TMA This Week

Donald Trump and the Saturn-Pluto Conjunction

By Ray Grasse | June 17, 2019

The impending conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn will be a global phenomenon, affecting every country on Earth to one extent or another. But some countries will feel the pressure of that powerhouse duo more than others — and the United States could well find itself at the top of the list. This is largely because of the heavily Cancerian nature of the U.S. July 4th horoscope, which will directly receive the oppositional force of the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction.

But to fully understand that impact for the United States, we also have to look at how it’s affecting the horoscope of Donald J. Trump. That’s not just because he is President of the U.S., but also because the conjunction will be quite closely activating a very important configuration in Trump’s own birth chart.

Donald Trump
June 14, 1946
10:54 a.m. EDT
Jamaica, NY (40N41 73W48)
Placidus houses, True node

Trump’s Saturn–Venus in Cancer

Trump was born with a fairly close conjunction of Saturn and Venus in Cancer (with Saturn at 23º and Venus at 25º). This means that the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction — which becomes exact at 22º Capricorn in January 2020 — will be creating a powerful opposition to Trump’s natal Saturn–Venus conjunction. While this isn’t the only astrological configuration affecting him over the coming year, I think it could well prove to be the most critical.

To really grasp how this transit might affect him, I think it’s useful to first understand some of what that natal aspect means in terms of his basic personality and psychology. I’ve come to believe that this pattern is a key emotional driving force of his personality.

On a purely material level, we could talk about his relationship with money. If you ask most beginning astrologers what indicates the potential for “wealth” in a chart, most of them will say to look for Jupiter–Venus contacts, or Jupiter in the 2nd house. But I find it fascinating how so many ultra-rich types have Saturn–Venus connections in their charts. Take computer giant Bill Gates, born with a Saturn–Venus conjunction; or Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, also born with a Saturn–Venus conjunction (as was his estranged wife MacKenzie); or Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, born with Saturn opposite Venus; John D. Rockefeller Jr., born with a Saturn–Venus conjunction; or media powerhouse Oprah Winfrey, born with a Saturn–Venus square — the list goes on.

Donald Trump has that planetary pattern, too — in his case, the conjunction is in Cancer, as mentioned above. This can mean many things, of course, and undoubtedly fuels his drive for wealth, real estate, multiple homes, and so on. But in light of his very public behavior through the decades, I believe that it also points to an extremely deep insecurity and vulnerability, a sense of emotional wounding (perhaps rooted in childhood?) that’s caused him to erect walls around not only himself and his family, but even the country itself, apparently. Close associates have spoken over the years of his hypersensitivity to criticism, as well as a perhaps subconscious  fear of being unloved, which he seems to compensate for by surrounding himself with beautiful women and hordes of adoring supporters.

Paradoxically enough, one of the things I’ve encountered with many natal Saturn–Venus types is that they often harbor a deep-seated feeling of poverty, an inner sense of scarcity that has them believing there’s never quite enough to fill that hole in their soul — like my multimillionaire client with a hard Saturn–Venus aspect who seemed convinced that he was dirt poor. That sort of psychological mindset might also help to explain Trump’s need to compensate by amassing so many material possessions — the gold-plated furniture, the expensive cars and clothes, and so on.

My point here is that the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction in Capricorn is starting to pummel his natal pattern very, very hard, and will continue doing so over the next year or two. I see a few different real-world possibilities resulting from that.

One of those is that his personal finances could take a major hit during this period, in terms of losses due to bad investments, lawsuits, or failed real estate projects. It could also point to negative feedback he’ll be fielding over the financial policies he instigates for the country concerning tariff measures, tax reform bills, or military expenditures.

Pluto in particular has a lot to do with buried matters being uncovered, so these transits will likely involve secrets increasingly coming to light about Trump’s true wealth and holdings, his bank accounts, and his taxes. There could even be more revelations about his dealings with foreign governments, and investigators (like those from the Southern District of New York) continuing to probe into his real estate dealings and problems relating to his hotels.

But also — and this could prove much more problematic for him, since it hits so close to home, emotionally — the Saturn–Pluto transit may also involve his family members being put under the spotlight, since the sign Cancer is involved. This could trigger even more strongly the “circle the wagons” mentality suggested by his natal pattern. Remember, too, that the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction is falling in Trump’s 5th house of children (according to some house systems), which could prompt him to go into hyper-defensive “mother bear” mode and become even more extreme and dramatic in his behaviors.

Likewise, I think the Saturn–Pluto transit could well trigger a primal sense of emotional wounding that Trump has likely harbored all his life, a deep feeling that he is unpopular or unloved. Pluto being what it is, this could also involve a sense of betrayal, a realization that others he thought had been loyal are now turning on him. That’s already been happening over the last year or two, in fact, but it will likely continue to happen for quite some time.

In very general terms, transiting Saturn opposing or squaring anyone’s natal Venus — even without Pluto’s involvement — can make for a very unhappy time, with feelings  of great loneliness and isolation. With Pluto added to the mix, though, I suspect that this period ahead could become an exceptionally depressing and vulnerable one for Trump. If indeed impeachment hearings wind up being conducted, that would certainly throw a few Olympic-size swimming pools full of gasoline onto that horoscopic fire as well.

There’s one other possibility that I think is worth mentioning. To one extent or another, the horoscope of a national leader becomes that of the entire country he or she represents. Does this mean that Trump’s financial difficulties under those transits point to something ominous about the economic fortunes of the United States during this time? Much as I’d like to believe otherwise, I think it’s a reasonable possibility, and I will be watching the U.S. economy closely around the time of these transits.

Trigger Dates

Even though the general influence of these energies will be in effect for quite some time, I’d like to go over a few specific trigger dates that I believe will be especially worth noting — that is, when the transiting Saturn–Pluto conjunction will be activating Trump’s natal pattern in dramatic ways. To be clear, these aren’t the only transiting planets affecting his chart; however, for simplicity’s sake, I’ll limit my observations to just the influence of Saturn and Pluto.

  • Even though the effects of the Saturn–Pluto conjunction won’t technically climax for Trump until 2020, there are several “sneak preview” triggers taking place before then, one of which has already happened. I’m referring to the Saturn and Pluto retrograde stations that occurred in late April and early May of this year. Among other things, this manifested as the furor over Attorney General William Barr’s testimony about the Mueller Report (and his subsequent refusal to return for a follow-up hearing), but was also reflected in surprising news about Trump’s taxes and financial losses that came out in early May.
  • Transiting Mars will soon be acting as a trigger when it opposes transiting Saturn and Pluto, so I’d suggest watching Trump’s affairs closely during the period from June 15 through the 20th. (Editor’s Note: This article was written and submitted to TMA in early June.)
  • Transiting Saturn will be exactly squaring Trump’s natal Jupiter on July 6, so I would expect some major judicial-related frustrations for him from roughly the 3rd to the 9th.
  • Both Saturn and Pluto will be stationing again (direct) from mid September through early October of this year, 2019, and will create a strong hit to Trump’s natal Saturn–Venus conjunction, giving us another sneak preview of what’s ahead for him in 2020. It may be worth paying attention to the dates around the planetary stations: for Saturn, September 18, and for Pluto, October 2.
  • The Saturn–Pluto conjunction actually becomes exact for the first time on a global scale on January 12, 2020, but that entire month could be especially turbulent for Trump, since just a little over one week later, on January 21, transiting Saturn will be precisely opposing his natal Saturn. The fact that the global pattern of the Saturn–Pluto conjunction is occurring so closely to the time when transiting Saturn will be triggering his natal Saturn shows just how close that collective pattern appears to be linked to his personal destiny.
  • Then, on February 6, 2020, transiting Saturn opposes his natal Venus for the first of three times. Again, there may be a growing sense of social isolation and feelings of rejection, but it could also involve the spotlight being cast on his finances and real estate holdings, as well as those of his family members.
  • On February 13, Pluto opposes Trump’s natal Saturn precisely, activating his chart in a major way.
  • This same energy comes to a boil during the next station of Pluto, which goes retrograde on April 25 at 24º59’ Capricorn, very closely opposing Trump’s natal Venus and Saturn.
  • On July 12, Pluto again opposes Trump’s natal Saturn exactly.
  • On September 6, Saturn opposes Trump’s Venus for the second time.
  • Then, on September 29, Saturn stations direct at 25º20’ Capricorn, activating his natal Saturn–Venus by opposition.
  • Several days later, on October 4, Pluto stations direct at 22º29’ Capricorn, opposing his natal Saturn–Venus and prying open more previously buried secrets about his finances or personal life.
  • A few weeks later, on October 21, Saturn exactly opposes Trump’s natal Venus for the third and final time.
  • While these turbulent energies continue for him well into 2021, I want to point out an important trigger that will be occurring around December 20, 2020, when Pluto exactly opposes his natal Saturn. This is especially significant because it coincides closely with another transit that is affecting everyone: Not only is it close to the winter solstice, but transiting Mars will at 22º Aries, squaring the degree of the Saturn–Pluto conjunction (22º Capricorn) of January 2020. Mars aspects often serve as triggering mechanisms for other celestial patterns, such as eclipses, stelliums, or major outer-planet aspects. It’s safe to say the holiday season of late 2020 could be a particularly dramatic one for Donald Trump. Note, too, this will be shortly after the next presidential election, so it’s likely that whatever turbulence this energy stirs up for him will be in response to the outcome of the election.

In short, while it’s impossible to know specifically what will be happening for Donald Trump over the next couple of years, there’s no question that it will be a roller-coaster ride for him, both professionally and emotionally, and that these highlighted dates will warrant special attention.

Bio: Ray Grasse is associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer magazine, and author of several books, including The Waking Dream, Under a Sacred Sky, and Urban Mystic. His website is






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Natal chart: Ava DuVernay

By Mary Plumb | June 3, 2019

Ava DuVernay is a screenwriter, producer, and director. Her newly released (and critically acclaimed) film, When They See Us, which she created, co-wrote, and directed, is a Netflix series about the 1989 Central Park jogger case. (1)

Natal chart: Ava DuVernay (2)
August 24, 1972
5:22 p.m.
Long Beach, CA (33N35, 118W11)
Porphyry houses, True node


Her many previous accomplishments include being the first Black female director to win the directing award at Sundance Film Festival (2012), and the first to  have her film, Selma, nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture (2017).

DuVernay was born on a Thursday, Jupiter’s day; that planet stationed direct in its sign of rulership, Sagittarius, several hours after her birth — a mark of overall fortuitous conditions. (3) The significance of Jupiter is further supported because DuVernay was born in the daytime; in the doctrine of sect, Jupiter has extra ability to fulfill itself in a horoscope for a day birth. (4) Reflecting her current success, the progressed Midheaven came to natal Jupiter earlier this year.

Bi-wheel: Inner wheel: DuVernay, natal; outer wheel: progressed to Feb. 7, 2019

She was born at the Full Moon in Pisces, with Mars (6º20’) conjunct the Sun in Virgo (1º54’) and opposite the Moon (5º07 Pisces). Mars rules the Scorpio Midheaven, aspecting both the Sun and Moon; this suggests the ability both to produce complex projects and to direct people, which requires not only confidence, but also emotional skill and subtlety.

Mercury is in Leo, the sign of entertainment, and in mutual reception with the Virgo Sun — they are in each other’s signs. Mercury helps the Sun by finding the words to express what the Sun cares about. (DuVernay has said about her work: “I’m not a historian. I’m a storyteller.”)

Mercury in creatively expressive Leo is also square to the Scorpio Midheaven; she has naturally faced controversy at moments in her career, yet this aspect also suggests an inner urgency for her words to be heard in the public sphere.

Steady and serious Capricorn is rising, and the nodal axis straddles the Ascendant–Descendant. (5) In a nod to Capricorn rising, with Saturn as the Ascendant ruler: DuVernay’s father was raised near Selma, Alabama — he witnessed the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. In an interview, she said that summer vacations to her father’s childhood home influenced the making of her film.

Natal Neptune in Sagittarius is square to the Sun and Moon; looking at midpoint patterns, this shows that Neptune sits opposite the Sun/Moon midpoint at 3º03’ Gemini. (6) In midpoint notation (90º dial), this would read as SU/MO = NE. There will be many ways for that combination to be expressed — a highly creative, artistically sensitive disposition; dreams and imagination being a focal point of the life; and/or involvement in the film industry are some obvious ideas of how Neptune is working in her biography. (7)

The Moon/North Node midpoint is at 15º23’ Aquarius; in midpoint analysis, 15º of the fixed signs (and any hard aspects to those degrees) are known as the Aries Point (AP), which is a point that acts as a portal to the external world, or draws us to the wider public life. DuVernay’s natal Pluto at 0º46’ Libra is also at this point; the formula reads MO/NN = PL = AP. One translation: A pronounced emotional need to connect with others through empowering and transforming themes, or exposing taboo subjects, and having associations with influential people are what brings DuVernay into public prominence. (8)

I think she has a long career ahead of her: Recently (December 21, 2015) she had a progressed New Moon (14º09’ Libra), so she’s in the opening chapters of this cycle of her life.


(1) Biographical material and quotes from Wikipedia

‘When They See Us’ Review: Ava DuVernay’s Magnum Opus of a Broken America
by Matt Goldberg

(2) Ava DuVernay, August 24, 2972; 5:22 p.m. PDT; Long Beach, CA, USA (33°N35’, 118°W11’); AA rated

(3) More specifically, we would expect the natal houses ruled by Jupiter to be especially benefitted. In the chart shown here (Porphyry houses), these are the 11th house (hopes, wishes, and friends) and the 2nd house (income and talents). (Looking at Whole Sign houses, the 3rd house of communications/writing and siblings — she has four — and the 12th house of imagination would be emphasized.)

(4) Not to neglect those born at night: Venus is considered the benefic for a night birth.

(5) Here’s my blog on Kamala Harris, another prominent person with the North Node conjunct the Ascendant (in Gemini).

(6) Cosmobiology is the branch of astrology that popularized the use of midpoints in the modern era.

(7) Actor Tom Hanks and producer George Lucas also have this natal midpoint picture.

(8) Her 2016 documentary, 13th (i.e., the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution), is about race and the criminal justice system.

Bio: Mary Plumb has had a consulting practice for decades and has been with TMA since 1993 as writer and Book and Web Editor. She is President of the Southern Oregon Chapter of NCGR in Ashland, OR and is available for consultations and tutoring. Follow her on Instagram @plumbmary or email:

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New Moon Week

By Mary Plumb | May 6, 2019

The May 4 New Moon began the lunation cycle in Taurus, the Moon’s sign of exaltation. The luminaries were also nearly at the center of the sign (14º10’), the most stable degree of the sign that already carries the endurance and solidity of fixed earth. With the Moon in Taurus, we are in the only once-a-year lunation cycle where our biological rhythms (Sun and Moon) are informed by the deepest sustenance of the earth element. The physical earth is an obvious starting reference, but whenever and wherever we find sustenance, we are partaking in Taurus’s domain.

Looking at the broader context, Saturn’s long and consequential sojourn in Capricorn is ever present. (1) We’re aware of the ongoing Saturn–South Node–Pluto conjunction whose themes are on display wherever we look — from international affairs, political and business conversations, and cultural memes to mental health statistics, renewed understanding of the importance of grief, and the rising interest in and availability of ancestral healing. (2)

January 1, 2019 brought the Sun conjunct Saturn at 11º31’ Capricorn — a sense of reality pressing upon us and a certain leaden atmosphere are undercurrents  to this calendar year.

Along with the essential kindness and patience of Taurus within our reach, we now have the Sun moving into a trine to Saturn and Pluto, joined by the transiting Moon in Virgo. The Sun trines Saturn on May 11; the Moon in Virgo trines Saturn on the 13th and perfects the earth trine with Pluto a few hours later (May 14 PDT).

The Sun trines Saturn and Pluto — this is a natural pause to see what we have accomplished, most specifically since January 1 at the new Sun–Saturn synod. True to Saturn’s mandate, we can be realistic about our situation, maybe with an appreciation of how far we have come. We know that we need provisions for the long trek ahead, and now is a perfect moment to stop and acknowledge what we have integrated thus far.

Saturn trine the Moon and Sun: In some important personal storyline, we may have developed more resiliency than we know. Pluto’s company with Saturn and the South Node also assures that we are working at a very deep level, a particular sphere of which might be shown by the Capricorn house in your natal chart.

Saturn in Capricorn has an echo for me of stories of Tibetan Buddhist lineages whose followers intentionally sought the highest and most severe mountain conditions for retreats, and to spend time with the teacher.

I heard a teaching about one such event (from the 16th century) where conditions were exceptionally arduous and yet concurrent with supremely life-giving teachings. I know that some of us have had difficult conditions in retreat situations — not usually survival on a mountaintop, but various struggles with sleep and loss of familiar comforts and schedules. There can be a connection between difficult circumstances and meaningful inner experience.

I sometimes think that, as a species (or maybe my particular sub-group), we are getting hardier and more able to thrive under challenging circumstances.

One thing seems certain: Once things are shaken and stirred up, we can’t go back. Uranus, now at 3º, is just starting his trek through the Taurus house for each of us; those of us with planets (or angles) in the early degrees of the fixed signs may already have an experience of expectations being disrupted and a hint of what ground is being disrupted. For some of us, a defined view of ourselves may have reached the breaking point — and the best option may be to trust the disruption, knowing that we are not stuck but open to whatever life brings next.

So, I offer a toast at this lunation cycle: May we realize the benefit and eternal sustenance that is now, and always, within reach.


(1) Saturn is in Capricorn from December 2017 through December 2020 (with a bit of time in Aquarius in the spring of 2020).

(2) Saturn, the South Node, and Pluto are in Capricorn, within 7º of each other, from now through the end of the year.


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People in the News

By Mary Plumb | April 15, 2019

The past few days have seen some heavy-hitting aspects — transiting Saturn, the South Node, and Pluto all together Capricorn and lit up by the Sun. To be more specific: On April 10, the Sun squared Saturn, followed by the solar square to the nodes and Pluto on April 13.

Although in my immediate life I am surrounded by friends and clients who are experiencing overwhelming or sad situations (the Capricorn planets are in my natal 3rd house), I want to step back and look at a few people in the news in the past few days for some broader planetary storylines and hints of what may lie ahead.

Julian Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19, 2012, with transiting Saturn at 22°47’ Libra. (1) (This was also during the acute and dynamic Uranus square Pluto — Uranus was at 8°19’ Aries, and Pluto at 8°30’ Capricorn.)

Fast forward to April 11, 2019, when he was arrested: Saturn is at 20°15’ Capricorn, square to its position in 2012 and now empowered by Pluto, carrying the ghosts (South Node) of hierarchy, patriarchy, and power to begin what many feel will be a long legal fight.

Assange’s personal arc and complex legal issues are obvious, but the aspects now show the larger dimensions of this individual story (transiting Sun in Aries) and its implications for journalism, privacy, diplomatic asylum, international law, etc.

Seventeen-year-old Billie Eilish, born on December 18, 2001, is an American singer/songwriter/dancer who is “killing the game right now.” (2)

Billie Eilish
December 18, 2001
Sunrise: 6:57 a.m. PST (no known birth time)
Los Angeles, CA (33N57 118W15)

Of Irish and Scottish descent, Eilish was born a few months after the fateful events of 9/11 and thus has the main planetary marker of that event — Saturn opposite Pluto — in the natal chart. In interviews, she sounds exceptionally clear and mature, and her moods include great tenderness (she has a lovely and emotionally expressive voice) and forebodingly dark expressions of grief and loss. (3) She composes with her brother Finneas O’Connell, and one of her songs includes a recording of the drill when she was in the dentist’s chair. Although I haven’t seen a birth time yet, the Moon was in Aquarius all day on December 18. (The Moon conjoined Neptune at 1:20 a.m. and, at 11:59 p.m., was at 19° Aquarius with Uranus at 21°.)

In an interview when she was 15, Eilish said: “I’m really different from a lot of people, and I kind of try to be. I don’t like to follow the rules at all …. I’ve always worn what I wanted to and always said what I wanted to say. I’m super, super out there.” (4)

Also of great interest this week: the first ever photo (released on April 10) of a black hole — this one at the center of our galaxy (aka the Galactic Center), located at 26° Sagittarius. This is within one degree of Billie Eilish’s natal Sun and South Node. It feels to me as though she’s coming from somewhere far, far away and is also absolutely present, here and now.

And here is another story with interesting timing: Pete Buttigieg announced that he is running for president on April 14 at 3:20 p.m. EDT in South Bend, Indiana. He was born on January 19, 1982 in that city. (5)

Pete Buttigieg
January 19, 1982
Sunrise: 8:12 a.m. EST (no known birth time)
South Bend, IN (41N30 86W15)

Buttigieg has natal Saturn conjunct Pluto square the nodal axis; having a nodal return now, he is very tied to the mood of the moment — as well as to the upcoming exact Saturn conjunct Pluto. The transiting Moon (21° Leo) was applying to trine transiting Jupiter (24° Sag) and the Sun (24° Aries) when he spoke.

Buttigieg announcement
April 14, 2019
3:20 p.m. EDT
South Bend, IN (41N30 86W15)
Porphyry houses, True Node

Here are two quotes from his announcement speech (which I listened to) that seem to capture his view of this moment: “The horror show in Washington is mesmerizing, all consuming, but we’re going to change the channel.” And: “America deserves our optimism, our courage, and our hope.”

I hope these brief notes about a few people in the news this past week will be useful, hopeful, and helpful. Have a good week, everyone.

Footnotes and references:

(1) Wikipedia: Julian Assange

(2) Wikipedia: Billie Eilish

“She has a No.1 album. She’s currently topping the Billboard Artist 100 chart. And on Saturday, she performed at Coachella for the first time — during one of the festival’s prime slots. The 17-year-old pop star brought her signature moody vocals and goth-tinged sound to the big stage, and the audience could not contain themselves.”
Quote from: CNN

Without a birth time, we can see her current prominence, in part, by transiting Jupiter, dispositor of her Sagittarius Sun, opposite natal Saturn in December 2018, and conjunct natal Pluto most of this year (2019), before reaching the Venus and the Sun in October and November.

(3) In a March 29, 2019 article in The Guardian titled Billie Eilish: the pop icon who defines 21-st century teenage angst, Hannah Ewens wrote: “Lucid dreams, night terrors and sleep paralysis litter Eilish’s debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

(4) PaperMag

(5) Wikipedia: Pete Buttigieg

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A Neptune interlude…

By Mary Plumb | March 18, 2019

Yesterday I heard a choral group, accompanied by flute, bagpipe, and piano, in a program of Celtic songs at the local university’s music hall (with its excellent acoustics). It was easy to be moved by the music and transported to another state of being. There were no empty seats in the hall, and together we went on a journey of some sort — unique for each, I am sure, but all of us being carried into a different realm of experience. A planetary theme that invites this possibility — and an antidote to the density of many of our collective troubles — is the ongoing sextile between Saturn in Capricorn and Neptune in Pisces. While exact on January 31, June 18, and November 8, this aspect is part of the background of the year, as it stays within a 4° orb for most of 2019.

Saturn is in Capricorn and is traveling with the South Node this year; they are precisely conjunct on April 30, July 4, and September 27. One description of this combination is that themes, storylines, or events from our familial (or collective or national) history are tumbling forth for a necessary new assessment, forgiveness, or integration, in light of this new day. Pluto’s presence in Capricorn condenses this process — adding, for some, a relentless pressure, compulsion, or urgency to this work of integrating what has heretofore been in the shadows.

Neptune in Pisces suggests that a refined, subtle, or translucent quality may be available to those of us who are actively engaged in healing the past, releasing traumatic patterns held in the memory or the physical or emotional body, or simply enjoying (or being renewed through) the experience of an altered state of awareness. There are many modalities being employed by the energy healers, shamans, yogis, musicians, therapists, alchemists, herbalists, magicians, and priests among us. We are currently accompanied and assisted by many helpers and guides in this and other worlds.

Although my particular current storyline seems to involve the presence of the recently departed as well as themes in my ancestral lineage, there are myriad other possibilities that we are open to in our ever-expanding multiverse. Dreams, memories, all manner of unusual experiences may be quite vivid for many of us, or might be awakened or enlivened by the gentle and delicate support of the sextile aspect. The healing water of Neptune in Pisces can soften and dissolve what may be some raw or rough edges when we surrender to the mysterious presence that seeks unity instead of separation, that invites love instead of anger.

I went to sleep last night before finishing this blog; I knew that what I am trying to express was not clear. At some point in the night, I got the image of weaving a cloth: Neptune’s sextile is offering a thread of the transcendent, the magical, the mysterious to weave into how we experience the current reality (Saturn). The old books say the sextile indicates a connection that can be activated if we take advantage of this aspect.

Music is only one of countless ways for Neptune to inspire us — a devotional service, a particular color in the evening sky, the sound of someone’s laugh — all can pierce through our ordinary senses and impress us with a new world of possibility where we are part of the gentle, unifying dance that is often hidden in plain sight.

The Saturn–Neptune sextile occurs between 14° – 19° Capricorn and Pisces this year. Their midpoint is between about 15° – 18° Aquarius; if you have planets or sensitive points there (or in aspect to that degree area), the idea proposed in this blog may be particularly relevant. (Full disclosure — or confirmation bias? — if it’s not obvious by now, my natal Mercury is at 16° Aquarius.)

Be well, everyone — much to celebrate during this Full Moon and equinox week!

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Meghan Markle’s eventful few years

By Mary Plumb | February 19, 2019

Meghan Markle — now the Duchess of Sussex — was born on August 4, 1981. (1)

4:46 a.m. PDT
Canoga Park, CA
34N01 118W36
Whole Sign houses, True node

I am going to consider a few events of her recent life, using eclipses and the Hellenistic time lord technique of annual profections. (2)

The prenatal solar eclipse (PNSE) occurred the week before she was born. This was a total solar eclipse (i.e., the Sun was within 5° degrees of the lunar node) on July 30 at 7°47’ Leo. Total eclipses are thought to have a stronger or more lasting impact. Her PNSE was Saros series 1N. (3)

Fast forward to 2017 and the total solar eclipse on August 21 at 28°50’ Leo, the degree of the fixed star of royalty, Regulus. This was also a repeat of the birth Saros series 1N. (4)

(A further hint of Meghan’s connection to Regulus: In the natal horoscope, the Moon/Ascendant midpoint is 29°32’ Leo.)

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

During this profected year, her engagement to Prince Harry was announced on November 27; she married the prince on May 19, 2018 (watched by 1.9 billion people worldwide), and she became pregnant. (5)

There were two eclipses during this time period as well: a total lunar eclipse on January 31, 2018 at 11°39’ Leo conjunct her natal Sun, and a partial solar eclipse on July 12, 2018 at 20°49’ Cancer, very close to her Ascendant degree.

Fitting the symbolism of the Leo eclipse conjunct her natal Sun, her father suffered a heart attack and was unable to attend her wedding, and, looking back from when her pregnancy was announced, it is likely that she became pregnant around the time of the Cancer solar eclipse.

On her birthday on August 4, 2018, she entered a 2nd-house profected year. In her natal chart, Leo is on the 2nd-house cusp, so the Sun is the Lord of the Year. On October 14, her pregnancy was announced to the world — her child, due in the “Spring of 2019,” would be seventh in line for the British throne. (6)

The total lunar eclipse on January 20, 2019 was at 0°49’ Leo, Meghan’s natal lunar nodal axis, and the two eclipses this summer will also strongly impact her chart. On July 2, 2019, the total solar eclipse at 10°41’ Cancer is conjunct natal Mars (11°26’), which rules the 5th (Whole Sign) house of children. And on July 16, 2019, the partial lunar eclipse at 24°00’ Capricorn is conjunct her Ascendant–Descendant axis.

There is, of course, much more to say. Still, leaving aside how we may feel about royalty in these times when unequal distribution of wealth is a global issue, I hope that this demonstration of easy-to-use techniques has been interesting to you, dear readers.

Have a good week, everyone.


(1) AA data from BC

(2) I am using annual profections from the Ascendant (with Whole Sign houses).

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

(4) In Meghan’s lifetime, there was one other Saros series 1N solar eclipse on August 11, 1999 at 18°18’ Leo. That eclipse, part of a fixed grand cross, is well known in mundane astrology, but I have not researched her biography to see what was going on in her personal life at that time.

(5) Economic Times

(6) New York Times

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Uranus’s Fare-thee-well to Aries

By Mary Plumb | February 6, 2019

We are in the waning days of Uranus in Aries. To place this briefly in context: Uranus initially dipped into the sign of the Ram in May to August 2010, when the very dramatic first chapters of the Arab Spring were unfolding in the Middle East.

Uranus entered Aries to stay on March 11, 2011 — the very day of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster: an earthquake, followed by a massive tsunami that led to the meltdown of three nuclear reactors.

September 17, 2011 was the first day of Occupy Wall Street, the activist movement bringing the implications of enormous financial inequality into the mainstream. Black Lives Matter, now an international movement, began with the use of hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media in 2013.

January 21, 2017 brought the Women’s March, a worldwide demonstration in reaction to Donald Trump’s inauguration; between 4 and 5 million people participated in the United States alone.

A recent bookend of Uranus in Aries on the world stage was on November 18, 2018, when Uranus had retrograded back to 29°, and the yellow vests movement in France brought mass protests into the streets with rowdy (at times, violent) demonstrations calling  for economic justice.

Global uprisings and ubiquitous identity politics notwithstanding, Uranus has been working in each of us in unique ways. At the very least, for many, the natal house with Aries on the cusp has been turned inside out and shaken, stirred, and rattled at various moments these past seven years.

In my case, Aries (using whole sign houses) is my natal 6th house, and one obvious manifestation is that my working office (different from my consulting room) is a completely disorganized mess. Books — to be reviewed or having been reviewed — stacks and piles of papers, bills, letters, client notes, sketches and thoughts about mundane events, family matters, upcoming (and long past) local cultural events, recipes, photos — it’s all there in one big jumble. (This is a perfect demonstration of a recent song: Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You,” which begins: “A tornado flew around my room before you came, excuse the mess it made.”)

Although Uranus ingressed into Taurus from May to November 2018, it moves decisively into the sign of the Bull on March 6, 2019 — no more backtracking into Aries.

Still, these few weeks before the Taurus ingress are bound to be important. On a personal level, affairs connected to the natal house where Aries resides are open for one final clearing and completion. Mars is part of the wrap-up crew since he entered Aries, a place of rulership and strength for the rabble-rouser, just as the New Year turned: the night of December 31, 2018 (PST).

The Moon —indicator of moods, both public and private — moves into Aries on Friday, February 8 (6:35 a.m. PST) and will pass over Mars (27°) and Uranus (29°) on February 10, with Mars moving on for his partile conjunction with Uranus at 29°11’ on February 12 (10:20 pm PST).

Feb. 10, 2019
12:48 p.m.
Ashland Oregon
122W43 42N00


(This chart is arbitrarily set for my place of residence; the conjunctions will occur in different houses relative to location.)

Another feature of these particularly volatile few days: Mars and Uranus are nearly precisely parallel in declination from late January through mid February; on February 10, Mars is at 11° North 00’ and Uranus is at 10° North 41’.

(The Mars line is red, Uranus is blue. See the name of the month at the lower edge and look up to see these two lines crossing in late January and early February.)

The combination of Mars and Uranus, both conjunct in longitude and parallel in declination just as Uranus has his last moments in Aries (until 2094), is quite striking. This is a turbulent combination of forces. At the milder end of the scale, the heat of Mars and the instability of Uranus suggest impulsiveness, capriciousness, or a blind obstreperousness in our response to personal situations; more worrisome possibilities include explosive tempers, dangerous accidents, or destabilizing and distressing overall mayhem. Surely, those who are able to maintain a cool state of mind in whatever situations arise will be worth their weight in gold.

Those of us with personal points in the horoscope in close aspect to Uranus are typically sensitive to that planet’s ability to herald disruption — sometimes with a creative outcome, once the dust has settled.

I’m thinking it might be wise to stay aware of what might be bothering us these few days — this planetary combination may provoke irritation. It’s best, perhaps, to explore any irritable or anxious feelings from the inside out. A clear communication with someone in our lives may be a result, or we may be able to expose what has been holding us hostage and bear witness to a new dimension of our own psyches. We are surely at a time when focusing the fire of the moment toward self-awareness might be fruitful indeed.

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By Mary Plumb | January 7, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, born on October 13, 1989, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 14th district in November 2018 and sworn into office on January 3, 2019, becoming the youngest woman in U.S. history to serve in Congress. (1)

She’s 29: What a Saturn (in Capricorn) return!

The first exact passages of her Saturn return were in March and May 2018. She won the Democratic Party’s primary election in June 2018, and the final Saturn exact passage was on December 3, 2018 — one month before she was sworn into Congress. Saturn is at home in Capricorn, and its ability to accomplish its aims is strengthened in that sign. Capricorn, of course, relates to government, authority figures, business, and positions of leadership.

In a testimony to her (apparently) highly functional Saturn, economist Paul Krugman’s January 5 opinion piece, titled “The Economics of Soaking the Rich,” starts out: “What does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know about tax policy? A lot.” (2)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC ) has natal Saturn surrounded by generational markers Uranus and Neptune. All three Capricorn planets are ready to be mobilized — they all turned direct in September 1989, the month before she was born: Uranus on the 10th, Saturn on the 11th, and Neptune on the 21st.

With no birth time known, we can get a few other ideas from the sunrise chart.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Oct. 13, 1989
Sunrise chart: 6:13 a.m. EST
Bronx, N.Y. (40n40; 73w54)

Ocasio-Cortez has Mercury and Mars rising ahead of the Sun in Libra — ample indications of a fighter for equality and social justice. She worked as an organizer for Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign. In the 2018 primary, her victory over long-time Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley — despite being outspent 18 to 1 — was called “a shocking primary defeat” and “the most significant loss for a Democratic incumbent in more than a decade … one that will reverberate across the party and the country.” (3)

She also has Jupiter in Cancer (its place of exaltation) opposite the Capricorn planets, and Venus, dispositor of the Libra Sun, at 5° Sagittarius sextiles Mercury at 2° Libra. Jupiter made its once-every-12-years transit to her natal Venus on December 3, 2018. (Ocasio-Cortez was born on a Friday, Venus’s day.)

The Moon moved from 26° Pisces to 11° Aries on her birthday; the Moon entered Aries at sunrise, as this chart shows. Although it’s possible to contemplate that her natal Moon is at 0° Aries, that power point for fame and collective influence (i.e., the world axis), we might also see a Pisces Moon in her happy — Venus in Sag — dance moves.

Here she is dancing in college:


And, if you’re on Twitter, watch her dance in Congress: @AOC.


(1) All biographical material from Wikipedia

(2) From the New York Times: Opinion

(3) Wikipedia

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Michael Avenatti’s eventful year

By Mary Plumb | December 10, 2018

Michael Avenatti, famous as the lawyer who represented Stormy Daniels in a lawsuit against Donald Trump, has had his own wild time in the spotlight.

He was born on February 16, 1971 in Sacramento, California. (1)

Michael Avenatti
February 16, 1971
10:07 p.m. PST
Sacramento, CA
AA data
Porphyry houses, True nodeThe solar eclipse on February 15 this year was at 27º Aquarius, conjunct his natal Sun and the U.S. Moon, also at 27º Aquarius — a perfect picture of an individual (Sun) rocketing into the national public awareness (Moon).

Certainly, a portion of the population was excited by his arrival on the national stage, with his passionate advocacy of Ms. Daniels and his aggressive confrontation of Donald Trump.

Avenatti’s Sun at 27º55’ Aquarius is opposite the president’s Mars and Ascendant, a good position for a visible, and perhaps formidable, opponent. (These two men might be recreating a long-held rivalry: Each man’s South Node conjoins the other man’s Mars.)

Inner wheel: Donald Trump; June 14, 1946; 10:54 a.m. EDT; Jamaica, NY
Outer wheel: Michael Avenatti, natal
Porphyry houses, True node

With natal Mars and Jupiter in Sagittarius, this lawyer (and professional race car driver) was unabashed in his criticism of President Trump. By late summer, Avenatti was publicly considering a presidential run himself, stating: “‘We don’t want another candidate that just has a lot of experience,’ he said. ‘Democrats need to nominate somebody who can actually beat this guy.’” (2)

A solar eclipse on your birthday always brings an eventful year; the February 2018 eclipse began a very high-profile period for Michael Avenatti. In March 2018, he filed the lawsuit on behalf of Ms. Daniels in an attempt to void a nondisclosure agreement that she had previously signed. He was a frequent guest on cable news programs to discuss the case.

However, Avenatti had legal troubles of his own — including financial matters concerning his law firm and criticism for his handling of a sexual misconduct claim by Julie Swetnick against Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court in November.

Nonetheless, Avenatti ran his first political ad on November 1, 2018. Quite soon thereafter, he was arrested on “suspicion of domestic violence,” and on December 4 he announced he would not run for president. (3)

Aside from the significance of the solar eclipse, February 16, 2018 was Avenatti’s 47th birthday. In the system of annual profections, the 47th year is a 12th-house year (in all nativities). In Avenatti’s case, Virgo is on the cusp of the 12th Whole Sign house, making Mercury the Lord of the Year. (Whole Sign houses are recommended for annual profections.)

Michael Avenatti, natal chart
Whole sign houses
Porphyry houses, True node

Avenatti’s natal Mercury is at 14º36’ Aquarius; the transiting South Node was at 14º59’ Aquarius on his birthday (and the solar eclipse) this year. The South Node suggests loss or depletion, and the 12th house is known as the house of difficulties, hidden enemies, and self-undoing — not a happy omen for the year. Further indications can be seen by transiting Mercury (the Lord of the Year) being conjunct the solar eclipse Sun.

Solar eclipse
February 15, 2018
1:04 p.m. PST
Sacramento CA
Porphyry houses, True node

And finally, regarding Avenatti’s current situation, note that the progressed Moon is at 23º Leo, conjunct the natal South Node in the 10th — one’s reputation and career.

Inner wheel: Michael Avenatti, natal
Outer wheel: progressed to December 4, 2018
Porphyry houses, True node

Michael is active on Twitter. On December 5, he wrote: “To those who say the Dems do not need a fighter to beat Trump, they need just the opposite, I ask this: When is the last time a kid avoided getting his butt kicked by a bully by citing poetry? The party may not like it, but they will lose without a fighter.”


(1) Astrodatabank

(2) N.Y.Times, Aug.9, 2018

(3) “Avenatti called the allegations ‘completely bogus’ and ‘fabricated and meant to do harm to my reputation.’ Both of his ex-wives issued statements that Avenatti had never been violent toward either of them. The county district attorney declined to press charges and referred the case to the city attorney for possible misdemeanor charges.”

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Tracking Saturn & Pluto and Welcome to Jupiter

By Mary Plumb | November 12, 2018

Jupiter is in Sagittarius, just in time to temper some of the harder edges of dread as Saturn moves ever closer to the heaviest hitter of all, Pluto.

Both the mighty mythical father (Saturn) and his son (Pluto) deal with death and other endings. Saturn, for eons the last planet visible to the eye, echoes a primordial fear of the unknown, while to the Greeks, Pluto (or Hades) was literally the Lord of the Underworld and afterlife.

The pervasive weightiness of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn — in matters environmental, financial, political — is ever apparent. An element of contraction, compression, and encroaching darkness has become a familiar global theme.

The terror that this is the end (of whatever our version of reality might be) is ubiquitous and easily exploited, and it fuels the apocalyptic scenarios that are around every corner, under every rock.

Astrology, of course, can be applied with more subtlety when we consider the planets as guides to the forces we can engage with, showing us how we can optimize our lives and our experiences within the cycles of larger social forces.

It is an art to become aware of the challenging forces operating in the zeitgeist and to harness and direct that energy toward the good.

And now Jupiter’s compelling presence in Sagittarius (a 12th-house relationship to Capricorn) fills the wind in our sails with renewed hope, vision, and enthusiasm. (Remember the etymology of the word “enthusiasm: Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein to be inspired, irregular from entheos inspired, from en- + theos god”) (1)

Saturn and Pluto can be seen as compressing forces in our own thoughts, emotions, physical circumstances, and people in our environment — also revealing where we have immediate access to the realms of the occult and a place of pure creativity.

Frances Sakoian and Louis S. Acker, authors of The Astrologer’s Handbook (1973), wrote: “This aspect [the Saturn–Pluto conjunction] is sometimes called the aspect of the magician because of the ability it gives to channel occult powers through structured systems.”

Examining the house in the natal chart that contains Capricorn is a good starting point. In my case, Capricorn is in the 3rd house: the immediate environment, communications, siblings. I have been very drawn to visit my siblings on the other side of the country for a while now, but concerns in my immediate life have also been daunting. And I am still adjusting to what my neuropsych doc calls “my new brain” after an injury.

It has also occurred to me that my upcoming participation in a Native American traditional sweat lodge is emblematic of this placement. It sounds perfectly Saturn–Pluto — the immediate environment will be extremely demanding: We will be enclosed in a very small, intensely hot, and crowded (with participants and prayer) but safe space (and the final ceremony held in this particular lodge). (2) I gather that one is encouraged to stay right on the edge of what is bearable, a perfect example of the healing potential and purification (Pluto) of being right on the edge (Saturn) of what one can tolerate.

This is reminiscent of body-centered approaches to healing trauma. To simplify: Emotional/psychic/physical healing (which are all connected) can occur when we stay right at the edge of the vortex of trauma, without being pulled into it. We can develop the skill to recognize, in the body, when fear or clenching or contraction or anxiety arises, then pause and perhaps breathe slowly and deeply as we begin to integrate and soothe our rough edges and soften a bit. A slow and deliberate process, just as Saturn likes.

I spoke with someone yesterday about the general theme I was contemplating for this blog. She has Capricorn in the 8th house and, along with a recent and somewhat complicated financial situation, has also experienced a deep resurrection in her intimate life — she was opening to a different appreciation of what she called the “invisible” energy in her partnership. I know someone else with Capricorn in the 8th house (with a psychologically inclined point of view) who told me that she feels that she is in the final deep stage of clearing out patterns from her family lineage. Another friend with the same house placement of Capricorn is now extremely stressed over financial matters in her marriage, since her husband has become quite ill.

Someone else in my circle, with Capricorn in the 10th house, is struggling to recreate what was a highly visible career in the public eye; her public presence is not what it was, and the new iteration has not yet materialized. Another person with Capricorn in the 10th has (to her surprise) taken over management of the family business and financial matters. Someone with Capricorn in the 12th is in the formidable process of facing a history of addictions and a secret and potent storyline from the father’s side of the family.

I think we can be gentle with ourselves when we are on a delicate edge in our inner life; we can pace ourselves, even when Pluto seems to generate a life-or-death urgency to every ordinary moment. Pluto’s power to pull us into the Underworld is not always the way we need to go.

Saturn shows what is necessary and asks us to be direct. Saturn points to the reality that we are entreated to face, the starting place for any work of importance.

We know that Saturn is slow, the planet having been recognized as such by our ancestors for its stately pace across the sky. Saturn’s metal is lead, heavy and sluggish, and, out of all the metals connected to the seven planets, the slowest conductor of electricity. Lead is the most stable and durable element and the one most resistant to change.

And here we find ourselves, at this glorious moment within a cycle of time, when the darkness of Saturn, the farthest visible planet from the light of the Sun, and Jupiter, in its full capacity to enlighten, are calling the shots.

The sensation of fear is more acute and familiar to some of us than to others, but all of us have sensitive spots, events or situations that get under our skin, and boundaries that keep us separate and safe. With Saturn closing in on Pluto — the exact conjunction occurs on January 12, 2020 — we are gradually and deliberately building a deeper vessel of safety within ourselves.

By any measure and through any lens, we are in a transformative moment of history, and I like to think that we are being tuned up, moment by moment, to rise and fully participate in the occasion.


(1) Merriam Webster

(2) From an e-mail explaining the ceremony: “The intention of this sweat is to give our tiospaye the opportunity to pray together, to give our gratitude and release the spirits that have held this space for us, and to have closure for this lodge. After the sweat, the lodge will be burned in the sacred fire and put to rest.”

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