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The Libra Ingress Chart

Astrologers have inherited a truly rich history, and we modern astrologers would be wise to integrate more of its lessons. For instance, having some time ago researched the astrology around the Black Death of the Middle Ages, I was not surprised when the swine flu erupted onto the scene earlier this year, even when it was labeled a pandemic. After all, medieval astrologers blamed another triple conjunction in Aquarius — that of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn — for history’s most famous pandemic. However, when one looks more closely, it is easy to see that that triple conjunction did not occur at the time of the outbreak itself. Rather, it occurred at the Sun’s ingress into Aries in 1345. This is a clue about the vital importance of these moments of ingress.

One of the most powerful tools for the mundane astrologer has always been the ingress chart — cast for the capital city of a country at the precise moment when the Sun enters the cardinal signs, which mark the solstice and equinoctial points and, thus, the foundation of the tropical zodiac. It was by using these charts that I correctly predicted (in the Dec. 2002/Jan. 2003 issue of The Mountain Astrologer) that the war in Iraq would face significant opposition before its first summer was over. When one views the 2008 Aries ingress through the lens of classical astrology, it becomes quite clear that the unusual nature of this chart depicts the third worst year in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Jupiter in Capricorn is in fall in the 2nd whole sign house, and Mars in Cancer is in fall in the 8th. The dispositors of those planets, Saturn and the Moon, respectively, are conjunct in Virgo in the 10th and opposite their fallen dispositor, Mercury in Pisces, in the 4th. In short, this chart says: Fall, Fall, Fall. And that’s the way it was. So, let us have a look at 2009 and gaze into the crystal ball that its ingress charts provide.

A general rule in traditional astrology is that if the Ascendant of the Aries ingress chart is in a cardinal sign, the chart remains valid for three months only, and it is necessary to draw further charts for the Sun’s entry into Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. The 2009 Aries ingress, which has an Aries Ascendant (when cast for Washington, D.C.), is one such case. So, the Cancer ingress is the chart we have been living under for the past three months. You may remember that the summer solstice was closely accompanied by a New Moon and the asteroid Vesta. I have noted that Vesta represents a process of compression and contraction much like the first stage of birth labor. The uterus is pressing in on all sides, but the cervix has not yet dilated, so there is no place yet for the baby to go! Doesn’t this describe the emotional turbulence surrounding this summer’s health care “debate”? Curiously enough, the Libra ingress is also closely preceded by a New Moon, which is again conjunct one of the Asteroid Goddesses, Pallas Athena. Pallas symbolizes a release of the pressure from the Vesta stage and a springing forth into the birth canal (or wormhole) that leads to our future. Let us hope it is so! You can read more material about the Goddesses on my Web site and my Goddess Astrology page on Facebook.

With this general sense of the process of rebirth in mind, what else does the 2009 Libra ingress chart show us?

Libra Ingress

When the chart is cast for Washington, D.C., we see an Aquarius Ascendant. Right away, this tells us that President Barack Obama (who also has Aquarius rising) will be making some prominent appearances. This is no surprise, but this theme is backed up in a couple other places. The Moon is a mundane chart represents the people and where their attention falls. In the 10th whole sign house, this Moon is focused on the executive branch of the government. The president himself, symbolized by the Sun, is in the 9th whole sign. This suggests that his attention is on legal and foreign affairs. But what about health care, you may ask? We must assume that, after his speech, the president will once again leave this process to the legislative branch. In fact, the Sun in the 9th is suggestive of him signing into law some new initiative(s). The Congress itself and legislation are symbolized by the 11th house. With the Sagittarius Midheaven there, ruled by Jupiter rising in the 1st whole sign, we can again assume some progress.

When we begin to look at the dispositorships for this chart, we can flesh out the picture further. The president, symbolized by the Sun in Libra, seems to be on a diplomatic mission of peace, since the Sun’s dispositor is Venus. Located in the 8th whole sign (Virgo), Venus symbolizes a concern with the details of our financial relations with other countries. In the sign of her fall, she is unable to exercise her power due to circumstances beyond her control. Because Venus reports to a retrograde Mercury in his own sign and conjunct Saturn, this astrologer thinks it not unlikely that President Obama will once more feel the need to call on former Democratic Presidents Clinton and/or Carter for support. I also predicted earlier this year that, since Mercury retrogrades are moving from air signs back into earth signs, we may see political issues from the years 2002 and 1996 re-emerge, as Mercury was following the same pattern in those years as well. Specifically, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process may be up for renegotiation, since Obama’s mediator had meetings with Netanyahu earlier this year. Juno’s current return to Obama’s natal placement of 0° Aries seems to be an indicator of success in such endeavors.

A broader look at the dispositor trees for this chart gives us a feeling of the overall spirit of the time. Since there is a mutual reception, Mercury in Virgo cannot be the final dispositor of the entire chart. A fallen Mars in the 6th whole sign house, in mutual reception with a fallen Moon in the 10th, suggests that issues of public health will be on the people’s minds and perhaps demand to be addressed by the president. The fallen Sun in the 9th may indicate a call for some voluntary restrictions on travel to ease the possibility of spreading contagious illnesses. A fallen Venus in the 8th also suggests that public mortality (perhaps from war as well as flu) will be perceived as somehow under the control or influence of special circumstances.

The saving grace of this chart seems to be Mercury in his own sign of Virgo. I feel that he is protected by his conjunction with Pallas, the patron of heroic endeavor — the Palladium was one of the most sought-after protective talismans in ancient Greece. Since Mercury is the final dispositor of all other planets except Mars and the Moon, this suggests that the media, ambassadors, trade/commerce, and communications of all kinds will be very active and prominent. However, Mercury also faces a few challenges here because he is retrograde, conjunct Saturn, and invisible. I do not embrace the concept of “combustion” for planets hidden by the Sun; instead, I view them, as does Bernadette Brady, to be planets not entirely of this world. Additionally, the Underworld journey is the natural mythic province of Mercury, so I believe that he is not necessarily “weakened” by this phase, particularly since he is past the point of interior conjunction with the Sun and thus can be seen as rising or on his way up and out of the “special world” of the Hero.

The journey to the Underworld is steeped in diverse mythology. Joseph Campbell notes that it is part of the Universal path of the Hero. In astrological symbolism, we can see that the invitation to the Underworld harkens at every turn. Midnight comes to us each day, beckoning us to explore the subconscious Underworld of our dreams. The New Moon visits us monthly, asking us to explore the ebbing of our vital force and the quiet place within. The winter solstice is a time of spiritual seeking and rededication of our life path. The heliacal setting of a planet into invisibility (as it moves within 15–18 degrees of the Sun) asks us to explore the unconscious qualities of that energy in ourselves and our environment. But as astrologer–shamans, we also know that each of these markers is only a point in an endless cycle — a cycle of rebirth! What this placement suggests to me, then, is a more spiritual focus for Mercury and Saturn, rather than material. In addition, invisible planets (particularly in the 8th whole sign house) often represent forces behind the scenes that later burst out in dramatic fashion (symbolized by the movement toward heliacal rise and rebirth into visibility as morning star). We can hope that this represents the triumph of decency and genuine concern for our fellow citizens over the interests of big insurance, lobbyists, and corrupt politicians.

Brady, Bernadette. Visual Astrology Newsletter, August 2009;

Burk, Kevin B. “Essential Dignities,” in TMA, Aug./Sept. 2009.

Caton, Gary P. “Saturn’s Perihelion,” in TMA, Dec. 2002/Jan. 2003.

Caton, Gary P. “Avian Flu,” in Considerations, Vol. XXI, #1.

Caton, Gary P. “Mercury Elemental Year,” Major Sky, Pisces New Moon Edition.

Caton, Gary P. “Goddess Astrology Re-Visioned,” in TMA, Aug./Sept. 2009.

Caton, Gary P. “Obama’s Juno Return,”

Houlding, Deborah. “Ingresses,”


  1. The point about Mercury bursting into visibility later is well taken. Pallas Athena’s mythic job was to provide heroes with the tools and tactics they needed to get the job done. Perhaps some of this work is being done behind the scenes now, and will burst forth once those tools are in hand.

    Mars in fall (in the 6th) is approaching a square to Ceres in Libra (in the 9th). This quarter may see problems with contamination of imported or exported foods, battles that center on Social Security and pension plans, and concerns about medicines and vaccines (contamination, global distribution, or other issues may apply). Mars in Cancer is a soggy Mars, too! His square to Ceres could indicate crop damage from excessive rains or flooding, or damp rot in storage facilities.

    Notice, too, that Juno in Pisces is the only body that shares the Nodal degree. Juno’s nodal connection is a favorable sextile/trine with the Nodes. With her near conjunction to Uranus, this suggests that new or unusual collaborations will lead to non-traditional modes of problem solving. Her placement in the 2nd house speaks specifically of resources and value systems. Pisces can be a sign of smoke and mirrors, and its traditional ruler, Jupiter, is retrograde and making repeated contacts to Pisces’ co-ruler Neptune.

    Yet Juno’s powerful connection to the Nodes says that birds-in-the-hand are better than those tweeting from the bushes. It is always possible that Congress may decide to utilize and expand a resource already at hand, like Medicare/Medicaid, rather than choosing to create an entirely new National Health Care Plan bureacracy, as it is currently proposed. Indeed, the whole idea of proposing a national, federally-sponsored plan may be smoke and mirrors! What is more likely to bring insurance companies to the bargaining table than the threat of a cheaper, more efficient health insurance provider?

    Indeed, the means are being confused with the goal, which is a Jupiter-Neptune problem. The means of comprehensive health care MIGHT require a national insurance plan, but then again, it might not. The goal is to make sure everyone is covered, and it might be faster and cheaper to simply expand a pre-existing system – a 2nd house resource like Medicare – than to create an entirely new federal behemoth. This possibility will elicit much less resistance than a new bureaucracy, too. It is clear that the government needs powerful ammunition, so the National Heath Care Plan is still an effective weapon for ensuring the cooperation of insurance industries.

    Also consider that another election is around the corner and will take place under the aegis of this ingress chart. The fixed angles are telling; conservatives and liberals are digging in their heels, and aren’t willing to bend much toward compromise or non-partisan efforts. The lack of greatly visible improvements from the Federal Recovery Act, as well as the fracas over health care, means that voters are going to be careful about their choices. Incumbents will do well in this election, and with the Scorpio Moon in the ingress chart, conservatives may gain some seats in November. A Scorpio Moon is suspicious and sometimes fearful. The inconjunct between the 1st house Neptune and 8th house Saturn-Mercury Rx-Pallas is palpable evidence that the big picture in the nation is not all that it should be, and that adjustments should be expected in the realms of authority and power, which is Saturn’s balliwick. The failure to regulate TARP monies and banking policies undermines confidence in elected officials; obviously the critical 2008 election wasn’t enough to impress upon politicians the need to serve constituents and not lobbyists. It is likely that election outcomes will reflect the displeasure of the voters in some respects; but ultimately voters have very little to do (in practice) with the candidates that appear on their ballots, or the deals they’re making with corporate sponsors behind the public’s back.

    If only those senators and representatives who had taken no campaign funds from insurance and pharmaceutical interests were allowed to vote on national health care issues, a more balanced and consumer-friendly solution might be possible. Too bad that option won’t be on the ballot!

  2. Hi, Gary –

    I never expected to come across such a vivid reminder of labor pains here. Compression, contraction, and, yes, the feeling of no escape for – from! – the baby or those !@#$%& pains! I’m not quite sure how to thank you for the memory…:-)

    But, seriously, that turbulence certainly does reflect the birthing of the bill before us. The word crucible – another vessel from another alchemy – also came to mind. A metaphor sparked by your mention of the Cancer Ingress and Mars in Cancer, perhaps.

    –We must assume that, after his speech, the president will once again leave this process to the legislative branch.–

    I don’t agree. Looks to me like he’s hands-on in there slugging it out for this one.

    I understand that Pluto is invisible and unmentionable in classical astrology. However, for a modern, Pluto at AP dominates this chart: The President (Sun) has tough, formidable challenge to deal with on his plate (square Pluto). Potentially with an outcome anticipated at the Capricorn Ingress (with Pluto-Sun in a 2 degree conjunction) – powerful change?

    A thoughtful piece, Gary, thanks.

    –the means are being confused with the goal, which is a Jupiter-Neptune problem.–

    Appreciated this insight in particular, Elizabeth.

  3. Wow, I’m glad I held it to 1500 words as to leave room for these great comments.

    Wonderful to see some insights on the Goddesses Elizabeth! And I agree that perhaps the Dems are shooting high on purpose -to leave plenty of room for compromise. Obama had to have known that significant opposition was coming, and yet he didnt unleash his formidable organizational forces until late in the summer…makes me think he was happy to give the opposition enough rope to possibly make themselves look foolish in town halls.

    The Dems are said to have enough votes to force the issue via reconciliation, so as far as the applying square of the Sun to Pluto, I feel this could just as easily signify a President who is wielding considerable power and putting pressure on behind the scenes (12th) to force a compromise.

    In Hellenistic astrology the diurnal and nocturnal planets are seen like representatives of opposing parties, so perhaps the Venus-Saturn conjunction will represent this compromise…

    In any event, I feel one of the values of the Health Care debate is that it vividly demonstrates that Re-birth is a process which mirrors birth. When I hear people say “transformation” as a keyword for Pluto it sounds like it is something that best happens from without (transpersonal), but in reality genuine transformation is an organic process which rises from within.

    So, I am thankful that these Saturn-Uranus oppositions are being experienced by our Nation largely via internal conflict, rather than external

    “Our moulting season, like that of the fowls, must be a crisis in our lives. The loon retires to solitary ponds to spend it. Thus also the snake casts its slough, and the caterpillar its wormy coat, by an internal industry.” ~Henry David Thoreau “Where I Lived And What I Lived For”

  4. Such an approach would entail different avenues of regional cooperation, including fulfilling immediate needs in terms of reconciliation initiatives, awareness building of the role of youth-serving NGOs, and nurturing existing national youth institutions and networks.

  5. Gary! Great article!

    One question – what do you think about Abu Mashar’s approach with ingresses – the Aries Ingress is pivotal; if the Ascendant is Cardinal then one must examine the Libra Ingress; if the Ascendant is Fixed, the Aries Ingress stands; and if the Ascendant is Mutable than all four cardinal ingresses must be examined?

    Not to quibble with looking at all four ingresses – that can never hurt!

  6. Hi Doug, nice to see you here. I’m not familiar with Abu Mashar’s method, but it sounds similar to what Rob Hand says Masha’allah was doing.

    Of course we both know well that even ancient astrologers couldn’t agree on everything, though.

    Even Robert Hand has stated in TMA: “There is considerable disagreement among traditional authorities about the use of ingresses…Frankly, at this stage of the research, I cannot say that I really know what the correct procedure should be.”

    He then went on to use all 4 ingresses in the article “A Crisis of Power: Saturn and Pluto Face Off” in the Aug/Sept 2001 Issue

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