TMA This Week

The Donald’s Celestial Trump Card

By Alex Miller | January 11, 2016

Donald Trump, GOP frontrunner?  What’s up with that?

Real estate magnate and Reality TV star Donald J. Trump has taken the GOP presidential field by surprise, and the GOP electorate by storm, confounding critics and pundits alike. Creating a whole new meaning for the phrase “the Teflon Don,” Trump violates political wisdom, convention, all rules  — right and left — often with great relish, and does nothing but rise in the polls in consequence. As of this writing his solid base of support seems to be just north of a third of the electorate, but with the establishment wing of the Republican Party fractured into bits by multiple, squabbling contenders, that’s more than enough to bring Trump the victory he so clearly craves.

What can be sussed out from a quick examination of The Donald’s “minor factors,” astrologically speaking? What info can we glean from a perusal of how PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) and other minor points impact his character, campaign, and chances of sitting in the Oval Office?

Let’s start, as always, with the birth chart: he was born on June 14, 1946 at 10:54 a.m. EDT, in Jamaica, N.Y. (Rodden rating AA).

Donald Trump, natal
Placidus, True node
Donald Trump, natal

We can see at a glance that Trump has Sun conjunct Uranus (at 22° and 17° Gemini, respectively), so we know he’s a born rabble-rouser, someone who delights in shaking up the establishment, rocking the boat, messing with the status quo, defying convention and pulling off an unthinkable upset, and he’s not overly concerned about who he offends or disrupts along the way.

But lots of folks have Sun-Uranus, and they don’t all become billionaires, TV stars, and upstart presidential contenders. What’s the secret of Trump’s appeal to voters?

Time and again, supporters refer to one standout quality they admire in the man — “he tells it like it is.”  No political correctness for Trump, no politesse, no conventional demurring and sidestepping awkward topics. He’s blunt, he’s outspoken, he’s brash and in your face, and people like that. Where in the heck does that come from?

Trump has two very prominently placed asteroids in the natal horoscope. Asteroid Truth falls at 7° Virgo, conjunct the 29° Leo Ascendant — Trump presents himself to others as a truth-sayer, and that’s how they see him. To back this up, asteroid Veritas (Latin for truth) falls at 1° Sagittarius, conjoined Trump’s own PNA referent, asteroid Troemper, at 2° Sagittarius, and within orb of the IC at 24° Scorpio, granting these points angular focus and energy. I know the Troemper/Trump match isn’t exact, but trust me — I’ve been doing this a long time and this point works very well as Trump’s celestial stand-in, as we’ll shortly see. What this combination does is to reiterate the Truth/Ascendant image — Trump looks truthful, and Veritas/Troemper indicates that this isn’t just some crafted PR ploy, it’s a very real part of him, or at least how he sees himself and feels himself to be at his core. Since he sees himself, via Veritas/Troemper, as essentially truthful, he can genuinely project that to others via Truth/Ascendant. What he says may not actually be the truth, but it’s the truth as The Donald sees it, and that internal certitude translates as authenticity to others.

Asteroid America (27° Leo) and Mars (26° Leo) are also on the Ascendant. The symbolism here couldn’t be clearer: Trump presents himself (Ascendant) as the champion (Mars) of the nation (America), as exemplified in his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” America/Ascendant makes it easy for him to identify with the nation and its populace to identify with him. Trump’s public persona meshes nicely with his image of the country — he sees himself as its standard-bearer. And having Truth right there makes it possible for others to see him that way, too.

Of course, nothing is as simple as it seems. Trump also has asteroid Lie prominent — it is at 17° Taurus on the 24° Taurus Midheaven, squared Pluto at 10° Leo, conjunct asteroid Narcissus at 15° Taurus, exactly semisextile Uranus at 17° Gemini, and exactly inconjunct Jupiter at 17° Libra. What does that tell us? Well, for one, he’s not overly shy about “stretching” the truth when it suits his career agenda (Lie/MC). For decades, Trump has allegedly inflated his net worth, although Forbes and other financial magazines have disputed his own estimations. Bravado and braggadocio, both components of lying and exaggeration, are meat and drink to him.

Next, he’s also willing to use these untruths, half-truths, exaggerations and “misstatements” in the pursuit of his own power and aggrandizement (the square to Pluto). And the lies aren’t willy-nilly or haphazard — they’re focused on his own deep-seated internal sense of his innate worthiness. That’s the conjunction of asteroid Lie to asteroid Narcissus — he’s totally in love with himself. Just listen to him — he’s the best, everybody else is a loser; he’s got his head on straight, everybody else is crackers; he’s the biggest, bravest, boldest thing to hit the planet since Adam, excels at whatever he does, and knows exactly how to do what needs doing.

Taking the exact semisextile of asteroid Lie to Uranus next, we see the potential for disruption or revelation in Trump’s less than completely truthful statements or exaggerations, as well as the sort of staccato interjection style of the “truths” he utters. His stump performance is essentially one long rapid fire stream of Uranus/Lie/Narcissus consciousness — it’s unexpected, nonconformist, and somewhat shocking (all Uranus), but with a flavor of insight/awareness (also brought by Uranus); based in essentially half-truths, braggadocio and opinion (Lie); and completely focused on himself, in the extreme first person (Narcissus).

But it’s asteroid Lie’s exact inconjunct to Jupiter that’s most telling for Trump’s political rise. His massaging of the facts, from allegedly seeing “thousands” of jubilant Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers, to unsubstantiated statements that he’ll make Mexico pay for a border wall with the U.S., or will rewrite all our trade deals to bring back jobs, are all focused on one goal — to increase his political standing and thus his reputation generally (both Jupiter).

Lie/Jupiter is also the source of Trump’s unyielding characterizations of his rivals. He doesn’t so much lie about his political opponents, but exaggerates what he sees as the kernel of truth about them. Since Jupiter is already prone to exaggerate, adding Lie’s proclivities in this area can ramp up the hyperbole to overdrive, especially in politics (which is Jupiter-ruled), and some of Trump’s statements can seem shockingly excessive (e.g., John McCain isn’t a war hero just for getting captured; Jeb Bush is “low energy;” Hillary Clinton is the worst Secretary of State in U.S. history; not many evangelicals come out of Cuba — a dig at Ted Cruz’ ancestry and professed faith). Yet Trump pays no price for his disparagements, because his natal asteroids Truth and Veritas back him up. It doesn’t matter if these statements are true; all that matters is that Trump believes them and expresses them genuinely.

There’s a lot more to garner from “minor” points in Trumps nativity, but let’s move on to real-time events, after giving the nod to one other factor. Trump has asteroid Whitehouse at 4° Capricorn opposing Mercury at 8° Cancer — his verbal skills, his ability to connect with others, and his populism (all Mercury) that are his surest path to the Oval Office (Whitehouse). And hold on a second — what’s been going on upstairs lately in that region of the zodiac? We have had lunar eclipses at 4° Aries/Libra and 3° Libra/Aries (September 2015 and March 2016), both forming tight Grand Crosses with Trump’s natal Mercury/Whitehouse polarity. As Trump, a real estate magnate, well knows, it’s all about “location, location, location,” and Trump’s personal celestial connection to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue couldn’t be better placed to capitalize on current energies.

When Trump formally announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, the skies naturally reflected this moment in fine detail. Asteroid Troemper at 9° Sagittarius opposed Mercury at 5° Gemini, a signal that Trump was ready to make an announcement. There is also a Grand Cross formed by a squared opposition from transit Neptune at 9° Pisces, exactly squared Troemper (9° Sag), to asteroid Icarus at 5° Virgo, exactly squared Mercury (5° Gemini). This announcement (Mercury) concerned The Donald’s (Troemper) dearest held dream (Neptune), to hold the office of president of the United States, but it also represented a point of great risk (Icarus). Trump had given up a lucrative contract with NBC for The Apprentice, his Reality TV show, and would be imperiling future business dealings as he took time off to focus on running for office.

We might see asteroid Icarus in this decision as a rash, reckless act, with little hope of success. Indeed, The Donald paid the price for rash statements about Mexican immigrants in his announcement speech — NBC and Univision cut all ties with his Miss America and Miss Universe pageants, costing Trump millions of dollars. If you have any lingering doubts about the utility of Troemper as a celestial cipher for Trump, consider that asteroid Hybris, named for the Greek goddess from whom we derive our word hubris, meaning “extreme arrogance,” is exactly conjunct Troemper at his announcement, and “arrogance” is one of the most frequently cited descriptors of Trump in early voter focus groups.

Asteroid Busch (8° Sagittarius) was also with Troemper the day of his announcement. This conjunction has been unfortunate for fellow candidate Jeb Bush, beginning with Trump’s grandiose announcement, which stepped on his own simpler statement, made the day before. Since then the two asteroids have been in constant conjunction, never more than a few degrees apart, and the effect of that celestial chafing has been apparent, as Trump singled out Bush for special attention, defining him early on as “low energy,” a characterization that stuck. Even after helping to drive his rival’s poll numbers into the low single digits, Trump has relentlessly kept up the pressure long after Jeb Bush ceased to be a serious threat to his own candidacy. As if Bush were a burr under his saddle, Trump simply cannot leave “destroyed enough” alone, prodded by the constant struggle for metaphoric lebensraum between their celestial namesakes. (1)

As we’re approaching Iowa, what do the stars say? The Sun at 12° Aquarius, representing the theme of the day, conjoins transit Troemper at 6° Aquarius, showing Trump in the spotlight, the focus of all eyes. Everyone will be watching to see if those Trump voters actually show up and do their stuff. Is the Trump phenomenon real or just a sideshow attraction, as some pundits and politicos still claim?

Who else is there with him? Asteroid Cruz, for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, falls at 21° Aquarius, just entering the Sun’s orb of influence. He and Trump have been running neck-and-neck in recent Iowa polling and will likely finish first and second, in whatever order. Also within the solar rays is asteroid Christy at 15° Aquarius, for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, gaining momentum in the New Hampshire contest but still only a potential dark horse candidate in Iowa. And trailing just behind Troemper at 5° Aquarius is asteroid Busch, still in Trump’s shadow, though its proximity to the Sun suggests that a strong showing in the Hawkeye State could revivify Bush’s flagging campaign.

What of the election, assuming the Trump juggernaut cannot be derailed and he gains the GOP nomination? On Election Day, November 8, 2016, asteroid Troemper falls at 22° Pisces, in trine to the transit Sun at 16° Scorpio. Troemper is in a particularly powerful position, having made its direct station just the day before, one of the still points upon which the energies of the day revolve. Troemper also squares transit asteroid Whitehouse at 26° Sagittarius, perhaps a signal that Trump’s fondest dream may come true, of residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But there’s someone who may have something to say about that outcome. Asteroid Hillary at 16° Cancer is also at its station degree, about to turn retrograde two days after the election, and is exactly trine the Sun and opposing Pluto at 15° Capricorn, as well as trine Troemper. With Venus at 25° Sagittarius conjunct Whitehouse lending support, might we be seeing a woman (Venus) in the Oval Office?

(1) Editor’s note: lebensraum: “space required for life, growth or activity” Merriam-Webster

Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of “The Galactic Calendar,” and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society. His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. His work with deep space points and asteroids appears monthly at DayKeeper Journal. Alex can be reached for comment or services at

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Orcus opposite Neptune: then and now

By Jeremy Neal | December 14, 2015

Between now and September 2016, Saturn applies to a square with Neptune, a 36-year cycle that makes a hard, 4th harmonic contact every nine years. The received wisdom about this difficult combination is that it serves as a “reality check” in human affairs. It’s time to take off those rose-tinted spectacles and get real! Your flight of fancy goes into flat spin, and here’s a massive wet blanket for good measure!

Well, that’s true enough, Saturn does have a deleterious effect on Neptune. But at the same time, that sobering quality serves our best interests by restoring balance to our idealism. If we are to be adepts of the arcane, then we must be practical adepts, or there’ll be no pudding! We all have a good idea of just how the perfect pudding must be constituted, right? But it’s not much use if nobody knows how to make decent custard. So we have to get busy with eggs and flour, and whatever other ingredients are in that vision of gastronomic nirvana, and make it happen! And we’re going to have a few flat pancakes along that road, because experience isn’t worth experiencing without a few failures. The trick of the Saturn-Neptune square, then, is to not take the un-risen cakes and the hard-as-tack biscuits to heart. Eventually, with practice, effort, and dedication, we can realise our dream — and with extra Crème Anglaise.

But that’s only one side of the conundrum of a Saturn-Neptune square, because Neptune works on Saturn too. I see this most often in the principle of undermining authority. Take a look at 1783, when Saturn was in his prime in Capricorn and square Neptune (only the second time in over 300 years that a Saturn in outright dignity has squared Neptune), and you’ll note that —despite the fact that the United States declared independence in 1776 — this was the year that Great Britain actually signed off on the whole independence deal. King George’s formidable authority was finally undermined by Neptune’s vision of a better, more equal society. Only 12 days after the crucial middle pass of this intimidating square, the Treaty of Paris was signed.

So, on the whole, this is a tricky, but not impossibly daunting, aspect that forces us to put in hard work to manifest our dreams, which also has a tendency to challenge orthodox positions and authorities; that challenge is not born out of pure malcontent, however, but rather because we see a better possibility. With Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, there is a decidedly religious flavour to the square — Saturn organises Neptune’s spiritual quality into a religious vein. So, on the whole, this is a sobering and challenging aspect that requires hard work and patience to actualise, but it’s not necessarily extreme.

Except, that’s not the whole story, because Neptune has been opposing the Plutino named Orcus for several years. (1)

For an Orcus primer, it’s key to understand that Orcus is a Hadean archetype, and, alongside Ixion and Pluto, completes a trinity of mostly unconscious, often challenging drives and compulsions, which, through their deteriorating influence on our human condition, gradually help to bring us to self-awareness. Where Pluto is intense and personal and represents the compulsion to attempt control of situations and people in our lives, Orcus is detached and impersonal and attempts to manage challenging circumstances, not with Pluto’s habitual power struggle and its attendant unpleasantnesses, such as humiliation and subjugation, but rather through cold, inhuman disinterest. In archetypal terms, Pluto is the Mafia boss pulling everyone’s strings and Orcus is his henchman and willing executioner with a heart of stone. Pluto is impassioned, Orcus passionless. Orcus rules extreme human qualities: the determination to survive in pitiless conditions, as well as the drive to overcome all odds in sports. (For example, Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson both evince strong Orcus signatures.) Orcus has a strong correlation with oaths, and, when negative, rules swindlers and liars, while when positive, persons of integrity. Keywords for Orcus: integrity, authenticity (2), implacability, ruthlessness, loneliness, isolation, “dark night of the soul,” alienation, meditation and prayer, spiritual depth, determination, diehard, unbreakable, detached, merciless, inhumane, cruel.

The Orcus-Neptune opposition came into play tentatively in 2008, and has been with us ever since. Neptune moved into a three-degree opposition with Orcus in May 2008 before separating. (The closest application was on May 21, 2008, with Neptune at 24°14’ Aquarius and Orcus at 27°59’ Leo.)

And what’s more, this opposition will still be making waves until well into 2019, when Neptune and Orcus will still be within orb. In this astrologer’s view, this is one of the most profound and influential aspects of our times, and its repercussions will be with us for many years to come.

Let’s explore the broader themes of the Neptune-Orcus contact. Orcus, now in Virgo, struggles in this sign because the extremism and implacability of this Hadean energy is applied to details, to the accounts (just look at the concept of austerity to get a sense of this), to the broad masses (Virgo and the 6th house rules the working class), to nursing, the police, postal workers, doctors, Baghdad, Iraq in general, trades unions, libraries, Paris, charities, teachers, and the entire principle of welfare. Orcus in Virgo pushes all of these ideas, groups, and institutions to their absolute limits.

Neptune rules, among other things, spiritual principles and impersonal idealism. So if we apply Orcus’ implacable and extreme tendencies to Neptune, we are presented with extreme spiritual ideals, and inhumane, often cruel, ideologies, but also, when in opposition, a kind of dogged, unbending determination to stand against spiritual or religious dogmas and accepted ideological positions.

Currently then, we can see the rise of ISIS as a manifestation of the Neptune–Orcus opposition. ISIS is considered to be a radical offshoot of the Islamic faith. It’s not the first radical, religious splinter group the world has seen, but it is among the most extreme. It’s interesting that the ideological schism that has opened up between radical and moderate Islam is based, for the most part, on a single verse of the Quran, the so-called Verse of the Sword:

“But when the forbidden months are past,
then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them,
and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war);
but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them:
for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”

Taken alone, the verse seems to encourage Muslims to take up arms against non-Muslims. This single verse has been used by extremist groups such as ISIS as a call to Jihad, and is more or less the sole justification for their armed and violent struggle against non-believers, despite the fact that there are hundreds of verses in the Quran that contradict the Verse of the Sword, charging Muslims to live in peace with people of all faiths.

And further, when placed in context, the Verse of the Sword is speaking about a particular incident where a group of non-Muslim Arabs broke a covenant with Mohammed, who offered them amnesty if they should convert to Islam. Were they to resume hostilities, however, Muslims were charged with putting them to the sword. Taken out of context, the verse seems to approve of a wider armed struggle against all non-Muslims, but when put back into context, the verse’s true meaning is entirely unambiguous: that this instruction relates to a specific historical circumstance.

But here, Orcus’ inhumanity is let loose through the nitpicking partiality of his Virgo placement. It is a lawyer’s device that serves as a pretext for unleashing the Orcan mandate upon the world. It’s interesting to note that the first mention of ISIS was reported in May 2007: “A radical plan by Al-Qaeda to take over the Sunni heartland of Iraq and turn it into a militant Islamic state once American troops have withdrawn is causing alarm among US intelligence officials.” (4) In November 2007, Orcus made its first ingress into Virgo.

So we see the cerebral effect of Orcus in Virgo on the broadly peaceable Neptune-in-Pisces movement of Islam. The Neptune-Orcus opposition has been in effect since the mid 2000s, when Orcus was at 25° Leo, but made first partile contact in April 2012 at 27°59’ Leo. (5) This was the first of nine oppositions that will continue until January 13, 2016, a few hours after the first ominous transiting Pluto square to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s natal Sun. (6) Most partile contacts were accompanied by jihadi atrocities. (For example, on the day of the middle pass — the fifth of nine — on February 24, 2014, the militant terrorist group Boko Haram massacred 59 boarding school pupils in Nigeria.) (7)

So we can see that it is irrefutably an Orcan dynamic that is driving religious and militant extremism in the world today. What we are seeing is a fanatical challenge to Islamic orthodoxy such as has never been seen before, and, as a result, it is unlikely that the Islamic world will ever be the same again.

But such schisms are not without precedent. If we travel back in time to the last series of Neptune–Orcus oppositions, we find ourselves in the early 16th century. And if we look at the last time Saturn exactly squared Orcus while Orcus opposed Neptune, forming a loose NE/OR = SA midpoint and t-square (8), we find ourselves at the 11th of September 1514: four days before Thomas Wolsey was made Archbishop of York, an accession that presaged the struggle with Rome and the eventual English Reformation. Echoing the contemporary darkness that engulfs Syria and Iraq, a period of struggle ensued between Protestant reformers and the Orthodox Church, during which many were branded heretics and burned or beheaded. It was a time of violence, darkness, and cruelty, much of it motivated by divisions over scriptural meaning and the interpretation of God’s will. In 1517, Martin Luther published his 95 theses and nailed them to Wittenberg’s infamous church door, just as Neptune moved into opposition with Orcus. This previous series of oppositions between these distant behemoths occurred in the latter degrees of Leo–Aquarius. There was a battle between the central Papal authority (Leo) and the Reformists, like Martin Luther and John Calvin, who wanted to make church doctrine available to all the people of the church (Aquarius).

But even so, the Reformation didn’t fully take hold until Orcus moved into Virgo on October 22, 1522 — a much more difficult placement for the Hadean planet of extremism and defiance. The cerebral effect of Virgo creates the tendency to adhere to the letter of the law, in defiance of its spirit. We note that 1523 was the year that Anne Boleyn first caught Henry’s roving eye. A study of the English Reformation begins with Henry’s assertion that his marriage to Catherine was blighted in the eyes of God. Henry, who had entered into a levirate marriage with his brother Arthur’s widow — as cited in Leviticus 20:21: “If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity; he has dishonoured his brother. They will be childless.”

Much of the history of the English, and indeed the wider European Reformation, centred upon a highly nuanced deconstruction of law, scripture, and doctrine. Oaths were demanded and variously refused or sworn. Positions became entrenched, undermined, and retaken. Religious and political luminaries were variously beheaded and burned. An archetypally Orcan lack of compromise became characteristic of the entire debate over the future of Christendom.

So let us return at last to the square of Saturn to Neptune. The dispiriting pressure of Neptune undermines the organising quality of Saturn, making progress more difficult under this influence. Extra effort is required even when results are already slow to manifest. Indeed, a common experience of a Saturn–Neptune transit is to have to work twice as hard as usual just to stand still. Inevitably, this begets suffering, and suffering is therefore the key quality of this combination. At the same time, shifting to a non-attached perspective becomes harder, because we have to satisfy Saturn’s demand for hard work, responsibility, and patience in order to get Neptune’s redemption, relief, and absolution.

Saturn also formalises Neptune’s spiritual dimension; a good example of this is where laws might be made that dictate spiritual policy. As an example, note how the Saturn–Neptune square of May 23, 1532, finalised a series of legislations brought by Henry’s enforcer, Thomas Cromwell, to curb the power of the Catholic Church. On May 15th, just eight days before this final Saturn-Neptune square, the Submission of the Clergy decreed that the King was supreme over the church, and the power of Rome in English society was irreparably broken. At the ingress of the next series of Saturn-Neptune squares, in December 1538, Henry was excommunicated, and by its completion, Henry and Cromwell had together completed the dissolution of the monasteries.

So, taken together, we can see that the normal function of Saturn and Neptune is challenging enough, but when Orcus is thrown into the pot, the resulting gruel makes for a repast so unpalatable that only the strongest stomachs might digest it.

In the context of today, while there are different players, each with their unique exits and entrances, the broad themes are no different than those that caused the cataclysm of a half millennium ago. The theological and scriptural impasse is repeated. The burnings and the beheadings go on. Empires are threatened and great leaders weave tangled webs as history repeats itself. And the great opposition will occur once more — on January 13, 2016, to be precise — making a final t-square to Saturn in the process. The Islamic Reformation seems to be done, and all that remains is for hearts to harden and the dreadful apportioning of judgement to be meted out, on both sides, for, what is the stamping out of jihad if not the new crusades? In the purview of Neptune, Saturn makes doctrine and Orcus makes extremism. The resultant mix requires handling with extreme caution.


(1) Editor’s note: “Orcus, discovered in 2004, is a transneptunian object known as a Plutino. This is a category of celestial bodies, first described in 1993, which are smaller than Pluto and follow a similar orbit.” (From Mary Plumb’s review of Jeremy Neal’s book, Orcus, TMA 10/13.)

(2) The sign and house of natal Orcus is where you learn to create authenticity in your life, often starting out from a weak position, but learning integrity and depth in this area.

(3) Wikipedia

(4) “Al-Qaeda planning militant Islamic state within Iraq” Sunday Times.

(5) The exact dates of the Neptune–Orcus opposition: April 7, 2012; July 17, 2012; March 15, 2013; August 15, 2013; February 24, 2014; November 9, 2014; February 5, 2015; October 7, 2015; January 13, 2016.

(6) David Cameron, October 9, 1966, 6:00 a.m., London, England. Rodden Rating: A.

(7) Reuters

(8) On September 11, 1514, Neptune was at 15°39′ Aquarius, Orcus at 21°38′ Leo, and Saturn at 21°38′ Scorpio.

Bio: Jeremy Neal is an astrologer living in Durham, England. He is the author of Orcus (reviewed in TMA 10/13), available via Amazon in paperback or Kindle. See Jeremy’s blog: The Chirotic Journals

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Some thoughts on the astrological houses: Placidus, Equal — or what?

By Anne Whitaker | November 30, 2015

Sooner or later, it dawns on the student or budding astrologer that the method of dividing the space in a horoscope into 12 sectors or spheres of life, known as houses, poses some problems.

Firstly, since there are a number of different house systems, which should you choose? 

Secondly, to a varying degree, depending on your chart, planets can move house. In my chart, for instance, using the Equal House system, I have six planets in the 12th house. However, when I first saw my horoscope in Placidus houses, one planet of those planets, my ruler Mercury, had migrated to the 11th house. O joy! I need all the help I can get here, I thought then. But, as you will soon see, it’s not as simple as that.

Then there is a further problem. In Placidus, the MC/IC axis always defines the cusp of the 10th/4th houses. If you use Equal Houses, the MC/IC axis can fall within any pair of houses, from the 8th/2nd to the 11th/5th. How do you deal with that? 

I have worked with only two systems over the years, Equal House and Placidus, the most commonly used ones in the U.K. I used Equal House from the early 1980s perfectly happily, finding that the system worked well for me. Then I changed to Placidus in 1995. I didn’t choose it for any carefully thought out philosophical reasons; it was simply the system used in the Diploma course I was doing. Now, in 2015, I am moving back to using Equal House again — for philosophical reasons this time, as you will see shortly.

A class experiment
Ever since a small group of my “old” students persuaded me to run a refresher class in August 2014, I have enjoyed returning to teaching astrology. Those students were all very rusty and wanted to cover the basics again. Inevitably, the question of house division came up. Having covered the core meanings of the houses in an introductory class, we recently spent a whole tutorial looking in more detail at the issue of house division. 

The methods I adopted on this occasion were twofold: firstly, I gave the class copies of their charts in Equal House to compare with their existing Placidus charts. Then I drew up a grid for each chart, of which we all had a copy. This listed all the planets, Chiron and the North Node as well as the pair of houses through which the Equal House MC/I C axis ran. Thus, we could see at a glance those features which stayed the same in both systems, and which ones changed. In some charts, many features changed. In others, such as my own, there was very little difference. 

We worked our way around everyone in the small group, discussing how interpretations might change, and most importantly, how much that mattered by potentially altering the emphasis on key horoscope themes.

For instance, the Moon in one student’s horoscope changed from the Placidus 9th house (a location she really liked for her Moon, being both a teacher and an education junkie!) to the 10th by Equal House, which emphasised the importance of her vocational/career life, but not the dimensions of teaching and learning which are both 9th-house concerns. However, we pointed out to her that this didn’t really matter in terms of overall accuracy of interpretation; she really was very well endowed with Jupiterian energy anyway, given her Moon’s trine to Jupiter in Aries, as well as her Sun’s square to Jupiter.

This was just one example in which, whatever shift we saw of planets from one house to another, there was invariably an underlying theme in the birth chart, so that the emphasis being slightly shifted in one context made little if any difference to the overall accuracy of interpretation of the whole horoscope. Interestingly, more than half of our small group, despite my having worked with all students with Placidus since 1995, said they preferred the relative simplicity of the Equal House system.

In my own case, although ruling planet Mercury moved from the sociable, group-oriented Placidus 11th house to join five other planets in the reclusive 12th by Equal House, I have an exact semi-square from Mercury to 10th-house Uranus in both systems. Uranus also strongly aspects the Sun and Moon, so the Aquarian/Uranian/11th house “tone” remains strongly emphasised. The Mercury energy also flows from the 12th house in an exact sextile to Neptune, and a square to 3rd-house Jupiter in both systems. So any reclusive tendencies brought about by the move into the 12th are augmented by other horoscope factors!

The students could see from our small experiment something that is fundamental to the accurate reading of any horoscope: strong themes will shine through, whatever way you divide up the circle. As U.K astrologer Robin Heath so memorably observed in TMA a number of years ago: “…astrology appears more and more to behave like a hologram. You can perform almost any technique with the data, turn the chart inside out or slice it up, and still the symbolic pictures remain….” (1) Both this statement and our class experiment bore out the conclusion to which I had arrived some time ago. It doesn’t really matter much what system you use — you will get the same overall picture.

Houses for different approaches

Some astrologers use different house systems for different purposes. Since the Equal House system is based on the Ascendant/Descendant axis, which is the axis of “Here I am in relation to you,” this system can be used when the client wishes specifically to address matters pertaining to relationship. 

Since the IC /MC axis can be seen as an arrow flowing from the person’s deepest self and origins (IC) to their future direction (MC), issues of roots, vocation, and life direction are most appropriately contemplated, some astrologers think, via the Placidus lens, since that system can be seen to emphasise the MC/IC.
Also, although I have never worked with the Koch system, I know that some astrologers swear by the accuracy of its house cusps in plotting transits and progressions. 

The Equal House MC/IC “problem”?
The placing of inverted commas above gives you a clue that I do not see the shifting placement of the MC/IC axis in the Equal House system as a problem at all. Quite the opposite: I think that working with the MC/IC axis against the backdrop of either the 2nd/8th, 3rd/9th, 4th/10th, or the 5th/11th adds a layer of richness to the interpretation of the MC/IC which, of course, should remain just as focal and important in the Equal House system as in any other where the MC/IC is always the cusp of the 10th/4th houses.

For example, I have often encountered clients or students with 2nd/8th backdrops in professions involving finance and collective money, and those with 4th/10th backdrops having a strong life focus on career/vocation. With the 5th/11th backdrop emphasised, I’ve often found “creative” types who work co-operatively and collaboratively in the pursuit of their careers. In my case, the 3rd/9th backdrop is highly appropriate, since writing and higher education have been central to all the diverse vocational paths I have pursued throughout my working life. 

Equal House: the return
In conclusion, the students were very keen to know why I had decided to return to working with the Equal House system.  For giving me the final shove in that direction, I want to thank Phoebe Wyss and her excellent recent book, Inside the Cosmic Mind. I would urge any astrology student or practitioner to read this book if they are inclined to perceive astrology as a “top down” art, the practice of which reveals that we are expressing in micro form the shifting macro patterns of the whole cosmos.

In Phoebe Wyss’ words: 
“Archetypal astrology is an approach to astrological chart interpretation that is based on this cosmological view. The meanings of the chart factors such as zodiac signs, houses, and planets are then seen to derive from the twelve basic categories of meaning associated with the astrological archetypes. These fundamental cosmic principles and their inter-relationships are symbolised in the geometry of the zodiac …” (2)

Wyss’ book — which builds on the recent work of Richard Tarnas, Kieron Le Grice, and other pioneers in the field of archetypal cosmology — has taken me back and regrounded me in the basic geometry of sacred numbers, whose symbolism reflects the core shaping principles or archetypes governing the movement of energy throughout the whole cosmos. The number 12 is one of those sacred numbers. 

From that symbolic, geometric perspective, dividing the inner space of the horoscope symbolically into 12 equal parts seems more appropriate than using any other house system, including Placidus, whose devising arises purely from measurements limited by the view from planet Earth in relation to the solar system in our tiny corner of space/time. 

(1) The Mountain Astrologer, Issue 78, April/May 1998, Letters, p. 11.
(2) Phoebe Wyss, Inside the Cosmic Mind, Floris Books, 2014, p. 93.

Bio: Anne Whitaker is an astrologer, astrology teacher, and writer based in Glasgow, Scotland, U.K. Anne blogs at Writing from the Twelfth House, and Astrology: Questions and Answers. Her two FREE research studies “Jupiter Meets Uranus” and “The Moon’s Nodes in Action” can be downloaded from or either of her blogs.

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Paris — The City of Light Is Shocked

By Mary Plumb | November 16, 2015

I was imagining a gentle and subtle conversation about Saturn and Neptune for this week’s blog when world events took another dramatic turn. With the aim of offering astrological perspectives to TMA’s wide readership, we decided to link to some early commentators on the terrible event in Paris. (If this is too soon after the event for analysis for some of you, maybe just scroll to the song at the very bottom.)

Leah Whitehorse at Lua Astrology articulates many specific planetary aspects in the horoscope of the attack in Paris, including Uranus at the apex of a yod aspect and the Sabian symbol for the rising sign. She concludes by noting the significance of the south node moving into Pisces with these words:
“But if we really want change in the world, each of us must look to the details of our own lives, to resolve our own conflicts, to deal with our own inner demons, to shake off our fears of the unknown. The politics surrounding who did what to whom and why is mind-boggling and we may never know the entire truth of what is really going on. With the South Node entering Pisces, it is too easy to despair, but our collective task is not to give in but instead pick up the pieces and make this a better world.”

Here is an interview with Jean Jullien, the artist who created this image: Paris/peace symbol
“I can’t say I’m happy because it’s such a tragedy and such a horrible event,” he says. “I can just say that in all this horror there’s something positive that people are coming together in a sense of unity and peace.”

British astrologer Steve Judd has a short video on the event:

An article called Why attack Paris? is on the web site Astrology in Crime, hosted by an anonymous writer, Mountain Misst. This blog focuses first on the horoscope for France (the 5th Republic, October 6, 1958) and considers the asteroids and Black Moon Lilith. The attack chart is also written about in detail. “The 22 degree features strongly once again with the ascendant/horizon axis at 22°36′ Cancer (security breach).”

Tara Greene’s Pray for Paris – The Astrology of the Terrorist Attacks begins by a delineation of the chart for France: “France’s Moon at 21 degrees Cancer in the 4th house is all about food. It’s so feminine, home-loving and all about nurturing, very emotional and sentimental. The French are not known to be fighters, but defenders.”
She expresses a clear point of view in looking at the chart for the attack and what is ahead. “As I predicted last year and continue to predict for 2016, large scale detention camps will be set up in all major European cities and in the U.S. to detain Muslims and any suspected radical groups as a result of these acts of terrorism. Borders will be closed all over Europe. Astrologically, Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces will be a huge wake-up call for strong borders and to stop Sagittarius refugees, and the end of the Pisces compassion that has been shown by allowing religious fanatics so much freedom. This then allows them to become Pisces martyrs and internal enemies (like cancer cells) and we also then become their martyrs.”

Alison Gunn, Ph.D at Beyond the Stars, includes Arabic Parts in her quite detailed assessment. Among her points: “Further, the Arabic Part or Lot of Death is also conjunct the North Node, in Libra at 1°46′. This grouping falls in the 4th house within 1 – 3 degrees of the Imum Coeli, what I see as the most sensitive point in the chart, since it represents the ‘dark underbelly’ of hidden, deeply-felt psychological motivations.
The Arabic Part of Suicide (three of the assassins wore suicide vests, and apparently seven out of eight of the killers committed suicide) at 27°22′ Gemini, falls in square to the Node/Mars/Part of Death (from the 12th house to the 4th house/IC).”

Mundane astrologer Ed Tamplin begins his weekly blog: “It’s very difficult running any commentary on the Friday 13 events of Paris. It’s difficult dissecting any human tragedy. Life is not supposed to be the theatre of war. Neither was the Bataclan Concert Hall. In an instant it became one. A series of six coordinated attacks from 9:16 p.m. brought the horrors of the Middle East reigning down upon the City of Lights. Paris became a war zone.”

Adam Elenbaas at Nightlight Astrology writes his thoughts in Paris Attacks and the Saturn-Neptune Square. “First, let’s remember that the Saturn-Neptune square easily creates the feeling of simple, obvious victims and simple, obvious enemies. Scapegoats, martyrs, sinners, and saints. Black and white. And this is the stark literalism of Saturn as well as the deluded or intoxicated haze and victimhood of Neptune. To put it simply, there are bombs being dropped on innocent people by ‘democracies’ day in and day out, and these events are justified because of similarly extreme beliefs that uphold the western/capitalist/consumerist/materialist way of life. We are just as fiercely complicit in ideological violence (or at least we should sincerely consider this if we haven’t) as any other group. Our finger may not be on the triggers, but that’s because we’ve dissolved the cold feeling of the trigger with the Neptunian warmth of media, film, wealth, and Starbucks idealism about the reality of things (notice the Saturn-Neptune themes again!).”

If you like Michael Franti, here is a song that has a special poignancy now: Hey World, (Don’t Give Up)

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A life on the feminist frontier

By Mary Plumb | November 2, 2015

Gloria Steinem was born on March 25, 1934 in Toledo, Ohio at 10 a.m. (1) The horoscope has some powerful signatures of strength and focus: Scorpio on the Ascendant, a Leo Moon, and Mars conjunct the Sun in Aries.

Gloria Steinem
March 25, 1934, 10 p.m.
Toledo, Ohio
Whole sign houses, True node

Gloria Steinem natal

She has talked about her newest book, My Life on the Road in several recent interviews. (2)

book jacket

Steinem has been a leader and symbol of the Women’s Movement since the 1970s, dedicated, through different venues, to understanding (and changing) the political, economic, and social barriers to women’s rights. She has received many accolades in her long and productive life; I will mention a few themes in her personal life in this article. (3)

Gloria Steinem’s father, Leo, was the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and Germany. (There is a family lineage of activism: Steinem’s paternal grandmother was active in the National Woman Suffrage Association, a delegate to the International Council of Women, and also rescued many members of her family from the Holocaust.) (4)

She traveled nearly constantly as a child; her father was a salesman who she describes as having been financially unreliable and “utterly irresponsible.” (5)

Her mother was highly educated, an avid reader, and a pioneer newspaper reporter until emotional troubles overtook her. Described, in the vernacular of the day, as having had a “nervous breakdown,” Steinem says, “Her spirit was broken.” Despite these difficulties, Steinem says, “I always had parents who loved me…. She was a loving, wonderful woman, super loving towards me.” (A testament perhaps to the Sun ruling both the Midheaven and the Leo Moon and in a trine to the natal Moon in the 10th.)

Her parents split up in 1944, the year her solar arc Moon conjoined the natal South Node at 18°27′ Leo. She became the caregiver for her mother that pivotal year, which also brought a lunar eclipse (February 8, 1944) at 19° Leo on the nodal axis.

In 1969 she came out as “an active feminist” when she covered an abortion “speak-out” for a magazine. The solar arc Sun-Mars (5° and 9° Aries in the natal) had come to 9° and 13° Taurus, surrounding the natal Descendant at 12°24′ Taurus. (She describes the abortion she had in 1957 as being a pivotal event in her life. Her new book is dedicated to the doctor who helped her at that time.)

With the Moon in Leo, she is passionate about the power of telling stories. About the 1969 “speak-out” mentioned above, she said: “So I sat there as a reporter for New York magazine, listening to women tell their stories that were tragic and ludicrous and every human emotion all wrapped into one, and suddenly I thought, ‘Wait a minute, I had an abortion.’ And actually 1 in 3 American women has needed an abortion at some time in her life, so why is this illegal and why is it dangerous? It’s the kind of revelation that comes from people just telling the truth and discovering they’re not alone.”

Another natal aspect is Mercury in Pisces opposite Neptune in Virgo, an aspect that can indicate a gift of empathy and an ability to listen to others. In a newspaper column from last year (called This is What 80 Looks Like), after a discussion on how her outer appearance had always attracted much attention, Gail Collins wrote about Steinem: “But the interior always mattered. The other thing that made Steinem unique was her gift for empathy. Women who read about her or saw her on TV felt that if they ran into her on the street, they would really get along with her. And women who actually did run into her on the street felt the same way. More than a half-century into her life as an international celebrity, she remains stupendously approachable, patient with questions, interested in revelations. When she goes to events, young women flock around her. All celebrities draw crowds, of course. The difference is that when Steinem is at the center, she’s almost always listening.” (6)

With Cancer on the (whole-sign) 9th house, the ruler (Moon) is in her 10th, suggesting that Steinem’s philosophy and beliefs are important to her career. This placement also suggests that travel is connected to her public life. (Her new book is called My Life on the Road.)  In an October 2015 NPR interview, Steinem estimates that she has spent at least half of her time on the road for over 40 years. As Terry Gross said in the interview, she has traveled with a purpose — to raise awareness about women’s issues and organize women around the world.

Saturn in a night birth is considered to be more potentially difficult than in a day chart. In Steinem’s chart, Saturn is in Aquarius in the 4th house. She said in the interview that she “grew up too early,” being responsible for her mother at age 10, after her father left. She also said that it took her until the age of 50 to begin to create a comfortable home for herself. Her friends helped her decorate (Venus in Aquarius); she mentioned the great pleasure she got from buying “antique sheets,” calling it “orgiastic.” This is surely a new image for how Venus and Saturn can manifest.

Although she has had many lovers and has been very open about how much she has enjoyed her sexual life, she married only once. Fittingly for her 7th-house ruler, Venus, conjunct Saturn, she was 66 when she married, and her husband died three years later of brain lymphoma.

Venus in Aquarius is rising ahead of the Sun, and as a morning star Venus is Lucifer, the light bringer. At Gloria Steinem’s birth, Venus was at her maximum brightness in the predawn sky, a striking symbol of a vibrant and pioneering life — a life that does not seem to be slowing down at the age of 81.(7)

(1) Astrodatabank, AA

(2) Here is a current in-depth article about Gloria Steinem: Road Warrior The New Yorker, October 19, 2015.

(3) A few key events in her professional life: Gloria Steinem co-founded Ms magazine in 1972 and was the first woman to speak at the National Press Club.

(4) Biographical material from Wikipedia

(5) Direct quotes from the October 2015 NPR interview

(6) This is What 80 Looks Like by Susan Collins, New York Times, March 23, 2014.

(7) See her web site: Gloria Steinem

Bio: Mary Plumb is TMA’s Book and Web Editor. She offers private sessions and tutoring and can be reached at

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Revisiting the Chart for Israel as the Risk of a Third Intifada Increases

By Pat Paquette | October 19, 2015

For the past month, a new wave of violence has spread through Israel, triggered by clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the sacred site in the Old City of Jerusalem known as Temple Mount to Jews and as the Haram, or “Noble Sanctuary,” to Muslims. (1)

Some observers fear the violence is leading to a Third Intifada, roughly translated as “rebellion” or “uprising.” During the previous intifadas, which began in 1987 and 2000, more than 5,000 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis were killed. (2,3,4)

Since the clashes on September 27 (the “blood moon” lunar eclipse), 40 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin this week and has just confirmed that he also will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (5)

It’s far beyond the scope of a blog post to do an astrological analysis of the conflict. My purpose here is to revisit the chart for Israel and to present some additional information that might be of interest to those using astrology to increase our understanding of this volatile and extremely dangerous geopolitical situation.

I didn’t realize how much contention there was about Israel’s chart until I joined an online discussion back in 2010. That thread is no longer accessible. However, I recall being surprised by the various attempts to rectify the chart to an exact minute and second that Jewish leader David Ben-Gurion uttered the words establishing the State of Israel. The meeting at which he read the Declaration began at 4 p.m., and this is well-documented. Some of the hesitation seemed to be that the 4 p.m. chart has Libra Rising, which doesn’t fit with the character of Israel as a nation constantly at war. Some have argued for a Scorpio Rising chart, but the historical documentation simply doesn’t support it. (6)

Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
May 14, 1948, 4 p.m.
Tel Aviv, Israel (Rodden A)
Placidus houses, True node

Israel 4 pm chart

I am an investigative reporter by training, so I decided to do some historical research. I started with the declaration itself, which clearly states that independence would begin when the British Mandate for Palestine expired at midnight. I also found a historical account at the Truman Library. I posted my findings in a comment on the aforementioned discussion thread. While it got several up votes, there was virtually no debate. (7)

Five years later, I stumbled upon an old thread on Noel Tyl’s mundane astrology forum started in June 2010 by a member who had seen my post with the link to the Truman Library. The midnight chart again was roundly dismissed. Among the responses was a strong preference for a rectification by Alexander Marr to 4:15:07. Astro-Databank gives this as the alternative to the 4 p.m. chart and mentions only in passing that independence was a fait accompli at midnight. (8)

The thread also contained a curious comment that Nick Campion thought the Truman Library account was too confusing. That was enough to send me back to the drawing board, as it were. After hours of digging, I found a monograph with an English translation of Ben-Gurion’s diaries. Here’s the critical passage:

“One closes the simple notebook that had served as his diary for a period ending at that point with the terse announcement: ‘At four o’clock in the afternoon, we declared independence.’ Notations after 4:00 P.M. were made in a fresh diary, which begins with an equally dramatic announcement: ‘At four o’clock in the afternoon, the State was established. Our fate is in the hands of the defence forces.'”(9)

Well, that totally convinced me I’d been wrong. Still, I had a vague sense I was missing something. I kept searching and eventually found two additional sources that I believe strongly argue for the midnight chart. To my knowledge, these sources have not been cited elsewhere.

The first is an analysis of the Declaration on the website of the Israel Foreign Ministry noting that independence would be effective as of midnight. It went on to say:

“At the festive session that approved the Declaration, the newly proclaimed state (which, strictly speaking, had not yet come into existence at that moment) passed its first legislative act: the Manifesto, whose name and format have no parallel in the Israeli lawbooks. According to the legal experts of the time, this document was needed because the Declaration itself, although equipped with a quasi-legislative section that stipulated the inauguration of the state’s provisional governing institutions, amounted to a public proclamation and was not an authentic legislative act.” (Emphasis mine.) (10)

The second source is a letter from the provisional government to President Truman asking for the recognition of Israel by the United States. According to the letter, “The Act of Independence will become effective at one minute after six o’clock on the evening of 14 May 1948, Washington time.” (11)

In other words, 12:01 a.m. in Tel Aviv.

It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Israel would become a state the moment the mandate ran out. In fact, the United States wanted them to wait. They considered it, but with enemy troops already inside their borders, they had no time to lose. Moreover, May 14 was a Friday, and they didn’t want to hold the ceremony on Sabbath, which began at sunset. (12)

I believe the sources above show that the declaration was proclaimed in the afternoon for expediency and that the wording made it clear nothing was official until midnight. Not only did the provisional government want to avoid making the announcement on Sabbath, but they needed to prepare for an attack at midnight by the Arab League. There could be no midnight ceremony or celebrating in the streets. As for Ben-Gurion’s diary entry proclaiming that the state was established at 4 p.m., clearly it wasn’t. It’s hard to guess his motivation, but he was a politician. Moreover, his diaries weren’t intended to be private. (13)

The midnight chart has 14° Aquarius on the Ascendant. In reading critiques over the years, I’ve seen comments that Aquarius isn’t a good fit for Israel. To the contrary, I believe it fits amazingly well. Mundane astrology uses traditional planetary rulers of house cusps, so the ruler of this chart is Saturn, which is conjunct the Descendant by just over 2° and conjunct Pluto by less than 4°. The 7th house is the house of open enemies, and it’s also where we find Mars.

Israel becomes a state

May 15, 1948, 12:01 a.m.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Placidus houses, True node
Israel 12:01 am chart

Indeed, the midnight chart presents an accurate and chilling image of immediate danger from enemies seeking the fledgling nation’s total annihilation — and, one might add, of a national identity based on fear of being destroyed.

Incidentally, I contacted Nick Campion regarding the comment about the Truman Library, and he replied that he didn’t believe he said that. He added:

“My last word on the problem is in the Book of World Horoscopes and my principle is that the sources should be reported. Each source relates to a particular context and that’s the end of the matter.”

The argument seems to boil down, then, to whether you think the symbolism of the announcement or the reality of statehood is more important. Obviously, I choose the latter, but I understand the argument for 4 p.m. What I stridently avoid is using one chart over the other because it “works better.”


1. “Israeli police, Palestinians clash at al-Aqsa compound”, Al Jazeera, Sept. 27, 2015.

2. “‘I’m telling you that this massacre will happen again’: Lessons from the 2014 Russell Tribunal for the new intifada,” by Dr. Peter F. Cohen, Mendoweiss, Oct. 12, 2015.

3. “What’s Behind the Explosions of Violence in Palestine? — The Destruction of Religious Sites and ‘Extrajudicial Executions’ of Palestinian Teenagers,” by Prof. David Palumbo-Liu, The Huffington Post, Oct. 14, 2015.

4. Intifada, Wikipedia.

5. “John Kerry confirms meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas,” by Kate Shuttleworth, The Guardian, Oct. 18, 2015.

6. Chart for Israel independence, May 14, 1948, 4 p.m., Tel Aviv. Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes (2004 edition) p. 166.

7. Israel, “Historical Background and Chronology,” Truman Library.

8. Israel Astro-Databank

9. “Proclaiming Independence: Five Days in May from Ben-Gurion’s Diary,” by Tuvia Friling and S. Ilan Troen, Israel Studies, Vol. 3.1 Spring 1998.

10. “The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel,” by Prof. Emanuel Gutmann (now professor emeritus at Hebrew University)

11. Letter From Israel’s Provisional Government Asking for Recognition from the United States.
Jewish Virtual Library

12. “Establishment of Israel,” Jewish Virtual Library

13. “Arab League: Declaration on the Invasion of Palestine.” Jewish Virtual Library

Bio: Pat Paquette is a writer, editor, and astrologer living on Vashon Island, WA. She has been blogging on astrology since December 2005. Her weekly astrological forecasts appear on the blog of her website,, where you also can find a collection of her past articles.

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The Uranus Opposition – Start Your Revolution

By Amy Herring | September 7, 2015

The headline at Buzzfeed reads Rose McGowan is Starting a Revolution.

Indeed. And right on time.

After tweeting a photo of casting notes, which instructed her to wear form-fitting and revealing clothing for an audition, actor Rose McGowan woke to find that her tweet had gone viral. (1) That, and another tweet a week later admonishing her agency for dropping her because of the controversy, had her drawing support and encouragement to “fight on” when it comes to misogyny and Hollywood. (2)

This may only be one of many culminating points in an ongoing awakening for Rose, which began, according to her, in the late 2000s when a series of traumatic events had her “dismantling,” as she puts it. The illness and death of her father and a car accident were just two of the intense happenings that kicked off this growth period (right around the time Pluto squared her own Pluto — but that’s another story).

In a YouTube interview, Rose said: “In the last seven years, without being totally aware of what I was doing, I was completely disengaging and separating.” (3)


Uranus represents the part of us to which we must stay true, when the external environment presses us to conform not to our own standards, but to an accepted norm. Whether it’s a well-meaning parent’s advice, a cultural paradigm, or an authority figure’s judgment, we are always under subtle (and not so subtle) pressures to fit in.

This cannot be reduced to the simple desire to want others to like us; it is more primal, more subconscious, and the stakes are higher than they seem on the surface. To truly be an outcast can threaten our very survival, and if we don’t play by the rules of the powers that be, we can perish by them — sometimes not just metaphorically; there may be good reasons why we ignore Uranus’s whispers, or translate them into safer, less-threatening ways to display our individuality.

Uranus represents the urge to live and express ourselves authentically, whether the stakes are large or small. The struggle for authenticity, and the stress we experience when sacrificing or embracing it, is real, whether we mask our true nature to avoid bullying at school or boldly become whistle-blowers afraid for our very lives. Uranus in our natal chart represents where and in what ways we not only think outside the box, but often refuse, sometimes vehemently, to be boxed in.

Why do we dare to break the mold or risk being shunned as an outcast? Freedom. The burden of a secret, of a false life on any level, can build up like a toxin. The safe but false feeling of acceptance may be of too little comfort, having us live constantly vigilant that our secret not be exposed, or simply suffering the exhaustion of keeping up a façade. When we are accepted for that which we are not, we may still feel just as alone as we fear we might be for revealing who we truly are. Pluto is often involved whenever dismantling, as Rose put it, is required, but Uranus is Pluto’s bedfellow when an old skin needs to be shed; it is The Liberator.

The Uranus Opposition: A Celestial Monkey Wrench

Into everyone’s life a little Uranus must fall, but not always at the same times in our lives or with the same intensity or sequence of events. A natal chart is essentially a map of the sky at the time of a birth, revealing the location of the planets and a few other heavenly favorites at that moment. Although the planets in our natal map are frozen in time, the movement of the planets from then on is not. Uranus’s orbit may be predictable (a word which Uranus would scowl about being associated with) but, depending on the orientation of the planets in your natal chart, you may experience Uranus crossing over the position of your Sun, for example, at age two while your neighbor may not experience it until age 62. It all depends on the starting line: your birth moment.

This variability applies to all the planets, except for one very predictable exception: a planet’s orientation to itself. Any planet will eventually return to its original location, for example. So while Uranus may cross your Sun’s position at age two, but your neighbor’s Sun position at age 62, you and everyone who lives to be the ripe old age of 84 will experience Uranus’s return around that age. Halfway through that cycle, at about age 42, everyone experiences the Uranus opposition, the period of time when Uranus is opposite its original position in everyone’s natal chart. (4)

During this period of time, which can last a number of months, we are called to wake up. We might experience sudden events, epiphanies, breakups, or breakdowns. Because Uranus represents things that happen suddenly and without warning, personal changes can take us by surprise just as much as they do to those around us. Uranus represents liberation via separation; the ability to see something or someone objectively is dependent on our distance from it. We may find that the idea, belief, relationship, job, or religion just does not have the same meaning or relevance in our lives that it had just months before, maybe for no discernible reason.

It’s likely no accident that many of the obvious disruptive events that take place during a classic mid-life crisis happen around this age. We may feel rebellious, full of angst, or frustrated, often in response to a feeling of being trapped. These trappings may have been our own doing and even served us well once, but at the Uranus opposition, it’s time to re-authenticate, and that may mean breaking up not just with a job or a partner, but with our former selves.

The Uranus opposition can bring about the awareness of a need to break away from something that we may have been previously in league with, even if only by default, in an effort to reveal and express something essential about our true self. “Be Yourself” is Uranus’s call to action, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes that which we were, thought we were, or thought we would always be, turns out to be that which inhibits us from becoming who we are. Uranus’s opposition is the cosmic monkey wrench that stops the autopilot engine so we can really think about where we’re going and whether or not it’s a dead-end.

Rose’s Revolution Evolution

Rose’s own Uranus lies in a close conjunction with Venus in her natal chart, in the sign of Libra in her 5th house.

Inner wheel: Natal chart: Rose McGowan (Placidus houses, true node)
September 5, 1973
11:38 p.m.
Certaldo, Italy 43n33 11e02 AA data
Outer wheel: transits for June 17, 2015 


Rose’s Uranian individuality is expressed not only in her relationship needs and style, but also her creative and artistic inclinations, which can be especially revealing in a profession that revolves heavily around creativity, art, self-expression, and/or performance, such as an actor and director like Rose. The expression of beauty and its manifestation through modeled gender roles is also a way Rose’s unique perspective will come through — bucking beauty standards and assumptions about women and relationships are just a few examples of something she’s born to do. To her, expression of one’s beauty may be simply about being who you are, not your gender identity. She has spoken several times about being raised in what she sees as a “gender-neutral” environment. “I don’t remember ever seeing any mirrors,” she said in the interview on Buzzfeed. “I grew up without actually registering that I was a girl or a boy.” (5)

Astrology is always understood and expressed through the lens of the current era. Traditionally, Venus has represented the feminine and this has been expressed in a certain way in astrological literature and practice in the past — Venus in a woman’s chart represents the way she expresses her femininity, and in a man’s chart, it describes what he wants in a woman, often with the assumption that any femininity a man might want to express must be projected onto a female, and that all men are heterosexual. In the current age, modern thought begins to offer us more complexity and nuance in how gender, sexuality, and femininity are expressed and understood. Indeed, this is a significant part of what has been incubating since the birth of the Uranus-in-Libra generation (roughly, those born between late 1968 and late 1975), and it blossoms as they hit the middle decades of life.

Although just shy of exact, transiting Uranus has been opposing Rose’s natal Uranus (and Venus) since mid-to-late spring. Although Rose’s tweet was self-initiated, the unanticipated reactions that resulted are right up Uranus’s alley. It’s no surprise that within the context of her life and her chart, the wake-up call comes in the form of authenticity (Uranus) and equality (Libra) in feminine and creative expression (Venus, 5th house).

Many probably hope she’s not just having a momentary rebellion, but that she’s really going to spearhead change, or at least join the cause in an active, visible way. Uranus sounds the alarm but there’s no guarantee that we won’t push the snooze button. The stamina and commitment to walk the unbeaten path is not easy, and while we may nod absently at the platitude, the magnitude of that truth isn’t always fully realized when we’re still running hot on a dose of reactionary indignation. It feels good to push back against what we feel has been oppressing us, even if (and sometimes especially if) it’s been we, ourselves, in the form of internalized beliefs, judgmental voices, and so on. But the consequences — sometimes surprising, far-reaching, and painful — of breaking with that “norm” can be a hard burden to bear. So we won’t judge Rose too harshly if she doesn’t single-handedly change the world, or even Hollywood, will we?

Uranus breaks stuff so we can have a breakthrough. It’s up to us what we do with it from there, but our viewpoint can be forever changed, providing that “before and after” perspective that is hard to forget or ignore. Even after the temporary upheaval of a Uranus opposition is over, the ripples go out to the edges.

This is the first of four passes Uranus will make to oppose Rose’s Venus-Uranus conjunction. In 2016 and early 2017, Uranus will oppose this conjunction again, sending the ripple out further each time. For now, it looks like she’s taking it and running with it.

Again, from the interview: “For me, in my life, I’m just done ‘being allowed’ to be anything. I’m just no longer interested in people that will allow me to be anything because who are you to allow me to be anything? How dare you.” (6)

Have you experienced a Uranian revolution? Please comment and share your story!


(1) Twitter

(2) Twitter

(3) YouTube

(4) There is a small variability in the length and age of exactness of a planet’s return to its natal position and its contacts to its natal position along the way. This is largely due to the apparent retrograde phenomenon, when a planet temporarily appears to travel backward across the backdrop of the sky. But the variability window caused by retrograde motion is a matter of months, not years. No one experiences Uranus opposing itself at age 34, for example; it will be around age 42, sometimes slightly earlier, sometimes slightly later.

(5) Buzzfeed

(6) YouTube

Bio: Amy Herring is a graduate of Steven Forrest’s Evolutionary Astrology program, Amy has been a professional astrologer for 20 years. She has written two books on astrology: Astrology of the Moon and the forthcoming Essential Astrology. She especially enjoys teaching and writing about astrology. Visit for readings, classes, and educational videos.

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American Revolutionary

By Kate Plumb | August 24, 2015

Who can say there is no life after death when we see such a dramatic example of it with the successful opening of the Broadway musical Hamilton? The show opened off-Broadway at The Public Theater in January, in time for Hamilton’s 260th birthday (January 11, 1755). (1)

Alexander Hamilton

January 11, 1755 (rectified by Regulus, LLC (see Footnotes 1 & 3)
1:23:37 p.m. LMT
Charlestown, Saint Kitts-Nevis
62w37 17n08 (Whole sign houses, Mean node)

Alexander Hamilton natal

After a sold-out run at the Public, Hamilton opened on Broadway on August 6th to rave reviews, e.g.: “Yes, it really is that good,” was the opening line from the New York Times reviewer, Ben Brantley.

My enthusiasm for Hamilton went into full-blown rapture, as did Lin-Manuel Miranda’s, the composer and star of Hamilton, while reading Ron Chernow’s award-winning biography Alexander Hamilton (2004). Miranda read Chernow’s biography while on vacation in Mexico in 2008. Jody Rosen, in a recent article on the musical, quotes the composer: “‘I was immediately captivated,’ Miranda says. ‘He’s an inspirational figure to me. And an aspirational one.'” She further writes: “In Hamilton, he saw a figure he recognized: a word-drunk firebrand with untrammeled ambition, raw talent, an outsize ego and a lust for combat, verbal and otherwise. Miranda saw a rapper.” (2)

Collaborating with Chernow, composer Stephen Sondheim and the hip-hop group the Roots, Miranda has brought Colonel Hamilton to life and to Broadway.

As an astrologer, my curiosity was aroused — why at this moment in time is there such a dramatic renewal of his life? Using a birth chart rectified by the masterful Regulus Astrology, LLC, with permission, I looked into the progressions and transits of opening night to Colonel Hamilton’s birth chart. (3)

Alexander Hamilton: natal, progressed and transits

Inner wheel: Hamilton natal; middle: Hamilton, progressed to Aug. 6, 2015: outer: transits to Broadway opening, Aug. 6, 2015, 8:00 p.m., Manhattan, NY


Hamilton triwheel

At the play’s opening, the exalted Moon in sustainable (and prosperous) Taurus bodes well for the show’s success — the Moon exactly squares the 8 p.m. curtain-up Ascendant at 13°46′ Aquarius, and forms a trine to transiting Pluto. As the Moon moves through Taurus she meets the Sun, Venus, Mercury in Leo by square, then opposes Saturn in Scorpio, just before meeting Jupiter in the 29th degree of Leo, the degree of Regulus, the king-maker.

The connections between the transiting planets and Hamilton’s progressed chart are amazing. The Moon at 13° Taurus on opening night was at the midpoint of the Colonel’s Taurus Ascendant (19°53′) and his Part of Fortune (9°48′ Taurus).  This transiting Moon is exactly trine Hamilton’s progressed Ascendant, as transiting Pluto, the planet of regeneration, sits on the progressed Ascendant in its retrograde phase. The natal Moon in Hamilton’s chart is 11°12′ Capricorn opposite his progressed Moon at 13° Cancer, sextiling opening night Moon (13° Taurus) and sitting on the progressed Descendant at 13° Cancer — just coming above the horizon to be noticed — and just past a sextile to his progressed Uranus at 12°25′ Pisces. I remember what old-time astrologer Sophia Mason always said — it is the Moon that times things. She is the one you have to wait for.  This is probably particularly true here, as the Moon is the exalted ruler of Hamilton’s natal Taurus rising and plays a big role in his life.

Transiting Uranus at 20° Aries is squaring natal Saturn/Sun at 20°- 21° Capricorn, awakening the sleeping giant and his legacy, and opposing the progressed Part of Fortune at 21° Libra. Taurus, ruled by Venus, is retrograde at 25° Capricorn in the natal chart. Opening night has Venus again retrograde at 27° Leo. Progressed Venus is 28° Virgo square his natal Mars at 29° Sagittarius.  (It would take additional research to connect the dots on the reactivation of the retrograde Venus.)

Transiting Neptune at 9°04′ Pisces is transiting over the Colonel’s natal Uranus at 8°41′ Pisces. He is being brought alive in a hip-hop, rap, rhythmic, innovative and historically accurate musical. These young artists are changing the language of musicals just as Hamilton and his colleagues changed history.  The transiting outer planets all have a role as well — Pluto and Uranus are in a waxing square, the same waxing square that Hamilton was born under.

For readers who follow symmetrical astrology, there is an emphasis on the Aries point. Progressed Jupiter has crossed into 0°31′ Libra, on the Aries point, which, in the natal chart, has Mars (29°06′ Sagittarius) and the following midpoints (on the 45° dial): Sun/Uranus, Moon/Jupiter, Asc/Part of Fortune, Asc/Mc, and Mercury/Mars. Over the past seven years, as Miranda was working on this project, Hamilton’s progressed Sun (now at 5°46′ Libra) first hit his natal Mars at 29°06′ Sagittarius and then activated his Aries point.

We need to look at the nodes. Colonel Hamilton’s natal Jupiter is retrograde at 18°32′ Virgo. His progressed North Node is at 19° Virgo heading back to the natal Jupiter. And probably most surprising of all — although not to astrologers — Colonel Hamilton is having a nodal return. The (mean) natal node is 3°01′ Libra and the transiting node on the opening night on Broadway was 3°23′ Libra. This would be another research project — looking at all the times this has happened before every 18 years and perhaps making connections between current events and Hamilton’s role in those events.

Who says you cannot rectify a chart? Or that life doesn’t go on, even after you are no longer in the body?


(1) A note about birth dates: There has always been a misunderstanding about Hamilton’s birth year, either 1755 or 1757.  In the research for his biography Chernow went to his birthplace and read the records. He concluded that Hamilton lied about his age when he left the West Indies and came to New York. Regulus Astrology, LLC came to the same conclusion in his rectification. Both concur the year was 1755.

(2) New York Times Style magazine, July 19, 2015; The American Revolutionary by Jody Rosen

(3) For those unfamiliar with Regulus, LLC, here is the website. If you go to the Research section and scroll down to Supplement Part I, you will find the rectification for Alexander Hamilton.

Here is TMA’s review of The Rectification Manuel: The American Presidency (2007).

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The Eight-Year Cycle of Venus and the Global Economy

By Arielle Guttman | August 10, 2015

Astrology is the study of cycles and patterns. What goes around comes back around. It is always interesting to look at where we were the last time a particular planetary return occurred and take stock of where we are now and what we’ve learned in the process. This summer it is time to look at where we were eight years ago, the summer of 2007, as a point of reference to where we are now.

Nearly eight years ago, on August 9, 2007, the housing bubble burst, beginning the Great Global Financial Crisis, which has taken the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. (1) That event was signified astrologically by a Venus retrograde cycle across the cusp of Virgo/Leo which also passed through the rings of Saturn three times (i.e., was conjunct). The planetary alignment for August 9, 2007 shows natal Venus at 29° Leo, Saturn at 26° Leo and the Venus Star Point (exact on August 15) at 25° Leo. (2) There was also a Neptune opposition to all three of these points, from Aquarius. With the two Venuses sandwiching with Saturn, the financial news and even the news for the romantically inclined was heading toward depressing, if not downright grief-producing. And with Neptune inserting itself into this mix, a whole lot of delusion, deception, and disappointment — cry me a river of tears. That event produced the domino effect of a financial crisis that has been called the worst one since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  It has, in fact, been nicknamed The Great Recession.

Most of us were not alive for the crash in the 1930s, but for the past eight years, it might seem that economic conditions in an unsettled world have been tough to endure. Economist Richard Wolff has stated that we were headed full speed into a brick wall in 2007 and nothing has changed. (3) He seems to indicate that we have learned nothing from that event and are ultimately headed there again. The questions are: can we look to the Venus Star Pentagram to track the progression of these economic cycles, and if so, how?

The answer is YES, we can use the Venus Pentagram to track these cycles. Venus is the key to this cycle in that the pentagram she produces with Earth while orbiting the Sun completes one round in eight years.

graphics by Arielle Guttman



So here we are, August 2015, coming into the critical eight-year return cycle of Venus. Where have we come from, what have we learned (Saturn always gives us ample opportunity to learn something big), and where do we go from here?

In August, Venus is again in a retrograde cycle in Virgo/Leo, squaring Saturn, conjoining Jupiter, and opposing Neptune. Venus squares Saturn three times (July 14, August 5, October 10), along with its buoyant and optimistically inclined conjunctions with Jupiter (July 1, August 4, October 25).

It is useful to examine the Venus Retrograde cycle itself. Every 1.6 years Venus goes retrograde on one of the 5 Star Points of its orbiting star. Every eight years it comes back nearly exactly to the point where it transited before. This year it repeats the retrograde on the Virgo/Leo cusp, but instead of interacting solely with Saturn, we find this Venus Star Point (VSP) also dancing with Jupiter a total of three times. Unlike the Saturn-Neptune configuration of eight years ago that captured Venus in her path and ultimately initiated a slow unraveling of the economic system, Jupiter’s presence this time will offer hope, optimistic bullishness, and even some greedy grabbing up of basic resources before the ultimate ring-pass-not of Saturn and Neptune puts a crash landing to it all. (4)

2007 Venus Star Leo Cycle Events: 2015 Venus Star Leo Cycle Events:
July 1: Venus conjunct Saturn – 22° Leo July 1: Venus conjunct Jupiter – 22° Leo
July 27: Venus Retrograde – 3° Virgo July 14: Venus square Saturn – 28° Leo/Scorpio
August 13: Venus conjunct Saturn (2nd) – 27° Leo July 25: Venus Retrograde – 1° Virgo
August 18: Venus Star Point – 25° Leo August 4: Venus conjunct Jupiter (2nd) – 29° Leo
September 8: Venus Direct – 16° Leo August 5: Venus square Saturn (2nd) – 28° Leo/Scorpio
October 13: Venus conjunct Saturn (3rd) – 5° Virgo August 15: Venus Star Point – 23° Leo
September 6: Venus Direct – 14° Leo
October 10: Venus square Saturn (3rd) – 2° Virgo
October 25: Venus conjunct Jupiter (3rd) – 16° Virgo

Note the similarities between the dates and degrees of the Venus Star cycle of 2007 and 2015:

Both Venus Retrograde cycles occur on the Leo/Virgo cusp;

Both Venus Star Points occur in the third decanate of Leo;

Both Venus events encounter Saturn three times.

The primary difference is that the 2015 cycle encompasses Jupiter three times. With Jupiter representing hope, expansion, risk-taking, speculation, and inflated values and ideas (certainly Venus to Jupiter can overdo it on a grand scale, spending at a dizzying rate), we will no doubt witness some of that during this period. But with Saturn squares still in the picture, there is a strong degree of conservatism at play here. Will the Venus Star, poised between Jupiter and Saturn, have the effect of neutralizing one another? More likely, there will be a vast surge of buying contrasted rather quickly by a sudden and necessary act of selling. In October we have a three-way encounter between Venus, Saturn, and Neptune: October 10–16 is definitely a time to watch financial indicators very carefully, especially in regard to those individuals and companies who are being deceptive. But the whole period of July through October 2015 is definitely when we will likely witness the titans of the world (banks, governments, corporations, groups, individuals) topple over and disintegrate right before our eyes, creating an opportunity for others to seize what has crumbled and take over.  Stay tuned — and stay tuned in — and you will know which way to go.

It’s a four-way encounter with these planets during this Venus Star cycle. There are still honest people in the world, but this configuration will greatly test that honesty when it comes to money and possessions. We will observe what absurd lengths people will go to in order to profit. The message could be “buyer beware,” so negotiate firmly but fairly when in dispute with another over goods, services, money, or property.

Some wildly speculative “get rich schemes” will emerge, but only if you “act fast”! Be careful about buying into thin air or investing in a balloon that’s about to burst. Saturn and Venus retrograde in Virgo urge us to invest in something more solid and practical, like higher education or training, journeys to distant lands with people who inspire us, skills enhancement, self-knowledge, health care, and overall maintenance of that which we already possess.

Meanwhile, Venus, the Venus Star Point, and Jupiter play around in Leo in the early part of the summer. The collective influence of all that fire in the sky (Jupiter in Leo until August 11, along with Venus and the Venus Star Point in Leo, and Uranus in Aries) is fire danger on earth. The more creative side of all this fire is the ability to HAVE FUN and Relax. Spend time with children or youthful-oriented adults and engage in play. Pour yourself into an art project or enjoy attending musicals, concerts, opera, and festivals. Be creative and try something new in the garden this year. And remember how much energy fire gives us to engage in something we’re truly passionate about.


(1) Wikipedia: Financial Crisis of 2007

(2) Venus Star Point (TM) is a term described by Arielle Guttman in her book Venus Star Rising. Arielle traces the conjunctions of Venus with the Sun in their five-pointed star pentagram and describes their symbolism unfolding in personal and global events. For more about her innovative work, visit Venus Star Rising where she also has a short video describing a pioneering use of the Venus Star Point in group situations.

(3) Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

(4) Transiting Saturn will square Neptune three times — exact on November 26, 2015, and June 17 and September 10, 2016.


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July Aspects and Astrology

By Kelly Surtees | June 29, 2015

July starts with a stunning nighttime visual as Venus joins Jupiter at 21° Leo. This pretty conjunction can be seen shortly after sunset, and will be best viewed in the first half of July. Look west and enjoy the celestial show.

As Venus appears to hang in the sky, slowing down for her upcoming retrograde, energy builds. Desires, dreams, and needs around relationships may deepen or intensify. Great insights can emerge, especially if you’re comfortable stepping back and turning your attention inward. The Moon joins Venus and Jupiter in Leo on July 18 – 20, adding extra emphasis to the “think big” themes of Venus and Jupiter.

A Venus – Jupiter aspect can arouse a sense of hope and optimism for the future. All things may seem possible, or a welcome and overdue connection may be made. Even though the conjunction peaks at the start of the month, the Moon’s influence may bring a little more of this celestial sweetness to the surface when she joins Venus and Jupiter from July 18 – 20. This infuses the first part of July with a sense of potential. Things that come to mind are the making of a generous gesture and the giving or receiving of heartfelt support. You may be inspired to go beyond familiar limits with loved ones.

This conjunction with Jupiter is one of two important but contrasting aspects Venus will make in the lead-up to starting her retrograde on July 24. After the July 1 conjunction with Jupiter, Venus in Leo will square Saturn at the tail end of Scorpio.

Venus to Saturn: A Relationship Reality Check

From July 12 – 16, Venus will square Saturn in Scorpio, from 28° Leo to 28° Scorpio. This brings the more intimate and profound themes of the Saturn-in-Scorpio cycle to the surface, and may remind you that there is still one layer of Saturn-in-Scorpio themes to excavate. Saturn is in Scorpio until September 18, and will sit at 28° Scorpio for all of July and August.

Venus square Saturn may invite you to put any new awareness you’ve developed since Saturn entered Scorpio in October 2012 into practice. This may involve honouring profound or stark truths, especially in the realm of relationships. Any Venus-Saturn angle highlights responsibilities to others, and can help you question the balance between care for self and care for those around you.

A hard aspect between Venus and Saturn, square or opposition, can bring a relationship reality check, where the truth about what really works — or doesn’t — in some of your most important partnerships may become crystal clear. This clarity highlights what really needs attention and can also help you understand what is irrelevant. Only core issues need raise their hands!

Under Saturn you may need to deepen your commitment, or be honest about where your commitment is waning. One client likened her Saturn to Venus transit to being in “dating or relationship school,” indicating an opportunity to learn, be honest, and make practical or realistic choices. This is not the stuff of romantic fairy tales, but rather the love of real life. It’s the love of balancing budgets and bills, trying to accommodate the needs of different careers, and working around parenting styles that may highlight values that clash. Events in mid-July can help trigger new understanding about commitment, boundaries, time, and promises, particularly in the context of relationships. Negotiations or adjustments may be required.

In terms of aspects, Venus shifts from the generous, upbeat, and optimistic influences of Jupiter, where anything — especially pertaining to dreams, love, and happiness — seems possible, to the serious, grounded, and practical influence of Saturn. You too may swing between hope and reality throughout the month.

Going Further with Venus: Retrograde + the Pentagram

There is a deeper level of meaning to be gained regarding Venus in July due to her retrograde phase, which begins on July 24, at 0° Virgo. Venus retrogrades in a predictable pattern, and her retrograde station degrees trace out a five-pointed star — a pentagram or pentacle — in the zodiac over a longer eight-year cycle.

In fact, through the course of our lifetime, Venus will only retrograde in the same five areas of the Zodiac: Leo/early Virgo, Aries/late Pisces, Scorpio/late Libra, Gemini and Capricorn.

The 2015 Venus retrograde occurs from 0° Virgo to 14° Leo, and runs from July 24 – September 5. Venus retrogrades in almost the same part of the Zodiac every eight years. In 2007, Venus was retrograde between 2° Virgo and 16° Leo, a difference of just two degrees from her retrograde this year. That last Venus in Leo/Virgo retrograde ran from July 26 – September 8, 2007. It’s not as simple as saying the same things that happened then will happen again, but you may notice themes arising in life and love during July and August that are similar to those you explored back then.

Venus starting her retrograde means that she will also be changing her phases in relation to the Sun. Venus phases are a bit technical to get into in this short overview, but if you’re curious, do read this post by Adam Gainsburg.

Jupiter Breaks New Ground

Jupiter moves into new territory in Leo this July, going beyond the limits of his retrograde in December 2014. At that time, Jupiter stationed retrograde at 22° Leo on December 7th.

This month Jupiter reconnects with the later part of Leo and pushes into new zodiacal territory. This can bring fresh possibilities, or may inspire you to stretch into a new opportunity. Jupiter in Leo can bring confidence and the desire to shed more of your bright, authentic light into this world. It’s an exuberant combination that encourages expression and celebration.

If you know your chart, and feel as though you’ve been expanding and exploring the topics associated with the house Jupiter in Leo is triggering for you, you may connect with one final opportunity or invitation around these topics or areas of life this month.

 Mars in Cancer: Juggling

Another feature of July’s forecast is Mars’ entry into the sign Cancer, which will energise this sometimes sensitive, and always conservative, sign from June 24 – August 8.

Mars can find it somewhat uncomfortable in Cancer. While in the sign of the Moon, this fiery, independent planet is asked to turn his attention and efforts toward family and the protection of loved ones. As Mars switches focus from his typically singular mindset and begins to prioritise the needs and care of others, assertiveness on behalf of personal needs and wants may wane.

Herein lies the Mars-in-Cancer conundrum: How do I get what I need while still providing for those I love? It’s this conflict between planet and sign that contributes to Cancer being considered the “fall” placement of Mars.

As a hot and dry planet, Mars is great at creating separation, or cutting ties, especially with people or obligations that may hold back or limit progress. Some of the frustration felt with Mars in Cancer can be the clash between the moist nature of watery Cancer, which wants to keep people and situations together, and the dry, separating quality of Mars, which prefers not to be held, or held back.

Mars in Motion: Aspects to Pluto and Uranus

While in Cancer, Mars will oppose Pluto in Capricorn and square Uranus in Aries. As Pluto and Uranus are moving out of their square aspect, this creates two separate and distinct aspect patterns. Between July 15 and 17, Mars will oppose Pluto (14° Cancer to 14° Capricorn), creating an intense energetic seesaw-like effect. Themes of power and control may be highlighted, especially in relationships.

An opposition pits two planetary forces against each other. Sometimes this plays out in real life as two people or two opposing groups get locked into battle. If a compromise can be reached, or you can channel this angle of pure force toward a worthy goal or project, you may be able to move mountains and smash through obstacles that stand in your way. The challenge will be to rise above a disagreement, or find a functional compromise that allows progress to continue.

The week of Monday, July 6th, when the Sun in Cancer opposes Pluto, may bring a preview of this feisty, frustrated, or focussed energy, preparing the groundwork for Mars to meet Pluto mid-month.

Mars then goes on to create a potentially combustible square with Uranus in Aries, just as Uranus stations retrograde, from July 24 – 27, between 20° Cancer and 20° Aries. This could be a fiery, explosive combination, but may more likely bring simmering emotions to the surface, given that Mars is in Cancer.

While events may reach a boiling point then, this exciting dynamic can also help spark new ideas or provide the courage and daring needed to make a wild decision. Choices and experiences may be surprising, unexpected, or dramatic, but they are sure to add excitement and keep you on your toes. Uranus’ buzz words of freedom, flexibility, and spontaneity may help you work with the changes this alignment is sure to trigger.

Mercury (finally) on the Move

Mercury leaves Gemini on July 8, after more than two months. Mercury will then fly through Cancer, from July 8 – 23, and add intensity to communication matters when he opposes Pluto in Capricorn around July 14 (note that Mars opposes Pluto at the same time). This configuration is also touched by the Moon, who will be in her balsamic phase in Cancer. Intensely deep and profound conversations may arise, as you experience emotions you may feel compelled to act on or express. One of the challenges of Mars in Cancer can be a passive-aggressive style of expression, so if you notice you’re churning inside about something but not expressing it, try to put words to your feelings, even if you only do so on the page.

Then, around July 19th, Mercury sparks off Uranus in Aries  (20° Cancer to 20° Aries), perhaps giving a voice to the wild ideas or dreams of freedom in your heart. A spontaneous declaration may occur, and even if it’s premature, it may be helpful to lay things on the line. A course correction, unexpected adjustment, or last-minute invitation may add spice to life then.

July looks dramatic and offers great potential for change and progress. If you have personal planets or chart points at any of the degrees highlighted, this may be an especially profound or intense month for you. However these planetary symbols manifest in your life, may you find a personally meaningful way to take heartfelt action and seize the day!

Kelly is a consulting astrologer, teacher, writer, and editor who works with clients and students around the world. With more than 12 years in private practice, Kelly is experienced, warm, and insightful. She loves exploring astrology’s history as well as escaping into the ocean. Kelly’s passion for astrology is infectious, and her specialty areas include Moon Phases, timing techniques like progressions, and incorporating traditional concepts. She can be found lecturing at conferences throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Kelly holds the Australian FAA Practitioner’s Diploma and is an expat Aussie who lives in Canada most of the year. Website: Kelly’s Astrology

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