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The Vernal Ingress Chart for 2012

The chart for the moment of the Sun’s entrance into Aries has always been a very important factor in mundane astrology. Traditionally, this chart is cast for the capital city of a country or region. Since we cannot cast the countless charts required for a holistic worldview, this analysis will focus on the chart for the United States. We will also look at things that all ingress charts have in common — the aspects, or relationships, between the planets at the time of the vernal equinox.

The first thing we notice is that Mercury retrograde and Uranus are both conjunct the Sun at the vernal point. This is an extremely rare alignment, which hasn’t happened since the year 755AD! (1) Since that year may not contain much history that can inform our modern world, let’s simplify a little bit. As the late, great Robert Blaschke taught us: “Sun-Mercury inferior conjunctions have a recurrence pattern, falling in the same degree area of the Zodiac as part of a cycle that has durations of 13, 33, or 46 years between conjunctions. After 79 years (33 + 46), or after 125 years (79 + 46), inferior conjunctions can recur in the exact same degree of the Zodiac, or within a one-degree orb of the starting conjunction’s degree in that sign’s cycle.” (2) The following table shows the inferior conjunctions of retrograde Mercury and the Sun near the Vernal Point of 0° Aries over the last 125 years.

Sun Conjunct Mercury Rx: Mar 21, 1887: 1°10′ Aries

Sun Conjunct Mercury Rx: Mar 20, 1920: 29°25′ Pisces + 33

Sun Conjunct Mercury Rx: Mar 23, 1933: 02°16′ Aries + 13 = 46

Sun Conjunct Mercury Rx: Mar 21, 1966: 00°29 Aries + 33 = 79

Sun Conjunct Mercury Rx: Mar 24, 1979: 03°20 Aries + 13 = 92

Sun Conjunct Mercury Rx: Mar 21, 2012: 01°35 Aries + 33 = 125

When perusing the historical record for these years, do we find any correlations to current events? One of today’s hot topics is women’s rights, specifically reproductive rights, which have been brought into question by many Republican politicians. (3) Right away, something jumps out at me: Susanna Salter was elected mayor of Argonia, Kansas on April 4, 1887, becoming the first woman elected as mayor, and the first woman elected to any political office in the United States. Looking onward to the next date in our list, we see that on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th — and deciding — state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States’ Constitution, which prohibits any United States citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex. In 1933, Frances Perkins became the first woman in a Presidential cabinet, and served as Secretary of Labor during the entire Roosevelt presidency. The National Organization for Women (NOW), the largest feminist organization in the United States, was founded in 1966. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an ‘international bill of rights for women.’ The United States is the only developed nation that has not ratified the CEDAW. (4)

Despite support from both Presidents Carter and Clinton, the U.S. Senate has never ratified the treaty, due to opposition from conservative politicians. (5) In 2009 Senator Barbara Boxer led a campaign for ratification of CEDAW, saying, “It’s a shame that the U.S. stands with countries such as Iran, Sudan and Somalia in failing to ratify the treaty.” (6)

The trend for the Mercury retrograde years outlined above begs the question: Is there any chance that 2012 will be the year the U.S. ratifies the CEDAW? In order to look at this question, we must cast the ingress chart for Washington, D.C., on March 20, 2012 at 1:15:01a.m. EDT.

March 20, 2012
1:15:01 a.m. EDT
Washington, D.C.
Tropical zodiac
Whole sign houses

Aries Ingress 2012

We see that the traditional malefics, Mars and Saturn, are also retrograde, so it appears things could be “taken back” regarding significations of these planets and the houses wherein they reside. Traditionally, the 11th house signifies the Congress. Saturn in the late degrees of Libra, and retrograde, does not look good for major advancements by the U.S. Congress. Given their current dismal approval rating, I’m sure this is not a surprise to anyone. However, some might argue this could indicate a reversal of some previous position held by Congress, or perhaps even a reversal of Congress itself. It should be noted that with a mutable sign on the Ascendant, the shelf life for this chart is only until the Libra ingress. (7) So, this chart does not speak directly to the fall elections, but does speak to a good portion of the campaign season.

Mars retrograde resides in the 10th house of this chart. This is traditionally the house of the President, the “party in power,” and generally people in authority. Therefore, we should not expect a lot from the President during this time. This makes sense also because he is likely to be fending off attacks from his rivals in the fall election. However, if we read this generally as things being “taken back” from people in authority, this chart could be good for political minorities and groups like Occupy. In fact, the major good news in this chart is that both of the traditional benefics, Venus and Jupiter, are conjunct in Taurus. Since this is the traditional home of Venus, and Taurus is the most traditional financial symbol, this conjunction (and its Earth grand trine with Pluto and Mars) could bode well for slow but sure continued financial recovery.

Since the 6th is the house of workers and employees, we could expect both job growth and advancement of workers’ issues and rights.

Returning to our original question, but from a different angle, we see the very rare conjunction of the 0° Aries Sun, Mercury retrograde, and Uranus falling in the 5th house of the horoscope. This house is generally concerned with entertainment and pleasure, but more specifically with birth, children, and sexual concerns. So, clearly the bizarre throwback nature of public discourse around these issues is likely to continue.

Women’s issues are signified by Venus, and since she is in her own sign, near her greatest brightness, and conjunct Jupiter, it seems perhaps we can expect some progress in these areas, although maybe not from Congress. Venus in the 6th seems to indicate that the fight over framing women’s and sexual issues as health issues (6th) versus religious issues (conjunct Jupiter) will continue, and could possibly end up in court. Also, the plight of women seems to be tied to, or perhaps will find solidarity with, the general plight of workers.

The final and perhaps ultimate consideration in this chart is Rahu, aka the North Node of the Moon, which is rising. Rahu is an extremely complex figure and can plunge any area of life he controls into chaos and mystery, as well as random, uncontrolled growth without wisdom or understanding. At the very least, this suggests that this year’s eclipse season will be very important and perhaps perplexing for the U.S.

Solar eclipses are traditionally an important mundane factor. We have an annular solar eclipse on May 20 at 0°20′ Gemini, which is visible in the western U.S. Gemini is the 7th house of the vernal ingress chart, which governs foreign affairs and relations with other countries, both friendly and hostile. It is possible that some unexpected and/or misunderstood (at least at the time) foreign relations issues will come up in the next six months. Often these events are timed to when planets cross the eclipse degree. The important dates to watch for this eclipse season are as follows: May 5, Mars squares the Nodes at the South bending (opposite Neptune who is nearing the North bending); May 24, the eclipse ruler, Mercury, crosses the eclipse degree; June 12, Jupiter crosses the eclipse degree, and, on June 26, Venus stations direct near the eclipse degree.

References and further reading:

(1) Using Dan Ciubotaru’s configuration hunter website, I found that the previous triple conjunction of Sun, Mercury retrograde, and Uranus within the fist six degrees of tropical Aries was in the year 775 of the Common Era. Configuration Hunter

(2) Robert P. Blaschke, Retrograde Mercury in Taurus: Recurring Cycle for Goldman Sachs & Global Financial Crises, April 26, 2010.

(3) See, for example, any of these recent articles in The Huffington Post:Women’s Rights


(5) Feminine Equal Rights

(6) Discord Expected Over Women’s Rights Pact

(7) Skyscript: Ingresses

Bio: Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 23 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993, his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with highest honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to practicing Astrology over 19 years. Visit Gary at his website: Dream Astrologer


  1. Great blog – fascinating chart – thank you! Additionally, I can’t help but wonder at the implications for the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare with the hearings this week and their ruling in late June. The grand trine between Mars-Jupiter-Pluto would appear to come into play, along with their house positions. Would the Mars retrograde mean that the court “reverses” the legislation? As a women’s issue, the unprecedented female representation on the court (now at three) in some way may influence the decision of the others I suppose or come to the forefront in some way perhaps. Maybe I’m just hoping for a miracle.

  2. Thank you Gary, this is extremely interesting information. I am disappointed that the North Node (Rahu) has the negative connotation of “chaos and mystery”, however I suppose that’s the nature of mundane astrology. I’m also sure that many of the gifts associated with the NN would appear sinister when viewed through the eyes of any government!

    Is it also traditional that Equinox charts employ the equal house system, and that the house will start with the 0 degree of the sign, no matter which degree actually is on the ascendant, or is it because we are focusing on the aspects here? I ask because the Mt. Astrologer Feb/Mar 2012 issue has the Aries Equinox in the same location, with the date and time the same as this one, but it has 12 Sagittarius rising and the Sun-Mercury-Uranus conjunction is in the 4th house rather than the 5th house.

    Thanks again for bringing a different perspective of the Vernal Equinox and especially for the Sun-Mercury inferior conjunction recurrence pattern. This must be a very special year since Uranus is also part of that conjunction. Back in 755 AD they wouldn’t have even known about Uranus so at least we won’t be surprised by the surprise.

  3. Thanks Rebecca, interesting observation and question. The courts are represented by the 9th house and in this chart that is Leo, which is ruled by the exalted Sun who is also conjunct Rx Mercury and Uranus. So, it could be that the court reverses legislation, or even itself and/or makes unprecedented or unpredictable rulings.
    BTW, here’s some more info about the court, useful for mundane astrologers, in case anyone is interested.
    The first thing to note is that the Supreme Court was created by the signing of the US Constitution on September 17, 1787. It is this same Constitution for which the Court is now supposed to be supreme arbiter.
    Also, by statute, the Supreme court session begins on the first Monday in October at 10am. So we have a chart for the SCOTUS itself, and for each session (not that looking for it in the Ingress charts isn’t also a good idea)

  4. Thanks Barbk,
    the whole signs are traditional, in that they are the earliest known system, but guys like Abu Mashar and Masha Allah who are best known for the ingress techniques, would probably have used a system with 10th cusp based on MC. It’s not that I don’t like those house systems, I just prefer this method as a reader, it’s often how I get my “best read.”
    And yes, I actually think that the traditional concepts of malefic/benefic, chaos for Rahu etc are often more appropriate in Mundane than personal

  5. I note in this instance that the Sun, Mercury and Uranus are all conjuncting the IC (29Pi51)of this chart. If I lived in the US (I happen to live in the UK) I would find this somewhat worrying. Mercury and Uranus both signify movement and instability, while the IC signifies the earth itself. Are we thus looking at a potential earthquake chart for the coming months? Perhaps we ought to watch when Mars makes its Libra ingress on – of all dates – July 4th.

  6. Interesting observation, Anthony. In this case, I hope that the difference in sign between the Pisces IC and the Aries stellium does indeed correlate to a difference in experience
    My main worry, other than getting pulled into another international conflict (via the s node eclipse in the 7th) is that the only two planets above the horizon are the malefics.
    The “out of sect” malefic in this case is Saturn, since it is a nocturnal chart. The 11th, besides signifying Congress, signifies the other nations with which Congress can make treaties -ie our friends.
    It is interesting then that there has been a lot of talk recently about the possibility of being dragged into war with Iran via Israel

  7. Thank you for the insightful delineation of this chart. I especially appreciate your information about the Mercury Return dates associated with the Vernal Equinox. I have been following these women’s issues via the conjunctions of Ceres with the Zero Aries point, then Uranus and then Venus on February 14, square Pluto. Women’s issues really came to a boil. Do you have anything to add as to the position of Ceres in this Vernal Ingress chart?

  8. Very interesting, that recurrence pattern. Good research.
    It seems to me that the lunar phase must be considered as a major factor, as well as the time of night: the Moon’s light (representing the population in general) being quite weak (late in the cycle) and hidden at midnight. Add her being in Pisces and closely conjunct Neptune, and one gets the picture of people confused, in chaos, even largely lost in dreams of lifestyles that are slipping away, though barely beginning to emerge from a collective stupor (Moon separating from Neptune). The people are becoming increasingly agitated (Moon moving closer in opposition to Mars).
    I’m less optimistic about the economic picture, noting Venus in domicile but moving away from Jupiter, the growth-oriented Ascendant ruler having no essential dignity in Taurus. The Earth Grand Trine (Venus-Jupiter / Mars / Pluto) suggests the dominant economy continuing to spiral in a business-as-usual fashion, with the plutocrats remaining fully enabled to pump wealth to themselves.
    (Once again, The Onion scores with two hits this week: “U.S. Military [Mars retrograde] Desperate To Be Handed Just One Solid War It Can Knock Out of the Park,” and “Women Voters [Venus] Can’t Help Fawning Over Sexist GOP [Jupiter].”)

    • I agree with your comment regarding the Moon’s impact. Mercury rules the chart, though, and it has slipped back into Pisces, and now we are concerned with the reversal of the hard-won health care legislation.

      Great astrology here, Mr. Caton, and I think you are one who continues to ‘raise the bar’.

  9. Hi Gael, great to hear from you. Somehow your comment just now showed up here.
    Yes, Ceres in Aries does certainly seem to symbolize energetic expression of the feminine, particularly around mothering.
    In this chart she is at 22 Aries, in wide opposition to Saturn. This opposition really stands out as they are the only two planets not in or near the first decanate of a sign.
    Saturn retrograde can of course represents regressive patriarchal attitudes and Ceres in Aries certainly has the will to fight. Perhaps this cardinal opposition will galvanize more women to enter the fray of politics, whether fighting the system from without -or within
    Right now in the U.S., there are 72 women in the U.S. House of Representatives, 17 women in the Senate, and only six female governors. These numbers are clearly still way out of proportion.

  10. Hi Gary

    I couldn’t help but relate to your last comment regarding Ceres at 22 degrees of Aries – my own Sun degree in opposition to Saturn. I have the Sun (plus Mercury and Venus retrograde in Aries conjunct the Sun and Moon – Moon at 29 degrees) and I have been doing battle on behalf of my family home for my elderly parents. I am also fighting an election in the UK to be returned to local government politics and am ‘hot on the doorstep’ with energy in abundance even though Saturn is bearing down heavily on my stellium in the 4th house. However, my solar return chart this year puts the Ascendant at 9 degrees Aries with the Sun in the first house and the Moon conjunct Pluto in Capricorn in the 10th – ideal for a politician don’t you think?

  11. Meeting a shaman is not shamanic experience

  12. Hahaha, a comment from “death” comes from “out of left field” as Venus is out of bounds. Okay, I will give death its due. -No, meeting a shaman is not necessarily a shamanic experience. But hey, who said it was?

    From my website:
    “The Shamanic experience and journey is absolutely individual, so the Shaman cannot simply or directly tell you the way back. They can only use their own experiences and broad knowledge of myths to point you to a doorway in consciousness –but it is up to you to walk through it –and to trust the experience to transform you.

    In other words, really “meeting” a shaman involves more than just passing by one, just as hearing someone is more than simply listening to words. A real meeting is an interaction where two people drop all the bullshit that keeps them separate and enter “the field” of consciousness together, as one. This can happen for any two people, any “time” and any “where” (Sometimes it happens when people listen to the recording of their reading or my podcast). But of course, in the shamanic context, it is usually (but not always) the shaman who goes first, opens and holds that sacred space. It still is up to the other person(s) involved to really step in and make it a shamanic experience.

    The word shaman means “one who sees in the dark.” The shaman “sees” into dark places in the person, the community and the planet, and then tries to find how to bring them light, hope and healing. In many cultures, a shaman is a healer, counselor and spiritual director all wrapped into one.

    By the above definition, I consider all good astrologers to be “shaman,” because they are looking into the hidden mysteries of the living sky for patterns of energy which can possibly aid others in finding their way and understanding their experiences, inspire them to take action or let go of something and allow themselves to be re-born.

    These are the three gifts of the Magi.
    Gold -the gift of a King =Healing and Vitalizing Insight
    Incense -the gift of a Priest =Uplifting Spiritual Inspiration
    Myrrh -the gift of Burial =Letting go of the Past & allowing Re-Birth

    If I manage to deliver any one of these gifts in any article, lecture or reading that I do, then I feel that I have done my job as shaman/magi/astrologer. Sometimes I am lucky and deliver two or even all three.

    And yes, despite the tremendous cultural pressure out there to conform to someone else’s truth, Miraculously, many people step in, accept the gift(s), and the meeting is transformative for them! (as witnessed by the many testimonials on my website and the reviews of my podcast on iTunes). And to be clear, this is as much a testimony to “them” as it is to “me,” but really mostly to consciousness itself.

    And alas, yes, ’tis true that despite the best intention of all parties, for some it may not be a true meeting, a shamanic experience. I may not deliver the right gift or offer it in the right way or at the right moment for them. Hey, nobody is perfect. But that should never keep us from trying and growing. I welcome that kind of feedback, especially when it is genuine and constructive. There is wisdom in the sayings which tell us we can often learn and grow as much or more from our “failures” as our “successes.”

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