TMA This Week

The Morning Sky

By Mary Plumb | May 16, 2011

Gary Caton wrote about the current, visible-before-dawn, morning-sky dance of Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter on the eastern horizon last week.

If you need a visual reminder, here’s a link again to a graphic that shows the current morning sky clearly. (Thanks to David Crook for first showing this to me.)

These planets are moving into different configurations and conjunctions for the whole month of May. Mars, for instance, was conjunct Jupiter on the last day of April; Venus and Mercury were conjunct Jupiter on May 11th; Mercury is staying very close to Venus now, making another exact conjunction on the 16th, while Mars comes to meet Venus exactly on May 20th.

I’ve woken up early to see them on the horizon. (Most days I have to use x-ray vision, as we’ve had a lot of cloudy mornings here in Oregon.) I feel like I am called early each morning to wake up. As the day gets going, the more worldly tasks and concerns take over, and time has a more “ordinary” feel. But it’s that rarity and refinement in the earliest moments of the day that is so memorable, and yet impossible to adequately describe.

The morning I was born, Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter were rising ahead of the Sun and visible in the pre-dawn sky, which may best explain why the planets in the sky now have taken such a hold in my awareness and imagination this week. Although Venus was the highest and brightest morning star at my birth, Jupiter rises closest to the Sun and has made obvious recent appearances in my inner and outer world. How am I noticing this new display of Jupiter? The archetypes become more visible — from several physically large men from my past coming back for a visit (one of whom always makes me laugh), to a general buoyancy and lift of spirits in my worldview.

As for Venus, I have a different sense of what is possible in two primary personal relationships. I have managed (thus far) to open what have been heretofore less-than-full channels of communication (Mercury) with some ease, and, even a sense of grace. (Homage to Mercury conjunct Venus.)

The warrior Mars is part of the visible beauty now, of course, and these new dynamics in relationship that I am trying out have also been assisted by Mars. In the language of my local shamanic guide, I have made a definite “warrior move” inside myself that allowed this clearing in my energy field regarding words spoken to my nearest and dearest.

In others’ lives I have seen a recurring theme of new pathways emerging; some clients are reporting a tentative excitement about a project or job or direction, some on a rather grand scale. I’m finding myself listening to friends and clients all week informed strongly by the backdrop (or is it really the foreground?) of the rare planetary stellium we are a part of now. Witnessing our own lives, and supporting and encouraging others as their own psyche’s grapple, and dance, with such a grand collection of archetypes is indeed a privilege and delight.

So, I personally thank Gary Caton once again for offering TMA his heart- and eye-opening blog last week. (Gary, in fact, woke me up early last Monday – he’s on the east coast, I’m on the west — with the offer of his blog, to which I obviously and whole-heartedly said Yes.)

The skies are ever replete with stories. Here are some fine bloggers on some of the other qualities of the times.

Terry Lamb’s wonderfully titled Seek What Shines Brightly is a wise overview of the planetary currents for May 2011.

The long (and coming-to-be-exact) square between outer planets Uranus and Pluto is a collective marker of the times. Richard Giles writes on The Electrical Dance of Uranus and Pluto, which includes reference to Mayan Calendar.

Astrology Thoughts: Astrology blogs, articles & community is a wonderful compendium of links to astrology sites. It’s very nicely designed and has a cheerful and personal flavor; it is a very inviting web community.

Peter Stockingers’ Traditional Astrology Weblog (A Blog on Traditional Astrology and Astral Magic) looks at the Solar Eclipse June 1, 2011.

Donna Cunningham’s SkyWriter blog features Boundaries, Neptune and Your Astrological Chart—A Refresher Course which will be of interest to many.  As divinely inspired as Neptune can be, Donna collects lots of advice for what can be its more troublesome qualities (i.e., Feeling Drained by a Relationship? Cut Those Psychic Cords!)

Stephan David Hewitt writes on both lunations each month. His May 3 New Moon article is here. (I expect he’ll have a post on tomorrow’s Full Moon by the time you read this.)

Cathy Pagano also writes on tomorrow’s Full Moon in Scorpio and includes discussion of the Pleiades. As for Taurus and Scorpio, she writes: “The path of Desire teaches us to follow the blueprint of our original nature, to see Desire as our primal energy source, which compels us to discover what we are meant to be, and to do so we can grow into the fullest experience of our unique lives.”

Going back to the beginning, Adam Gainsburg is another insightful observer of the visible sky. Enjoy his thoughts (and graphics) on Mars, Venus and the Morning-Sky Dancers.

Adam has written previously for TMA. Here’s his blog on the Venus synodic cycle, A New Model for Full Planetary Phases: The Venus Journey. And, The Profound Opposition of Venus, Mars the Sun and the Moon.

Onwards, and (keep looking) upwards.

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Something Aries for Everyone

By Mary Plumb | May 2, 2011

The ongoing lineup of planets in Aries has brought demonstrations of passion and impulsive and feisty behaviors all around.

I have seen and heard about some spectacularly passionate arguments between romantic partners, coinciding with Venus at 7º25’ Aries squared Pluto 7º25’ Capricorn on April 27th. (Uranus, Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter were also in Aries that day.)

Both of these situations involved long-term partnerships where unbridled, long simmering emotions came right up, front and center. At the least, both of these situations involved a dramatic and quite public (Aries) purging (Pluto) and certainly a release of energy; it’s too soon to say if any rebuilding or recreating of these particular relationships will occur.

But as Venus moved on to 11º55’ Aries, she opposed Saturn retrograde Libra at 11º55’ on April 30; we know that significant negotiations and realignments continue in all relationship matters. I have heard of some realignments with a healing tone; the heat and forward motion of Aries is present, but not all partnership engagements have been as volatile as the two I personally know about.

The influence of the martial sign is evident on the geopolitical scene. As the Moon moved into Aries on the 29th, it crossed Uranus at 2º, then squared Pluto and opposed Saturn, before conjoining Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter early on Sunday morning, May 1st.   Aside from what we can imagine as an active time for those playing in the realms of sexual passion, the aggression has increased in at least one of the current wars.

NATO forces, which began an air assault on Libya on March 21 (with the Sun conjunct Uranus at 1º Aries), escalated attacks this week and (unconfirmed) reports say that Gadaffi’s youngest son and three of his grandchildren were killed on April 30. Even for wartime, this is controversial. It was described as a “disproportionate use of force … leading to detrimental consequences and the death of innocent civilians,” by the Russian Foreign Ministry. (1)

As I’m writing this the networks have announced that the President is about to speak to the public that Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan. (The announcement came at 11:36 p.m. in Washington.)

The first obvious thing is that transiting Saturn is now on the World Trade Center first plane attack Ascendant, and Venus and Mercury are on the Descendant.

This is news (Mercury) that completes something (Saturn), or provides some sort of “bookend” to the attack.

Looking at the composite chart for President Obama and the event (i.e., the first plane at the World Trade Center), we see Sagittarius rising with the ruler, Jupiter, at 21º Aries. (2)

Transiting Jupiter is now at 22º Aries, i.e., a successful outcome? At some level, I suppose this is true. The idea that this may be a personal (and political) success for the president is also suggested by the Sun in this composite horoscope. It is 0º42’ Virgo; Obama’s progressed Venus is now at 0º22’ Virgo. Transiting Neptune, now in Pisces, shows the spectacular (or exaggerated or misleading)  media attention to the event.

The U.S. Sibly progressed Venus, ruler of the natal 10th house of reputation, is also at 21º49’ Aries.

The U.S. Sibly progressed Moon at 2º Libra has come to the natal Midheaven. This shows a lift to the spirits of the American people and an increase in our visibility in the wider world. (People are celebrating across the nation and congratulatory messages are coming from around the world.)  The Sibly progressed Moon is also trine Obama’s natal Moon at 3º Gemini.

The transiting Moon at the President’s announcement was at 28º Aries, conjunct his natal Part of Fortune.

The impact of this event on U.S. politics and the complexity of its implications in the rest of the world will unfold — probably in some startling ways. (The current Aries stellium contains Uranus; transiting Mars and Jupiter are conjunct Obama’s progressed Ascendant and he has progressed Mars conjunct the Descendant.)

The immediate reports strongly demonstrate the Aries archetype. The teams of “elite forces” who were responsible for the military action that killed bin Laden were referred to (by former Army General Barry McCaffrey) as “the most dangerous people in the world.”

The gruesome details continue. On Monday morning, a White House official called the raid in Pakistan a “kill mission,”  with the intent  “to wipe him off the face of the earth.” A bullet to the left eye killed bin Laden. In medical astrology, the Moon rules the left eye in a male. There was a rare triple conjunction – the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter conjunction at 23 Aries  – on May 1, the day he was killed.

Bloody wounds to the head and elite military operations fall under Aries, of course; the spontaneity of people cheering in the streets, in what looks like a sense of relief and simple happiness, demonstrates another side of the archetype.

Although President Obama has committed to a large-scale military presence in Afghanistan for the next four years (progressed Mars conjunct progressed Descendant), my (simplistic and naïve – there’s Aries again) hope is that the death of bin Laden will increase the American public’s demand to bring the troops home.

On a far more light-hearted note, but still within the theme of the Aries stellium: in yoga on Sunday a woman at least as old as me (and I’m not saying how old that is) got up into a headstand and stayed there for quite awhile.

She had just the right support from her fellow student’s hand (Saturn in Libra) and was able to go up. She was so happy; this was a first after many, many years of practicing yoga. Yoga practitioners know that inverted poses are challenging and to experience one is an exhilarating moment.

Aries rules the head, of course, so here’s to all of us being able to stand upside down in some way in our lives and turn our view of this whole world on its head.

Onwards! What a week we have ahead of us.


(1) Huffington Post

(2) I first starting looking at composite charts for an individual and an event after reading an article called “A New Way of Forecasting: The Composite Transit Chart,” by Robin Heath, in Aug./Sept. 1999 TMA. (That issue is, unfortunately, sold out.)

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Harmonic Charts

By Mary Plumb | April 25, 2011

Ashland, Oregon has a lively and curious astrological community. Doug Kellogg is a long-time resident who was one of the first astrological programmers. In 1979, he wrote the first encyclopedic astrology programs for the emerging personal computer market, first sold by Quicksilver Productions and then by Astrolabe.

Doug gave a very informative and inspiring talk, An Astrological Microscope, at our monthly NCGR meeting last week. The subject was harmonic charts and I wanted to share a bit of it and send you to his web site, where you can enter birth data and see beautifully-designed charts for harmonics (which can be calculated at his website for harmonics from 1-24).

For those unfamiliar, harmonic charts offer a way to see the underlying patterns in a horoscope. The 1st-harmonic chart is the chart wheel we usually see; it relates to the number one, and the conjunction is its aspect.

We are also familiar with, and can readily see, the 2nd and 3rd harmonics in a chart. Dividing the 360º wheel by two (i.e., the 2nd harmonic) produces the opposition (180º) aspect; dividing 360º by three (the 3rd harmonic) gives the trine (120º) aspect. The 4th harmonic is a multiple of two and gives the square (90º) aspect. The 6th harmonic, a multiple of three, gives the sextile (60º) aspect. These are the basic and commonly recognized aspects: the conjunction, trine, square, sextile and opposition.

Getting a bit more complex, but still commonly used, the 8th harmonic chart (a multiple of 4 and 2) shows the semi-square (45º) and sesqui-quadrate (135º) aspects.

However, we move into more subtle territory by dividing the circle by the prime number five, the 5th harmonic, which produces the quintile (72º) aspect, and by the prime number seven, the 7th harmonic, which is connected to the septile (51.4º) aspect.

The ninefold division of the chart, the 9th harmonic, corresponds to the novile (40º) aspect, used extensively in Vedic astrology.

Although there are the ever curious who study all the different harmonics, the most commonly used are the 5th, 7th, and 9th harmonics.

The fifth-harmonic chart is connected to the qualities that make us human, i.e., the five senses and one’s talents and creative or scientific abilities. (Albert Einstein has a very strong 5th-harmonic chart.) The 7th-harmonic chart has had many speculative interpretations, including artistry and music, though some see it as connecting to chaotic or unusual worldly events.

This view of the 7th-harmonic chart and the septile (51.4º) aspect  has gotten some attention recently. Tem wrote about the long 7th-harmonic (septile) aspect between Neptune and Pluto in recent years (2006 – 2012).

Astrologer Robert Wilkinson has called the septile the aspect of “the grand irrationality.”

For other resources on harmonics, there is a wonderful article in TMA, Feb/March 2003, by Edward Gillam, called The Septile and the Seventh-Harmonic Chart. He gives a good overview of the history of harmonics, including the seminal work of John Addey, Charles Harvey, and David Hamlin. (If you don’t have the issue, you can still order it here )

For some good introductory articles on the web:

Bob Marks has a clear explanation in his article, Harmonics.

Chris Mitchell captures the similarities between harmonics and music.


But, for now, take a look at the visually rich harmonic charts you can generate (for free) at Doug’s site.  Just enter you birth data and select which harmonic charts you would like to view. The design of the horoscopes is artistic and colorful; they evoke a different experience in seeing a horoscope.

To help orient you to the chart’s design, try looking at your horoscope in the first harmonic to start. This is the horoscope you are used to seeing and you can see some of the design conventions Doug uses. For example, a thin red line indicates the Ascendant and a purple line shows the Midheaven. The Ascendant stays in its familiar place in all the other harmonic charts, but the purple line for the Midheaven will appear in different places on the wheel.

Another clue: if you have a quintile (72º) aspect in the natal chart, it will appear as a conjunction in the 5th-harmonic chart. Likewise, a septile (51.4º) aspect  in the natal chart will appear as a conjunction in the 7th-harmonic chart.

Although this simple blog is an introduction to a vast subject, I have a feeling that the visuals Doug has created will be appealing to many. Let your right brain and imagination guide you, and see what you can see. It is a way to begin to look at your own familiar horoscopes through a different lens.

Your comments and insights are always welcome.

Here’s to the music of the spheres. May we all have a harmonious week in all endeavors.

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THE Wedding

By Mary Plumb | April 11, 2011

In response to several requests, I am discounting my anarchist tendencies and looking at the charts for Kate Middleton and Prince William this week. (Anarchy is in the air, of course, as they are marrying under the applying transit of Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn. Apparently, U.K. police are concerned about “anarchists” along the path of the wedding party and are hoping to avoid eggs being thrown at the royal couple’s car.)

We have no birth time for Kate, so we can apply techniques that are not reliant on a precise time of birth. We can look at the pre-natal solar eclipse set for the individual’s place of birth to see a deep, ongoing theme in the life — a glimpse of the essence of the life purpose.

The sign of royalty marks Kate Middleton’s PNSE, set for her birthplace: 0º Leo is rising, with the north node at 1º and the Sun and Moon at 7º Leo.

Kate Middleton PNSE

The 1st-house ruler, dignified by sign and in the 1st house, gives a definite, strong, and regal presence to this chart. Appearance, presentation, and a dramatic impact are part of the signature of one born with this pre-natal eclipse signature. (Remember, this is specific to the birthplace.)

Like her mother-in-law, I think Kate has an undercurrent (at least) of deviance and a quirky humor – in the natal chart the Sun is semi-square Uranus, and Mercury in Aquarius (20ºS 28’) is parallel with Uranus (20ºS 37’).

Kate natal chart, sunriseSaturn squares the nodal axis. Saturn, exalted in Libra, is dispositor of her Capricorn Sun, showing a formality and structure to her role in life.

Rather stunningly, both she and William were born on an eclipse. Kate was born on the day of a lunar eclipse, with Sun in Capricorn and Moon in Cancer. William was born on June 21, 1982, the day of a solar eclipse at 29º47’ Gemini. He was born at 9:02 pm, by which time the Sun and Moon were both in Cancer, the Sun at the very potent Aries point, i.e., 0º Cancer.

William, natal

William has Neptune at 25º33’ Sagittarius conjunct the Ascendant (27º43’). Kate’s natal horoscope has the Sun (22ºS 08’) closely parallel Neptune (22ºS 06’), suggesting she may appreciate a dreamy or glamorous quality in a man; her guy has Neptune on the Ascendant. Neptune also suggests how photogenic they each are, and the prominence of the media in their lives.

William has Juno, the asteroid goddess of marriage and commitment, in a very prominent place – at 2º 57′ Capricorn, it is closely conjunct the Part of Fortune in the 1st house. The marriage partner is prominent, dutiful, and brings benefit.

William is now at his progressed New Moon, which is also a solar eclipse. (This is precise on June 5 at 27º42’ Cancer.)

He has other telling aspects now in the progressed chart: the progressed Moon, dispositor of his natal Sun, is at 25º Cancer sextile natal Venus at 25º Taurus (exact on April 16). His progressed Venus enters Cancer on April 26 and conjuncts the natal Sun.

Kate’s progressed chart has a significant omen for marriage as well. Although without a time, we can’t be precise, but within the year surrounding the wedding, her progressed Sun (18º Aquarius) is trining progressed Mars (18º Libra). So, he has the feminine planets (Moon and Venus), and she has the masculine planets (Sun and Mars) in aspect by progression – a harmonious inner condition for each of them.

The Moon was in Cancer the whole day Kate was born; her progressed Moon is in Leo and she is quite close to a progressed Full Moon. Again, with no birth time, it is estimation, but the Full Moon is closely applying. (If she was born in the early morning, just after midnight, the progressed Moon will be full within the first year of her marriage; if born right before midnight, in the late evening, the Moon is less than a degree from full on the wedding day.)

The wedding is on April 29, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. in Westminster.

Wedding, William & Kate

The Moon at 26º Pisces is at “the bending”, i.e. square the nodal axis, specifically here, at the “north” bending, which resembles the north node, a point where energy comes in. The north bending is where events and experiences will manifest in the outer world. We know that this marriage will, in part, play out in public life and will surely be one of the most photographed and observed marriages of the time. (1)

Transiting Neptune in Pisces is making a water trine in William’s chart with his Sun in Cancer and Jupiter in Scorpio, ruler of Sagittarius Ascendant and natally placed at the Midheaven. It certainly will be an emotionally fulfilling day for him.

As mentioned, William was born on an eclipse, a marker of one whose life is carried by the larger currents of history. Both he and his mother’s lives were very marked by eclipses; there was a solar eclipse in the sky on September 2, 1997, two days after Diana died.

On August 31, 1997, when his mother died, William’s progressed Sun was 14º Cancer, the degree of the natal north node. He was then at a progressed Full Moon, which was also an eclipse; the progressed Moon was at 22º Capricorn.

William, progressed to Diana's death

My friend, the late Robert Blaschke, noticed that the years in which there is a progressed eclipse were often the most important years in one’s life. (Not every person’s chart will have eclipses by progression, of course; there had to have been an eclipse in the sky within a few months after birth.) William had a progressed Full Moon the year his mother died and he’s getting married at the progressed New Moon. His biography is unfolding in quite a touching way for the gentleman with the luminaries in Cancer.

William and Kate’s wedding is about six weeks before the June 15 lunar eclipse at 24º 23’ Gemini/Sagittarius. This falls on his Ascendant/Descendant and Kate’s natal Neptune.

And with Neptune so strong between them, and the very recent ingress of Neptune into Pisces, the wedding Moon in fertile Pisces fits the mood.

All the external considerations and formal duties aside, Kate and William are two individuals with the natal Moon in Cancer. Emotional closeness is a compelling motivation for the Moon in Cancer. May they have a very happy life together.


(1) From a blog I wrote earlier: “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.”

(If your interested in another demonstration of a pre-natal solar eclipse chart for a birth chart with no known time, see my blog on Michelle Obama.)

Be well, everyone. Have some fun when you can!

Mary Plumb is available for personal astrology sessions or tutoring. Contact her at

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A Legendary Beauty Passes Away

By Mary Plumb | March 28, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor died on March 23, 2011 in Los Angeles at the age of 79. The actress was a child star — she made her first movie when she was 10 — and was often called “the most beautiful woman in the world.” One obituary writer, who knew her personally, wrote:  “Ms. Taylor was beauty incarnate.” (1)

Elizabeth Taylor, natal: February 27, 1932, 2:15 a.m. GMT; London, England. A data

Elizabeth Taylor, natal

When she was 18, the director Joseph L. Mankiewicz saw her for the first time: “She was the most incredible vision of loveliness I have ever seen in my life.”

Ms. Taylor’s prenatal solar eclipse degree (a lifelong sensitive spot) is 17º15’ Libra, opposite the natal Venus (17º09’) and Uranus (17º03’) conjunction in Aries. (Venus and Uranus are also parallel.) Reinhold Ebertin calls the combination of Venus and Uranus “the arousing of love.”

In reading about her life in the tributes that have appeared this week, there is so much mention of her deep violet eyes; you can feel how she captured people with her beauty. (This very evocative beauty may also be a quality brought by Black Moon Lilith, who is very nearby at 22º Aries. I have seen her presence in horoscopes of powerfully attractive/seductive women (and men). The horoscope has Libra on the 10th house, so Venus rules her reputation and the most public part of the natal chart.

The director Joseph Mankiewicz also had a telling description of the woman whose natal horoscope has three planets in Pisces, including the Sun opposite Neptune. He said about Ms. Taylor: “ ‘…living life was a kind of acting,’ that she lived her life ‘in screen time.’ ”

She, of course, had a long career in film and was also renowned for her pioneering work as an AIDS activist. Her friend, Rock Hudson, died in 1985 of the disease; he was the first big Hollywood star to go public with the details about his battle with the illness. (The natal Venus-Uranus is square to Pluto in the 8th, a signature for bold and compelling expression in sexual, and other, matters.)

Ms. Taylor has Sagittarius rising in the natal horoscope, with Jupiter in Leo, square the Moon in Scorpio. Saturn, which is parallel the Moon, is in rulership at 0º19’ Aquarius. When she was nearly 60 (her second Saturn return), she said: “I’ve been lucky all my life…Everything was handed to me. Looks, fame, wealth, honors, love. I rarely had to fight for anything. But I’ve paid for that luck with disasters.”

She had many serious illnesses in her life (including 30 surgeries) and was reported to be close to death’s door on several occasions. (Ms. Taylor’s natal vertex is at 25º Cancer conjunct Pluto in the 8th.)

In November 2004, her publicist announced that she had congestive heart failure. The progressed Sun was at 19º Taurus, conjunct natal Chiron at 19º Taurus. She survived for six more years until her death in March 2011.

Bi-wheel: Elizabeth Taylor, natal and progressed to March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor, natal & progressedThe progressed Moon (ruler of the 8th) is at 28º Virgo, having just passed the natal south node at 27º Virgo. (Some readers might be interested to note that on the 45º dial, directed Jupiter, ruler of the 1st, had come to the Moon/Pluto midpoint at her death.)

Elizabeth Taylor passed away the day after her lunar return.

Lunar return chart for Los Angeles, March 22, 2011

E. Taylor, lunar return preceeding death

The lunar return has 23º Cancer on the Ascendant, conjunct natal Pluto on the cusp of the 8th, and the natal vertex (25º Cancer). The Midheaven is 10º Aries, which is the natal 4th cusp. The lunar return also has Saturn in the 4th house, with the transiting nodes square the natal nodes.

May she rest in peace.

(1) All quotes and biographical material from The New York Times

(This blog barely touches on some of the themes in Ms. Taylor’s rich life. Readers may be interested in looking at her synastry with Richard Burton (born on November 10, 1925 at 3:00 p.m. in Pontrhydyfen, Wales – this time is unverified, i.e., DD) and Mike Todd (born on June 22, 1909, Minneapolis, MN, no time known). We might say that Ms. Taylor’s natal placements (i.e., Venus conjunct Uranus square Pluto; Sun, Venus, Mars in Pisces and the Moon in Scorpio, etc.) suggest an very rich and exciting emotional life. These are the two men who she named as the loves of her life.

Mary Plumb is available for personal astrology sessions or tutoring. Contact her at

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Uranus the Awakener

By Mary Plumb | March 7, 2011

This week’s overarching theme is the movement of Uranus into Aries. There are phenomenal acts of bravery on world stage (1), but I am going to focus in this blog on being true to one aspect of Aries, that is, by keeping it simple and personal.

Richard Tarnas first made the association between the planet Uranus and the Titan, Prometheus, in his book, Prometheus the Awakener (1995). (2)

As Uranus changes signs — after a brief stay in Aries last year from late May through early August — we are collectively responding to a deep memory of our ability to steal fire from the gods, for the benefit of mankind.

A personal revolution is at hand for each one of us as Prometheus steals fire from the gods now through the sign Aries, the sign of individuation and singularity. It will feel scary; we are at the limit of convention and security in some significant way inside ourselves. We will cross some barrier that heretofore has enthralled us.

Awakening comes as we respond to what is over the edge and just out of view. It can be experienced on different levels in each new moment, for instance, physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

We may notice this new possibility in our own beings by its slightly deviant or eccentric flavor. And by the suddenness with which it arises; we have just not seen (or felt) anything like it before. Certainly, the portal through which we are capturing fire now might have a contrary and arrhythmic feel, but that is a hint of the way forward.

Here is a poem a friend wrote this week that tells of the revolution (she is not an astrologer):

“We are fighting this revolution with Light
With love, with wisdom
Our new weapons of Choice
Telling the Truth no matter what
Honoring choices being made
Which doorways are now Open    
The Phone Lines are Now Open
This Revolution of Spirit of Freedom of Love
Getting to Face the Present in Honesty
We are All Getting Stronger  
More honest in Showing Up
In looking for these Angels finding the Desert
The landscape of Beauty in the Minimal
The Internet and Phone make us World Citizens
May We Deepen Our Resolve to Allow what is coming”

And here are some ideas about Uranus moving into Aries from a blog I wrote in May.

“In Aries, Uranus awakens through pure joy in the life force, courage, impulsiveness, acting as a warrior, and jumping in without thought. In Aries, Uranus awakens through a pronounced and fearless individuality. Uranus in Aries agitates and accelerates our physical activity; the conquering of new lands and spaces; heroes and leaders; the military; surgical equipment and procedures; headaches and sleeplessness.

Uranus in Aries may bring detachment from, and a different appreciation of, the experience of being alone.

Uranus can also be deviant, disagreeable, distorted, eccentric, perplexing, and extraordinary. It is where we disobey and bring disorder. Uranus rules uprisings, uncertainty, the unconventional, the uninvited, the unprecedented, and the untimely. In  Aries these qualities come to life in plain view.

Uranus alarms, amazes, and astonishes — in Aries, we are astonished by our courage.”

Here’s a beautiful view of the solar flare eruption occurring now. Expected to last for at least a few more weeks, it is a vivid picture of fire unleashed.

And, if you haven’t seen this week’s laughing baby (over 8 million have), this little fellow is making a perfect commentary on the times: His father has received a job rejection notice, and the baby is channeling the pure hilarity and joy that an unfettered Aries can bring.


Have a good week, one and all.


(1) For example, Wael Ghonim, “the voice of Egypt’s revolution,” spoke at the TED conference this week. He was arrested and imprisoned for 12 days as the revolution started. He said that the change in Egyptians was overwhelming; he felt as if he had been in prison for 12 years, not 12 days, by the amount of change he saw as the people broke through the “psychological barrier of fear.”  Watch his speech here.

(2) The Titans were descendants of Gaia and Uranus. They ruled in the Golden Age, before the Olympians overthrew them.

“[Prometheus] was a champion of mankind, known for his wily intelligence, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals.” Wikipedia

Mary Plumb is available for personal astrology sessions or tutoring. Contact her at

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Happy Valentine’s Day

By Mary Plumb | February 14, 2011

In deference to Valentine’s Day, I have steeped myself in the language of the heart for these past few days. Astrologically, I’m taking Chiron’s entry into Pisces as an invitation to consider matters of the heart.

Last spring I wrote a blog on Chiron’s entry into Pisces:
“April 20 was Chiron’s entry into Pisces, the day of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. Chiron is the shamanic journey, the wisest teacher, and the traveler out of ordinary time. Pisces’ greatest strength is to open the doors of perception, and, if conditions are lined up, can bring a glimpse of interconnectedness.

Last week I was listening to early news reports about the oil spill: the scramble to figure out what was happening and the impending economic catastrophe that it would bring. After the technical and business commentators, an environmentalist spoke of the water, the complexity of the sea life, and the fragile coastline. When he mentioned the sea turtles, I started sobbing. I know nothing about sea turtles, but somehow their plight and vulnerability opened me up to a grievous sorrow for the whole sea life.”

On February 8 Chiron entered Pisces again. It is obvious that the painful plight, and restoring to health, of the oceans and waterways is a pronounced ongoing theme in our world until 2019 when Chiron moves along into Aries.

For now, we have the wisest of the centaurs, the wisdom teachings of Chiron, moving through the deepest, most complex, most mysterious, most maddening sign of the zodiac, Pisces. We all can draw upon the archetypes suggested by this placement, where we are all pulled towards the possibility of experiencing mystical union with all that is.

Adam Gainsburg captures this well in his profoundly titled book, Chiron: The Wisdom of a Deeply Open Heart. He writes about Chiron as the “sacred wound.” Others have written on the principle of the wounding and healing process associated with Chiron’s passage.

In a group last week, we looked at Chiron’s capacity to open us to a higher awareness. We all have the Chiron return around the age of 50, but its very elliptical orbit makes the timing of the first square to the natal position quite unique. The first square of Chiron to its natal position can occur anytime between about 5 and 22 years of age. This can be an interesting time to look back on. For some, it marks an event or time in life where we first began to get a glimmer of our path. Sometimes it is a painful experience of isolation or a marked physical or emotional wound, sometimes a gentler prodding towards our own inner guide and teachers.

But now, it is Valentine’s Day and we are surrounded with romance and flowers. As my friend Norma Nakai Burton said in her sermon on Sunday at Unity here in Ashland, a few lucky ones may have a romantic partner today to shower that loving attention upon.

And we can think more widely about the heart on Valentine’s Day through the language of the chakras. In the seven-kundalini chakra system, the yogis speak of the 4th as the heart chakra, the Anahata. This is the meeting point, the balance between the lower and higher chakras.

Anahata means ‘unbeaten’ or ‘unstuck.’ At a workshop yesterday on the Anahata chakra, my yoga teacher spoke about the very innermost place in the heart, as “the place that has never been hurt.” It is a place of deepest stillness, way down inside each of us; the place that the mystics and yogis have cultivated for life times.

Venus, the goddess of love, is exalted, or most sublimely placed in Pisces. If it doesn’t accomplish anything of permanence or material wealth, Pisces certainly beckons a deeper consideration of all matters of the heart. As a developmental stage, Pisces holds the experience of the dissolution of separation. It is the one heart that unites us all — the mystics, the madmen, the lovers of all that is.

And, in these times of great alignments, both inner and outer, we know that science is verifying what has been known since the beginning of time. Apparently only as recently as the ’90s has western science described the neural pathways that connect the heart to the brain. According to this view, the heart receives impressions, which then travel up to the brain — not the other way around.

(For those interested in the science supporting some of these ideas, an organization called The Institute of HeartMath has a web site with many (free) resources and ideas to help you stay connected to your heart. Many wise ones are saying that the path of the heart is going to show us the way forward.

There are lots of research project results, including a PDF to download called Science of The Heart: Exploring the Role of the Heart in Human Performance: An Overview of Research Conducted by the Institute of HeartMath.)

The followers of the mystical poet Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi are the whirling dervishes, whose “turn” is an intricate and graceful meditative movement to open the heart for spiritual awareness. My friend, who has an intimate connection to this path (and who, by the way, will spend Valentine’s Day delivering hundreds of beautifully crafted, handmade Valentines to the elder communities in her town), told me that the turning practice requires that one stays centered in the heart. If not, you’ll loose your balance and fall over.

And for one more toast to encourage (the etymology of which means, “to make with the heart”) the wisdom of love, from Rainer Maria Rilke:
“For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.”

As we may remember, there is sometimes a hint of distress at the heart of the experience of Pisces; we are empathic beings, after all, and do feel the suffering of others. With the wisdom guide Chiron now leading us all through the experience of empathy and ecstasy that Pisces holds, let us walk through any feeling of distress or loneliness and go deeper into the still place within “that has never been hurt.”

Happy Valentine’s Day, may your heart be fully in bloom.


Here’s a sample of Rumi’s ecstatic love poetry:

Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
absentminded. Someone sober
will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.

from Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks

Visit this Peaceful Rivers web site to read many others.


Mary Plumb is available for personal astrology sessions or tutoring. Contact her at

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Eclipses in Tunisia and Egypt

By Mary Plumb | January 31, 2011

Events in Egypt are moving quickly as Cairo is flooded with people in the streets demanding the resignation of President Mubarak. He has been President since October 14, 1981 when he took over leadership of the country after the assassination of Anwar As-Sadat. On that day, Saturn was at 14º Libra, with the Sun at 21º Libra and Pluto at 24º Libra. It is a Saturn return for his administration as his regime appears to be in a downfall and his family has fled the country. It is also a Saturn return for the horoscope of modern Egypt, set for June 18, 1953. (1)

The present uprising in Egypt was seeded in December in Tunisia. On December 17, just days before the lunar eclipse on December 21, a 26 year old fruit seller named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire. He died on January 4. Bouazizi was protesting years of abuse and humiliation he had endured from the police. His act led to the successful overthrow of the corrupt Ben Ali regime, in power since November 1987. (2)

The horoscope for Tunisia has the Sun at 29º Pisces. (3)

The total lunar eclipse on December 21 was at 29º Gemini, square the Sun. The Sun symbolizes the leader or ruler of a country; the eclipse square the country’s Sun signifies the sudden change in power at the top. The nation’s chart also has Mars at 13º10’ Capricorn, the degree of the solar eclipse on January 4 at 13º38’ Capricorn. As mentioned above, the young man whose self-immolation lead to the overthrow of the regime, died on the day of that eclipse. (This natal Mars is especially powerful as it is sesquiquadrate (135º) to natal Pluto at 26º13 Capricorn.)

The Midheaven for the Tunisia horoscope progressed to December 17 has 15º49’ Scorpio, on the Aries Point. (4)

Jupiter ingressed into Aries on January 22, newly igniting all degrees connected to 0º Aries.

As shown above, the horoscope of modern Egypt is set for June 18, 1953 at 11:30 p.m., GMT in Cairo. This horoscope has 19º05’ Cancer on the IC. The IC in a mundane chart shows the ordinary or common people, in contrast to those in power. There was a total solar eclipse on July 11, 2010 at 19º23’ which shows that the people, i.e., the base of support for the rulers shown at the MC, were aroused and shaken.

Uranus at 17º26’ Cancer is at the natal IC and Mercury is there as well, at 20º58’.  Natal Uranus was squared by transiting Saturn, which stationed at 17º14’ Libra on January 26. The natal Sun at 27º24’ Gemini has also been squared by transiting Uranus throughout 2010. The square was exact for the last time on January 16. On January 25 thousands of people took to the streets protesting against poverty, high food prices and overall government corruption.

The progressed horoscope for Egypt has 29º Gemini ascending, the degree of the December total lunar eclipse. (5)

The progressed Sun, at 22º26’ Leo, has just passed natal Pluto (21º18’ Leo) and is conjunct progressed Pluto at 22º Leo. Progressed Venus (in Cancer, the sign of food and security) is at 13º opposite the solar eclipse on January 4 at 13º38’ Capricorn.

This is all very simple astrology, yet strikingly demonstrates the impact of eclipses, transiting and progressed planets in a national horoscope.

Charts and references:
(1) June 18, 1953; 11:30 p.m. GMT, Cairo, Egypt (29ºN53’, 31ºE15’); source:
From the website: “Realizing that their time had come, the radical [army] officers engineered a second coup on 18-19 June, the culmination of which was the proclamation of the Republic at 11:30 p.m. GMT on 18 June in Cairo. . . .” Campion, “The Book of World Horoscopes” (Second Edition), p. 144.”


(3) March 26, 1956; 12:01 a.m. 1E; Tunis, Tunisia (36ºN37’, 10ºE11’); source:

(4) Tunisia, progressed to December 17, 2010.

(5) Egypt, progressed to January 25, 2011.

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Shootings in Arizona

By Mary Plumb | January 10, 2011

Saturday’s tragic event in Tucson occurred just days after the solar eclipse on January 4 at 13°39′ Capricorn. This eclipse is opposite the U.S. Sun at 13°19′  Cancer, which is square to natal Saturn at 14°48′ Libra. The solar eclipse chart also has the Sun square Saturn, as, of course, the U.S. is in the midst of a Saturn return.

The event chart has the at Sun at 18°04′ Capricorn square U.S. progressed Mars retrograde at 18°35′ Libra. The event Moon is 7° Pisces square the U.S. progressed Uranus and conjunct the progressed Sun at 6° Pisces. The event MC is 13°22′ Sagittarius conjunct the U.S. Ascendant.


Although lethal violence occurs everyday in this country and there are countless anonymous victims, when an event is so connected to the nation’s horoscope, it can suggest something of importance for the direction (i.e., the Sun) of the country as a whole.

I know we are all moved by the nine-year-old girl who died in the event, born on September 11, 2001. The prenatal eclipse for the child (as well as the eclipse that preceded the events of 911) was a lunar elipse at 13°34′ Capricorn on July 5, also on the U.S. Sun at 13°19′ Cancer. Nine years later, a solar eclipse occurred at this degree.

Another key feature of the January 4 solar eclipse was the appearance of the last exact conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus at 27° Pisces. The U.S. progressed 8th-house cusp is 27° Pisces. The 8th house can be seen as “public death” in a mundane chart; Uranus shows the shock and suddenness of the event and Jupiter magnifies its implications.

At the event in Tucson, transiting Mars was at 24° Capricorn, triggering the nation’s Mercury (24°12′ Cancer) Pluto (27°33′ Capricorn) opposition.  The public debate is heated now about violence in our culture; easy access to weapons and inflamed and divisive political rhetoric  are some of the obvious manifestations that  fall under the rulership of this combination of planets ( i.e., Mercury opposite Pluto, joined by transiting Mars).

In respect for those who lost their lives, and the other victims who remain gravely injured, President Obama announced a moment of silence at 11 a.m. EST today.  The Moon is at 0° Aries square the nodal axis.

In Washington, the North Node is conjunct the MC. The Moon, ruler of Monday, on the Aries Point square the nodes suggests a moment in time that will be keenly felt by the general public.

Mary Plumb is TMA’s Book and Web Editor. She is available for tutoring and personal astrology sessions. Please go to for more information, or email Thanks for stopping by.

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The Lunar Eclipse: Shocking Revelations and a Media Event

By Dale OBrien | January 3, 2011

Here’s a belated offering toward understanding the recent, very rare, total lunar eclipse, occurring just hours before the winter solstice and widely visible across North America. Although astrologers tend to focus on upcoming astrological events, particularly at the beginning of the calendar year, the close proximity of the lunar eclipse to the winter solstice suggests a great and long-lasting significance to this celestial event. This piece deals with an analysis of the zodiacal degree imagery for that eclipse.

A Matter of Degree

In 1925 Elsie Wheeler, in collaboration with astrologer Marc Edmund Jones, psychically derived images for each of the degrees of the zodiac. From that time until the present, astrologers have studied the images and commented upon them extensively, including the wonderful work of Australia’s Lynda Hill. The description of the degree image that follows comes from Jones’s own notation of what Elsie Wheeler clairvoyantly “saw” as quoted in Lynda Hill’s book, The Sabian Symbols As An Oracle. (1) These images provide amazing insight into personal charts, but also into any astrological chart, including the recent momentous lunar eclipse.

Ideally, to understand a lunar eclipse via degree image analysis, we would look not only at the degree of the eclipsed Moon, but the opposite degree where the Sun was illuminating this Moon. Since space does not allow that here, we will only look at the most important “Sabian” degree, that of the eclipsed Moon. The 30º Gemini image is “a parade of bathing beauties before large beach crowds.” What might this odd image tell us about 2010 and the astrological year that began just hours later at the winter solstice?

Let’s look at this particular lunar eclipse image within the social context, time, and place from which the symbols “emerged.” Elsie Wheeler received the Sabian symbol images in America, where she lived, in 1925; the cultural milieu of the United States in the early 1920s is a kind of backdrop to the symbols. The “bathing beauties” of the early to mid 1920s were the contestants in the recently created Miss America contest, based in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in September 1920. (2)

At the time, this contest was a highly controversial national issue and a major media event. Prudish, outraged women’s groups and equally outraged conservative, male religious and political leaders, opposed the event, adamant that such public exposure and media attention was a bad thing. On the other side of the issue were various newspapers, promoters, a large portion of the general public, numerous young female contestants and finalists, and a controversial female swimsuit designer. The women in favor of the contest saw it as a unique opportunity for fame and fortune in a male-dominated economy. Since the contest had both a “professional” and “amateur” division, there was significant opportunity for recognition for the typically little known “ordinary” female folk.

Over fifty major U.S. newspapers, attempting to increase circulation, promoted local contests to choose representatives for the national contest. Miss America contestants were judged, of course, on beauty, but also on intelligence, talent, personality, healthiness, and fitness. The  judges included artists, such as Norman Rockwell. These judges had a fifty percent say in picking the winner; in-person public opinion delivered the other fifty percent of the decision. In 1923 alone, over 300,000 people ventured to see the contestants and presumably have their voices heard. In 1923 the results were aired on national radio, which was the preeminent media of the time. Some successful contestants moved on to fame and fortune, and various artists shared the images of contest participants in photography, film, and sculpture. Controversy over the contest continued throughout the 1920s, with adversaries even shutting down the event in 1928. However, with time, the annual contest became a widely accepted American institution, just as early contest judge Norman Rockwell became an American icon.

The main controversy regarding the contest involved the public exposure of that which had previously been hidden versus those who wanted “cover-ups,” or wanted the whole thing to simply stop happening and be forgotten. However, ultimately the ongoing “revelations” did not stop what would soon become an accepted part of modern American culture.

Applying This Degree Analysis to the Lunar Eclipse of December 2010

The fine art of astrology involves, in part, the synthesis of a particular planet’s nature in the unique context of celestial place, i.e., its zodiacal sign and degree. Therefore, for example, brightly beautiful Venus on 30º degree of Gemini has quite a different expression than the eclipsed Moon on the same degree. Astrology, as an art, tells us that that which is visually obvious is also symbolically obvious. The lunar eclipse shows bright Moonlight turning dark, even blood red, before returning again to brightness. In this case, all of this occurs just hours before the winter solstice — an extremely rare occurrence.

Each lunar month, the Moon’s light emerges from the darkness of the previous New Moon and grows in light toward the maximum of the Full Moon. At a lunar eclipse, however, that full light will darken, dim, and become “off color.” Knowing this, as astrological detectives, we look to see what captured collective attention from the time of the New Moon (December 5) to the Full Moon lunar eclipse (December 21) for correlation of an issue involving exposure of multiple dark lit facts about people, with an atmosphere of controversy and significant media attention. Since the eclipse was (weather permitting) visible over the first 48 states, we are emphasizing stories involving the United States.

Obviously, for December 2010 (and beyond!), we are looking at the WikiLeaks story, including WikiLeaks principle Julian Assange being involved in a sexual scandal the included the issue of the purportedly forced removal of a woman’s clothing — an issue of exposure. Even more importantly,  approximately the first 10% of the WikiLeaks information discloses the murder of innocents, widespread, enormous corruption, and other dark revelations.

Synthesizing the astrology here, the expected sequence is as follows: At first, some of these WikiLeaks revelations are “brought to light” like the fully illuminated Moon before the lunar eclipse, then the revelations are “cast in a dark light” analogous to the Earth’s shadow creating the eclipse. The nature of a lunar eclipse, especially on this particular degree, implies that WikiLeaks and/or similar revelations are likely to emerge in a bright light.

This particular Sabian symbol does not tell us one way or the other about what will happen to the man Julian Assange. However, the lunar eclipse here strongly implies that WikiLeaks (or similar) revelations are not going to go away, and after early strife, their truth is likely to be seen in “a good light” by the general public. Various contemporary artists may very well aid their vindication. For instance, documentary maker/celebrity Michael Moore has already helped with Assange’s bail.

A Tough Act to Follow: Winter Solstice 2010 Upstaged

Every year between 1639 and 2009, no celestial event in December upstaged the significance of the winter solstice. It’s quite a different story in 2010, since the just-eclipsed Moon’s dramatic “show” grabbed our attention from the annual new beginning of the winter solstice. There has been nothing like December 2010 since December 1638, when there was a total lunar eclipse on the same degree, just before winter solstice. (The comparison of then and now is a story in itself. Look for another TMA blog about this soon.)

If there is anything to this Sabian symbol analysis, unprecedented transparent truth will ultimately prevail. Peace in our lifetime? Perhaps. If so, this Sabian’s story implies not now, and probably not right away. But if the U.S. government and other world leaders ever do become peace-oriented, this Sabian symbol implies that we’ll likely have WikiLeaks to thank, as controversial as it may be to write this so soon after this eclipse.


(1) The Sabian Symbols As An Oracle, Lynda Hill, first edition 1995, A White Horse Book, Avalon, Australia,


Dale O’Brien has been a full-time astrologer since 1991 and a member of ISAR (C.A.P.), AFAN, and NCGR, a Jim Lewis-trained Certified Astro*Carto*Graphy Interpreter. His writings have appeared in The Mountain Astrologer, From Here to There (An Astrologer’s Guide to Astromapping), and elsewhere. Dale has taught astrology at all levels and has presented, conventionally and experientially, for UAC, ISAR, NCGR, and elsewhere, as well as on radio. He is also trained as a Dream Tender. Dale lives in Eugene, Oregon.

Contact him at or visit his website:

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