TMA This Week

How’s this past year been ?

By Mary Plumb | June 17, 2021

photo: Dario Mueller/Unsplash

I’ve just returned to Oregon after 10 days in Colorado, my first trip since last year.

I tentatively (and eagerly) journeyed into a different landscape as travel restrictions have been (temporarily?) lifted. I imagine everyone en route — the airports and flights were packed — was feeling some version of being newly released from this long strange confinement.

Once settled at my dear friends’ house, I saw how we are drawn to talk about what this last year of isolation has been like. At a few small gatherings, and in close quarters with new and old friends, we talked. For me, it was a fascinating experience as it was like stumbling into new and distinct worlds with everyone I spoke with. I had a sense of some individuals becoming more who they are, more certain of themselves, more individuated, maybe? In these folks, the isolation became a sort of imposed vessel for self-inquiry which seems to have been greatly  rewarding. (I was connecting these types of stories to the engagement with the interior grounds pillaged and laid bare by Jupiter/Saturn/Pluto in Capricorn in January 2020. To me, these reports were examples that the deepest work is done inside; I took heart in hearing them.)

Experiences of the pandemic and reactions to it are unique for everyone, but another motif that seemed to waft through my random conversations was this shared sense that we are between worlds, or that no one really knows what’s going on, and confusion and uncertainly prevail. I was struck by how many people, in different life situations, spoke to this sense that we are on a journey with an “as-yet-to-be-recognized destination.” (My words: an amalgamation distilled from a slew of conversations.)

Collectively, we are certainly in a parallel process of inquiry: Who are we and where are we headed? As a family? As a town? As a nation? As a group of souls? As the human species? As the Earth herself?

As mentioned, I was in a wider circle of people than I have been in awhile, and most were not astrologically informed. Whether I was in a quiet conversation, observing from a distance, or hearing stories about other friends, I was struck by the insecurity/anxiety many people expressed. There was a sense of urgency — many felt they needed to make a big change, but not sure what or where.

I said a few words here and there about Saturn and Uranus, the aspect that we astrologers are acutely aware of throughout 2021 (and beyond). (1)

As astrologers we are used to articulating careful and specific timelines for our clients. In this situation, I voiced very basic themes of the ongoing Saturn/Uranus square and could see how helpful it was — by pointing to the archetypes moving in the current sky, a different picture of our current reality opened up — more space, more objectivity.

There are obvious external situations that are carrying the unmistakable shock and destabilizing of Uranus — in conflict with Saturn’s preference to rely on the known. We are all, one way or another, we all being dragged from the allure and pull of certainty into a different field of possibility. Keeping the nervous system regulated is a top-tier and ever-refining antidote for these days.

Transiting Saturn square Uranus in on full-fledged display in the current worldly conflicts and upheavals. If we can hold an observer frame of mind, the display of planetary archetypes unfolding in our world is (as usual) epic and literal.

And yet, on a personal level, we may be getting used to their antagonism, and are seeing old habits vs. new territory; stale vs. enlivening;  death vs. birth dynamics everywhere we look. The natural tension of the square may soften at times when we begin to get a sense of how to bridge the two — if we look from beyond the edges of the square, we may see a more inclusive view of reality. The view we see is unique to each of us — our natural proclivities, temperament, spiritual inclinations, etc., inform the templates through which we experience life, but one thing we can be sure of is that we are interconnected, and are all impacted by everyone and everything.

Take good care and have a good week everyone.


(1) Saturn is exactly square Uranus on February 17, June 14 and  December 24, 2021. They remain within 10° of the exact square for most of 2022, and come to within 1° exactitude in the fall of 2022.

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Ceres and democracy in the USA

By Faye Blake | May 14, 2021

Democracy in the U.S. definitely needs some updating … and I think Ceres represents democracy and can give advice as to what is needed. But why do I think she is important? I have been an avid fan of hers since her upgrade from asteroid to planet in 2006, and have carried out a lot of research to help uncover her meaning.

Apart from my research on elections here in the Netherlands, the UK and in the U.S., and Brexit, her position in the heavens convinced me that she plays an important role in democracy. She is between Mars — the last personal planet, our will, and the first social planet — Jupiter, laws, strategy and vision for groups, including countries. She is the go-between of the will of the people and political systems. As such, she negotiates and sticks up for all underdogs against the powerful ruling classes. She said “NO” to Jupiter and Pluto in the myth in order to get what she wanted. In my view, she represents a strong, wise, feminine archetype.

In my research into the the U.S. elections I looked at which Sun signs were most favoured for a president. For me the Sun sign is relevant as I see it as an important part of vocation, another area of focus in my astrological consulting. You can fulfil your vocation best in a country or organisation that fits with your own calling

Looking at a list of Sun signs of those who won elections, Aquarius and Pisces are the most common. (1) (See footnote for details.)

Aquarius explained?

There are reasons why so many Aquarians win elections. War is partly the culprit, as Aquarian Franklin D. Roosevelt won four elections and served between 1933 and 1945 as the longest serving president. This can no longer happen as the number of terms a president can serve is now limited. In some ways Aquarius seems a rather unlucky sign as five of the Aquarian presidents died in office, (including Roosevelt), two of whom were assassinated, Lincoln and McKinley. And there was an attempt on Reagan’s life as well.

My theory!

So back to the U.S. chart. What might that attract? And what might the people want? The Moon in a country chart represents ‘we the people’. In the US chart known as the Sibly chart, which many astrologers use, the Moon is in Aquarius! So anyone who resonates with this sign seems to have an advantage. These words from the Declaration of Independence have a very Aquarian feel too: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’

So perhaps it is not so surprising that Aquarians rule. (But of course I knew that :)) Anyone want to donate a few million so I can have a go? I’m sure we could get around the birth-place issue!

But what about Pisces?

At first glance, the horoscope many use for the U.S. would not seem very Piscean. However, when you add my favourite, Ceres –  the dwarf planet that I associate with democracy – this changes. Ceres is in Pisces. I think for a long time the U.S. has acted out the Sun in Cancer – from patriotism to family values to protectionism, and the aspects with the Sun with Jupiter – think big, expansion, bigger is better, religion. And Saturn –  rules from government and a business focus. But since Ceres made a comeback in 2006, she (often in the form of women) is standing up for the earth, women and the less advantaged in the population.

Ceres in Pisces in the U.S. chart represents the possibility of a compassionate and visionary democracy.

Here are a few examples from previous presidents who have won at least two elections:

President Planets in Aquarius or Pisces
Thomas Jefferson Mercury in Pisces
Ulysses S. Grant Ceres, North node in Aquarius, Venus in Pisces
George W. Bush Ceres in Aquarius
Bill Clinton Ceres in Aquarius
Barack Obama Jupiter and ascendant in Aquarius
Dwight D. Eisenhower Jupiter in Aquarius
Richard Nixon Moon, Uranus in Aquarius, Venus in Pisces
Abraham Lincoln Venus, Ceres, Jupiter, Pluto in Pisces. Probably Aquarius ascendant – his birth time is a bit uncertain.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Sun, Mercury, Venus, Ceres in Aquarius
Ronald Reagan  Sun in Aquarius, Venus in Pisces
George Washington Mercury in Aquarius, Sun, Venus in Pisces


Of course, because the Sun (which represents leaders) in the U.S. chart is in Cancer, Cancer will often be part of a president’s horoscope as it is with some of these presidents above. However, it seems that having planets in Aquarius and Pisces helps.

Last two elections

So what did the cosmos have to choose from in the last three elections?

In 2008, Obama (Jupiter and ascendant in Aquarius) was up against John McCain, who had Moon in Aquarius with Saturn and the Ascendant in Pisces. Perhaps Jupiter beats Saturn:) But in 2012 he was against Mitt Romney, who blows my theory – there’s always one! He has Sun, Mercury, Mars and Ceres in Pisces and Venus in Aquarius. That must have helped him get as far as he did. What Obama has that Romney doesn’t have is a planet in Cancer. Obama’s Venus is in Cancer – matching the U.S. Venus and Sun – so perhaps that and other connections he has were a stronger factor.

And then of course there is Trump vs. Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s birth time has long been a topic of discussion among astrologers. It is likely she has the Moon in Pisces, however late on the day she was born the Moon went into Aries. Her ascendant is unconfirmed. I will assume for this topic she has the Moon in Pisces.

And so to Trump

Again, without using Ceres, Trump has nothing in either of our top signs. But Ceres is in Aquarius for him too as it was for a few of the earlier presidents. Maybe Ceres beats the likely Moon of Hillary! However, Trump does have a lot of Cancer energy – Mercury, Venus and Saturn – so that is a really important link with the U.S. chart which gave him a possible advantage in 2020 too.

What about Joe Biden?

Joe’s a Scorpio with three other planets in Scorpio, so he is determined! Like Trump, he has nothing in either of the top signs if you don’t use Ceres – but, he has Ceres in Pisces! Joe also has Jupiter in Cancer, so that was a factor in his favour.

So it was Aquarius vs. Pisces or Moon vs. Ceres?

I wrote before the elections: “Using my arguments and limiting it to Ceres and the Moon, this time one question is: Will the vote follow what the people need on an emotional level – the Moon? In which case Trump should win, as his type of democracy matches that emotional need. Or will they go for Ceres in the US. chart – the type of democracy and environment they want – Pisces? In which case Biden should win.

It all depends …

… on the level of consciousness of the U.S. voting public. Trump’s Aquarian brand of democracy resonates with the more negative side of Aquarius. The rebels, the individual right to do whatever you want, the cold,  I-know-best-and-I’m-never-wrong side that Aquarius can have. He will attract people who want an uprising.

Biden will attract people who wish for a more compassionate, inclusive type of democracy. However, Pisces energy can easily be seen as a victim or a sort of martyr. A democracy that is an unrealistic, do-gooder type of system. His message could be too vague. And he does seem to be hiding, compared to Trump.

Both types of democracy could be good – the best for the U.S. would be a system that embraces the good in both signs. Freedom and equality for individuals AND compassion and support for everyone. These don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

The Cancer factor

Any planets in Cancer can’t be ignored as the U.S. is looking for Cancer qualities in its leaders. As mentioned, Trump has this energy, which can be seen in his family-oriented nepotism and his protectionist policies. I have written more about Trump in a previous post. This is the energy that gave him an advantage over Hillary Clinton, I think.

Joe Biden is a bit different. Although he doesn’t have as much Cancer energy as Trump, he has Jupiter – the planet of politics and strategy in this sign.

Done and dusted now

We know now who won, but not without some sad happenings on the way to the inauguration. As many others, I too did not like the look of the inauguration chart. I wrote:

“Trouble brewing

I don’t often say this, but I think in the current climate, this is quite scary. There are several planets in Aquarius, a sign of wanting to be right! The Moon is what is known as void of course. In some charts this is taken to mean ‘nothing will come of the matter.’ Could this mean the inauguration can’t go ahead?

The Moon is in the very last degrees of Aries, a very strong position in a combative sign. However, more worrying in the current climate is that Mars and Uranus are together and very near the Ascendant. This could indicate stubborn (in Taurus), aggressive (Mars) rebellion (Uranus). Add to that Pluto right overhead at the top of the chart and we have the potential for powerful and devastating acts.”

(It turns out that some of this happened before the inauguration which thankfully went smoothly, albeit with heavy security).

“Ceres is in Pisces by the inauguration, but she is right next to Neptune, which could imply total confusion about the democratic process. Of course all of these positions could provide the catalyst for powerful, positive reform and new caring forms of democratic reform.”

I hope this is how it will work out. In Biden’s first 100 days we have seen his determination to get on with it!

We have a role model: RBG

I was sad to hear of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. What a remarkable woman. She was a much needed force on the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) and will be sadly missed. Looking at her chart I was struck by the fact that the same themes emerge in the Supreme Court chart and in hers.

In the triangle on the charts below are all the planets in Aquarius and Pisces. The inside chart is of the U.S. which I discussed above – with the Moon in Aquarius and Ceres in Pisces. But look at the middle chart – SCOTUS. It has three planets in Pisces – Mercury, Saturn and Venus, and three in Aquarius –  the Sun, Ceres and Pluto.

And on the outside is the chart of RBG. We don’t have a birth time for her, so her MC shown in Pisces is not accurate. However she still has Sun, Venus and Ceres and the North Node in Pisces and Saturn in Aquarius. I find this quite an astonishing fit with the U.S. chart – in particular Ceres in the U.S. and in RBG’s chart at almost the same point! She is a wonderful example of what U.S. democracy could be – Ceres stands up for women and all the disenfranchised. In Pisces, Ceres is compassionate but according to the myth she confronts privilege, greed (Jupiter) and power (Pluto). She is tough, as was Ruth.

With the outpouring of grief and respect after RBG’s death, it seems that many are determined to follow her lead.

The day of the inauguration

What actually happened at the inauguration augurs well too, I think. I was glued to the screen watching the event as the Ascendant and MC passed through the various planets. Astrology really does have a sense of humour! We had the perfect expression of Mars and Uranus in Taurus as they crossed the Ascendant. Lady Gaga was the perfect voice (Taurus) for performing the National Anthem at that precise moment, and Uranus would have been proud of her outfit! What a wonderfully positive expression of Mars-Uranus.

As Joe Biden spoke his first words before midday, Pluto was exactly on the MC, very fitting for a Scorpio president and something that shows he means business in his will to radically transform the US.

However later, Ceres and Neptune in Pisces sextiling Venus, in the form of a young woman, stole the show. When the Ascendant hit 18 degrees picking up Mercury and the Ceres-Neptune conjunction, after Amanda Gorman had read her poem, the world fell in love with everything about her. What a fitting symbol for a new type of democracy, a young, black, woman who is a gifted poet. Oh yes — Ceres was present!


US Presidents Sun Signs
Aries 2 Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler
Taurus 4 James Monroe, James Buchanan, Ulysses S. Grant, Harry S. Truman
Gemini  3 John F. Kennedy, George H.W. Bush, Donald Trump
Cancer 4 John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge, Gerald Ford, George W. Bush
Leo 4 Benjamin Harrison, Herbert Hoover, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama
Virgo 2 William Howard Taft, Lyndon B. Johnson
Libra 4 Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester A. Arthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter
Scorpio 5 John Adams, James K. Polk, James A. Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt
Warren G. Harding
Sagittarius 3 Martin van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce
Capricorn 4 Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon
Aquarius 5 William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan
Pisces 4  George Washington, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Grover Cleveland (Nr. 22 and 24)



Editor’s note: See Faye’s website for her extensive writing on Ceres.

Bio: Faye is founder of the Amsterdam School of Astrology. She is a therapist and business consultant, holds an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, and has spoken often at major international conferences. Her book, Vocational Astrology, forms the basis of her tailor-made Vocational Apprenticeship program.
Faye offers a wide variety of astrological services. Please visit her wonderful website for details.

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Good Night, Sweet Prince: Prince Philip Passes

By Alex Miller | April 12, 2021

photo: Half-Mast by Sanshiro

On April 9th, 2021, Buckingham Palace announced the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, just two months shy of his 100th birthday. The couple had been married 73 years, making Philip the longest-serving consort in British history, with four children, eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren (and another on the way).

Philip’s story was a remarkable one. Born on June 10, 1921 (no time available) to a younger son of the King of Greece on a dining room table in Corfu, Philip’s family was exiled from their homeland when the Greeks voted to abolish their monarchy, just 18 months after his birth. Nothing more would likely have been heard of him, but the landless princeling gravitated to his mother’s family in England, joined the Royal Navy, and caught the eye of the heiress presumptive to the British throne, Princess Elizabeth. Much of his biography is depicted in asteroids in his birth chart, and his death was similarly heralded by celestial factors.

A seagoing profession is easy to see, with the 18° Gemini Sun conjunct Mars (military service) and asteroid Navi (for “navy”) at 24° and 28° Gemini, squared Saturn (career) with Poseidon (the asteroid, not the Uranian planet), named for the Greek god of the seas, at 18° and 25° Virgo (which navy he would favor is seen by asteroid Britten (homophone of “Britain”) at 20° Virgo, between them). As well, Philip had asteroid Saylor (homophone for “sailor”) at 19° Taurus in close trine to career-minded Saturn, with asteroid Philippa (feminine version of Philip, and its closest celestial match) at 13° Leo conjoined Neptune, planetary ruler of the sea and seamen, providing a highly personal connection to a life at sea.

Philippa also connects Philip to his titles, conjoined asteroid Duke at 14° Leo, and sesquiquadrate asteroid Prinz (German form of “prince”) at 1° Capricorn. Most striking is asteroid Edinburgh itself, which at 8° Taurus conjoins Venus at 5° Taurus and is in a Grand Trine with Jupiter at 10° Virgo and asteroid Juno at 10° Capricorn. This portrays his royal (Jupiter) title (Edinburgh) as a result of his partnership (Juno) with his wife (Venus). Juno’s opposition to Pluto at 7° Cancer creates a Kite pattern and illustrates the total transformation of circumstance (Pluto) which the union (Juno) would bring, with its huge increase in personal power (Pluto also).

That Elizabeth would be the key ingredient to Philip’s biography is foreshadowed by asteroid Elisabetha (closest to Elizabeth) at station in his nativity, trine the Sun and turning retrograde at 25° Aquarius ten days after his birth. Stationary bodies carry immense weight and are formative agents in character or biography; in this case, the precise nature of the connection between them is seen in Elisabetha’s conjunction with asteroid Hera, named for the Greek goddess of marriage, at 26° Aquarius, also squared asteroid Regina, Latin for “queen”, at 26° Scorpio (just in case anybody was wondering which Elizabeth he’d marry!).

When Prince Philip’s death was announced at 12:01 p.m. BST on April 9, 2021 at Windsor Castle, asteroids Atropos (named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death) and Prinz at 22° Cancer and 1° Leo respectively were rising on the 28° Cancer Ascendant, opposing Pluto, modern lord of death, at 26° Capricorn on the Descendant. A Grand Cross is formed with asteroid Duke at 29° Aries, opposing asteroid Philippa at 25° Libra. The IC of the moment, 2° Libra, was an exact match for Philip’s natal asteroid Rip, which functions as a death indicator in the form of the acronym “RIP”, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription.

Incredibly, asteroid Edinburgh at 20° Gemini exactly conjoins asteroid Anubis, named for the Egyptian deity governing funerary rites, and these conjoin Philip’s natal Sun at 18° Gemini. Edinburgh/Anubis also conjoins transit Mars at 21° Gemini (about to return to its natal degree) and squares transit Neptune with asteroid Osiris (named for the Egyptian god of the dead) at 20° and 23° Pisces.

Transit asteroid Nemesis, a point known for ruin, destruction and undoing, had just come to its retrograde station four days earlier at 12° Sagittarius, exactly conjunct Philip’s natal asteroid Osiris and broadly opposed his Sun, marking the literal “turning point” in his life.

Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, specializing in deep space points and minor bodies of the solar system. A past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society and currently a member of the board for the Philadelphia chapter of NCGR, Alex is the author of The Black Hole Book, detailing the use of black holes in astrological interpretation, and Cat o’ Nine Tales, a memoir of his cat rescue work. He has been chronicling the effects of asteroids and other minor bodies since 2005, much of which can be found at his website: alexasteroidastrology. Alex can be reached at

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His Eye Is on the Sparrow

By Alex Miller | March 17, 2021

Lest we fall into the error of supposing that astrology in general, and asteroids in particular, are fields focused solely on “big ticket” events like presidential elections and capitol insurrections, consider the case of Charcoal the cat, one of the lilies of my field (if I may mix my biblical metaphors). In the aftermath of the mishigas in DC, even as a new dawn was about to break in the nation’s capital, I underwent my own personal tragedy.

On January 19th I euthanized my dear fur buddy Charcoal, who was diagnosed with cancer. What I thought was another respiratory infection, with which Charkey grappled every winter, turned out to be a mass in his mouth, which ballooned to enormous proportions in just a few days.

Let’s be clear — Charcoal was not my pet; he was my responsibility, but I loved him dearly, and will miss his sweet meow. For over a decade I managed a stray and feral cat colony in West Philly at my home, and Charcoal was one of those valued members. He came to us in traumatic circumstances in 2012, having been trapped inside an abandoned house when the new owners boarded it up preparatory to its renovation. It took him years to recover and learn to trust again; we formed a special bond but he was ever wary of other humans, and sometimes bullying to other animals, so was not a good adoption candidate.

Charkey essentially lived in my fenced garden in Philadelphia, and when my father passed two years ago and I inherited this house in Nazareth, I was determined to bring him with me, along with Cleo, one of the few feline friends he had made, also unadoptable. It took a year to make the move, but my new tenants were installed in the new garden in May 2020. I didn’t want to bring them into the living quarters, for fear of stressing out my other fur baby Ashes, who is older and has medical issues. But they had the fenced garden, and 24/7 access to the laundry room, with its food and water bowls and litter boxes, and soft snuggly beds.

Both cats blossomed in this environment, but Charcoal especially. He would follow me about the yard as I worked, and loved our petting sessions. All I had to do was ask, “Do you want to sit with Uncle Alex?”, and he would pop up from wherever he was lounging, following behind me like a dog, or racing ahead to leap into our chair to await his cuddling. I will miss those times terribly.

Although the local animal hospital isn’t allowing clients inside during the COVID-19 crisis, they make an exception for euthanizing, so I was able to visit with Charcoal before the end. I held him in my arms when he passed, singing him his little song.

Of course, being an astrologer, I noted the time: 12:37 p.m. EST on January 19, 2021 (Saylorsburg, PA, for those who want to play along). I’ve had similar losses over the years, and run those charts, so I knew what unfolded would be cosmically apropos to the moment.

It was a fraught time for feline mortality in general, with asteroids Anubis (named for the Egyptian deity governing funerary rites) and Katz (homophone of “cats”) traveling together for weeks as they approached their stations, which bookended Charkey’s passing. Anubis turned direct at 3° Gemini on January 16th, just three days prior; Katz followed suit at 4° Gemini four days later, on January 23rd. What was more specific to the time frame was their rising on the 28° Taurus ascendant at the hour of his passing. They also anchor a grand cross, with Anubis/Katz squaring asteroid Rip (another death indicator as the acronym “RIP”, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription) at 5° Pisces, and asteroid Vet at 3° Virgo, which also conjoined my natal Pluto, modern lord of death, at 4° Virgo. Incredibly, opposing Anubis/Katz to complete the grand cross was a pairing of asteroids — Alex and Miller at 3° and 4° Sagittarius, personalizing the story directly to myself.

What more do we need to celestially depict the death (Anubis/Rip) of a feline (Katz) belonging to Alex Miller (Alex/Miller), facilitated by a veterinarian (Vet)?

But of course, with the cosmos, there is always more. I’m using asteroid Charcot (pronounced “char-KOH”) as the closest to Charcoal, whom I also called Charkey, Charkoo and Charcuterie. The vet’s name was Karin Breitlauch, aka “Dr. Karin”, and I’m using asteroid Karen (the traditional spelling) for her.

In my natal chart (1:37 p.m. EDT, July 27, 1960, Bethlehem, PA) there is a conjunction of asteroids Karen and Vet at 18° and 19° Gemini, closely squared my Moon at 19° Virgo. This is augmented loosely by natal asteroids Kitty at 13° Virgo and Katz at 10° Pisces. The pattern was highlighted when Charcoal died — by transit Kitty at 18° Gemini and transit Neptune at 18° Pisces, formed a t-square. Again, we’re seeing the veterinarian (Vet), this time by name (Karen), four referents for felines (two each for Kitty and Katz, both natal and transit), the hospital setting and the use of pharmaceuticals (both represented by Neptune), with the impact on my domestic environment and an emotional component (both Moon).

Transit Karen at 14° Capricorn conjoined Venus at 13° Capricorn, exactly atop my natal conjunction of asteroid Alexander and Saturn, ancient lord of death, and also activated two more death indicators, forming a t-square with natal asteroids Osiris (named for the Egyptian god of the dead) at 14° Aries and asteroid Requiem (named for the funeral mass for the dead) at 14° Cancer. This brings together veterinarian (Karen) and client (Alexander) at the death (Saturn, Osiris, Requiem) of a loved one (Venus). This theme is repeated with natal Charcot, for Charcoal, which at 13° Leo is conjoined natal Venus at 14° Leo, both inconjunct Alexander/Saturn, which also explains my deep affection (Venus) for Charcoal (Charcot), with whom I (Alexander) stood in loco parentis (Saturn).

Transit Charcot also describes the situation: At 26° Aquarius it conjoins Damocles and squares asteroid Nemesis at 29° Scorpio. Damocles is the doom hanging overhead unawares, about to descend at any moment, while Nemesis refers to ruin and destruction or undoing. Charcot is also squared the 28° Taurus Ascendant, spotlighting Charcoal in the moment.

Additional portents include transit Alexander with asteroid Lachesis, named for the mythic Greek Fate who determines the span of life, which at 5° and 10° Scorpio conjoined my 4° Scorpio Ascendant and squared my natal Sun at 4° Leo with natal Charcot at 13° Leo. Transit Requiem at 15° Aries with the Moon at 17° Aries was trine natal Charcot and joined the natal Saturn/Osiris/Requiem t-square. Transit asteroid Atropos at 27° Cancer, named for Lachesis’ sister who severs the thread of life at death, opposes a transit Pluto/Sun conjunction at 24° and 29° Capricorn, doubling down yet again on the general theme of death for the day. With the Sun on the 5° Aquarius MC are Saturn at 3° Aquarius and asteroid Saylor, for the Saylorsburg, PA animal hospital, at 1° Aquarius.

Prior lunar eclipses set the stage by activating the natal potentials. The lunar eclipse at 8° Gemini of November 30, 2020 formed a grand cross with my natal Pluto/Kitty/Katz polarity, manifesting a feline death; while the subsequent solar eclipse (December 14th) at 23° Sagittarius opposed natal Vet/Karen and set up a grand cross with natal Moon and natal asteroid Miller at 23° Pisces, intimating veterinary interactions to ensue.

As you can see, the cosmos has its fingers intimately interlaced with even the most mundane occurrences of our lives, and no life is too inconsequential to escape its notice, not even the lowly sparrow. Or in this case, cat. The intersection of destiny with myself, Charcoal, the vet and the Grim Reaper was timed to an amazing degree, giving rise to the question, “is there aught else but Fate?”


Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, specializing in deep space points and minor bodies of the solar system. A past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society and currently a member of the board for the Philadelphia chapter of NCGR, Alex is the author of The Black Hole Book, detailing the use of black holes in astrological interpretation, and Cat o’ Nine Tales, a memoir of his cat rescue work. He has been chronicling the effects of asteroids and other minor bodies since 2005, much of which can be found at his website: alexasteroidastrology. Alex can be reached at

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Backdrop & update on Meghan

By Mary Plumb | March 10, 2021

Meghan Markle was born on August 4, 1981. This is an updated version of a blog I wrote about her in February 2019. (1)

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; 4:46 a.m. PDT; Canoga Park, CA (34N01 118W36)
Placidus houses

The prenatal solar eclipse (PNSE) occurred the week before she was born: this was a total solar eclipse (i.e., the Sun was within 5° degrees of the lunar node) on July 30 at 7°47’ Leo. Total eclipses are thought to have a stronger or more lasting impact. Her PNSE was Saros series 1N. (2)

Fast forward to 2017, there was a total solar eclipse on August 21 at 28°50’ Leo, the degree of the fixed star of royalty, Regulus. (3) This was also a repeat of the birth Saros series 1N.

At the time that the natal Saros cycle was recurring — with the August 21 total solar eclipse — Meghan was beginning a 1st-house year in annual profections. August 4, 2017 was her 36th birthday, always a 1st-house year. In her case, the natal Ascendant is Cancer — the Moon was the Lord of the Year. (The time from August 4, 2017 to August 4, 2018 was a 1st-house year.)

During that profected year: her engagement to Prince Harry was announced (November 27); she married on May 19, 2018 (watched by 1.9 billion people worldwide), and she became pregnant with Archie. (According to the interview with Oprah, they had a private wedding a few days earlier.)

There was also a total lunar eclipse on January 31, 2018 at 11°39’ Leo conjunct Meghan’s natal Sun. (Fitting the symbolism of the Leo eclipse conjunct her natal Sun, her father suffered a heart attack and was unable to attend her wedding.)

On her birthday in August 2018, she entered a 2nd-house profected year. With Leo on the 2nd cusp, the Sun was the Lord of the Year. In October her pregnancy was announced to the world; her child would be seventh in line for the British throne.

There were three eclipses in 2019 that impacted her horoscope. A total lunar eclipse on January 20 (when she would have been pregnant) at 0°49’ Leo, the degree of her natal lunar nodal axis.

Archie was born on May 6, 2019. (4)
Placidus houses
Then, when Archie was two months old, a total solar eclipse on July 2 at 10°41’ Cancer conjunct Meghan’s natal Mars, ruling the 5th (11°26’) and Harry’s descendant (11°36’ Cancer).

The partial lunar eclipse on July 16 at 24°00’ Capricorn, was conjunct her Ascendant–Descendant axis.

This is a lot of eclipse activation in a natal horoscope, which can bring a confusing, distorted or overall “strange” quality into a life. (The word eclipse means to obscure, conceal or hide). This inclines me to have sympathy for how unsteady she must have felt in these early years of the marriage, and to imagine a very strong instinct to protect Archie.

Fast forward to the Oprah interview, aired on March 7 in the U.S. At 39 years old, Meghan is now in a 4th house profected year; Venus is the Lord of the Year. It’s notable that transiting Venus was at 13° Pisces, on the 9th Placidus cusp, opposite her natal Venus in Virgo. This transit falls right on the 3rd/9th cusps.

Biwheel: Meghan with transits for Oprah interview: 8 p.m., March 7, 2021

In January 2021 during this 4th house year, her progressed Venus moved into Scorpio. Although it’s impossible to speculate on the interior life of public figures, this particular sign change in a progressed chart is significant. We don’t know how she will experience the transition from Venus in her sign of rulership into the sign of her fall — we can only see that it is has happened this year. This is a long term situation, and subtle (there are, of course many other astrological factors at play). Meghan’s progressed Venus has been in Libra since 1995, it remains in Scorpio until 2047.

All good wishes for the family’s happiness.

And, on another note: here’s to the monarchy updating itself and getting with the times, confronting entrenched and desperately damaging racism, and begin to share their wealth far and wide.


(1) AA data: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; August 4, 1981; 4:46 a.m. PDT; Canoga Park, CA
(34N01 118W36)

(I also wrote about the January 2020 announcement that Harry and Meghan were leaving the royal family. (This blog has Harry, Meghan and the Queen’s charts.)

(2) The Saros cycle, understood by the earliest known astrologers, the Chaldeans, connects eclipses at 18.3-year intervals. There are cuneiform tablets from 670 BCE marking this cycle, which lasts about 1,300 years and is comprised of approximately 75 eclipses.

In Meghan’s lifetime, there has been one other Saros series 1N solar eclipse. This was the famous fixed grand cross solar eclipse (18°18’ Leo) on August 11, 1999. Closely observed in mundane astrology, I do not know enough about her life to see what was going on at that time.

(3) Regulus progressed onto 0° Virgo in November 2011.
Here’s a piece by Cayelin Castell on that change, Planets with Regulus: Heart Star of the Lion~ess

Planets With Regulus – Heart Star of the Lion~ess

(4) A data: Archie Mountbatten-Windsor; May 6, 2019; 5:26 a.m. BST; London, England (51N19 0W10).

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What is “Astrology’s Place in the Plan”?

By Amy Shapiro | March 4, 2021

Boston Astrologer Isabel Hickey (1903-1980) is the author of two renowned books: Astrology: A Comic Science (1970), and Pluto or Minerva: The Choice is Yours (1973). (1) In 1976 she published It Is ALL Right, about astrology and beyond.

Affectionately called “Boston’s Spiritual Sparkplug,” Isabel was a healer and mystic with a deep understanding of the Bible. “Issie” to her students, influenced a generation of astrologers and was admired by many thought leaders, including Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

Isabel Hickey  Placidus houses, True node
August 19, 1903
12:30 p.m.
Brookline MA; data given to Amy Shapiro by Isabel

In the Introduction to It Is ALL Right, (2) Isabel wrote:

“This book goes forth with the prayer that it will bring healing, hope and understanding to my brothers and sisters everywhere. It is written from my heart to yours. The title for it came a few weeks before the book was finished. In that in-between time — between sleeping and waking — I heard a beautiful voice say: “IT is ALL right. It IS all right. IT IS ALL RIGHT.” With those words came the consciousness of its truth; no matter what happens in the world of appearance it is all right. Right for that moment in time and space — right for the growth of the individual concerned. We ARE vibratorily connected to everything that happens to us. I have found that the reiteration of this sentence changes the feelings in the little self we call the subconscious and changes the consciousness of the outer self. It IS all right.”

It Is ALL Right applies Eastern mysticism to Western culture, illuminating enigmas — such as how to protect yourself with psychic forces, align with your Higher Self, transmute negativity, gain inner peace and energy, creative visualization and more. If a book could reincarnate, it has! It was first in Isabel’s Fellowship House Bookshop, then passed on to her daughter Helen, who saw it through a 10th printing (via New Pathways) before she passed away in 2005. In order to make the book more available and affordable in this pandemic, in 2020 Isabel’s grandson Donald transferred it to me for a New Age Sages paperback and e-book. (3) The following is from Chapter 16, Astrology’s Place in the Plan.

“Astrology’s true purpose is to help us find our way out of dependence on external influences so we can be free souls guided only by the light of our own inner being. Our birth chart shows us where we are in our evolutionary progress. It shows what we have as equipment for our present journey. It shows the talents we have gathered in other lifetimes through experience. It also shows the weaknesses in our character that can cause us difficulties until they are overcome.

We do not come unbound into this livingness. The birth chart shows what we have to work out in the present lifetime. It shows what grade we are in as far as the planetary school is concerned. Astrology also deals with seasons, and the cycles of life. Everything on the earth plane manifests in cycles. There are right times for action as well as wrong times. If we plant tomatoes in December in New England, they do not grow. This is an example of wrong timing.

There are seasons in our mental and emotional vehicles as well as in nature. There is “a time to sew and a time to reap.” Each cycle in our personal lives has its own meaning and its own purpose. Youth, maturity and old age are differing cycles. And understanding of the birth chart helps us to know what cycles are operating, and the right time to launch out into the mainstream of activity and when to wait until the cosmic tides change. There is “a time to be born in a time to die.” In between birth and death, we have time which we can use wisely or waste that time through unwise actions. This is where astrology can be of help.

At the moment of the first breath the incoming entity draws into its magnetic field the energy patterns of that particular time and place. The energy flow in the magnetic field of the earth is synchronized with the energy pattern of the incoming soul. Just as the soul picks its parents before it comes down into matter, so it picks the time of its entrance into a physical body. Whether it is a so-called natural birth, a premature birth or a cesarean birth makes no difference. The doctor on the physical plane may think he has made the decision to induce birth. He has not. It is the soul which decides when the timing is right and is compatible with his appropriate pattern.

A competent and dedicated astrologer can prove the validity of astrology. It is not fatalistic. The wise person can control the energies in his magnetic field and thereby rule his stars. Always the choice is there: to rule or be ruled. Like a skipper steering his boat on a vast ocean, he knows the tides and how to navigate the boat successfully; so the wise man learns to handle his energies and can use the cosmic tides effectively. This is what astrology is all about.

I can say from experience that astrology can be of aid in our ongoing. It shows where the road is smooth, and you can proceed without strain. It shows where the road will be rough, and it will be necessary to slow down, to proceed with caution and at a slow pace. It shows where the road is washed out, and you would be wise to take a detour. It shows when there are emotional storms coming up on the horizon. If squalls are coming up, it is smart to steer your lifeboat into a safe harbor to wait for the storm to pass. An understanding of the energies operating at that time keeps one from rushing into the storm. In everyday life if it is raining you put on a raincoat and take your umbrella and protect yourself against the storm. You do not resent the storm. The storms and beautiful days are all part of the living and learning process. This makes common sense, which among all the senses is the most uncommon one.

An understanding of astrology can be used to help man on his inner journey. When used in the right manner, it can be a tremendous help. A mini lesson in astrology may be of help. The planets are the energies that are operating, i.e., WHAT is operating. The signs that the planets are placed in show HOW the energies operate. The twelve houses show the areas of operation or the circumstances; WHERE the planets will operate.

When in astrologer talks of aspects in the birth chart, he is talking about the discordant or harmonious contacts between the planetary energies. These contacts show the wise use or abuse of energies in past lifetimes. If these energies are discordant in what are called mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Pisces and Sagittarius), they are faults that are just beginning to manifest, and can be changed by right thinking. If the energies are in cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn), they are faults of the last lifetime, and can be changed by constructive action. If the discordances are in fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius) they can be difficult, for the entity has set up his personal will against the will of his High Self for many lifetimes, which creates problems that can only be solved by the person’s relinquishment of his will. It must be a complete surrender.

A division of the signs that is very important is called the quadruplicities; the elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water. These elements are present in all living matter. The amount of energy one has in these elements depends, not on the Sun sign, but how many planets there are in each element. The individual with many planets in Fire signs is spirited, full of zest and enthusiasm and has boundless energy. He is the bouncy type that is always ready to go. The Fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are the Earth signs. These individuals are stolid, practical, materialistic and down-to-earth. They count success by how much money and how many possessions a person owns. The Water signs – Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces – are emotional and live their lives through their feelings. They are sympathetic, affectionate, moody and psychic. More important to them than material things, is affection. They want to be loved. Their lesson is to learn that to get it they must give it. The Air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. These types are the intellectuals, and everything must be perceived through their minds. These four faces of God are in everything in the universe.

These elements show where our energies are concentrated, for they relate to the four bodies through which we function. Fire relates to the spirit, Water to the emotional body, Air to the mind and Earth to the physical body. These are the components that make up the physical body.”

Further in Chapter 16, Isabel brings us into the Aquarian age:

“As our planet revolves around the Sun in a yearly cycle, so our Sun revolves around another sun in a cosmic cycle of two 25,800 years. This is called the precession of the equinoxes. The movement of the vernal equinox goes backward along the ecliptic at the rate of about 30’ every 2,150 years or 50 seconds every year. Just as the calendar year is divided into twelve months, so the cosmic year is divided into twelve cycles we call ages. At the present time, we have been leaving the Piscean age and entering the age of Aquarius. For each age there is a great teacher, representative from the Most High sent to earth and called the Avatar of that age. Moses was the Avatar of Taurean age. The bull is the symbol of the sign Taurus. The story in the Bible of Moses destroying the golden calf was symbolic of his breaking up the worship of the bull. The Mithric religion of that time worshipped the bull. After that age ended, the Arian age followed, and Abraham was the leader. Aries is symbolized by the ram and the lamb. The lamb became the symbol of the Messiah. The Old Testament is full of symbolism that deals with the Arian age. The Shepherd Kings – the Shepherd who watched over his flock – washed in the blood of the lamb – the Lord is my Shepherd – the Lamb of God slain from the beginning of the world – Ram in India the name for God, – Isaac sacrificing his son to please God and then putting a ram in his son’s place; these are all symbols of the Aries dispensation.

We have been in the Pisces age for 2000 years. Pisces is a water sign and its ruler, Neptune, rules the ocean. The Avatar of the Piscean age was Jesus. All through the New Testament the symbols portrayed the age of Pisces. The disciples were fishermen – “I will make you fishers of men” – the loaves and fishes – the sign of Pisces was the symbol the Christians used to notify their followers where the secret meetings would be – the mitred hat of the Catholic Bishop is in the form of a fish; these were all symbols of the age. Baptism was with water.

Now the Aquarian age is coming in. The keyword of Aquarius is I KNOW. It is an Air sign and deals with the mind. To the faith of the Piscean age will be added knowledge. We will know why we have certain belief systems. The many therapy groups of all kinds springing up all over the country are teaching how to come to dominion over thoughts and feelings. These are Aquarian concepts being brought to human consciousness. It is a group conscious age. It will be the age of true brotherhood, but we are in the process of cleaning up all the evils of the past before true brotherhood can come. There is always the necessity to clear out the poisons before the body can be healthy. Until the evils come to the surface and are recognized, they cannot be transmuted. Every area of living – collectively and personally – is being challenged, and what is wrong is coming to light.”

Prophetic, indeed, given all we have witnessed in recent years, and to this day!

Issie spoke to what the chart revealed like a light shining on your soul. I am grateful to have found her at a young age, as her teachings have guided my life. She taught: Before seeing a client, tune in, ask for guidance, picture your Higher Self connecting with the other’s Higher Self, to show you what he/she needs to hear for his/her highest good. This will give you confidence to know what to discuss, no matter how sensitive the topic. When Higher Powers guide the session, it creates a meaningful experience that serves both client and astrologer, bringing to life what it means to consider – be with the stars (con-sider), ever-moving cosmic energies that remind us of our universal heritage. The chart gives clues to the lessons or karmic burdens of a soul. Issie taught us to be spiritual detectives to lift the karmic veils and use astrology as a tool to transmute karma with grace and forgiveness.

Issie believed that consciousness determines reality, and people with the same chart can have different fates, based on their circumstances of birth and the soul’s karma: “We do not come unbound into this livingness.” For example, the 12th house ruler, it’s aspects, dignities, modal dominance, and outer planet aspects give clues of what the person has carried over from past lives, to form a cohesive soul picture. At the core of her chart evaluations was a compassion that sought the best in others, recognizing that we all do “the best we can with what we know.” She taught that astrologers carry a karmic burden for how our words make others feel. We are accountable spiritually for our interpretations and predictions, as our words carry enormous suggestive weight.

To learn how Isabel Hickey’s insights apply to you, see Your Cosmic Blueprint report. To learn more, her autobiography Never Mind includes memoirs by me and her grandson, Jay Hickey. Both available at the New Age Sages link below.


(1) These first books by Isabel were posthumously combined and republished by CRCS with my editorial help, at the request of Helen Hickey. Helen and I later created a natal report drawn from Isabel’s text with Astrolabe: Your Cosmic Blueprint: A Seeker’s Guide, available via New Age Sages.

(2) The cover design by Isabel is a meditative graphic, with many meanings. Two that I appreciate are the wheel of reincarnation, and the oscillating polarities of space, time and consciousness.

(3) For years, resellers, taking advantage of its out-of-print status, were charging $50 – $300 for a copy.

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Our Aquarius moment..

By Mary Plumb | February 5, 2021

You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.
Pema Chödrön

The reality of the terrible grief of many thousands of lives — and jobs, security, homes, habitats — lost in the last year is beyond comprehension.

And yet, creeping slowly along, getting more distance from the epic-changing celestial configuration that perfected in January 2020, (Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto conjunct in Capricorn) we have stumbled out of an especially dark and despairing passage and uncovered a precious gem in the rubble.

In December, Saturn and Jupiter came together in the air sign Aquarius. We are in the earliest days of a 200-year cycle of these two planets who line up to renew the inspiration and structures behind our social contracts, our collective agreements of how to make this shared world work. The air element brings the force of wind to disperse density, to bring freshness, and to prevent things from decaying beyond repair.

The Sun, Mercury and Venus have joined Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius, and the New Moon at 23° at Aquarius is on February 11th, at 11:05 a.m. PST.

(This chart is set for my location, Ashland OR. Placidus houses.)

The sky as a symbol for awareness is a familiar metaphor. In some traditions, the sky suggests the clear intelligence of the awakened mind.

The Vajrayana master, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910 – 1991) wrote:

“Your view should be as high and vast as the sky. Pure awareness, once it manifests within the mind’s empty nature, can no longer be obscured by negative emotions…”

If there was ever a time to connect to the limitless field of possibilities inherent in the open sky, this is it. The Aquarius planets beckon us into the grand scope of the mind with its limitless capacity for imagination, creativity, fertility. Our visions and ideas and inspirations will follow our own leanings and proclivities, and are unique to each of us. And, we are all part of this great open-sky moment.

This is the sky beyond some fierce storm clouds. Saturn’s gravitas is in attendance, and yet there is a profound optimism when we participate with the great unknown that is longing to be born.

The effects of the pandemic and lockdown have engendered wildly different situations and responses for each of us. We do not know where we are going in this great unfolding, and we all know that we are involved in a profound upheaval in life as we have known it.

An old course is coming to an end and a new way is beginning. We know that time is short, the stakes are high and we are tied together in the matrix of all the elements.

Within the clear views of this storyline, I am thinking about the two benefics — Venus and Jupiter. Co-present in Aquarius now, they form an exact conjunction at the New Moon. We can find joy and happiness within the reality, surely one way to accept Saturn’s offer. There is a practice from the Buddhist tradition that is known as rejoicing. I see it as one of many superpowers for these times. Described as a one of the skillful means, we train the mind to notice the good in ourselves and others, to rejoice when good things happen to others. We rejoice at our own good deeds or successes, and rejoice for other’s good deeds as well. It is said to magnetize the virtue or grace of our actions as a means to bring more happiness and ease suffering for everyone.

Certainly, it lifts the spirits!

Be well, everyone.

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Mars and bedlam

By Mary Plumb | January 7, 2021

Hello friends,

I have a few immediate impressions about the events in Washington, D.C. yesterday.

I was so happy to wake up yesterday to the news that Raphael Warnock won the Senate seat in Georgia! Yay! Go Jupiter-Saturn in Aquarius! I was tracking the live feed of Congress so I saw the striking and confusing moment when the chamber was hastily emptied as pro-Trump mobs stormed into the building.

I noted the time was 2:15 p.m. and saw the the Ascendant was then at 8°48 Gemini, partile conjunct the Sibly Uranus ..uh oh, doesn’t look good. It was shocking to watch as the mayhem continued to escalate. (The lack of police presence was one especially distressing visual to behold.) Uranus is in the 6th house: the work and health of the nation, those in service to the nation.

U.S. Sibly chart with transits to the insurgency in the Capital
Placidus houses, True node (1)

On November 30 a lunar eclipse at 8°44 Gemini/Sagittarius was on the Sibly Uranus — that planet at that degree has recently been triggered.

Transiting Mars at 29°56’ Aries had a last inflammatory burst in the sign of his rulership (toxic masculinity?). One reporter described the “aggrieved and infuriated Trump supporters.” Trump’s Ascendant is 29° Leo; he easily fired up his fans that morning. “Fight for Trump!” was one cry in the crowd of supporters.

Mars transited into Taurus a few hours later, and the members of Congress collected themselves and reconvened to complete the immediate task at hand: verifying that Joe Biden won the electoral votes and was the next president — having that job settled brought a moment of calm. (Mars in Taurus, now co-present with Uranus, squares Saturn on January 13 and perfects the conjunction with Uranus on January 20 — obviously, extreme challenges ahead. This was a moment in time where a concrete action was taken.)

Transiting Mercury was at 27° Capricorn, conjunct the U.S. Pluto (27° Capricorn). The U.S. is approaching our Pluto return. Transiting Pluto was 24° exactly opposite Sibly Mercury at 24° Cancer. The Sibly chart (the national character) has Mercury opposite Pluto. There are lots of ways to think about this, (plutocracy, etc.) but I’ll just mention the streak of paranoia that is part of the temperament of the U.S. that has been noted by historians. (2)

Transiting Moon is 21° Libra, in the Sibly 10th (“the whole world is watching”) and applying to the transiting Mercury-Pluto conjunction, which is picking up the natal Mercury-Pluto opposition.

As I mentioned above, there are myriad ways to analyze this moment, see how we got here, and consider what’s next.

There are reams of causes and meanings and interpretations that we will be thinking about and discussing and integrating for a long time. For now, I’m going to let my nervous system settle down.

We have a guest writer tomorrow with another view.

Take good care everyone.


(1) United States (Sibly chart), July 4, 1776. 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA.; transits: January 6, 2021, 2:15 p.m. Washington, D.C.

(2) U.S. historian Richard Hofstadter wrote “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” in 1964. “American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”
Harpers Archive

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The Mercury Elemental Year of Air 2021

By Gary P. Caton | December 9, 2020

“Air differs in essence in accordance with its rarity or density. When it is thinned it becomes fire, while when it is condensed it becomes wind, then cloud, when still more condensed it becomes water, then earth, then stones. Everything else comes from these.”
—Anaximenes of Miletus, circa 546 BCE (1)

In the Western philosophical tradition there is a group of pre-Socratic philosophers who are collectively known as “monists” (from the Greek “monos” meaning “single” or “one”) because of their differing ideas regarding which one of the four elements was the primary source from whence all other things emanate or flow. In seeking to understand the “first cause” of the Universe, these philosophers were taking an important step in rational thought. Their explorations would influence later philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle and help form the bedrock of Western Civilization.

Anaximenes uses the idea of density to explain differences in elemental substances in a way that makes common sense, and has also become fundamental to understanding the classical Hermetic Arts of Alchemy, Astrology and Magic. Even a child can see that Earth is more dense than Water, because when you throw a stone in a lake, it sinks. Likewise, everyone has witnessed the steam that rises into the Air once the Sun comes out and heats things up after a rain. Thus, the four elements can be arranged by their level of material density. This in turn forms a ladder by which things can move up (via rarefaction) or down (via condensation). This idea would go on to be central to the entire Ptolemaic Cosmos, which is arranged in a series of concentric spheres, with God at the most rarefied top; the stars and planets in a series of descending spheres leading down to the four elements, and finally to us. (2)

This basic and fundamental understanding of the elements, begun by Anaximenes, is extremely important to understanding classical Astrology as well as its sister arts, Alchemy and Magic. The idea that Air is simply Water which has become hotter and less dense, gives us important clues in how our Mercurial experiences of one year might differ from another. Because Mercury’s synodic (or solar cycle) is 116 days on average, this means there are three complete cycles during each calendar year. It also means that Mercury’s retrograde periods generally happen with an emphasis on one elemental triplicity, wherein Mercury spends an inordinate amount of time in the signs of one element, rather than the others.

Over the course of six or seven years, this elemental emphasis arising from Mercury’s retrogrades moves through the four elements in reverse zodiacal order, from the fire signs, to water signs, to air signs, to earth signs. I first became aware of this phenomenon through Erin Sullivan’s seminal work, Retrograde Planets. (3) I spent many years in intense study on this topic myself, resulting in my own tome: Hermetica Triptycha Volume One: The Mercury Elemental Year. (4) In Chapter Five of my book, I focus on the practical implications of understanding the way the four elements transform one into another via the classical four qualities: hot/cold and wet/dry.

The diagram above is known as the “square of opposites” and is used to demonstrate the basic interplay between elements. Once we understand that water is cold and wet, while air is hot and wet, then we can see the fundamental difference between air and water is that of density, energy and direction. This has enormous ramifications. For instance, with an understanding of the Mercury Elemental Year there were astrological reasons to have optimism that 2021 would be very different from 2020 — long before it was known whether effective vaccines for Covid could even be produced.

As we can see in the diagram above (from the ground-breaking ephemerides in my book), the nature of 2020 was defined by the Mercury Elemental Year of Water, which has the qualities of coldness, moistness and downward or inward movement. Just as the alchemical symbol for Water is a downward pointing triangle, we were forced to spend much of 2020 in isolation. However, 2021 is defined by the Mercury Elemental Year of Air, which has the quality of heat and moisture and is symbolized by an upward pointing triangle. Now that we know that effective vaccines for Covid are being produced, we have evidence to back up the astrological assumption that things should be very different in 2021.

I have written at length for TMA about the many reasons why the shifts between elements for Mercury’s retrogrades continue to be an obvious source of socio-political change (5). Because they share a quality (moistness), the shift from water to air is not quite as dramatic as others, but there should still be a noticeable difference in public discourse. In Alchemy, Air operations involve separating or sifting of entangled or enmeshed materials or ideas. One of the main things we need to accomplish is some objectivity about what has happened to the World. In 2020 we saw a lot of emotional appeals (Water) based on ideas and evidence that not everyone yet agrees on. With Mercury spending more time in the Air signs, we should be able to get more objective information about what exactly happened, what was effective, and what was not. And this, in turn, should give us better ideas about where we are heading.

This is especially true because the element of Mercury’s retrograde is the same element into which the Great Conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn are now shifting. Just as moisture converts to vapor and rises in the presence of heat, our emotional attachments to entrenched ways of life will now be challenged by the need to look at things from a higher perspective. Take for instance the change in direction around the concept known as “peak oil.” It was once thought that our demand for oil would keep growing and eventually a dwindling of supply would force us to change. But now, the pandemic has forced us to change and realize we can do things very differently. This in turn, has led some to see “peak oil” as a dwindling of demand as lifestyles begin to change post-pandemic. (6)

A long term investigation of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction cycles, such as the one undertaken by my friend, Kelly Lee Phipps, clearly demonstrates that cultural diversity seems to be one of the socio-political features of Air cycles. (7) In particular, the cultural mixing that occurred in the post Alexandrian conquest era (Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in Air signs from 344-245 BC), is seen to be crucial to the later formation of Western tropical astrology as we know it — with Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Hindu and European ideas all coming together in Alexandria. A later Air wave (Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in Air signs from 1226-1286 CE), saw great cultural mixing via the silk roads of the Mongols, and the seeds of a later European Renaissance.

From this we can expect that one of the features of 2021-2022 will be new ideas that force us to re-consider long held assumptions about the world. Air is moist and cohesive like water, but unlike water, which tends to gather and remain in pools — air is hot and active which leads to more interchange and mixing between these pockets of relative similarity. This sounds like the perfect antidote to the increasing polarization we’ve seen recently in socio-politics. As we get back out into the world and begin mixing together again, I think it’s very possible we will find that we have much more to learn from those with different viewpoints than from those who already share our ideas. In fact, it is considered a basic tenet of Jungian psychology that — especially in the second half of life — we need to move away from our habitual patterns (i.e., dominant function) to explore and integrate the unknown parts of ourselves (i.e., inferior function) in order to become whole. This has certainly been true in my own astrology career. I began, as most did at the time, as a modern astrologer. But discovering, learning and integrating more traditional material has led to my greatest growth. With the Mercury Elemental Year of Air and Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, 2021 represents a great opportunity for us all to discover, learn and integrate new ideas, philosophies and social energy.

References and recommended reading:

(1) For more on Anaximenes, see for instance The Ancient History Encyclopedia.

(2) Wikipedia: Celestial spheres

(3) Sullivan, Erin. Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 2000, pg. 67-76.

(4) Available via Rubedo Press
also available on Amazon

(Reviewed in TMA June/July 2018)

(5) I outlined the transition from Earth to Fire in 2017 for this TMA blog.

(6) See for instance a recent article in Bloomberg.

(7) Divine Inspiration Astrology.

Bio: Gary P. Caton is a transdisciplinary astrologer who maintains an active sacred relationship with the living Sky as his temple. Initiated as an astrologer by a magnificent dream in 1993, Gary is the author of Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year, and host of the popular Hermetic Astrology Podcast. Find out more at DreamAstrologer.

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Just in time – October Full Moon

By Mary Plumb | October 28, 2020

Although nothing in the outer world is especially soothing/comforting these days — an understatement as we are seeing a global surge in coronavirus cases and on the verge of the U.S. election that has rendered many of us all but unrecognizable to the rest of us — to find a moment of unity seems far away.

But, let’s never forget Venus — to the Romans she was, among her many correspondences, a goddess of victory.

She is in Libra until November 21.

Victory! Yes, indeed, but over what?

With so many raging moods, arguments, uncertainties and distrust amongst us, I’m personally attempting to reawaken the gifts that this strange time — born within lockdowns and seclusion and accompanied by the ever-present masked faces — has offered. Isolation has created a chamber for which some of us (those, perhaps, in the most fortunate circumstances) have been able to use well.

Venusian qualities of grace and relatedness are here for our benefit: What if everything is unfolding perfectly and in complete harmony, right now?

We can potentize the equanimity of Venus in Libra and we know it will change. It will move, it will tip over into bedlam or chaos or anxiety, and yet there is a timeless moment of equipoise within reach. The inward-dwelling-ness of the pandemic may have ripened our souls to respond to such an opportunity.

Full Taurus Moon
Oct 31, 2020
7:49 a.m PDT
Grass Valley CA (39n02, 1221w04)

Consciousness studies, meditation masters and physicists tell us that we are always participating in a wildly, grandly, heretofore unseen future. A massive creative experiment is upon us now: the Full Moon on October 31 is at 8°38’ Taurus/Scorpio, with Uranus eagerly, boldly, and exactly there with the Sun and Moon. Our interior experience (and the public life) are longing to be upgraded — we are taking another big step towards a new version of ourselves and our world. Let’s include whatever ghosts — or demons or unrequited loves or hatreds or aching resentments or terrors — the Scorpio season may be showing us. Scorpio understands that welcoming and embracing our whole selves is the surest way to disarm our most shameful or toxic habits.

Have a blessed All Hallows’ Eve, Taurus Full Moon and All Souls Day (November 2), one and all.

See you on the other side.

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