TMA This Week

A Shared Birthday Eclipse

By Mary Plumb | June 14, 2010

I thought it was curious that Helen Thomas and Barak Obama share the same birthday, August 4.  Thomas, born in 1920, is the veteran journalist whose career ended suddenly last week when she spoke candidly about her views on Israel.  I’m not commenting on the politics involved, just looking at her horoscope to see if there are any clues that might show the timing of such an event.

In August 2009, there was a lunar eclipse at 13º35’ Aquarius, within 2º of their respective Suns. (1) We know that a year with an eclipse in the solar return is always an important year in life. The President’s ongoing trials are well documented, and this abrupt end to Thomas’s career certainly fits the symbolism of a lunar eclipse — a significant chapter in life coming to a climax or turning point.

I don’t have a time for her birth, so am looking at the sunrise chart for Helen Thomas.  (2)

Helen Thomas, natal sunrise

Helen Thomas has the natal Sun conjunct Neptune in Leo, squared by Mars in Scorpio conjunct the North Node. The Moon was in Aries on her birthday.

She had an illustrious career in a male-dominated work environment, a testimony to someone with both the Sun and Mars in dignity. Among pioneering achievements, she was the first female officer of the National Press Club and the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. Thomas was always known for her outspoken and direct questioning of the president’s press secretary in the White House pressroom. She has covered the presidents since Eisenhower and, in her long career, “earned a reputation for being relentless and demanding.” (3)

On May 27, the day of her career-ending comments, transiting Mars was at 25º Leo, conjunct her natal Jupiter.

Thomas & transits for May 27, 2010

Looking at solar houses, the 10th house of career is signified by Taurus. On May 27, transiting Venus at 9º Cancer was conjunct natal Pluto — in this case, apparently, a brutal combination for one’s reputation.

Interestingly, Thomas was born with Saturn in Virgo opposite Uranus in Pisces, the same aspect we are in the midst of again.  She was born with the potentially polarizing implications of planets in opposition to one another. The Israel-Palestine issue is certainly one of the most divisive political issues of our day.

Since the Moon was at 1º Aries at midnight as her birthday began, it’s possible that the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction – exact on June 8 – was within orb of her natal Moon on June 7, the day she resigned.

The prenatal solar eclipse prior to birth shows a life-long sensitive degree. The prenatal solar eclipse prior to Thomas’s birth was on May 18, 1920. The Sun and Moon were at 27º Taurus. The Sun for Israel is 24º Taurus. (4) Barak Obama’s prenatal solar eclipse is 27º Aquarius, the degree of the U.S. Sibly Moon, his natal South Node, and the current transit of Neptune (and its discovery degree). In this case, we can see that, in part, their respective life stories are entwined with the fates of those two countries.

Footnotes:

(1) Obama’s natal Sun is 12º33’ Leo; Thomas’s Sun traveled between 11º29’  – 12º27’ Leo on her birthday.

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Thomas

(3)All biographical material and quotes from Wikipedia.

(4) The legal moment for the creation of Israel is May 15, 1948, 12:00 a.m. The chart can be set for Tel Aviv. “Set for Jerusalem this could also be considered a map for Palestine.” Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes, The Wessex Astrologer, 2004, p. 169.

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Upheaval and Rebellion on the Horizon

By Robert P. Blaschke | May 17, 2010

The USA Progressed Sun-Uranus Square of 2011

Observing the present condition of American culture and politics, in some quarters a rather distinct atmosphere of discontent and uneasiness can be seen. Many people have become displeased with the actions of the government and with the increasing deficit. The Great Recession, and its economic hardship for so many, has contributed to this angst. The transit of Neptune over the U.S. Moon has produced nebulous dissatisfaction.

Chart 1

Further exacerbating this period of vague antipathy amongst the public will be the U.S. progressed Moon conjoining the nation’s natal Neptune on June 27th, holding that influence until the subsequent progressed conjunction about four months later. This means that the entire midterm election campaign season will be conducted under a Neptunian haze of fear, worry, misinformation, outright deception, and obfuscation of the truth.

The five oppositions of Saturn and Uranus between late 2008 and this July have cultivated a growing resentment of the establishment, and, in a significant political twist of fate, those who came to power in 2008 as the outsiders promising reform have now become the incumbents targeted by disgruntled voters who are agitating for their removal from office.

Looking at the U.S. Sibly chart and its current secondary progressions and transits, the astrologer sees that the American Sun has progressed to a trine with Jupiter. This aspect, perfecting on September 27th of this year, has been responsible for the country holding it together despite all of the restlessness and resentment in the political atmosphere.

Waiting in the wings, however, is the 2011 progressed Sun-Uranus square, the transit of Uranus over the IC, a U.S. Saturn return, and the transit of Pluto opposite the Sibly ruler, Jupiter. This forewarns us that an intense storm of political extremism, widespread social instability and upheaval, and a rebellious disregard for the law is gathering on the horizon.

In Mundane Astrology, the 4th house rules the common people, land and houses, and the opposition party in government. (1) The influence of Uranus tends toward insurrection and anarchy. What emerges as the likely outcome next year is an uprising by the common people, such as those who now gravitate toward the Tea Party Movement and its deficit reduction platform, and Latinos upset by the illegal immigration crackdown in Arizona.

Mars has been transiting the Sibly 8th house since September 25th of last year. Because of its lengthy retrogradation between the stations at 19º Leo and 0º Leo, Mars will not ingress into the U.S. 9th house until May 27th, having spent a total of eight months in the mundane house of insurance, public debt, and financial relations with foreign countries. It is no wonder that health insurance reform, the ballooning government deficit, financial regulatory reform, and the European debt crisis have been dominating the headlines.

Remarkably, coinciding with the progressed Sun-Uranus square becoming exact in October of next year is the concurrent ingress of the U.S. progressed Ascendant into Virgo, ending its 38-year passage through the sign of Leo, which began in February 1973. A new 36-year American period of history will commence with the progressed Virgo rising.

The progressed Leo rising era and its infatuation with Hollywood celebrities, the societal addiction to electronic entertainment and games, and the casino mentality on Wall Street that led to overly risky financial practices, will all soon be coming to a merciful ending.

Replacing this will be the new progressed Virgo rising era, lasting until 2047 and ushering in a more humble and conservative America, with a return to traditional values such as hard work and craftsmanship. Health insurance reform legislation, with its emphasis on preventative medicine, diet, exercise and nutrition, all ruled by Virgo, should lead to a healthier and fitter America, while the current epidemic of childhood obesity transitions into a new generation of health conscious youngsters snacking on carrots and apples.

chart 2

How should the astrologer further assess the upcoming societal instability in 2011? The only other progressed Sun-Uranus square in American history occurred in 1836, the year that the Texas Revolution and the Battle of the Alamo took place. The Republic of Texas won independence from Mexico and existed as an independent country for twelve years. Hostilities increased between the United States and Mexico and a Declaration of War occurred in 1846. After defeating the Mexicans, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified in October 1848, with the United States acquiring Texas, New Mexico, California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming from Mexico.

chart 3

If the history of the U.S. progressed Sun-Uranus synodic cycle repeats itself, the expected disorder in 2011 will involve the large number of undocumented aliens from Mexico who are in the country illegally. Political extremism regarding immigration with Pluto opposing the U.S. Jupiter, widespread social instability and upheaval with Uranus transiting the Sibly IC, and a willful disregard for the law brought on by the progressed Sun-Uranus square, should be expected next year as the U.S. Congress takes on volatile immigration reform legislation, or the states enact their own laws regarding illegal immigrants.

After the Governor of Arizona recently signed into state law a tough crackdown on illegal immigration, a report by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 59 percent of adults polled in a national survey gave their overall approval to the law, which opponents charge is unconstitutional and a mandate for racial profiling. (2)

On the other side of the coin, an Associated Press-Univision poll released May 13th found sharp contrasts between the views of Hispanics and others on immigration. A resounding majority of Latinos say illegal immigrants are a boon to the country, while most non-Hispanics say illegal immigrants are a drain on society. The poll also found most Hispanics condemn Arizona’s strict new law targeting undocumented immigrants, while only 20 percent of non-Hispanics oppose it. (3)

As you can see, a highly polarized political environment is evolving in this country as we enter into the three Jupiter-Saturn oppositions between May 2010 and March 2011. The flash point is likely to occur after the midterm elections, when Congress takes up this volatile legislative agenda. Is there also a discernible pattern in American history where, during prior progressed Sun-Uranus aspects, the country has experienced upheaval and rebellion, along with anti-immigrant sentiment? The following research shows such events:

1788:  Progressed Sun @ 24º
Cancer Octile Progressed Uranus @ 9º Gemini
U.S. Constitution, ratified by New Hampshire, the ninth state, comes into force.

1836:  Progressed Sun @ 10
º Virgo Square Progressed Uranus @ 10º Gemini
Battle of the Alamo; Texas wins independence from Mexico and becomes a republic.

1881: Progressed Sun @ 25
º Libra Tri-Octile Progressed Uranus @ 10º Gemini Rx
President James A. Garfield assassinated by Charles J. Guiteau.

1924: Progressed Sun @ 8
º Sagittarius Opposite Progressed Uranus @ 8º Gemini Rx
Johnson–Reed Immigration Act of 1924; prohibiting immigration of all Japanese.

1967: Progressed Sun @ 22º Capricorn Tri-Octile Progressed Uranus @ 7º Gemini Rx
Ghetto riots in Cleveland, Newark, and Detroit; Lincoln Memorial Anti-War Demonstration.

2011: Progressed Sun @ 7º Pisces Square Progressed Uranus @ 7º Gemini
Congress again takes up legislation on illegal immigration.

These types of progressed aspects have a two-year impact on the country. From the start of the one-degree applying orb, to the aspect perfecting, to the end of the one-degree separating orb lasts about 24 months. When within this 2-year window should astrologers expect events to occur? To know this, one refers to C.E.O. Carter’s Law of Excitation:

“If, at the time that a progressed body is in aspect to another by direction, either of these bodies forms an aspect by transit with either of the two directional bodies, then this transit will excite the direction into immediate operation”.
(4)

The progressed square of the U.S. Sun and Uranus will be in effect from October 2010 until October 2012. Limiting the aspect to its one-degree orb range, the U.S. progressed Sun will travel the degrees of 6º00′  to 8º01′  Pisces while forming that square.

According to Carter’s Law of Excitation, and to your correspondent’s more detailed interpretation of this law in his Volume I – Progressions, the transit of the Sun passing through 6º to 8º of mutable signs, or through 21º to 23º of cardinal signs, will produce transit conjunctions, octiles, squares, tri-octiles, or oppositions to this progressed aspect while it is within its one-degree orb, thus exciting or triggering events into manifestation. (5)

The dates on which these transit triggers will occur:

October 14-15, 2010             July 14, 2011                 April 11, 2012
November 28-29, 2010       August 30, 2011            May 27-28, 2012
January 11-12, 2011              October 15, 2011           July 13-14, 2012
February 25, 2011                 November 29, 2011      August 29-30, 2012
April 11-12, 2011                    January 12, 2012          October 14-15, 2012
May 28, 2011                         February 26, 2012

Students of history will recall that in November 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed into law The Immigration Reform and Control Act. According to Wikipedia:

The Act made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit illegal immigrants (immigrants who do not possess lawful work authorization), required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status, and granted amnesty to certain illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously. The Act also granted a path towards legalization to certain agricultural seasonal workers and immigrants who had been continuously and illegally present in the United States since January 1, 1982.

The description of this 1986 legislation looks almost identical to what is being proposed at the present time. Therefore, why hasn’t the 1986 law been more rigorously enforced, and why must Congress start working on similar legislation all over again?

In November 1986, within a day of when President Reagan signed the previous legislation into law, there was an inferior conjunction of the Sun and retrograde Venus in Scorpio. These inferior conjunctions have a recurrence pattern, forming in Scorpio every eight years; thus in 1994, 2002, and again this year in 2010, there have been, or will be, inferior conjunctions of the Sun and retrograde Venus in the same degree area of Scorpio.

In Mundane Astrology, the 11th house rules Congress and legislative bodies, such as the Senate and the House of Representatives. Retrograde planets are known to produce two types of manifestation: 1) something previously gained is taken away; and 2) actions must be done over again. That Venus is the ruler of the Sibly 11th, and that its inferior conjunction cycle in Scorpio has been falling in the U.S.11th house, informs the astrologer why the 1986 immigration reform law is coming back to be legislated again.

In Mundane Astrology, the third house rules neighboring nations and the country’s relations with them. (6) Right as transiting Neptune ingressed into the Sibly 3rd house in March 2009, Mexican drug cartels began to be perceived as threatening the security and stability of the United States. The barbaric violence of Mexican drug gangs has crossed the border and has begun destabilizing American cities.

While beheadings, kidnappings, home invasions, murdering of politicians, journalists and police officers, and the financial bribery of military officers and elected officials is common in Mexico, some of this violence is now spilling across the border into the United States. It is this darker and violent side of the illegal immigration dilemma that prompted Arizona politicians to enact their recent legislation.

Astrologers may deduce that at the ingress of Neptune into Pisces, and thus relegating its transit through the Sibly 3rd house to an intercepted status, the full extent and reach of Mexican drug gangs hidden in the Unites States will become more completely exposed.

Similar to the early 1930s, during the squares of Uranus and Pluto, when law enforcement in the United States had its hands full going after organized crime syndicates, bootleggers, and violent gang activity, one suspects that the seven squares of Uranus and Pluto from 2012 until 2015 will result in similar levels of violence in America and in equivalent efforts by the FBI and the DEA to restore law and order.

One is left thinking that the United States is about to head into a wild ride starting in 2011, with the progressed Sun-Uranus square bringing upheaval, rebellion, and general conditions of instability all around. The ingress of the USA progressed Ascendant into Virgo will also activate the Sibly 9th house of immigration, wherein the intercepted Virgo ruled by a progressed retrograde Mercury between September 1994 and August 2016 will have resulted in 22 years of ineffective attempts at securing the borders and producing a competent solution for dealing with the millions of illegal immigrants living in our country.

A progressed Virgo rising in the U.S. Sibly horoscope will represent a new era in American life and it is informative for astrologers to review United States history and see how past progressed Ascendant sign changes have demarcated periods of the American experience.

1776 to 1799 • U.S. Sibly Ascendant in Sagittarius
Country Founded upon Moral Principles of Freedom and Democracy.

1799 to 1830 • Progressed U.S. Ascendant in Capricorn

Era of Founding Fathers as Presidents.

1830 to 1851 • Progressed U.S. Ascendant in Aquarius

Era of Jacksonian Democracy and Political Involvement by the Common Man.

1851 to 1868 • Progressed U.S. Ascendant in Pisces
Era of Slavery Compromise and the Civil War.

1868 to 1885 • Progressed U.S. Ascendant in Aries
Era of Reconstruction and the Indian Wars.

1885 to 1906 • Progressed U.S. Ascendant in Taurus
Era of the Railroads and Wealth Creation by Robber Barons.

1906 to 1935 • Progressed U.S. Ascendant in Gemini

Era of the Telephone, Radio, Telegraph, and the Automobile.

1935 to 1973 • Progressed U.S. Ascendant in Cancer
Era of Great Depression, World War II, the 60s, and the Modern Nuclear Family.

1973 to 2011 • Progressed U.S. Ascendant in Leo
Era of Celebrity Infatuation, Entertainment Culture, and Baby Boomer Excesses.

2011 to 2047 • Progressed U.S. Ascendant in Virgo
Era of Healthy Citizens, Self-Employment, Hard Work, and a Return to Craftsmanship.

Astrologers will observe that the duration of the progressed U.S. Ascendant in a given sign varies from as few as 17 years in Pisces or Aries, to as long as 38 years in Cancer or Leo. This is due to the phenomenon known as Signs of Short or Long Ascension, caused by the 23 1/2º tilt of the Earth’s polar axis.

This is precisely why one can never eyeball the movement of a progressed Ascendant in an individual’s horoscope by assuming one degree of progression per year of life. This method comes close when estimating the current degree of a progressing Midheaven from a person’s age, but variability of the progressing Ascendant does not allow one to do this.

© 2010 Robert P. Blaschke

Bibliography

Bernard Grun, The Timetables of History, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1975.

Footnotes:

(1) An Introduction to Political Astrology, Charles E.O. Carter, L.N. Fowler & Co., 1951

(2) Reuters news report, May 12, 2010.

(3) The Associated Press report of May 14, 2010.

(4) The Principles of Astrology, Charles E.O. Carter, L.N. Fowler & Co., 1925

(5) Uranus will neither transit through 6º – 8º of mutable nor 21º – 23º of cardinal during this two-year period.

(6) An Introduction to Political Astrology, Charles E.O. Carter, L.N. Fowler & Co., 1951


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Retrograde Mercury in Taurus: Recurring Cycle for Goldman Sachs & Global Financial Crises

By Robert P. Blaschke | April 26, 2010

An inferior conjunction of retrograde Mercury and the Sun will occur this week, beginning a new 128-day synodic cycle. Taking place in the middle of the retrograde Mercury period, the Winged Messenger transitions from the Epimethean Evening Star (setting after the Sun) to the Promethean Morning Star (rising ahead of the Sun). Casting this horoscope for the nation’s capital, the rising degree is exactly conjunct President Obama’s natal Sun.


Sun-Mercury 2010

The following orbital diagram illustrates just where in the Sun-Mercury synodic cycle the inferior conjunction takes place:


Cycles & Phases of Mercury

Sun-Mercury inferior conjunctions have a recurrence pattern, falling in the same degree area of the Zodiac as part of a cycle that has durations of 13, 33, or 46 years between conjunctions. After 79 years (33 + 46), or after 125 years (79 + 46), inferior conjunctions can recur in the exact same degree of the Zodiac, or within a one-degree orb of the starting conjunction’s degree in that sign’s cycle.(1)

The following table shows the first decanate of Taurus inferior conjunctions of retrograde Mercury and the Sun over the last 125 years.

Sun Conjunct Mercury: Apr 28, 1885; 7°59′ Taurus R
Sun Conjunct Mercury: Apr 27, 1918;  6°03′ Taurus R + 33
Sun Conjunct Mercury: Apr 30, 1931; 9°06′ Taurus R + 13 = 46
Sun Conjunct Mercury: Apr 27, 1964; 7°10′ Taurus R + 33 = 79
Sun Conjunct Mercury: Apr 30, 1977; 10°13′ Taurus R + 13 = 92
Sun Conjunct Mercury: Apr 28, 2010; 8°17′ Taurus R + 33 = 125

During this current retrograde Mercury in Taurus, financial news has been dominant in the headlines. Airplane travel disruptions to and from Europe caused by the ash cloud from the volcano eruption in Iceland resulted in $2 billion in losses for the airline industry.

As Mercury was stationing retrograde, Goldman Sachs, a prominent Wall Street investment bank, was accused of securities fraud in a civil lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 16th, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment that was secretly intended to fail.

Congressional hearings have looked into the failure of Lehman Brothers, the investment bank that became insolvent in September 2008 and sparked the global economic crisis. During the review of Lehman’s bankruptcy, it was pointed out that regulators failed to catch the accounting manipulation that permitted the bank to give a misleading picture of its financial status despite its being over leveraged on toxic mortgage assets.

On April 22nd, President Obama gave a speech at Cooper Union college in Manhattan, at which many prominent executives of Wall Street banks were in attendance. He asked the banking industry to support the financial regulatory reform measures being debated and voted on in the Senate this week.

This recurring cycle of Sun-Mercury inferior conjunctions in the first decanate of Taurus has a direct correspondence with the history of Goldman Sachs, and with previous global economic crises. In 1885 — 125 years ago — an inferior conjunction occurred in 7°59′ Taurus, only 18′ of arc from the Sun-Mercury conjunction of this week. That was the year when Goldman Sachs, after being founded in 1869, took its present name, Goldman Sachs & Co.


Sun-Mercury 1885

It is of interest to astrologers that Saturn is presently transiting the Uranus degree in the 1885 inferior conjunction horoscope as the SEC filed its civil fraud lawsuit against the firm.

In 1931 — 79 years ago — an inferior conjunction occurred in 9°06′ Taurus, only 49′ of arc from the Sun-Mercury conjunction of this week. Immediately after this 1931 conjunction, Creditanstalt, Austria’s largest bank, went bankrupt and caused a banking collapse in Central Europe that precipitated a global financial crisis.


S

The astrologer observes that Jupiter, ruling planet of international finance, although exalted, was exactly square the nodal axis in the 1931 inferior conjunction horoscope, and was also part of a Cardinal Grand Cross that included the Moon, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto.

This present retrograde Mercury has been of the worst kind, with hundreds of thousands of airline passengers stranded for days while their flights were grounded by the Icelandic volcano and its subsequent ash cloud. True to form, retrograde Mercury in Taurus also resulted in recriminations by the airlines against European civil aviation authorities for acting too slowly and cautiously in reopening the flight paths for air travel.

Can the astrologer discern in advance which retrograde Mercury periods are going to be worse than others? Yes, but to know this one must first educate oneself about the three-part Sun-Mercury synodic cycle. This cycle has an average duration of 115-116 days.

The following table shows six consecutive 2010-11 Sun-Mercury inferior conjunctions and the duration of each individual synodic cycle:

Sun Conjunct Mercury: Jan 4, 2010; 14°19′ Capricorn R 106 days (since 9/20/09)
Sun Conjunct Mercury: Apr 28, 2010; 8°17′ Taurus R 114 days
Sun Conjunct Mercury: Sep 3, 2010; 10°55′ Virgo R 128 days, therefore 348 days /3 = 116 avg.

Sun Conjunct Mercury: Dec 20, 2010; 28°02′ Sagittarius R 108 days
Sun Conjunct Mercury: Apr 9, 2011; 19°36′ Aries R 110 days
Sun Conjunct Mercury: Aug 17, 2011; 23°49′ Leo R 130 days, therefore 348 days /3 = 116 avg.

As you can see, the synodic cycle of Mercury has a three-part pattern. The length of each synodic period is variable, increasing in length from one to the next, but when taken as a whole, the overall duration is similar, totaling 348 days for three synodic cycles in a row, with an average cycle length of 116 days each. Within this three-part cycle, the duration of retrograde Mercury also varies, as does its Zodiac degree travel while retrogressing.

These are the stations of Mercury in 2010, which show the duration of the retrograde period along with the number of degrees that Mercury travels while in retrogression:

Mercury Rx Dec 26, 2009; 21°47′ Capricorn R
Mercury Direct Jan 15, 2010; 5°33′ Capricorn D 20 days/16°
Mercury Rx Apr 18, 2010; 12°37′ Taurus R
Mercury Direct May 11, 2010; 2°39′ Taurus  D 24 days/10°
Mercury Rx Aug 20, 2010; 19°03′ Virgo R
Mercury Direct Sep 12, 2010; 5°21′  Virgo D 23 days/14°

The most problematic retrograde Mercury periods occur when the speed of Mercury is the slowest while retrogressing. (2) This happens when Mercury is retrograde for 24 days, but is only reversing 9° to 10° in the Zodiac during that period. The least problematic retrograde Mercury periods occur when the speed of Mercury is the fastest while retrogressing. This happens when Mercury is retrograde for 20 days, but is reversing 16° in the Zodiac during that period. These can be called “Shorties” (20 days = fast and not so bad) or “Longies” (24 days = slow and awful). The third category is called a “Middie” (22 or 23 days with 12° to 14° of travel while retrogressing), and these retrograde periods can go either way. (3)

If you consult the ephemeris for January of this year, you will see that when Mercury was having an easier Shortie retrograde period — (20 days from its retrograde station on December 26, 2009 until its direct station on January 15, 2010, and traveling 16° between stations from 21° Capricorn to 5° Capricorn) — that, at the inferior conjunction on January 4th, Mercury was reversing as fast as 1°21′ per day in the Zodiac while retrograde. This faster speed while retrograde is what makes Mercury less problematic while in retrogression.

On the other hand, consulting the ephemeris for this month (April 2010), while Mercury is having an awful Longie retrograde period — (24 days from its retrograde station on April 17th/18th until its direct station on May 11th, yet traveling only 10° between stations from 12° Taurus to 2° Taurus) — one observes that at the inferior conjunction on April 28th, Mercury reaches its top speed while retrograde when traveling only 0°39′ per day in the Zodiac. This slower speed is what makes Mercury more problematic while in retrogression.

The next retrograde period of Mercury from August 20th to September 12th later this year will be of the Middie category, where Mercury retrogresses for 23 days and reverses 13°- 14° in the Zodiac while retrograde. Examining the ephemeris for September, astrologers find that at the inferior conjunction on September 3rd, Mercury reaches its top speed of 0°58′ per day of Zodiac travel while retrograde. Not as fast as a Shortie, but certainly faster than a dreaded Longie, which we are currently experiencing. This is why the Middie Mercury retrogrades are a mixed bag.

In the previous table showing the six consecutive Sun-Mercury inferior conjunctions for this year and next year, one observes that the Mercury retrograde periods will transition from the Earth element into the Fire element. Your correspondent wrote about the recurrence patterns found in the synodic cycles of the Sun and Mercury, and about the different categories of retrograde Mercury, in his book, Volume V – Holographic Transits:

“Author and astrologer, Erin Sullivan, in her book, Retrograde Planets, wrote of a pattern in the Mercury cycle wherein four to six consecutive periods of retrograde Mercury fall in the same element. This sequence of retrogradation occurs opposite to the pattern of signs in the Zodiac, going from Water to Air to Earth to Fire. Her research showed that this elemental cycle of Mercury lasts a little over six years.

What the astrologer may deduce from Sullivan’s work is that the four elements can fall into two categories. In the former, Mercury consecutively retrogrades in the air and earth elements for three years, bringing a mental and deliberative climate into the collective consciousness. In the latter, successive retrogradation of Mercury in the fire and water elements for three years produces an emotional and instinctual atmosphere in the mass magnetics of human consciousness.”

One could therefore deduce that, because Mercury leaves the Earth element and enters its retrograde cycle through the Fire signs just after the November midterm elections, by the end of this year we shall enter a much more highly charged emotional and instinctual climate within the collective consciousness.

The current focus on financial regulatory reform, deficit reduction, and health insurance reform while Mercury is still in its Earth element retrograde periods of Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo, should give way to the debate over the much more volatile legislative agenda of immigration reform and identity politics next year when retrograde Mercury cycles through the Fire signs, starting with Sagittarius, sign of foreign cultures and races.

Footnotes:

(1) The math behind this is as follows: 79 years x 365.26 days per year = 28,855.54 days. Divide this product of days by the length of a Sun-Mercury synodic cycle: 28,855.54 days ÷ 115.88 days/cycle = 249. Thus, 249 synodic cycles of Mercury = exactly 79 years. In the longer periodicity, 394 synodic cycles of Mercury = exactly 125 years (125 x 365.26 = 45,657.5 ÷ 115.88 = 394).

(2) The most detailed research about the cycles and phases of the planet Mercury has been conducted by astrologer Michael Munkasey. Munkasey found that the more difficult retrograde Mercury periods overall are those that have the longest duration (24-day) and the least range of degree travel (± 9°). During these Mercury retrograde periods, the Winged Messenger has slowed to a maximum degree travel of 0°39′ per day between stations. It is this deceleration of degree movement that amplifies the Mercury retrograde effect.

(3) Further extrapolating from Munkasey’s observations, individuals born during the one Mercury retrograde period in three with the longest duration and the least degree movement between stations may have the most difficulty with the natal retrograde Mercury. On the other hand, where one is born during a short retrograde period with a greater degree of travel between stations, the retrograde Mercury in the nativity is perhaps more facile and can resuscitate knowledge from past lives, bringing information through into the current lifetime. This discrimination between the differing retrograde Mercury cycles can also be applied to the condition of a secondary, tertiary, or minor progressed Mercury.

Copyright 2010 by Robert Blaschke

{Editor’s note: If any readers would like the exact times for the Sun-Mercury conjunctions (or the Mercury stations in 2010) from the tables in Robert’s article, please email me, or write to me in the comments section. Robert’s article did include the GMT for those dates; I simplified the tables a bit to make it easier to read!  Mary Plumb}

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A Fateful Place? The Polish Plane Crash

By Mary Plumb | April 11, 2010

The terrible plane crash in Russia on Saturday leaves one bewildered at the magnitude of the shock to the Polish people. Our deep condolences extend to all our Polish family and friends.

There is a lot of fine astrological commentary on the tragedy at TMA’s Facebook page and many other web sites. There are many horoscopes to consider, including looking at the deceased President’s birth chart, the time of the swearing in of the current government, and the different national horoscopes for Poland.

The plane crash occurred on April 10 at 6:56 a.m. GMT, in Smolensk, Russia (54ºN36′, 32ºE03′).

Polish plane crash

Inevitably, there are some harsh midpoints in the chart for the plane crash: Neptune (28º Aquarius) is directly on the Sun/Pluto midpoint (27º52’ Aquarius), and the Ascendant (10º18’ Cancer) is on the Sun/Saturn midpoint (10º04’ Cancer). The Mars/Saturn midpoint is 2º31’ Virgo, opposite the Moon and Midheaven (2º33’ and 2º29’ Pisces), and the Ascendant/Midheaven midpoint is 6º24’ Taurus, square Mars (5º12’ Leo).

The plane carried 96 people, including President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and many prominent politicians and policymakers. Everyone on the plane perished. The plane was on its way to a ceremony to commemorate the Soviet massacre, ordered by Stalin, of more than 20,000 of Poland’s military elite, politicians, and artists, in April 1940. That gruesome event, known as the Katyn massacre, began “after April 3” and continued for the next 28 days. (1)

Although there are no immediately obvious connections to dates 70 years apart, I thought some astrological marker might show a link for an event with such an eerie tie to a previous time.

There was a solar eclipse at 17º52’ Aries on April 7, 1940, within a few days of the beginning of the killings.

Solar Eclipse April 1940

Hades, the TransNeptunian Planet (TNP) associated with darkest horrors and unspeakable tragedies, was at 18º10’ Aries at that eclipse, within 18’ of arc of the eclipse degree.

At the time of this week’s plane crash, transiting Uranus was at 27º55’ Pisces, exactly square Hades at 27º55’ Gemini. Aside from the sudden tragedy and grievous loss of life, the world is now getting another look at the events of the Katyn massacre, said to be one of the darkest moments of WWII. (2)

In another striking parallel between the two events, when the 1940 solar eclipse is set for Smolensk, Russia, site of both the massacre and the plane crash, the Ascendant is 25º34’ Scorpio. The Vertex point (the most “fated” point in the horoscope) for the crash is 23º34’ Scorpio. This connection between the Vertex of one event and the Ascendant of another event plays out the other way as well: The Vertex point for the 1940 eclipse in Smolensk is 9º20’ Cancer; the Ascendant of the plane crash chart is 10º18’ Cancer.

References:

(1) Wikipedia

(2) Telegraph

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Sandra Bullock and the Royal Stars

By Mary Plumb | March 22, 2010

I know the Health Care Bill is of huge importance and the time it passes will be an important chart. But it’s late in the day on Sunday and I can’t wait any longer for a blog topic. So, I’m looking at something perhaps less monumental in the long run, but of interest to moviegoers and romantics everywhere — the birth chart for Sandra Bullock.

Sandra Bullock was born on July 26, 1964 at 3:15 a.m. in Washington, D.C. A Leo Sun, with Aquarius Moon and Gemini rising, the actress has Mars and Venus conjunct the Ascendant. [1] (This time has to be considered DD, or unsubstantiated thus far by any documentation. I haven’t rectified the time, but am looking at it as if it were correct. I don’t usually proceed with DD, but the astrology suggested for this time is so interesting, I couldn’t resist.)

Sandra Bullock, natal chartShe’s known for her accessibility, for being likeable, friendly, and normal in the tough Hollywood world. Mars and Venus on the Ascendant certainly describe that public face well. (Although she’s not a personal favorite of mine as an actress, I do have two close friends, both with Leo Moon’s, who said this week that they really like her; she seems so “nice” and “real.”)

With Gemini rising, Sandra Bullock’s horoscope ruler is Mercury, positioned at birth at 28°25’ Leo, the degree of Regulus (29° Leo). One of the brilliant Royal stars, Bernadette Brady describes Regulus as, “Success if revenge is avoided.”

She has another of the four Royal stars in a prominent place: Fomalhaut at 3° Pisces is the degree of her Midheaven and Saturn. Brady says of Fomalhaut: “Success through noble ideas.” Although I did not see the film for which she won the Academy Award, she played a woman who acted against what was expected of her from her upbringing and peers. Perhaps this shows a flavor of the great star, Fomahault?

Ms. Bullock went from winning the Oscar for Best Actress (March 7) to the public announcement of her husband’s infidelity a few days later.

The actress was married on July 16, 2005. Her progressed Ascendant then was 28°24’ Cancer, and she was in the Balsamic phase of the progressed lunation cycle.

Sandra Bullock, progressed to weddingThe progressed Moon (ruler of the Cancer Ascendant) was at 0°49’ Virgo, exactly opposite progressed Saturn at 0°49 Pisces (ruler of the Capricorn Descendant). But whatever deeper implications may be suggested by that aspect, the day itself must have been very happy. I couldn’t find a time for the exchange of vows, but reports say it was a “sunset” ceremony near Santa Barbara. [2]

Sandra Bullock Wedding

There is a Sun-Moon trine and a fire trine between Mars, Venus, and Pluto. A bit more ominously (at least in hindsight) is Saturn exactly opposite Chiron; Mercury and Venus just past an opposition to Neptune; Venus square the Moon, and Mars in Aries, as the final dispositor of the chart, square the Sun.

Bullock began a 29-year cycle of development with the progressed New Moon in June 2006 at 13°36’ Virgo (conjunct Pluto). Also, her progressed Ascendant changed signs and moved into Leo in October 2008.

The progressed Moon entered Scorpio in December 2009. In January 2010 the progressed Moon squared the progressed Ascendant and progressed Venus. We can imagine she had private inclinations of marital trouble then.

Sandra Bullock, progressed to Jan 2010

The progressed Moon, now at 3° Scorpio, has just passed the square (March 17) to the natal Sun (a private wound?) and is now applying to trine natal Saturn and natal Midheaven at 3° Pisces, the degree of Fomalhaut. This can be seen as a public fulfillment and very visible success. (This trine is partile from March 29-31).

Sandra Bullock, natal & progressed to March 2010
As I’m finishing writing this, the Health Care Bill has passed. One quick observation is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is being given a lot of credit for her great determination in steering the Bill through an epic political battle to its successful passage, was born with Saturn at 0°43’ Taurus exactly square Pluto at 0°41’ Leo. [3] She has the fortitude demanded by the times, as now, of course, we are experiencing the square between the two planets again.

References:

(1) Wikipedia; time reported at various sites: famous-relationships

(2) marriage.about.com

(3) Wikipedia


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The Jupiter–Saturn Cycle: 2010–2011 Opposition and Global Changes

By Robert P. Blaschke | March 15, 2010

Every 20 years, Jupiter and Saturn conjoin in the heavens and mark the beginning of a new cultural, political, and economic era. These alignments have historically been described as “Grand Conjunctions” or “Royal Conjunctions.” World leaders elected as presidents or prime ministers during this cycle often have exact conjunctions between their nativities and the degrees of the planets or angles found in these once-every-two-decades mundane horoscopes. The Grand Conjunction of May 2000, the origin horoscope of our present cycle, is shown here cast for the United States:


The rising degree of the last Grand Conjunction conjoined President Barack Obama’s North Node, exact to 03′ of arc. The Midheaven ruler, Venus, is exactly conjunct Mr. Obama’s natal Moon, and the South Node is in the degree of his natal Saturn. A dignified Mercury is a sole and final classical dispositor.

The present economic era ushered in at the last Grand Conjunction started with the bursting of the dot.com technology bubble when the NASDAQ stock market crashed in the spring of 2000. That was followed by unsustainable real estate speculation that ultimately peaked at the progressed retrograde station of the U.S. Mars, ruler of the Sibly IC, in July 2006. Since then, a global economic crisis has brought about the Great Recession, commencing with the Jupiter–Pluto conjunction of December 2007.

At the opposition aspect within this 20-year cycle, world events reach their climax, and global change occurs on a large scale. The Grand Conjunction cycle begun in May 2000 reaches its three oppositions between May 2010 and March 2011. This period will mark the turning point of the current global economic crisis, and will also produce breakthroughs in international political stalemates. The first opposition occurs with Jupiter dignified and in the degree of Venus’s exaltation, 27° Pisces.

At the previous Grand Conjunction cycle’s oppositions (i.e., five oppositions occurred between September 1989 and May 1991), the world experienced many significant and historical events, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall; the freeing of Nelson Mandela from prison and the beginning of the end of apartheid in South Africa; the student democratic revolution in China, culminating in the Tiananmen Square killings; and the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, which lead to the first Gulf War. Can the mundane horoscope for the upcoming opposition of Jupiter and Saturn give us prescience into world events likely to occur over the next year? Yes, it can, and 27° of mutable signs are the key.

When casting the Jupiter–Saturn opposition for the Israeli capital, Jerusalem, Uranus conjoins the MC and the rising degree is 13° Cancer, the degree of the U.S. Sun. The lunar degree is conjunct the U.S. Sibly MC, and the Jerusalem IC is conjunct the Israeli progressed Mars.

Arguably, the one breakthrough that the world most needs at this time is for the seemingly intractable political stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians to become resolved through a two-state solution. This would involve the dismantling of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the return of Palestinian refugees, the division of Jerusalem, and the removal of the security fence that separates occupied areas in the West Bank, thus preventing a contiguous nation of Palestine.

In the horoscope for Israel, Jupiter (the planet of foreign relations) is at 27°38’ Sagittarius. The country’s progressed Uranus is at 27°56’ Gemini; together, these form an exact Mutable Grand Cross with the Jupiter–Saturn opposition. The classical sole and final dispositor, Mercury, in the Grand Conjunction horoscope from May 2000, was at 27° Gemini, symbolizing the two-state Israel–Palestine solution.

Can history repeat itself? In September 1989, at the first of five Jupiter–Saturn oppositions, 13,000 East German tourists escaped from Hungary to Austria. This led to a sequence of events over the next two months, starting with massive protest demonstrations in East Germany and culminating with the fall of the Berlin Wall in November. What historical parallel could one predict for 2010?

Last week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden traveled to the Middle East to meet with Israel and the Palestinians in an attempt to revive the stalled peace process. He and the United States were subsequently humiliated by Israel, who on the day of his arrival, made an announcement of 1,600 new housing units to be built in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem.

Both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama have issued stern warnings to Israel, during the last few days, essentially giving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an ultimatum and a list of demands with which the U.S. expects Israel to fully comply. The continuation of this sequence of events could lead to the destabilization of Israel’s internal politics, with its governing coalition likely to splinter over tensions between the hard-line right wing parties like Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas, and the Likud party of which Mr. Netanyahu is the leader. This political instability within Israel is clearly seen by Uranus conjoining the MC, when the Jupiter–Saturn opposition is cast for Jerusalem, as shown in the chart above.

This political instability might not be a bad thing if it comes to pass. The Middle East peace process has been stuck with no progress for so many years that one is left praying for a lightning strike from heaven to radically transform the landscape and produce a sudden and unexpected breakthrough. Is there any evidence that this can occur during the next year while the three Jupiter–Saturn oppositions form?

In 1967, during the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arab nations, the Israeli progressed Venus stationed retrograde. In December of 2010, this progressed Venus will finally station direct. One can see how it will have taken 43 years for solutions to be found regarding the occupied territories, the division of Jerusalem, the return of refugees, and all of the other difficult issues. One observes that the progressed direct station of the Israeli ruler, Venus, in 24° of Gemini is exactly conjoining the national Uranus. This means that sudden, chaotic, and unexpected events are coming.

Israel’s biggest worry is their ongoing threat from Iran. It is cause for concern that, in the Jupiter–Saturn opposition horoscope cast for Jerusalem, 29° Virgo is on the IC — the exact degree of Israel’s progressed Mars. [1] One could interpret this as violence in the homeland, should internal political instability degrade the cohesion of Israel’s military. The Haaretz newspaper in Israel has reported: “High-ranking officials in Washington believe that tightening the terms for a settlement construction freeze in the West Bank and the dismantling of outposts could lead to a deep rift within Israeli society, or even a mutiny within its military.” [2]

A possible unexpected outcome for Israel, radical as it may sound, would be a Ronald Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate moment: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” This time around, President Obama would say to Prime Minister Netanyahu, “Tear down this security fence!”

Global events that occurred during the last series of Jupiter–Saturn oppositions from 1989 to 1991 are compelling evidence that the next twelve months will bring significant change. Whether these changes will be for the good, or will be destructive, can be predicted by the condition of the opposing planets in the Grand Conjunction cycle. Jupiter, the Greater Benefic, is dignified and in the exaltation degree of the Lesser Benefic, i.e., Venus at 27° Pisces. Thus, Jupiter is stronger than Saturn, so the changes will be positive.

Astrologers can recall the hundreds of thousands of East Germans streaming into West Germany and celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall. If we cast the Jupiter–Saturn opposition of September 10, 1989 for Berlin, 9°49’ Aquarius rises. Remarkably, from Charubel for Aquarius 10°, we find:

A ruin consisting of the remains of an ancient massive wall, with an archway therein.



The Jupiter–Saturn 800-Year Great Historical Cycle & its 200-Year Elemental Subcycles

Conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn recur in the same element for about two centuries. (The Grand Conjunctions began to occur in earth signs in 1802.) A transitional conjunction (or two) takes place in the succeeding element just prior to the end of this 200-year elemental subcycle. (The 1980–81 Grand Conjunctions were in the air sign of Libra.) The last conjunction in this subcycle’s earth element occurred in 2000. (The last earth subcycle previously concluded in 1206.)

The Grand Conjunctions will now fall in the air element for the next two centuries, with the Jupiter–Saturn conjunction of December 21, 2020 taking place at 0°29’ Aquarius. It is no small coincidence that Barack Obama’s natal Jupiter is in that exact degree — it shows the astrologer how he became a channel for our hopes for a better future.

A sequence of historical development can be shown to correspond with the Grand Conjunctions cycling through the four elements every 800 years. When there are fire element conjunctions, the world experiences global exploration, conquest, and discovery, along with independence movements. These conjunctions recurred in the fire signs in 1603 and 1623, then from 1663 to 1782, and in 1821.

When Jupiter and Saturn conjoin in the earth element, societal infrastructure evolves globally and there is substantial wealth creation, along with extensive land settlement and territorial disputes. These conjunctions recurred in the earth signs in 1802, then from 1842 to 1961, and in 2000.

Grand Conjunctions in the air element historically correspond with rapid social progress, significant intellectual development, and new concepts entering into human consciousness. These conjunctions recurred in the air signs in 1186, then from 1226 to 1345, and again in 1385 and in 1405.

Jupiter and Saturn conjoining in the water element has resulted in artistic flourishing, the formation of spiritual movements, and societal assimilation on a large scale. These conjunctions recurred in the water signs in 1365, then from 1425 to 1583, and in 1643. This period encompassed the Renaissance.

It is thought that the Jupiter–Saturn 800-year historical cycle commences with a Grand Conjunction taking place nearest to the Aries Point. For our historical era, this occurred in May 1702.

This mundane horoscope can be said to reveal the conditions of human development over an eight-century period of history. When casting the Aries Point Grand Conjunction for Washington, D.C., we find 22° Libra rising, which is the exaltation degree of Saturn. A tightly orbed Cardinal T-Cross is also found, consisting of an apex Venus in detriment in Aries and an exalted Mars in Capricorn opposed by Uranus. Could the global economic crisis precipitated by America’s real estate bust and its toxic mortgage assets have been predicted three centuries ago by consulting this horoscope? Yes, and here is why:

Libra 22, the rising degree, from Sepharial’s translation of La Volasfera:

A man asleep by the side of some money-bags.

“It denotes a person of little vigilance: much given to self-indulgence: wanting either in sense of duty, or in energy to fulfil it. The native will lose heavily on account of his carelessness, false sense of safety and want of caution. He will live much in the memory of the past and in dreams of the future, being the while oblivious to the demands of present duties. It is a degree of CARELESSNESS.”

The T-Cross with the apex Venus, squared by both Mars and Uranus, shows an eight-century era of history with periodic economic instability. The modern military-industrial complex — the present-day successor to European kings selling and exporting their armies as mercenaries to foreign countries to fight their wars — is infamous for its wartime profiteering and is symbolized by the exalted Mars.

A biblical metaphor also comes to mind with Venus in detriment and in the degree of the Sun’s exaltation:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24

This suggests that if the financial sector becomes too materialistic and greedy, a spiritual crisis inevitably ensues.

Remarkably, the U.S. progressed Venus is currently passing through 19° Aries, the degree of the apex Venus in the Cardinal T-Cross of the 1702 Aries Point Grand Conjunction (from September 19, 2009 until August 8, 2010). It can be predicted that this 11-month period will be the worst of the recession for the U.S., with an improvement in our national economy taking place in August 2010. Conditions should stabilize with employment levels improving by March 2011 when the third and final Jupiter–Saturn opposition occurs at 14° of Aries and Libra (which is also the U.S. Saturn return).

In order to understand the arc of history between 2000 and 2020, astrologers can contemplate the square of Taurus to Aquarius, signs in which the 2000 and 2020 Grand Conjunctions fall. This square is indicative of the redistribution of wealth and assets. In an article entitled “The Pluto in Leo Generation,” published in The Mountain Astrologer in March 1993, I wrote:

“The evolutionary impulse of the redistribution of wealth meets the entrenched establishments of banking and real estate. The ideals of service to the collective meet the possessive stinginess of what is mine and what is yours. Social and economic revolution, and the temporary personal hardships necessary to achieve the lasting goals of equality, meet the fear of change and the love of comfort, luxury and personal opulence. The cutting edge of technology meets the challenge to market it so it may be of practical service to humanity. What must be changed for the good of the collective meets the needs of the individual’s security and his predictable continuity in life.”

Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York State, recently was quoted in the New York Times: “What happened in the last decade was a massive redistribution of wealth to people who did not create value, but simply moved assets around.” [3]

The astrologer could not think of a more appropriate definition for the worst possible manifestation of a Taurus–Aquarius square. Let us hope that the second decade of this current Grand Conjunction cycle will produce a different kind of redistribution of wealth and resources in order to fashion a more humane and equitable society.

© 2010 Robert P. Blaschke

References:

1. 29° Virgo is also the degree of Mr. Obama’s progressed Sun.

2. www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1156251.html

3. www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/nyregion/28about.html

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NCGR: An Offline Gathering of Astrologers

By Eric Francis | March 1, 2010

Given that most astrology happens on the Internet and the telephone these days, it’s special that over 400 astrologers would gather to study, teach and organize their profession. There are relatively few astrology conferences (compared, say, to plastics or marketing conferences), and they are vital to a profession that isn’t listed in career books and is not regulated in most places. We stand on our own, and for this reason we have to bring our own Saturn.

At the 2010 NCGR Conference in Cambridge, MA this weekend, astrologers actually got to meet face to face. Most astrology conferences are no longer annual — the last NCGR conference was in Baltimore in 2007. This is a friendly conference, with strong underpinnings of both organization and community. NCGR has been educating astrologers for 39 years, through both local chapters and national conferences like this one.

The faculty of about 40 included some of the best-known names in the business, and many up and coming astrologers who are just on the cusp of delivering their gift to the community. Mark Kuenzel presented on using technology to grow your astrological practice; there were some strong presenters in the field of financial astrology, including Christeen Skinner and Raymond Merriman. Christopher Renstorm offered a theory on how astrologers and the church, far from being at odds, were on the same page in the early 17th century — both were obsessed with the end times, and the Bible and astrological almanacs were used for divination.

Richard Tarnas, author of Cosmos and Psyche, taught a full-day seminar on the archetype of the comic genius (from John Cleese to Steven Colbert). Other classes covered the astrology of air crashes to the search for the disowned self. We heard plenty from the rapidly growing field of ancient astrology.

These days, astrology conferences tend to be gatherings of people over 50, though the Association of Young Astrologers now has a presence at every conference — and you can feel the difference. While the Internet has made astrology available to millions more people, that does not necessarily translate automatically to a forum for developing future teachers and leaders in the field; we need to bring more young people to these conferences. NCGR has answered this calling and is doing an impressive job of getting younger people involved in leadership roles.

It’s always struck me as interesting that most of the astrologers under age 30 are drawn to Hellenistic techniques and the deeper historical traditions rather than the new planets — but that seems to be the trend.

At the trade show, Astrology Et. Al. did its usual excellent job providing an impressive diversity of astrology books, given that most were flown 3,000 miles from Seattle. Gregory Nalbandian told me that when he gets to a city where he’s working a trade show, he raids the local used bookstores and purchases the best ones for his used books table. If you’re not shopping online, the book tables at a conference are incomparable places to find a selection of the best books.

One thing I can’t help but notice about astrology conferences is that the curriculum seems obsessed with astrology. Obviously most of it needs to be weighted in this direction, but many astrologers run counseling practices without being certified or even trained as therapists. We would benefit from hearing the wisdom of people who are experts in new media publishing opportunities, or courses on writing and editing. And how about featuring therapists with no special interest in the astrology field to provide astrologers with the fundamentals of how to handle the counseling aspects of our work?. The principles of psychological astrology are crucial and honored by the profession. But how do you handle a spiritual or psychological emergency in your counseling room?

That said, the NCGR 2010 conference was an impressive educational and community event. It is challenging to bring together so many talented people in an era when most of us are so busy we don’t have time to update our iPod. For one rare weekend, we had more in-person conversations than email exchanges.

Eric Francis is the editor of Planet Waves and Cosmic Confidential and has written for TMA.

(Note from Mary Plumb: Thanks, Eric, for contributing to TMA’s blog. It was great to finally meet you face-to-face as I’ve read your fine web work for years.)

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At the Bending

By Mary Plumb | February 8, 2010

In the course of a few days last week, I heard from five different people that their relationships were ending. We know about the long-term pressure from Saturn in Libra to redefine all relationship matters, but the urgency (i.e., within a few days) with which this happened made me notice another signature in the sky.

Transiting Juno, goddess of committed partnerships and marriage, is now in Aries and, from February 3rd – 9th, was in partile square to the transiting nodal axis at 21° Cancer/Capricorn.

Some partnerships have been subject to rude or liberating awakenings recently: Transiting Juno was conjunct transiting Uranus in late Pisces (26°34’) in June 2009, and again in November 2009 (22°45’ Pisces).

In late December, Juno came back to 0° Aries, having spent several months in that sign in the summer. (Juno made it to 4° Aries before turning retrograde in August.)  Juno is now moving right along and, by early February, was at 21° Aries, squaring the transiting nodal axis.

This plethora of both tearful and clear-minded calls made me think about the importance of a planet (or other body) square the nodes, called a “planet at the bending.”

I understand that, in the natal chart, it is critical to integrate a planet at the bending to keep the life on track. Kathy Allan, in her fine article, Re-visioning the Lunar Nodes (TMA Feb./Mar. 2009), explains the distinction between whether the planet is at the South or North Bending. (If you don’t already have that issue, you can order a copy here.)

Planets at the South Bending are related in meaning to the South Node, that is, they signify a point of release — experiences are internal and have difficulty being expressed outwardly. The North Bending resembles the North Node, which is a point where energy comes in; events and experiences will manifest in the outer world.

To easily see which bending the planet occupies in a chart, start with the North Node and move clockwise around the wheel; if a planet is at the opening square, it is the South Bending. Continuing clockwise around the wheel, if the planet is at the closing square, e.g., 270° from the North Node, it is the North Bending.

The recent transit of Juno at the North Bending suggests outer manifestation. The people who called me were all taking charge, in one way or another. Some of the relationships may be finished in a definite way, or they may have reached a critical turning point where a new principle or idea will be brought into the partnership.

I looked for some examples of people with natal planets at the bending. (I’m only using one timed birth chart; all biographical material and birth dates are from Wikipedia.)

Web-based political activist and media personality Arianna Huffington (July 7, 1950) has natal Uranus at 6° Cancer, square the North Node at 2° Aries. Uranus is at the North Bending, suggesting that the nature of the planet will be expressed outwardly.

Writer and political activist Arundhati Roy (November 24, 1961) has natal Mercury at 19° Scorpio square the North Node at 21° Leo. Mercury is again at the North Bending, about which Allan writes: “The energy is under the ego’s control.” (Roy won The Booker Prize for her first book, The God of Small Things.)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (October 26, 1947) also has a planet at the North Bending: Natal Saturn at 21° Leo is square the North Node at 23° Taurus.

Actress Drew Barrymore (February 22, 1975) has the Sun at 4° Pisces, square the North Node at 6° Sagittarius. The Sun is at the North Bending, suggesting visibility and manifestation. Her early experiences with drugs and bisexuality are well known, along with her recent award-winning performance as Edith Bouvier Beale in HBO’s Grey Gardens.

David Deida (March 18, 1958) is not as well known, but provides an interesting example. Deida is a pioneering yoga teacher who has taught widely on integrating sexuality into spiritual practice. He has natal Mars at 1° Aquarius, at the North Bending, square the North Node at 2° Scorpio.

As I mentioned above, planets at the South Bending imply a sacrifice or offering of some kind. In her TMA article, Kathy Allen writes: “The South Bending resembles the South Node; planets here have difficulty in outer expression and are best used subjectively, spiritually, or given away to the collective.”

Michelle Obama (January 17, 1964) has Jupiter at 13° Aries square the North Node at 11° Cancer. Jupiter is at the South Bending. We can’t know about her interior life, but the suggestion is that the fiery temperament of Jupiter in Aries, although crucial to integrate, is somehow best used internally.

Diana, the Princess of Wales (July 1, 1961), often thought of in her lifetime as the most beautiful woman in the world, has natal Venus in rulership at 24° Taurus, at the South Bending, square the North Node at 28° Leo. It’s a bit of an eerie thought to consider her Venus as somehow sacrificed, or offered for the collective.

Vice President Joe Biden (November 20, 1942) has natal Uranus at 0° Gemini, at the South Bending, square North Node at 3° Virgo. Biden is known for his outspokenness, sometimes bringing political trouble. Another way of considering Uranus, the planet of shock and sudden events, at the South Bending: Uranus is also at Biden’s natal Descendant at 3° Gemini. His first wife and infant daughter were killed in a traffic accident in 1972. His two sons, although critically injured, made full recoveries. (1)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama (July 6, 1935) has natal Mars at 18° Libra square the North Node at 22° Capricorn at the South Bending. It might be hard to find a better example of someone who has used (a detriment) Mars for spiritual good, or for the good of the collective.

I have a few examples of people I know well (and for whom I have exact birth times) with the Moon at the bending in the natal horoscope.

In one chart, the natal Moon is at the North Bending in Cancer square the North Node in Aries. In another chart, the Moon is at the South Bending in Leo square the North Node in Scorpio. The Moon square the nodes in each chart suggests that family concerns and integration of the emotional function will be crucial in the life path.

The person with the Moon in Cancer (at the North Bending) has an exceptionally close relationship with her mother, and has been very happy in her role as a mother to her children. She does, however, continually get “thrown off course” by strong emotional reactions to all kinds of situations in her life.

The woman with the natal Moon in Leo (at the South Bending) is successful in her work, has had a difficult relationship with her mother since birth, regrets not having children, and has struggled with health issues and to find contentment in her inner life.

I know several people with Neptune at the South Bending square the North Node in Capricorn. Although both are well known in their professions, life circumstances have pulled each to place their inner spiritual lives as the focus for their life path.

I will be interested to hear your thoughts and observations about planets at the bendings, either by transit (remember, Juno square the nodes got me going on this theme) or in the birth horoscope.

All the best to one and all.

Sources:

(1) Joseph Biden; November 20, 1942; 8:30 a.m. EWT; Scranton, PA (41N13 75W40). A rating

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Venus and the Sun

By Mary Plumb | December 14, 2009

I’ve been traveling for over a month, working on the road and thinking about TMA’s two most recent blogs — Adam Gainsburg on the Venus synodic cycle and Robert Blaschke on Tiger Woods.

I have been quite taken with Adam’s work, as I have been feeling the overwhelming presence of the outer planets’ steadfast movement towards all the challenging aspects on the horizon. For that reason, I appreciate his return to the deeply personal focus of Venus and the Sun. The article is elegant and complex, with much to absorb and apply. I wanted to start with a simple idea and see what I could see.

I wrote about the inferior conjunction in March 2009, as it was approaching: “Significantly, during the time Venus is invisible, she will conjunct the Sun. This occurs on March 27: Venus retrograde conjuncts the Sun at 7°16’ Aries. This is an important moment in this backtracking process. For all of us, Venus going back to meet the Sun suggests an opportunity to align our desires and our sense of delight with our creative purpose. The Sun symbolizes the drive for realization and fulfillment of purpose in each of us. Venus is in Aries, pioneering her own way, and impetuous and eager for the newest pleasure . . . With the infusion of solar intent on March 27, we may find ourselves hearing a deeper — or subtler — call to what is our true heart’s desire. Whatever comes into our minds or hearts at that time may be showing us a notion of happiness that is truly sustainable.”

Adam brings in the understanding of the synodic cycle of Venus and the Sun that began with that inferior conjunction (Venus retrograde) on March 27, 2009 at 7° Aries. By viewing the entire synodic cycle, we see that the Aries imprint is behind all of her phases and aspects until the next inferior conjunction in October 2010 at 6° Scorpio.

In Adam’s words, the “governing intention” of this Venus cycle is Aries, and, in my mind, President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech on December 10 can be seen as homage to Venus in Aries. The planet of peace in the sign of war seems to stand behind the paradox, noted by many, that the prize for peace has gone to a leader waging two wars. The President’s eloquence notwithstanding, some commentators have noted that he was, in fact, making the case for endless wars. America, he said, was acting in “enlightened self-interest” and there “will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.” He also spoke to “that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls.” (1)

Mr. Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize with transiting Mars at 19° Leo conjunct his Descendant, the point that describes how others perceive him. Mars is moving slowly now, and in the degree of its retrograde station on December 20. Mars will cross the President’s Descendant in its retrograde phase on January 4, and again in May. His natal Mars, of course, is strongly connected to the U.S. chart: at 22° Virgo, it is conjunct the U.S. Neptune at 22° Virgo and square Mars at 21° Gemini. An angular transiting Mars, along with Venus in Aries’ “governing intention,” supported the President as he made what many felt was a philosophically sophisticated justification for war.

On November 30, Venus at 29° Scorpio left visibility in the morning sky and moved into the invisible underworld time. Venus’s disappearance from the sky was famously important to the Mayan astrologers who saw it as her descent into the underworld. She will reappear as the evening star on February 23 at 14° Pisces. In the middle of this time, on January 11, she makes the superior conjunction with the Sun at 21° Capricorn, whereby she is in what Adam calls “Transmutational Underworld Phase.” As he wrote last week: “What the ancients observed, and what holds true for us today, is the correlation of the superior conjunction to a transmutation of those energies standing in the way of better, more appropriate expressions of Venusian functioning.”

A lot has been written about Tiger Woods, including Robert Blaschke’s fine article last week on his connections to the U.S. horoscope. I noticed a few other things about Mr. Woods that I thought interesting: His natal Venus is in detriment at 28°32’ Scorpio, which is directly conjunct the Moon/Uranus midpoint – sudden, explosive changes in his relationships with women, or his own anima. His Jupiter/Pluto midpoint is 13° Cancer, which is also (on the 45° dial) on his natal Venus. That degree of Cancer is, of course, the U.S. Sun.  This suggests another layer of our fascination/obsession with the story.

(Black Moon Lilith watchers may be interested to see that Mr. Wood’s natal BML is at 6°46’ Aries, set off now rather strongly by the Venus-Sun conjunction in March 2009. The Black Moon Lilith is a subtle vortex point in space tied to the Moon’s orbit around the earth. Some have seen the point as connected to a deep and mysteriously unfathomable feminine force, both creative and destructive.)

Mr. Woods’ progressed Ascendant is at 26° Libra, making Venus ruler of the progressed chart. Progressed Venus is at 9°46’ Capricorn, just past the conjunction to the natal Sun at 8°57’, and being enlivened by the Full Moon eclipse on December 31 at 10°31’ Cancer.

As noted above, Venus began the invisible part of her journey on November 30, the day of his Venus return. Mr. Woods has had a Venus return as she descends into the invisible part of her cycle. What an underworld to his natal Venus we have seen, complete with alleged mistresses appearing in full bloom in garish media frenzy.

When I get back to my home office later this week, I will follow Adam’s basic suggestion to watch the synodic degrees in friends and clients charts. The January 11 Sun-Venus conjunction at 21° Capricorn (along with the North Node) is certainly an important one coming up.

Notes:

(1) Text of Obama’s Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

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An American Scandal: Tiger Woods’ Marital Infidelity

By Robert P. Blaschke | December 7, 2009

If there is one icon that the American public has come to idealize above all others in the realm of celebrated athletes, golfer Tiger Woods stands alone at the top of the mountain. A Capricorn with Virgo rising and a Sagittarius Moon, he has evolved into an international corporation unto himself and recently became the first athlete to surpass a billion dollars in earnings from his tournament victories, golf course design, and endorsement contracts.


US & Tiger Woods

The astrologer sees that his Neptune, the planet governing both idealization and scandal, is conjunct the USA Sibly chart Ascendant, exact to 02′ of arc. Additionally, Mr. Woods’ 24° Virgo Ascendant is conjunct the USA Neptune. His ability to have become so powerful can be attributed to a natal square between the Sun and Pluto, and it is precisely this same aspect that has allowed a hidden and ruthless darker side of his nature to co-exist in his life. Mr. Woods has been exposed for behaving in a self-destructive way as a sexual predator even while he was married to a beautiful wife and had become the father of two children.

Tiger Woods, progressed and transits

In the early morning hours after Thanksgiving, with transit Uranus in stationary square to his natal Moon, and transit Mercury in exact opposition to his natal retrograde Mars, Mr. Woods got into an argument with his wife over allegations published in the National Enquirer of an extra-marital affair with a New York nightclub hostess. Progressed Saturn is conjunct his progressed MC, exact to 03′ of arc, as his fall from grace occurred.

According to reports, while he was texting the other woman, his wife confronted him, the cell phone was broken in a physical struggle as she tried to place a call to the mistress, and then he was hit in the face by his wife who subsequently chased him out of the house, brandishing a golf club that then was used to smash two windows in his car as he attempted to drive away in a panic. He erratically crashed his car into a fire hydrant, and then into a neighbor’s tree, winding up unconscious on the pavement with bloodied lips.

Thus began a tragic American scandal that grew over the next several days from non-stop Internet news reports alleging as many as seven additional extra-marital sexual affairs, fueled by a gossip-prone Full Moon at 10° Gemini and Sagittarius on the following Tuesday. That Full Moon was conjunct Mr. Woods’ natal Neptune and his closely safeguarded private life was exposed to the public with all of its sordid details in a shocking, chaotic, and sudden way as Uranus stationed direct while exactly squaring his natal Moon.

The natal Sun-Pluto square that has now disgraced Mr. Woods had progressed to the trine during the last two years and it has been reported that in 2007, he was observed by National Enquirer reporters having a sexual tryst in an Orlando parking lot. To suppress that news from going public, Mr. Woods agreed to a photo shoot for a magazine owned by the parent company of the Enquirer. What is of interest to astrologers about this time period is that in 2007, his progressed IC (private life) conjoined his natal Mercury (media).

Astute astrologers will observe that the midpoint of progressed Sun and Pluto had come to 12°32′ Sagittarius at the time his secret life unraveled into scandal, conjunct his natal Neptune by 02′ of arc. The recent lunar eclipse of August 5th, at 13° Leo-Aquarius, had exactly conjoined his progressed Sun, coinciding with his last Mars return.

Insight into the essence of Mr. Woods’ nature can be obtained by a careful study of his rising degree. From Sepharial’s translation of La Volasfera, for Virgo 25° we find:

Crossed swords, over which is seen a crown.

It indicates a person of a military, aggressive character, and who will take things by force and cut his way through life by dint of energy and executive ability. He will have many and powerful enemies, but will overcome them. Yet peace will not abide with the man of war, and the native, while gaining fame, will lose his happiness in life. It is a degree of AGGRESSION.

And from Charubel, Virgo 25°:

A golden ball suspended from the ceiling of a circular hall.

This is very mystical; there is something about this person that he never makes known. At the same time it is that which lends a charm to his life; it endows him with a power to fascinate those who may be favoured with his company.

During this era of its progressed Venus in detriment in Aries (1993-2019), American culture has descended into a sorry state of vulgarity and coarseness. This year, as the progressed Venus and Mars reached their opposition while in mutual reception, and in detriment, for the first time in American history, one feels as if the sexual values in our society have evolved into a disturbing and dysfunctional amorality.

US natal & progressed & Tiger progressedTiger Woods’ progressed Jupiter is currently at 19° Aries and exactly conjunct that USA progressed Venus in detriment. Somehow, through this tragic scandal that has disgraced him as a husband and a father, and has ushered his wife into sorrow and despair as her spouse stands accused of multiple infidelities, a moral lesson is playing out in our society.

US progressed & Jupiter-Neptune

Countless reputations of the famous and powerful have been tarnished by scandal as the USA progressed Midheaven has been squared multiple times by transit Neptune. This year, with Jupiter and Chiron both conjoined to Neptune and in square to that progressed MC, the irrational obsession with scandal in our culture has spun completely out of control. The new Internet media is largely to blame for this insatiable appetite for gossip. One sees that the USA progressed MC is spending a year passing through the May 2000 Grand Conjunction (Jupiter conjunct Saturn) degree of 22° Taurus.

The astrologer observes that at the time of the third and final conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune on December 21st, transit Chiron will be precisely conjunct the USA progressed Mercury, exact to the minute of arc. Chiron, symbolizing shame, humiliation, and disgrace, will have its light translated by the Moon to the alignment of Jupiter and Neptune. One hopes that a soul-searching in American society will take place and the value of restraint, proper standards of journalism, and the right to privacy will be reaffirmed.

Tiger & US Davison chart

To understand the relationship between Mr. Woods and the United States of America, one consults the Davison Time-Space chart cast for their two births. Here we find a hidden and intercepted 12th-house triple conjunction of Venus, Mars, and Pluto, the latter planet at 22° Taurus and conjunct the Grand Conjunction degree of May 2000. A more apt symbol for a hidden and predatory sexual addiction by a person of wealth cannot be imagined. Remarkably, Mercury (ruling the media) is conjunct Woods’ natal Descendant (ruling marriage).

The Davison Moon at 25° Cancer will be opposed by the upcoming solar eclipse on January 15th, and the Davison Mars in detriment in Taurus is conjunct Mr. Woods’ 9th-house cusp of morals and ethics, exact to 04′ of arc. That January eclipse will also be conjoined by Venus at 25° Capricorn, closely conjunct Mr. Woods’ natal Mercury and the U.S. Pluto, and astrologers would expect this scandal to persist in the media until mid-January.

Tiger & transits

Neptune will turn retrograde on May 31st while holding a stationary square to Mr Woods’ natal Venus at 28° Scorpio. One suspects that his problem with sexual addiction will become a national dialogue. This aspect is notorious in astrology for sexually transmitted diseases and one hopes that his poor wife has not been infected from his promiscuity. This is not a hopeful sign for either his marriage or for his finances. Reports are circulating that he has offered his wife a revised pre-nuptial agreement in the amount of $80 million in order to try and keep his marriage and the children together as a family.

The Saturn transit over Mr. Woods’ Ascendant, and now through his first quadrant, informs us that a 14-year chapter of his life has ended with Saturn above his horizon (Saturn transited his Descendant in 1995-1996), and that he has begun an inward journey to find his soul as Saturn transits below his horizon for the next fifteen years. The first Uranus-Pluto square in June 2012 will be at 8° of cardinal signs and in exact aspect to his natal Sun.

As the waning square of Saturn, exalted in the sign of justice, Libra, and Pluto in the sign of social status, Capricorn, forms in the heavens, the astrologer ruminates as to whether any individual who has reached the pinnacle of success in society, but who has abused his power and authority along the way, will now be chastened and brought down to earth. The progression of Mr. Woods’ Midheaven into its conjunction with progressed Saturn not only symbolizes his fall from grace, but also teaches the astrologer about the importance of the progressed angles.

Natal Sun square Pluto is an aspect of loss, death, and rebirth. Whether Mr. Woods will have to lose his family in order to transmute into a better human being is known only to God. His children are both less than three years old and, in the end, one hopes that he can restore himself as a husband and a father and be there to love and help raise his children.

© 2009 Robert P. Blaschke

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