heaven and Earth.

Early in the story of Inanna and the Huluppu Tree, we are told that the Gods and Goddesses have participated in the formation of three Worlds: Sky, Earth, and Underworld. At that time a single Tree was planted by the banks of the Euphrates River, but then a great storm arose and carried the Tree downriver. The young Inanna finds the Tree and decides to plant it in her sacred garden in Uruk. (5)

Based on interpretations of later parts of the myth of Inanna, this could be interpreted as an allegory for the “socio-political tides” moving to Uruk as their center, or Axis Mundi, at least in the Earth World. (6) In the Sky World, this could very well be an allegory for the movement of the fabled Star of Venus. When any important turning point in the cycle of Venus is plotted for five or more consecutive cycles, a remarkable pattern emerges — a five-pointed star!  This phenomena is covered expertly and extensively in Arielle Guttman’s book Venus Star Rising. (7) Similar to the Tree swept downstream in the myth, successive interior conjunctions of Venus (i.e., the retrograde conjunction of Venus with the Sun as Venus passes between the Sun and Earth) occur about 216° – 220° degrees “downstream” in the Zodiac. For instance, the previous interior conjunction occurred October 28, 2010 at 6° Scorpio. The next one occurs 584 days later on June 5, 2012 at 16° Gemini. The next one after that is January 11, 2014 at 22° Capricorn.

Besides visually passing from her Evening Star, through the underworld, and into her Morning Star phase, Venus’ retrograde establishes a new “seed moment,” where the foundation or wellspring of Venusian energies for the next 19 months is established. The following diagram, also designed for my essay in ATNG, displays this from a heliocentric point of view.

Diagram rendered by Vanessa J Keys © 2011 Gary P Caton

As you can see, the beginning of Venus’ retrograde phase (her retrograde station, #13 in diagram above) is at the end of one journey around the Sun, and the direct station (#3 in diagram above) is at the beginning of another. So, there are two kinds of Venus retrograde. In the situation now, the period from May 15-June 4 is the ending of her previous Scorpio-based journey round the Sun, whereas the period from June 6-27 is the beginning of her new Gemini journey.

In between, Venus aligns with the Sun and Earth, passing between them at interior conjunction (#1 in diagram above), which is on June 5. This is the “seed moment” for a new cycle, as the Heroine Venus/Inanna prepares to set off again for another 1.6 year (19 month or 584 day) adventure. As I said above, this new Gemini cycle, which begins in the heart of this retrograde period — at a rare Transit of Venus — will be about discovery (or re-discovery), learning, and communication of basic facts. But as Arielle Guttman pointed out in her recent newsletter, these are not intellectual facts, but rather the “facts of the heart.” (8)

Venus always wants us to go deeper into our hearts and heart-centered ways of being. She is currently out-of-bounds north and stationary. This has stirred up some major controversy over “values” recently, from the ban on same-sex marriage by voters in North Carolina, to the breastfeeding mother on the cover of TIME. (9) In this whipped up frenzy, we may find ourselves, like Inanna, in need of rescuing and re-planting our uprooted center. Just like Inanna and her Huluppu tree, we can plant our intentions for our growth into a heart-centered life. But first we must prepare the soil in the sacred gardens of our psyches and our lives to receive this new seed. Like good gardeners, we must clear away the detritus of the old Scorpio cycle and put it into the compost heap, and then plow the fields clean for the new Gemini cycle.

In summary, I feel this Venus cycle of the next 19 months, and indeed the next 105 years (until the next Transit of Venus), is about creating a World in which heart-centered communication thrives. At its most basic, this means valuing, developing, and refining emotional intelligence and communication skills in relationship, as well as the concept of “right relationship” — because all Life is in relationship. We have a long ways to go, but the journey starts with a single step. The realization necessary for this step, and each step after that, is summarized in the Lakota prayer: Aho Mitakuye Oyasin – We are all related. (10)

References & Recommended Reading:
(1) Daniel Giamario published groundbreaking articles on this topic in The Mountain Astrologer in Feb/Mar 1997 and Aug/Sept 2002. This material can also be found in the booklet, A Shamanic Investigation of Venus and Mars, JCA Unlimited (Tucson, Arizona), 1997. Shamanic Astrology

(2) Gary P Caton, “The Visual Journey of Venus as Heroine and Goddess of Re-birth” in Astrology: The Next Generation, Flare Publications, London, 2012. Flare UK

(3) “Swept away” is a reference to the flood that swept Inanna’s tree downstream; visually, she is retrograde, the Sun is moving toward her, and she rapidly disappears.

(4) Wolkstein and S. Kramer, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns, from Sumer, Harper & Row, 1983, p.137. Diane Wolkstein

(5) Readers can find the myth of Inanna and the Huluppu Tree online here,
and some interpretations of the myth at these links:

(6) Uruk is Inanna’s city. Later in the mythological story she goes to Enki’s city, Eridu, and takes the civilizing powers of the gods from Eridu back to Uruk. On Earth, this myth would seem to be a metaphor for events of an early period when political authority passed from Enki’s city of Eridu to Inanna’s city of Uruk. Since the tree comes downriver to her and she plants it at Uruk, this is a foreshadowing of that later event.

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

(8) A. Guttman, Venus Star Point, Issue # 12 — May 2012

(9) One mother describes what she calls her “natural parenting values” in this Huffington Post article.

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

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The Moon/Pluto Occultations

By Alex Miller | May 7, 2012

There is currently a rare astronomical event that may have dramatic astrological significance, and which has not been receiving as much attention as it should — the series of occultations of Pluto by the Moon. Beginning in April 2012, the Moon will pass directly in front of Pluto, blocking its energy for no less than 19 consecutive months! Given the fact that this occultation hasn’t happened since 1935, it would appear to be a major event, with some cosmic intent or purpose for the world at large.

Occultations are essentially eclipses, with one celestial body passing in front of another, from our perspective on Earth. As such, they act to emphasize the issues and concerns represented by the occulted body, in much the same way a Solar or Lunar Eclipse does. Most commonly, they involve one of the planets of our system passing in front of a star and blotting out its light. More rarely, the Moon will occult another planet, and the occultation of Pluto is among the least common of these phenomena.

Pluto’s orbital plane is inclined more than 17° from the ecliptic, the apparent path along which most of the solar system’s bodies revolve around the Sun. Since the Moon’s orbit is both extremely erratic, extending far north and south of this plane, and also swift, spending barely two hours at each degree of the zodiac, the chances of these two bodies coming together in such a way as to occupy the same space at the same time, are, quite literally, astronomical. But that this should happen over 19 consecutive months? That’s something you’d definitely need a supercomputer to calculate!

Pluto is a deeply evolutionary power source, governing such things as cellular/molecular processes; decay, death, regeneration and rebirth; sexuality; compulsion and obsession; secrets and scandals. The Moon represents emotions, domestic concerns, motherhood and nurturance, the physical body, security or foundational issues, and, in mundane affairs, the people or populace of a country. An occultation, or hiding, of Pluto by the Moon will act to both eclipse, in the sense of disrupting or cutting off, and to magnify, in the sense of bringing focus, stress or emphasis to Plutonian affairs, particularly in ways that highlight the Moon’s special areas of influence.

Each of these moments of occultation provides a sort of jolt or surge, a powerful opportunity to reset the current reality in ways that support Pluto’s drive to empower, reveal, and control. Having 19 of them in succession is like emptying a semi-automatic revolver’s clip into the collective unconscious and the body politic. It may be experienced as a repeated, rapid-fire assault on the status quo, resulting in change and transformation, the specifics of which we can only conjecture, with ramifications spreading out like ripples on a pond.

On a personal level, much of how this manifests will depend upon where in the natal chart these occultations fall, and how they interact with the chart as a whole. But anyone already experiencing heavy Plutonic transits can expect a major ramping up of these effects. (The occultations occur between 6° -11° Capricorn; check the list at the end of this article for specific dates and degrees.) If Pluto is not particularly active for you right now, you’ll likely experience these occultations much in the way you would an unaspected eclipse, that is, as a general point of emphasis in the area of your life where they fall.

On a mundane level, however, we can look for clues on how the series will resolve itself by closely marking the events that cluster about the earliest occultations. One immediate red flag was raised on April 12th, the day of the first occultation; an incident at this time indicates that sexual scandal (Pluto) revealed to the public (Moon) is one of the levels of manifestation evoked by the occultations.  

That occultation reached maximum effect at 4:38 a.m. local time, in Cartagena, Colombia. Within two hours, a U.S. Secret Service agent, working in advance of President Obama’s upcoming visit, decided to stiff the prostitute he had hired the night before. (1) He paid her $30 of the $800 fee, claiming he had been too drunk to understand when negotiating her price. She quite understandably balked at this turn of events, and since prostitution is legal in Colombia, the local police backed her up; the ensuing brouhaha brought a scandal of international proportions.

Eleven other agents were involved in similar activity (but without the parsimony) in Cartagena, leading to the resignation or dismissal of nine of them. The subsequent congressional probe has unearthed allegations of similar impropriety in at least five other incidents in four countries (including El Salvador, Argentina, and Russia) over the past decade or more. These incidents, and statements made by former Secret Service members, suggest a well-established pattern of such activity, particularly among agents conducting advance prep work before VIP visits.

The fine hand of the Moon/Pluto occultation is easy to see in Pluto’s rulership of scandals, sexual matters, prostitution, the “Secret” Service, and the service’s role in security — a lunar issue — as well as the hotel where the transgression occurred, hotels also being Moon-ruled. The catalyst for this revelation was one Arthur Huntington, age 41. His pivotal role is well represented celestially by asteroid Arthur (#2597) at 11° Aries, closely squared the Moon/Pluto occultation at 9° Capricorn. The escort he refused to pay was Dania Suarez, age 24, represented by asteroid Suarez (#6438) at 15° Capricorn, conjoined the occultation.  

Asteroid Arthur is at least as well connected as his terrestrial namesake. He is now being conjoined by Uranus (shocks, revelations, erratic behaviors) at 5° Aries and appearing at the apex of a large mirror configuration (2) encompassing sextile aspects to asteroid Bacchus (drinking, partying, sexual licentiousness) at 9° Aquarius, and Venus (women, intimacy, romance, cash payments) at 7° Gemini conjunct the South Node (old habits that are unproductive or limiting), also at 7° Gemini, and asteroid Karma (the results of our prior actions and choices) at 11° Gemini. Asteroid Arthur squares Pluto/Suarez, as well as asteroid Askalaphus (named for the tale-bearing denizen of Hades who revealed Persephone’s secrets) at 5° Cancer, and inconjuncts asteroids Aphrodite (affairs of the heart, flirtations) at 8° Scorpio retrograde, and Arachne (creation of intrigue and entanglement, entrapment) at 5° Virgo retrograde.  (Arachne is conjoined Mars (sexuality) at 3° Virgo, powerfully stationary just before turning direct a day later, but a bit broad by aspect to include into this pattern directly.) Furthermore, asteroid Arthur is in opposition to asteroid America (the U.S.A.), at 5° Libra retrograde, and TransNeptunianObject Typhon (storms, tribulations) at 4° Libra retrograde.


(1)   HostedNews

(2) Editors note: In an email from the author: “Mirror configuration” is a pattern I first heard about at an NYC NCGR conference in the early ’90s.” 

Note from Alex Miller: Thanks to Eric Francis for making me aware of the occultations, and for the calculations and asteroid data.  

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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Venus Transit: The Message is Love

By Annalee Smith | April 9, 2012

The Mayans thought 2012 was portentous, due to the ending of one calendar round and the beginning of another, and due to the occurrence of a Venus Occultation, or Venus Transit. During this transit on June 5, 2012, Venus will appear as a dot on the face of the Sun. Venus averages a conjunction to the Sun every 1.6 years, and it takes eight years to complete five superior conjunctions, forming a giant five-pointed star in the sky. We are in the midst of two visible conjunctions, which are inferior, i.e., Venus is retrograde, slower, and more powerful in her effect. This phenomenon of Venus’ visibility to the naked eye across the Sun only occurs once every 243 years (go to lunarplanner for an exquisite 3D demonstration of this cycle).

Sometimes this visible conjunction comes in pairs separated by eight years. This is happening at this time, as there was a visible conjunction on June 8, 2004, at 17º Gemini. The second visible Venus Transit is June 5, at 15º Gemini. On that day, Mars is at 16º Virgo; one day earlier, Neptune will station retrograde at 3º Pisces, and, on the same day, there is a Super Moon Lunar Eclipse at 14º Sagittarius. This creates a Mutable Grand Square between Sun-Venus, Moon, Mars, and Neptune. Just two weeks later, there is a partile square of Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, the first of seven Uranus-Pluto squares during the next three years. At that time, Jupiter will be in late Taurus and Saturn will be retrograde in Libra, where it stations direct the day after the Uranus-Pluto square. Taurus and Libra are both Venus signs, giving even greater emphasis to the power of the Venus Transit. On June 25th, the day after the first Uranus-Pluto square — and the day of Saturn’s station — Jupiter will ingress into Gemini. Jupiter in Gemini will form a square to Neptune in Pisces. Jupiter and Neptune are co-rulers of Pisces, which is also Venus’ sign of exaltation. The Mayans were aware of the star formation and the Venus Transit as an indicator of the life cycle of beginnings and endings.

As ruler of Libra, Venus has a lot to say about personal relationships, as well as the areas of social justice, fairness, and equality. As ruler of Taurus, Venus has a lot to say about what we value. Exactly halfway between the first and second of the visible Venus Transit conjunctions with the Sun, the economy of the U.S. collapsed. Some say we are now in a slow recovery, yet, as individuals, we can see that some of us have been affected more than others, and if the following transit degrees are sensitive points in your chart, it is likely that you are one of the people more deeply affected. Conversely, you may be needed to help in the recovery and assist our need for realignment/reassessment of what is truly important or of value in life. The degrees highlighted in this star formation are: 7º-10º Aries; 15º-18º Gemini; 23º-24º Leo; 4º-5º Scorpio, and 21º-23º Capricorn.

The area of your chart where the middle degrees of the mutable signs fall may denote areas of your life that need a change due to crystallized thought patterns. Potential examples of Venus issues are: having lost touch with the value of relationship, having overvalued possessions, or lost touch with the divine feminine. Gemini issues include: valuing the head over the heart, talking when we need to listen, learning the need for right speech, cyberspace replacing the natural world. This powerful transit highlights an emergent period of rebalancing the yin/yang energies of male/female polarities as we reengage with the power of the feminine, which has been suppressed for more than two millennia. The period initiated by the first Venus Transit (in 2004) involves the dissolution of duality and separation from the divine, and a crisis of healing from divisiveness and fear. I refer to this transit as a Passage of the Heart.

In 2004, during the first visible Venus Transit, the war in the Middle East, which had begun the year before, was at center stage. On June 8, 2004, the day of the first Venus Transit at 17º Gemini, the UN Security Council adopted the Iraq Resolution, which provided for the handing over of power to an independent Iraq — in essence, a peace-keeping resolution. Yet we have seen evidence that our government has attempted to exert control over this process. June 8, 2004 was also the beginning of a three-day G-8 summit meeting in Sea Island, Georgia, during which nearly every branch of government, from the local to the national level, cooperated to diffuse protests and deflect terrorists. Anti-globalization protests did occur, however, with National Guardsmen giving bottles of cold water to over-heated protesters, a gesture of peace.

Astrology isn’t only a mathematical equation; there is also a mystical quality in communing with the stars that requires intuition, imagination, and sometimes a mythological grasp. For the coming Venus Transit of June 2012, we can use archetypes and imagery to imagine the Sun (representing persons in power) as a great lord or king, such as Midas, with the golden touch, who sits on his throne controlling everything with his gold; in fact, all he touches turns to gold. Everything he sees is for his use and everything has a dollar value. Our king is nearly exhausted with this tiresome ‘golden touch,’ when, from out of the shadows, glides a graceful and beautiful goddess in flowing robes. The king notices her just as she emerges into the throne room; she is dazzling and he is stunned when she touches him as she brushes past. He is almost as startled by her beauty as by the fact that, unlike everyone else, she did not turn into gold or stone or a groveling sycophant, the behavior he is most accustomed to among his minions. What he didn’t notice was that as she swiftly made her exit, some of his gold rubbed off onto her skin and her hair, and the folds of her skirt and her pockets filled with his gold dust. She doesn’t keep it for herself, however; her heart is much too big for greed or self-aggrandizement. She intends, like Prometheus with fire, to give it to us. I believe that, during this perfect storm of a Venus Transit, combined with a Super-Moon Lunar Eclipse Mutable Grand Square, Saturn and Jupiter in Venus signs, along with Uranus perfecting a square to Pluto, as Jupiter squares Neptune and Saturn stations in the Venus sign of Libra, we will have an opportunity to witness the blossoming of a peaceful, non-violent world revolution.

The Occupy movement began on September 17, 2011, five days after the Full Moon in Pisces, the sign of Venus’ exaltation, and one day after Pluto stationed direct. In her recent TMA article, J. Lee Lehman says we are in a time of “conflict and tension without resolution” (1), just as the peaceful, non-violent movement begun by Gandhi led India through a long and deliberate period of ‘conflict and tension without resolution.’ Barely a week after the Venus Transit, Jupiter moves into the mutable, ‘common’ sign of Gemini, lending his weight and swelling the ranks of the common people to this higher purpose. Further, at that time there is a conspicuous absence of fixed signs. We will enter a period of great change and flux, when there will be no objective news reported, only influence peddling; truth, perhaps, will only be found in social media. The Uranus-Pluto square drives the action of the worldwide revolution in cardinal signs. Uranus in Aries gives people the will to act against the established empire of dark forces, corporations that pollute not only our environment but our political sphere as well. But the common Mutable Grand Square/Super Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius will define the revolution and, with the Venus Transit in Gemini, the people will demand their voice back and the main issues will be justice and ethics.

Pluto in Capricorn also defines the conflict as being concerned with social responsibility and management (Capricorn) of resources (Venus), capital as well as natural, and the Uranus-Pluto square tells us it will not be a summer of Love. Conflict comes before resolution and nothing can be truly foreordained due to the fact of human agency; we have a choice. The future will manifest from the choices we make, and it is up to each of us to act. An insightful warning comes from Evan Bortnick, in a TMA article from a decade ago:

“Anyone who under-estimates Venus….makes a grave error. Even the most cursory glance at Venus in mythology shows her to be, indirectly, the first cause of much war, destruction and suffering. On the stage of human events and transactions (both personal and collective), the desires for accumulation of goods, for security and stability, for lebensraum (“room to live”), for ‘peace-keeping,’ and for relationship — all under the aegis of Venus — have been the impulses behind some of the most brutal and gruesome dramas ever played out.” (2)

The Maya felt Venus to be a symbol of the life/death cycle, and the approaching time of endings relates to our way of thinking (Venus transit in Gemini). Hence, it is not so much that God/Jesus will return, but, rather, we will return to the Divine through the realization that the cosmos and all life are manifestations of Divine Consciousness: “All objects and phenomenon will be seen as expressions of the living divine force that pervades the cosmos of which we ourselves are a part……..cosmos will be recognized as an expression of the Divine.” (3)

After completion of the second visible transit, Venus chases her closest platonic friend, Mercury the Messenger God, around the zodiac for more than a year, waiting to share the gold (power) with him so he too can assist in the change of consciousness that will be occurring. They finally meet in Venus’ sign of exaltation, Pisces, on March 7, 2013, not for a pity party, for a Pisces Party — an opportunity to bring together the forces of mind and heart. Nearby are none other than dark lords Saturn and Pluto, inferring that discipline, suffering, and transformation will be required to create change. Saturn forms an exact trine from Pluto’s sign (Scorpio), and Pluto forms an exact sextile from Saturn’s sign (Capricorn) to the post Venus Transit meeting of Venus and Mercury — the Goddess of Love meets the Messenger God: The Message is Love.

References and Author bio:

1. J. Lee Lehman, “Sustainability Issues in 2012 and Beyond,” TMA, Dec. 2011/Jan. 2012, pp. 38-42.

2. Evan Bortnick, “Creativity and the Shadow: Oscar Wilde, Richard Strauss, and Salomé,” TMA, Oct./Nov. 2002, pp. 27-33.

3. Carl Johan Calleman, Ph.D., The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness, Vermont: Bear and Co., p. 209.

Bio: Annalee Smith is an artist, writer, and astrological counselor living in the Oregon forest by Silver Falls State Park. She has an MA in Transpersonal Psychology and has studied/practiced astrology for 40 years. As a student of the transpersonal, she became deeply immersed in Buddhist practice and philosophy, incorporating her spiritual beliefs into her work. She is a recent cancer survivor who is deeply concerned about the survival of the planet and believes that peace can only come one person at a time. As her recovery continues, she will be working as an astrological counselor with a new age/metaphysical store and wellness group in the Willamette Valley, Journeys, A Center for the Soul. She can be contacted through Journey’s at (503) 991-5091, or at P.O. Box 957, Silverton, OR, 97381.

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Mars retrograde

By Mary Plumb | April 2, 2012

We’re nearly at the end of the Mars retrograde cycle. The planet goes direct on April 13 at 3º40’ Virgo. I’ve assembled links to the Mars cycle, and to a key story of these past weeks, the Trayvon Martin case.

I have a brief observation on Trayvon Martin. I’m going back to techniques I wrote about a few weeks ago. First, the phase angle return chart: Trayvon was born on February 5, 1995, with Mars retrograde at 25º Leo and the Sun at 16º Aquarius. This was six days before the Sun-Mars opposition on February 11, when Mars was at 22º54’ Leo. (Mars is always retrograde at its opposition to the Sun.) 

He died on February 26, 2012, six days before the Sun-Mars opposition on March 3 at 13º39’ Pisces/Virgo. Even without knowing his exact time of birth, we can see that he died at his Sun-Mars phase angle return.

Now, if we look at the prenatal Sun-Mars conjunction chart for Trayvon, we see that it was on December 26, 1993. We set that chart for Sanford, Trayvon’s birthplace.

The prenatal Sun-Mars conjunction was at 5º20’ Capricorn, right in line with the current Uranus-Pluto shock upheaval, and rising social consciousness. The chart also has a square between Saturn and Pluto at 26º Aquarius/Scorpio. The Ascendant is 22º24’ Leo, the degree of Mars  (22º54’) at its opposition to the Sun when Trayvon was six days old (see above). 

The event in Florida is keenly marked by Mars — the planet was rising at the time of his death. (Many of the blogs I’ve linked to show the chart: February 26, 2012; 7 p.m., Sanford, FL)

There are more connections to sensitive degrees in the Mars cycle, but I want to move on to these other fine bloggers.

First, some blogs on Trayvon Martin:

Alex Miller’s Asteroid Files this week is an extensive look at The Trayvon Martin Killing.

He looks at the individuals involved, as well as the time of the event.

The transit Sun at 7 Pisces is exactly opposed a Black Hole at 7 Virgo, exactly squared a Maser at 7 Gemini. Sun/Black Hole contacts indicate sudden, unexpected twists of fate, and perfectly portray the alternate realities competing for dominance in this story.”

Lynn Hayes writes Mercury and Mars in the Trayvon Martin case. Along with an assessment of the individual charts, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, she takes note of Chiron.

“It’s interesting that at the time around March 20-22nd when the investigations into this case began, Mars in the sky was exactly opposite Chiron, the planet of wounding and healing.  Chiron demands that we examine the root of the wound, and Mars stimulated that examination.  Mars will next oppose Chiron in mid to late May, at the time the Uranus/Pluto square is beginning to tighten.”

Here is an interesting piece by Kannon McAfee, Trayvon Martin Case Part of Major Crisis Building in US. He looks at the U.S. progressed horoscope – he uses 21º04’ Sag rising – and looks ahead to the grand jury on April 10.

“The grand jury will be meeting April 10 when the Sun comes conjunct Venus in the event chart, which is ruler of the 9th house of juries. They will meet in secret, as indicated by Venus in the 8th, and their deliberations will not be so quick. The 8th is a succedent house, which is slow-moving in terms of timing.”

Trayvon Martin – Aquarius Martyr is Ayesha Grice’s blog at her site, Astrology for Life.

“What are the spiritual messages we’re getting from the murder of Trayvon Martin?  Well, Neptune, planet of spirituality is in Pisces now, and we are Pisces People (Black people in America).  Neptune is influencing us to look for the spiritual meaning behind this tragedy.  Can we confront the situation while remaining spiritual? Can we forgive George Zimmerman?”

And here is a collection of work on Mars retrograde:

My sister, Kate Plumb, has a series on different aspects of this Mars retrograde cycle. In Towards a Deeper Understanding of Our Country, she looks at the U.S. Sibly chart. 

“If we have any doubts about the effects of Mars retrograding in our country’s chart we can look no farther than the sergeant, deployed for the 4th time, who went from house to house on a killing spree in Afghanistan last week, and the burning of the Koran by US soldier on February 20th.  These two grave acts of aggression occurred in the current Mars retrograde period starting January 24th, directly at 23 Virgo right on top of our natal Neptune square Mars, the misuse or idealized use of aggression potential in our natal chart. We are in a critically dangerous period until Mars passes 23 Virgo again mid June.  We will also be in a critical period six months from now when our progressed Moon passes over that Mars.”

Mars Retrograde: Transforming the Brave Heart was written by Wendy Guy in 2007. This is an overview of Mars retrograde themes that includes Regrouping, Mars and Aggression, Choosing Mars, Mars and Passion, Working with the Mars Retrograde, The Healing Crisis and Courageous Quotes. A sample of her very useful approach:

“During Mars retrograde, if you find yourself overwhelmed by feelings, passion, aggression or anger, it can be important to have a trusted person that you can call on and confide in. It’s easy to feel consumed in the fires of Mars, when your objective judgment can be skewed or absent. It can be very helpful to be able to process and understand what’s happening to you, and this can be difficult to do in isolation. Don’t let your pride, embarrassment or guilt get in the way of reaching out for help and support if you’re having a hard time.”

Leah Whitehorse’s Mars Retrograde 2012 – The Sabian, The Cycle and The Houses explains the cycle and includes the specifics of the transit through each natal house. “I have explored negative manifestations (Hand to Hand Combat!) and what possible actions or strategic position may be useful to take.”

Here’s a Mars retrograde animation. It was made for the 2003 retrograde cycle, but gives a good visual of the phenomena.

Lynn Koiner’s Mars Retrograde 2012 discusses the cycle. There are also extended comments that Lynn addresses – a view of practical astrology in real time. 

Marina at Darkstar Astrology also writes on Mars Retrograde and includes fixed stars. She has lots of comments and responses.

Mars stations direct on April 14. Mars passes over Zosma again May 22 and seals the deal as a result of the brave outburst back on March 12. Mars is also still empowered by a trine from Pluto on ruthless Facies. Mars back on spikey Denebola on June 16, which may bring up a bitter and vindictive backlash from whoever got shafted during the nautical shake-up. But that’s just a blip. At the end of our journey we can all drink Rum punch from the cup of Alkes as Mars says its last goodbyes to 23 Virgo and sails off into the sunset.”

Rob Tillet’s article Mars Retrograde 2012 includes world events: “Mars turns retrograde conjunct the natal Sun of Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, whose chart has just been slammed by the Solar Eclipse of Nov. 25, then double-whammied by the Lunar Eclipse of Dec. 10.” 

He concludes: “Fortunately, Mars turns direct again on April 14, 2012, in the fourth degree of Virgo, remaining in that degree for a week on either side of that date. Red is the colour of Mars and Mars stations in conjunction with the red star El Kophra, on the backside of the Great Bear, and Alula Borealis, in the back foot of the Great Bear, associated with female infidelity and revenge. The Great Bear is known for great anger when roused. With Mars stationary, let’s hope that the Bear stays sleeping.”

Have a good week, everyone. 

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Re-visiting Occupy Wall Street

By Mary Plumb | March 19, 2012

March 17 was the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. In an earlier blog, I connected the beginning of OWS (September 17) to both the U.S. Sibly chart and the U.S. 2001 solar return. (1) The current issue of TMA has a detailed article by Jessica Murray, Occupy Wall Street: People over Profit. (In case you are not familiar with her wonderful work, Jessica excels at explaining social, political, and economic factors, along with astrological analysis.) (2)

A key marker of the connections between the September 17 event and the U.S. chart is the OWS Venus conjunct the Sibly Midheaven. Venus is opposite Uranus and square Pluto, which had stationed direct the day before. The foreshadowing of this event as a potent marker of the upcoming (and long-term) Uranus-Pluto square was ensured by Pluto standing still. Mars in the OWS chart was at 29º Cancer opposite the US natal and progressed Pluto (27º and 29º Capricorn).

Transiting Mars is now retrograde, squaring the U.S. Sibly Uranus at 8º Gemini and the transiting nodal axis. (The transiting south node is now conjunct the U.S. Uranus.)

Sibly & transits

This Mars retrograde cycle has been particularly brutal in the U.S. horoscope. Mars stationed retrograde on January 23 at 23º Virgo. This was square to the U.S. Mars at 22º21 Gemini, which is square to Neptune at 22º Virgo. This long transit of Mars in Virgo means that from late November through mid June, the provocative red planet makes a series of squares to the U.S. Ascendant/Descendant axis, and to natal Uranus and Mars. (This means Mars will conjunct natal Neptune three times.) (3)

Mercury stationed retrograde at 6º49’ Aries on March 12. It is now making its second conjunction to Uranus; all of these aspects are triggering the coming-to-exact first square to Pluto.

Mercury is disposited by Mars and the two are strengthened by mutual reception (i.e., Mercury is in the sign that Mars rules [Aries] and Mars is in the sign that Mercury rules [Virgo]). Mars retrograde is prone to edginess inside and out; this combination is quick to react and prone to volatile words and actions. Mars is also squaring the transiting nodal axis – use/misuse of aggression, force, or willfulness may have particularly fateful implications. (I’m sure many readers will be with me in having counseled calm to more than one friend and client in the past few days.)

On Free Speech TV, I saw a live broadcast of Michael Moore speaking at the New School in NYC on March 17th.

Michael Moore, natal

He is a big supporter of the OWS movement and his talk was funny, optimistic and full of specific direct action suggestions. At the end, he exhorted all to join him to walk over to Zuccotti Park, where they were met with 600 arrests and some rough treatment by the NYPD. (4)

Michael Moore has Mercury in Aries square the nodal axis. (5) His critics say he oversimplifies the issues (Mercury in Aries), but he is one (of many) public voices for the zeitgeist of the times. His natal Moon and Mars are conjunct at 4º Capricorn, recently transited by Pluto and now being squared by the mighty call of Uranus in Aries.

I was curious about the composite chart between OWS and Michael Moore: that chart has the Sun in the 10th house at 13º43 Cancer, conjunct the U.S. Sibly Sun. It’s no wonder that he feels such an affiliation with OWS and respect for its participants and aims. (6)

In what I heard as a background of Neptune in Pisces, during his Saturday talk, Moore quoted activist Naomi Klein as saying that we need to be very kind to one another now. Yes, indeed.

Onwards, into Spring..


(1) Guest blogger Eric Francis also wrote on OWS here

(2) Order a sample issue, or subscribe here.

(3) We don’t have to look far for evidence of volatility in foreign affairs: on February 20 the burning of Korans at Bagram military base inflamed anti-American activity, and the tragic story of the U.S. soldier who is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, mostly children. (He had been to Iraq for three tours of duty before this trip to Afghanistan.)

“As thousands of angry Afghans flung rocks at NATO’s largest military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday, American officials sought to quell a widening furor over what they said was the accidental incineration by U.S. military personnel of copies of the Islamic holy book.”
Washington Post

“Afghans continued to grieve, and continued to fume, as a new day dawned on Sunday, exactly one week after a U.S. soldier — described by some who knew him as ‘happy’ and a ‘nice guy’ — allegedly went house to house, shooting dead 16 villagers.”

(4) Raw Story

(5) Here’s an earlier blog on Michael Moore

(6) See TMA, Aug./Sept. 1999 for Robin Heath’s A New Way of Forecasting: The Composite Transit Chart

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Mercury stations retrograde

By Mary Plumb | March 12, 2012

Continuing on the theme I wrote about last week, I spent time yesterday looking at the prenatal conjunctions of the Sun with each of the other planets. In last week’s blog, I described Robert Blaschke’s work and looked at the prenatal Sun-Mars conjunction chart. (link to blog)

Mercury has just stationed retrograde at 6º49′ Aries, and will be at the inferior conjunction with the Sun on March 21 at 1º34′ Aries. I’m going to look at a few things about working with the Sun-Mercury prenatal conjunction.

Carrying on from last week, Robert Blaschke was born one day after the Sun-Mercury inferior conjunction at 23º Scorpio; this is one degree from my Ascendant. Although we always noted that, I have an even deeper appreciation of it now.

About natal Mercury retrograde, Robert wrote that it causes “the mind to be influenced by the feelings and to be lacking in objectivity. Retrogradation exerts an effect on the intellect, causing it to be more internalized and self-referencing.” (1)

He also wrote about Rudhyar’s notion (furthered by Alexander Ruperti) that the inferior conjunction of Mercury is the most powerful point in the Sun-Mercury cycle since there is a “reversal of polarity in the electromagnetic field.” (2) This is when Mercury’s orbit is closest to Earth which is where we will be on March 21.(3)

I have a few observations about the Sun-Mercury synodic cycle to give an idea of how you might begin to look at it in your life.

As mentioned last week, set a chart for the Sun-Mercury conjunction previous to your birth (which will be either direct or retrograde). This is the beginning of the synodic cycle you were born in. Looking specifically at the birth chart will show you exactly where in the cycle you were born (the phase angle return), but for now I’m just considering the prenatal conjunction chart set for the place of birth. (Last week, we looked at the Sun-Mars conjunction chart.)

Mercury relates to one’s mental activity and nervous system. I already mentioned Robert’s Sun-Mercury prenatal conjunction degree on my natal Ascendant; his intellect (not to mention his friendship) has had a significant impact in my life.

When I look at my own Sun-Mercury prenatal conjunction set for my birthplace, there are ties to close people in my life. (I always start with family members, but then a nighttime birth with a Cancer Moon would do that.) The degree of my Sun-Mercury prenatal conjunction is one son’s natal Sun, one sister’s Mars, and another sister’s Ascendant/Descendant axis. The Ascendant of my Sun-Mercury prenatal conjunction chart is my granddaughter’s natal Sun degree, and the Moon in the chart is the degree of her Moon and her father’s Mercury. There are lots of other connections. As astrologers know, with charts of significant people in your life, sensitive degrees pop out all over the place. Looking at the prenatal degrees brings in another level of meaning. I’ve worked a lot with the degree of the prenatal solar eclipse (as per Jansky), but I’m just getting started with the other synodic cycles.

Here are a few other sites you may want to visit.

If you haven’t been to Khan Academy yet, there is a huge section on Cosmology and Astronomy. Here are just a few samples:

The Birth of Stars

The Scale of the Solar System

How Earth’s Tilt Causes Seasons

Parallax in Observing Stars

The Astrology News Service (ANS) website is a joint project of the astrological associations ISAR, NCGR, AFA and AFAN. There are lots of wonderful articles; here are a few:

Computer Genius Linked to Rare Planetary Alignment. Subtitled: Most Influential People in World of Computing and Information Technology Born During Critical 11-Month Period in Mid-1950s (This time period includes Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Bill Joy, Eric Schmidt, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and others.)

Unique Study Links Venus to Romantic Choices People Make by Edward Snow is about the progressed Venus over the course of a relationship.

John Townley’s Derailing Destiny: Some Thoughts on Fooling Around with Fate

And don’t miss Bruce Scofield’s assessment of the 2012 Media Hype. Bruce is one of the rare ones who know astrology and the Maya calendar. In a footnote, he writes: “The square of Pluto and Uranus, which has a long history of social disruption, is presently occurring and will be a factor for several years. This aspect, by itself, makes a strong case for major changes in culture and society. This is, of course, Western astrology and the coincidence with the end of the Long Count is just that, coincidence.”

Kathy Watts writes Astrological Forecasts with a Traditional Twist at World Astrology Network.

For today:

“Mon Mar 12 the Moon is in Scorpio when Mercury goes stationary retrograde. Heads Up. Use this time to check any of those tempting self-indulgent impulses and stay focused on what matters, in addition to yourself of course. Stay calm, organized, and patient with others, with their machines, and tolerant of their bad driving. Safety first for all. You can still be productive through all this, you know.”

Have a great week everyone, enjoy Mercury. (I intend to notice the quality of my thoughts.)


(1) Astrology, A Language of Life, Vol. V: Holographic Transits, by Robert P. Blaschke, Earthwalk School of Astrology, 2006, pg.70.

(2) Astrology, A Language of Life, Vol. V: Holographic Transits, pg. 69.

(3)I re-read Robert and Ruperti’s words on this idea of the change in the electromagnetic field. Robert felt that the change occurred at either the inferior or superior conjunction. “At the superior conjunction, again a reversal of polarity in the electromagnetic field occurs, this time with the Promethean phase transitioning into Epimethean.” Ibid., pg. 72.

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