TMA This Week

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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Cardinal Cross Lunar Eclipse: December 21

By Gary P. Caton | December 13, 2010

We now enter the final chapters of the cardinal crisis. Four of the five outer planets have transited the solstice and equinoctial points this past summer. It is now time for the lunar nodes to cross these same points. We now begin a period where the World Axis will be forced open, ejecting its inner contents and forcing all the world to become aware of the loss. This is because an eclipse is essentially a rip in the fabric of time. At the December 21st South Node lunar eclipse, the Moon is at 29º21’ Gemini, conjunct the World Axis  (0º Cancer), suggesting both a personal and collective loss.

To appreciate the power of an eclipse, it is useful to understand that time on earth is fractal. It is measured by the constant repetition of the primal alternations of darkness and light. This rhythm of dark/light is ingrained into our bodies and psyches.

When there is a disruption of this pattern, via an eclipse, the natural flow of the dark/light fractal is stopped in its tracks. There is darkness where there should be light. It is as if the laws of our universe are temporarily inverted. The world is stood on its head, specifically in terms of the archetype within which the eclipse is operating.

Astronomically, an eclipse occurs when there is a lunation near the lunar nodes — the place where the Moon crosses the path of the Sun i.e., the ecliptic. Astrologically, the lunar nodes have been called the head and tail of the dragon, for in myth it was seen as a demonic serpent swallowing the heavenly orb. The North Node represents the head of the dragon, and therefore something being taken in or ingested, as opposed to something being released or excreted at the South Node or tail of the dragon.

In a TMA blog about the South Node solar eclipse earlier this year, this astrologer wrote that South Node eclipses have often brought an end to things and have marked the final stages of major hostilities. It is the nature of a South Node eclipse to thus facilitate the end of something. Generally, the Moon is said to govern domestic matters, the people and emotions, so a lunar eclipse tends to have a more personal effect than the solar eclipse, which has a distinctive socio-political effect. Also, since the lunar eclipse is by nature an opposition, it has the tendency to work itself out via the relationships with other people in our lives. However, with the nodes now transiting the World Axis, it is possible that this eclipse could have equally powerful personal and socio-political effects.

This total lunar eclipse is intense, to say the least. It could be said to rival the cardinal cross lunar eclipse on June 26 (at 4º46’ Capricorn) in intensity. Even though Saturn is no longer involved with the autumnal equinox point, Juno is taking his place. This brings the relationship theme into sharper focus. Jupiter and Uranus are now direct, and applying to their last crossing of the vernal point (0º Aries),  so this represents the potential for dramatic new beginnings to come if we are able to clear the space for them now.

Total lunar eclipse: Dec. 21, 2010; 3:13 am EST;  for Washington, DC
Tropical zodiac, Whole Sign Houses

Total Lunar Eclipse

So how can we effectively clear space for the future amidst the potential for emotional chaos that this lunar eclipse represents? In this astrologer’s view, it would be by focusing on the personal planets and how they are involved in the chart. The personal planets represent the basic tools we have as individuals to cope with the emotional and psychological ramifications of this emotional purging.

The first thing we should notice is that the ruler of the eclipse is Mercury, which is retrograde. Therefore, the best tool we have is our ability to check our communications with each other for accuracy. This may seem so obvious as to be silly, but as a trained counselor I have learned that there are some basic communication skills which I remind my clients of all the time and which go a very long way to making stressful situations more manageable. The main skill we need to remember is to check our perceptions. By saying something like, “So, what I hear you saying is _____” , we are practicing a counseling skill called reflective listening. This reflecting back of what we heard the other person say is vitally important in clarifying any misperceptions before going out and acting on them.

The next personal planet that stands out is Venus, who is angular when the lunar eclipse horoscope is cast for Washington, D.C. Venus in Scorpio is making the same Arrowhead or Thor’s Hammer alignment that she made — from Leo — in the lunar eclipse earlier this year (on June 26). She is making the tri-octile or sesqui-square aspect to both ends of the square between Jupiter-Uranus and the Moon. There are basically two ways to see this energy flow. Some astrologers view this configuration like the t-square, with the energy originating in the tension of the square planets (in this case, Jupiter-Uranus and the Moon) and finding an outlet through the apex planet (in this case, Venus). This means we must use the apex planet, Venus, to find creative solutions to the square, or the tension of the square could erupt suddenly and perhaps destructively. This perspective reflects the use of this configuration as a tool like an Arrowhead.

The Moon-Uranus square holds the signature of emotional trauma resulting from having to deal with sudden changes. The Moon-South Node conjunction is about processing and getting over a loss of some kind (both personal and collective), so that we may get on with truly living. The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction, applying to the Aries point, challenges each of us to be like “Lucky Lindy” (who crossed the Atlantic solo under the last such alignment) and seek to pilot our lives across some previously uncharted terrain in order to open a new realm of experience for both ourselves and the coming generations. Venus as the apex, or focal, planet of this square says that as we do these things, we can serve as a model for others. By sharing our personal stories, struggles, and adventures, we can assist others in slicing like an arrowhead through their own emotional morass.

Others see the energy flow of this configuration as originating with the apex planet (Venus, in this case). This image is more like a Hammer. Venus, then, must find a way to wield the power and dynamic energy of the square planets. We need to find a way to use this constructively and creatively, or the energy can become destructive. A hammer can either be used to crush an object or to drive home a connecting agent, such as a nail or dowel. Perhaps Venus as the hand on this hammer can represent emotional leadership and the power of personality being harnessed by some to serve as a mentor for others. The Mentor is an archetypal figure who shows up early in the Monomyth and gives the hero/ine the tools, knowledge, and confidence required to overcome his or her fear and face the unknown, to accept the adventure. (1)

After appearing in the pre-dawn eastern sky a little more than a month ago, Venus has now reached her maximum brightness in the sky.  In the corresponding Sumerian myth of Inanna, this is where she takes up her crown and goes to see the God of wisdom, Enki. Like a mentor, Enki gives her sacred powers for her journey as Queen. Later in the myth, Inanna turns “from the great above to the great below.” (2) This is the beginning of Inanna’s famous descent to the Underworld where she passed through seven gates and was stripped of her royal regalia (which symbolize her ego attachments). These seven gates symbolize the seven waning crescent Moons encountered by Venus between her maximum brightness and her eventual disappearance from visibility near her superior conjunction with the Sun. (3) In this cycle, Venus makes the first of these lunar conjunctions on December 30.

Over the next seven months, therefore, we have a tremendous opportunity to harness the enormous power of this South Node lunar eclipse for personal growth. As Venus becomes dimmer and lower in the sky at each successive lunar conjunction, we can also shed layers of our old emotional/feminine identity. By next June the North Node lunar eclipse will be bringing new energy for us to incorporate and digest. If, like Inanna, we have made the descent and been stripped of superficialities, then we will have plenty of emotional space for this new energy to dwell while we seek to find ways to integrate it. As the Tao te Ching advises, “Bend and you will be whole. Keep empty and you will be filled.”

References & Recommended Reading:
(1) J. Campbell, (1988), The Hero With A Thousand Faces, London, Fontana Press.
(2) From personal conversation with Shamanic astrologer Daniel Giamario, who shared with me the following reference:
Clyde Hostetter, (1991), Star Trek To Hawa-ii, San Luis Obispo, CA, Diamond Press.
(3) D. Wolkstein and S. Kramer, (1983), Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth; Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer, New York, Harper and Row.
S.B. Perera, (1981), Descent to the Goddess, Toronto, Inner City Books.

Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic, process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 22 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent Dream, where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary holds a degree in Counseling and has developed a unique multidisciplinary path to Astrology over 17 years. Visit Gary at his website: DreamAstrologer

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Birth Time for Julian Assange

By Mary Plumb | December 7, 2010

True to the spirit of the time (and the Uranus station), several days ago TMA received an (unsolicited) exact birth time for Julian Assange.

Our source has requested anonymity, which we are respecting. Both Tem and I felt that the circumstances through which we got the information, and some other details, suggest that this is an authentic time. The source personally viewed, but was not able to make a copy of, Mr. Assange’s birth certificate.

Update: our source clarified what s/he saw: “The birth record (is) from the registry which has appended to it a copy of the birth certificate but the hour was not on the certificate but on the record in the registry files.”

Because of ink that was a bit smeared, there is a question of whether the time of birth was 2:05 pm, 2:06 pm. or 2:08 pm on July 3, 1971, in Townsville, Queensland, Australia (19S09 146E48).

I’ll just make a few quick comments, and open it up for you all to chime in with your fine ideas. What a story!

Birth data for Julian Assange: July 3, 1971; 2:05 pm; Townsville, Queensland

First of all, take a look at the chart for the solar arc directions that Tem noticed right away.

Assange bi-wheel

Uranus is a big player in Mr. Assange’s birth chart (it squares the Sun) and has come precisely to the Ascendant.

Mr. Assange’s MC/IC axis 6º12’ Leo/Aquarius; the U.S. nodal axis is 6º36’ Leo/Aquarius.

Julian Assange has 17º08’ Scorpio rising. His co-rulers are Mars and Pluto. In the past few days, transiting Mars has been opposing natal Venus  (ruler of 7th of open enemies) and squaring natal Pluto. His progressed Ascendant is 24º16’ Sag; Mars crossed that degree on November 29.

His prenatal solar eclipse is 6º09’ Pisces; the Sibly progressed Moon is now 6º08’ Pisces (which of course, we can see without a birth time).

The A*C*G map for 2:05 p.m. shows Pluto – IC through Sweden (but if done “in mundo” it shifts away from Sweden) and Sun line goes through London and Paris.  Venus – IC runs through Washington, D.C.

There’s lots more to say, and we look forward to your comments.

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Benign Retrograde Mercury Heralds Shift into Fire Signs

By Robert P. Blaschke | December 6, 2010

A 20-Day “Shortie” with 16º of Orbital Motion Between Stations

This Friday, December 10th, we will enter the fourth Mercury retrograde period of 2010. As your correspondent wrote in his TMA This Week article of April 26th, not all retrogressions of Mercury are created equal. (1) In the 3-part Sun-Mercury synodic cycle, wherein the duration and orbital speed of the Mercury retrograde period is variable, the least problematic of these is when Mercury has its fewest number of days (20) in retrogression, and the greatest amount of orbital travel (16º) between stations. I call these “Shorties” – the faster retrograde Mercury is what renders it harmless.

Tri-wheel Ephemeris

In the above tri-wheel chart, the retrograde station of Mercury is shown in the inner wheel, the inferior conjunction of the Sun and retrograde Mercury is shown in the middle wheel, and the direct station of Mercury is in the outer wheel. The astrologer sees that Mercury will be in retrogression for 20 days, and will have orbited 16º between its stations. An ephemeris excerpt shows that during the 24-hour period from December 20th to 21st, at its inferior conjunction, Mercury’s orbital speed will reach 1º23′ per day — the maximum possible swiftness for Mercury while in retrograde motion. As a result, we should have a relatively problem-free Mercury retrograde during the holidays, and shoppers need not be worried about purchasing electronic gifts for those on their Christmas lists. (2)

This Mercury retrogression period also ushers in a new 1.5-year cycle of the inferior conjunctions of the Sun and retrograde Mercury, now falling in the fire signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. There is an overall 6-year cycle in which these inferior conjunctions rotate through the four elements, with a minimum of four, and a maximum of six, consecutive retrograde Mercury periods occurring in the four different Triplicities. (3) As with all things Mercurial, in contrast to the zodiac sequence of signs occurring in Fire, Earth, Air, and Water, in this 6-year retrograde Mercury cycle the order is reversed, with the series recurring backwards from Water to Air to Earth and then to Fire. The following table illustrates this cycle of inferior conjunctions through the four elements. (4)

Mercury stations retrograde

As you can see, it has been a little over five years since the last Sun-Mercury inferior conjunction occurred in the Fire element. We are just now concluding the 1.5-year period in which this cycle has rotated through the Earth signs, bringing with it a political focus on the national debt and the financial industry (Taurus), health insurance reform (Virgo), and a partisan debate over the role of government in society (Capricorn). Now, as this cycle enters the Fire element, identity politics will predominate (i.e., gays in the armed forces, immigration reform); along with military matters and athletes (Aries), sporting events and the welfare of children (Leo), and foreign affairs (Sagittarius).

US Sibly / Assange

With a Sagittarius inferior conjunction starting off this 1.5-year retrograde Mercury cycle through the Fire signs, foreign policy is much in the news. The United States has recently been embarrassed by the release of secret diplomatic cables to and from the State Department in Washington by the WikiLeaks web site. It is no small coincidence that the retrograde station of Pluto last April, at the time when a classified military video was released by this organization, and the upcoming retrograde station of Mercury, are both occurring in 5º Capricorn and in exact opposition to the U.S. Jupiter.

From an Interpol arrest warrant for sex crimes in Sweden, your correspondent has obtained a date of birth for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. (5) Casting a noon horoscope for this man, the astrologer finds that his natal Mars in 21º Aquarius is exactly conjunct the U.S. progressed Mercury, ruling planet of documents. (6) Secret matters are ruled by Neptune, and one observes that the United States has just passed through a progressed Moon-Neptune conjunction, and that the natal Pluto of Mr. Assange is in synastric conjunction with the current degree of our progressed Moon. (7) It is also significant that the U.S. Sibly progressed Ascendant is in the anaretic 30th degree of Leo; the final degree of a sign contains all of its hidden side as an era reaches completion. (8)

As your correspondent wrote in his TMA This Week article of May 17th,  the U.S. is just now entering a two-year period of unpredictability, upheaval, and rebellion brought on by the progressed Sun-Uranus square forming in the Sibly horoscope. (9) Individuals with extreme anti-government and anarchist points of view, along with possessing advanced computer skills, like Mr. Assange who has a natal Sun-Uranus square, are in a prime position to become a thorn in the side of the American government and large U.S. corporations between now and the fall of 2012.

To understand the present, it is sagacious to look backwards in time. All of life is cyclical, and recurrence patterns within the synodic cycles of the Sun and the five classical planets can be used to intelligently perceive prevailing trends and when their genesis had its origins in human history.

Sun-Mercury inferior conjunctions have a recurrence pattern, falling in the same degree area of the zodiac as part of a cycle that has durations of 13, 33, or 46 years between conjunctions. After 79 years, these inferior conjunctions can recur in the exact same degree of the zodiac. The last time that the Sun and retrograde Mercury were conjoined in 28º Sagittarius was on December 21, 1931. On that very day, the new issue of TIME featured Adolph Hitler on its cover, and the magazine contained numerous articles examining the rise of Nazism in Europe. (10)

Within this recurrence cycle’s historical connection may lie the crux of the unpredictable instability facing the United States over the next two years as it passes through its progressed Sun-Uranus square — a Cyber Nazism on the march led by determined technological anarchists from abroad who penetrate inadequate on-line firewalls, and then reveal secret government and corporate documents.

© 2010 Robert P. Blaschke

Mr. Blaschke is author of the Astrology: A Language of Life series in five books: Progressions; Sabian Aspect Orbs; A Handbook for the Self-Employed Astrologer;  Relationship Analysis; and Holographic Transits. His books and class, lecture, and workshop CDs can be found at Earthwalk Astrology


(1) TMA blog

(2) The most problematic of the three retrograde Mercury types are the “Longies” (a 24-day slow retrogression with only 9º between stations). The third category of retrograde Mercury are the “Middies” (a 22-day retrogression with ±13º between stations). These can go either way.

(3) Erin Sullivan, in her book, Retrograde Planets, wrote about this pattern in the Mercury cycle wherein four to six consecutive periods of retrograde Mercury fall in the same element. Her research had shown that this cycle of Mercury lasts a little over six years.

(4) This cycle is measured not by the signs in which Mercury stations retrograde, but rather by the sign in which its inferior conjunctions fall.

(5) Interpol

(6) Mr. Assange’s natal Mercury is also closely conjunct the U.S. Sibly Mercury; his Aquarius North Node is in the power degree of 15º fixed.

(7) His natal Pluto in exact synastric trine to the U.S. Pluto explains the ease with which WikiLeaks has acquired these secret documents.

(8) The U.S. progressed Ascendant ingress into Virgo in October 2011 ends its 38-year passage through the sign of Leo since February 1973.

(9) TMA blog

(10) The Continental Congress created the Department of Foreign Affairs on January 10, 1781. Remarkably, Mercury was in 28º Sagittarius!

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Early Signs: Saturn Return for the U.S.

By Mary Plumb | November 29, 2010

The U.S. Sibly horoscope has natal Saturn at 14º48’ Libra in the 10th house. Transiting Saturn is now at 14º24’ Libra; the U.S. is just days away (i.e., December 3) from the first exact passage of its Saturn return (exact again in March and August 2011).

On Sunday, WikiLeaks again offered classified documents for public viewing, this time with many details embarrassing to U.S. diplomats. (Saturn, exalted by sign in the 10th, suggests highly visible, well-regarded professionals, and Libra rules diplomats.)

According to the Guardian: “The United States was catapulted into a worldwide diplomatic crisis today, with the leaking to the Guardian and other international media of more than 250,000 classified cables from its embassies, many sent as recently as February this year.” (1)

Transiting Mars is also now opposite the U.S. natal Mars (21º23’ Gemini), which squares natal Neptune (22º25’ Virgo) as the documents have been given to the news outlets.

Sibly biwheel

The New York Times headline this morning, “Leaked Cables Uncloak U.S. Diplomacy” seems to include keywords for these planets.

Neptune, which rules the media and, along with idealism and naiveté, can also suggest obscuration and distortion, is in the 9th house of foreign relations and publishing. The natal Mars square Neptune has been triggered when other compromising (or scandalous) details came into public view. (In the spring of 2004 when transiting Pluto was at 22º Sagittarius – conjunct Neptune and square Mars – the infamous and damaging photos of torture by U.S. military personnel at Abu Ghraib prison began to be widely published. There are still human rights investigations going on as a result of those published photos, as well as incalculable damage to the U.S. reputation in the Arab world.)

Trouble-making Mars also showed up for President Obama who got elbowed in a basketball game and needed 12 stitches on his lip on November 26, the day before transiting Mars was exactly square his natal Mars at 22º36’ Virgo.

Obama biwheel

Of course, any aspect that impacts the Sibly Mars-Neptune square also will impact the President’s natal Mars, as they are square to one another, i.e., 21º Virgo/21º Gemini. (2)

The combination of transiting Neptune conjunct the U.S. Moon, which has been in effect all of 2010, and the Saturn return has combined to leave a sense of confusion and malaise in the air. The Sibly chart has Libra on the Midheaven, ruled by Venus at 3º06’ Cancer. The transiting South Node at 3º Cancer adds another temporary sense of woe, or diminishment of, the reputation of the U.S. Perhaps this also can be interpreted to mean that an overall feeling of happiness and well being in the country at large is connected to a careful observation of our assumptions about what really has value in our personal lives. (3)

In mid-January 2011, transiting Neptune makes its last exact pass to the President’s South Node and the U.S. Moon. Maybe then we’ll be feeling more confident in facing the demands of the time, sure to be obvious as Saturn continues to hold the U.S. to a high degree of accountability on the world stage.


(1) Reader Supported News

(2) It is not unusual for U.S. President’s to be strongly connected to the Sibly Mars-Neptune square. Some examples:

FDR’s Ascendant is 23º16’ Virgo (with Uranus nearby at 17º55’).

Jimmy Carter’s Mercury is 21º11’ Virgo.

Ronald Reagan’s Midheaven is 22º28’ Virgo.

George Bush, Sr.’s Sun is 21º22’ Gemini, square Uranus at 21º26’ Pisces.

George W. Bush’s North Node is 20º35’ Gemini, conjunct Uranus at 19º09’.

Bill Clinton’s Uranus at 21º09’ Gemini conjunct the North Node at 18º16’.

(3) Even CNN seems to be getting the picture – on the news this morning there was a segment, “Smart is the New Rich.”

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