TMA This Week

Sonia Sotomayor

By Mary Plumb | June 8, 2009

On May 26, 2009 President Obama introduced his choice for Supreme Court Justice. Sonia Sotomayor was born on June 25, 1954 in New York City. (1) Her birth time is unknown, but we can look at the noon chart for the day she was born, as well as her connections to the U.S. horoscope.

Sonia Sotomayor & U.S. Sibly

Like the U.S. Sibly horoscope, Sotomayor has the Sun conjunct Jupiter in Cancer. The South Node, Mercury and Uranus are also in Cancer in her natal horoscope.

On the day of her nomination Sotomayor said: “For as long as I can remember, I have been inspired by the achievement of our founding fathers. They set forth principles that have endured for more than two centuries. Those principles are as meaningful and relevant in each generation as the generation before.” (2) This strong connection to the founding fathers echoes Cancer’s respect for the past and tradition.

Sotomayor’s natal Mercury (18° Cancer) is conjunct Uranus (22° Cancer), which is also conjunct the Sibly Mercury (24° Cancer). Although most assessments of her record thus far indicate that she will be a moderate voice on the Court, perhaps she will surprise with a more radical view than her history suggests.

In her natal horoscope, Mercury is conjunct the South Node and had just stationed retrograde two days before she was born. (It went direct by progression when she was 21 or 22 years old.) The very slowly moving Mercury at birth shows a deliberate turn of mind. The Sibly chart also has Mercury retrograde in Cancer. Perhaps the judge’s Mercury retrograde with the South Node is echoed in her statement: “I chose to be a lawyer and ultimately a judge because I find endless challenge in the complexities of the law.” (3)

The Cancer stellium also speaks to her interest in supporting families and the much discussed “empathy” factor. If confirmed, she will be the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court, and the first Latina justice.

Sotomayor has an exact natal sextile between Saturn at 2° Scorpio and Mars at 2° Capricorn. This indication of success through hard work and focused effort gains even more strength due to the mutual reception between the two planets. They not only have the opportunity to act together (being in aspect), but the strong inclination to do so (mutual reception). (Born into a modest background, Sotomayor was the first person in her family to go to college; she graduated at the top of her class from Princeton. Her father died when she was nine — at the half-nodal return — and she was raised by her mother.)

Sotomayor’s prominence in the U.S. is also indicated by her natal Sun at 3° Cancer, a partile conjunction with the U.S. Venus at 3°06′ Cancer. The judge’s natal Venus is at 9° Leo, quite close to the U.S. North Node at 6°36′ Leo.

Confirmation of her nomination is expected within the next several months. Since transiting Pluto is conjunct her natal Mars and opposing her Sun, I think she is ready and willing to stand up to any potential derailments in the confirmation proceedings.

The upcoming lunar eclipse (July 7 at 14°32′ Capricorn) exactly conjuncts her nodal axis, showing an important moment in the unfolding of her life path (natal North Node is at 14° Capricorn.)

The asteroid Astraea, a goddess of justice, is at 17°53′ Virgo in Sotomayor’s natal horoscope. Transiting Saturn was at 15° on May 26. By mid-July, Saturn will make its third and final passage to her natal Astraea, surely a nice signature for her recognition as the Supreme Court’s newest member.

Notes:

(1) Wikipedia

(2) CNN

(3) CNN

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Tension Mounts on the Korean Peninsula

By Robert P. Blaschke | June 1, 2009

On May 25 North Korea conducted its second underground nuclear test and the next day, in addition to test firing short-range ballistic missiles, the isolated regime and international pariah unilaterally withdrew from its 1953 armistice treaty with South Korea.

Astrologers will observe that the June 1950 outbreak of the Korean War has now had its second Saturn return. Will hostilities continue to escalate?

Your correspondent has rectified the mundane horoscope for the outbreak of the Korean War. According to military records, hostilities commenced in the pre-dawn hours of June 25, 1950 when the North Korean army crossed the DMZ,  invaded the South, and wound up occupying Seoul in just three days.

Rectifying the war chart to 04:29:10 AM local time places the Ascendant at 21°22′ Gemini, which is precisely conjunct the U.S. Sibly Mars (exact to the degree and minute of arc). Progressing this war chart diurnally (using 19:29:10 GMT of the previous evening – the equivalent to 04:29:10 AM local time the next morning) to North Korea’s unilateral withdrawal from its armistice with the South on May 26 (May 25 GMT), one finds transit Mars in an exact-to-the-minute-of-arc conjunction with the war chart’s progressed MC. (1) The Sun in the war chart has also progressed to a conjunction with the IC (end of matter), exact to 03′ of arc.

With so much bellicose rhetoric coming out of Pyongyang, and the nullification of the truce ending the Korean War, it is no wonder that the retrograde station of Uranus in 26° Pisces is exactly opposite the progressed Mercury in the 1950 war chart. North Korea’s arrogant and cocky flexing of its military muscle can also be clearly seen in the progressed Mars of the war chart now applying to a trine with Jupiter (exact to 02′).

It has been this writer’s experience that the Galactic Center degree of 26° Sagittarius is highly malefic and here we find the war chart’s current secondary progressed Moon. In December 1941, for example, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and brought the United States into World War II, the U.S. Sibly progressed Sun had just entered 26° Sagittarius the month before. In April 1865, the month that President Lincoln was assassinated, the U.S. Sibly Midheaven was also in 26° Sagittarius.

Korean War Tri-Wheel

Indications of severe international condemnation for this unpredictable and isolated country are also evident in the mundane horoscope for North Korea. Saturn is transiting its national Sun three times, with the final pass becoming exact on June 27. What is quite disturbing, and a troubling indication of the possibility for a violent outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsula, is the direct station of Pluto in 00°39′ Capricorn on September 11, of all days, in exact opposition to the North Korean Uranus. These planets, with their rulerships of plutonium and uranium, can be associated with the potential for the usage of nuclear weapons.

Sober astrologers will take no heart in the progressed Sun-Pluto square in the North Korean horoscope nearing exactitude. The nearly exact progressed trine of Mars and Pluto (2) is a further indication that the North now has the technology mastered in order to put a nuclear warhead onto a ballistic missile. Japan is in range of the nuclear capabilities of North Korea and with the progressed Mars in the 1950 war chart in the same degree as the progressed MC in the North Korean horoscope, one should not expect U.N. Security Council sanctions to do anything other than to prod this regime to pull the trigger on the South or to engage in naval warfare with the United States if interdiction of its vessels is attempted.

Kim Jong-il Tri-Wheel

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, at an annual meeting of defense and security officials in Singapore, recently stated that North Korea’s progress on nuclear weapons and long-range missiles is “a harbinger of a dark future” and he also said that “We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in Asia – or on us.”

In order to properly assess the mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the likelihood of war breaking out, astrologers should also examine the nativity and progressed horoscope of Kim Jong-il, the eccentric and despotic leader of the North Korean people. (3)

Remarkably, the retrograde station of Jupiter in 27°01′ Aquarius precisely conjoins his Sun. As transit Pluto forms a cardinal t-cross with his lunar nodes in 02° Aries–Libra, he has arrived at his “life-purpose moment.” Will the irrational hubris of Jupiter further delude him into launching a nuclear war? Or will the planet signifying one’s guardian angels whisper into his ear and tell him that he cannot unleash the violent destruction that an ill-thought-out commencement of war with the U.S. would bring to earth.

His erratic and unpredictable behavior can be seen in the Aquarius Sun in square to Uranus. He was born at the Grand Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 9° Taurus in 1941 and his natal Uranus is in the exact degree of the May 2000 Jupiter-Saturn alignment. In addition, his progressed Jupiter is also passing through the 23rd degree of Taurus over a four-year period. The direct station of Mercury on May 30 occurred in 22°52′ Taurus.

Much has been written about his love of cognac and Hollywood films, his fear of flying, and a penchant for beautiful women. Astrologers see that he is highly intelligent, as he possesses one of C.E.O. Carter’s six aspects of raw brainpower – a sextile of the Sun and Mars (sextiles and trines of the Sun to Mars, Jupiter or Uranus make up this category of “mensa aspects”).

It is distressing to speculate that during the month of June, the future of the world hinges on the decision of one isolated world leader who with the push of a button could unleash unspeakable devastation upon humanity. One must have faith that the upcoming conjunction of Venus and Mars in the power degree of 15° Taurus at the Cancer ingress on June 21 will favor peace over war. Venus is in dignity while Mars is in detriment, and one prays that another page of world history will be turned without a chapter of war again having to be written.

References:

(1) Using solar arc in longitude progression of the MC.

(2) Both of these are progressed-to-progressed aspects.

(3) Kim Jong-il; Feb 16 1941; Vyatskoye, Soviet Union (48°N16′ 135°E06′); 12:00 PM UZ9. Source: Wikipedia, noon chart used.

© 2009 Robert P. Blaschke

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The Troubled U.S. Automobile Industry: Another Giant About to Fall

By Robert P. Blaschke | May 18, 2009

With Saturn turning direct in 14° Virgo and holding a stationary conjunction to the General Motors Corporation progressed ruler, Jupiter, it has become increasingly clear that this once formidable auto manufacturer will not be able to restructure itself by the June 1st deadline imposed by the U.S. government and GM will have to enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

GM Tri Wheel

Astrologers understand that a progressed opposition of the Sun and a retrograde superior planet is the most karmic point in that planet’s synodic cycle, as it is nearest to Earth at that point in its orbit and is exerting maximum influence.

One sees that the General Motors horoscope has arrived at its progressed Full Moon and at a progressed opposition of the Sun and Neptune, underpinning the dissolution of a once great company whose business has become completely undermined by the recession and its distorted financial obligations to its unionized retirees.

With progressed Saturn in a partile (exact to the degree and minute of arc) opposition with the GM Sun, the company’s day of reckoning has come. According to news reports, General Motors will send termination notices to 1,100 of its car dealers, about 20% of its 6,000 U.S. dealerships. The transit of Pluto in 2010 in square to the GM Sun will allow the company to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and to rebuild and reinvent itself.

Since the U.S. progressed Mercury stationed retrograde in 1994, it has been only a matter of time for the relentless decline in the American auto industry to reach its critical juncture. The station of Neptune in 24° Aquarius in 2008, exactly on the U.S. Sibly horoscope’s third cusp, and the transit of Neptune over the U.S. progressed Mercury have been the astrological underpinnings for this current crisis.

Astrologers can hope that by the third Jupiter-Saturn opposition of late March 2011, which falls in 14° of Aries and Libra and coincides with the U.S. Saturn return, the American automobile industry will be on the rebound. Saturn rules the Sibly third house and its return will mark a new 30-year era in Detroit.

Another of Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Chrysler Motors, filed for bankruptcy on April 30th exactly at its Uranus return, 84 years after its incorporation in June 1925. Its ruler, Mercury, progressed into retrograde motion some years ago and is now about to receive the transit opposition of Neptune as the company dissolves and closes about 790 of its 3,189 U.S. dealerships.

With a retrograde Mercury in opposition to Pluto in the U.S. horoscope, it is no wonder that the American automobile industry has a historical pattern of repeating crisis and transformation.

Notes

1 The GM progressed Saturn stationed direct in November 1978. That month, a 1973 Monte Carlo Chevrolet, burst into flames after it was struck by a pickup truck that crossed the median of the Kansas Turnpike and six people were killed. Attorneys for Ulysses Betts, 10 years old, the sole survivor, and other relatives held that GM had been negligent in placing the fuel tank under the trunk and asked $45 million in damages. In 1983, a jury cleared the General Motors Corporation of responsibility for the automobile crash.

In 1947, when the GM progressed Saturn, in retrograde motion, made its first exact opposition to the Sun, the founder of General Motors, William C. Durant, died.

© 2009 Robert P. Blaschke

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Rachel Corrie

By Mary Plumb | May 4, 2009

Rachel Corrie was an American activist who died in Gaza in the Palestinian Territories in March 2003. She was a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Corrie was acting as a human shield to protect the home of a Palestinian family when she was killed by a bulldozer operated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Although the events surrounding her death are in dispute  — her actions are seen as heroic by some, and as reckless and provocative by others — she has gained admiration in many quarters for the bravery of her actions, as well as for her eloquent writings.

There has been extensive international media coverage of her story, “in part because she was an American, and in part because of the highly politicized nature of the conflict itself.” (1)

Her journals and e-mails have been made public and her views on the situation in Gaza have been noted for the compassion with which she viewed the Palestinian’s plight.

Since I don’t have a birth time for Rachel Corrie, I am herein looking at a sunrise chart. I will only mention those things that were in place for the entire day and not speculate on the Ascendant or Moon sign (it did change from Virgo to Libra on the afternoon she was born).

Rachel  was born on a Tuesday (Mars’s day) with the Sun, Mars and Juno in Aries, the sign of the warrior. The Sun is in exaltation and Mars is in rulership in Aries. Juno is sensitive to those who are powerless; in Aries she will act bravely (or heedlessly?) for balance of power.

She also had Mercury, Venus and the South Node in Pisces, a signature of her ability to empathize deeply with, and write sensitively about, the conditions in Gaza. The Pisces fish swim in many directions. She has both “been praised as a heroic martyr and denounced as a misguided, ill-informed naïf.” (2)

Rachel was born with the Sun in Aries opposite to Pluto, so being drawn to dangerous situations and events of great magnitude was natural for her. Uranus at 20° Scorpio is exactly inconjunct the Sun as well; aside from the ability to see things in a radical way, this can also be seen as a signature of the sudden and abrupt end of her life.

The Sun at 20° Aries is also trine Neptune at 20°24’ Sagittarius in the natal chart. At her death, on March 16, 2003, transiting Pluto at 19°56’ Sagittarius was conjunct Neptune and trine the natal Sun. We might see this as an indication of a life infused by idealism to a larger cause (Sun trine Neptune) that nevertheless ended tragically and with significant implications (Pluto).

Since there is no time for her birth, let’s look at the prenatal solar eclipse degree. The eclipse was on February 26, 1979 at 8:45 am PST set for her birthplace in Olympia, Washington.

Prenatal Solar Eclipse

Although I have other degree symbols on hand, I find the Sabian symbol as recorded by Marc Edmund Jones to be the most relevant:

The degree of the eclipse is:
“Pisces 8. A girl blowing a bugle. Keyword: Summons
Theme: A Call to Action” (3)

Corrie’s natal Saturn was at 8° Virgo; she was literally displaying the Call to Action when she died.

Transiting Mercury was at 20° Pisces on the day she died. In the prenatal solar eclipse chart, the South Node at 17° Pisces was conjunct Juno (19°) and Mercury at (22°). Mercury is a teller of tales and Pisces, of course, favors the underdog and the disenfranchised. Along with her own journals there have been many songs written about Rachel Corrie, as well as a controversial play (“My Name is Rachel Corrie”) that was performed in London and New York. This week a documentary film about her premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC. The film, “Rachel,” (which is apparently sympathetic to Rachel and her activist friends) was made by a Moroccan-born Jewish filmmaker. (4)

Transiting Pluto was prominent at her death, as it conjoined natal Neptune.  But the less personal side of Neptune seems also to have been strengthened as her story is being told again and again in different venues and from different perspectives.

It is also interesting to see that Rachel’s Sun in Aries is in aspect to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto — she was pulled by the collective issues of the time. She was in a dangerous situation when events moved quickly and her life ended suddenly. Her story, however, continues to be told and her work continues. Her parents have set up foundations and launched projects in memory of their daughter and to continue her work.  In an interview soon after Rachel died, her mother said:
“She wanted to open our eyes to this side of the conflict, that Americans, in general, do not understand. She felt that this is an unbalanced conflict between a powerful military force that has the support of the U.S. and people who have no power. She was for all humanity, against the suffering of the Israelis and against the suicide attacks. But she felt the Palestinian side is invisible and that’s why she chose to be there.”  (5)

Footnotes:
(1) wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Corrie

(2) boston.com/ae/theater_arts

(3) The Sabian Symbols by Diana E. Roche, Trafford Publishing, 1998.

(4) www.salon.com

(5) www.haaretz.com

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Direct Station of Venus Exalted in Pisces

By Robert P. Blaschke | April 20, 2009

With the the opening words to “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, an underdog Scottish singer with the voice of an angel has captivated the world.

… I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving …

… Then I was young and unafraid
When dreams were made and used
And wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung
No wine untasted…

With last year’s ingress of Pluto into Capricorn, a global economic crisis engulfed humanity and plunged the world into despair. Millions of unemployed have lost health-care benefits. Millions more are behind on mortgage payments. Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes to bank foreclosures. Staggering credit card debt for those who have lived beyond their means will never be repaid. Banks have gone into insolvency or are barely surviving on taxpayer bailouts from the government.

Such a desolate and hopeless landscape in which the world finds itself! The recent retrograde Venus in detriment in Aries had millions of people holding their heads in sorrow as they pondered depleted investment or retirement accounts decimated by the stock market crash of last fall. Each evening, the nightly news would be watched to find any glimmers of hope for a resuscitated economy or good news on the job front.

On Saturday, April 11, retrograde Venus made her ingress back into Pisces, sign of her exaltation. She would be stationing direct the next week on April 17 in the final degree of the zodiac, once again to ingress back into her detriment in Aries on April 24 at the Taurus New Moon. The world yearned for 13 days of relief as Venus stationed in her exalted sign in the most karmic degree of the zodiac.

… But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hopes apart
As they turn your dreams to shame …


Susan Boyle Birth Chart

That Saturday night, on the Britain’s Got Talent TV show, a homely 48-year-old spinster named Susan Magdalen Boyle, microphone in hand, fearlessly took the stage and faced the sneers of the judges and the audience. Ian Youngs, entertainment reporter for the BBC News, wrote:

“Last Saturday, viewers saw Boyle, with double chin, unkempt hair, frumpy appearance and eccentric demeanour, step onto the talent show stage and proclaim her dream of being a professional singer. The judges rolled their eyes and the audience pulled incredulous faces. Onlookers, on set and at home, were rubbing their hands at the prospect of another hopeless, deluded loser being crushed by a withering Simon Cowell insult. Then she opened her mouth and sang I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables. Her voice confounded all expectations — the judges’ eyes bulged, the crowd went wild and Boyle became an instant star.”

Over the next week, a YouTube video of her performance was viewed more than 30 million times by people around the world; many were brought to tears by the operatic beauty of her soaring voice as their hearts were pierced by her angelic presence.

… And still I dream he’ll come to me
And we will live our lives together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms
We cannot weather …

During her backstage comments, Ms. Boyle revealed that she lived alone in her village of Blackburn with her cat, Pebbles. She also stated that she had never been married; indeed, she said she had never even been kissed by a man. Her natal Venus is retrograde in Aries and square Saturn — one’s heart aches for the barren existence she has had to endure. It was also revealed that she is the youngest child of nine from a Roman Catholic family and that she had cared for her ailing mother until she passed away in 2007 at the age of 91. Susan had always aspired to be a singer, and her mother had encouraged her to audition for that British TV talent show.

… I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seems
Now life has killed
The dream I dreamed …

To what can an astrologer attribute the sudden fame and global acclaim for Ms. Boyle? Surely, her nativity must contain a hidden seed that has now borne fruit. (1)

For each of us, there is a powerful degree in the zodiac that remains charged, or filled with life-giving power, throughout our earthly existence. This degree is that of our prenatal solar eclipse. Susan Boyle’s prenatal eclipse occurred on February 15, 1961 at 26° Aquarius.

Remarkably, now that she has become a worldwide symbol for the hope and faith required to never give up on one’s dream, we see that the upcoming conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in late May, itself an alignment of hope and transcendence, will fall precisely on Ms. Boyle’s prenatal solar eclipse.

We may ask, “What about all of the other souls born in 1961 with this degree as their prenatal eclipse?” (2) At the time of Ms. Boyle’s birth, 15° Aquarius culminated on the Midheaven. Since the meridian of the nativity moves one degree each four minutes of clock time, a person’s MC is rather unique and can only occur once a day for a few minutes. Astrologers know that 15° of the fixed signs are the “power degrees” of the zodiac, and Aquarius is the sign that rules radio and television broadcasting.

When the prenatal solar eclipse is calculated for Susan Boyle’s place of birth, the 20th degree of Pisces is rising, and the Galactic Center degree in 26° Sagittarius is culminating. From Charubel’s The Degrees of the Zodiac Symbolized, (3) we find the all-important rising degree symbol for 20° Pisces to be:

An angel blowing a trumpet.

Denotes one whose office will be to publish to the world some important message: a message having a bearing on the social or spiritual condition of mankind. A preacher, a lecturer, or some popular person.

It has been speculated that Susan Boyle will win the TV talent show and go on to become an international singing sensation with a multimillion-pound recording contract. Having been born at the Full Moon with an exalted Sun, and with Pluto conjunct her North Node, her life purpose is to become a powerful and transformational human being. Pluto stationed on her Descendant in 2007–08 and is now above her natal horizon for the first time in her life, so she is on her way to living her purpose.

Just when the world needed it most, an innocent and guileless soul with the voice of an angel stepped onto the stage of life and lifted millions of weary spirits up to higher ground. With each tear shed upon listening to her moving rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables, one more human being was immersed in the healing waters of a stationary direct Venus exalted in Pisces.

May every middle-aged woman afraid that her age would keep her from realizing her dreams be inspired by the courage of Susan Boyle. At the time of her exact progressed Mars–Jupiter opposition, she has become a blood transfusion for those who have been drained of hope.

… I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving …

Notes:

(1) Birth data are from Ms. Caroline Gerard of The Scottish Astrological Association, who obtained the birth certificate from the records office of the Scottish New Register House. The sole entry for Blackburn, Scotland listed in many astrology software atlases shows the incorrect latitude and longitude for a Blackburn in Aberdeenshire, not for the correct second Blackburn in West Lothian. Susan Boyle, April 1, 1961; 9:50 a.m. GMD; Blackburn (West Lothian), Scotland (55°N52’, 03°W38’).

(2) It should also be pointed out that the new U.S. president, Barack Obama, born August 4, 1961, has the same prenatal solar eclipse as Ms. Boyle.

(3) First published in 1898 and now out of print.

© 2009 Robert P. Blaschke

Note from Mary Plumb: A more extensive version of this article will be published by Maurice Fernandez in his Major Sky e-zine on the Taurus New Moon this week, April 24. Check his web site for details: Maurice Fernandez

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Lights Dimmed on Broadway

By Mary Plumb | March 23, 2009

Actress Natasha Richardson died in New York City on March 18, after a head injury suffered in a fall during a ski lesson on March 16. She was born on May 11, 1963 in London (1). The birth chart has the Sun at 20°15’ Taurus, squared by Mars at 19°29’ Leo and Saturn at 22°41’ Aquarius. (Mars and Saturn are opposite one another and both square the Sun.)

The February 9 solar eclipse at 20°52’ Leo was conjunct her natal Mars, which, therefore, triggered the natal pattern.

The Combination of Stellar Influences, Reinhold Ebertin’s classic text on midpoints, calls the Mars/Saturn midpoint, “the tendency to get hurt or injured.” (2) In aspect to the Sun, representing the life force, this can suggest an injury that is life threatening.

As the last planet visible to the naked eye, Saturn represents the terminus, the boundaries of life as we can see it. In 1986, Saturn turned retrograde by progression; at her death, progressed Saturn was exactly back to the natal degree, i.e., 22°41’ Aquarius.

A further indicator of an accident or injury is seen by transiting Mars at 1°14’ Pisces, opposite natal Uranus (1°09’ Virgo). The progressed Midheaven had also come to 1°03’ Virgo, conjunct natal Uranus. Both points were therefore opposed by transiting Mars.

Venus, natally placed in Aries, rules the natal first and eighth houses. If the birth time is correct, the Ascendant is 13° Libra. At the time of the accident, transiting Venus was retrograde and conjunct the Descendant at 13° Aries. As a sad tribute to both Aries’s insouciance and life’s fragility, the actress was reported to have been laughing and talking after the fall. It was only after several hours that her injuries became apparent and her condition deteriorated with shocking speed. It was subsequently determined that the “blunt blow had caused internal bleeding which formed a clot (an epidural haematoma) which in turn placed pressure on her brain.” (3)

Tributes from friends spoke of her “luminosity,” “radiance” and “generosity,” all qualities astrologers can readily imagine when seeing the beautiful fire trine in her birth chart: Moon (23° Sagittarius) trine Venus (21° Aries) and Mars (19° Leo).

Sadly, the lights on Broadway were dimmed the night after she died for a minute as a tribute to her passing. Natasha Richardson’s progressed Ascendant had come to natal Neptune at 14° Scorpio. One feels that her memory will live long. May she rest in peace.

Notes:

(1) www.astro.com/astro-databank

(2) Reinhold Ebertin, The Combination of Stellar Influences, Wurttemberg, Germany: Ebertin-Verlag, 1972, p. 156.

(3) scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com

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Treasury Department at the Full Moon

By Mary Plumb | March 9, 2009

Last week my blog took a more pleasurable turn — towards Venus and her potential to charm — but today I am looking again at the U.S. Sibly and President Obama’s charts.

Obama has had several aspects in his progressed chart perfect in these past few months. Perfected progressed aspects are always significant in a life time; since they move slowly and gradually, once they are exact, an important life theme may be noted. Looking back a bit, in June 2008 his progressed Mercury conjoined progressed Mars at 23° Libra, aligned with the beautiful fixed star, Spica.

Progressed Mercury (23° Libra) squared progressed Saturn (23° Capricorn) on November 11, a few days after the election. This is certainly the signature of serious business at hand, an inner readiness to face Saturn’s realities, and maybe even the ability to be gracious, eloquent and inspiring at the same time (Mercury in Libra with Spica).

Now, Obama’s progressed Mars (ruler of the Aries progressed Ascendant) is square to progressed Saturn. This was exact on March 3, within a few days of front-page news (and photos) of Obama’s hair starting to turn white since the inauguration. Leave it to Saturn to leave his mark of sobriety and gravitas whenever he can.

My interest was piqued this weekend by an NPR report saying that the administration has been caught off guard by the magnitude of the problems and that the financial crisis is happening so quickly that events are running away from them. A New York Times article this morning made similar points. Basically, the staff, i.e., the people needed to run the Treasury Department, is not in place to deal with the complexity of problems.

Granted, the Treasury Department has inherited an unprecedented mess. “With the economy plunging into its deepest recession since the early 1980s, the Treasury has been put in charge of vast swaths of the economy, including rescuing the financial system, the housing market and the automobile industry.” (1)

We know that one keynote of this time is the ongoing opposition between Saturn and Uranus. The necessity of keeping systems and structures (Saturn) up and running, and at the same time, flexible enough to respond to unprecedented challenge (Uranus), is obvious everywhere we look.

The Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, was born in the same month as the president. (2) Both are sun sign Leos — Geithner was born on August 18, 1961, and the President on August 4. Obama has already had the transit of Neptune opposite the natal Sun (2003-04). Geithner has the Sun conjunct Uranus and the North Node, suggesting a unique capacity for visionary leadership. However, the transit of Neptune opposite his Sun will be exact for the first time on March 19, then in August 2009 and Jan 2010. Hopefully, this Neptune transit will increase the Secretary’s ability to surround himself with people of creative imagination, and diminish any tendency to deny what is happening in the economy.

Being an astrologer attuned to Pluto’s just-beginning long passage in Capricorn, I generally agree with commentators who say that the government is not recognizing what is really going on, i.e., the depth of change that is necessary to address the demands of the time.

I think many of us recognize that the people in charge need to think differently and act quickly in response to what is unraveling. I found it disheartening that the same Wall Street minds who, in part, are responsible for the financial mess were chosen by the Obama administration to fix it. (Geithner was former head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin, currently working in the Treasury Department, were secretaries of the Treasury under Bill Clinton.)

And, I think that much of the current criticism of the President is childish; this is a long-term problem and there will be no quick fixes. I also trust something about Obama — his presence, his heart, his capacity to sense the future, not to mention the astrology that ties him so strongly to this moment in history.

President Obama gave his very well received address to Congress on February 24, within a few days of Jupiter’s one-time exact opposition to his regal Leo Sun. (If you missed it and want to see Jupiter at his best, watch it on YouTube.  It may very well lift your spirits. (3)

Interrupted continuously by standing ovations, this was Jupiter on display with a Leo Sun. Most reporters praised the talk as striking the right tone between optimism (i.e., “We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before”) and a sober assessment of the country’s economy.

A quick sketch of the U.S. chart reminds us of some of the rough roads ahead: The first exact transit of Pluto opposite the U.S. Venus at 3° Cancer is not until May 2, to be followed by partile aspects again on December 26 and August 9, 2010. To say that actual loss of assets – as well as a pervasive fear of even greater loss – is a nationwide concern might be an understatement.

Saturn rules the U.S. second house, which symbolizes the banks and financial institutions of the nation. In August 2009, when transiting Saturn gets to 22°25’ Virgo it will conjunct the U.S. natal Neptune. Looking back for a moment, on December 31, 2008 transiting Saturn stationed retrograde at 21°46’ Virgo, within a degree of the U.S. Neptune. But it doesn’t cross exactly until August. This certainly gives credence to the widespread suggestion that many more U.S. banks will fail before we are out of the woods.

The U.S. progressed Moon (how the people feel now) is square both natal and progressed Uranus. Next week, on March 19, the progressed Moon (6°59’ Virgo) is square progressed Uranus (6°59’ Gemini). On May 16, the Moon’s square to natal Uranus is exact (8°55’ Virgo to 8°55’ Gemini). We all know that Virgo has a tendency to worry, and squares in mutable signs can increase nervous energy and heighten anxiety. The national psyche has the jitters; we can’t find anything to settle in to. CNBC commentators notwithstanding, maybe the whole country should switch to decaf for these next few months.

Notes:

(1) Geithner, With Few Aides, Is Scrambling

(2) Timothy Geithner’s birthday, August 18, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, found on his Facebook page.

(3) Many thanks to my good friend, Peggy Markel, for the suggestion.

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Hugh Hefner: Leader of an Empire

By Jan de Prosse | February 16, 2009

After reading a short interview with Hugh Hefner in Time magazine, I became curious about his 8th house and decided to investigate.

Hugh Hefner is the famous American entrepreneur who founded Playboy magazine in 1953. He is now a film producer and book publisher; he owns a record company, theaters, a model agency, gambling casinos, and a limo service — and he also markets Playboy bunny paraphernalia. (You’ve undoubtedly seen those mud flaps with the image of a Playboy bunny on trucks in the U.S.). By the time Hefner was 40, he was worth well over $100 million.

He was raised in Puritanical fashion by Methodist parents in a typical Midwestern home. It would seem that he has fallen pretty far from the tree, though. In 1960, he founded the Playboy Club and began to live the lifestyle that is now typified by the word “playboy.” Let’s see what his chart can tell us.

Hugh Hefner, April 9, 1926; 4:20 p.m. CST; Chicago, IL, USA (41°N51’, 87°W39’); AA: Birth certificate in hand.

Hefner has no planets in the 8th house — only Chiron.

Hefner chart

Since he was raised in a household where demonstration of affection was not allowed, perhaps the presence of the Wounded Healer means that intimate relations with other humans (of the feminine persuasion) serve to compensate for the lack he suffered in childhood. But he has the Sun in Aries (close to the 8th-house cusp), so whatever he does, he will do it his way. The Aries Sun, ruled by Mars, symbolizes intimacy based on eroticism.

Hefner has Mars in the 5th house of play, and Mars is in Aquarius, lending him detachment (as opposed to intimacy). Since Hefner brags that he has slept with at least 1,000 women, he does not appear to favor longevity in his sexual relations.

He is definitely in a Venusian business, and he has the Moon and Venus in sensitive Pisces. In our culture, the expression of vulnerability is not appreciated in the male of the species, so Piscean men tend to hide their sensitive nature. The Moon in Pisces speaks of dissolving boundaries — ignoring or rebelling against societal rules, which Hefner certainly did when he first pushed the envelope of allowable nudity in a respectable magazine. He is quoted as saying: “I never intended to be a revolutionary. My intention was to create a mainstream men’s magazine that included sex in it. That turned out to be a very revolutionary idea.”

It is interesting that he has Puritanical Virgo on the Ascendant, but that placement would certainly give him a strong work ethic.

I would certainly expect to find a prominent Jupiter in this man’s chart. Well, it’s in the 5th house, where it exaggerates the recreational aspects of sex. And he has inflatable Jupiter square Saturn in Scorpio in his chart.

Lastly, Hefner has Uranus on the cusp of the 7th, leading to unconventional relationships. But this man is beyond unconventional; he himself did quite a bit to demolish the existing conventions in the 1950s, when he first pioneered his own unique recipe for success in a male-dominated world.


Biographical data is from Lois Rodden’s AstroDatabank software.

Jan de Prosse is Managing Editor of The Mountain Astrologer magazine.

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Eclipses and the President

By Mary Plumb | February 9, 2009

The January 26 solar eclipse was at 6°30’ Aquarius, exactly conjunct President Obama’s natal Saturn/Ascendant midpoint (6°41’ Aquarius). The Saturn/Ascendant midpoint speaks of self-confidence, responsibility and serious personal demands, as well as suggesting a hint of isolation and sensitivity to confinement. Occurring so soon after the oath of office, we can assume this to be one of the keynotes of his term. This eclipse was also conjunct the US Sibly second house South Node (6°36’Aquarius), i.e., “Where did all the money go?”

On February 6, a news article began with the question: “Is President Obama already feeling cooped up in the White House?” (Yes, according to the White House press secretary, his boss is “a restless soul.” (A reflection also, I think, of natal Sun square Neptune.)

Today’s Full Moon eclipse (21° Leo/Aquarius) is on the President’s Ascendant, 18°03’ Aquarius and Descendant, 18°03’ Leo. His progressed Moon (20° Aquarius) is also in this eclipse lineup. This is surely giving him a great surge of energy, as well as indicating the correctness of him going out selling his stimulus plan to the public. i.e., the Moon. There is a town-hall meeting today in Indiana, a press conference scheduled for tonight, and another trip scheduled for tomorrow to Florida.

A report from this morning in Indiana: “Making his case in the most dire terms, President Barack Obama said that if Congress does not quickly pass an economic stimulus package, the nation will slip into a crisis so deep that ‘we may be unable to reverse’ it.”

It’s interesting that the President’s natal Venus is at 1°47 Cancer, so transiting Pluto opposed it for the first time on January 15. (The exact aspect repeats on June 30 and November 17 of this year.) The US Sibly Venus is slightly later by degree, at 3°06’ Cancer. Pluto will perfect the opposition for the first time on March 8, to be followed by four more exact aspects, i.e, on May 2 and December 26, and then again in August and October 2010.

I realize the stimulus plan has not only been watered down in concession to conservatives, but is also complex and open to criticism from many different fronts, but I am inclined to trust Obama about the urgency of the matter. His personal Venus has already experienced the need to change in the deepest ways imaginable, while we as a country have a long confrontation with Pluto ahead of us.

Saturn stationed retrograde on December 31 at 21°46’ Virgo, within a degree of Obama’s natal Mars (22°35’ Virgo). Mars (with Pluto) rules his Midheaven at 28°53’ Scorpio. Saturn will be exactly on his Mars just once, on August 28, 2009. Transiting Uranus opposed natal Mars, ruler of the Midheaven, on June 12 and July 10, 2008, and makes the last opposition on March 12 of this year.

This suggests that Obama’s public role (i.e., signified by Mars) is very much being played out in the story of the ongoing Saturn-Uranus opposition, which was, of course, exact for the first time on Election Day. The second (of five) exact Saturn-Uranus oppositions was on February 5 when opposition to the President’s stimulus plans reached a crescendo in Washington. Republican lawmakers were very vocal in their disapproval of the plan, saying, in part, that we need to slow down the process. This of course comes after Rush Limbaugh’s notorious statement (on January 21) that he wants Obama “to fail.”

Okay, everyone, we can do better than this. Let’s try elevating the dialogue of Saturn-Uranus on to remembering the great creative possibilities inherent in seeing that we really are in this together!

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Yeah, Aquarius!

By Mary Plumb | January 19, 2009

Tomorrow is the big day and the symbolism of the Inaugural Sun conjunct Jupiter in Aquarius is blazing brightly over the land and being reported all over the media.

There are many polls, blogs and interviews about the vivid sense of optimism and hope felt around the country. For example (Happy Birthday, Dr. King) a CNN poll found that more than “two-thirds of African-Americans believe Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for race relations has been fulfilled”. (This is sharply up from a survey in early 2008, when, as astrologers remember, Jupiter was in Capricorn.)

There’s a multi-media feature on the N.Y. Times web site featuring “What are your hopes for Obama?” Responses have been organized into 29 “hopes” which have both written and audio comments from more than 200 people in 14 states. (The listed “hopes”, by the way, include such topics, as Ending the War, College Tuition, Border Security, Environment, etc. You can add a comment to an existing topic, or add a new category of “hope.”)

What a great demonstration of Mercury, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron and the North Node in Aquarius. (The Sun, with its vigor and purpose, enters the sign today at 2:41 pm (PT). Aquarius, of course, is the sign of the zodiac that relishes community and communication, and has the technological wits to pull it off for everyone.

As far as Mercury being retrograde, which many people have asked me about, I think it’s clear that the Obama administration will be going back over (and re-thinking) decisions and policies made by the Bush administration. When at its best, Jupiter in Aquarius is concerned with civil rights and human liberty. The Sun is high in the sky with Jupiter at noon tomorrow, and Mr. Obama has Jupiter in Aquarius in his natal horoscope.

Regarding his early appointments, although progressives are not universally happy with Obama’s choices thus far, I think the Aquarian concern for social justice and human rights will get some much-needed airtime. On January 5, Greg Gordon of McClatchy Newspapers wrote:

“In filling four senior Justice Department positions Monday, President-elect Barack Obama signaled that he intends to roll back Bush administration counter-terrorism policies authorizing harsh interrogation techniques, warrantless spying and indefinite detentions of terrorism suspects. The most startling shift was Obama’s pick of Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen to take charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, the unit that’s churned out the legal opinions that provided a foundation for expanding President George W. Bush’s national security powers.”

I also looked back at how often Mercury has been retrograde for presidential inaugurations, since we know it happens three or four times a year. In the 20th century, Mercury was retrograde at nine inaugurations, the most recent being that of George Bush, Sr., in 1989. Since it was direct for Clinton’s two terms, and George W. Bush’s two terms, perhaps it is not a stretch to think of this new administration as looking back over both of these presidency’s to rethink direction and policy.

In any event, it is not a rare thing for Mercury to be retrograde on Inauguration day. It might, in fact, be an interesting (and painstaking!) study to look back at the administrations that did have Mercury retrograde, and look at what happened during those terms when Mercury went direct, and when it returned to the degree of the retrograde station (sometimes referred to as the “shadow period”).

In that line of thinking, we can watch for shifts in tone in this new administration around February 1, when Mercury goes direct, and again on February 21 when Mercury gets back to 8° Aquarius, the degree it turned retrograde in January.

In the meantime, onward and upwards, may the celebration continue and be of benefit to all!

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