TMA This Week

Pluto Stationing: A Sneak Preview of the U.S. Pluto Return?

By Ray Grasse | April 22, 2021

painting: Pluto by Agostino Carracci (1592)

If the news seems unusually intense right now, there’s a reason for that — several, actually. But I’d like to focus here on one in particular: Pluto is crawling to a stop, and will be reversing directions on April 27th. During the entire time a planet slows down like this, it exerts a “branding iron” effect that can extend for days or even weeks on either side, especially when that involves a super-slow-mover like Pluto.

But what does this mean in terms of Pluto, specifically?

Among other things, Pluto energies can manifest as turbulent, unresolved emotions erupting to the surface, causing people to act out in dramatic or sometimes even violent ways. Issues of power and control move to the forefront — who has it, who doesn’t? At best, it can force us to deal with issues that have long been festering and kept tightly under wraps, hopefully resulting in a constructive resolution of some sort. Sometimes, that Plutonian “uncovering” process can even result in important discoveries of a historical or even scientific nature.

But there is one area I think is worth paying special attention to these next couple of weeks. While a Pluto station certainly has a global impact that affects people the world over, I’d suggest that this one is serving as an early trigger for the U.S. Pluto return that will be climaxing these next few years. Even though that aspect won’t technically be exact until 2022 (with sidereal astrologers putting that date back to 2024), it’s certainly within spitting distance, the result being that station points like this can act as “sneak previews” of what to expect when a major aspect like this actually becomes exact.

So what can we expect? I’ve written about the U.S. Pluto return in more detail elsewhere (my 2019 article for TMA has been posted at but among those things I think we can expect in the coming days is a continuing mood of civil unrest, especially in terms of the United States having to confront its legacy of slavery, racism, and treatment of minorities generally (including Latinos, Native Americans, Muslims, Asian Americans, and the LGBTQ community). For too long, the U.S. has tried hard to avoid looking too closely at its history of injustices in these areas, but that spirit of denial may be hard to maintain under the mounting pressures of Pluto.

It’s also likely things could get especially contentious in D.C. over the coming days in terms of proposed legislation around such issues as voting rights, expanding the Supreme Court, or even addressing the Jan. 6th insurrection. (Look to Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema to play an especially oversized role in these and other deliberations.) Sadly, mass shootings seem to be happening with greater frequency lately, as are police-related deaths. It hardly seems accidental that the Derek Chauvin trial reached its conclusion during this Pluto station, with a verdict that has already been called a breakthrough in accountability and justice for African-Americans, albeit a modest one. (Perhaps it’s even synchronistic the very same day the verdict was announced, archaeologists announced they discovered the family home of Harriet Tubman — historically one of America’s most important crusaders for African-American rights.)

It’s too early to say whether Americans will rally to the cause and inaugurate a rebirth of the national spirit during this first Pluto return — or succumb to the darker impulses of what that distant planet unveils for us. One way or another, we could be getting some telling clues in the days immediately ahead. I’d suggest paying particular attention to the April 24th to 30th period for observing its maximum effect.

Stay tuned – and stay calm!

Bio: Ray Grasse is associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer magazine, and author of several books, including StarGates: Essays on Astrology, Symbolism, and the Synchronistic Universe, and The Sky Stretched Out Before Me: Encounters with Mystics, Anomalies, and Waking Dreams. His website is Ray

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The Cluster Effect: When Planetary Triggers Converge

By Ray Grasse | October 7, 2020

This blog has been excerpted from the author’s latest book StarGates: Essays on Astrology, Symbolism, and the Synchronistic Universe.

In October 1991 a confluence of three weather systems occurred off the coast of Nova Scotia which was so violent it produced waves over 100 feet high, resulting in the deaths of over a dozen people. It was such a rare convergence of forces that meteorologists came to call it “the perfect storm,” with the event eventually becoming immortalized in Sebastian Junger’s 1991 book of the same name, and later, a 2000 film starring George Clooney and Mark Walberg.

As astrologers, we carefully chart the celestial “weather” at any given time, and it goes without saying that some periods are more highly charged, active, or turbulent than others — astrological “perfect storms,” you might say. One of several possible reasons for this is that multiple planetary or zodiacal triggers will sometimes converge to pool their energies around the same time, leading to what I’ve sometimes called a “cluster” effect.

Over the years I’ve found such clustering times can be hugely significant factors in our lives, for better or worse. A simple example would be my client whose chart showed a Mars return firing on the exact same day as transiting Uranus squaring his Sun, with both of those happening near a Full Moon. Since this took place shortly before he came to me, I naturally asked if anything significant happened around that time. He said he had a huge blow-up with his boss at that point, which in turn led to him getting fired — hence his reason for looking to an astrologer to get some explanation as to what happened. It was a perfect storm of stressful planetary triggers, that was obvious, and I’d like to believe that knowing about it in advance might have helped him cope with those turbulent energies better than he actually did.

Another example of clustering involved a female client of mine whose horoscope showed transiting Saturn coming up to conjunct her natal Moon within two days of her progressed Moon squaring her natal Saturn. There was no way to know for sure what that would bring, but I could at least let her know this could be an emotionally challenging time and would most likely somehow involve her home or family. It turned out that her mother fell gravely ill that week and had to be rushed to the hospital, where she passed away several days later. While knowing those astrological triggers ahead of time certainly didn’t erase the pain of losing her mother, it at least helped her emotionally brace for what was coming, rather than simply feeling sucker-punched by fate.

To be sure, the cluster effect isn’t always a negative thing — a proverbial clusterf*%k, as some call it. Take the case of my friend who experienced Jupiter trining his natal Venus just as a progressed Venus trined his natal Jupiter. What happened? That was exactly when he was in Las Vegas making a killing at the gambling tables! It was a “perfect storm,” all right, but one involving quite pleasant forces coming together.

Another example of “positive” clustering was my client who had Uranus trining his 10th house Sun precisely as Jupiter was crossing over his Midheaven. It was then that he landed a plum job as a news anchor for a local news station. Clusters like these can be approached as windows of opportunity we can take advantage of, and maximize to their fullest potentials, if we put our mind to it.

Clusters We All Share

The point here is that in all these cases it wasn’t just a single celestial trigger involved but multiple factors occurring around the same time, which combined to trigger significant life changes. In a more general way, it’s much the same principle during those times in all our lives when similar transits converge at similar ages.

One of the most notable of these occurs between the ages of 20 and 22 when we all experience a combination of Uranus squaring its natal position, and Saturn squaring its natal position too. This famously causes considerable tension for many, as it is a time when we’re trying to reconcile the urge to break free and “find ourselves” with the heavy weight of parental conditioning and youthful insecurities.

Another well-known cluster occurs between the ages of 27 and 30 when all of us experience the combined effects of our first progressed lunar return followed shortly by our first Saturn return, as well as transiting Uranus trining its natal position and Neptune sextiling its natal position. This is generally a time of intense personal reflection and re-evaluation, and often involves a struggle between contrasting feelings of aspiration and disillusion. As one friend of mine put it, “This was when I had to grow up, and realized I had to start acting like an adult.” Although some use the energies of this time to their professional or creative advantage, others find it a bit more than they can really handle — something sadly illustrated by the early deaths of so many rock and pop stars around this age, such as Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Brian Jones, and Kurt Cobain, among others. It’s a formative time for many, but not always a very comfortable one.

Another such clustering takes place during our early to mid 40s, when we experience a major convergence of slow-moving transits which include Uranus opposing natal Uranus, Saturn opposing natal Saturn, and Neptune squaring natal Neptune. As with our previous clusters, the cumulative power of this one makes the early 40s a particularly vulnerable time for some, one often associated with the dreaded “mid-life crisis” when we become more aware of fading youth alongside the looming specter of old(er) age. Similar to those earlier transition points, one may feel torn between the growing urge to “find oneself” and the obligation to deal with responsibilities and existing routines. In my own case, this was a time of extraordinarily mixed emotions, since I was struggling with the need to break free of problematic situations in my professional and personal life exactly as I was experiencing some important creative breakthroughs as well. (Among other things, this was when my first book was published.)

Especially notable are those times when such “universal” clusterings coincide with other major transits or progressions in one’s chart, as if to suggest particularly significant transition points in life. Just a week before starting this article, for instance, I had a woman in her early 40s come to me who was undergoing the abovementioned cluster of Uranian, Neptunian, and Saturnian energies, on top of which she was also contending with such heavy-hitter transits as the recent Pluto–Saturn conjunction sitting exactly on her Midheaven, which was in turn closely squaring her Sun — in addition to which transiting Uranus was conjunct her Taurus Ascendant. Now, that’s a full plate!

What happened? She had been a psychologist teaching at a university who became so frustrated by the politics and bureaucratic machinations of her department that she finally resigned, which sent her into an occupational freefall that had her wondering what her next step would be. Fortunately, her natal chart showed some harmonious and constructive aspects between some of those same planets (in particular, she had a tight natal trine between Saturn and the Sun), so I suggested this period was really about a radical reconstruction of her life, a professional “course correction” she could use to regroup and reconnect with the core dreams and creative aspirations that motivated her earlier in life. In addition to having dreamt of being a writer when she was young, she had recently begun thinking of starting her own business. Her new occupational status was giving her an opportunity to seriously consider both those options.

The Cluster Effect in Mundane Affairs

It’s also worth recalling the way this clustering phenomenon manifests on the collective level, too, where we find it at work behind some important historic developments. A dramatic example of that took place during the first week of February 1962 when a rare stellium of seven celestial bodies in the (tropical) Aquarius coincided precisely with a total solar eclipse in that sign. As I mentioned earlier in this book, the full significance of stelliums is rarely felt at the exact time of their occurrence, and can then exert powerful ripple effects for weeks, months, sometimes even decades afterwards. While there were some important political developments during that period — most notably a particularly tense stand-off between the US and Russia later that year with the Cuban Missile Crisis — it inaugurated a particularly fertile time in the arts. Not only did Bob Dylan release his first album just a few weeks later, but the next few months saw the Rolling Stones play their first live show, the Beatles record their first record (Love Me Do), and the Beach Boys signing their hugely successful contract with Capitol Records.

Another extraordinary confluence of energies which I mentioned previously occurred in 1941, during the last few days of April and the first few days of May. Not only did Uranus exactly conjunct Jupiter — a combination frequently associated with cultural breakthroughs — but both planets exactly trined Neptune right then, and all of this happened in connection with a powerhouse stellium in Taurus involving the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus. Now, that’s a cluster! As it so happened, May 1st saw the world premiere of a film often called the greatest in movie history, Citizen Kane, and musical icon Bob Dylan was born just three weeks later.

Another potent form of “clustering” on the mundane level occurs when two or more planets become stationary and change directions close to one another. As I discussed in my essay “Tectonic Triggers,” station points aren’t simply a matter of planets changing directions, but about the energies of those planets becoming exponentially amplified at such times, due to the “branding iron” effect of them being relatively motionless for so long.

One example of that took place in the spring of 1967. The Beatles’s album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is widely considered one of that decade’s cultural milestones and was formally released on May 26th of that year. On several occasions I’ve seen astrologers trying to understand the significance of this album by erecting a horoscope for that one day. But what that type of “snapshot” approach to historic events overlooks is the fact that this album came out in the midst of a triple station of Uranus, Pluto, and Mars — the first two of those planets being widely regarded as those bodies most responsible for the revolutionary winds of change which swept through that decade. Mars was stationing direct on May 26, Uranus on May 28, and Pluto on May 29. Mundane astrologers often look to the exact conjunction of those last two bodies in 1965 and 1966 as the primary dates of their influence; but I’d suggest that the proximity of those stations in late May of 1967 virtually constitutes another “conjunction” — a “stationary conjunction” of sorts — exerting much the same effect. (It’s also worth noting that musician Noel Gallagher was born on May 29th that year and went on to front the English rock group Oasis, a band hailed by some fans and critics at the time as the “musical heirs to the Beatles.” A passing of the archetypal torch?)

A more tragic example of clustered station points happened in July 2014, when Saturn and Uranus changed directions slightly more than 24-hours of one another: Saturn stationed direct on July 20th, and Uranus stationed retrograde on July 21st. Over the years I’ve found these two planets to be particularly involved with notable aviation disasters, including the deadliest one in history: the 1977 Tenerife disaster in the Canary Islands. That tragedy occurred on March 27th when two passenger jets collided on a runway and 583 men, women, and children perished. This happened as Saturn and Uranus were in within a degree of the exact square of February 23rd. It all led me to wonder if we might also see some similar aviation problems in July 2014, since these two planets would be amplified to an extraordinary degree then.

As it turned out, the few days surrounding that double station witnessed several aviation tragedies: Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers; two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down; a Taiwanese jet crashed; and an Algerian passenger jet went missing — four aviation disasters, all within just a few days. But that’s not all: the Israeli–Palestinian conflict heated up dramatically at that point, and due to rising tensions between Russia and the U.S. at the time some media commentators started comparing the events of that week to those which ignited World War I. For me, one of the key takeaways from events like these is that joint stations can be interpreted in much the same way as conjunctions involving those same bodies.

A remarkable cluster occurred recently during the second week of January 2020, when several powerful triggers converged close to one another. In addition to the epic Saturn–Pluto conjunction astrologers had been speculating about for years, there was a Full Moon eclipse, a Uranus station, and even a retrograde station of the dwarf planet Eris — all within just a 48-hour period. So, what happened?

Keeping in mind that it’s important to examine the days, weeks, or even months surrounding any major cluster, there are quite a few things worth noting here. This period saw the heating up of Donald Trump’s impeachment problems as the formal Senate trial of the President began just over a week later, on January 21st. This was also an exceptionally tense time for international relations, with America stepping close to the brink of world war after Trump assassinated Iranian general Soleimani on January 3rd and Iran responded on January 8th by sending missiles against a US military base in Iraq. Hours after that attack, a Ukrainian jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s main airport, killing all 176 passengers. During this period there were also major earthquakes in Puerto Rico and Iran, as well as volcanic eruptions in the Philippines, Japan, and Mexico. In the days immediately leading up to this cluster the British royal family was rocked by news of Prince Harry and wife Megan Markle’s decision to relinquish their royal duties to pursue a life of greater self-determination; while that may be of little consequence to non-British subjects, it symbolically represented yet another break with the traditional order of things in terms of global affairs.

But perhaps most significant of all, in the weeks immediately following this cluster, media outlets started broadcasting news of a deadly strain of coronavirus out of Wuhan, China, which apparently began in December but only came to light globally in January and continued spreading in the months afterward. As I’ve pointed out in the past, the full effects of any major planetary pattern aren’t often completely known until long after that pattern fires exactly. For instance, the last time Pluto and Saturn came together exactly was back in late 1982 , and its effects arguably were felt throughout that entire decade, through such developments as the AIDS crisis and the so-called Reagan Revolution in the US, among others. The fact that this particular Saturn–Pluto conjunction was punctuated by several other celestial triggers would certainly seem to amplify the long-term influence it could hold for the world.

All of this naturally piques one’s curiosity as to what celestial clusters might lie ahead for us. As of this writing (February 2020), one of the more interesting of those is set to happen around December 21st of this year. Besides this being the date of the winter solstice, it will also be when Saturn and Jupiter precisely conjunct for the first time in 20 years, at 0°Aquarius this time (an elemental shift from their last conjunction in earth to a new domicile in air). In addition to that, though, this is precisely when Mars in Aries will be forming a tight square to the epic Saturn–Pluto conjunction from January 2020 at 22° Capricorn, serving as a trigger to that pattern as well. The fact that three major triggers will occur less than two months after the U.S. presidential election naturally leads one to wonder whether the impact of those celestial markers will somehow involve fallout from that political event — a “perfect storm” of political proportions, maybe? It’s also worth pointing out that transiting Pluto will be opposing Donald Trump’s Saturn at precisely this same time (exact on December 20th). One way or another, it’s not likely to be boring.

© 2020 Ray Grasse – all rights reserved

Bio: Ray Grasse is associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer and author of several books, including The Waking Dream, Signs of the Times, Under a Sacred Sky, An Infinity of Gods, Urban Mystic and the recently published StarGates: Essays on Astrology, Symbolism, and the Synchronistic Universe. His website is

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Reflections on Coronavirus and the Saturn-Pluto Conjunction

By Ray Grasse | March 20, 2020

This ain’t no party
This ain’t no disco
This ain’t no fooling around
“Life during Wartime” — The Talking Heads

To understand something about the astrology of the coronavirus pandemic, not to mention its impact on our world economy, it’s useful to consider the influence of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction that’s affecting our world right now. Although that aspect technically completed on January 12 of this year, an aspect of this magnitude exerts a long-term influence, months or even years beyond its exact completion. As an example, think back to the last Saturn-Pluto conjunction of the early 1980s, and how that led to such long-term developments as the AIDS crisis and the “Reagan Revolution,” among other things.

As astrologers such as Richard Tarnas have pointed out, hard aspects between Saturn and Pluto have historically been associated with dramatic world events and crises, from wars and political upheavals to famines or even plagues. But what I’d like to call attention to here is something a little different from what some others have been focusing on lately, and that has to do with what I’d call the “mood” of Saturn-Pluto.

Whenever these two planets have joined up throughout history, there inevitably seems to emerge a mood of deep seriousness — perhaps even “dread.” If you want a good cinematic expression of what I’m talking about, just check out the original movie Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi, which premiered in February of 1931 literally within days of an exact Saturn-Pluto opposition. That film conveys a powerful sense of Saturn-Pluto dread and foreboding as well as any I’ve seen — which, of course, was a mood definitely in the air throughout society at the time, as a result of the Great Depression. (Incidentally, Lugosi himself was born under a Saturn-Pluto conjunction, so he seems right out of central astro-casting to have played that part!) (See charts below.)

For a more real-world expression of that same sense of dread, though, just think back to when those two planets were in opposition in 2001. Like me, you may remember the mood in the air immediately after 9/11, when there was an almost “end of the world” sense of heaviness permeating the air, a feeling of great uncertainty and fear. Were we all about to be obliterated in some act of nuclear terrorism? I remember just a few days after the Twin Towers came crashing down, I was walking in a local park with a friend when a loud boom echoed through the atmosphere; everyone in the park stopped what they were doing to look up because we all seriously feared that a nuclear device might have just gone off somewhere, most likely in nearby Chicago. In fact, it turned out to be a fighter jet triggering a sonic boom when it scrambled overhead to deal with the possible threat of a passenger jet that had mistakenly wandered off its scheduled flight path (it all turned out to be a false alarm). I also remember how the mood in supermarkets at the time was noticeably different, too — Were the vegetables in the produce section now poisoned by random terrorists using hypodermic needles? It seems all a bit insane now in retrospect, but it was a palpable fear at the time, and it was all very Saturn-Pluto in vibe.

I’m noticing much the same general feeling now, just in a different guise. I went to the supermarket this morning, and while there wasn’t a concern over produce poisoned by terrorists, there was a similar sense of concern among shoppers. Was there going to be a food shortage? Were we about to face a killer pandemic? Is the economy about to crash? When Saturn-Pluto makes the rounds, it’s as though we’re all enlisted to act out the mythic drama of Persephone en masse, as we’re collectively pulled down into the “underworld” to confront life’s darker side.

But as bleak as all that might seem on its surface, there is actually a silver lining to it that we need to remember. To explain what I mean, think back to that time right after 911. As heavy as it was, the seriousness of it also had the effect of shocking many of us out of our superficial concerns into a deeper reflection on life itself. We were suddenly jolted into a solemn awareness of the fragility of life, and perhaps even the importance of community, with a feeling that “we were all in this together.” I’d even say there was a spiritual quality about it in some ways, and I remember how our local classical music station devoted several days to playing recordings of great seriousness, but also of great beauty, like Samuel Barber’s “Addagio For Strings,” Bach’s “Mass in B Minor,” and Mozart’s “Requiem.” As difficult as that period was, there was also an unexpected perception of beauty in that “underworld” that so many of us found ourselves suddenly thrust into.

Of course, not everyone reacted that way, but then that seems to be part of the extremism that accompanies this planetary combo. When Saturn-Pluto comes around, it compels some of us to dig deeper, to be more contemplative and sensitive to life’s presence, and to reach out and be more compassionate toward others, while others are compelled to become more closed off and guarded, more selfish or paranoid. You even see that same extremism in the charts of many people born under strong Saturn-Pluto aspects, where that sense of heaviness and darkness can lead to similarly different extremes, from profound spiritual or creative depths on the one hand, to more constrictive feelings of fear or pessimism on the other.

It goes without saying that each of us has that same choice now — whether to respond to these Saturn-Pluto energies with fear, pessimism, and paranoia, or with compassion and kindness, and a commitment to using that sense of seriousness to dig deeper and draw upon those treasures of the underworld.

But it’s good to remember that while the alignment of these two planets can indeed evoke that “end of the world” feeling, the world has never actually ended any of these times, and somehow we’re still here to tell of it — most of us, anyway. Life continues on after Saturn and Pluto have their time on the dance floor, and it will carry on this time as well.


(Charts with Placidus houses, True node)

(1) Bela Lugosi, October 20, 1882, 3:30 p.m. LMT, Lugos, Romania (45N2 21E54) AA data;
AstroDatabank: Bela Lugosi

(2) premiere Dracula, February 12 1931, Manhattan, NY (40N35 73W59)

Ray Grasse is associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer, and author of several books, including The Waking Dream, Signs of the Times, Urban Mystic, An Infinity of Gods, and Under a Sacred Sky. His website: Ray

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Donald Trump and the Saturn-Pluto Conjunction

By Ray Grasse | June 17, 2019

The impending conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn will be a global phenomenon, affecting every country on Earth to one extent or another. But some countries will feel the pressure of that powerhouse duo more than others — and the United States could well find itself at the top of the list. This is largely because of the heavily Cancerian nature of the U.S. July 4th horoscope, which will directly receive the oppositional force of the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction.

But to fully understand that impact for the United States, we also have to look at how it’s affecting the horoscope of Donald J. Trump. That’s not just because he is President of the U.S., but also because the conjunction will be quite closely activating a very important configuration in Trump’s own birth chart.

Donald Trump
June 14, 1946
10:54 a.m. EDT
Jamaica, NY (40N41 73W48)
Placidus houses, True node

Trump’s Saturn–Venus in Cancer

Trump was born with a fairly close conjunction of Saturn and Venus in Cancer (with Saturn at 23º and Venus at 25º). This means that the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction — which becomes exact at 22º Capricorn in January 2020 — will be creating a powerful opposition to Trump’s natal Saturn–Venus conjunction. While this isn’t the only astrological configuration affecting him over the coming year, I think it could well prove to be the most critical.

To really grasp how this transit might affect him, I think it’s useful to first understand some of what that natal aspect means in terms of his basic personality and psychology. I’ve come to believe that this pattern is a key emotional driving force of his personality.

On a purely material level, we could talk about his relationship with money. If you ask most beginning astrologers what indicates the potential for “wealth” in a chart, most of them will say to look for Jupiter–Venus contacts, or Jupiter in the 2nd house. But I find it fascinating how so many ultra-rich types have Saturn–Venus connections in their charts. Take computer giant Bill Gates, born with a Saturn–Venus conjunction; or Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, also born with a Saturn–Venus conjunction (as was his estranged wife MacKenzie); or Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, born with Saturn opposite Venus; John D. Rockefeller Jr., born with a Saturn–Venus conjunction; or media powerhouse Oprah Winfrey, born with a Saturn–Venus square — the list goes on.

Donald Trump has that planetary pattern, too — in his case, the conjunction is in Cancer, as mentioned above. This can mean many things, of course, and undoubtedly fuels his drive for wealth, real estate, multiple homes, and so on. But in light of his very public behavior through the decades, I believe that it also points to an extremely deep insecurity and vulnerability, a sense of emotional wounding (perhaps rooted in childhood?) that’s caused him to erect walls around not only himself and his family, but even the country itself, apparently. Close associates have spoken over the years of his hypersensitivity to criticism, as well as a perhaps subconscious  fear of being unloved, which he seems to compensate for by surrounding himself with beautiful women and hordes of adoring supporters.

Paradoxically enough, one of the things I’ve encountered with many natal Saturn–Venus types is that they often harbor a deep-seated feeling of poverty, an inner sense of scarcity that has them believing there’s never quite enough to fill that hole in their soul — like my multimillionaire client with a hard Saturn–Venus aspect who seemed convinced that he was dirt poor. That sort of psychological mindset might also help to explain Trump’s need to compensate by amassing so many material possessions — the gold-plated furniture, the expensive cars and clothes, and so on.

My point here is that the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction in Capricorn is starting to pummel his natal pattern very, very hard, and will continue doing so over the next year or two. I see a few different real-world possibilities resulting from that.

One of those is that his personal finances could take a major hit during this period, in terms of losses due to bad investments, lawsuits, or failed real estate projects. It could also point to negative feedback he’ll be fielding over the financial policies he instigates for the country concerning tariff measures, tax reform bills, or military expenditures.

Pluto in particular has a lot to do with buried matters being uncovered, so these transits will likely involve secrets increasingly coming to light about Trump’s true wealth and holdings, his bank accounts, and his taxes. There could even be more revelations about his dealings with foreign governments, and investigators (like those from the Southern District of New York) continuing to probe into his real estate dealings and problems relating to his hotels.

But also — and this could prove much more problematic for him, since it hits so close to home, emotionally — the Saturn–Pluto transit may also involve his family members being put under the spotlight, since the sign Cancer is involved. This could trigger even more strongly the “circle the wagons” mentality suggested by his natal pattern. Remember, too, that the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction is falling in Trump’s 5th house of children (according to some house systems), which could prompt him to go into hyper-defensive “mother bear” mode and become even more extreme and dramatic in his behaviors.

Likewise, I think the Saturn–Pluto transit could well trigger a primal sense of emotional wounding that Trump has likely harbored all his life, a deep feeling that he is unpopular or unloved. Pluto being what it is, this could also involve a sense of betrayal, a realization that others he thought had been loyal are now turning on him. That’s already been happening over the last year or two, in fact, but it will likely continue to happen for quite some time.

In very general terms, transiting Saturn opposing or squaring anyone’s natal Venus — even without Pluto’s involvement — can make for a very unhappy time, with feelings  of great loneliness and isolation. With Pluto added to the mix, though, I suspect that this period ahead could become an exceptionally depressing and vulnerable one for Trump. If indeed impeachment hearings wind up being conducted, that would certainly throw a few Olympic-size swimming pools full of gasoline onto that horoscopic fire as well.

There’s one other possibility that I think is worth mentioning. To one extent or another, the horoscope of a national leader becomes that of the entire country he or she represents. Does this mean that Trump’s financial difficulties under those transits point to something ominous about the economic fortunes of the United States during this time? Much as I’d like to believe otherwise, I think it’s a reasonable possibility, and I will be watching the U.S. economy closely around the time of these transits.

Trigger Dates

Even though the general influence of these energies will be in effect for quite some time, I’d like to go over a few specific trigger dates that I believe will be especially worth noting — that is, when the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction will be activating Trump’s natal pattern in dramatic ways. To be clear, these aren’t the only transiting planets affecting his chart; however, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll limit my observations to just the influence of Saturn and Pluto.

  • Even though the effects of the Saturn–Pluto conjunction won’t technically climax for Trump until 2020, there are several “sneak preview” triggers taking place before then, one of which has already happened. I’m referring to the Saturn and Pluto retrograde stations that occurred in late April and early May of this year. Among other things, this manifested as the furor over Attorney General William Barr’s testimony about the Mueller Report (and his subsequent refusal to return for a follow-up hearing), but was also reflected in surprising news about Trump’s taxes and financial losses that came out in early May.
  • Transiting Mars will soon be acting as a trigger when it opposes transiting Saturn and Pluto, so I’d suggest watching Trump’s affairs closely during the period from June 15 through the 20th. (Editor’s Note: This article was written and submitted to TMA in early June.)
  • Transiting Saturn will be exactly squaring Trump’s natal Jupiter on July 6, so I would expect some major judicial-related frustrations for him from roughly the 3rd to the 9th.
  • Both Saturn and Pluto will be stationing again (direct) from mid September through early October of this year, 2019, and will create a strong hit to Trump’s natal Saturn–Venus conjunction, giving us another sneak preview of what’s ahead for him in 2020. It may be worth paying attention to the dates around the planetary stations: for Saturn, September 18, and for Pluto, October 2.
  • The Saturn–Pluto conjunction actually becomes exact for the first time on a global scale on January 12, 2020, but that entire month could be especially turbulent for Trump, since just a little over one week later, on January 21, transiting Saturn will be precisely opposing his natal Saturn. The fact that the global pattern of the Saturn–Pluto conjunction is occurring so closely to the time when transiting Saturn will be triggering his natal Saturn shows just how close that collective pattern appears to be linked to his personal destiny.
  • Then, on February 6, 2020, transiting Saturn opposes his natal Venus for the first of three times. Again, there may be a growing sense of social isolation and feelings of rejection, but it could also involve the spotlight being cast on his finances and real estate holdings, as well as those of his family members.
  • On February 13, Pluto opposes Trump’s natal Saturn precisely, activating his chart in a major way.
  • This same energy comes to a boil during the next station of Pluto, which goes retrograde on April 25 at 24º59’ Capricorn, very closely opposing Trump’s natal Venus and Saturn.
  • On July 12, Pluto again opposes Trump’s natal Saturn exactly.
  • On September 6, Saturn opposes Trump’s Venus for the second time.
  • Then, on September 29, Saturn stations direct at 25º20’ Capricorn, activating his natal Saturn–Venus by opposition.
  • Several days later, on October 4, Pluto stations direct at 22º29’ Capricorn, opposing his natal Saturn–Venus and prying open more previously buried secrets about his finances or personal life.
  • A few weeks later, on October 21, Saturn exactly opposes Trump’s natal Venus for the third and final time.
  • While these turbulent energies continue for him well into 2021, I want to point out an important trigger that will be occurring around December 20, 2020, when Pluto exactly opposes his natal Saturn. This is especially significant because it coincides closely with another transit that is affecting everyone: Not only is it close to the winter solstice, but transiting Mars will at 22º Aries, squaring the degree of the Saturn–Pluto conjunction (22º Capricorn) of January 2020. Mars aspects often serve as triggering mechanisms for other celestial patterns, such as eclipses, stelliums, or major outer-planet aspects. It’s safe to say the holiday season of late 2020 could be a particularly dramatic one for Donald Trump. Note, too, this will be shortly after the next presidential election, so it’s likely that whatever turbulence this energy stirs up for him will be in response to the outcome of the election.

In short, while it’s impossible to know specifically what will be happening for Donald Trump over the next couple of years, there’s no question that it will be a roller-coaster ride for him, both professionally and emotionally, and that these highlighted dates will warrant special attention.

Bio: Ray Grasse is associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer magazine, and author of several books, including The Waking Dream, Under a Sacred Sky, and Urban Mystic. His website is






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Ready for Your Close-up, Pluto?

By Ray Grasse | April 6, 2015

I’ve written a number of times over the years about the striking synchronicities that have occurred in tandem with our first close-up views of the planets Uranus and Neptune. In much the same way that the discovery of any astronomical body is widely seen as signaling the emergence of a new state of consciousness into the collective, so our first close-up looks at those planets via hi-tech spacecraft seem to bring their energies into even sharper focus than before.

For example, during the period of the Voyager II fly-by past Uranus in January of 1986, there were news stories underscoring the challenges of high-technology and the legacy of the Industrial Revolution, including the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger the same weekend as the fly-by (the tragedy occurred literally within hours of the photos from the fly-by being processed) and the Chernobyl disaster (occurred not long after the fly-by, on April 26th of that year).

And when the Voyager II spacecraft flew past Neptune, media outlets showcased the mounting sense of dread over the escalating drug crisis taking place in both North and South America, as drug lords openly declared war on the Columbian government the very same day as the fly-by, while President George W. Bush asked American TV networks for air time to address the growing crisis. On a more artistic front, that was also the period when James Cameron’s blockbuster film “The Abyss” had just been released, with a storyline set deep in the ocean. (1)

With that in mind, it’s worth taking a moment to speculate on what we can expect this July, perhaps even all summer, when we’ll get our first close-up look at the distant planet Pluto, by means of NASA’s “New Horizon” spacecraft (scheduled for closest approach on July 14th). Can we expect a similar flurry of synchronistic news events in connection with this planet’s presence? Let’s look briefly at a few possibilities.

On the upside, I’d keep an eye out for breaking news about important discoveries by scientists or historians, due to the “uncovering” aspect of Pluto and its tendency to disclose what had previously been hidden. Archeologically, it could usher in important findings concerning our history as a species or a civilization, or scientific breakthroughs in physics and astronomy. It’s possible we could see the discovery of previously unknown species of animals in remote regions of our planet, or the rediscovery of supposedly extinct “living fossils,” like the coelacanth found by fishermen in 1938. Because Pluto is so remote from the Earth, one wonders whether there is even a chance its close-up could symbolize an important breakthrough by scientists of intelligent life far out in space. (Curiously, a press conference has been announced for May 5th to showcase recently uncovered photographic slides from Roswell, New Mexico, allegedly showing a dead alien body. Whether that turns out to be legitimate or not, the symbolism of the event is certainly fitting, considering Pluto’s association with death.) (2)

On the downside, Pluto also awakens turbulent forces deep in the collective psyche, so the days and weeks surrounding the fly-by could well see a dramatic escalation of the violence and terrorism that has been inflaming the world scene in recent years. Whether that involves ISIS soldiers in the Middle East, home-grown terrorists in our own first world nations, or simply criminal acts of an especially dramatic sort (abductions and hostage situations are particular favorites of Pluto), it’s likely we could see some very unpleasant headlines stoking our collective reptile-brains in a big way. And, of course, since Pluto is in Capricorn, don’t be surprised if we see more sex scandals in the news involving prominent celebrities or politicians!

Whatever the outcome, I’d suggest focusing your attention on the July 10th – 20th period in particular. Stay tuned!

(1) I discuss the synchronicities of the Uranus and Neptune fly-bys in considerably more detail in my book, Signs of the Times, Hampton Roads, 2002; pgs. 62-64, 156-165.
(2) UFO International Project
Bio: Ray Grasse is Associate Editor of The Mountain Astrologer magazine, and author of The Waking Dream (Quest, 1996) and Signs of the Times (Hampton Roads, 2002). His websites are Ray Grasse and Ray Grasse Photography

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A Heavenly Deluge: Notes on the Planetary Line-Up in Pisces

By Ray Grasse | March 11, 2013

One of the more interesting celestial events taking place right now is a celestial line-up in the tropical sign of Pisces that involves Neptune, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Chiron, and Mars — with that group now being joined by the Moon as well (throughout most of Sunday, March 10th and Monday, March 11th). With Uranus hovering nearby in adjoining Aries, this makes for a truly interesting meeting of the planetary minds!

Pisces line-up

Line-ups like this (also called “stelliums”) not only indicate a heightened emphasis on the zodiacal sign involved, but more broadly serve as celestial “engines of change,” marking important periods of transition in society, as well as in our personal lives. Think of the term “revolution,” which is essentially astronomical in origin. When a planet makes a full circuit around the solar system to a given starting point, we say it’s come full circle, it’s made a full revolution. So when we see an entire group of planets coming together, it conveys the sense of one chapter closing off and a new one opening up.

This is something poets and filmmakers have long intuited. In Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, for example, each of the major evolutionary leaps the film depicts are shown accompanied by skyward shots of planetary line-ups. Likewise, in the movie Dark Crystal, a similar planetary line-up is shown accompanying the shift in consciousness that occurs in the film’s climax.

However the full effects of any line-up aren’t always obvious right away, and can take months or even years to fully materialize. This makes perfect sense when you think of the symbolism of a conjunction, which has a “New Moon” quality — in contrast to the opposition, which symbolizes fulfillment. Like the old saying goes, “What the New Moon promises, the Full Moon delivers.” In that spirit, you might well describe a stellium as an industrial strength, super-duper New Moon! Unlike a typical New Moon, which reveals most of its effects in just a few weeks, the seeds planted by a stellium are far more dramatic and last vastly longer.

For example, prior to the year 1524, some European astrologers were predicting that the world would be destroyed in a great flood because of a large planetary line-up about to occur in the sign of Pisces. As it turned out, those fears were unfounded — in any literal way, that is. In the years which followed, a great flood did sweep over the world, but a more symbolic one, and it involved a revolution in the Christian world, with the rise of Luther and the Protestant reformation. Just as Copernicus decentralized humanity’s view of the universe by displacing the Earth as the hub of the world, so Luther “decentralized” European culture by challenging the supreme authority of the Catholic Church.

As it turns out, we find ourselves once again in the midst of another major line-up in the sign Pisces — and lo and behold, what do we see taking place in the religious world? A historic shake-up in the Catholic Church, not only with the shocking resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, but as a result of growing publicity about scandals involving the church itself.

On a more personal level, look to see where these planets are falling in your own horoscope for a sense of what areas in your own life are being affected. Is it in the 6th house? If so, then perhaps it involves health or work. Or the 2nd house? Probably money or resources. The 4th house? Home or family — and so on.

A few more thoughts. It was Manly Palmer Hall who first pointed out the correlation between planetary line-ups and major wars or conflicts on the global stage. For example, both World Wars, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, and many others, began in tandem with major stelliums. Does this mean we might see a major conflict take shape in the coming days, weeks or months, in the wake of this current line-up? It’s worth noting that North Korea’s current leader has been engaged in some major saber-rattling lately, to the point of threatening the United States with his nuclear weapons. The Middle East has been heating up notably in recent days as well. One can only hope this connection fails to materialize this time around; after all, the mega-line-up of early 1962 didn’t give rise to an actual war so much as the serious threat of one, in the form of the Cuban Missile Crisis. (1)

On a more positive note, Pisces has long been associated with fantasy and imagination, so it’s probably only fitting that the big-budget reboot of the The Wizard of Oz, Sam Raimi’s film Oz the Great and Powerful is hitting theaters precisely in conjunction with this line-up in Pisces. In a subtle way, this may be telling us this is a time when we have easier access to the contents of our imagination and to the collective unconscious, as the veil separating the conscious and unconscious grows more diaphanous now. Or for those who are more spiritually inclined, it’s likely that meditation or contemplation could yield important insights and benefits during this period. And if nothing else, this is sure a time to watch your dreams!

(1) Editor’s note: There were six planets in Aquarius in early February 1962.

Ray Grasse is associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer, and his website is

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