TMA This Week

The Moon/Pluto Occultations

By Alex Miller | May 7, 2012

There is currently a rare astronomical event that may have dramatic astrological significance, and which has not been receiving as much attention as it should — the series of occultations of Pluto by the Moon. Beginning in April 2012, the Moon will pass directly in front of Pluto, blocking its energy for no less than 19 consecutive months! Given the fact that this occultation hasn’t happened since 1935, it would appear to be a major event, with some cosmic intent or purpose for the world at large.

Occultations are essentially eclipses, with one celestial body passing in front of another, from our perspective on Earth. As such, they act to emphasize the issues and concerns represented by the occulted body, in much the same way a Solar or Lunar Eclipse does. Most commonly, they involve one of the planets of our system passing in front of a star and blotting out its light. More rarely, the Moon will occult another planet, and the occultation of Pluto is among the least common of these phenomena.

Pluto’s orbital plane is inclined more than 17° from the ecliptic, the apparent path along which most of the solar system’s bodies revolve around the Sun. Since the Moon’s orbit is both extremely erratic, extending far north and south of this plane, and also swift, spending barely two hours at each degree of the zodiac, the chances of these two bodies coming together in such a way as to occupy the same space at the same time, are, quite literally, astronomical. But that this should happen over 19 consecutive months? That’s something you’d definitely need a supercomputer to calculate!

Pluto is a deeply evolutionary power source, governing such things as cellular/molecular processes; decay, death, regeneration and rebirth; sexuality; compulsion and obsession; secrets and scandals. The Moon represents emotions, domestic concerns, motherhood and nurturance, the physical body, security or foundational issues, and, in mundane affairs, the people or populace of a country. An occultation, or hiding, of Pluto by the Moon will act to both eclipse, in the sense of disrupting or cutting off, and to magnify, in the sense of bringing focus, stress or emphasis to Plutonian affairs, particularly in ways that highlight the Moon’s special areas of influence.

Each of these moments of occultation provides a sort of jolt or surge, a powerful opportunity to reset the current reality in ways that support Pluto’s drive to empower, reveal, and control. Having 19 of them in succession is like emptying a semi-automatic revolver’s clip into the collective unconscious and the body politic. It may be experienced as a repeated, rapid-fire assault on the status quo, resulting in change and transformation, the specifics of which we can only conjecture, with ramifications spreading out like ripples on a pond.

On a personal level, much of how this manifests will depend upon where in the natal chart these occultations fall, and how they interact with the chart as a whole. But anyone already experiencing heavy Plutonic transits can expect a major ramping up of these effects. (The occultations occur between 6° -11° Capricorn; check the list at the end of this article for specific dates and degrees.) If Pluto is not particularly active for you right now, you’ll likely experience these occultations much in the way you would an unaspected eclipse, that is, as a general point of emphasis in the area of your life where they fall.

On a mundane level, however, we can look for clues on how the series will resolve itself by closely marking the events that cluster about the earliest occultations. One immediate red flag was raised on April 12th, the day of the first occultation; an incident at this time indicates that sexual scandal (Pluto) revealed to the public (Moon) is one of the levels of manifestation evoked by the occultations.  

That occultation reached maximum effect at 4:38 a.m. local time, in Cartagena, Colombia. Within two hours, a U.S. Secret Service agent, working in advance of President Obama’s upcoming visit, decided to stiff the prostitute he had hired the night before. (1) He paid her $30 of the $800 fee, claiming he had been too drunk to understand when negotiating her price. She quite understandably balked at this turn of events, and since prostitution is legal in Colombia, the local police backed her up; the ensuing brouhaha brought a scandal of international proportions.

Eleven other agents were involved in similar activity (but without the parsimony) in Cartagena, leading to the resignation or dismissal of nine of them. The subsequent congressional probe has unearthed allegations of similar impropriety in at least five other incidents in four countries (including El Salvador, Argentina, and Russia) over the past decade or more. These incidents, and statements made by former Secret Service members, suggest a well-established pattern of such activity, particularly among agents conducting advance prep work before VIP visits.

The fine hand of the Moon/Pluto occultation is easy to see in Pluto’s rulership of scandals, sexual matters, prostitution, the “Secret” Service, and the service’s role in security — a lunar issue — as well as the hotel where the transgression occurred, hotels also being Moon-ruled. The catalyst for this revelation was one Arthur Huntington, age 41. His pivotal role is well represented celestially by asteroid Arthur (#2597) at 11° Aries, closely squared the Moon/Pluto occultation at 9° Capricorn. The escort he refused to pay was Dania Suarez, age 24, represented by asteroid Suarez (#6438) at 15° Capricorn, conjoined the occultation.  

Asteroid Arthur is at least as well connected as his terrestrial namesake. He is now being conjoined by Uranus (shocks, revelations, erratic behaviors) at 5° Aries and appearing at the apex of a large mirror configuration (2) encompassing sextile aspects to asteroid Bacchus (drinking, partying, sexual licentiousness) at 9° Aquarius, and Venus (women, intimacy, romance, cash payments) at 7° Gemini conjunct the South Node (old habits that are unproductive or limiting), also at 7° Gemini, and asteroid Karma (the results of our prior actions and choices) at 11° Gemini. Asteroid Arthur squares Pluto/Suarez, as well as asteroid Askalaphus (named for the tale-bearing denizen of Hades who revealed Persephone’s secrets) at 5° Cancer, and inconjuncts asteroids Aphrodite (affairs of the heart, flirtations) at 8° Scorpio retrograde, and Arachne (creation of intrigue and entanglement, entrapment) at 5° Virgo retrograde.  (Arachne is conjoined Mars (sexuality) at 3° Virgo, powerfully stationary just before turning direct a day later, but a bit broad by aspect to include into this pattern directly.) Furthermore, asteroid Arthur is in opposition to asteroid America (the U.S.A.), at 5° Libra retrograde, and TransNeptunianObject Typhon (storms, tribulations) at 4° Libra retrograde.

A mirror configuration is similar to a Yod, or Finger of Destiny (one of which is also incorporated into this pattern), in that all points radiate out from a central object at equidistant intervals. Like the Yod, it can indicate a predestined or fated moment, character trait, process, or circumstance, and any mirror configuration has special implications for karmic resonance. Their appearance in mundane event charts often reflects the sudden injection of someone previously unknown into the center of a well publicized controversy or sensation, for good or ill.

The transit Sun can be seen in mundane events as determining the major themes of the day. On April 12th, the Sun at 23° Aries was conjoined asteroid Vesta (associated with prostitutes) at 21° Aries, TNO Eris (governing disputes, arguments, and disrespectful slights) at 22° Aries, and asteroid Tantalus (named for a mythic Greek king from whom we derive the word “tantalize”, to tempt or tease) at 24° Aries. The Sun is also in opposition to Saturn (government workers, the President) at 26° Libra retrograde; square to asteroid Washingtonia (the U.S. capitol) at 26° Capricorn, and sextile to the centaur Nessus (sexual impropriety or inappropriate actions) at 25° Aquarius. There is also a conjunction of Mercury (verbal contracts) at 26° Pisces with TNO Salacia (named for the Greek goddess from whom we derive the word “salacious,” conveying undue or indecent interest in sexual matters) at 24° Pisces, semisextile the Sun. (Text continues below the graphic)

Put it all together and you have a pretty accurate and specific, picture of the Secret Service scandal. That this all came off within hours of the first Moon occultation of Pluto suggests that scandals and secrets being made public may be a predominant theme of the next 18 months, but doubtless other themes will emerge as well, as we navigate this most extraordinary series of celestial events.

[The Moon occults Pluto on the following dates and degrees; an “R” following the degree denotes that Pluto is retrograde at the time:
April 12, 2012 9° Cap R
May 9, 2012 9° Cap R
June 6, 2012 8° Cap R
July 3, 2012 8° Cap R
July 30, 2012 7° Cap R
August 27, 2012 7° Cap R
Sept. 23,  2012 6° Cap
October 20,  2012 7° Cap
November 16, 2012   7° Cap
December 14, 2012  8° Cap
January 11  2013 9° Cap
February 7,  2013 10° Cap
March 6,  2013 11° Cap
April 3,  2013 11° Cap
April 30, 2013 11° Cap R
May 27, 2013 11° Cap R
June 24,  2013 10° Cap R
July 21, 2013 9° Cap R
August 17,  2013 9° Cap R


(1)   HostedNews

(2) Editors note: In an email from the author: “Mirror configuration” is a pattern I first heard about at an NYC NCGR conference in the early ’90s.” 

Note from Alex Miller: Thanks to Eric Francis for making me aware of the occultations, and for the calculations and asteroid data.  

Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of “The Galactic Calendar,” and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society. His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. His work with deep space points and asteroids appears monthly at DayKeeper Journal. Alex can be reached for comment or services at

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Venus Transit: The Message is Love

By Annalee Smith | April 9, 2012

The Mayans thought 2012 was portentous, due to the ending of one calendar round and the beginning of another, and due to the occurrence of a Venus Occultation, or Venus Transit. During this transit on June 5, 2012, Venus will appear as a dot on the face of the Sun. Venus averages a conjunction to the Sun every 1.6 years, and it takes eight years to complete five superior conjunctions, forming a giant five-pointed star in the sky. We are in the midst of two visible conjunctions, which are inferior, i.e., Venus is retrograde, slower, and more powerful in her effect. This phenomenon of Venus’ visibility to the naked eye across the Sun only occurs once every 243 years (go to lunarplanner for an exquisite 3D demonstration of this cycle).

Sometimes this visible conjunction comes in pairs separated by eight years. This is happening at this time, as there was a visible conjunction on June 8, 2004, at 17º Gemini. The second visible Venus Transit is June 5, at 15º Gemini. On that day, Mars is at 16º Virgo; one day earlier, Neptune will station retrograde at 3º Pisces, and, on the same day, there is a Super Moon Lunar Eclipse at 14º Sagittarius. This creates a Mutable Grand Square between Sun-Venus, Moon, Mars, and Neptune. Just two weeks later, there is a partile square of Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, the first of seven Uranus-Pluto squares during the next three years. At that time, Jupiter will be in late Taurus and Saturn will be retrograde in Libra, where it stations direct the day after the Uranus-Pluto square. Taurus and Libra are both Venus signs, giving even greater emphasis to the power of the Venus Transit. On June 25th, the day after the first Uranus-Pluto square — and the day of Saturn’s station — Jupiter will ingress into Gemini. Jupiter in Gemini will form a square to Neptune in Pisces. Jupiter and Neptune are co-rulers of Pisces, which is also Venus’ sign of exaltation. The Mayans were aware of the star formation and the Venus Transit as an indicator of the life cycle of beginnings and endings.

As ruler of Libra, Venus has a lot to say about personal relationships, as well as the areas of social justice, fairness, and equality. As ruler of Taurus, Venus has a lot to say about what we value. Exactly halfway between the first and second of the visible Venus Transit conjunctions with the Sun, the economy of the U.S. collapsed. Some say we are now in a slow recovery, yet, as individuals, we can see that some of us have been affected more than others, and if the following transit degrees are sensitive points in your chart, it is likely that you are one of the people more deeply affected. Conversely, you may be needed to help in the recovery and assist our need for realignment/reassessment of what is truly important or of value in life. The degrees highlighted in this star formation are: 7º-10º Aries; 15º-18º Gemini; 23º-24º Leo; 4º-5º Scorpio, and 21º-23º Capricorn.

The area of your chart where the middle degrees of the mutable signs fall may denote areas of your life that need a change due to crystallized thought patterns. Potential examples of Venus issues are: having lost touch with the value of relationship, having overvalued possessions, or lost touch with the divine feminine. Gemini issues include: valuing the head over the heart, talking when we need to listen, learning the need for right speech, cyberspace replacing the natural world. This powerful transit highlights an emergent period of rebalancing the yin/yang energies of male/female polarities as we reengage with the power of the feminine, which has been suppressed for more than two millennia. The period initiated by the first Venus Transit (in 2004) involves the dissolution of duality and separation from the divine, and a crisis of healing from divisiveness and fear. I refer to this transit as a Passage of the Heart.

In 2004, during the first visible Venus Transit, the war in the Middle East, which had begun the year before, was at center stage. On June 8, 2004, the day of the first Venus Transit at 17º Gemini, the UN Security Council adopted the Iraq Resolution, which provided for the handing over of power to an independent Iraq — in essence, a peace-keeping resolution. Yet we have seen evidence that our government has attempted to exert control over this process. June 8, 2004 was also the beginning of a three-day G-8 summit meeting in Sea Island, Georgia, during which nearly every branch of government, from the local to the national level, cooperated to diffuse protests and deflect terrorists. Anti-globalization protests did occur, however, with National Guardsmen giving bottles of cold water to over-heated protesters, a gesture of peace.

Astrology isn’t only a mathematical equation; there is also a mystical quality in communing with the stars that requires intuition, imagination, and sometimes a mythological grasp. For the coming Venus Transit of June 2012, we can use archetypes and imagery to imagine the Sun (representing persons in power) as a great lord or king, such as Midas, with the golden touch, who sits on his throne controlling everything with his gold; in fact, all he touches turns to gold. Everything he sees is for his use and everything has a dollar value. Our king is nearly exhausted with this tiresome ‘golden touch,’ when, from out of the shadows, glides a graceful and beautiful goddess in flowing robes. The king notices her just as she emerges into the throne room; she is dazzling and he is stunned when she touches him as she brushes past. He is almost as startled by her beauty as by the fact that, unlike everyone else, she did not turn into gold or stone or a groveling sycophant, the behavior he is most accustomed to among his minions. What he didn’t notice was that as she swiftly made her exit, some of his gold rubbed off onto her skin and her hair, and the folds of her skirt and her pockets filled with his gold dust. She doesn’t keep it for herself, however; her heart is much too big for greed or self-aggrandizement. She intends, like Prometheus with fire, to give it to us. I believe that, during this perfect storm of a Venus Transit, combined with a Super-Moon Lunar Eclipse Mutable Grand Square, Saturn and Jupiter in Venus signs, along with Uranus perfecting a square to Pluto, as Jupiter squares Neptune and Saturn stations in the Venus sign of Libra, we will have an opportunity to witness the blossoming of a peaceful, non-violent world revolution.

The Occupy movement began on September 17, 2011, five days after the Full Moon in Pisces, the sign of Venus’ exaltation, and one day after Pluto stationed direct. In her recent TMA article, J. Lee Lehman says we are in a time of “conflict and tension without resolution” (1), just as the peaceful, non-violent movement begun by Gandhi led India through a long and deliberate period of ‘conflict and tension without resolution.’ Barely a week after the Venus Transit, Jupiter moves into the mutable, ‘common’ sign of Gemini, lending his weight and swelling the ranks of the common people to this higher purpose. Further, at that time there is a conspicuous absence of fixed signs. We will enter a period of great change and flux, when there will be no objective news reported, only influence peddling; truth, perhaps, will only be found in social media. The Uranus-Pluto square drives the action of the worldwide revolution in cardinal signs. Uranus in Aries gives people the will to act against the established empire of dark forces, corporations that pollute not only our environment but our political sphere as well. But the common Mutable Grand Square/Super Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius will define the revolution and, with the Venus Transit in Gemini, the people will demand their voice back and the main issues will be justice and ethics.

Pluto in Capricorn also defines the conflict as being concerned with social responsibility and management (Capricorn) of resources (Venus), capital as well as natural, and the Uranus-Pluto square tells us it will not be a summer of Love. Conflict comes before resolution and nothing can be truly foreordained due to the fact of human agency; we have a choice. The future will manifest from the choices we make, and it is up to each of us to act. An insightful warning comes from Evan Bortnick, in a TMA article from a decade ago:

“Anyone who under-estimates Venus….makes a grave error. Even the most cursory glance at Venus in mythology shows her to be, indirectly, the first cause of much war, destruction and suffering. On the stage of human events and transactions (both personal and collective), the desires for accumulation of goods, for security and stability, for lebensraum (“room to live”), for ‘peace-keeping,’ and for relationship — all under the aegis of Venus — have been the impulses behind some of the most brutal and gruesome dramas ever played out.” (2)

The Maya felt Venus to be a symbol of the life/death cycle, and the approaching time of endings relates to our way of thinking (Venus transit in Gemini). Hence, it is not so much that God/Jesus will return, but, rather, we will return to the Divine through the realization that the cosmos and all life are manifestations of Divine Consciousness: “All objects and phenomenon will be seen as expressions of the living divine force that pervades the cosmos of which we ourselves are a part……..cosmos will be recognized as an expression of the Divine.” (3)

After completion of the second visible transit, Venus chases her closest platonic friend, Mercury the Messenger God, around the zodiac for more than a year, waiting to share the gold (power) with him so he too can assist in the change of consciousness that will be occurring. They finally meet in Venus’ sign of exaltation, Pisces, on March 7, 2013, not for a pity party, for a Pisces Party — an opportunity to bring together the forces of mind and heart. Nearby are none other than dark lords Saturn and Pluto, inferring that discipline, suffering, and transformation will be required to create change. Saturn forms an exact trine from Pluto’s sign (Scorpio), and Pluto forms an exact sextile from Saturn’s sign (Capricorn) to the post Venus Transit meeting of Venus and Mercury — the Goddess of Love meets the Messenger God: The Message is Love.

References and Author bio:

1. J. Lee Lehman, “Sustainability Issues in 2012 and Beyond,” TMA, Dec. 2011/Jan. 2012, pp. 38-42.

2. Evan Bortnick, “Creativity and the Shadow: Oscar Wilde, Richard Strauss, and Salomé,” TMA, Oct./Nov. 2002, pp. 27-33.

3. Carl Johan Calleman, Ph.D., The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness, Vermont: Bear and Co., p. 209.

Bio: Annalee Smith is an artist, writer, and astrological counselor living in the Oregon forest by Silver Falls State Park. She has an MA in Transpersonal Psychology and has studied/practiced astrology for 40 years. As a student of the transpersonal, she became deeply immersed in Buddhist practice and philosophy, incorporating her spiritual beliefs into her work. She is a recent cancer survivor who is deeply concerned about the survival of the planet and believes that peace can only come one person at a time. As her recovery continues, she will be working as an astrological counselor with a new age/metaphysical store and wellness group in the Willamette Valley, Journeys, A Center for the Soul. She can be contacted through Journey’s at (503) 991-5091, or at P.O. Box 957, Silverton, OR, 97381.

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Mars retrograde

By Mary Plumb | April 2, 2012

We’re nearly at the end of the Mars retrograde cycle. The planet goes direct on April 13 at 3º40’ Virgo. I’ve assembled links to the Mars cycle, and to a key story of these past weeks, the Trayvon Martin case.

I have a brief observation on Trayvon Martin. I’m going back to techniques I wrote about a few weeks ago. First, the phase angle return chart: Trayvon was born on February 5, 1995, with Mars retrograde at 25º Leo and the Sun at 16º Aquarius. This was six days before the Sun-Mars opposition on February 11, when Mars was at 22º54’ Leo. (Mars is always retrograde at its opposition to the Sun.) 

He died on February 26, 2012, six days before the Sun-Mars opposition on March 3 at 13º39’ Pisces/Virgo. Even without knowing his exact time of birth, we can see that he died at his Sun-Mars phase angle return.

Now, if we look at the prenatal Sun-Mars conjunction chart for Trayvon, we see that it was on December 26, 1993. We set that chart for Sanford, Trayvon’s birthplace.

The prenatal Sun-Mars conjunction was at 5º20’ Capricorn, right in line with the current Uranus-Pluto shock upheaval, and rising social consciousness. The chart also has a square between Saturn and Pluto at 26º Aquarius/Scorpio. The Ascendant is 22º24’ Leo, the degree of Mars  (22º54’) at its opposition to the Sun when Trayvon was six days old (see above). 

The event in Florida is keenly marked by Mars — the planet was rising at the time of his death. (Many of the blogs I’ve linked to show the chart: February 26, 2012; 7 p.m., Sanford, FL)

There are more connections to sensitive degrees in the Mars cycle, but I want to move on to these other fine bloggers.

First, some blogs on Trayvon Martin:

Alex Miller’s Asteroid Files this week is an extensive look at The Trayvon Martin Killing.

He looks at the individuals involved, as well as the time of the event.

The transit Sun at 7 Pisces is exactly opposed a Black Hole at 7 Virgo, exactly squared a Maser at 7 Gemini. Sun/Black Hole contacts indicate sudden, unexpected twists of fate, and perfectly portray the alternate realities competing for dominance in this story.”

Lynn Hayes writes Mercury and Mars in the Trayvon Martin case. Along with an assessment of the individual charts, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, she takes note of Chiron.

“It’s interesting that at the time around March 20-22nd when the investigations into this case began, Mars in the sky was exactly opposite Chiron, the planet of wounding and healing.  Chiron demands that we examine the root of the wound, and Mars stimulated that examination.  Mars will next oppose Chiron in mid to late May, at the time the Uranus/Pluto square is beginning to tighten.”

Here is an interesting piece by Kannon McAfee, Trayvon Martin Case Part of Major Crisis Building in US. He looks at the U.S. progressed horoscope – he uses 21º04’ Sag rising – and looks ahead to the grand jury on April 10.

“The grand jury will be meeting April 10 when the Sun comes conjunct Venus in the event chart, which is ruler of the 9th house of juries. They will meet in secret, as indicated by Venus in the 8th, and their deliberations will not be so quick. The 8th is a succedent house, which is slow-moving in terms of timing.”

Trayvon Martin – Aquarius Martyr is Ayesha Grice’s blog at her site, Astrology for Life.

“What are the spiritual messages we’re getting from the murder of Trayvon Martin?  Well, Neptune, planet of spirituality is in Pisces now, and we are Pisces People (Black people in America).  Neptune is influencing us to look for the spiritual meaning behind this tragedy.  Can we confront the situation while remaining spiritual? Can we forgive George Zimmerman?”

And here is a collection of work on Mars retrograde:

My sister, Kate Plumb, has a series on different aspects of this Mars retrograde cycle. In Towards a Deeper Understanding of Our Country, she looks at the U.S. Sibly chart. 

“If we have any doubts about the effects of Mars retrograding in our country’s chart we can look no farther than the sergeant, deployed for the 4th time, who went from house to house on a killing spree in Afghanistan last week, and the burning of the Koran by US soldier on February 20th.  These two grave acts of aggression occurred in the current Mars retrograde period starting January 24th, directly at 23 Virgo right on top of our natal Neptune square Mars, the misuse or idealized use of aggression potential in our natal chart. We are in a critically dangerous period until Mars passes 23 Virgo again mid June.  We will also be in a critical period six months from now when our progressed Moon passes over that Mars.”

Mars Retrograde: Transforming the Brave Heart was written by Wendy Guy in 2007. This is an overview of Mars retrograde themes that includes Regrouping, Mars and Aggression, Choosing Mars, Mars and Passion, Working with the Mars Retrograde, The Healing Crisis and Courageous Quotes. A sample of her very useful approach:

“During Mars retrograde, if you find yourself overwhelmed by feelings, passion, aggression or anger, it can be important to have a trusted person that you can call on and confide in. It’s easy to feel consumed in the fires of Mars, when your objective judgment can be skewed or absent. It can be very helpful to be able to process and understand what’s happening to you, and this can be difficult to do in isolation. Don’t let your pride, embarrassment or guilt get in the way of reaching out for help and support if you’re having a hard time.”

Leah Whitehorse’s Mars Retrograde 2012 – The Sabian, The Cycle and The Houses explains the cycle and includes the specifics of the transit through each natal house. “I have explored negative manifestations (Hand to Hand Combat!) and what possible actions or strategic position may be useful to take.”

Here’s a Mars retrograde animation. It was made for the 2003 retrograde cycle, but gives a good visual of the phenomena.

Lynn Koiner’s Mars Retrograde 2012 discusses the cycle. There are also extended comments that Lynn addresses – a view of practical astrology in real time. 

Marina at Darkstar Astrology also writes on Mars Retrograde and includes fixed stars. She has lots of comments and responses.

Mars stations direct on April 14. Mars passes over Zosma again May 22 and seals the deal as a result of the brave outburst back on March 12. Mars is also still empowered by a trine from Pluto on ruthless Facies. Mars back on spikey Denebola on June 16, which may bring up a bitter and vindictive backlash from whoever got shafted during the nautical shake-up. But that’s just a blip. At the end of our journey we can all drink Rum punch from the cup of Alkes as Mars says its last goodbyes to 23 Virgo and sails off into the sunset.”

Rob Tillet’s article Mars Retrograde 2012 includes world events: “Mars turns retrograde conjunct the natal Sun of Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, whose chart has just been slammed by the Solar Eclipse of Nov. 25, then double-whammied by the Lunar Eclipse of Dec. 10.” 

He concludes: “Fortunately, Mars turns direct again on April 14, 2012, in the fourth degree of Virgo, remaining in that degree for a week on either side of that date. Red is the colour of Mars and Mars stations in conjunction with the red star El Kophra, on the backside of the Great Bear, and Alula Borealis, in the back foot of the Great Bear, associated with female infidelity and revenge. The Great Bear is known for great anger when roused. With Mars stationary, let’s hope that the Bear stays sleeping.”

Have a good week, everyone. 

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Re-visiting Occupy Wall Street

By Mary Plumb | March 19, 2012

March 17 was the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. In an earlier blog, I connected the beginning of OWS (September 17) to both the U.S. Sibly chart and the U.S. 2001 solar return. (1) The current issue of TMA has a detailed article by Jessica Murray, Occupy Wall Street: People over Profit. (In case you are not familiar with her wonderful work, Jessica excels at explaining social, political, and economic factors, along with astrological analysis.) (2)

A key marker of the connections between the September 17 event and the U.S. chart is the OWS Venus conjunct the Sibly Midheaven. Venus is opposite Uranus and square Pluto, which had stationed direct the day before. The foreshadowing of this event as a potent marker of the upcoming (and long-term) Uranus-Pluto square was ensured by Pluto standing still. Mars in the OWS chart was at 29º Cancer opposite the US natal and progressed Pluto (27º and 29º Capricorn).

Transiting Mars is now retrograde, squaring the U.S. Sibly Uranus at 8º Gemini and the transiting nodal axis. (The transiting south node is now conjunct the U.S. Uranus.)

Sibly & transits

This Mars retrograde cycle has been particularly brutal in the U.S. horoscope. Mars stationed retrograde on January 23 at 23º Virgo. This was square to the U.S. Mars at 22º21 Gemini, which is square to Neptune at 22º Virgo. This long transit of Mars in Virgo means that from late November through mid June, the provocative red planet makes a series of squares to the U.S. Ascendant/Descendant axis, and to natal Uranus and Mars. (This means Mars will conjunct natal Neptune three times.) (3)

Mercury stationed retrograde at 6º49’ Aries on March 12. It is now making its second conjunction to Uranus; all of these aspects are triggering the coming-to-exact first square to Pluto.

Mercury is disposited by Mars and the two are strengthened by mutual reception (i.e., Mercury is in the sign that Mars rules [Aries] and Mars is in the sign that Mercury rules [Virgo]). Mars retrograde is prone to edginess inside and out; this combination is quick to react and prone to volatile words and actions. Mars is also squaring the transiting nodal axis – use/misuse of aggression, force, or willfulness may have particularly fateful implications. (I’m sure many readers will be with me in having counseled calm to more than one friend and client in the past few days.)

On Free Speech TV, I saw a live broadcast of Michael Moore speaking at the New School in NYC on March 17th.

Michael Moore, natal

He is a big supporter of the OWS movement and his talk was funny, optimistic and full of specific direct action suggestions. At the end, he exhorted all to join him to walk over to Zuccotti Park, where they were met with 600 arrests and some rough treatment by the NYPD. (4)

Michael Moore has Mercury in Aries square the nodal axis. (5) His critics say he oversimplifies the issues (Mercury in Aries), but he is one (of many) public voices for the zeitgeist of the times. His natal Moon and Mars are conjunct at 4º Capricorn, recently transited by Pluto and now being squared by the mighty call of Uranus in Aries.

I was curious about the composite chart between OWS and Michael Moore: that chart has the Sun in the 10th house at 13º43 Cancer, conjunct the U.S. Sibly Sun. It’s no wonder that he feels such an affiliation with OWS and respect for its participants and aims. (6)

In what I heard as a background of Neptune in Pisces, during his Saturday talk, Moore quoted activist Naomi Klein as saying that we need to be very kind to one another now. Yes, indeed.

Onwards, into Spring..


(1) Guest blogger Eric Francis also wrote on OWS here

(2) Order a sample issue, or subscribe here.

(3) We don’t have to look far for evidence of volatility in foreign affairs: on February 20 the burning of Korans at Bagram military base inflamed anti-American activity, and the tragic story of the U.S. soldier who is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, mostly children. (He had been to Iraq for three tours of duty before this trip to Afghanistan.)

“As thousands of angry Afghans flung rocks at NATO’s largest military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday, American officials sought to quell a widening furor over what they said was the accidental incineration by U.S. military personnel of copies of the Islamic holy book.”
Washington Post

“Afghans continued to grieve, and continued to fume, as a new day dawned on Sunday, exactly one week after a U.S. soldier — described by some who knew him as ‘happy’ and a ‘nice guy’ — allegedly went house to house, shooting dead 16 villagers.”

(4) Raw Story

(5) Here’s an earlier blog on Michael Moore

(6) See TMA, Aug./Sept. 1999 for Robin Heath’s A New Way of Forecasting: The Composite Transit Chart

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Mercury stations retrograde

By Mary Plumb | March 12, 2012

Continuing on the theme I wrote about last week, I spent time yesterday looking at the prenatal conjunctions of the Sun with each of the other planets. In last week’s blog, I described Robert Blaschke’s work and looked at the prenatal Sun-Mars conjunction chart. (link to blog)

Mercury has just stationed retrograde at 6º49′ Aries, and will be at the inferior conjunction with the Sun on March 21 at 1º34′ Aries. I’m going to look at a few things about working with the Sun-Mercury prenatal conjunction.

Carrying on from last week, Robert Blaschke was born one day after the Sun-Mercury inferior conjunction at 23º Scorpio; this is one degree from my Ascendant. Although we always noted that, I have an even deeper appreciation of it now.

About natal Mercury retrograde, Robert wrote that it causes “the mind to be influenced by the feelings and to be lacking in objectivity. Retrogradation exerts an effect on the intellect, causing it to be more internalized and self-referencing.” (1)

He also wrote about Rudhyar’s notion (furthered by Alexander Ruperti) that the inferior conjunction of Mercury is the most powerful point in the Sun-Mercury cycle since there is a “reversal of polarity in the electromagnetic field.” (2) This is when Mercury’s orbit is closest to Earth which is where we will be on March 21.(3)

I have a few observations about the Sun-Mercury synodic cycle to give an idea of how you might begin to look at it in your life.

As mentioned last week, set a chart for the Sun-Mercury conjunction previous to your birth (which will be either direct or retrograde). This is the beginning of the synodic cycle you were born in. Looking specifically at the birth chart will show you exactly where in the cycle you were born (the phase angle return), but for now I’m just considering the prenatal conjunction chart set for the place of birth. (Last week, we looked at the Sun-Mars conjunction chart.)

Mercury relates to one’s mental activity and nervous system. I already mentioned Robert’s Sun-Mercury prenatal conjunction degree on my natal Ascendant; his intellect (not to mention his friendship) has had a significant impact in my life.

When I look at my own Sun-Mercury prenatal conjunction set for my birthplace, there are ties to close people in my life. (I always start with family members, but then a nighttime birth with a Cancer Moon would do that.) The degree of my Sun-Mercury prenatal conjunction is one son’s natal Sun, one sister’s Mars, and another sister’s Ascendant/Descendant axis. The Ascendant of my Sun-Mercury prenatal conjunction chart is my granddaughter’s natal Sun degree, and the Moon in the chart is the degree of her Moon and her father’s Mercury. There are lots of other connections. As astrologers know, with charts of significant people in your life, sensitive degrees pop out all over the place. Looking at the prenatal degrees brings in another level of meaning. I’ve worked a lot with the degree of the prenatal solar eclipse (as per Jansky), but I’m just getting started with the other synodic cycles.

Here are a few other sites you may want to visit.

If you haven’t been to Khan Academy yet, there is a huge section on Cosmology and Astronomy. Here are just a few samples:

The Birth of Stars

The Scale of the Solar System

How Earth’s Tilt Causes Seasons

Parallax in Observing Stars

The Astrology News Service (ANS) website is a joint project of the astrological associations ISAR, NCGR, AFA and AFAN. There are lots of wonderful articles; here are a few:

Computer Genius Linked to Rare Planetary Alignment. Subtitled: Most Influential People in World of Computing and Information Technology Born During Critical 11-Month Period in Mid-1950s (This time period includes Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Bill Joy, Eric Schmidt, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and others.)

Unique Study Links Venus to Romantic Choices People Make by Edward Snow is about the progressed Venus over the course of a relationship.

John Townley’s Derailing Destiny: Some Thoughts on Fooling Around with Fate

And don’t miss Bruce Scofield’s assessment of the 2012 Media Hype. Bruce is one of the rare ones who know astrology and the Maya calendar. In a footnote, he writes: “The square of Pluto and Uranus, which has a long history of social disruption, is presently occurring and will be a factor for several years. This aspect, by itself, makes a strong case for major changes in culture and society. This is, of course, Western astrology and the coincidence with the end of the Long Count is just that, coincidence.”

Kathy Watts writes Astrological Forecasts with a Traditional Twist at World Astrology Network.

For today:

“Mon Mar 12 the Moon is in Scorpio when Mercury goes stationary retrograde. Heads Up. Use this time to check any of those tempting self-indulgent impulses and stay focused on what matters, in addition to yourself of course. Stay calm, organized, and patient with others, with their machines, and tolerant of their bad driving. Safety first for all. You can still be productive through all this, you know.”

Have a great week everyone, enjoy Mercury. (I intend to notice the quality of my thoughts.)


(1) Astrology, A Language of Life, Vol. V: Holographic Transits, by Robert P. Blaschke, Earthwalk School of Astrology, 2006, pg.70.

(2) Astrology, A Language of Life, Vol. V: Holographic Transits, pg. 69.

(3)I re-read Robert and Ruperti’s words on this idea of the change in the electromagnetic field. Robert felt that the change occurred at either the inferior or superior conjunction. “At the superior conjunction, again a reversal of polarity in the electromagnetic field occurs, this time with the Promethean phase transitioning into Epimethean.” Ibid., pg. 72.

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The Sun-Mars Synodic Cycle

By Mary Plumb | March 5, 2012

Mars is currently retrograde, so close to the earth and at its brightest in the sky. Since it’s opposite the Sun now, look for it in the eastern sky after sunset. And now you can see Jupiter and Venus in the western sky. These are beautiful nights for star gazing if you are lucky enough to have a view and clear skies.

The synodic cycle of Mars and the Sun is the period between two consecutive conjunctions of these planets. The synodic cycle with Mars is not totally consistent, but somewhere around 25-26 months. The actual length will be between 762 – 819 days, with an average length of 779 days. (1)

We can consider the cycle to begin at the superior conjunction when Mars is in direct motion and conjunct the Sun. The cycle reaches the halfway point at the opposition between the Sun and retrograde Mars. The current cycle began on February 4, 2011, with the Sun and Mars at 15º Aquarius. We’re just past the opposition — it was on March 3, 2012, with the Sun at 14º Pisces and Mars retrograde at 14º Virgo.

We are all born with Mars (and each of the other planets) in a synodic relationship to the Sun. We most commonly think of the Sun-Moon cycle — the arc between the two luminaries at birth. That arc, called the phase angle, repeats every 29 days. (Astrologers have commonly used this, sometimes for determining times of fertility in a woman’s horoscope.)

The late Robert P. Blaschke demonstrated a sophisticated theory and practical use of synodic cycles in his 2006 book, Holographic Transits, which I reviewed for TMA.

Robert first explains the mechanics of the synodic cycles of all 10 planets with the Sun. He shows how to work with the phase angle return charts, that is, the time within the cycle when the birth angle repeats itself. These vary in frequency: Venus is every 584 days; Mercury, every 116 days; and erratic Mars, who’s average is 779 days.

Along with his impeccable explanation of the mechanics of the synodic cycles, Robert proposes a theory that considers the fate vs. free will question. He writes about astrology as depicting the space-time continuum. He describes the transits to the birth chart as connected to one’s fate, which is associated with time. He then describes free will as related to space — the recurrence of the synodic cycles, i.e., the phase angle return, of a birth chart is related to free will.

The practical application of this theory is that the phase angle return is when the individual can most directly and efficaciously use free will to change patterns related to the particular planet during one’s life.

Regarding Mars now, anyone born with Mars retrograde just past the opposition to the Sun with be having the phase angle return sometime in the next few days. (I’m paying attention to this because I have retrograde Mars inconjunct the Sun — before the opposition — and had the phase angle return a few weeks ago.) Remember, with Mars the phase angle return will only be every 25 months or so. If, for instance, you were born with Mars in a closing square to the Sun, your phase angle return will be sometime around June 7, when Mars in the sky at 18º Virgo will square the Sun at 18º Gemini.)

Another idea from Robert: people born in the same prenatal synodic cycle are part of a “soul group” who have incarnated together. (This notion does explain why you can have an especially close or familiar feeling about people born close to you, again specifically depending on the planet you are talking about.)

Since Mars is the subject here, look (in the ephemeris) for the conjunction of Mars with the Sun that occurred before you were born. Cast a chart for that conjunction at your place of birth. In the case of Mars, Robert felt that “one’s individual hologram of passion emanates from an immense ‘desire matrix,’ of which one is a part.” (2) He also said that those born in our same Sun-Mars synodic cycle have “similar karmic inclinations and tendencies, as well as similar leadership abilities.”

The degree symbol (Sabian or any other symbol system) for the Ascendant shows one’s personal place within that group. The degree of the conjunction is also significant as well, of course.

I spent time yesterday looking at family member’s prenatal Sun-Mars conjunction charts cast for the birthplace and it was riveting. The aspects to the conjunction are important as well. (I have the prenatal Sun-Mars conjunction in an exact square to Uranus, which feels like it says a lot about me, and, as Robert writes, it will also describe all the souls born within that 25-month cycle. The Ascendant degree is what makes it specific, as well as the way the prenatal conjunction chart interacts with the natal.)  

Have fun with this if you’re inclined to try it out with your own chart. I’d love your feedback.

We miss you, Robert!


(1) Astrology, A Language of Life, Vol. V: Holographic Transits, by Robert P. Blaschke, Earthwalk School of Astrology, 2006.

(2) Astrology, A Language of Life, Vol. V: Holographic Transits, pg. 128.

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The Astrological Faces of Love

By Gary P. Caton | February 13, 2012

In all faces,

the Face of faces

is veiled as a riddle

Nicolas of Cusa, 15th century mystic (1)

Is there anything more basic and universal than Love? Even an archaic species of human, the Neanderthals, demonstrated the ability to care for the sick and injured and practiced flower burial. Indeed, recent scientific studies have shown that even cows and sheep show affinity for others, as well as what we might see as the shadow side, i.e., the grudges and depression that come with being separated from the objects of affection. (2)

In astrology, when we talk about Love, we usually think first of Venus. Venus is the closest planet to Earth and holds the archetype of Love, consistent with the idea that love/affection is one of the closest and deepest emotions. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Love is an extremely multi-faceted experience. There are probably as many ways to love as there are people, or perhaps even beings, on this planet. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to focus on what I see as the three most basic faces of Love.

Western astrology arose out of  the Hellenistic era in the Greek tradition. There are several Greek words for Love. Among them are Eros, Philia, and Agape. (3)

Plato defined Eros as an appreciation of beauty, but most people associate Eros with the more passionate, sensual and erotic face of Love. All these attributes are consistent with the Greek version of Venus, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. Aphrodite was seen as the epitome of beauty, but she was also vain, so her beauty was as troublesome as it was beneficial. To win the judgment of Paris as the most beautiful of the goddesses, she bribed him with the promise of the most beautiful woman as his wife. This was Helen, who was already wed to a King, and so began the great Trojan War.

We can see several important things in this story: Eros can be a possessive love, and violent consequences can ensue as a result of the shadow side. We can say that the shadow side of Venus, the planet closest to Earth, can serve as a trigger for the shadow side of the planet next closest to Earth, Mars.

In New Age circles, it is commonplace to hear appeals to a “higher” form of love that seems unconditional and more sacred. The Greeks called this Agape; the word was later used by the Christians to describe the divine love of God. In modern astrology, we associate this kind of cosmic love with the transpersonal planet Neptune. Despite the common tendency to deny it, this kind of love is not without its troublesome aspects. Stanislav Grof associates Neptune with the very first stages of life, that of floating in the womb. The positive aspect of this archetype is a transcendent feeling of ecstasy, but the shadow side is confusion, distortion, or even deluded, paranoid, and psychotic feelings. (4) Liz Greene notes in her tome on this modern planet that an unintegrated Neptune can result in a regressive infantile longing for a blissful Eden that is not realistic. (5)

It is my opinion that the problematic natures of the modern planets are often underestimated and the positive side overestimated. Humanity has recently experienced the very first Neptune return since its discovery. If the first Saturn return signals the beginning of real maturity and adulthood, then collectively we are like the average 29-year-old young adult with respect to Neptune – not exactly experts yet. So, trying to make the big leap from Eros to Agape seems like something of a fool’s venture.

Fortunately, we don’t have to make the leap from Venus to her “higher octave” Neptune in one step. In her seminal work Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George introduced the idea of “octave transformers.” (6) Because the asteroids dwell between the rocky personal planets and the transpersonal gas giants, they can be seen in the role of transformer. Asteroids with the same archetypal quality of the other two planets can be seen as transformers in the archetypal circuitry. Their role is to literally step up (or down) the archetypal energy between the personal and transpersonal. My friend and colleague Jim Rodgers wrote about this recently in the NCGR Research Journal. (7)

Rodgers sees Juno as the octave transformer between Venus and Neptune, and I find this useful. In this role, I think Juno also serves as the archetype holding the face of Love that the Greeks called Philia. As the Goddess of the sacred contract of marriage, Juno embodies virtuous love, which demands loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires equality. Philia is basically friendship and good will, but is also altruistic, like the love of a parent or mentor. Another way of thinking of Philia is the Quaker concept of “right relationship.” (8) Beyond a simplistic moral notion of “doing the right thing,” philosophically, a thing is right when it preserves the integrity, resilience, and beauty of life.

In my view, the natural progression of Love is from Eros, to Philia, to Agape. One has undeniable and obvious affinities for certain people, places, and things. This is Eros. By engaging our natural Eros while also seeking “right relationship” with the objects of our affections, we avoid the possessive shadow manifestations because we are truly concerned about the well being of the other as much or more than ourselves. It is only when we have mastered the right relationship of Philia that we can approach Agape without unconsciously or unintentionally engaging the dangers of the transpersonal realms.

In my opinion, once integrated, these three archetypes, or faces, of Love are really One. If we consider the concept of Holarchy, each part or piece of the whole also contains the whole within itself, thus Venus contains within her the essences of all three faces of love and love “planets.” (9) It is as if there are three “decanates” of Venus: Venus-Venus, Venus-Juno, and Venus-Neptune.

Coincidentally, visually speaking, Venus has three incarnations: Morning Star, UnderWorld, and Evening Star. Her Eastern appearance as Morning Star is separated from her Western appearance as Evening Star by 60 days of darkness. As she passes through the crucible of the Solar fire, during her superior, or exterior, conjunction with the Sun, she is invisible to the outer vision of humans for 60 days and nights.

Image copyright 2012 Gary P Caton

Thus, we can see the synodic or visual cycle of Venus as a journey of three basic stages. It is a journey of growth toward wholeness. One of our oldest recorded stories is the Mesopotamian myth of Venus,  as Inanna, who can be seen to go through the entire journey of exploring these three kinds of love herself.  Early in the myth Inanna explores Eros via her marriage to Dumuzzi. Later she explores the “right relationship” of Philia via the confrontation with her dark sister Eriskegal and the banishment of Dumuzzi to the Underworld for failing to mourn her properly. Finally she experiences the divine compassion of Agape for Gesthinanna, Dumuzzi’s sister, and sets up a divine balance between the masculine and feminine with each being renewed by spending half the year in the Underworld.

We are currently experiencing the Evening Star phase of Venus, which can be seen to correlate with the third face of Love. Like an older, wiser, and initiated Inanna, who brings order to the kingdom through Agape, it is possible that we can also experience the balance and wholeness that Agape brings if we have successfully entered into right relationship with our world. And whether or nor this Valentine’s Day is as blissful as we hope for, and deserve, we will have almost four months while Juno is retrograde (from March 24 through July 14) to work on our Philia face before reaching again for the cosmic Agape Love of Neptune, as the cosmic love planet squares the nodes at the north bending this summer.

References & Recommended Reading:

(1) Angeles Arrien, The Second Half of Life: Opening the 8 Gates of Wisdom. Chapter 2 – “The White Picket Gate: Changing Identities, Discovering One’s True Face” opens with this epigraph

(2) Jonathan Leaked, The Secret Life of Moody Cows

Sentience in Farm Animals

(3) Wikipedia

(4) Stanislav Grof, Holotropic Research and Archetypal Astrology

(5) Liz Greene, The Astrological Neptune and the Quest for Redemption

(6) Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, Chapter 12, pgs 185-202.

(7) Jim Rodgers, Humanizing the Modern Planets: The Re-Awakened Feminine as Octave Transformer

(8) Quakers Advocate Living in ‘Right Relationship’ with Creation 

(9) Wikipedia

Bio: 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 23 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 earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to practicing Astrology over 19 years. Visit Gary at his website: Dream Astrologer

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Venus Eclipse of the Sun

By Mary Plumb | January 23, 2012

In this blog I want to talk about a timely and unusual book: The Venus Eclipse of the Sun 2012, by David Tresemer.

David Tresemer has a Ph.D. in psychology and is a student of Rudolf Steiner. He and other colleagues, namely Robert Powell, William Bento, and Robert Schiappacasse, have taken the study of the wisdom of the stars in Steiner’s work (i.e., Astrosophy) to a new audience. Astrosophy can be considered a specialty within the larger body of Steiner’s work, Anthroposophy.

Tresemer’s newest book looks deeply at the implications of the upcoming celestial event. We know this is rare — the transit of Venus over the Sun on June 5 is the second in the pair of transits that occur about every 125 years. The pairs arrive every eight years; the June 2012 transit follows the one of June 2004. The next pair will be in 2117.

The work relies on the sidereal zodiac; the June eclipse will be at 20° – 21° Taurus (rather than 15°44’ Gemini in the tropical zodiac).

Part of the author’s examination of the significance of the eclipse rests on his research into 20° – 21° Taurus and its opposite, i.e., 20° – 21° Scorpio. Tresemer previously developed a system of “word Images” based on the notion that each of the 360 degrees of the zodiac carries a different quality. (Although it may sound familiar, it has no relationship to Sabian or other degree symbol systems.)

Tresemer’s degree system work is part of his Oracle of the Solar Cross, which describes an Image for each of the 360 degrees of the zodiac.

He has taken his cue from “the statement by the philosopher Rudolf Steiner that Christ Jesus was in complete accord with all celestial movements in the heavens.” The word Images used herein are derived from the author’s study of the events of the last four years in Christ Jesus’s life, which has been catalogued by earlier writers in the Anthroposophical field. (I mention this background for the Images as it may be of interest to some readers, particularly those with an interest in Anthroposophy, but it’s not essential to appreciating Tresemer’s book.)

Tresemer offers the word Image for 20° – 21° Taurus and teases apart the symbolism. It’s beyond the scope of this brief review to go into detail, but the author does weave a quite magical and multi-valiant tale. Suffice it to say, one overarching theme is an examination of the use (and misuse) of tools and technology.

Although the work is primarily focused on the Taurus and Scorpio degrees, some of the many events he includes in his research occur with planets square, opposed, or trine to those degrees.

Essentially, events that happen as the Sun is at that degree are connected to the Image, and also to the degree opposite, in this case 20° – 21° Scorpio. Tresemer speaks of people and events tied to these degrees. The people may have been born with the Sun therein, or died on that day.

In the chapter, Mentors and Spoilers, Tresemer discusses the notion of “bodes,” something like a residue of those events or people who have passed through that particular degree, or stargate — “they either bode well and become mentors, or they bode ill and become spoilers.”

He talks about befriending these personages, or investigating the historic events of that degree for positive support and guidance in these times. He writes of “star resonance” or “world memories” stored at each degree.

Since the Venus transit is for the entire world, the events and people at those degrees are mentors and spoilers for us all. Herein are fascinating thoughts on why listening to Mozart, or having a respectful dialogue with Carl Jung (among others) may be important in the days ahead.

Profound qualities of Venus herself are also richly and creatively discussed in this book. The author writes on her connection to Eros and “erotic phantasms;” love’s unhealable wound; the seductive power of technology; and the urgency of finding one’s soul group as themes that may all be quickened by her travel directly across the Sun.

David Tresemer is a clear and conscientious writer. Where appropriate, he explains Steiner’s views and generously references others’ work. He also has a lot of personal stories and anecdotes from his well-traveled and keenly observed life. He is certainly a devotee of astrosophy (rather than astrology), but his ideas cannot be easily categorized or reduced.

He ends his treatise on the significance of the Venus eclipse with a summary, Hands of the Heart. “We can respect the wonderful tools and magical implements that exist in the outer world, but learn to depend on the capacities of our own hearts.”

This is a book unlike any other; from Rudolf Steiner’s esoteric lore to recommending activities that include connecting your hands to your heart, David Tresemer is at home in a wide range of experiences. His last sentence: “Expand your vision to include what can be felt, that is, in the terms of this book, learn to see with the heart.”

David Tresemer has written a fine and fascinating book. If you feel called to a deeper contemplation of the Venus eclipse of the Sun in June, this is the place to go.

The Venus Eclipse of the Sun 2012, by David Tresemer, Lindisfarne Books, 610 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 10230, 2011. Softbound—151 pp.—$15 (ISBN 978-1-58420-074-1).


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Scratch Some Virgo, Find Some Pisces

By Eric Francis | January 16, 2012

The late, great horoscope writer Patric Walker once wrote, “Scratch a Pisces and you’ll find a Virgo under their skin.” Though this was a cute one-liner that I read in The New York Post, Patric was alluding to a real astrological principle: the ‘opposite’ signs contain one another. In a sense, they’re not even really opposite; they are aspects of the same thing, and in this way a polarity works as one entity.

When signs on both sides of the polarity have planets or notable events in them, this is especially noticeable — and that’s what’s happening these days with Virgo and Pisces.

Mars is currently in Virgo, making an extremely rare eight-month visit that includes a 12-week retrograde. (The retrograde extends between January 23 and April 13.) Chiron is currently in Pisces, where it will be into 2019, and Neptune is due to arrive on February 3, and will remain there until 2025. Such events qualify as the ‘full activation’ of the Virgo-Pisces axis — what I will call the axis of practical imagination. Virgo expresses the technical side of nearly anything, based on its tendency toward integrated or applied knowledge; Pisces expresses the imaginative side of the psyche, which can often inspire the more practical modes of expression.

Think of the circuit board and all the ingenuity required to create it as an expression of Virgo. Think of the concept ‘Macintosh’ as an expression of Pisces. To get anything done, particularly anything creative, it’s necessary to have both ends of the polarity working. We’re definitely getting both right now, and we will be for a while.

Let’s start with a careful look at the Virgo side and come back to Pisces. Mars in Virgo is the mind on fire. This placement can represent a drive for integrity, impeccability or even perfection. Healing and self-improvement can become obsessions. There is the drive to fix things. If Mars in this sign turns on itself, the result can be a painful and even tortured neurosis. Casting Mars retrograde in Virgo in the best light, I see an inquiry of some kind, a questioning of conventional values, and an intellectual quest that continually questions itself.

For retrograde hunters, the last time Mars was retrograde in Virgo was in 1997, but part of that cycle happened in Libra, so we did not get the full effect. Mars did something similar in 1950, splitting a retrograde between Virgo and Libra. Mars spent a little piece of its 1995 retrograde in Virgo as well.

The last all-Virgo Mars retrograde was the famous one that took place in early 1965, famous in my mind, anyway, because Mars passed through the Uranus-Pluto conjunction. Doing so, it stirred up a lot of collective energy, helping spark what we think of as the 1960s. That conjunction, which happens less than once per century, combined the revolutionary power of Uranus with the evolutionary power of Pluto and set many things in motion.

In January, Lyndon Johnson made his “Great Society” speech. Two months later, he sent the first combat troops to Vietnam. The Civil Rights movement was on fire in Alabama, where James J. Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist minister was beaten to death. In April, the first anti-Vietnam War march, organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), drew 25,000 people, which was just the first of many impressive antiwar protests that year.

In May 40 men burned their draft cards at the University of California at Berkeley, and marched a coffin to the local Draft Board. Good thing, too. By July, Johnson nearly doubled both the ground troop count in Vietnam and the number of men drafted. (He also signed the Social Security Act of 1965, which provided for Medicaid and Medicare).

Births from this specific era of 1965 include Trent Reznor, Robert Downey, Jr., Eric Cantor and Sarah Jessica Parker. A piece of timeless artwork that manifested in this moment was the recording A Love Supreme by John Coltrane.

We are now having another all-Virgo Mars retrograde. What is interesting is that we are once again in a potent Uranus-Pluto phase — the square. This is the first Uranus-Pluto quadrature (90-degree type) aspect since the ’60s, and it’s pretty easy to feel the resonance between our era and that one. This retrograde will awaken Uranus and Pluto in the natal charts of many people born in the ’60s. It’s fair to say that for a while, the world will feel a little more like home to ’60s babies — though this isn’t just about Virgo.

This particular Mars retrograde also arrives with a Pisces awakening. At the moment, Venus and Chiron are in Pisces. Neptune is about to arrive, which will shift the story of the world, and allow the realm of imagination to be more tangible and accessible. When the question is one of method, we find a counterpart in purpose in its counterpart energy, Pisces. When it’s one of proof (in Virgo) we have a matter of faith (in Pisces).

What our era has in common with the mid-’60s (indeed, nearly the whole decade) is once again the presence of Chiron in Pisces — something that blended the focusing power of Virgo with the softer light of Pisces. I think of Chiron in Pisces as being the side of the ’60s that was about love, peace and beauty. This was a spirit represented, among other manifestations, by The Beatles, who provided a soundtrack and embodied a peace-loving, creative ethos available beneath all the turmoil of the era.

We’re now entering a time of history that will make the ’60s seem like a day at the shore. The Uranus-Pluto square describes an extended phase of awakenings, creative expression and surges forward in many necessary aspects of life. Yet this radically progressive astrology is taking shape in a world where the human spirit has been all but legislated out of existence or subsumed in advertising. Still, we have the strength to wage ideological battles and attempt to prove our points either intellectually or with intellectual bullying.

Beneath the hashing out of supposed right and wrong, of evidence and proof, there is a softer reality. Amidst the chaos, there is a calm voice speaking and asking reasonable questions.

Check out Eric’s new blog at the Reality Check website.

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Michelle and Marilyn

By Mary Plumb | January 9, 2012

Eclipse patterns and nodal connections offer unlimited insight into cycles of time. They are also useful to work with when the birth time is unknown. The nodes form an axis across the birth chart, often pointing to deep, soul issues or moments of destiny in an unfolding life. An eclipse of the Sun or Moon will always fall when one of these bodies is close to the Moon’s nodes and in parallel aspect to one other. (1)

The actor Michelle Williams was born on September 8, 1980 in Kallispell, Montana (time unknown). (2)

(All charts have been calculated on a Mac with IO by Time Cycles Research.)

Michelle Williams Sunrise I saw her newest movie, My Week with Marilyn, this weekend and wondered what kind of connection she might have with Monroe.

Even though they do not look at all alike, Williams has been praised for her ability to capture the essence of the wondrously, glamorously vulnerable Marilyn Monroe. (3) In an interview about the film, Williams said: “I have always been drawn to Marilyn……She has that magnetism and that draw for so many people, so I read about her when I was young, devouring biographies.” (4)

We do have an accurate time for Marilyn Monroe. She was born on June 1, 1926 at 9:30 am in Los Angeles, CA. AA data (5)

Marilyn Monroe natal chart She has the Moon in Leo in the 7th house opposite Neptune in Aquarius in the 1st house.

Williams’s north node at 20° Leo is conjunct Marilyn’s natal Neptune; her south node at 20° Aquarius is conjunct Marilyn’s Moon.

Marilyn and Michelle bi-wheel That so well describes the kind of compelling attraction that nodal connections can indicate. I’m thinking too of Williams’s ability to capture the beguiling (and sorrowful) quality of Marilyn’s appeal. She was able to feel deeply into Marilyn’s emotional nature — at least enough to create a beguiling film presence herself.

Williams was born on the day of a New Moon at 16°50 Virgo. (The Moon traveled between 14° – 26° Virgo that day.) She has the Sun, Jupiter, (and maybe the Moon) closely square to Neptune. Her sturdy Virgo nature is also porous and malleable, a gift for an actor.

Marilyn has the Moon opposite Neptune; her public image was powerfully erotic and open to projection. Saturn in Scorpio in the 4th house is squaring the opposition; her early life was one of emotional devastation. (Midpoint watchers may be interested to see that on the 45° dial, Marilyn has the Uranus/Neptune midpoint with Sun, the Moon, and the Venus/Mars midpoint.)

I don’t want to get too far a field with this blog, but I have included some links to articles about her chart below. (6)

Williams was in a relationship with actor Heath Ledger from 2004 until September 2007. Again, with no known birth time, I’ve cast the sunrise chart. (7)

Heath Ledger, sunrise chartHer natal Sun is conjunct Ledger’s north node at 17° Virgo. The couple separated in September 2007; there was a solar eclipse on September 11, 2007 at 18°24’ Virgo, conjunct her Sun-Jupiter and his north node.

Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose on January 22, 2008. At his death, transiting Pluto was at 29° Sagittarius (with Venus at 28°) square her natal Mercury at 29° Virgo (with Saturn at 29°). His natal Mercury is 29° Pisces, also being squared by transiting Pluto.

Heath Ledger, death transitsTransiting Mercury and Neptune were conjunct at 20° Aquarius, her south node, when he died.

One other thing we can see in these two sunrise charts are planets “at the bending,” i.e., square the nodal axis. Williams has Uranus square the nodal axis, specifically the North Bending (8) One event from her biography that matches that symbolism is that at “age 15, faced with her parent’s disapproval, she emancipated herself from them. This was in order for Williams to better pursue her acting career and not have to worry about child labor laws.” (9)

Heath Ledger has Neptune at the North Bending, a hint to a highly sensitive nature, as well as a testament to his gifts as an actor.  The Dark Knight was the last film he completed before his death. He was awarded Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as well as numerous other posthumous awards.

Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger have a child, Matilda Rose, born on October 28, 2005.

Matilda Ledger, natal Her Moon is between 9° – 21° Virgo, close to her mother’s. Matilda’s north node is at 13° Aries, exactly conjunct her father’s Sun. In a statement Williams gave at Ledger’s eulogy, she said: “I am the mother of the most tenderhearted, high-spirited, beautiful little girl who is the spitting image of her father. All that I can cling to is his presence inside her that reveals itself every day.” (10)

Maybe we can hear echoes of the north node/Sun conjunction between father and daughter in her words.

May they both have continued prosperous and happy times ahead.

(1) A parallel occurs when planets are within one degree of the same degree of declination, i.e., the position above or below the celestial equator, described in degrees and minutes north or south of the equator.

(2) Wikipedia

(3) “Initially terrified of taking on the role, she turned down the offer. ‘Physically and vocally, everything about her is different from me,’ she explained. Eventually, she found the offer too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
The Telegraph

(4) The Telegraph

(5) AstroDatabank

(6) Here are a few places to read about her:
Marilyn Monroe 80th Birthday Horoscope
Ohio Astrology

(7) Wikipedia

(8) “Planets at the South Bending are related in meaning to the South Node, that is, they signify a point of release — experiences are internal and have difficulty being expressed outwardly. The North Bending resembles the North Node, which is a point where energy comes in; events and experiences will manifest in the outer world.
To easily see which bending the planet occupies in a chart, start with the North Node and move clockwise around the wheel; if a planet is at the opening square, it is the South Bending. Continuing clockwise around the wheel, if the planet is at the closing square, e.g., 270° from the North Node, it is the North Bending.”
From my earlier blog, At the Bending

(9) Wikipedia

(10) The Daily Telegraph

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