Lest we fall into the error of supposing that astrology in general, and asteroids in particular, are fields focused solely on “big ticket” events like presidential elections and capitol insurrections, consider the case of Charcoal the cat, one of the lilies of my field (if I may mix my biblical metaphors). In the aftermath of the mishigas in DC, even as a new dawn was about to break in the nation’s capital, I underwent my own personal tragedy.
On January 19th I euthanized my dear fur buddy Charcoal, who was diagnosed with cancer. What I thought was another respiratory infection, with which Charkey grappled every winter, turned out to be a mass in his mouth, which ballooned to enormous proportions in just a few days.
Let’s be clear — Charcoal was not my pet; he was my responsibility, but I loved him dearly, and will miss his sweet meow. For over a decade I managed a stray and feral cat colony in West Philly at my home, and Charcoal was one of those valued members. He came to us in traumatic circumstances in 2012, having been trapped inside an abandoned house when the new owners boarded it up preparatory to its renovation. It took him years to recover and learn to trust again; we formed a special bond but he was ever wary of other humans, and sometimes bullying to other animals, so was not a good adoption candidate.
Charkey essentially lived in my fenced garden in Philadelphia, and when my father passed two years ago and I inherited this house in Nazareth, I was determined to bring him with me, along with Cleo, one of the few feline friends he had made, also unadoptable. It took a year to make the move, but my new tenants were installed in the new garden in May 2020. I didn’t want to bring them into the living quarters, for fear of stressing out my other fur baby Ashes, who is older and has medical issues. But they had the fenced garden, and 24/7 access to the laundry room, with its food and water bowls and litter boxes, and soft snuggly beds.
Both cats blossomed in this environment, but Charcoal especially. He would follow me about the yard as I worked, and loved our petting sessions. All I had to do was ask, “Do you want to sit with Uncle Alex?”, and he would pop up from wherever he was lounging, following behind me like a dog, or racing ahead to leap into our chair to await his cuddling. I will miss those times terribly.
Although the local animal hospital isn’t allowing clients inside during the COVID-19 crisis, they make an exception for euthanizing, so I was able to visit with Charcoal before the end. I held him in my arms when he passed, singing him his little song.
Of course, being an astrologer, I noted the time: 12:37 p.m. EST on January 19, 2021 (Saylorsburg, PA, for those who want to play along). I’ve had similar losses over the years, and run those charts, so I knew what unfolded would be cosmically apropos to the moment.
It was a fraught time for feline mortality in general, with asteroids Anubis (named for the Egyptian deity governing funerary rites) and Katz (homophone of “cats”) traveling together for weeks as they approached their stations, which bookended Charkey’s passing. Anubis turned direct at 3° Gemini on January 16th, just three days prior; Katz followed suit at 4° Gemini four days later, on January 23rd. What was more specific to the time frame was their rising on the 28° Taurus ascendant at the hour of his passing. They also anchor a grand cross, with Anubis/Katz squaring asteroid Rip (another death indicator as the acronym “RIP”, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription) at 5° Pisces, and asteroid Vet at 3° Virgo, which also conjoined my natal Pluto, modern lord of death, at 4° Virgo. Incredibly, opposing Anubis/Katz to complete the grand cross was a pairing of asteroids — Alex and Miller at 3° and 4° Sagittarius, personalizing the story directly to myself.
What more do we need to celestially depict the death (Anubis/Rip) of a feline (Katz) belonging to Alex Miller (Alex/Miller), facilitated by a veterinarian (Vet)?
But of course, with the cosmos, there is always more. I’m using asteroid Charcot (pronounced “char-KOH”) as the closest to Charcoal, whom I also called Charkey, Charkoo and Charcuterie. The vet’s name was Karin Breitlauch, aka “Dr. Karin”, and I’m using asteroid Karen (the traditional spelling) for her.
In my natal chart (1:37 p.m. EDT, July 27, 1960, Bethlehem, PA) there is a conjunction of asteroids Karen and Vet at 18° and 19° Gemini, closely squared my Moon at 19° Virgo. This is augmented loosely by natal asteroids Kitty at 13° Virgo and Katz at 10° Pisces. The pattern was highlighted when Charcoal died — by transit Kitty at 18° Gemini and transit Neptune at 18° Pisces, formed a t-square. Again, we’re seeing the veterinarian (Vet), this time by name (Karen), four referents for felines (two each for Kitty and Katz, both natal and transit), the hospital setting and the use of pharmaceuticals (both represented by Neptune), with the impact on my domestic environment and an emotional component (both Moon).
Transit Karen at 14° Capricorn conjoined Venus at 13° Capricorn, exactly atop my natal conjunction of asteroid Alexander and Saturn, ancient lord of death, and also activated two more death indicators, forming a t-square with natal asteroids Osiris (named for the Egyptian god of the dead) at 14° Aries and asteroid Requiem (named for the funeral mass for the dead) at 14° Cancer. This brings together veterinarian (Karen) and client (Alexander) at the death (Saturn, Osiris, Requiem) of a loved one (Venus). This theme is repeated with natal Charcot, for Charcoal, which at 13° Leo is conjoined natal Venus at 14° Leo, both inconjunct Alexander/Saturn, which also explains my deep affection (Venus) for Charcoal (Charcot), with whom I (Alexander) stood in loco parentis (Saturn).
Transit Charcot also describes the situation: At 26° Aquarius it conjoins Damocles and squares asteroid Nemesis at 29° Scorpio. Damocles is the doom hanging overhead unawares, about to descend at any moment, while Nemesis refers to ruin and destruction or undoing. Charcot is also squared the 28° Taurus Ascendant, spotlighting Charcoal in the moment.
Additional portents include transit Alexander with asteroid Lachesis, named for the mythic Greek Fate who determines the span of life, which at 5° and 10° Scorpio conjoined my 4° Scorpio Ascendant and squared my natal Sun at 4° Leo with natal Charcot at 13° Leo. Transit Requiem at 15° Aries with the Moon at 17° Aries was trine natal Charcot and joined the natal Saturn/Osiris/Requiem t-square. Transit asteroid Atropos at 27° Cancer, named for Lachesis’ sister who severs the thread of life at death, opposes a transit Pluto/Sun conjunction at 24° and 29° Capricorn, doubling down yet again on the general theme of death for the day. With the Sun on the 5° Aquarius MC are Saturn at 3° Aquarius and asteroid Saylor, for the Saylorsburg, PA animal hospital, at 1° Aquarius.
Prior lunar eclipses set the stage by activating the natal potentials. The lunar eclipse at 8° Gemini of November 30, 2020 formed a grand cross with my natal Pluto/Kitty/Katz polarity, manifesting a feline death; while the subsequent solar eclipse (December 14th) at 23° Sagittarius opposed natal Vet/Karen and set up a grand cross with natal Moon and natal asteroid Miller at 23° Pisces, intimating veterinary interactions to ensue.
As you can see, the cosmos has its fingers intimately interlaced with even the most mundane occurrences of our lives, and no life is too inconsequential to escape its notice, not even the lowly sparrow. Or in this case, cat. The intersection of destiny with myself, Charcoal, the vet and the Grim Reaper was timed to an amazing degree, giving rise to the question, “is there aught else but Fate?”
Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, specializing in deep space points and minor bodies of the solar system. A past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society and currently a member of the board for the Philadelphia chapter of NCGR, Alex is the author of The Black Hole Book, detailing the use of black holes in astrological interpretation, and Cat o’ Nine Tales, a memoir of his cat rescue work. He has been chronicling the effects of asteroids and other minor bodies since 2005, much of which can be found at his website: alexasteroidastrology. Alex can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org