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Prelude to the Cardinal Crisis

As Mars arrives again in Cancer, we must ask ourselves: what is the mission of this planetary emissary? Many people who know a little something about classical astrology dread this transit, because Cancer is opposite Mars’ sign of exaltation — and so Mars is seen to be “fallen” here.

A closer inspection of the zodiac reveals that the first important meeting to which Mars is headed on Wednesday, August 26 is an opposition to Pluto in the first degree of cardinal signs. This is one day after Venus, Vesta, and the South Node congregate on the recent eclipse degree of 29°+ Cancer. The prior Mars–Pluto opposition, this close to the cardinal axis, was in the last degrees of Gemini-Sagittarius, on January 2, 2008. If we look back to this time period, we will likely see a similar process happening now.

• December 27 – Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated, and at least 20 others are killed by a bomb blast at an election rally in Rawalpindi.
• December 31 – Over 200 people are killed in Kenya, due to riots over the results of the December 27 presidential election.
• January 2 – The price of petroleum hits $100 per barrel for the first time.

When cast for Washington D.C., the opposition of August 26 falls across the Asc/Dsc axis with Mercury and Juno–Uranus completing a grand square in the cardinal signs and angular houses (see chart below, using Whole Sign houses). Clearly this looks like an important development.

Cardinal T-Square

Mars, in the house of partners and open enemies, represents hostile forces in our relations with other countries, both friendly and hostile, at both political and commercial levels. Mars receives additional strength from the mutual reception with the Moon, though both planets are fallen. Fallen planets are not “weak” — they are, in fact, strong but unable to exercise their strength due to circumstance. The position of the Moon in a mundane chart represents the people and where the public’s attention falls. The Moon in the 11th represents Congress, town and county councils, and similar bodies and their legislation. So there are two manifestations which seem equally probable. This could represent opponents of U.S. health care reform striking back. However, the 11th can also represent friends of the nation. So this could represent some kind of terrorist attack on a nation whom we consider a friend.

When you look at the chain of dispositors in this chart, some interesting things come to light. Dispositors basically show a chain of command — who any particular planet “reports” to because of being in a particular sign. Mars and the Moon report to one another via mutual reception — again this could be a connection between public opinion and the opposition party (Republicans) or public outcry at some common enemy. Mercury is the other planet in the first degree of a Cardinal sign. Mercury in Libra reports to Venus. Venus in Leo reports in turn to The Sun. The Sun in Virgo reports back to Mercury. So, this is a sort of “committee” of rulership where the leadership (Sun), diplomats (Venus) and media (Mercury) are working together to deal with a change in circumstance (fallen Mars and Moon in mutual reception).

All the other planets in the chart report to Mercury, either directly (Saturn) or indirectly (Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto report to Saturn, and Uranus reports to Jupiter who reports to Saturn). So it seems the media (Mercury) have an inordinate amount of influence in this situation. Since Mercury reports to Venus, it appears that some sort of diplomacy is to be key to the situation. This could be something like a final call for a “bipartisan” solution to the health care crisis accompanied by a media blitz, or some type of diplomatic endeavor to negotiate with a hostile foreign party and the subsequent media storm. However, we must remember that Venus and Vesta sit at or near the recent eclipse degree, and diplomatic abilities may be hampered.

With preliminary figures for the Afghan vote (amid fraud allegations) and the official release of two government reports projecting huge budget shortfalls over the next decade both due on Tuesday, August 25, it seems that either scenario offered above — or perhaps both — are likely.

© 2009 Gary Caton – all rights reserved

Gary P. Caton is an eclectic astrologer who has published in journals and spoken at conferences on mundane astrology since 2002. In addition to practicing mundane astrology, Gary holds a degree in counseling and has developed over 17 years a unique multi-disciplinarian neo-classical system which embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration. Gary also hosts the FREE Goddess Astrology pod-cast which illuminates the current cycles of Venus and the Asteroid Goddesses and is the best reviewed astrology pod-cast on iTunes! Contact Gary at and view his written work, lectures, classes or readings.


  1. I have been very attuned to your writings on the Ve/Vesta transit to the solar eclipse point. I was doing very deep work with the eclipse pt in the first place b/c I have a long-standing issue with a Cancer Mars/Saturn conjunction there in my 8th house. At the time of the Ve/Vesta connection, transiting Mars will be on my north node on the cusp … Read Moreof my 8th. I can feel the massive shifting of energy which has needed moving for about the last 10-12 years but has been stuck (as in the compressed and difficult labor you describe with Vesta). I’m not forcing anything at this point-just riding with the contractions, believing at last, I will survive this birth and will be in a new world (as the mother and the child). Oh, yeah, my Scorpio moon is trine this Sat/Mars conj as well. The current Merc/Sat config is sextile them both (and sq my 7th house Uranus/Gem). As a Cap, could relate to your horoscope for Cap and for Scorp as my moon. Powerful stuff! Thnx!

  2. As the Mercury-Mars-Pluto t-square got really tight on Tuesday evening, Ted Kennedy passed away. This may change the dynamics of health care reform legislation, since universal health care was Ted Kennedy’s biggest cause. There have also been big news items today, such as a projected nine trillion dollar deficit in the upcoming decade and also some scary swine flu predictions. Also, car bombs in Afghanistan in true Mars-Pluto fashion. And we have another day of this t-square on Wednesday. Gary, what do you think of what has happened so far?

  3. “it seems the media (Mercury) have an inordinate amount of influence in this situation. This could be something like a final call for a “bipartisan” solution to the health care crisis accompanied by a media blitz”

    Bernanke’s re-appointment and the Organizing for America bus tour beginning Wednesday seem to fit the bill

    Although Bernanke’s present term doesn’t expire until early next year, Obama moved to end speculation percolating in political circles and on Wall Street, announcing his decision Tuesday morning to re-appoint Bernanke as the head of the Federal Reserve. The announcement’s timing also helped the White House divert attention from a pair of gloomy economic reports issued Tuesday.

    Supporters of President Barack Obama’s health care agenda are ramping up their efforts with rallies and bus tours starting this week, aiming to counter increasing public skepticism leading up to Congress’ post-Labor Day return to Washington.

    Organizing for America plans a bus tour beginning Wednesday in cities including Phoenix, Albuquerque, N.M., Denver, Des Moines, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, N.C., and Milwaukee. The bus will make 11 stops between Wednesday and Sept. 3.

    Some 2,000 events are planned around the country through Labor Day, according to Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine. The wide range of events include phone bank calling and rallies.

  4. Thanks Gary- I am struck by your piece and the timely passage of Edward Kennedy. Could it be that, as happened with the Civil Rights movement after JFK died that Johnson could do what JFK couldn’t, that universal health care can happen now, almost as a tribute to his working on it for 30 years? And that Kennedy’s passing would be your “important development”.

  5. Thanks Linda, and yes Kate I believe you nailed it and I sincerely and earnestly hope you are right.

    I was afraid that Venus passing across the eclipse degree would mean the passing of a beloved figure and even alluded to such, but you never want to “predict” those kinds of things.

    As tragic as this Lion’s passing seems, the positive media storm it will engender is just what this stalled movement needs. Maybe now Health Care will be seen for what it really is. It is not “socialism” to care for the sick and injured -it is simply the right, decent and human thing to do. Even Neanderthals did it. How can it be that our great Country cannot?

    As Bobby Whitlock and Eric Clapton asked at the previous Saturn-Uranus alignments: “Tell the truth. Who’s been foolin who?”

    Another important event that surfaced is the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian peace talks which President Obama is brokering. President Obama was elected under an historic alignment and I believe he is destined to do MANY historic things for our country. -to complete my lyrical allusion: “A New Dawn is breaking now -Can’t you see it?”

    You can find out more about the astrology around that and read my article on Ted Kennedy at facebook/dreamastrologer and by clicking through the links on my own website to my horoscope blog

  6. Hello, All,

    Sparked to look more closely, the cardinal cross link to Ted Kennedy’s chart is through T Uranus conjunct his natal Nodal axis. This seems to suggest an accent on self-application and public service – and thinking ahead. (in Pisces = AP).

    Sentiment for Ted Kennedy may affect a national healthcare bill; however, a more tangible consequence of Kennedy’s passing could now be the lack of 60 Democratic votes in the Senate, the majority needed to pass a bill. Certainly an important (and Uranian unique) legislative development – to a savvy politician – which Kennedy anticipated and actively addressed.

    Just last week. He sent a letter to the Mass. Gov. requesting that current state law be changed regarding a vacant Senate seat. He asked that a temporary replacement be appointed and allowed to fill the seat until the required special election is held.

    Blessings to Senator Kennedy and his loved ones.

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