TMA This Week

Direct Station of Venus Exalted in Pisces

By Robert P. Blaschke | April 20, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Susan Boyle Birth Chart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An angel blowing a trumpet.

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

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

© 2009 Robert P. Blaschke

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

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Lights Dimmed on Broadway

By Mary Plumb | March 23, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

(3) scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com

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Treasury Department at the Full Moon

By Mary Plumb | March 9, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

(1) Geithner, With Few Aides, Is Scrambling

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

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

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Hugh Hefner: Leader of an Empire

By Jan de Prosse | February 16, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

Hefner chart

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

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

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

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

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

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


Biographical data is from Lois Rodden’s AstroDatabank software.

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

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Eclipses and the President

By Mary Plumb | February 9, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yeah, Aquarius!

By Mary Plumb | January 19, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The USA Capricorn Ingress Horoscope

By Robert P. Blaschke | December 28, 2008

Prior to his death in 1968, the eminent British astrologer, Charles E.O. Carter, stated that he would not delineate an individual nativity without taking into consideration the previous Capricorn Ingress horoscope. It had been his professional experience that a Winter Ingress chart that preceded the birth of an individual would show the wider societal context into which he had been born.

In a similar vein, when calculating the Capricorn Ingress as a mundane horoscope for the nation’s capital, astrologers can observe what the country is likely to experience during the next year. For the USA in 2009, here is our Winter Ingress:

Upon viewing the overwhelming preponderance of planets in the first quadrant, one immediately perceives that 2009 will become a year of survival for the United States. As the only Winter Ingress horoscope in American history to have an exact Sun-Pluto conjunction on the Cardinal Point, the depth and extent to which the United States will have to change during the next year is at the present time unfathomable to all but the astrologers who have the techniques and methods to make such a forecast.

2008 will go down in history as the year in which the worst and most vile practices of free-market capitalism were exposed by the ingress of Pluto into Capricorn. It would be educational at this time to review the Capricorn Ingress from last year in order to see just how the United States has come to its appalling realization of the drunken orgy of greed being played out through a manipulation of financial instruments such as derivatives and mortgage securities in order to obtain illusory, short-term profits:


The Sun conjunct a fallen Jupiter and opposed by a fallen 9th house retrograde Mars speaks volumes about the shameful degradation of ethics and morality within U.S. financial markets. The fiddler playing while Wall Street burned was clearly illustrated by the 2nd house (investments) Venus in detriment and in exact square to a 5th house Neptune (addiction to high-risk financial practices and the casino mentality).

The colossal $50 billion Ponzi scheme constructed by disgraced Wall Street financier, Bernard L. Madoff, has shocked even the most inured and grizzled market veterans. It was indicated in the rising degree of last year’s Capricorn Ingress horoscope.

Libra 13 from Sepharial’s translation of La Volasfera:

A pillar of black marble standing upon a rock, roughly hewn.

“It denotes a person of peculiar and sometimes melancholy and
misanthropic nature; apt to contract false or unprofitable relations with
his fellows and with the opposite sex. The native will make a bad match,
and will be unfortunate in wedlock, with probable separation. The
native, in centering his affections upon one object, will be liable to
disappointment in life. It is a degree of SOLITARINESS”.

The malefic nature of the fallen opposition between retrograde Mars in Cancer and a direct motion Jupiter in Capricorn cannot be overstated. This aspect can only form once or twice in a century and last occurred in the Heavens in December 1913 at the outbreak of World War I, and again in December 1960 in the exact degrees of assassinated president John F. Kennedy’s lunar nodes. (A fallen direct motion Mars in Cancer opposing a fallen retrograde Jupiter in Capricorn recurs in the Heavens after a little longer than either one or two sidereal cycles of Jupiter {11.86 years}. In the 20th century, for example, these oppositions recurred in June 1925, August 1949, May 1972, and August 1996.)

Turning our attention back to this year’s Winter Ingress, one is also struck by the rising Mars to which the Moon makes her first application. It goes without saying that the incoming administration of President-elect Obama will have to be decisive, competent and courageous, all Martian virtues. The MC in any mundane horoscope represents the leader of the country. Mr Obama is the fortunate recipient of an exact trine of Venus to the Ingress Midheaven and he is sure to earn the affection of the populace through his even-tempered handling of one crisis after another.

The Moon in exact sextile to the Ascendant signifies that the public will cooperate with each new proposal put forward by the Obama administration in order to tackle the troublesome economic problems now facing the country. Each application of the Moon tells, in sequence, the story of the year to come. Starting with that sextile to Mars, the new administration will get off to a good start with its bold and decisive governmental programs to help stabilize the middle and working classes.

Unfortunately, however, she next applies to a square with a fallen Jupiter and the money from declining tax revenues in a recession will not be there in the Treasury to finance the enormous cost of the social and infrastructure programs being quickly legislated by the new Congress. By the end of the year, that lunar square to Jupiter will have produced deficit spending at levels unheard of in American history.

The American banking system, shown by the second house in this Ingress horoscope has its ruler, Saturn, stationary retrograde and inconjunct to Neptune. This implies that there are additional structural weaknesses in the economy that have not yet fully come into view. Beyond the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2008 lie two additional financial crises awaiting the American public in 2009.

These are the Alt-A and option ARM loans that are about to cause additional massive defaults and foreclosures similar to what we have seen in the subprime market. The former were foolish loans made with alternative documentation – such as reduced borrower income and asset disclosure; while the latter were loans made with initial low teaser rates that then rolled over into much higher interest rates with a significant increase in one’s monthly mortgage payments after a two-to-five year period. The value of these two additional categories of controversial mortgages is estimated at $1.6 trillion; whereas the subprime market is estimated at $1 trillion.

As we gird our loins for 2009, a year that according to its Winter Ingress horoscope will produce survival conditions in the USA unseen in its 233-year history, one must take comfort in the fact that the economic transmutation of America brought about by its upcoming Pluto return is being guided by higher spiritual forces that will not allow the nation to perish.

However, extreme stress levels amongst the populace should be anticipated during 2009 as millions of additional Americans fall prey to unemployment, lost health care benefits, defaults on mortgages, and all of the other trials and tribulations to which our society will be subjected. This may result in an epidemic of spiritual escapism as a response to natural denial about the severity of the economic collapse occurring in our midst. If these mental coping tactics then fail to work, alcoholism and substance abuse may follow, as portrayed by the rising degree for this Capricorn Ingress chart.

Sagittarius 25 from Sepharial’s translation of La Volasfera:

Three cups of wine standing upon a table in the form of a triangle.

“It is the index of a mind that is given to excessive indulgence and undue
enthusiasm in matters of a spiritual and mental nature; one who will
follow out his projects regardless of consequence, impelled as it were
by a species of mental intoxication. The substance and form of this
symbol is allied to the higher nature, but should the carnal appetites
gain an ascendancy over him, he will in all probability degenerate into a
debauchee. Moderation should be his watchword even in spiritual
things. It is a degree of EXCESS”.

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Mercury & Pluto Make Waves

By Mary Plumb | December 15, 2008

As if we needed more evidence, last week’s Full Moon brought a few daring new players on to the front pages in a continuing display of the general upheaval, corruption, downfall of all we’d like to believe in. Pluto in Capricorn rocks!

Sordid though it is, since the news has touched many big political names (i.e., Jesse Jackson, Jr.) and even gotten our not-as-yet-President Obama to have to defend himself, I figured it was worth a look. (And, dear readers, I’m committed to finding more uplifting stories the next time I write!) For now, I’d like to try to objectively see some of the astrology at work.

Although we don’t have birth times, both individuals have planets caught (shall we say trapped?) by the mutable grand cross between Sun, Mars, Moon, Saturn and Uranus that was the striking pattern of Friday’s lunation.

On Tuesday December 9, the day before his birthday, Illinois Governor Blagojevich was arrested on extensive charges of conspiracy and soliciting bribes. Reading from a stunning 78-page document, the stalwart federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald mentioned a few specifics of Blagojevich’s alleged behavior, and noted that the conduct “would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.”  (1)

Blagojevich was born on December 10, 1956 in Chicago. (2) His natal Sun is at 19° Sagittarius, which is now being squared by Uranus, heightened by its (November 27) station direct at 18°44′ Pisces. (Uranus, of course, wakes us up, sometimes rather uncomfortably; I did read an early headline on Huffington Post that the Governor was “blindsided” by the arrest.)

The Moon was in Pisces the whole day of his birth; if he was born at noon, the Moon would be right at 21° Pisces and exactly squared by this Full Moon. Whatever time of day he was born, the less-than-savory possibilities of a Pisces Moon are part of the story: An article from the online New York Times refers to a long time colleague describing the governor’s behavior in recent months as no longer merely “callous” but “into something closer to panicked or delusional.” (3)

Blagojevich has a strong Mars in rulership in Aries: “Whatever else may have come apart within Mr. Blagojevich in recent months, one quality, unabashed ambition, has been a constant, his colleagues and his critics say.” (4)

Transiting Mars has been conjunct Blagojevich’s Sun in the past few days, and as of this morning, public statements say that he’s not going away without a fight, although that stance is bound to change quickly.

Psychologically inclined astrologers may note that Blagojevich had a progressed New Moon in April 2008 at 11° Aquarius, conjunct Chiron at 12° Aquarius. Blagojevich has Uranus opposite Chiron natally, and this 29- year cycle in his inner life seems to have begun with a very public exposure of wounds asking to be healed.

Another grim newsmaker this week is Bernard Madoff, star of a huge story in the financial world. Madoff, the former head of the NASDAQ, is chairman of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, which he founded in 1960. On Thursday December 11, within 24 hours of the Full Moon, he was arrested by the FBI and charged with fraud. As we would expect given the tenor of the times (not to say Pluto’s dalliance with Mercury on the world axis), this is no small matter, but is alleged to involve $50 billion – the largest investor fraud ever blamed on a single individual (!)  and  “what may be the largest Ponzi scheme in history.” (5)

Madoff’s natal Neptune (which can signify deceit, fraud, and general nefarious activities) is at 18°37′ Virgo – the Full Moon was all over his Neptune: Uranus, at 18° Pisces, is opposite Madoff’s Neptune, and the Sun conjunct Mars in Sag and the Moon in Gemini squared the planet of illusion and subterfuge. Talk about a front page worthy ‘snap-out-of-it’ moment! (Remember, as mentioned above, that Uranus is especially strong due to its station direct at 18°44′ Pisces on November 27.)

Born in New York City on April 29, 1938, Madoff is a Taurus Sun, the sign of money and finance. (6) The Moon moved from Aries into Taurus that day. Very late that night, Venus also moved from 29° Taurus, both in rulership and at a critical degree, into Gemini.

Not to pick on planets in detriment and fall (I have one myself and so far have managed to stay out of this kind of trouble), and without knowing times of birth, there is something to note about the condition of key planets for each gentleman. Blagojevich has Venus in Scorpio and Jupiter in Virgo – both benefics are in detriment (and Saturn in Sagittarius is not too happy in Jupiter’s sign either). Madoff has an uncomfortable Saturn as well – in its fall in Aries. Without awareness and hard inner work (which can be shown by other planets helping or assisting) poorly placed planets can signify real areas of trouble in a life. Saturn brings necessary limits and boundaries; when impaired it may signify a struggle with discipline and judgment – as if the inner mechanism to hear life saying “no” – and recognizing when to stop – is not quite connecting.

Both men have North Node between 26°  – 28°  Scorpio, which has something to do with the reality that sharing resources, wealth and power may be a good direction to head in this life. This is a curious idea, as Pluto conjunct Mercury at 1°  Capricorn has brought them both into prominence for what appears to be a spectacular blind spot regarding that notion. Here’s to the Full Moon keeping us all on track!

Footnotes:

(1) New York Times

(2) Wikipedia

(3) & (4) Both quotes from this New York Times article

(5) New York Times

(6)Wikipedia

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Terror in Mumbai

By Robert P. Blaschke | December 1, 2008

Here is the the mundane horoscope for the City of Mumbai (when its name changed from Bombay), cast for  August 12, 1996 at midnight:


Mumbai has a very rare fallen Cardinal T-Cross comprised of the opposition of Mars in Cancer and Jupiter in Capricorn and each in square to a fallen Saturn in Aries. This aspect configuration can only form once in a century. Just the fallen opposition of Mars and Jupiter alone is considered quite malefic and an aspect such as this occurred in December 1913 at the outbreak of World War I.

This severe debilitation of Jupiter in the mundane horoscope produces an effect wherein the transit of Jupiter can bring the results equivalent to a transiting malefic.

One observes that transit Jupiter opposed the Mumbai Moon (ruling hotels and restaurants) as the terrorist attacks commenced (9:30 PM local time; 16:00 GMT on 26 November 2008).

One sees that at the incorporation of Mumbai, Pluto was stationary in 00° Sagittarius. When Muslim extremists launched their terrorist attacks, Pluto was in 29° 59’ 59″ Sagittarius. On the last day of Pluto in Sagittarius (religious extremism and violence committed in the name of religion), it is ironic that a city incorporated at the ingress of Pluto into Sagittarius should have the fate to be attacked as Pluto finally leaves this sign.

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Michelle Obama

By Mary Plumb | November 24, 2008

Although we don’t have a time for Michelle Obama’s birth, we know that she was born on January 17, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. (1) The Sun is at 27° Capricorn and Venus is at 1° Pisces, trine her husband’s Venus at 2° Cancer. The Moon changed from Aquarius to Pisces at about noon on the day Michelle was born. Mercury had just stationed direct on January 15 at 4° Capricorn. Mercury’s speed is, therefore, very slow. A slow Mercury is a signature of a deliberate, careful manner of communicating, emphasized also by its placement in cautious and thoughtful Capricorn. I think that careful Capricorn has been easy to see in her media appearances. Many commentators noted her composure and poise during the tense days of the campaign and that quality of steadiness and steadfastness are true marks of the mountain goat at its best.

The Capricorn urge and ability to accomplish shows itself in her biography – she graduated from Princeton University (with honors) and Harvard Law School, as well as being married to president-elect of the US.

The north node is at 11° Cancer, and the south node at 11° Capricorn. We can infer from this the great importance of her role as a mother – her personal focus will undoubtedly be with her daughters, especially while they are young, as well as in fulfilling her professional obligations.

Without a time of birth, one thing we can do is set the prenatal solar eclipse chart for the place of birth to get a feel for the big themes and purpose of the life. Michelle Obama was born several days after a solar eclipse – curiously, the same eclipse that preceeded Sarah Palin’s birth in February 1964.

If we look at the solar eclipse chart, January 14, 1964 (2:30 pm CST, Chicago, Illinois) the Sun Moon conjunction at 24° Capricorn falls in the 8th house. This is a signature of 8th house matters being paramount for expression and fulfillment of the the life purpose. The 8th house, of course, signifies resources shared intimately with others. Capricorn will naturally take very seriously the matters involving the intimate partner. Barak Obama’s natal Saturn, co-ruler of his Aquarius rising chart, is placed in its own sign at 25° Capricorn, exactly on Michelle’s prenatal solar eclipse. I think this is a striking symbol of a marriage destined to be connected to governance and the public life.

(1) biographical data from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Obama

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