TMA This Week

Happy Winter Solstice

By Mary Plumb | December 20, 2009

The Sun enters Capricorn on December 21 at 12:47 p.m. EST (9:47 a.m. PST), as we honor the longest night of the year. If your skies are clear tonight, look up to appreciate Jupiter, just left of the Moon. Venus is close to the Sun and invisible now, but she’s in the sky too, offering a gracious sextile to the exact Jupiter-Neptune conjunction perfecting right before the solstice.

The Winter Solstice

True to the season, I’ve been feeling a bit quiet and contemplative, so for this week’s blog I’ve found some of the many fine links about the season to share with you all.

Before we move on, let me say that all of us at TMA send very warmest wishes to each of you for a blessed and happy Solstice time.

Ancient Origins has a site that’s both easy to navigate and nice to look at. A good starting point for all solstice matters, including an explanation of the science of the solstice, solstice architectures, and its celebration in many cultures.

Go here for a straightforward description of the astronomy of the solstice. If you have trouble visualizing the big picture of the change of the seasons, there’s a good graphic and links to other pertinent pages, including Solstice Traditions and Customs.

Nick Owens, part of the very creative team at the C.I.A. (Cosmic Intelligence Agency), has an article on the Solstice chart.

The chart shown above is set for the U.S. capital. The Capricorn Ingress for Ottawa, Ontario describes the chart for the country that is hosting the 21st Winter Olympic games, beginning on February 12, 2010.

In her long article at AstroFlash!, Barbara Hand Clow writes: “The Winter Solstice is the time to be brutally honest and evaluate whether our ideas enhance others or whether they may actually be detrimental.” Although this article covers the past year’s cycle, it’s pertinent now as well. To read more specifically on the solstice, scroll down to the Sagittarius New Moon section (December 16, 2009).

Refresh your impressions of Capricorn with Dane Rudhyar’s article reprinted from his 1943 book, The Pulse of Life. Khaldea is Michael Meyer’s host site for The Rudhyar Archival Project.

Read a lovely poemTowards the Winter Solstice, by Timothy Steele. The last verse reads:

Some wonder if the star of Bethlehem
Occurred when Jupiter and Saturn crossed;
It’s comforting to look up from this roof
And feel that, while all changes, nothing’s lost,
To recollect that in antiquity
The winter solstice fell in Capricorn
And that, in the Orion Nebula,
From swirling gas, new stars are being born.

“Toward the Winter Solstice” from Toward the Winter Solstice (Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 2006.)
The site has links to many other Christmas and winter poems.

All you yogins and yoginis out there, here’s a simple yoga series: A Body Posture to Celebrate and Tune into Winter Solstice and Capricorn Energies. (They advise printing it out first so you can follow easily.)

Here’s a nice description of the solstice based on the Theosophical Society. (The page is busy, but the ideas are clear.) “The solstices and equinoxes mark the four corners of the esoteric year, each associated with particular psychospiritual events in the initiation cycle. The winter solstice is associated with the birth of the inner Christ or Buddha; the summer solstice with the great renunciation of personal progress made by those of the hierarchy of compassion.”

The Christmas Spirit is a page of illustrations; the Winter Solstice Gods and Santa Claus are all remembered. It’s fun (and quick to see it all).

Jayj Jacobs classic article, The Horoscope of Jesus. The first line: “Jesus was not born on Christmas Day, and no Biblical scholar or historian will contend that he was.”

You may be drawn to a Profound Winter Solstice Rebirth Ceremony, which ends thusly: “Continue on your quest for unconditional love; it’s what you’re here for and it’s within your reach.”

Here’s a nicely-expressed astrological (and Buddhist) view of the times written by Laura Boomer-Trent at her blog, Zodiac Heaven – Dharma Stars.

On another subject, Kaye Shinker writes on Economic Forecasting for the quarter, based on the Solstice chart .

Robert Wilkinson’s Aquarius Papers – Global Astrology is always good. Here’s his take on the Solstice chart.

Jude Cowell, an astrologer who watches politics and includes fixed stars in her work, has a blog on the Solstice chart.

And, to celebrate the YouTube way, enjoy the bagpipes and a bonfire at a Solstice party in Britain.

Or, join a quiet three-minute pagan ceremony for the Solstice from Australia.

Watch a Winter Solstice slideshow with music by Windham Hill artist Tim Story.

And, in closing for now, here is a cheerful tribute to the day. (The music is Carol of the Bells.) Happy Winter Solstice.

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Some of the Current Best Astrology Blogs

By Mary Plumb | October 5, 2009

This is a good job! It finally rained here in southern Oregon and I spent a long cozy afternoon looking around at astrology blogs. There are lots of wonderful writers and creative astrologers out there and I’ve collected just a few places on a range of subjects.

Funk Astrology Blog (Cutting Edge Astrology for Uranian Times) has a quick snapshot (including fixed stars) of today’s unusual grouping of planets called 24 Degrees Anything? Intense Transit Alert for Sunday/Monday.

TMA readers are familiar with Jessica Murray, and her October Skywatch column is as thoughtful as ever. She writes on The Color of Money (which, in the U.S., is “even hotter than death and sex” right now).

Robert Wilkinson’s Aquarius Papers site has a new article on this month’s triggering of the ongoing Neptune septile Pluto, which he has coined “the Grand Irrationality.” Wilkinson writes: “Septile series aspects are associated with non-rational conditions and experiences, when our own or others’ obsessive or compulsive attitudes and behaviors often lead to very strange responses. When the septile series aspects are at work, things don’t make sense, and we feel propelled by circumstances out of our control.” The Grand Irrationality at Work, October 2009 – Major Choices, Changes, and Shifts is the place to go “if things seem a bit unhinged during the first half of October, or you’re confronting things that make little or no sense.”

Raging Universe has an entry titled A Closer Look With Thee. This looks back at the 2009 inaugural chart: “Saturn is in opposition to Venus-Uranus in Pisces in the 11th house, and if you use this as the significator of Congress, you can see the chaotic potential with the legislative body opposing the executive Saturn and dissolving what it does.”

Many of us read the long New York Times article on September 16 about the imminent publication of Carl Jung’s “Red Book.” The book is his private journal beginning in 1914 and was kept under lock and key until it was removed from a vault in late 2007. In her two part article, Carl Jung’s “Red Book”: The Astrology Behind the Publication of Jung’s Most Personal Work, Amy Herring discusses the book’s publication date (October 7, 2009), Jung’s natal chart, and the progressions and transits for when he started writing in 1914.

The_Betty: Astrological Analysis of Politics and Current Events – Feature Series: The Rise of Obama is a long series that employs many astrological techniques, including Arabic Parts, the vertex, and an ongoing investigation of the July 21 eclipse. She is generous in her writing, which is aimed “to have fun, fill in gaps, validate assumptions, and spur new inquiries.”

Astrologer Jude Cowell is based in Washington, D.C. and is always interesting. Her blog, Stars Over Washington, had its original focus on “our Founding Fathers as Freemasons, the White Lodge we call the ‘White House’, and the Masonic Temple that is the Capitol Building.” Her newest entry (she updates frequently), Iran-Contra Videos + Solar Eclipse of constitutional crisis 2011, looks ahead to the eclipse in June of that year.

Astrologer Julie Demboski is another prolific blogger with a range of astrological techniques in her repertoire. She demonstrates (i.e., teaches) a lot of astrology in a friendly, personal voice. Her current blog, Weekend Forecast: The Impulsive Spark, is on the past weekend’s transits; scroll down to link to her article from last fall on the Saturn-Uranus opposition.

Zane Stein has an article called 32 Years on Matrix Blog. Renowned as an early Chiron-watcher, Stein herein writes on the Chiron recurrence return, which occurs this month. This year, 32 years after Chiron’s discovery in 1977, marks the Sun-Venus recurrence along with a Venus-Mars recurrence. “The depth of Chiron’s importance to us is going to be revealed in no uncertain terms as a result of this recurrence return. If we thought we were getting a handle on Chiron’s meaning before now, we will come to realize that we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg (or the halo of the comet, if you’d prefer), and we are going to learn about Chiron whether we want to or not.”

Thanks to all these fine writers and thinkers for all of your efforts.

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Blogs on Michael Jackson

By Mary Plumb | June 29, 2009

Good Monday to one and all. This entry is a short list of some early blogs on Michael Jackson. I’ll add my thoughts in the next few days. May he rest in peace.

A few preliminary comments: He was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana. There’s no confirmed birth time for him, but the Sun is in Virgo is conjunct Pluto, Mercury, Venus and Uranus are in Leo,  and Mars is in Taurus. The pre-natal solar eclipse (PNSE) degree is 28°34′ Aries. This is 14 South in the Saros Series, about which Bernadette Brady writes: “This eclipse family will tend to bring success.”

Matthew Currie uses the sidereal zodiac and techniques from the late Richard Houck’s The Astrology of Death, a rather infamous (that is, known for its accuracy) book in considering Mr. Jackson’s death.

Eric Francis looks at the time of death chart and says, “The story is not as simple as we are being told.”

Nick Dagan Best has a long, serious article about Mr Jackson’s life and death at his celebrity blog.

More to come. Your comments are welcome. May Michael Jackson rest in peace.

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Jupiter waits for the Sun

By Mary Plumb | June 15, 2009

Today the Sun is still in Gemini, the last quarter Moon is in Pisces, and Jupiter is stationary retrograde at 27° Aquarius. This weekend my mind was all over the place about writing this blog. I settled on a toast to the Sun in Gemini – as it not only gathers information, but also applies to trine the one and only Jupiter in Aquarius (this perfects on Wednesday). I decided to collect a few astrology blogs on different subjects for you all to enjoy.

San Francisco astrologer Jessica Murray has a riveting blog, Boom, that looks at the state of California chart. (Hint: transiting Saturn is conjunct the Sun.) California is “epitomizing the country’s outsized economic problems,” and “Schwarzenegger is presiding over a financial meltdown of Armageddon-like proportions.”

Dharmaruci, writing from Glastonbury, U.K., has a great entry, Zeitgiest Update, which has an international scope. He looks, in part, at the Saturn Uranus oppositions, the stellium in Aquarius, the Pluto into Capricorn ingress chart (and how western economies are responding) and why he is “economically optimistic.”

Jude Cowell’s Stars Over Washington looks at transits to Iran’s national horoscope. One specific point she notes: transiting Uranus is now at the nation’s Mars/Mercury midpoint. The chart for the Islamic Republic (April 1, 1979) also has Jupiter at 29° Cancer, the degree of the July 22 total solar eclipse.

On a more personal note, Robert Wilkinson’s very active site has an article on the ongoing Chiron, Jupiter and Neptune connection and the impact on each of the signs. He also writes about Sonia Sotomayor in relationship to longer planetary cycles, including minor aspect.

I hope you have fun enjoying these writer’s ideas from far and wide.

On the day of its station (in Saturn’s sign), I’d like to acknowledge Jupiter in one of its finest roles: promoting breadth of view and tolerance for each and every one of the diverse manifestations possible in this best of all possible worlds. I think as
Jupiter pauses, I am wanting to capture all of its best possibilities and draw that into the heart of all the very important matters of the day. (Dear readers, please excuse the hyperbole; stationary Jupiter made me do it.)

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Great astrology blogs

By Mary Plumb | April 6, 2009

Nancy Sommers began writing Starlight News as a “response to the dismal first days of the Bush administration.” I have read her work often since then and she has gotten better and better. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Sommers is an informed political observer as well as an exceptional astrologer.

Her astrology is sophisticated: She uses a variety of techniques, including converse directions, solar arcs and midpoints, and they’re always clearly demonstrated.

This morning’s blog includes the transiting Uranus conjunction to the Spring Equinox charts in Britain and France, the current Pluto station opposite the U.S. natal Venus and the transiting Uranus square to natal and progressed point in Israel’s horoscope.

This week’s entry is shorter than usual; I suggest you go back through the archives to see the depth and specificity of her predictive work.

Nancy Sommers has a large following; there are interesting comments added to her blog as well.

TMA readers will recognize San Francisco astrologer Jessica Murray, who has written on the U.S. horoscope and various cultural issues for the magazine. Interested “in pressing astrology into service to provide perspective during the urgent times we are living in,” her MotherSky Blog is a showcase of her fine writing and social justice instincts. Murray is superb at capturing historical and cultural themes as they unfold through astrological signatures.

(You can also read TMA’s review of her wonderful 2006 book, Soul-Sick Nation.)

And, for my last suggestion of blogs not-to-miss, watch a ten-minute (the You Tube maximum) course on the History of Western Astrology, Chris Brennan’s wonderful synopsis.

He’s also got an article on great news for all astrologers – the AstroDatabank database in now online free from Astrodienst! (I can finally move an old Dell computer off my overloaded desktop – I only kept it to access the software.) This is a wonderful service to all astrologers, and Chris warmly and appreciatively explains the story.

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Two Free Spirits

By Mary Plumb | March 16, 2009

Only if you were completely lost in some netherworld last week could you have missed the showdown between Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart. Jim Cramer’s appearance on The Daily Show was on Thursday, March 12; the Sun was conjunct Uranus that evening. Excitement was high in those parts of the world where everyone is tuning in to try and figure out what on earth is going on, or at least looking for a few laughs to help enjoy the passage of time.

Although I don’t have exact times for either of them, their birth dates and places are known. Jim Cramer, born on February 10, 1955 in Wyndmoor, PA., has the Sun and Mercury in Aquarius. (1) (The Moon moved from Virgo into Libra at about 2 a.m. that day. My guess, just from seeing him a bit, is on a Libra Moon.) Very funny man Jon Stewart, born on November 28, 1962, has Sun, Moon and Mercury in Sagittarius. (2) I’m looking at sunrise charts in this article.

As befits the hype surrounding the moment — not to mention their success and prominence in their respective work — both men are larger than life characters.  Both Cramer and Stewart have a strongly-placed Jupiter in close aspect to Uranus. Cramer has Jupiter at 22° Cancer conjunct Uranus (at 24°), and Stewart has Jupiter at 4° Pisces opposite Uranus at 5° Virgo.

Cramer has Mars at 19° Aries, applying to square Jupiter and Uranus at 21°- 25° Cancer; that fits his manic presentation and overall enthusiasm. (Mars is also sextile the Sun at 21° Aquarius.) The bravura of the cardinal square is obvious in his personality; he is, after all, the creator of CNBC’s “Mad Money.”

Both men, however, underneath the respective “snake oil” (i.e., as Stewart recently referred to them) aspects of their personas, are deeply serious. Each has Saturn in a fixed sign in aspect with the Sun. Cramer’s Sun at 21° Aquarius is square to Saturn at 21° Scorpio. Stewart’s Sun at 6° Sagittarius sextiles Saturn at 7° Aquarius.

Most commentators agreed that their widely hyped “showdown” was a fairly substantive talk. I was personally impressed by Stewart’s ability to keep the focus on the bottom line: His natal Saturn (7° Aquarius) was influenced, shall we say, by the January 26 solar eclipse at 6°30’ Aquarius. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, this eclipse was also conjunct the US Sibly second-house South Node (6°36’ Aquarius), i.e., “Where did all the money go?” With Stewart’s dignified Saturn in Aquarius right at that spot, he has taken a place in asking the hard questions. (He has also spoken about his personal rage at the financial mess, i.e., his mother lost a lot of money.)

As a final thought, we’ve often considered the Pluto-in-Leo generation as living large and leaving a mess for Virgo to clean up. This was a pretty good picture of that notion in action.  Jim Cramer, of course, has Pluto in Leo and Jon Stewart has Pluto in Virgo.

Please do read and enjoy Lynn Hayes’s take on the subject: Jon Stewart and the CNBC Smackdown



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Obama’s Inaugural

By Mary Plumb | January 26, 2009

What a tribute to a very public Mercury retrograde as we watched the eloquent President Obama taking the oath of office and stopping to sort out the garbled words! (Not to mention repeating the oath the next day.) The very public event was watched by 38 million TV viewers, the most to watch a presidential inauguration since Reagan’s first inaugural in 1981. (Mr. Bush’s second inaugural in 2005 had the lowest rating since records have been kept – 15 million.)

Mercury’s prominence is seen astrologically – it is the most elevated planet as well as Cazimi (the “heart of the Sun” i.e., within 17 minutes of arc) with the Sun, giving it maximum strength and brilliance.

The chart for the oath on the following day has Virgo rising and the chart ruler, Mercury, back into Capricorn. This is a more sober chart, with an emphasis on hard work and service.  Apparently, the President offered to just do it again as a precaution against any attempts to discredit the first oath. Maybe it was an easy moment for Obama’s Gemini Moon to speak: let’s just have two? Why not?

So far, my personal favorite Mercury retrograde statement is the report on the condition of the Bush administration’s woefully inept computer systems: Obama’s Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages. To quote the essence of the article: “Two years after launching the most technologically savvy presidential campaign in history, Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal bureaucracy yesterday, encountering a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts.”

How’s that for a snapshot of an Aquarius stellium, with Mercury heading back into Capricorn?

There are lots of wonderful comments out there regarding the inauguration. A good place to start is with Jeff Jawer’s Inauguration Confusion and Competence. Jeff finds a big connection between today’s solar eclipse and Chief Justice John Roberts’s natal horoscope.

Jude Cowell has some words on the historical meaning of the Void-of-Course Moon, and an astute observation about the VOC Moon at this inaugural.

British astrologer Dharmaruci posted a clear, non-technical article several weeks ago on the inaugural chart. (He also looks at Obama’s natal chart and that of the new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.)

Terry Lamb’s Astro-Pol blog is rocking with a four-part series on Obama’s first term, including key dates for him in these next four years. (She also has a post on the Mercury redux of the oath.)

Fixed star watchers must read Bernadette Brady’s article on the stars at the inauguration. This extensive article looks back at previous Inaugurations and what has transpired as the date and place of the U.S. presidential inauguation has changed over time. Her views on the “melody of place” are unique and evocative, as is Darrelyn Gunzburg’s “When the Crown Prince becomes a King: the Journey of Barack Obama.” Both articles are part of the January 2009 issue of the Visual Astrology Newsletter at the same link.

Astrologer Lynn Hayes posted Happy Inauguration Day! A look at the chart for the US on January 20th. She considers transits to the U.S. Sibly chart, especially Pluto square the Midheaven and the ongoing Saturn-Uranus opposition.

For those readers who enjoy astrological detail, here’s a splendid, specifically timed analysis of the inauguration. Martin Bulgerin takes us through the timing of Obama’s address to the nation, including minor aspects, the Galactic Center degree, and major asteroids. He even has the precise time that Mr. Bush boarded the heliocopter for the last time!

I hope I found something for everyone in this assortment of bloggers.

Enjoy yourselves, and please do come back with a quick (or long and thoughtful!) comment. We love to hear from you.

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Barak Obama’s Moment

By Mary Plumb | January 12, 2009

Most of us are looking ahead to the inauguration with a hope for a better time to come. I found an article on a new blog, The Political Astrology Blog, which captures well the altruistic side of Neptune in Aquarius.

Astrologer Patrick Watson has a fine article called Barak Obama’s Rise to Power, which focuses on his natal Neptune and the eclipse patterns in his recent life.

(One thing I’d like to add is that Barak Obama’s prenatal solar eclipse is at 26°25′ Aquarius, conjunct the US Sibly Moon at 27° Aquarius. I noted Michelle’s prenatal solar eclipse degree and her husband’s chart in my previous blog post, Michelle Obama.)

In case Watson’s charts don’t look familiar to you – he is using Whole Sign houses, with 0 degrees of the sign on the first house cusp and the Ascendant and Midheaven degrees marked in their respective houses.

Thanks Patrick for your fine work.

Take good care one and all.


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Early Thoughts on Obama

By Mary Plumb | November 16, 2008

We’ve enjoyed several weeks of relief and hopefulness about the US election, and articles about the President-elect are beginning to appear on the web. Like many of you, I’m delighted to be looking at some new figures on the national scene and I’ve selected a few of the early blog posts.

Joyce Hopewell is a teacher of the Huber Method of Astrological Psychology and her article Barak Obama Revisted includes assessment of Obama’s “Age Point”, a technique unique to the Huber’s which finds a particular place in the chart for each year of life. Since Obama has just celebrated his 47th birthday, “his Age Point is in Libra in the 8th house.”

Elizabeth Spring writes on the similarities between Jung’s and Obama’s astrological charts. Read Elizabeth’s article for a deeper understanding, but for a start, both gentlemen have 6th house Leo Suns (square Neptune), Aquarius rising, and Venus in Cancer.

Terry Lamb’s writes enthusiastically about the team Obama-Rahma! The Chemistry of Obama and His New Chief of Staff. She uses a solar chart for Emanuel (no known birth time) who is a Sag with several planets in Scorpio.

And for a down-loadable PDF file interpreting Obama’s natal horoscope (written by Liz Greene) go here.

Enjoy – and please do leave your comments and suggestions.

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Chiron with the North Node

By Mary Plumb | October 19, 2008

Chiron, the celestial representative of the maverick and the wise and wounded centaur, will station direct on October 25 at 21°09′ Aquarius, conjunct the North Node. The two bodies (along with Neptune) have been close all year and were also conjunct at Chiron’s retrograde station in May. Astrologer Terry Lamb has been writing about this combination for awhile. Her new political blog post McCain Rubs Salt in the Great American Wound brings us up to date with the possibilities of a great healing inherent in this combination. Enjoy!

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