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A life on the feminist frontier

Gloria Steinem was born on March 25, 1934 in Toledo, Ohio at 10 a.m. (1) The horoscope has some powerful signatures of strength and focus: Scorpio on the Ascendant, a Leo Moon, and Mars conjunct the Sun in Aries.

Gloria Steinem
March 25, 1934, 10 p.m.
Toledo, Ohio
Whole sign houses, True node

Gloria Steinem natal

She has talked about her newest book, My Life on the Road in several recent interviews. (2)

book jacket

Steinem has been a leader and symbol of the Women’s Movement since the 1970s, dedicated, through different venues, to understanding (and changing) the political, economic, and social barriers to women’s rights. She has received many accolades in her long and productive life; I will mention a few themes in her personal life in this article. (3)

Gloria Steinem’s father, Leo, was the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and Germany. (There is a family lineage of activism: Steinem’s paternal grandmother was active in the National Woman Suffrage Association, a delegate to the International Council of Women, and also rescued many members of her family from the Holocaust.) (4)

She traveled nearly constantly as a child; her father was a salesman who she describes as having been financially unreliable and “utterly irresponsible.” (5)

Her mother was highly educated, an avid reader, and a pioneer newspaper reporter until emotional troubles overtook her. Described, in the vernacular of the day, as having had a “nervous breakdown,” Steinem says, “Her spirit was broken.” Despite these difficulties, Steinem says, “I always had parents who loved me…. She was a loving, wonderful woman, super loving towards me.” (A testament perhaps to the Sun ruling both the Midheaven and the Leo Moon and in a trine to the natal Moon in the 10th.)

Her parents split up in 1944, the year her solar arc Moon conjoined the natal South Node at 18°27′ Leo. She became the caregiver for her mother that pivotal year, which also brought a lunar eclipse (February 8, 1944) at 19° Leo on the nodal axis.

In 1969 she came out as “an active feminist” when she covered an abortion “speak-out” for a magazine. The solar arc Sun-Mars (5° and 9° Aries in the natal) had come to 9° and 13° Taurus, surrounding the natal Descendant at 12°24′ Taurus. (She describes the abortion she had in 1957 as being a pivotal event in her life. Her new book is dedicated to the doctor who helped her at that time.)

With the Moon in Leo, she is passionate about the power of telling stories. About the 1969 “speak-out” mentioned above, she said: “So I sat there as a reporter for New York magazine, listening to women tell their stories that were tragic and ludicrous and every human emotion all wrapped into one, and suddenly I thought, ‘Wait a minute, I had an abortion.’ And actually 1 in 3 American women has needed an abortion at some time in her life, so why is this illegal and why is it dangerous? It’s the kind of revelation that comes from people just telling the truth and discovering they’re not alone.”

Another natal aspect is Mercury in Pisces opposite Neptune in Virgo, an aspect that can indicate a gift of empathy and an ability to listen to others. In a newspaper column from last year (called This is What 80 Looks Like), after a discussion on how her outer appearance had always attracted much attention, Gail Collins wrote about Steinem: “But the interior always mattered. The other thing that made Steinem unique was her gift for empathy. Women who read about her or saw her on TV felt that if they ran into her on the street, they would really get along with her. And women who actually did run into her on the street felt the same way. More than a half-century into her life as an international celebrity, she remains stupendously approachable, patient with questions, interested in revelations. When she goes to events, young women flock around her. All celebrities draw crowds, of course. The difference is that when Steinem is at the center, she’s almost always listening.” (6)

With Cancer on the (whole-sign) 9th house, the ruler (Moon) is in her 10th, suggesting that Steinem’s philosophy and beliefs are important to her career. This placement also suggests that travel is connected to her public life. (Her new book is called My Life on the Road.)  In an October 2015 NPR interview, Steinem estimates that she has spent at least half of her time on the road for over 40 years. As Terry Gross said in the interview, she has traveled with a purpose — to raise awareness about women’s issues and organize women around the world.

Saturn in a night birth is considered to be more potentially difficult than in a day chart. In Steinem’s chart, Saturn is in Aquarius in the 4th house. She said in the interview that she “grew up too early,” being responsible for her mother at age 10, after her father left. She also said that it took her until the age of 50 to begin to create a comfortable home for herself. Her friends helped her decorate (Venus in Aquarius); she mentioned the great pleasure she got from buying “antique sheets,” calling it “orgiastic.” This is surely a new image for how Venus and Saturn can manifest.

Although she has had many lovers and has been very open about how much she has enjoyed her sexual life, she married only once. Fittingly for her 7th-house ruler, Venus, conjunct Saturn, she was 66 when she married, and her husband died three years later of brain lymphoma.

Venus in Aquarius is rising ahead of the Sun, and as a morning star Venus is Lucifer, the light bringer. At Gloria Steinem’s birth, Venus was at her maximum brightness in the predawn sky, a striking symbol of a vibrant and pioneering life — a life that does not seem to be slowing down at the age of 81.(7)

(1) Astrodatabank, AA

(2) Here is a current in-depth article about Gloria Steinem: Road Warrior The New Yorker, October 19, 2015.

(3) A few key events in her professional life: Gloria Steinem co-founded Ms magazine in 1972 and was the first woman to speak at the National Press Club.

(4) Biographical material from Wikipedia

(5) Direct quotes from the October 2015 NPR interview

(6) This is What 80 Looks Like by Susan Collins, New York Times, March 23, 2014.

(7) See her web site: Gloria Steinem

Bio: Mary Plumb is TMA’s Book and Web Editor. She offers private sessions and tutoring and can be reached at


  1. Mary, thank you for this informative analysis. I heard the Terry Gross interview with Gloria Steinem and was reminded of how fascinating she has always seemed. My attention is also drawn to her 12th house Jupiter Rx in Libra with its focus on fairness opposing freedom-loving Uranus – quite a rebel in Aries!

  2. Terrific analysis, Mary! I am struck by how much fire and air she has — definitely a “warrior” chart.

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