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Mercury & Pluto Make Waves

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!


(1) New York Times

(2) Wikipedia

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

(5) New York Times



  1. Thanks Mary, I am so enjoying your articles. Obviously the highest possibility of the North Node does not always play out.
    And we still have Sun conjunct Pluto on Dec. 22 and Mars conjunct on Dec. 28 coming up before the next new moon at 6 Capricorn conjunct Pluto on Dec. 27. Hopefully the Venus conjunct Neptune (Dec. 27) will guide us to greater peace and compassion and not be lost in delusion/illusion. I have also noticed that transiting Saturn has been inconjunct Neptune (as well as opposition Uranus). Reality check everyone! Wishing you a lovely holiday season!

  2. April Says:
    December 16th, 2008 at 9:13 pm e

    Oh my God. The Illinois Governor and I share too much in common. 19 degrees Sag is my Sun, and I share Venus in Scorpio and Jupiter in Virgo, too. My Mars is also in Aries, and conjunct my Aries Moon at 2 degrees. Perhaps my 25 degree Capricorn Ascendent, and singleton Sun in Sagittarius are the best help, though a prominent trine of Moon/Mars to Saturn and Uranus bring the blessing. My 19 degree Venus is conjunct my 20 degree Midheaven, and I, too, have north node at 28 degrees Scorpio. My Mercury is 5 degrees Cap.

    I ran for political office earlier this year, but lost. During last week’s full moon, I began a recall election on the guy who beat me because he cheated. His unfair electioneering was witnessed and a complaint sent to the Secretary of State. Unfortunately, corruption runs deep in New Mexico, too, and I didn’t get much help from the chain of command. Perhaps, it’s the recall that will shake things up, and oust the guy from office?

    So, it seems the table was turned even though my chart is similar to Blagojavich’s. They didn’t come after me – I went after them!

    Feedback welcomed.


  3. April Says:
    December 17th, 2008 at 8:18 pm e

    Those interested – my data: Dec. 11, 1956, 9:35 am, Newport, Rhode Island. I now live in New Mexico, and have for 12 twelve years.

    Blagojavich and I also had Pluto passing over our natal Suns just a few years ago. I was nearly killed by an enraged mate, but I believe my angels carried me through. I haven’t seen Blagojavich’s chart so I can’t comment on the Sun placement or his benefics, only that both Venus and Jupiter are in detriment – Jupiter at the critical 29 degrees like mine. Both our solar return charts show a fighting spirit with Sun conjunct Mars for 2009.

    My past few years have had public notoriety, and public attack. What should have been a building up through success in my business, came down as jealous competitors trying to ruin my reputation.

    Now I’m curious what astrologers may see.

    Thank you,

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