TMA This Week

The Moon and Mercury Overthrow the Sun, part II

By Gary P. Caton | December 5, 2011

Unless the eye catch fire, God will not be seen
Unless the ear catch fire, God will not be heard
Unless the tongue catch fire, God will not be named
Unless the heart catch fire, God will not be loved
Unless the mind catch fire, God will not be known

William Blake (1)

A total lunar eclipse will take place on December 10, 2011. It will be completely visible, from beginning to end, throughout Asia and Australia. This eclipse will occur at moonrise over Eastern Europe and at moonset over northwest North America. This is the second of two total lunar eclipses in 2011, the first having occurred on June 15. (2) Moreover, this will be the third total lunar eclipse in a row, going back to the solstice total lunar eclipse of December 21, 2010. This is happening during a period of four partial solar eclipses. When we look closer, we see that the three consecutive total lunar eclipses are happening in opposition to Mercury’s conjunctions with the Sun.

December 19, 2010: Mercury Rx conjunct the Sun at 28° Sagittarius
December 21, 2010: Total Lunar Eclipse at 29° Gemini

June 12, 2011: Mercury (direct) conjunct the Sun at 22° Gemini
June 15, 2011: Total Lunar Eclipse at 24° Sagittarius

December 4, 2011: Mercury Rx conjunct the Sun at 12° Sagittarius
December 10, 2011: Total Lunar Eclipse at 18° Gemini

The day before the December 19, 2010 interior conjunction of the Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius, a young street vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire and sparked a series of “days of rage” across the Arab world, in what has been referred to as the “Arab Spring.” (3) In August 2011, during the next Mercury retrograde in Leo, we saw riots in London that, along with protests in Spain and Greece, became characterized as the “European Summer.” Now that we have come full circle back to the Sagittarian Mercury retrograde, the conflagrations have morphed into the “American Autumn” of the Occupy movements. When cast for Washington, D.C, we see the cardinal, or moveable, signs on the angles. Since these are the signs that mark the changes of seasons, it is a good bet the movements of the “American Autumn” will effect some changes by spring. Over the last year, Mercury and the Moon have teamed up to overthrow many Rulers, signified by the Sun. The Sun also signifies CEO’s, so it could be that some of the Banksters have a date with destiny.

Dec. 10, 2011
Total lunar eclipse
9:37 a.m. EST
Washington, D.C.
Whole sign houses

While some have equated all these movements with the applying Uranus-Pluto squares, I think that is an oversimplification. It is quite obvious to me that the Mercury retrograde and nodal/eclipse cycles are also playing a crucial part by accentuating the Fire element this year. All of the Mercury retrogrades have happened in Fire signs this year, and the North Node has been transiting a Fire sign, Sagittarius.

The alchemical symbol for Fire is an upward-pointing triangle, and these popular up-risings have definitely displayed the spontaneous and volatile nature of the fiery element. In mundane astrology the Moon symbolizes the People. In this powerful series of total lunar eclipses, the Moon is linked with Mercury. As I mentioned, this is concurrent with his retrogrades in the fiery element. It seems that Mercury and the Moon together have accomplished much more than they ever could have alone.

When you look more closely than the broad historical picture and focus on any particular event, it seems clear to me that outer-planet archetypes generally do not become actualized as events without the help of the personal planets. For instance, an often-overlooked fact is that the 9-11 attacks occurred during a t-square from the Sun, a sextile from Mercury, and a trine from Venus, to the Saturn-Pluto opposition.

Sept. 11, 2001
8:46 a.m. EDT
New York, N.Y.
Koch houses

Uranus crossed 0° Aries, the Vernal point, twice in 2010 (i.e., in May and in August). However, it was only when Mercury joined Uranus at the Vernal point this spring (on March 9 at 29°51′ Pisces) that we had the Fukoshima disaster. Which is the more powerful planet then? My answer is both. It seems the awesome power of the outer planets often only materializes as events with the additional synergy of the personalizing power of the inner planets.

Since the previous total lunar eclipse (on June 15), we have seen this synergistic effect for the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movements. On July 13, 2011 the Canadian-based Adbusters proposed a peaceful occupation of Wall Street to protest corporate influence on democracy, a growing disparity in wealth, and the absence of legal repercussions towards those implicated in the recent global financial crisis. In the chart for this event, Mercury is at 16° 29′ Leo, quite near his station direct on August 26 (18°41 Leo). This placement forms a Thor’s hammer or Arrowhead aspect configuration with the Uranus-Pluto squares. By residing at the far midpoint of Uranus and Pluto, Mercury is forming sesquisquares to both outer planets. When Mercury crossed the degrees of the Uranus-Pluto conjunctions of the 1960’s, we saw the first days of the Occupy Wall street protests. And when Venus, the Sun, and Mercury crossed the Autumnal equinox point of 0° Libra and formed a t-square to Uranus-Pluto, we saw the Occupy movements quickly morph into a national and global phenomenon.

July 13, 2011
5:38 a.m. EST (sunrise)
Washington, D.C.
Whole sign houses

During the last year, Mercury and the Moon have teamed up with Uranus and Pluto to overthrow many rulers, signified by the Sun. With the third total lunar eclipse looming, we inhabit quite a different world of possibilities than we had only a year ago. Whether or not you agree with, express solidarity with, or join forces with any of the protest movements around the world, it seems clear to me that the potential for radical paradigm shift is especially accessible to all of us over the next six months. (Six months is an average time for a lunar eclipse to be effective; this also coincides with the first exact Uranus-Pluto square in June 2012.)

On a personal level, the Sun is the ego and the overthrow of the Sun is the overcoming of false ego identity. However, as the alchemist’s say, there is no transformation without fire. Whether it’s the “fire in the head” of Yeats, the “fire in the eye” of Blake, or Keen’s “fire in the belly,” some part of us is yearning to catch fire and be transformed. (4) In alchemy, Fire operates through the process of Calcination.

Psychologically, Calcination is about the destruction of false ego attachments. The death of outdated, unwanted, or unhealthy ego structures results eventually in the birth of new ones. This can be achieved through a deliberate surrender of our inherent hubris through a variety of spiritual disciplines that ignite the fire of introspection and self-evaluation. Meditation or ceremonial work with fire as an element should be especially fruitful. (The elemental being associated with Fire is the salamander. This probably originates from salamanders hibernating in and under rotting logs. When wood was brought indoors and put on the fire, the creatures “mysteriously” appeared from the flames.)

Astrologically, access to this process may be shown in our personal charts by connections to the Fire element, e.g., by transiting Uranus in Aries, or the Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius in the chart for the current total lunar eclipse. It may also be shown by connections from our personal chart to Sagittarius’s ruler, Jupiter in Taurus.

Total lunar eclipse
9:37 a.m. EST
Washington, D.C.
0 Aries Ascendant

We should also note that the Moon is in Gemini at this lunar eclipse. Gemini, an Air sign, is compatible with and helps fan the flames of the Fire placements. In alchemy the Air element expresses itself through the operation of Separation, which involves rediscovery of our true essence and the letting go, or cutting away, of the self-inflicted restraints to our true nature. Mars rules cutlery and is the planet associated with the operation of Separation, as the goal is to cut away any remaining dross or falsity. Mars in Virgo is t-square to this total lunar eclipse and transiting Mars will be doing his retrograde dance in Virgo for the first four months of 2012. So the operation of Separation will be carried out via the use of critical thinking skills (Virgo), which will assist the Air element (intellect) in sorting and sifting through our lives. What parts are working and worth keeping and what parts need to be cut loose?

This series of total lunar eclipses seems to have inspired worldwide activism, and it is clear to me that we are passing a threshold. There is serious potential for moving ‘outside the box’ in creating our future. We’ve been waiting a long time for 2012, sensing it, feeling out the possibilities. Now it’s almost time to surf the wave. Whether through the conversation of an Occupy general assembly, the intense feelings provoked by participating in protests, or the deep inner psycho-spiritual searching of alchemy and other personal growth modalities, the work we do over the next six months paves the way for our experience of the first two Uranus-Pluto squares next year. This lunar eclipse is catalyzing the future. Our task now is to go into the spirit world and meet it, and then to return and call it forth from that magickal place to this one.

(1) The William Blake quote has various secondary sources, but I was unable to find the original source for this often quoted text.

(2) Please see Gary’s earlier blog on the June 2011 total lunar eclipse: The Moon and Mercury Overthrow the Sun

(3) Readers may enjoy this earlier blog: The Eclipses in Tunisia and Egypt

(4) William Butler Yeats’s poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus, refers to the ‘fire in the head’ that characterizes the visionary experience.
Sam Keen, The Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man, 1991, Bantam.

Recommended Reading and Listening:


Dennis Hauck, The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation, 1999, Penguin Compass

Alchemy Journal

Alchemy Lab: Calcination
Ceres Astrology: Calcination

Elemental Fire

Alchemy Lab: Separation
Ceres Astrology: Separation

Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 22 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to Astrology over 18 years. Visit Gary at his website: Dream Astrologer

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Sagittarius Eclipse: A New Power Emerges

By Gary P. Caton | November 21, 2011

A partial solar eclipse will occur on November 25, 2011 at 2°37′ Sagittarius. This will be the last of four partial solar eclipses in 2011; the others occurred on January 4, June 1, and July 1, 2011. With the North Node of the Moon, the Head of the Dragon, moving through the middle degrees of Sagittarius, we are now reaching the culmination of a period where the Sagittarius archetype is being torn open, erupting its dark shadow contents and forcing the entire world to see them. I say this because an eclipse is essentially a rip in the fabric of time, and eclipses at the Head of the Dragon represent something new coming into our awareness that we must struggle to integrate.

The North Node represents the evolutionary path forward. The North Node is also, and more appropriately, called the Ascending Node, because it is where the path of the Moon crosses the path of the Sun (ecliptic) going upward. It is thus interpreted as “where we are going” or “what we are here for.” It represents a place where something previously below (consciousness) now rises up. Just as the Sun crosses the horizon at dawn, something now is piercing the main plane of existence (ecliptic) in an upward manner, struggling to become manifest.

Systems theory can help us make a little more sense of this. (1) As living organisms, people (and arguably nations and civilizations) are open systems: they cannot survive without continuously exchanging matter and energy with their environment. This interaction has two components: input, i.e., that which enters the system from the outside, and output, i.e., that which leaves the system for the environment. The transformation of input into output by the system is usually called throughput.

Since Sagittarius is the sign where North Node eclipses are occurring now, the Sagittarius house cusp in any chart will be an area where new energy, feelings, and ideas are trying to enter. This is the input into the system. The input of an eclipse is basically added psychic energy, which stirs the pot and makes any energetic blockages in the organism more apparent.

The throughput aspect of this process is our own personal responsibility to maintain awareness of these blockages as they come up, and to begin the internal work required to remove them. If our throughput processing is even minimally successful, the output will be an ability to let go of blockages and live with greater ease and a more healthy and enhanced expression of both houses on the Gemini-Sagittarius axis.

In his excellent article earlier this year, Austin Coppock brilliantly described the basic function of this axis in terms of the alchemical formula Solve et Coagula, that is, separate and join together. (2) The basic function of Gemini is to fracture the One in order to see its different facets. Sagittarius then re-unites these fragments just as the centaur physically unites the animal/instinctive body of the horse with the rational/logical head of the human.

When understood this way, the location of the Great Attractor in Sagittarius makes even more sense, because gravity pulls things together. (3) This also seems to re-affirm the Sibly chart for the U.S. because Sagittarius is consistent with the idea of E Pluribus Unum — out of many, One. However, given the continuous difficulty of achieving any kind of true unity in this country, the Scorpionic America chart, put forth by David Solte, also seems appropriate. (4) Rather than falling on the horizon axis (as in the Sibly chart), Gemini/Sagittarius forms the vertical axis of this chart. The Sagittarius Midheaven signifies something we aspire to, rather than something we embody. In the Solte Scorpionic America chart, this eclipse could be viewed as a wake-up call regarding the realism of those aspirations to unity.

With Sagittarius on an angle in both the Sibly and Solte charts, it is no surprise that the U.S. is receiving a wake-up call from the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS). Contrary to mainstream media accusations that they lack a clear message, the basic message of the OWS movement has always been: We are the 99%.

You might ask: what does it mean to be the 99%? It is an established fact that income inequality in this great country has steadily increased for more than three decades. We are one of only a few developed countries where this is true. A Congressional Budget Office study in 2011 found that incomes of the top 1% increased about 275% in the period between 1979 and 2007, while all lower income levels lost their share of national income. (5) Put simply, for almost the entire life of this author, the 1% have been getting filthy rich while the 99% have been getting poorer. Unless you are a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg, or the average millionaire congressperson, I can’t see why that is anything to wave a flag about. Nor should it come as any surprise that many find this intolerable. I remember my undergrad sociology professor citing the basic sociological fact that when the gap between the rich and poor is stable, no matter how large, it is tolerated, but when the gap grows, revolutions occur. In other words, economic injustice and greed breed revolutions.

It also seems very fitting that Jupiter, the ruler of the North Node of the Moon in Sagittarius, is currently transiting Taurus, as there is such a spotlight on economic injustices. The question remains whether we can heal the division between the 99% and the 1% and bring economic unity back to this country. Perhaps the chart of the Saros Series, to which the November 25, 2011 partial solar eclipse belongs, can tell us something about that potential.

Eclipses happen in families or series, and a new member emerges about every 18 years. This is the Saros cycle, first discovered by Babylonian astronomer/astrologers more than two millennia ago. Solar eclipses with very similar characteristics repeat every 18 years, 11 days, and 8 hours; these eclipses are then part of the same family, or Saros Series. Any two eclipses separated by one Saros cycle (i.e., 6,585.3 days) share very similar geometries. They occur at the same node with the Moon at nearly the same distance from earth, and at the same time of year.

The current eclipse belongs to Saros Series 123, the last two of which occurred in November 1993 and 1975. This series is made up of 70 eclipses, and the current partial solar eclipse is number 53. The birth chart for this series — dated April 9, 1074 — is an eclipse in the middle degrees of Taurus, at the cross-quarter point between the vernal equinox and summer solstice. (6) The ruler of the eclipse, Venus, is near the vernal equinox point of 0° Aries, also called the Mundane or World Axis. Since eclipses in this series have important points on the World Axis, this series will have pronounced socio-political effects.

In the 1074 chart, there is also a t-square in the early degrees of the mutable signs (i.e., Mars in Pisces, Saturn in Sag, Mercury and Neptune in Gemini).  The current eclipse, at 2°37′ Sagittarius, resonates strongly with this chart. This suggests the current member of this Saros Series could be carrying a particularly potent version of the family story, which is about initiating big (cardinal) changes (mutable).

Chart for Saros 123: April 29, 1074; 3:05:35 a.m.; Constantinople

The chart for the November 25, 2011 partial eclipse echoes the birth chart of the series in a few important ways. (7) The ruler of this eclipse, Jupiter, is in Taurus, the sign of the first eclipse of this series. Also the mutable t-square in early degrees is again present, this time between the Sun and Moon, Mars, and Chiron.

Chart for solar eclipse: November 25, 2011; 1:09:58 a.m.; Washington, D.C.

Within these commonalities we can form some reasonable expectations. The Taurus theme tells us it is appropriate to focus on economic issues. Furthermore, Jupiter is part of a loose earth grand trine with Mars and Pluto. With all three planets being somewhat near their stations, we know this grand trine will be re-visited. This will happen in mid March 2012 when Mars squares the Lunar Nodes. I suspect March will be a major culmination of the energies that are beginning to gather steam now.

In the short term, this partial solar eclipse is followed in two weeks by a total lunar eclipse. Both eclipses occur during Mercury retrograde. As I suggested earlier this year the Mercury retrogrades in the fire element, along with a total lunar eclipse in air, are going to once again further invigorate the current global conflagrations. When Mercury crossed the North Node on November 15, the NYPD evicted the Occupiers. This has only served to strengthen their resolve, and now the protests are spreading onto college campuses. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens with OWS at the next two passes of Mercury over the North Node and the Great Attractor, in retrograde motion on December 2nd and in direct motion on December 26th. I have noticed a history of Mercury being active in the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) events. Stay tuned for more on that in two weeks, when I cover the coming total lunar eclipse.


(1) “Systems theory is the transdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research …..In this context the word systems is used to refer specifically to self-regulating systems, i.e., that are self-correcting through feedback. Self-regulating systems are found in nature, including the physiological systems of our body, in local and global ecosystems, and in climate – and in human learning processes.”

(2) Read Austin’s article here.

(3) Editor’s note: From an earlier article by Eric Francis: “Among the many strange marvels of the sign that contains the galactic center is another galactic point called the Great Attractor, located at about Sagittarius 14 degrees and two minutes.”
Also, see Gary’s blog on the Great Attractor.

(4) See Scorpionic chart.

David Solte (1949 – 2002) proposed a rectified chart for the U.S. in May 1993. He was a frequent contributor to TMA before his untimely death.David Solte Memorial

(5) Wikipedia

(6) Beginning of Saros 123: April 29, 1074; 3:05:35 a.m.; Constantinople.

(7) Solar eclipse; November 25, 2011: 1:09:58 a.m.; Washington, D.C.

Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 22 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, his life was changed in 1993 by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-disciplinary path to practicing Astrology over 18 years. Connect with Gary at

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Tuning into the Subtler Signals in the Sky

By Gary P. Caton | November 7, 2011

Any astrologer who has been practicing for very long knows that certain themes weave in and out of one’s life as one reads charts. The latest theme for me is the importance of the middle degrees of Sagittarius, which have appeared often in my clients’ charts. This is the location of a super-galactic gravitational anomaly called the Great Attractor. What the heck is that, you might ask?

In his “cosmic blip” newsletter of October 28, Philip Sedgwick describes the Great Attractor thus: “This amazing ‘thing’ is one of the most powerful pulling influences in deep space. It radiates in every energy spectrum and is one of the most gravitationally potent objects in the Universe. Its gravitational effects actually bend light around the Great Attractor such that it can be seen from behind.” Philip notes that the “symbolic imagery is important at times when one stands on tip toes wanting to know what looms over the next horizon…” (1)

We can speculate that the world is being initiated into the energy of the Great Attractor via the lunar nodes, currently at 14° Gemini/Sagittarius. That means we may get some clues about the meaning of this strange thing. The nodes, however, are often vague and hard to pinpoint, possibly because most people don’t understand what they are.

The lunar nodes represent the intersection points of the path of the Moon and the (apparent) path of the Sun, or ecliptic. Eclipses occur when there are lunations near the nodes because the Earth, Sun, and Moon are perfectly aligned in three dimensions. Currently the nodes are transiting through Gemini and Sagittarius, so the eclipses are happening when the Sun and Moon transit these signs together. Intersections like this are very significant in astrology, forming a kind of crossroads, with the potential for a lot more action than other quieter stretches of the celestial highways.

The Great Attractor isn’t the only unusual thing located in the middle degrees of Sagittarius. In his essay “The Riddle of the USA Horoscope,” Dane Rudhyar points out that this is also the location of the planetary nodes of both Venus and Uranus. (2) Astrologers most commonly use the lunar nodes in their work, but the planets have nodes, too. Just as the intersection of the Moon’s orbit with the ecliptic forms nodes, so too do the intersections of the planetary orbits with the ecliptic, although planetary nodes move much, much slower. For instance, the long awaited transit of Venus in June 2012, wherein Venus eclipses the Sun, is due to the fact that the Sun and Venus are crossing Venus’ North Node at the same time. These unique Venus transits, with Venus also eclipsing the Sun, occur in pairs more than 100 years apart, and are currently in the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius. (The first Venus transit of the current pair was in June 2004.) It will take hundreds of years for these rare transits that are also eclipses to change signs, and 80,000 years for the nodes of Venus to make a full circuit around the zodiac! (3) Therefore, the planetary nodes are even more fixed, or slow moving, than the so-called fixed stars, whose precessional movement takes 26,000 years to make a zodiacal circuit. This means that the planetary nodes are pretty close now to where they were during the founding of the U.S.A. in 1776.

Since the location of the Great Attractor wasn’t known until 1986, we have to assume Dane Rudhyar didn’t know about it. While I agree with Rudhyar regarding the significance of the South Nodes of Uranus and Venus on the U.S.A. Ascendant, the presence of the Great Attractor really seals the deal for me about the correctness of the Sibley chart. For instance, immigration to the U.S.A. first crossed one million people per decade in the 1840’s; this shows that the U.S.A. personifies the enormous gravity of the Great Attractor. (4)

Also, adding the South Nodes of Venus and Uranus to the Sagittarius Ascendant gives a perfect description of The Statue of Liberty, which graces our Eastern shore like the Ascendant of a horoscope does.

Emma Lazarus wrote her famous sonnet to the Statue of Liberty, The New Colossus, in 1883. (5) Here is part of the poem, with my additions of the keywords for Venus, Uranus, Sagittarius, the South Node, and the Great Attractor added in italics:

“A mighty woman (Venus, whose metal is copper) with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning (Uranus), and her name
Mother of Exiles (South Node).  From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide (Sagittarius) welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities (Sagittarius, a double-bodied sign) frame.
‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse (South Node) of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, (Great Attractor)
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

And who are the “wretched refuse” of America these days? We are. You and me. The 99%. The Banksters have stolen all our cash and cast us aside like trash. And the Occupy movements are bringing awareness to this fact. Accordingly, there is a conjunction of personal planets, Mercury and Venus, slowly moving toward a crescendo in the middle degrees of Sagittarius, where they will join with the North Node of the Moon, the Great Attractor, and the South Nodes of Venus and Uranus. The triple conjunction is at 14° Sagittarius on November 14.


A close (within two degrees) triple conjunction of Mercury and Venus with the lunar North Node in the middle degrees of Sagittarius is a very rare event. (6) This is about as rare as a Saturn-Pluto opposition from Gemini to Sagittarius. Since the Saturn-Pluto opposition across the U.S.A. horoscope’s horizon was such a big deal, it is quite possible this triple conjunction on the Ascendant will also be very important.

Beyond any possible mundane ramifications, what could this mean in the lives of regular people? Put simply, a heckuvalot.  One of my podcast listeners reminded me that it was at the last pass of the transiting lunar North Node over the Great Attractor (and the South Node of Venus) that I had my big Dream, where I saw the glyph for Venus in the heart of the Sun, and found out that was what was actually happening in the sky!

In the e-mail referred to above, Philip Sedgwick says, “The Node to the Great Attractor refreshes life mission statements.” Evolutionary astrologers believe the lunar nodes represent something akin to what Caroline Myss calls your “sacred contract.” This means the lunar nodes say something about a soul’s intentions for incarnating. I wrote about this perspective on the nodes for Planet Waves at the July 2011 Solar Eclipse. (7)

Let’s assume for a moment that the lunar nodes represent a sort of portal through which souls with similar intentions come into the material plane for certain kinds of experiences. What this means is that a particular kind of contract is being activated at any given time. Since the Sun and Moon align with the nodes at an eclipse, it could be a moment when these contracts are activated as agreements. This could mean that, right now, thousands of souls are getting their marching orders for incarnation over the next six months, or at least setting their intentions consciously.

What does this have to do with you? Well, what if you can re-negotiate your contract? What if, like the souls who’ve been waiting for incarnation, you can now get the stamp of approval for a change in your own marching orders? What if now is the perfect opportunity to shift your life’s focus from repeating your past, or your karma, to embracing your future, your calling, or dharma?

I would suggest that it doesn’t matter at all if any of this is “true.” What I’m proposing is a version of what coaches, therapists, and counselors call “the miracle question,” an aid to help you envision how the future will be different when any particular problem is no longer present. It also helps you to establish goals.

So, imagine that this is true. Imagine that you can re-negotiate, re-new, or re-affirm your sacred contract, your mission in life. Not only that, but imagine it works so well that you get the stamp of approval to change your contract in a way that would eliminate any problem in your life.

When you wake up the next morning, how will you begin to discover that the miracle has happened? What else are you going to notice? What else?

As Mercury, Venus, and the North Node of the Moon all head for a conjunction on the Great Attractor, now more than ever, communicating from your heart (expressing your Eros) has an attractive or unifying force that arises from within and makes you and others more aware of your true nature, one that is more fully realized and in tune with your world.


(1) Sign up for Philip’s Galactic Times newsletter to receive his “cosmic blip” e-mails. This quote is from the October 28, 2011 e-mail.

Astronomical data about the Great Attractor: (also from )

The Great Attractor (Abell 3627)
Tropical Longitude:14 Sagittarius 02 22 (epoch 2000.0)
Latitude: 38 S 54
Sidereal Longitude: 19 Scorpio 18 11
Right Ascension: 243 53 12
Declination: 64 S 55 on the GA

(2) The positions of the nodes of Venus and Uranus were one of Rudhyar’s reasons for favoring a Sagittarius Ascendant for the U.S.A. chart. The Sibley Ascendant is 12°21’ Sagittarius; Rudhyar rectified the chart to a 13°10’ Sagittarius Ascendant. Khaldea
The South Node of Uranus is 13°59′ Sagittarius; the South Node of Venus is 16°40′ Sagittarius. From: Heliocentric Astrology

(3) SavageGarden


(5) The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

(6) Using Dan Ciubotaru’s configuration hunter website, I found that the previous triple conjunction was in 1285.
Configuration Hunter

(7) Planet Waves

Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 22 years. After exploring Shamanism & the Tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-disciplinary path to practicing Astrology over 18 years. Connect with Gary via his website DreamAstrologer

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Venus and Mars

By Mary Plumb | October 10, 2011

Paul McCartney married Nancy Shevell on Sunday, October 9, 2011, at the Olde Marylebone Town Hall in London, the same location of his wedding to Linda Eastman in 1969. (After a famously close and happy marriage, Linda died in 1998.)

We have recorded times for Paul and Linda and I’m going to start with the angular connections (and eclipse patterns) between their horoscopes.There are significant planetary connections to the all-important angles between the natal charts: Her Jupiter (21° Gemini) is conjunct his MC (24°); her nodal axis (22° Virgo-Pisces) crosses his Ascendant/Descendant (25° Virgo-Pisces); his Moon (17° Leo) is conjunct her MC (16° Leo), and his Juno, asteroid of marriage (7°48’ Scorpio), is conjunct her Ascendant (8°42’ Scorpio).

They married on March 12, 1969. (1) There was a solar eclipse on March 18 at 27° Pisces, conjunct his Descendant and triggering both of their prenatal solar eclipse (PNSE) degrees. (2)

Linda was born on September 24, 1941, a few days after a solar eclipse (September 21). Her PNSE is 27°47′ Virgo, precisely conjunct his Neptune (27°07’), ruler of his Pisces 7th-house cusp.

Paul’s PNSE is 25°45′ Pisces, exactly on his Descendant, placing unusual emphasis on the striking importance of partnerships of all kinds in his life. (3) (Remember the Beatles?)

Linda died on April 17, 1998. There was a full moon eclipse on March 13 at 22°23’ Virgo conjunct his Ascendant/Descendant  (and square the MC/IC) and her nodal axis (22° Virgo/Pisces).

In 2002 Paul married Heather Mills, a marriage that ended with a very messy divorce in 2008. I have used a sunrise chart for her, as there is no birth time. (4) Her Pluto-Uranus conjunction (opposite Chiron) straddles his Ascendant/Descendant axis.
Paul and Heather

Paul and Heather were married on June 11, 2002, the day after a solar eclipse at 19°54′ Gemini conjunct his 1st-house ruler, Mercury retrograde at 18°21’ Gemini.

Heather Mills’s natal Juno is exactly conjunct his at 7° Scorpio. The less savory side of Juno in Scorpio is apparent, as personal details about their respective shadow sides came into the public record in the divorce proceedings. (5)
Curiously, her PNSE is 9° Scorpio, conjunct natal Juno. (6)

On October 9, the birthday of his songwriting partner John Lennon, Paul McCartney married Nancy Shevell in London. I did not find any information about Nancy Shevell’s birthday (or year). (***See update in comments below)

However, there will be a lunar eclipse on December 10 at 18°08’ Gemini, again conjunct Paul’s 1st-house ruler, Mercury.

Transiting Mercury was at 23° Libra, conjunct the beautiful fixed star Spica, and Juno at 24° Libra on his wedding day. The news reports of the ceremony included warm memories of his beloved wife Linda and the general happiness for the new couple.  (Paul and Linda’s composite Juno is at 23° Libra in the 1st house, which is also the degree of Linda’s Sun/Moon midpoint.)

The great songwriter has the natal Venus/Mars midpoint directly conjunct the Sun at 26° Gemini, so the creative dance of the masculine/feminine resides in the heart of his essential nature.

Here’s a link to his song, Venus and Mars Are Alright Tonight, written in 1975 when he was married to Linda.


May Paul and Nancy have all happiness!

Data for chart 1: Paul McCartney: June 18, 1942; 2 pm BDST Liverpool, England; Linda Eastman: Sept. 24, 1941; 10 am EDT: New York, NY (both Rodden A rating)


(1) All biographical details from Wikipedia

(2) Readers may know that I am keen on noting the degree of the PNSE (as per Carl Jansky) as a lifelong sensitive degree that can show people (or events) with whom we have a compelling or unusual connection.

(3) The solar eclipse prior to Paul’s birth was on March 16, 1942.

(4) Heather Mills: Jan. 12, 1968 in Aldershot, England, sunrise chart

(5)  “Mills publicly accused McCartney of cruelty and sought a massive $250 million divorce settlement, but the judge sided with McCartney, calling her claims exorbitant. The British public, enamored of the sunny Sir Paul since his early Beatle days, also sided with the singer.”
Sun Times

(6) The solar eclipse was on November 2, 1967.

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Occupy Wall Street

By Mary Plumb | October 3, 2011

The Ascendant of the 2011 U.S. solar return chart is 2°50’ Libra, which is closely conjunct the Sibly 10th-house cusp (1°03’ Libra). On September 17th, the first day of the Occupy Wall Street protest, transiting Venus was at 3° Libra conjunct the solar return Ascendant, the Sibly 10th-house cusp, and in a t-square to transiting Uranus/Pluto, which are angular in the solar chart. Venus is associated with banking and money matters.


Sibly solar return 2011
Note also that the Midheaven of the solar return is 3°13’ Cancer, conjunct natal Venus at 3°06’ Cancer.

I wrote earlier that the Ascendant of the solar return conjunct the Sibly 10th-house cusp “places this year’s very clear emphasis on actions of the government itself, and on the nation’s self-image and role, as well as responsibility and reputation, in the wider world.” Among the calls from the people in the streets: “The whole world is watching.”

Also in the 2011 solar return, Juno, the asteroid associated with balanced power and sensitivity to those who are disempowered, is conjunct the U.S. natal Neptune in Virgo, which squares Mars in Gemini.

Sibly & sr 2011The Sun on the 17th, the first day of the occupation, was at 24° Virgo, just past the U.S. Neptune (22°25’ Virgo) and the U.S. solar return Juno.

The solar return Juno, at 23°44’ Virgo, was the last of her three conjunctions to the U.S. Neptune that began in December 2010.
The U.S. horoscope has Mars at 21º Gemini in the 7th house, square Neptune at 22º Virgo, sign of its detriment. I wrote in an earlier blog: “As a nation, we have a collective storyline that includes both nebulous (or ill-defined) actions or motivations, and a susceptibility to propaganda or seduction, side-by-side with a guileless belief in altruistic action.”

Much of the media has reported that the “occupation” has begun with ill-defined or nebulous aims, but those who relate to general feelings of outrage at corporate malfeasance have no trouble relating to the mood of the protestors.  (1) (I read several commentators on blogs suggesting a succinct key theme for the occupation: “We want our f…… money back!” How’s that for Venus square Pluto and opposite Uranus?)

The New Moon on September 27th was at 4°00’ Libra conjunct the solar return Ascendant, further triggering that chart, as well as being square Pluto and opposite Uranus. We know the early degrees of the cardinals are highly sensitive now; Uranus stationed retrograde on July 9 at 4°33’Aries. Pluto went direct on September 16 at 4°53’ Capricorn.

The first quarter Moon today is at 10°33’ Capricorn, with the Sun at 10° Libra, conjunct Saturn of the solar return chart. In spite of 700 arrests over the weekend, this morning’s news reports the growing protests in other cities. I’m hoping Saturn suggests a further solidarity and organizing, and not increased repression by the police.

Transiting Mercury was at 15° Virgo on the first day of the Occupy Wall Street protest on September 17th. The mainstream media began writing about the event on Monday, September 19th, by which time Mercury the messenger, in its place of rulership in Virgo, had passed through 17°09’ Virgo, the degree of the three generational marking Uranus-Pluto conjunctions between October 1965 and June 1966. Each of those conjunctions occurred between 16°-17° Virgo (Thanks to Gary Caton for bringing this to my attention.)


(1) See Another Occupation Without An Exit Strategy?

(2) “September 19 (Day 3) – the stock market opens on Wall Street for regular business. Many major news sources begin to publish articles on the occupation, and Occupy Wall Street caught some mainstream media attention across a wide variety of sources.”

Some other astrological bloggers:

Leo Knighton Tallarico’s site, Perspectives from the Sky has a new entry, Occupy Wall Street, Hope in America

Jude Cowell’s Stars Over Washington has a video, Wall Streeters mock Occupy Wall Street marchers with champagne toasts

Eric Francis has great photos at Down on Wall Street

Theodore White’s thorough new entry at Global Astrology includes Signs of Uranus Square Pluto: Americans Occupy Wall Street

Some other (non-astrological) commentators:

Virgo Activist Van Jones (born on September 20, 1968 with Uranus and Pluto conjunct the Sun) is co-writer of Wall Street Protest: Which Side Are You On?

Chris Hedges, an eloquent and influential journalist and early supporter of the occupation, writes The Best Among Us.

The Guardian: Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination
“The young people protesting in Wall Street and beyond reject this vain economic order. They have come to reclaim the future”

A US Autumn Responding to Arab Spring by Princeton University professor Cornel West

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Troy Davis

By Mary Plumb | September 26, 2011

Despite serious doubts about his guilt, Troy Davis was executed in Jackson, Georgia on September 21. He was declared dead at 11:08 pm. (1)

CNN World’s headline, “World Shocked by U.S. execution of Troy Davis,” captures the mood of many and the case has galvanized global support to abolish the death penalty. “The European Union expressed ‘deep regret’ over the execution and repeated its call for a universal moratorium on capital punishment.” (2)

Troy Davis was born in Butts County, Georgia on October 9, 1968. (3) With no known birth time, I cast a sunrise chart for Jackson, Georgia. (Jackson is the largest town in Butts County, so that’s where I set the chart.)

Troy Davis, sunrise, natal chart
The death chart has 11° Gemini rising (opposite the Sibly Ascendant), with the Ascendant ruler Mercury at 23° Virgo, directly on Davis’s natal Pluto-Jupiter conjunction.

In the chart for the time of his death, Mercury is 135° to retrograde Jupiter (ruler of the legal system) at 9° Taurus, and the Moon in Cancer is 135° to Neptune at the Midheaven. Neptune at the Midheaven suggests the worldwide media attention; the dubious circumstances (i.e., changing testimony of key witnesses) throughout the case; and the loss and sorrow for all the families personally involved with the case (i.e., the deceased police officer’s and the Davis families) as well as the general public’s strong emotional identification with the event.

Pluto is also on the cusp of 8th house at the time of his death, suggesting that the moment is tied to the greater collective consciousness.

The murder of the police officer that Troy Davis was accused of killing was on August 19, 1989. This was two days after a lunar eclipse at 24°12’ Aquarius (August 17). This eclipse was square to Davis’s natal Neptune at 24° Scorpio. Further trouble for him is inferred by Davis’s Mars return (11° Virgo), which occurred on the day of the murder.

Without a birth time, we can set a chart for the prenatal solar eclipse of an individual to see how they connect to the larger currents of the time. The prenatal solar eclipse for Troy Davis was on September 22. This eclipse set for the birthplace is quite striking: Jupiter, Pluto, Moon, Sun, and Uranus are all on the Ascendant. (Uranus at 29°36’ Virgo; the eclipse at 29°29 Virgo)

The PNSE Pluto sits directly on the Sibly Neptune at 22° Virgo in the 9th house (of legal matters).

Sibly & PNSE Troy DavisThere was also a lunar eclipse on October 6, 1989, three days before Davis was born. This was at 13°14’ Aries. The Sun was on the U.S. Sibly Saturn— dignified in Libra and in full view in the 10th house — and square to the nation’s Sun at 13°19’ Cancer. This eclipse ties Troy Davis strongly to the national horoscope.

Furthermore, if we place the transits for the event on the Sibly chart, the Moon in Cancer (strong public interest) is on the 8th-house cusp. (I use different house systems in my work, but have found the Porphyry 8th-house cusp to be eerily sensitive at the time of death.)
Sibly & death Troy Davis
Troy Davis’s natal Uranus is at 0°40’ Libra, on the Aries Point of worldwide visibility; this is also on the Sibly Midheaven, 1°03’ Libra. The legacy of his life is connected to bringing issues of justice and equality onto the worldwide stage.

This morning, as we approach tomorrow’s New Moon in Libra, (4) I read: “The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says Georgia’s execution of high-profile death row prisoner Troy Davis last Wednesday may have violated international law, citing serious concerns that the rights of Davis to due process and a fair trial were not respected.” (5)

May he rest in peace.


(1) ABC News

(2) CNN World

(3) Wikipedia

(4) The New Moon at 4°00′ Libra is square Pluto. Mercury, Venus and Saturn are also in Libra, with Mercury at 2°52′,  opposite Uranus retrograde at 2°31′ Aries.

(5) Democracy Now

Here are some of the many informative articles on various aspects  of the case:

I Ordered Death in Georgia

Amnesty USA

Troy Anthony

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Michele Bachmann Springs Forth

By Mary Plumb | August 15, 2011

The recent Newsweek cover, with a wide-eyed photo of Michele Bachmann, reminded me of Pallas Athena springing forth from Zeus’s head. (1) But then, I had already noticed that Bachmann shares Pallas Athena conjunct the Moon with the U.S. Sibly horoscope.

Bachmann was born on April 6, 1956 in Waterloo, Iowa. (2) There is a question about her birth time, so I am using a sunrise chart. (3)

The Sibly Moon is at 27° Aquarius with Pallas Athena at 26° Aquarius. The Moon was in Aquarius until 11 p.m. on Bachmann’s birthday; her natal Moon is somewhere between 18° Aquarius and 1° Pisces. (I am assuming an Aquarius Moon herein.)

Bachmann’s Pallas is at 23°Aquarius; for most of the day it was very close to the Moon. Pallas shows the strategist, the one who recognizes patterns and has creative intelligence.

Considering the Sibly Moon, there is a revolutionary spirit that resides within the heart of the American public (Moon). Bachmann has a revolutionary spirit as well. In her case, it is to return the U.S. to a government run by Christian values. Aquarius can be idealistic, visionary, and radical. Michele Bachmann has a sure vision for the country.

Radical means, “of or going to the root or origin; fundamental” or “thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms: a radical change in the policy of a company.”

She has been educated by the radical theocracy of a sect within Christianity known as Domininism, which believes that “Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions.” (4)

Bachmann has at least one very strong tie to the Sibly chart: her natal north node is at 10°59’ Sagittarius conjunct the Sibly Ascendant at 12°21’ Sagittarius.

She was born the day after Uranus stationed direct. Astrologers might say that she is deeply motivated by the urgency to express her ideas of freedom and liberty. (In fact, she is quoted in the current New Yorker profile: “If there was one word on a motivation or world view, that one word would be ‘liberty.’ ” )  (5)

Stationary Uranus (co-dispositor of the Aquarius Moon) is also opposite an exalted Mars in Capricorn and square to Neptune in Libra. Mars in aspect to Neptune can have a glamorous, hypnotic feel, and an ability to be savvy about media. (Although this is certainly true of many politicians, the New Yorker article specifically mentions that her public relations team is very careful about what clothes she is wearing when being photographed.)

I have read that her admirers are impressed by her directness and her personal conviction and sense of certainty about her views. The Sun in Aries conjunct Mercury squared by Mars in Capricorn seems to describe that well.

Another side of the Sun in superior conjunction with Mercury in Aries (squared by Mars opposite Uranus): “Part of what’s so appealing about her is that she speaks passionately and off the cuff. But she often seems to speak before she thinks, garbles words, mixes up history, or says things that don’t make sense. At some point, when more people are paying attention, she might go just a bit too far.” (6)

Without a birth time, I like to set the prenatal solar eclipse (PNSE)  chart for the place of birth to see some otherwise hidden qualities of the life. In Bachmann’s case, that solar eclipse was on December 14, 1955 at 21°30 Sagittarius, which is exactly opposite Mars and square Neptune in the Sibly chart.

Maybe this suggests her personal connection to the religious fervor that has galvanized part of the country. The Sibly Ascendant ruler, Jupiter at 5° Cancer, is at the Midheaven of the eclipse chart set for her birthplace in Waterloo.

The PNSE chart set for her birthplace has the acutely sensitive early degrees of the cardinal signs on the angles.

The Ascendant is 4°56’ Libra, an especially important degree now for Uranus (i.e., it stationed retrograde on July 9 at 4°33’ Aries). It’s like Uranus is warmly welcoming Michele Bachmann into the fray.

One more wacky Uranian note: consider this bit from her Wikipedia page (under the subhead Light Bulbs): “Bachmann introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, which would require a GAO report show that a change to fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) would have “clear economic, health and environmental benefits” prior to enforcement of lighting efficiency regulations that effectively ban conventional light bulbs.”

Your comments always welcomed! Have a good week everyone.


(1) Huffington Post

(2) Wikipedia

(3) See Patrick Watson’s blog, Michele Bachmann’s Birth Time Revealed….Sort Of

(4) A Christian Plot for Domination? by Michelle Goldberg

(5) Leap of Faith by Ryan Lizza

(6) Leap of Faith by Ryan Lizza

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Venus, the Sibly USA chart, and the “Debt Crisis”

By Gary P. Caton | July 25, 2011

Currently Venus has entered a phase where she is invisible to the naked eye for 60 days or more, as she closes in on superior (also called exterior) conjunction with the Sun. Any planet close to the Sun is outshined by the solar glare. When the inner planets travel on the other side of the Sun from Earth, this invisible phase lasts much longer than when they pass between the Sun and the Earth. Venus is only invisible for a couple of weeks when she passes in front of the Sun while retrograde. It takes much longer when Venus is on the far side of the Sun because she has to catch and pass him in zodiacal longitude.

Currently, Venus is within ten degrees of an applying conjunction with the Sun, and therefore is invisible. This is the same basic phase she was in on July 4, 1776. Venus stands out in the Sibly chart for the U.S. as a very important planet because it is closest to the cardinal axis, conjunct the ruler of the Ascendant (i.e., Jupiter), and also in “phasis” (heliacal set). In the Sibly chart, Venus is exactly at ten degrees of separation from the Sun, and therefore near what is called “heliacal setting,” where she disappears from the morning sky and is swallowed by the Sun’s rays. Right now, we have what is called a “phase return” or a phase-angle return. Venus is near the same relationship with the Sun as when this country officially began.
Simultaneously, the U.S. is going through a Saturn return, and both of these returns are happening in financial houses — the 8th and 11th “whole signs” from the Sagittarius Ascendant. (The exact phase-angle return of a ten-degree applying conjunction between Venus and the Sun happened in early July, when both planets were in Cancer, the 8th sign from the Ascendant). So, astrologically, it is really no surprise to this astrologer that we are still going through some major financial adjustments even though it has been nearly three years since the first Saturn-Uranus opposition popped the financial bubble (in November 2008, quite close to the Sibly natal Neptune).

Our country has a long complicated history of financial crises. What’s that all about, anyway? To this astrologer, the history of banking in the U.S. reads something like a Tom & Jerry cartoon. Round and round she goes, and where she stops nobody knows. First, there was a government-run central bank. Then Andrew Jackson did away with that and instituted the “free banking era” of state banks. After the Civil War we went to a system of “national banks.” The Panic of 1907 induced the creation of the Federal Reserve, the central regulatory agency on banking. And now we have a situation where the U.S. government bought up the bad debt of the investment bankers to stave off another Great Depression. Does this mean we are right back where we started — back to having a government-run central bank? If unregulated “too big to fail” institutions are the backbone of our banking system, how are they not de facto central banks, in practice if not in name? These banks, after all, are backed by the government itself, while being poorly regulated by the government at the same time.

Unregulated de facto central banks would still be running our financial system if it weren’t for The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed by the Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Obama a year ago. This was the most sweeping change to financial regulation in the United States since the Great Depression. (1) However, the President tells us there are armies of lobbyists spending huge amounts of money to water down these important regulations, which were intended to put an end to “too big to fail.” (2)

In a country purported to be the greatest in the world, what would speak to this round robin, cartoonish style of managing our money? In the words of Dana Carvey’s old Saturday Night Live character, the Church Lady: Could it be….SATAN??? Well, in fact, the Sibly chart does speak to just such an arrangement! The Sibly chart has an opposition between two retrograde planets — the Lord of the Underworld (Pluto) and Mercury, from the 2nd to the 8th house, forming a “wedge of delusion” (by trine and sextile) to an angular Neptune in the 10th house. And it was the Saturn-Uranus oppositions crossing that Neptune (in 2008-9) that started this whole mess.

Now that transit Pluto opposes the exalted Sibly natal Jupiter in the 8th whole sign, we have an 8th-house crisis of huge national debt on our hands. The question of what to do about this debt remains unanswerable by lawmakers who refuse to compromise. Congress is symbolized by the 11th house, where we are having a transit Saturn return.

The new radical wing of the conservative party, the so-called “tea-party” Republicans, are adamantly refusing to raise the debt ceiling. Conservatives as a whole do not seem to be able to support any measures other than massive spending cuts to address the debt issue. Any kind of revenue increase seems to be highly objectionable to them. Are they correct? Do we simply have a spending problem? What can astrology say about this?

The succedent houses (the 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th) follow the angular houses and are said to be the financial houses of any horoscope. The 2nd is your money. The 5th is where you spend your money (and take other risks). When you spend your money it goes to other people, and so the 8th house is other people’s money (and collective resources such as taxes and debts). And finally, when other people spend their money, it comes back to you, so the 11th house is a place of acquisition.

Does the U.S. have a spending problem? Yes, transiting Uranus in the 5th house is here to shake up the old ways of spending to help us seek newer, more progressive ways. However, is this the sum total of the problem? Hardly. Every financial house in the Sibly chart is currently being activated by transit.

Does the phase-angle return of Venus in the 8th house suggest we need new sources of tax revenue? Since this only happens in the natal sign every eight years, and the Bush tax cuts were in 2001 and 2003, astrology’s answer would seem to be “you betcha”! Could a reform of our tax laws to eliminate loopholes also be in order? Absolutely. It’s been way more than eight years since the Tax Reform Act of 1986. That’s almost a Saturn cycle. It should be noted that even Republican presidents (like Reagan) raised revenue through raising taxes when needed. (3)

When we consider that we are moving toward the nation’s first Pluto return (2022), we might ask whether The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was an appropriate response to the “too big to fail” dilemma? (Banking is a 2nd-house matter and banking regulations fall under Capricorn.) This is possibly the single most important issue we have recently faced as a nation. The current Congress cannot respond constructively to the debt ceiling problem, while the previous Congress helped protect the economy in the long term. If the government is responsible for bailing out the banks, it should have the responsibility and the means to regulate them. It is only by punishing those who create situations whereby they can greedily prey on consumers that we can avoid yet another financial crisis. If there are no consequences other than being bailed out, why would it be any different next time?

As I mentioned above, Venus stands out in the Sibly chart because it is the planet closest to the cardinal axis; it is conjunct the ruler of the Ascendant; and is in “phasis” (helical set). When I see a planet that stands out in a chart like this, I like to use a technique I adapted from the late, great Robert Blaschke. I draw a chart for the pre-natal conjunction of that planet with the Sun, cast at the birthplace. For the inner planets, Mercury and Venus, who have two kinds of conjunctions with the Sun, I use the pre-natal retrograde conjunction.

In the case of the U.S. Sibly chart, the pre-natal retrograde conjunction of Venus with the Sun was at 1°01’ Scorpio. The sabian symbol for 2° Scorpio reads: “What has been a handsome and valuable bottle lies broken and forgotten, a trail of living perfume leads from it.” Marc Edmund Jones says the negative manifestation of this degree is “witless dissipation of every resource of self and society.” As an astrologer, this symbol confirms what our history tells me: that unless we continue to make and defend the tough choices now needed to reform our financial system and tax laws, we will very likely see the beautiful perfume bottle of our economy once again broken and spilled.


(1) The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

(2) How Wall Street Reform is working for you


Recommended Reading:

Robert Blaschke (2006), Vol V Holographic Transits, Port Townsend, WA, Earthwalk School of Astrology.

Gary P. Caton is an eclectic astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied spirituality for over 22 years. After exploring shamanism and the tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent dream, in which he was shown planetary alignments and became an astrologer. Gary holds a degree in counseling and has developed a unique multi-disciplinary path to astrology over 18 years. Visit Gary at his website:

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Nessus and Pholus

By Mary Plumb | July 11, 2011

I have been thinking a lot about the Minor Planets, Nessus and Pholus, discovered in the 1990s. They are named for mythological centaurs and are connected to the most gifted centaur, Chiron. Chiron was discovered in 1977 and traveled alone until his companions began to be sighted. There are now many (close to 100) other new minor planets, but Nessus and Pholus were the first to be discovered. They share some of Chiron’s unique astronomical properties; like Chiron, they come from outside our solar system and have highly elliptical orbits.

Melanie Reinhart writes about Nessus and Pholus in each of her newly revised books. I wrote a review of the new edition (2009) of her book, Chiron and the Healing Journey, in TMA Feb/March 2011. To quote from that review:

“Reinhart remains at the vanguard of those astrologers who are integrating the newer celestial objects that “may enter our inner space, ‘visiting’ us for a time.” These “visitors,” which include Chiron and the other Centauric bodies, have their origins in the Kuiper Belt, discovered in the early 1990s. Pluto is the most famous object now thought by astronomers to have originated there.” (1)

(Long time readers may remember early articles in TMA. In January 1996, Robert von Heeren wrote New Discoveries beyond the Orbits of Neptune and Pluto, and in July 1996, von Heeren and Dieter Koch together wrote The New Planet Pholus.)

My own thinking on Nessus and Pholus has been directly influenced by Melanie Reinhart, whom I first heard teaching on these two new bodies at UAC in Orlando in 2002. (My initial reaction to these guys was, oh no, more trouble. I knew she was on to something, but it took some time before I began to recognize them at work. At the moment, Nessus and Pholus are all over the place in my life, but as astrologers know, that’s the way it is with archetypes.)

Their myths are complex and evocative (I’ll include some links below), but, for now, suffice it to say that these companions to Chiron are also involved with the healing and transformation of some deep, dark aspects of our shared human experience. They seem to be connected to the ancestral realms and generational healing, something I have seen over and over again in client work. I have found that often the most painful and difficult experiences we go through can only be understood as having a connection to that invisible yet ever present realm of the ancestors. Many people are drawn now to shamanic healing practices and soul retrieval work. Although methods and approaches vary, I have found that the astrological Nessus and Pholus add a profound layer of understanding to the nature of certain types of extraordinary experiences that we have.
Nessus is connected to the ripening of cycles of karma, sometimes with a theme of inappropriate (or what appears to be inappropriate) sexual contact, or physical or psychological abuse.

Melanie Reinhart has a key phrase for Nessus: “The buck stops here.” I had a client recently with transiting Nessus prominent in the horoscope. He is a very skilled energy worker and healer, so I knew we could talk about some of the themes that might be emerging with Nessus so visible in his current life. He actually told me that a large buck had recently been stopping in his yard everyday for what seemed like a rest. (This gentleman has Nessus prominent in the natal chart; that placement, along with me knowing him well, offered on opening to discuss Nessus. It’s not something I typically bring up in a session.)

In myth, Pholus is the guardian of a special wine that gets uncorked, creating a temporarily wildly intoxicating and chaotic situation. It can be seen as describing a process that gets “uncorked” or released, and it cannot be put back. Reinhart says of Pholus: “The lid comes off.”
I had a client this week who has become embroiled in a very difficult and painful situation, marked very poignantly by the presence of both Nessus and Pholus in his key family members’ natal, solar return, and progressed charts. He said, “I just want things to go back to the way they were.”

Pholus is now active by transit. (2) It is currently at 14° Sagittarius, opposed by transiting Mars at 14° Gemini. In this story, things are not going “to go back.” A process has been unleashed and will continue to unfold. The notion of a heretofore hidden ancestral pattern creates a large enough container to help us begin to work with this situation in a way that will hopefully lead to a deep transformation and healing for all involved.

In my own life and listening to clients, I sometimes get the feeling that we are embarking on a massive soul retrieval project on planet earth. Sometimes I think, how much more healing can there possibly be? I’ve found that contemplation of Nessus and Pholus have added a very helpful layer of understanding to our often complex and multi-faceted experiences.

Here are some web sites for those curious to pursue the wild and, at times, marauding and intoxicating centaurs:

Zane Stein has been tracking Chiron since its discovery in 1977.  His site is a vast collection of resources on Chiron and the newly discovered bodies. It’s a big site — to focus on Nessus and Pholus, read his telling of their myths here and here. (links)

His section on Chiron is comprehensive, with contributions from many other writers.

Eric Francis is also a wise and in-the-moment observer of the centaurs. As an introduction, he has a fine piece on Nessus, part of his Small World Stories.

And here’s a link to a recent interview he did with Melanie on Nessus (and another centaur, Asbolus).

And, most currently, here’s Eric’s amazing article on the Casey Anthony case. (This is premium content, posted here courtesy of Planet Waves. Many thanks, Eric.)

Robert von Heeren began The Centaur Research Project in 1997. The site has articles, ephemeredes, and lots of other astronomical and orbital data.

Melanie Reinhart’s site has an easy-to-understand article on Nessus and Pholus, which explains her key phrases. (When you get to the home page, click on articles on the left, then ‘by Melanie Reinhart’, then scroll down to All Change Please.)

The Maverick Medicine Babe has a quote from Melanie’s book on Chiron and other related links.

(1)  Melanie Reinhart has also just published a new (2011) edition of her 1996 book, Saturn, Chiron and the Centaurs: To the Edge and Beyond.

(2)  Donna Cunningham’s new blog is on Jaycee Dugard. The young woman gave an interview on ABC yesterday. “She spoke out just days before her memoir, ‘A Stolen Life,’ is scheduled to be released.”  Dugard Interview ABC.
Although Donna doesn’t include the centaurs in her analysis, their presence is obvious in the nature of her story. If I’m up to it, I may write about it next week.

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Happy Birthday U.S.A.

By Mary Plumb | July 4, 2011

The U.S. solar return is at 11:28 a.m. on July 5, 2011.

I’m going to look at the chart first from an astrological perspective, then suggest an idea from a metaphysical point of view.

The Ascendant of the solar return chart is 2°50’ Libra, which is closely conjunct the Sibly 10th-house cusp (1°03’ Libra).


This places this year’s very clear emphasis on actions of the government itself, and on the nation’s self-image and role, as well as responsibility and reputation, in the wider world.

The Midheaven of the solar return is 3°13’ Cancer, conjunct natal Venus at 3°06’ Cancer.

Venus has association with the arts, women, banking and money matters in a mundane horoscope, and, in Cancer, the ongoing destabilization in the housing and real estate markets (not to mention our basic feelings of security and happiness) will be much in the national picture this year.

The dynamic cardinal cross, a keynote of our time, is the prominent pattern in the U.S. solar return. The crucial planets are in the angular houses where they have strength and access to expression. The solar return Sun is in the 10th house of reputation; Saturn is in the 1st house of self-image and initiated activity; Pluto is in the 4th house of foundations and traditions (and the political party not in power), and Uranus is in the 7th house of foreign relations, treaties, and alliance. Suffice it to say that the U.S. plays a dramatic role in the collective myths that are unfolding in our times. We are privileged indeed to be partaking, ready or not, in this moment in history!

The solar return chart suggests that actions taken by the current government (and those in positions of power) place the U.S. front and center on the world stage. The national reputation and role in the world is in a visible and obvious time of clarification and adjustment. (The U.S. is in its Saturn return — exact for the last time in August — which is repeating the natal Sun square Saturn.)

The angularity (i.e., the power and ability to project) of the solar return chart is shown again by the degree of its Ascendant falling on the U.S. natal 10th-house cusp, and the solar return Midheaven is in the natal 7th house.

To be slightly poetic, the nation’s character (Sun) and its alliances — financial, strategic, and all other types of partnerships and resources (Venus) — are within the ever intensifying crucible of a compelling force to expose what has been hidden and be moved from the inside out (Pluto). Furthermore, there is a sobering force that holds awareness of the fatefulness of decisions made now (Saturn) and an urgency to integrate a what-hasn’t-been-seen-before idealism (Uranus).

The Moon in Virgo in the 12th house of the solar chart suggests that the public (that’s us) may be anxious about health and employment concerns, but that the Moon is applying to square Mars, so action is eminent. Although the Moon is part of an earth trine with Jupiter and Pluto, the stronger dynamic is shown by the square to Mars. Does this signify some impulse toward self-defense, perhaps, from the general public?

The earth trine in the solar return between Jupiter in Taurus (ruler of the natal Sagittarius Ascendant), Pluto in Capricorn, and the Moon in Virgo, suggests to me that those who already have assets will be holding firm and will continue to benefit.

Usually troublesome (i.e., war-like or aggressive) in a mundane chart is the prominence of Mars: in this case, solar return Mars at 10° Gemini is quite close to the natal 7th cusp of open enemies and foreign relations, and the solar return South Node is conjunct natal Mars. That does not bode well for a good outcome for any of our acts of aggression.

On a more imaginative note, solar return Juno is conjunct natal Neptune (square Mars) in Virgo. (1) This is the last of three conjunctions to the U.S. Neptune that began in December 2010. Juno is the asteroid of significant relationships and commitments. She is also associated with balanced power and sensitivity to those who are disempowered. Juno will move on to conjunct her natal position at 20° Libra in September. The Sibly chart has Juno conjunct exalted Saturn in Libra. Maybe we can see herein an omen of awakening out of a time of confusion (Neptune) about issues of power and powerlessness (e.g., maybe we’ve been feeling sorry for the wrong people?), and strengthening the innate national quality of a genuine recognition of fairness and justice for those who truly need to be upheld.

Even farther a field from a traditional approach to interpreting a solar return chart, I’d like to mention an idea that Norma Nakai Burton included in her Sunday sermon at Unity Church here in Ashland. In homage to the metaphysical view of the Founding Fathers, she spoke to how this country was founded in part as an act of war to protest the unfairness of taxation without representation. The country declared war as an act of separation. So, the notion of separation to uphold justice is in our national character. We are long trained to be independent; it is Independence Day, after all. However, the current findings in the field of physics are supporting the mystics’ long experience that inter-dependence is in fact a physical reality. (2) Inside the smallest particle, emptiness resides. There is no real truth to separation; we are indeed all deeply connected. Norma proposed a new view for July 4th — Interdependence Day. With the U.S. currently in the realignment of the Saturn return, here’s to awakening the experience of interdependence. In a personal way, she suggested that right at the moment when we feel the need to separate or pull away (or declare some version of war), we instead invite the awareness of the deeper, subtler truth that there is no separation. I think that’s an interesting exercise to practice as we head forth into a new solar year in the U.S.

Have a happy, safe, healthy holiday, everyone.


(1) I wrote recently about the Mars-Neptune square in the Sibly horoscope and the national predilection to experience disillusionment and have ill-defined enemies and objectives.

(2) Norma referred to Lynne McTaggart’s newest book, The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us, for extensive evidence from science of our interconnection and essential desire for connection

Mary Plumb can be reached at

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