TMA This Week

Who Are The Pluto In Sagittarius Generation?

By Chiara Christian | May 6, 2021

I am a native Gen Z born in 1997. Astrologically speaking, Gen Z is the Pluto in Sagittarius generation spanning 1995-2008.*(dates below) As a hyper-globally connected digital native, who hasn’t known a world pre-internet and couldn’t navigate a city without Google Maps if my life depended on it, I am your Generation Z exemplar.

My early years were spent online, leaving awfully embarrassing digital traces behind me on now long-gone social networks (remember Bebo or MSN Messenger?) in spite of my mum’s best efforts to ‘ban’ me from using them. But we also had our iconic toys of the decade—Bratz Dolls, the bad bitch version and racially inclusive version of Barbie was the shit. Maybe they were a tad overtly sexual for preteens, but their attitude and aesthetic is LITERALLY how Gen Z presents themselves today—rebellious, edgy, with style rooted in the nostalgia of the late 90s and early 2000s (even if we were too young to remember those times).

We’re Optimistic Nihilists
By 14, I was already snapping away on Snapchat and posting tragic selfies on my first Instagram account. Yet, it was our beloved Vine that defined the humor of our entire generation. The essence of what made a good Vine was unexplainable, but yet you just knew when you stumbled upon gold. RIP—we will never forget you, and I will continue to watch old Vine compilation videos until the day they stop being funny (i.e. never).

Marketing teams are freaking out about how to capture our fragmented attention like we’re some breed of alien (most of us are probably starseeds, but you know, it’s chill). We casually flick from Instagram to Netflix to Facebook Messenger, all whilst perfectly eating our Uber Eats sushi with chopsticks. It’s our natural state—we don’t know how to focus solely on one thing, being born into an over-stimulated environment where we fed on a diet of global 24/7 media.

What businesses need to understand is that we aren’t going to buy into corporate fuqery and greenwashing tactics, because we require Sagittarian values of truth and honesty. But not the kind that’s sloppily based on virtue signaling or ‘being authentic’ (*cringe* – leave this to the Millennials). We want a real sense of integrity, the BTS and unphotoshopped version, and we can naturally sniff out who has it in seconds.

The Difference Between Gen Z & Millennials? Gen Z Is Cooler
So what actually is the difference between Gen Zers and Millennials? We used to get lumped in together as all ‘young people’ before the differences became blatantly obvious. For starters, we came of age in different eras—the defining moment for Millennials growing up was 9/11, where in contrast I was too young to have any clear memory of it (arguably, the Coronavirus will be Gen Z’s defining life event).

Millennials are generally more idealistic than your average Gen Z—whilst they were entering the workforce during the GFC, Gen Zers were still at home, watching our parents lose jobs, houses and their income streams. It profoundly shaped our approach to money—we prefer to save and are generally more frugal. Millennials will splash out on ‘experiences’ with ‘good’ customer service. The proverbial Millennial participation trophy can be attributed to being coddled by their Boomer parents; our Gen X/Pluto in Virgo parents tried to do what they could so we didn’t end up the same.

Demographically, we’re the most diverse as well as the most educated generation yet, a likely influence on our globally-minded consciousness and ethical consumption habits. Getting a degree no longer sets you ahead in the career marketplace—it’s now a mandatory requirement for Gen Zs in order to eventually earn a decent wage, unless of course, you were able to kickstart a lucrative career online as a full-time content creator (exhibit A: Emma Chamberlain).

We Can’t Read Analogue Clocks – So What?
Despite the chaos of growing up and living in the 21st-century world, we’re surprisingly chill and pragmatic. Like Sagittarians, we’re optimistic nihilists and realists at heart. We can turn any bad situation going on, including our crippling mental health, into some hilarious meme, which takes skill by the way. So let’s be real, everybody knows our generation is way cooler than everyone else’s. And it’s funny because we’re not even trying.

Essentially, we were born tapped straight into the Zeitgeist, or more like miles ahead in a league of our own. Yeah, maybe we don’t know how to do maths without a calculator or read an analog clock. But we’re in the Technological Age now and you got to get with the program. We were born with media literacy running through our veins and the ability to adeptly handle the pressure of information overload.

It’s a strange hyperflux-technological-reality we find ourselves in today, which might be jarring for older generations. But for us it’s comforting. And the only version of ‘normal’ we’ve ever known.


January 17 1995 until April 22 1995
November 11 1995 until January 26 2008
June 26 2008 until November 28 2008

Editor’s note: Here’s a link for a peek at Billie Eilish. (Scroll down to her horoscope, as there are other news events in the post.)

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Top Five Astro-Events for May

By Michael O'Reilly | April 29, 2021

Artist: Michael George Haddad

1. Ceres sextiles Jupiter on the 5th, with this favorable pairing lasting from the 1st through 8th. Friendships may flourish during this time, with mutually supportive projects, gatherings, and outings promoting individual strengths and talents. If you have a favorite cause, get involved with like-minded comrades to further your goals. Shared meals with friends and family is one of the best ways to take advantage of this excellent celestial phase. Avoid arbitrary authority or dictums, while looking for channels to open that help achieve long-term collective well-being. This Ceres-Jupiter combination can facilitate tremendous progress in any environmental movement.

2. Jupiter enters Pisces on the 13th where it remains until it retrogrades back into Aquarius on July 28th. This 2½ month phase tends to increase interest in religion, spirituality, and faith-oriented perspectives, especially those that encourage self-sacrifice for a higher purpose. Jupiter here offers hope for the oppressed, with compassion, empathy, and kindness becoming more apparent in our leaders, neighbors, family and, potentially, from some internal, soulful realization. This month, Jupiter in Pisces enhances mystic qualities due to the simultaneous sextile between Black Moon Lilith and Neptune. This fortunate connection between Lilith and Neptune offers lucid dreams, accurate divination readings (like Tarot), and favors a more intuitive approach to astrology.

3. Saturn turns retrograde on the 22nd and immediately begins to pick up the square to Uranus in Taurus, which becomes exact on June 14th. Anyone with natal planets in 11º-14º of the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) is primed for some life-altering changes which have likely been shaping up in recent months. Relationships, health, work situations, and domestic conditions that have become too limiting are due for some breaks. The conflict between personal freedom and responsibility can become dramatically eventful under this Saturn-Uranus vibe, and the trick is to find the right balance. The asteroid Hygeia (the Goddess of Health) in Leo forms hard aspects to Saturn and Uranus from the 21st through month’s end, potentially bringing a health issue (or even crisis) for those under this influence.

4. The Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on the 26th takes place while the Sun in Gemini forms a challenging octile (45º) to Mars. This restless Full Moon encourages travel, expanding one’s horizons, and experiencing greener pastures than what’s been available over the past year. With turf-protective Mars in Cancer involved, this naturally leads to run-ins with people from different political, religious, or socio-economic backgrounds. Those with prominent planets from 3º-7º of the Gemini/Sagittarius polarity will be most influenced by this eclipse. We’ll keep an eye on Joe Biden’s personal health, and his allies and enemies, since his Ascendant is at 3º Sagittarius and his progressed Saturn is at 5º Gemini.

5. Mercury in Gemini turns retrograde on the 29th, but the innate brain fog that often goes with this station has likely already been experienced over the previous week due to Mercury’s square to Neptune. We can consider this station to be in effect starting around the 21st and lasting through the first week of June, since that’s how long Mercury is under Neptune’s influence. The inability to think clearly will be readily apparent in others’ words and actions around you especially after Mercury’s retrograde station. Be well-advised that your own internal thoughts and plans may be subject to wishful thinking or false assumptions. Although the ongoing Saturn-Uranus square may push hard for big changes, this three-week Mercury retrograde phase is best spent re-evaluating, re-considering, and doing more research.

Bio: Michael O’Reilly is a professional astrologer and counselor specializing in the use of political and evolutionary astrology. His recently published book, The Ultimate Book of Astrology Books, is a collection of book reviews he wrote for Dell Horoscope magazine between 1993 and 2020. Visit his website at or email him at

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

By Ray Grasse | April 22, 2021

painting: Pluto by Agostino Carracci (1592)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned – and stay calm!

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

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“E Pluribus Unum:” Travels with the Sibly progressed lunar cycle, part 2

By Raye Robertson | April 15, 2021

(Read part 1 here)

The Civil War was fought during the nation’s 3rd progressed cycle, 2Q phase, a very fraught turning point that was turbocharged by the 1850 Uranus-Pluto cycle in fiery late Aries. The war began (outer wheel, Triwheel #2 below) with the Sibly PSun (Libra) exactly opposite the PMoon in Aries — grand-squaring the Sibly 7th house Cancer stellium (Sun, Jupiter, Venus) opposite Sibly Eris (Capricorn). The war challenged the nation’s very being, but in keeping with the entire 3rd progressed cycle’s focus, business thrived.

Triwheel #2

Labor riots and…
The PSun moved into Scorpio in May 1886, ten years into (1Q phase) the 4th progressed cycle that launched at 19°+ Libra and fell exactly trine the PMoon in Pisces. The nation was settled from sea to sea by then (often controversially), so this Scorpio ingress signaled a consolidating mood in D.C., but it took a little convincing for the people (Moon) to cooperate. All that year, the PMoon had been energizing the Sibly radix Moon (27+ Aquarius) on its way into Pisces — this period was known as the “Progressive Era,” after all. There was labor unrest and growing interest in Socialism — a system that was catching on in Europe and the future Soviet Union at that time. Neptune and Pisces are often equated in mundane astrology with “left-wing” politics; whereas Uranus and Aquarius are equated with “right-wing” politics. This sometimes seems over-simplified, but in that volatile 1880s period, it applied pretty well.

On May 4th of that year, the Chicago Haymarket Riot pitted police against workers and ended in several deaths, just as the PSun finished up its last 24 days in Libra and the PMoon had already reached Pisces. Transiting Saturn (4+ Cancer) fell snugly between the Sibly Venus-Jupiter conjunction, and was exactly squared by transiting Uranus (4+ Libra). “Negotiations” were carried out with billy-clubs and guns, and several demonstrators were tried, judged and executed with little due process. Transiting Moon and Neptune were conjunct in down-to-earth Taurus — this was a dispute over horrendous workplace conditions (including for children) and the obscene income gap between “haves” and “have-nots,” a theme that has repeated over time.

No laws safeguarded employees from toxins and other dangers, and employers were not required to compensate workers for injuries or death: activism and drives to unionize were the only protections workers had. In keeping with the times, women also rose up for workplace rights and suffrage, a parallel stream of discontent.

The IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) was founded in 1905; an eight-hour workday was one of their demands. They were immediately seen as a threat to capitalism. The right to demonstrate was repressed in many places, but the mass movement was too big for DC and the corporate class to ignore; the PSun’s entire tour of Scorpio was marked by violence and deepening class divisions. Thousands of striking workers were essentially martyred (Pisces Moon) to the cause of improving conditions, in such events as the Colorado Ludlow Massacre in 1914. In 1917, Montana vigilantes tortured and killed IWW organizer Frank Little, hanging his body from a railroad trestle.

That same year, despite his initial determination to remain neutral in WWI, president Woodrow Wilson used the German sinking of the Lusitania (ostensibly a passenger ship, but carrying arms to Britain) to justify entering the war. The PSun had just entered Sagittarius in March, 1916, (1Q, 5th progressed cycle) with the PMoon in bellicose Aries, so these were fiery times. Compulsory military training for all American males was discussed in Congress that summer.

Triwheel #3

When the U.S. entered WWI (outer wheel, Triwheel #3 above), transiting Mars-conjunct-Venus (Aries) formed a fiery grand trine with PSun (Sag) and Sibly North Node (Leo) — the nation needed a cause it could unite around (grand trine), so why not put those volatile Aries PMoon energies to that purpose? More to the point, the world had to be made safe once again from protesting workers: the economy was depressed, with serious unemployment in 1914; by early 1917, things were starting to hum, with more than $2 billion in goods sold to the Allies. U.S. Steel reportedly made $348 million in profit in 1916 alone. Historian Richard Hofstadter wrote: “America became bound up with the Allies in a fateful union of war and prosperity.” (1)

We lost relatively few soldiers in WWI (116k+) compared to our European allies and others, but the so-called Spanish or Swine Flu epidemic, which followed immediately, took another estimated 500,000-850,000 in the U.S alone. When people started dying from it in February, 1918, Saturn and Neptune were conjunct in Leo, and Chiron in Pisces (disposed by that Neptune) tightly squared the Nodal Axis (Sagittarius-Gemini) and opposed Sibly Neptune (Virgo). Sibly PSun (Sagittarius) formed a yod between PMoon (Taurus) and radix Venus-Jupiter (Cancer). Then-president Woodrow Wilson contracted the flu virus during the Paris Peace Conference at the end of WWI, which knocked him out of the negotiations. He suffered a massive stroke the following year, which historians think may have been related.

All this, before this progressed cycle’s 2Q. It was like the world had gone mad and “We the People” were along for the ride.

The greater context

I hope it’s become clear that the greater planetary context contributes to understanding how a progressed lunar cycle tracks with history. We saw this with Jupiter during the go-go 3rd progressed cycle and with Uranus-Pluto in the run up to the Civil War. Not to be ignored, Pluto sign ingresses reliably signal important turning points in our history, as well, and no surprise, they often work in significant ways with the lunar progressed cycle.

This was especially evident in Pluto’s ingress into Libra in October 1971 (outer wheel, Triwheel #4 below). We’ve already seen that the 70s were a period of serious leadership corruption challenges and war, but what may go unnoticed is that the 1970s marked the onset of a new hyper-conservative economic worldview. The decades between the 1930s Depression to then were marked by a more liberal, Keynesian economics, so in some ways the nation was primed for the major sea change that took over. Notice that at Pluto’s ingress, conjunct Sibly MC (Libra), PSun (middle wheel, Capricorn) almost exactly conjoins Sibly Pluto and the PSouth Node; these Capricorn points are squared by a dignified Libra Venus opposite Aries PMoon, exactly conjunct the transiting Moon that day.

And those aspects were just part of the amazing confluence of go-go Cardinal energies at that ingress: falling further into Libra than Pluto were Mercury, Sun, Uranus and Venus. Jupiter was within 2° of Neptune in Sagittarius that day, with both opposing Gemini Saturn and t-squaring Pisces Venus. Great change was gestating (Jupiter-Neptune over Sibly 12th) and the nation was ready for it on some level (transiting Uranus conjoined Sibly PMars (Libra), but workers would feel the pain (Saturn over Sibly 6th) soon enough, through developments like NAFTA and other “free trade” agreements that sent jobs overseas. That day, in retrospect, was like the cosmic conception moment for what we now call globalization.

Triwheel #4

Fast forward to 2021

Flashing forward to the present, we’re in the final three years of a mutable 3Q (of the 8th Sibly progressed cycle that launched in 1994 at 19°+ Aquarius). The Biden/Harris administration’s plate is overflowing, of course, especially with two major, persistent threats: the COVID pandemic, and what the FBI has recently red-flagged as the rise of “domestic right-wing extremist terrorism.” (1) Add to that the perennial flow of people seeking asylum at our southern border that only seems to complicate the other two crises and we can get a sense of just how difficult a progressed 3Q phase can be. All these issues may seem unrelated or just woven into each other by happenstance, yet deep planetary connections exist. And, as always, the Sibly progressed lunar cycle is implicated.

Triwheel #5 is cast for the Biden/Harris inauguration this past January 20, 2021 and set against the Sibly radix and progressed charts for that moment. This chart marks not just the shift from one administration to the next, but perhaps also the tone of events we might expect going into the coming 2022 election cycle and the new progressed cycle in 2024.

Triwheel #5

Notice the heavy emphasis on the Sibly lower hemisphere in this triwheel: Inauguration Sun, Jupiter and Saturn all conjoin PMoon in Aquarius and both trine Sibly Uranus in Gemini; this suggests that we can perhaps count on institutions and technologies to cooperate (Saturn and Jupiter trine Sibly Uranus) in addressing People’s challenges. Yet, with all this Aquarius energy afloat, the possibilities for shocking, even volatile events increases. The current drive among Amazon workers to unionize in Bessemer, Alabama could qualify: this $1.5 trillion dollar giant didn’t get that way by supporting unions, so something to watch.

That FBI threat assessment points to plenty of other volatile possibilities: a serious rise in hate crimes and right-wing extremism is well documented these days, as conspiracy cults like QAnon vie for attention with white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. We’ve already discussed the possible right-wing leanings during Aquarius-dominated times, but this is complicated even further: Neptune t-squares the transiting Nodal axis from Gemini-Sagittarius, with Neptune also conjunct Sibly PSun in Pisces. The sensation that toxic conspiracies are spawned and perpetuated in a sealed-off alternate reality with cult-like qualities speaks to Sibly Neptune (Virgo) forming a 4th leg to this mutable configuration.

That today’s extremists are armed and dangerous is obviously a concern; we haven’t heard anyone “connect the dots” between all this, but since January, Saturn (Aquarius) has moved into its waning square with Uranus (Taurus) and we’ve seen a rash of mass shootings this March that could very well be connected. Notice that PMars Rx (middle wheel) trines 7th house Sibly Mars and its midpoint with Sibly Uranus (all Gemini) — the volatility may continue to flair up during the PMoon’s square from Aquarius to transiting Uranus in Taurus. This is a month’s-long aspect that will be exact in May and then linger on for a few months of after-orb, so we could be in for a volatile summer.

Final thoughts

The good news is, Neptune is now transiting out of square with that Nodal axis, so that hermetically sealed conspiracy world could deflate a bit. We may not get too big of a break from this, however: Jupiter and Neptune are now in the final 30° of their 2009 cycle that launched at 26°+ Aquarius, conjunct Sibly Moon, but their new cycle, which begins next year, will put both in Neptunian Pisces. Probably not especially helpful for tackling misinformation and conspiracy-mongering.

Clearly, all this Neptunian energy also relates to the ever-morphing COVID pandemic. Perhaps we’re approaching a critical turning point, with Neptune transiting opposite Sibly Neptune, but giving into pandemic fatigue at this critical juncture also risks a serious relapse. The volatility that’s unfolded along with the pandemic is clearly related; the Neptune-Neptune opposition t-squares Sibly Mars (Gemini) and grand squares the transiting Nodal axis, so we’re pretty much caught in a global trend that has triggered our pre-existing tensions. And it’s no wonder that we’re seeing a surge of asylum seekers at our southern border — people flow like water to “find their places” in the world; Neptune! Unfortunately, with the energies falling the way they do, these people who — are entitled by international law to at least our consideration — are perceived as the “enemy.”

Trump and those who want to pick up his mantle will leverage these energies to stir up discontent; my hope is that Biden will find lighter uses for this potentially redemptive Neptune “half-return.” That it’s happening at the same time as our Sibly Pluto return (first exact on February 20, 2022) raises the stakes: PMoon will still be in Aquarius, conjunct transiting Saturn and nearly midpoint between transiting Venus-Mars (Capricorn) and transiting Neptune (Pisces), but trine Sibly Mars (Gemini). I suspect our best hope will lie in business interests and government leaders (especially Congress-Saturn) rising to the challenges of the day. This may relate to the massive infrastructure (Saturn) plans afoot, but it appears there will also be some role for the military in this. To my mind, if there’s one good use we could make of all this Neptunian energy, it would be to get ourselves vaccinated, and to help everyone around us do the same!

Be safe, be well!


(1) Archives: FBI

Bio: Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. For articles on all these topics, see her blog, at Diary of a Mundane Astrologer. See the Publications tab there for a list of Raye’s recent E-books on current topics, including the newly-released title, The Mundane Moon: an evolving cosmic story for “We the People”, available from Amazon.

For information about individual chart readings, contact:

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“E Pluribus Unum:” Travels with the Sibly progressed lunar cycle

By Raye Robertson | April 10, 2021

The solar and lunar dimensions of our natures are partners in the astrological dance of life, and it takes time for them to work out their best moves — this is the focus of the personal progressed lunar cycle, and an intriguing topic in its own right.

The topic of this post, however, concerns mundane astrology and the “dance” we all do together as a nation. What does that progressed process look like in a nation’s evolution? Who exactly are the dance “partners?” I’ve made a pandemic project out of studying this topic, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the layers upon layers of insight to be gained. I began by exploring what, exactly, the mundane Moon represents (it’s long been unclear to me) and from there I worked on incorporating it more fully into mundane chart explorations. What I hope has come out of it is a more People-centric way of exploring a mundane chart; an approach that I will introduce here.

It’s always seemed trite to me to say that the mundane Moon represents the “People” of a nation, as if we’re all just one amorphous mass with the same needs, values and belief systems, but in fact, the millions of individuals who were born in, or somehow wake up in the same nation everyday do share ineffable qualities that over time, help identify that nation. People don’t pull off this feat all at once or in a vacuum, however: to grasp the mundane Moon on a deeper level we must examine the broader solar/lunar dynamics at work in a nation’s chart. That requires asking key questions—for instance, what role do the People play in their nation? What role does Government (leadership) play? And critically, how do people and their leaders operate together to accomplish the nation’s needs and goals? What kind of relationship exists there, and how does that manifest over the course of time and events?

To answer these questions requires understanding how the mundane Moon and Sun work in tandem over time, and that brings us inevitably to the mundane progressed lunar cycle. The evolution of a nation is driven by its leadership and sovereign character (in mundane astrology, the Sun) and by its People and grass roots priorities (the Moon). These two dimensions of any nation’s life are deeply interdependent, of course—historian Jon Meacham likes to say that there’s an essential “covenant between the leaders and the led” at work in American life; that’s certainly true, but this “covenant” also evolves over time, and not always in positive ways.  One way or another, this all-important progressed lunar cycle makes for an intriguing way to explore and better understand the forces driving a nation’s history.

Cliché or not, history does unfold in cycles, and the secondary progressed lunar cycle of a mundane chart is a critical guide to how this works. This cycle tracks the angular relationship over time of the progressed Moon (faster body) and the progressed Sun (slower body). A full progressed lunar cycle takes approximately 30 years long because the Sun progresses 1° per year, while the Moon progresses approximately 1° per month. The major cycle milestones (using numerical aspect numbers) are:


Progressed New Moon (PSun-0-PMoon)

Progressed 1Q (PSun-90-PMoon)

Progressed 2Q (PSun-180-PMoon)

Progressed 3Q (PSun-270-PMoon)


Like any planetary cycle, there is a lighter-feeling waxing half (PMoon moving counterclockwise ahead of the PSun) and a somewhat heavier-feeling waning half (again going counterclockwise, PMoon trailing behind and catching up to the PSun). The culmination/turning point between these halves is, of course, the opposition.

We expect certain dynamics to unfold over these cycle milestones—from the seed moment of the cycle inception (PSun-PMoon conjunction) into the mildly stressful semi-square and the more open, possibility-filled sextile, through the first quarter square period (the 1Q), which can be exciting and creative, but can also pose developmental challenges for the nation and the new cycle’s “seed agenda.” Efforts to meet those challenges (effective or not) develop from there. The cycle agenda tends to enjoy smoother sailing around the time of the trine and to meet more frustrations and obstacles around the quincunx. It culminates in the progressed opposition (the 2Q), which, as noted, provides a turning point within that cycle’s agenda.

Such cyclical “forks in the road” can offer consequential choices: take, for instance, the 1816 Sibly progressed lunar cycle second quarter (2Q) launched in 1831 (see Table 1 below), just months after the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, a significant turning point that forever tainted our early expansionist ambitions. (1) That was happening at the same time the movement seeking to abolish slavery and slave-holding in the U.S. was gaining steam in the northeast—we are a nation rich in contradictions, a theme that emerges over and over in these cycles. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that the 1846 progressed cycle’s 2Q phase coincided almost exactly with the first shots of the U.S. Civil War, which haunts us yet today.

The final quarter (3Q) of any progressed cycle will resolve at least some of the loose ends left hanging by that cycle’s early agenda, but the 3Q’s more difficult moments (315°, 330°) can also muck up the works, inject a sluggishness of purpose and even crisis or corruption into public life. Leaders can fall into a rut in which they take their jobs for granted, or it becomes apparent that they simply aren’t up to the challenges of the day; this was the case with Herbert Hoover in 1929, during the 1905 cycle’s 3Q (Table 1). (2) He proved unable to overcome his ideological hang-ups to help the American people deal with the Great Depression, so it was up to the voters in 1932 to vote someone in who could bring a fresh perspective. Triwheel #1 displays what that 3Q election looked like; let’s consider a few quick points pertinent to the People’s priorities at the time.

Triwheel #1

Notice that Election Sun (outer wheel, Scorpio) conjoins Sibly progressed Moon (PMoon, middle wheel) — the People’s issues were the focus of that election, and they were suffering, with that PMoon transiting the Sibly 12th. PMoon trined Sibly Sun  —  the People were ready to cooperate with the nation’s leaders and they expected results, even though the progressed 3Q in its last 30° degrees had made that relationship difficult (Hooversville, the Bonus army protests, etc.). (1, 2) Notice that the progressed Sun (PSun, middle) was in Sagittarius in the Sibly 1st that election day — a new, more expansive (and frankly, optimistic and generous) leader was key, and FDR fit the role nicely.

In short, the 3Q will focus on clearing out any stale/outworn or corrupt energies, which often makes a change of leadership inevitable. Trump was elected at the end of the 1994 (our present cycle’s) 2Q, but almost his entire presidency fell during that cycle’s 3Q, which may partially explain why he didn’t win reelection. The cycle correlations with leadership shifts can’t be exact, of course—sometimes our election cycles fit the 7.5/30 year rhythms of the lunar progressed cycle, sometimes they don’t.

As the 3Q phase winds down, we’re on to the next progressed New Moon and a new cycle: these shifts can coincide with a new leadership culture and sometimes a generational shift. John F. Kennedy’s short-lived “Camelot” presidency was this kind of breath of fresh political air for 1960s American culture. He was our youngest president to date, and the first in a long time to have young children in the White House.

Kennedy was elected president in 1960, towards the end of the 1935 Sagittarius progressed cycle (see Table 1), and even though he was assassinated in late 1963, during the last 18° of that volatile 1935 progressed cycle, the new 1965 cycle (Capricorn) was imprinted with agenda items that LBJ (his successor) carried on from him: Civil Rights reforms and the unfortunate contradiction (always!) of the generation-rattling Vietnam War. Kennedy probably would have supported both, had he lived.

Of course, nothing says corruption must be confined to the 3Q: beset by anti-war protests, LBJ declined to run again in 1968, leaving the way open for Richard Nixon; both the war and the Nixon presidency ended during the 1965 cycle’s unusually fraught 1Q crisis of leadership, the Watergate conspiracy, and the Arab Oil embargo of 1973. Ratcheting up that Middle East tension and the nation’s post-Watergate longing for another “feel-good” president, the 1965 cycle’s 2Q turning point was marked by the 1979 Iran Hostage crisis (Table 1) and soon after, the transformational conservative Reagan presidency.


Table 1 details the Sibly progressed cycles from the nation’s first PNew Moon after the Revolution (1787). But, assuming every Being has a gestational period, the U.S. actually traces back its existence to the 2Q of an earlier 1757 cycle that launched at 25°+ Gemini—perhaps the root of our often-contradictory nature? King George III, our nemesis at the time, had natal Sun, Mercury, Saturn, Venus and Neptune in that sign—coincidental? The 2Q turning point in that critical 1757 cycle saw the breakdown of our relationship with the British monarchy and stretched between 10°+ Cancer and Capricorn, putting our gestational PSun very near our eventual radix Sun at 13°+ Cancer. These 1757 Gemini cycle origins also reflect what historians like to point out about the American “experiment,” that it’s been based more on an Enlightenment-era “idea” of freedom and equality than on a set of common ethnic or cultural roots. As they say, the rest is history.

Table 1.

Cycle number P New Moon P1Q P2Q P3Q
1 3/25/1787 5/12/1795 8/4/1802 3/13/1809
23°+Can 1°+Leo-Sco 8°+Leo-Aq 14°+Leo-Tau
2 10/28/1816 12/25/1824 12/3/1831 7/17/1838
21°+Leo 29°+Leo-Sco 6°+Vir-Pis 12°+Vir-Gem
3 6/30/1846 7/14/1854 4/4/1861 1/18/1868
20°Vir 28°+Vir-Sag 5°+Lib-Ari 11°+Lib-Can
4 3/17/1876 1/5/1884 8/20/1890 9/24/1897
19°+Lib 27°+Lib-Ari 4°+Sco-Tau 11°+Lib-Can
5 12/5/1905 6/2/1913 2/1/1920 7/26/1927
19°+Sco 27°+Sco-Aqu 3°+Sag-Gem 11°+Sag-Vir
6 8/14/1935 10/8/1942 8/19/1949 6/21/1957
19°+Sag 26°+Sag-Pis 3°+Cap-Can 11°+Cap-Lib
7 3/3/1965 2/4/1972 4/12/1979 5/14/1987
19°+Cap 26°+Cap-Lib 4°+Aqu-Leo 12°+Aqu-Sco
8 10/14/1994 6/10/2001 12/24/2008 3/1/2017
19°+Aqu 26°+Aqu-Tau 4°+Pis-Vir 12°+Pis-Sag
9 3/25/2024 11/6/2030 9/16/2038 10/26/2046
19°+Pis 26°+Pis-Gem 3°+Ari-Lib 11°+Ari-Cap


Table 1 details the dates and quarter breakdown of these cycles, as well as the upcoming 9th cycle, which begins in 2024. (New Moon dates are bold.) Amazingly, apart from the critical gestational roots discussed above, this table basically reflects our entire history in the astrological “shorthand” of sign placements and aspects within one evolving series of cycles.  Operating in tandem with these cycle milestones, however, are the progressed solar/lunar sign changes over time.  Progressed ingresses of the Sibly Sun and their associated progressed Moon placements have also proven significant. See Table 2 for the raw data on those ingresses.

Notice that the progressed Sibly Moon seems to move ahead by only one sign every time the progressed Sibly Sun completes one sign and enters a new one (over 30 years). In fact, in those 30 years, the progressed Moon will have made one complete tour around the entire chart and then some. Which means over time, the U.S. Public (Moon) has evolved through experiences befitting all Zodiac signs in a full array of PSun/PMoon combinations. It’s kind of mind-boggling.

Table 2

Progressed ingress PSun sign PMoon sign
June 14, 1762 Cancer Virgo
December 23, 1793 Leo Libra
April 3, 1825 Virgo Sagittarius
January 31, 1856 Libra Capricorn
May 28, 1886 Scorpio Pisces
March 31, 1916 Sagittarius Aries
October 8, 1945 Capricorn Taurus
March 18, 1975 Aquarius Gemini
October 30, 2004 Pisces Cancer


Naturally, these sign shifts work in tandem with the progressed cycle phases and both impact the course of events. For instance, the Sibly PSun’s passage through Leo (1793-1825) coincided with the new nation establishing its sovereignty and administration. This was during our first post-revolutionary PNew Moon phase; the U.S. Constitution was a new document that validated our sovereign status, and the Founding Fathers were still in charge. With the PSun passing through the nation’s radix 8th and 9th houses, the move was already on to consolidate the resources and territories of the continent under U.S. control, and with the Monroe Doctrine, to do so as a matter of ideology and belief that it was our destiny to dominate this hemisphere and to stretch from sea-to-sea. This put the negotiating and relationship skills of the PMoon in Libra (beginning the cycle conjunct the Sibly 10th house Saturn) to good use, and everything was pushed along by expansion-minded PJupiter, squaring PMoon from Cancer, reinforcing the People’s sense of “destiny.” George Washington, the “Father” of the nation, died in 1799, as PSun conjoined the Sibly node at 6+ Leo.

Getting down to business

By January 1856, ten years into our 3rd progressed cycle (Table 1), the PSun entered Libra (1/1856-5/1886). The Gold Rush phenomenon of 1848-55 set the tone early in that 3rd progressed cycle, but the noble purpose of our beginnings and the euphoria of new expansion and adventurism was being slowly replaced by the more structural and systemic realities of nation-building: 1856 was during that cycle’s progressed 1Q and every time a new territory was added to the Union there would be a struggle in Congress to balance (Libra) states’ rights and federal rights. Would the new state be a “slave state” or a “free state?” Several legislative attempts were made to strike Libra compromises, but to no avail.

Traversing the Sibly 10th, the Libra PSun oversaw several major institutional developments:  in the press (the 500-lb. gorilla Hearst newspapers entered the mix), in finance and industry, in science and public opinion. The Robber Barons—ruthless industrialists and financial power-players whose influence is still felt today—rose to prominence during this time by pushing the fusion of government and business interests.

Needless to say, the PMoon in Capricorn opposite PJupiter in Cancer contributed to the corporate domination of this period; slave labor would soon be a thing of the past, although the Chinese immigrants who helped build our Transcontinental Railroad (1863-1869) may have felt like slaves. By the late 1880s when this PMoon reached the nation’s 2nd house Pluto, Jim Crow law’s were passed by southern states to “disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by black people during the Reconstruction period.” (3) PMoon was widely conjunct Sibly Chiron in Aries and exactly square Sibly Pluto when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1862: clearly, this Pluto has been prominent throughout our Chironic “trail of tears” with slavery and racism, and it continues to be so today, with our first Pluto return and another Chiron return looming ahead.

To be continued in Part 2, next week.


(1) Wikipedia: Great depression: Hoovervilles

(2) Wikipedia: Bonus Army

(3) Wikipedia: Jim Crow laws

Bio:  Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. For articles on all these topics, see her blog, at Diary of a Mundane Astrologer. See the Publications tab there for a list of Raye’s recent E-books on current topics, including the newly-released title, The Mundane Moon: an evolving cosmic story for “We the People”, available from Amazon.

For information about individual chart readings, contact:

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April’s Top Five Astro-Events

By Michael O'Reilly | March 31, 2021

1. The New Moon in Aries on the 11th marks a new beginning, fortified by sextiles to Mars in Gemini and Jupiter in Aquarius. The New Moon in Aries by itself brings an uptick in vitality and an urge to get out more. The sextiles to Mars and Jupiter can be wonderfully energizing, and a good time to get out into open air, sunshine, and whatever physical activity you may enjoy to get the blood flowing and circulating. The isolation and quarantine phases are drawing to a close, but remain vigilant since the Saturn-Uranus square is in effect all year.

2. Jupiter conjoins the U.S. Moon in Aquarius on the 12th, likely bringing some upbeat news and developments that favor Americans’ needs and concerns. In the U.S. horoscope the asteroid Hygeia – the Goddess of Health — happens to be exactly opposite the Moon, an alignment that has marked health care as a fundamental right and a public issue since the 1930s. Jupiter’s activation of this dynamic will likely bring good news concerning Covid infection and vaccination rates. Look for other benefits, such as the opening up of business and entertainment venues.

3. Mars in Gemini enters a rough patch from the 12th through 20th by aspecting four outer planets. This can manifest as an uncomfortable restlessness, verbal confrontations, short temper, and unexpected developments that disturb normal patterns. Expect some commitment/independence issues to arise from the 12th to 13th, or other unpleasant issues between you and your significant other. The 14th through 17th are quite favorable for expanding your horizons, finding new opportunities, and engaging in social activities. The 17th, 18th, and 19th may bring trouble or conflict with others: choose your battles wisely and let go of minor irritations.

4. Saturn trines the Moon’s North Node on the 24th and is within effective orb (one degree) from the 14th into early May. This phase is a good time to re-build your social network, which may include family members, friends, and business associates. If actual physical meetings are not feasible, open communication channels to find a growing sense of community. This combination is especially favorable for professional growth involving key alliances. Look for synchronicity (weird coincidences) to confirm your lifestyle choices and the presence of spirit guides.

5. Pluto turns retrograde on the 27th, the day after the Full Moon in Scorpio, bringing an emotional peak in personal events and developments. For some, this may involve a major life transition since Pluto is squaring Ceres. Generational shifts are unfolding, with family members going through irreversible life changes. Expect some major geophysical disruption and corresponding loss of life around this time, such as an earthquake, volcano eruption, or major weather disaster. Pluto at this location is the closest it will be to the U.S. Pluto Return until it first becomes exact in February 2022.

Bio: Michael O’Reilly is a professional astrologer and counselor specializing in the use of political and evolutionary astrology. His recently published book, The Ultimate Book of Astrology Books, is a collection of book reviews he wrote for Dell Horoscope magazine between 1993 and 2020. Visit his website at or email him at

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Mars – Out of Bounds

By Ross O'Brien | March 24, 2021

Artist: Alessandro Cripsta

I know just enough about astrology to know how to read if and when a planetary body is considered to be out of bounds.

Do I understand, technically speaking, why a planet is out of bound and what it means? To be honest, not really.

While the latter bit of information might prevent some of you from reading on, I invite those remaining to join me in a freeform exploration of OOB, specifically of the Martian variety.

I wasn’t able to unequivocally verify if the term “out of bounds” originated from sports. However, I’m having a hard time coming up with another logical explanation for its origin.

To be out of bounds, is for the player or the ball to have moved beyond the boundaries of the established playing field.

The boundaries keep the game alive. Without them, the rules of the game begin to break down and some degree of chaos ensues. There is no goal without both the boundaries and rules.  We need the container for the game to exist — to have a purpose. As a result, to be out of bounds is to exist beyond the rules.

This brings us to the nature of planetary bodies that are considered to have broken through the boundaries — either in a natal chart or by nature of their transit. Per the study of astrology, the nature of the planets then speak to the essence or energetic signature that manifests as a result of their position.

In researching this post, I read something from Tony Howard that said that the OOB signature doesn’t pursue freedom, it IS freedom. If you are out of bounds, then you are not subject to rules or limitations any longer. You are by definition free.

Freedom has a very positive connotation in our culture. However, freedom can turn toxic if it isn’t properly harnessed. That’s a bit of a paradox, isn’t it? That freedom must be channeled or it can destroy us— or devolve us into a chaotic state.

For example, social norms give us rules that make society function in a somewhat cohesive manner. This is a sweeping generalization with lots of problems, so let’s agree to accept some form of this as a general truth so that we can move forward.

We give a lot of credence to living our lives beyond what others think about us. It has become a bit of a cultural adage: no fucks given. There is a socio-cultural desire to live FREE from the expectations of others. Yet, if we follow that freedom to its most radical form, we arrive at sociopathy. If we’re not tethered in anyway to what others think about us, then our sense of empathy and compassion begin to dissolve. Apathy is a type of freedom but it isn’t the kind of freedom that most of us think about when we seek liberative states of being.

This is the crux of OOB, especially in Mars.

OOB Mars can give us a propensity for radical passion and action.

If channeled properly, this energy can be harnessed to challenge social norms, to go against the grain in a manner that generates enough friction to stoke the fire of transformation on a macroscopic scale.

Un-sublimated passion and action can turn to violence. Sublimated passion can yield boundless creativity, social change, and justice.

The OOB signature doesn’t have to play by the same rules. Perhaps because OOB-ness gives us a degree of objectivity to see the faults in the modes of operation that lie within the spectrum of normality or convention.

Whether we are born with a planetary body out of bounds or we are experiencing this signature through a more temporal transit, there is potential to live, if even for a moment, beyond the norms and rules that create conventional/consensus reality. OOB Mars can spark beautiful outcomes because it can give us access to the creative wellspring to solve problems with solutions that exist beyond the spectrum within which the problems themselves exist.

To quote Albert Einstein, whose Moon was out of bounds is Sagittarius, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” This is the true gift of OOB.


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Amanda Gorman

By Mary Plumb | February 17, 2021

“Self-love is revolutionary. We cannot fight for others when we’re fighting a war inside ourselves. Compassion is a power that we first bestow on ourselves & then give away through our actions—to people, to our planet. When we recognize this, that is when love becomes our legacy.” Amanda Gorman,  February 14, 2021

Already an accomplished activist and writer, Amanda Gorman rose to global prominence when she recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, 2021. (1) She was born on March 7, 1998 in Santa Monica, CA.

Without having a birth time, astrologers quickly noted her natal Neptune, Venus and Uranus in Aquarius, being transited by the Sun, Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury. Natal Venus closely conjunct Neptune, with Uranus close by: Her appearance was beguiling — what beautiful bright colors in her hair and clothing! Her effervescent presence and delivery, her inspirational words (with references to the musical, Hamilton) fit this early Saturn/Jupiter in Aquarius moment perfectly.

Intrepid data collector Steve Stuckey just obtained a copy of her birth certificate: She was born at 4:52 pm in Santa Monica, CA. It’s always a thrill to get an accurate time, and I will make just a few observations. I am mostly excited to share the data with you all, as I know the chart of this charismatic individual is of great interest. (2)

Amanda Gorman
March 7, 1998; 4:52 p.m. PST
Santa Monica, CA (33N50 118W29)
Whole sign houses

Born in the day, Amanda has Virgo rising, Sun in Pisces and Moon in Cancer. Mercury, ruler of the first is at  29°24’ Pisces.

There are lots of ways to interpret Mercury at that degree, but I am immediately drawn to 29°24’ Pisces as it is on the Aries Point, that is 0° of the cardinal signs. To keep it simple: the Aries Point, (the interception between the equator and the ecliptic) or world axis, is considered in Uranian astrology to be a point that reaches the whole world. Planets there have a great potential to reach a wide public, and to receive input from the wider collective; it is thought of as a point of fame.

On another note, Mercury is in the bounds of Saturn: Gorman was born with a speech impediment which she worked very diligently to overcome. According to Wikipedia, she also “has an auditory processing disorder and is hypersensitive to sound.” (3)

Since she was born in the day, Jupiter is the benefic of sect. It is strongly placed in the angular 7th house and in its own sign, Pisces. Jupiter rules the 7th (other people, contracts, partnerships) and the 4th (home and parents). She was raised by a single mother who is a 6th grade English teacher and she has a twin sister. Gorman graduated cum laude from Harvard in 2020.

The Moon in at home in Cancer, and placed in 11th house of good fortune, benefactors and friends. I think the trine between the lights — the Sun in Pisces, Moon in Cancer — was demonstrated in part by what seemed to be her comfort and ease in such a very public spotlight. (Venus in Aquarius in the 6th is exactly trine to the MC.)

So much more to say, of course, but here are a few a few timing notes: She was 22 in January 2021, an 11th house year (profected from the Ascendant). The Moon in Cancer in the lord of the year for this enormous increase in public recognition. Also, at the inauguration, her progressed Moon was at 19°11’ Taurus (its exaltation), a partile sextile to the natal Moon.

Another significant year in her biography was 2017:  In April, while at Harvard, she was the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. She was 19, an 8th house profected year:  Mars in rulership in Aries was lord of the year. Talk about a person in a hurry — the executive director of an organization she worked with “called her a ‘powerhouse’ and has joked that her ‘bio goes out of date every two weeks.’”

Forecasters take note: In 2017, she also said that she intends to run for president in 2036.




(2) Amanda Gorman, March 7, 1998; 4:52 p.m., Santa Monica, CA. AA data, birth certificate obtained by Steven Stuckey.

(3) Biographical notes from:


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The Road to Venus is Paved by Saturn: Black Hair and Braids as Structure

By djenneba drammeh | February 10, 2021

I crept into my Saturn return with my hands steeped in oils, tight bits of hair and cotton covering my floor. It was a slow entry to this transit, anticlimactic—what could have taken several hours spanned days and nights to build this new person, one I’d experienced before but could barely remember. Someone untouched by the malefic activations across her third and fourth houses, yet to lose community and homes like spare change in the laundry—glinting and glaring for attention, left behind indefinitely. Toiling gently over two Netflix series to completion, I emerged mostly victorious: green braids swaying down to my hips, tidied in neat parts, framing my face with the emerald glow of my dreams. They weren’t “finished”—these were yarn braids, meant to be clipped at the ends and burned for sealing, but I couldn’t be bothered. No lighter fluid, no care, no patience; I had already done so much. For me, Venusian outcomes are a Saturnian effort.

Sieged by a natal and transiting domicile Saturn on my Imum Coeli, I’ve found myself sleeping on my childhood twin again. From toddler years to pre-pubescence, my mother would perch on my bed as I squeezed into a shrinking white chair wedged between her legs, getting my scalp greased and hair braided for the week to come. She maneuvered my Sunday scaries and dense tight curls with all the nurturing grip they could stand, routinely leaving me ready as I’d ever be for another Monday of hell.

Before my hips could expand any farther outside my seat, I took to washing and handling my own hair on the weekends. It was a step I took as anxiously as the first time I boldly addressed my mother as “Ma,” on the floor of an Ashley Stewart, in lieu of Mommy. I was ready to grow up, to take agency over my body. There was no YouTube for me to study and I resented asking to be shown things; I carved out time and intuitively felt around, gawking in a mirror, trying to recreate the cornrows my mother would neatly construct for me.

Learning to braid my own hair was a massive endeavor in discipline that I routinely took shortcuts on. I tried practicing on my dolls, but their straight synthetic strands flopped around in my hands and only made me angry—everything I built would fall apart. I had to make myself the blueprint to get anywhere. Many nights I would stay up and only half succeed, walking to middle school the next day with half a head of braids and the other half brushed into a bushy ponytail. Looking back I can almost hear Saturn booming at me, “as long as you continue to half ass this, you will continue to look a mess.” My half and three-quarter done hairstyles told me to come correct, to take care with planning, to build with efficiency.

With braids, we build from the root and move out. It’s an Aquarian practice in that nature, to build in a direction away from what’s centered: in this case, our bodies. Growing up, we realize that black hair, along with the black body, is politicized before any of us even learns how to manage it. What is ours so quickly becomes divorced from owner and policed by the world, bullied into styles before we can even discern what excites us. Our hair becomes marginal to our own needs and aesthetics, regarded with contempt and pushed to conform to the mutating ideals of whoever is around. When I visit my father in Atlanta and he spots my curly fro standing tall, full, and free, he presses for a hair taming, sending me off to be braided up and down by a rotating circle of Gambian aunties. For him, braids are the cultural standard, a marker of neatness and sophistication. I oblige and spend a full week in pain, scalp stretched within an inch of its life, unable to sleep without throwing back ibuprofen, and certainly unable to lay on my side or back. In my cosmopolitan hometown of New York City, I’ve heard of black peers referring to braids as inherently ghetto, to my shock.

Confusing messaging aside, it remains a matter of pride to be able to wrangle the shortest of fros into the tightest of braids. It’s a black girl’s rite of passage to find her way around her own hair or her homegirls’—to press; to plait; to sculpt a halo of curls. The hot comb I grew to fear was an agent of Mars, a violent harbinger of burns to my ears, kitchen, and temples. The afro my father and grandmother turn their nose at is a Solar declaration of presence and blackness. The braids I build are not just about fashion, are not a solely Venusian endeavor, but a protective one. These roads to Venus are supportive; a shield; are inherently Saturnian.

It felt appropriate to ease into the exacting of my Saturn Return by indulging in this measured care, celebrating the birthright of building ritual and practice around the very thing I mean to protect, the very thing I’m encouraged to hate. Leaning into this deliberate work for Venusian ends never feels radical or compulsive, it feels like home.

Bio: djenneba drammeh is a writer and second generation astrologer based in the Hellenistic tradition and New York City. They run the blog Girl I’m Trying; co-host the forthcoming podcast Under the Beams; and direct the astro-literary anthology Mercury’s Brood, a collection of astrological essays, poems, and visual art, curated with a black queer feminist lens. djenneba is currently working on her first novel, a Gambian-American narrative steeped in jinns and second-gen cultural dissonance, while also leading the Mercury’s Brood project. Mercury’s Brood is currently fundraising and accepting pre-orders for the first print edition on Kickstarter now.

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Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius 2021

By Gary P. Caton | January 27, 2021

“As our soul, which is air, maintains us, so breath and air surround the whole world.”
— Anaximenes of Miletus, 6th Century BCE (1)

In the previous blog in this series, we noticed how the philosophy of Anaximenes lay the foundation for the Western understanding of the nature of the four elements (via four qualities), as well the system of heavenly spheres by which the Ptolemaic Cosmos was later arranged. (2) Amazing as these innovations in thought were, and as fundamental as they became, Anaximenes took another more radical step in his philosophy. He implied a connection between the microcosm and macrocosm, and thereby lay the foundation for the concept of an Anima Mundi, or World Soul, later formalized by Plato in Timaeus.

In her seminal work on retrogrades, Erin Sullivan refers to this contrast, between the macrocosm or collective and the microcosm or personal, as an important means of focusing the retrograde experience. (3) She notes that the extended stay of Mercury in the element (in this case, Air) is something experienced collectively, by everyone. However, on an individual level, each of us experiences this through the lens of our personal chart, via certain houses. She notes that the collective experience of Mercury retrograde in Air will be defined by an archetypal need to re-examine the meaning of relationship, and the relationship patterns which arise from the techniques we habitually employ. She recommends paying close attention to how one creates, develops and maintains relationships during this time.

For example, in 2008, only 13 years ago (also a Mercury Elemental Year of Air) Facebook became the most visited website in the world. We live now in an age where social media has become an extremely significant part of how we relate to one another. However, as the recent documentary The Social Dilemma illustrates, this trend in how humans relate to one another also has potential negative side effects and consequences. (4) Each one of us has to decide how to deal with this collective dilemma, and that will depend on the houses activated in the personal chart.

In my own book, I went a step further and sorted the houses into four basic combinations, based on the rising sign of an individual nativity. (5) Using the ancient whole sign house method (also employed by modern horoscope writers) in a given nativity, the three signs of the Air triplicity will represent either houses 1,5,9; houses 2,6,10; houses 3,7,11, or houses 4,8,12. I then use the angular house of each of these combinations to define the meaning of the group of three (trigon).

As an example, houses 1,5 and 9 are labeled the Trigon of Identity. It is posited that these retrogrades will most significantly impact the nature of the various social personas available to the person (1st house); the creative outlets which arise from their choice of persona (5th house), and the new horizons which open up as a result of engaging these creative opportunities (9th house). For a more concrete example, I was born in 1968 (also a Mercury Elemental Year of Air) with Aquarius rising; these periods have a long history of being important in my personal development. It was at the end of a Mercury Elemental year of Air (in 2002) that I was first published in the print version of TMA (following a retrograde in Libra, my 9th house). At the next Mercury Elemental Year of Air, specifically during the Aquarius Mercury retrograde in 2008, I posted my first podcast (for which I had consciously chosen the day of the inferior conjunction). I also joined Facebook later that year. So, the persona of an internet astrologer — newly available to humanity at that point, became further activated through social media and podcasting as a way to manage my relationship with the collective. This opened various other creative opportunities. For instance, in 2009 because of a Facebook post I had written, TMA founder Tem Tarriktar invited me to begin blogging for the magazine website. I found new horizons by continuing to engage creatively with this media. In 2015, as the Mercury Elemental Year once again returned to the Air element, I re-branded my podcast according to my burgeoning alignment with Hermetic philosophy. I also hosted my first Sky Astrology Conference (an international event), began work on my book, and connected with a publisher.

Now, as the Mercury retrogrades return to Air once again, it is time for me to re-examine my relationship to social media and podcasting, and more generally my role as a modern astrologer who makes their living via the internet. Beyond the ethical dilemma social media poses, at this point my practice has grown such that I literally don’t have the time to tend to an active online presence. And, if I am honest, my desire to do so has also changed. Fortunately, I have a couple years to try out new and different ways of dealing with my social (Air) identity (houses 1, 5 and 9).

In fact, it’s not just possible but probable that anyone with an Air sign rising will be facing a similar process, though, of course unique to their life story. It should definitely be insightful and helpful to go back over the last few installments of the Mercury Elemental Year of Air — with an eye toward developments in the Identity Trigon of houses, 1, 5 and 9. To this end, here are the last three corresponding entries from the 125-year ephemeris at the back of my book.

Now, let’s look at the other Trigons. Again, using the ancient whole sign (and modern horoscope writer) system for Earth rising signs, the Mercury Elemental Year of Air will activate houses 2, 6 and 10. Because the 10th is related to career, I have dubbed these houses the Trigon of Mastery. It is posited that these retrogrades will most significantly impact the resources, both tangible and intangible, which are available to a person (2nd); the skill sets they develop in learning to manage these resources (6th), and the career that develops as a result of bringing these skills into the public eye (10th). Some of the celebrity examples I use in my book of people with Earth rising signs, and specifically during Mercury Elemental years of Air: Judith Resnick, Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Jean Cocteau, Tiger Woods, Georgie Ann Geyser, Bob Hayes, Roy Orbison, and Buddy Holly. A look at the charts and biographies of these people should be instructive on ways to handle this combination.

For Fire rising signs, the Mercury Elemental Year of Air will activate the houses 3, 7 and 11. Because the 7th is about relationships, I have dubbed these houses the Relationship Trigon, and it is posited that these retrogrades will most significantly impact the 7th house of one-on-one relationships; the 11th house of intra-group relationships, and the 3rd house of inter-group relationships. Here we see a somewhat novel concept that I found when examining these trigons: Essentially there are three types of relationships — person-to-person as individuals (7th); person-to-person within a group of common interests (11th), and person-to-person as individuals belonging to different groups (3rd). Some of the celebrity examples I use in my book of people born with Fire rising signs, and, again during Mercury Elemental years of Air, include: Gary Hart, King George III, Martin Heidegger, Barbara Streisand, Anne Frank, Jimi Hendrix, Yo-Yo Ma, Prince Charles, and Marianne Alireza. A look at the charts and biographies of these people should be instructive on ways to handle this combination.

For Water rising signs, the Mercury Elemental Year of Air will activate the houses 4, 8 and 12. Because the 4th is about family, but also legacy, I have dubbed these houses the Trigon of Dynasty. It is posited that these retrogrades will most significantly impact the 4th house of biological family and ancestry; the 8th house of marital, business and extended family, and the 12th house of spiritual family. Some of the celebrity examples I use in my book of people born with Water rising signs (during Mercury Elemental years of Air) include: William Blake, Aretha Franklin, George Sand, Barbara Jordon, Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis, Phil Donohue, Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama), Edith Piaf, and Frank Capra. A look at the charts and biographies of these people should be instructive on ways to handle this combination.

References and recommended reading:

(1) See here for more on Anaximenes, and the other Pre-Socratics:

(2) I outlined the Air year in overview for the TMA blog here.

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

(4) The Social Dilemma

(5) Caton, Gary. Hermetica Triptycha Vol I: The Mercury Elemental Year. Auckland, NZ: Rubedo Press, 2017.

Available via publisher Rubedo Press

also on Amazon

Gary P. Caton is an Hermetic practitioner integrating diverse traditions, art forms and practices gathered from his spiritual quest over a full Saturn cycle now. Initiated an astrologer by a magnificent dream in 1993, he’s since become an accomplished counselor, writer, podcaster, teacher, photographer and mage. Gary is the author of Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year, and host of the popular Hermetic Astrology Podcast. Connect with him at Dream Astrologer.

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