TMA This Week

Saturn-Pluto is on the march … fasten your seat belts!

By Anne Whitaker | March 19, 2018

A recurring theme in recent talks with colleagues and students has been the impact on our lives of the current transit of Jupiter in Scorpio, which is in sextile aspect to Scorpio’s ruler, Pluto in Capricorn. This is further potentised by Saturn’s travel through his own sign of Capricorn – and at the start of his long march toward the 2020 Saturn-Pluto conjunction. We can feel the exacting challenges of the latter combination beginning to build.

Along with long-standing institutional corruption of various kinds (e.g., sexual and financial) being dredged up, confronted, and exposed, there seems to have been an outbreak of a greater sense of collective responsibility regarding how we are treating one another and our planet. Here are just a couple of examples, from the U.K.:

The BBC series, Blue Planet II: Oceans of Wonder, narrated by the venerable and influential national treasure, 91-year old Sir David Attenborough, has been shown to huge audiences worldwide, pricking our collective consciences into action with regard to the damage plastic is doing to our oceans. (1) Also, in the U.K., a “minister for loneliness” has been appointed to tackle more effectively that scourge of modern living. (2)

The January 2020 Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn – Saturn’s home sign – offers a strong earth/water signal as we move toward the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius at the end of 2020. We are being challenged to clean up our act in relation to our home planet, and behave with more integrity toward one another as a human community – or face the consequences.

We are moving from an emphasis on planetary exploitation, which characterized the Industrial Revolution and the ensuing materialistic culture, to one of global social development – that of ideas, information, communication, and relationships – expedited by technology, for the coming 200 years or so.

So, despite the tough times we are living through and despite Saturn-Pluto’s current challenges, I feel optimistic on the whole about the new order being birthed in the turmoil of ending, although we Baby Boomers will likely not live to see it.

Pondering on Saturn-Pluto and its challenges (a topic of special interest to me, since I was born under an exact combination of those two and am still here … as far as I know) reminded me of a column I wrote for the U.K’s Astrological Journal a while ago, which described a striking incident evoking Saturn-Pluto. Here it is:

“… Something oddly unsettling happened to me on 1st June 2016. Not a surprise, you might say, with the Sun that day conjunct Mercury in Gemini square Jupiter in Virgo square Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces – all churning between 10° and 15° of the mutable signs. My natal Ascendant/Descendant plus Mercury tossed and turned within this restless brew.

“I was peacefully preparing some notes for an especially interesting-looking client booked in for that afternoon. I like noting when clients’ progressed planets change signs, or turn retro/direct, as their life pattern unfolds. This offers good material for enlightening contemplation and discussion. But it’s not something you can quickly and easily do using a computer.

“So, I reached for my 20th Century Midnight Ephemeris, turned to the 1990s, and made an unpleasant discovery. Someone had torn out pages from the 1990s. But not random pages. The whole of 1993 and 1994. Nothing else was damaged.

“There were two possibilities, given that I had purchased this ephemeris second-hand on moving into my current office in January 2015. One: Someone with keys to my office had come in and torn out specific pages at some point in the last year or so. (You’d never spot my natal Mercury-Saturn-Pluto lineup here, surely …)

“Or two – the more credible: Whoever sold the ephemeris had hated those two years so much that he/she had taken their revenge via this act of Mercurial vandalism. It was odd, however, that I had not noticed the damage earlier …

“What to do, now that I had a maimed ephemeris? Every client from now until forever, I thought, is bound to have been born in the 1990s or have key life events happening then which require close symbolic examination and elucidation. With the passage of decades, one becomes fully cognizant of Sod’s (3) frequently malign intentions.

“Whilst reluctantly concluding, therefore, that a new ephemeris was probably required, a sudden memory lit up my grumpy, puzzled, somewhat paranoid mental processes. During the 1990s, I had made up my own ephemeris for each year. Perhaps I could use two of those to cover the missing years? Had those ephemerides survived one of my periodic purges?

“They had! Their distinctive, colorful covers impressed me. How arty I was, briefly, in the 1990s … included with the photocopied ephemeris pages were lined sheets of yellow paper for notes; these were full of astrological significators linked with personal and mundane events for 1991 to 1996. Why had I stopped then? No idea …

“A morning was spent browsing through those notes, focusing especially on the two missing years of 1993-94 – what a harrowing read! Staggering out, semi-traumatized, into gorgeous sunshine, I restored balance by basking outside my favorite boho cafe. Sipping delicious coffee and feasting on sandwiches followed by jammy creamy fruit scones, I reflected on our (fortunately) well-developed capacity to forget grim events. How unpleasant and upsetting it is to be reminded.

“These were awful, turbulent times: not only at a macro level, but also in our small personal worlds … many of us ‘plugged in’ to the same degrees as the major planetary patterns of those years suffered very considerably. I often found myself talking to clients about family traumas which in many cases closely mirrored my own.

“From my notes, January 1993: ‘… the start of a momentous year, with a triple conjunction of Uranus and Neptune at 18°-19° Capricorn in February, August, and October, and a triple meeting between Saturn in Aquarius square Pluto in Scorpio from 24° to 27° of their respective signs in March and October 1993, and January 1994 … world situation incredibly unstable, turbulent, and cruel throughout 1992 as exactitudes approached …’

“The notes went on to describe planetary links to major oil spills, earthquakes, mudslides, volcanic eruptions … and that was just January and February 1993! There followed, as many of us will remember, ongoing IRA bombings on the U.K. mainland, the first attack on the World Trade Centre, attempts to stop a genocidal war in the Balkans, and horrific genocide in Ruanda. Worth quoting, from the U.K.’s Sunday Times on August 22, 1993, two days after the second exact Uranus/Neptune conjunction: ‘Islamic fundamentalism, if it remains unchecked, could destabilize Egypt, Sudan, Africa, Middle East – the whole world community …’ (Grimly prescient.)

“I now understood why that mysterious reader had torn out 1993 and 1994. Feeling very reflective, and grateful that life had eventually reached calmer waters in recent times, I headed off to home. There in the mail was a letter, the first in many years from a close relative from whom I was forced to cut off contact in 1993-94.
“As English astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington (1882 – 1944) once observed: ‘Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine’.” (4)


(1) BBC
(2) BBC
(3) Sod’s law, which states that “if something can go wrong, it will,” is similar to Murphy’s law but broader in scope. Wikipedia
(4) Quotation Page

(This is a lightly edited version of Anne’s article, which was first published in the July/August issue of the U.K.’s Astrological Journal. Many thanks to Anne for sharing her work with TMA.)

Anne Whitaker’s blog: Astrology Questions and Answers

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The nodal axis is magnetizing …

By Mary Plumb | February 20, 2018

There are countless astronomical factors that guide us as we move with time, and eclipse degrees and nodal connections are often especially vivid markers to help us understand our place in the cycle of time. We are just past two eclipses, and themes and events reflected by the nodes are on my mind. (1)

The nodes form an axis across the birth chart, sometimes pointing to inscrutable experiences or moments of destiny in an unfolding life.

The natal nodal axis is a fascinating, paradoxical, magical portal in any birth chart. I remember an analogy that Jungian astrologer Laurence Hillman wrote about: We might consider ourselves at a train station at any moment in life. He suggested that the North Node shows the destination, where we are headed according to the ticket we have purchased. He spoke of the South Node as the baggage we bring onto the train, what we think we need for the trip, as well as what we are carrying for comfort or out of habit. (2)

This view echoes contemporary astrology, which often considers the North Node as being connected to the future, and the South Node as connected to the past. The idea has some root in the astronomical fact that, every month, the Moon crosses the plane of the ecliptic twice: It changes its latitude at the ecliptic and moves into northern declination, and two weeks later, crosses the ecliptic again and heads south.

Alexander Ruperti describes this in his seminal (1978) book: “In astrological symbolism, the northward crossing of the Ecliptic is a movement towards the positive and creative factor of the Spirit, and the southward crossing is a motion away from Spirit and towards the material realm.” He further writes: “This alternating orientation first toward spirit and then toward matter is the key to the meaning of the nodal cycle.” (3)

There is thus a cyclic energy implied at the nodal axis. We speak of the North Node as the Dragon’s Head and the South Node as the Dragon’s Tail. We sense the new and take in life, energy, experience, nourishment through the mouth, the eyes, the nostrils (all in the head), and eliminate, through the tail, that which has been digested and assimilated. The alchemical image of the ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail, is a depiction of the energetic circuitry inherent across the nodal axis. This oscillating pattern of the nodal axis keeps us in a loop between the two relevant signs and their respective symbolism.

The nodes are enormously important in many astrological techniques. Their use in mundane work (i.e., world events) is well researched and reported on. In the personal horoscope, the nodes can point to compelling connections that move us along on our life path, anywhere from the proverbial “ships passing in the night” (where a nodal tie with someone changes the course of our lives in a very short span of time) to a lifelong “fated” connection. (4)

One of the most mysterious connections is with people born about 9 years apart. The nodes have an 18.6-year cycle, so we all go through the nodal returns at ages 19, 38, 57, and 76. At ages 9, 28, 47, 66, and 85, we are in the half-nodal return – that is, the transiting North Node is conjunct our South Node, and vice versa. We will have this tie with anyone born 9 years apart from us. My client files contain stories of life-altering relationships between two people born at one another’s half-nodal return. The duration of the connection is not as consistent as is the intensity or significance of the meeting. Some pairs with this tie between charts have been intimately in one another’s lives for many years; others have been marked by a momentary rebooting that changed the course of their lives.

This gets me to my real subject matter: the current movie, nominated for many awards, Call Me by Your Name. I won’t spoil the storyline for anyone who hasn’t seen it, but the two main characters are played by actors born on each other’s half-nodal return. Timothee Chalamet, born on December 27, 1995, has the North Node at 23° Libra and the South Node at 23° Aries. (5) Armie Hammer was born on August 28, 1986, with the North Node at 22° Aries and the South Node at 22° Libra. (6)

Bi-wheel: Armie Hammer, inner
Timothee Chalamet, outer

(Remember, these are both solar charts, birth times unknown.)

The story, beautifully realized in these actors’ performances, is a demonstration of the development and expression of a relationship with souls seemingly destined to be like “ships passing in the night.”


(1) For readers who need a quick reminder: The lunar nodes are where the Moon’s orbit around the Earth intersects with Earth’s path around the Sun. A solar eclipse occurs when the New Moon is within 17°25′ of the North or South Node; a lunar eclipse occurs when the Full Moon is within 11°38′ of the North or South Node.

(2) I am paraphrasing Hillman’s ideas here; I read the book quite a while ago, but his basic image has stayed with me. He refines the analogy in lots of interesting ways, such as rearranging our “stuff” as the journey continues and we stop at different stations and others come and go from the train, etc.

(3) Alexander Rupert, Cycles of Becoming, CRCS Publications, 1978. p. 55.

(4) The idiom is from the poem, “Tales of a Wayside Inn,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

“Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice,
then darkness again and a silence.”

(5) Wikipedia: Timothee Chalamet
December 27, 1995; New York, NY, USA

(6) Wikipedia: Armie Hammer
August 28, 1986; Santa Monica, CA, USA

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February Check-In

By Mary Plumb | February 5, 2018

Eclipse seasons are distinctive times, no matter what frame of reference we use: from measuring the geomagnetic, weather-related, or other mundane areas of turbulence generated by the massive physical bodies of Sun, Moon, and Earth lining up precisely; to the heightened awareness (and possible integration) of our own inner demons; to balancing the subtle energies that travel along the spinal column in the body and the lasting effects of meditative practices familiar to yogic traditions.

We are also in the somewhat rare period (from Uranus’s station direct on January 2 to Jupiter’s station retrograde on March 8) when all the planets are moving forward. Outer events and our inner experiences (i.e., our interpretation of what is going on) may seem different and somehow new. There is a sense that time is hastening, chapters in life are both closing and opening, and we are on the way to our future.

Here are two quick examples of the recent Leo lunar eclipse (January 31 at 11°37′ Leo-Aquarius): A friend with the Midheaven at 12° Leo has suddenly had several much-needed career opportunities arise. A client with the natal Moon at 11°32′ Leo is bereft over the loss of her dearly beloved cat – the cat jumped over the fence at their new house and ran away. Given the uncertainty of eclipse energy, I told her the cat may return (this would be a good horary question). This story echoes the presence of asteroid Ceres, connected to loss and grief, conjunct the Leo Moon of the eclipse.

Here are some thoughts on eclipses (from classical and modern astrology), especially the Leo lunar eclipse and the upcoming Aquarius solar eclipse on February 15.

Head and Tail of the Dragon: The Lunar Nodes by P. James Clark, has a beautifully illustrated description of the astronomy of eclipses and a synopsis of the myth of Rahu and Ketu, as told in the Mahabharata. He writes: “I have changed my view more than once over the years. I have read everything I could get my hands on regarding Traditional Astrology. There is no consensus, but I’m giving the last word to Al-Biruni. He is discussing the relative conditions of the luminaries:

‘When both the luminaries are in aspect to each other, and to the benefics, and are in their own sections of the signs of the benefics, both of them are strong. But if they are in situations unsuitable to them, and the malefics, full of enmity are above them, and the benefics below, or are eclipsed, or near the dragon’s head or tail, especially the latter by less than 12 degrees, both of them are weak.’ (Instructions p. 110.)”

Barbara Goldsmith has a 12-minute video on Solar Eclipse in Aquarius: February 15th. “Free at last! When I think about Aquarius, I am reminded of Inner and Outer Space uncoiling a new intelligence.” She offers cheerful encouragement to celebrate our “unique quirkiness.”

Here’s a fast-moving (two-minute) graphic map that shows every upcoming solar eclipse until 2040.

Marina at Darkstar Astrology writes on Solar Eclipse February 2018: Under Swan Wings.” She notes: “The New Moon Solar Eclipse falls at 27º Aquarius directly opposite the right royal Regulus Solar Eclipse last August at 28º Leo. It brings to completion projects or issues raised at that eclipse. In some respects, that last eclipse was quite elite in its style, whereas this Aquarian eclipse has more of a working-class flavour. This eclipse falls on fixed star Gienah in the constellation of the Swan so it still has a regal taste, since all white Swans in the UK are supposedly owned by the Queen and they are a protected bird.”

Ed Snow at Astrology News Service considers this eclipse season and President Trump’s horoscope: Trump’s Troubles Far from Over. He refers to financial astrologer Grace Morris: “The 2018 lunar eclipse on January 31 at 11 degrees of Aquarius will oppose planet Pluto in President Drumpf’s birth chart. Days later, the February 15 solar eclipse in Aquarius will oppose his Mars. ‘The effects of these oppositions should be very personal,’ Morris says.”

Kathy Biehl, astrologer at Empowerment Unlimited, has a forecast for the month: “February is in the thick of eclipse territory. Shock waves are still radiating out from the total lunar eclipse of Jan. 31. Its companion is the month’s centerpiece, the Aquarius New Moon solar eclipse on Feb. 15. While bringing its share of dramatic endings, it is also a life-changing quickening and power-up, complete with rocket ship.”

Although not directly connected to the current eclipses, Alex Miller, Asteroid Files looks at Political Apprentice, Season Two: The Trump Administration’s 2018 Solar Return. He writes: “The Moon at 13º Pisces conjoins Neptune at 12º Pisces. This could indicate a dishonest stance with the public, an attempt to misrepresent, obfuscate, or deceive. It also represents confused or inconsistent public policy, and a populace that is disillusioned, disheartened, or cynically disengaged; many may feel betrayed, another Neptune keyword.”

Have a good week, everyone!

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California Senator Kamala Harris

By Mary Plumb | January 22, 2018

Kamala Harris, the junior Senator from California and subject of widespread speculation regarding her political future, was born on October 20, 1964 at 9:28 p.m. in Oakland, California. (1) I’m giving a few early thoughts about Harris as we just received the AA birth data and know that others in the astrological community will be eager to study it.

Kamala Harris
Oct. 20, 1964
9:28 p.m.
Oakland CA 37N37 122W16

Kamala Harris, natal

The horoscope has 24º Gemini rising, with the true North Node exactly on the Ascendant degree. North Node–Ascendant is a mark of personal charisma and connection to the zeitgeist of the time, both of which are evident in her story.

Born 15 minutes before a Full Moon, Harris has the Sun in Libra and Moon in Aries.

The chart ruler, Mercury, is in early Scorpio, having made a superior conjunction with the Sun at 22º Libra five days before Harris’s birth. This is the mark of passionate mind and communication style: Mercury in Scorpio carries the relentless and penetrating qualities of the fixed water sign, and is also newly charged by its recent meeting with the Sun.

Harris was awarded a law degree in 1990 and sought a career in law enforcement because she wanted to be “at the table where decisions are made.” (2)

The image of making decisions is echoed in her horoscope by Saturn, which is strongly placed near the Midheaven (MC) — thus the most elevated planet — and in Aquarius, its traditional rulership. Harris began her career as a prosecutor and “has a near-obsessive, decadeslong interest in reforming incarceration.” (3) Natal Jupiter, traditional ruler of the Pisces MC, is in the 12th house (of prisons) conjunct the fixed star Capulus in the sword of the hero, Perseus. (Capulus is known for masculine strength and penetrating energy.)

Harris began serving as Attorney General of California in 2011. She was elected U.S. Senator in 2016, when Barbara Boxer resigned. Harris had acted quickly to throw her name into the pool of contenders for the Senate — what we might expect from Aries Moon trine its dispositor, Mars in Leo (4).

On January 13, 2015, when Harris made her precipitous announcement to run, transiting Mars was at 2º Pisces, conjunct the natal MC (2º24′ Pisces). Transiting Mars was also square to transiting Saturn (2º05′ Sag). Harris has natal Mars (21º Leo) opposite Saturn (28º Aquarius) — this often-formidable combination of planetary energy was familiar and accessible to her. Transiting Jupiter, MC ruler, was retrograde (as in the natal) at 20º35 Leo, within one degree of natal Mars (21º17′ Leo).

At the successful election, November 8, 2016, Harris was in the exact (partile) First Quarter square in the progressed chart (Moon at 20º06′ Pisces square Sun at 20º14′ Sag). (5) The progressed Moon was also applying to trine progressed Venus at 21º14′ Scorpio. (The trine is especially significant as the progressed Moon had just passed challenging oppositions to progressed Uranus, Pluto, and Mars in Virgo.) On Election Day, transiting Mercury, the natal Ascendant ruler, was at 24º Scorpio exactly opposite natal Jupiter (24º Taurus), ruler of the natal MC.

Further, on January 3, 2017, when Harris was sworn in as senator, transiting Venus was at 1º Pisces, conjunct the natal MC; transiting Jupiter, at 21º Libra, was applying to conjoin the natal Sun.

In June 2017, transiting Uranus in Aries crossed the natal Sun–Moon opposition for the first time (to be followed by exact passages in September 2017 and April 2018).

On June 7, Harris attracted national media attention in her questioning of U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for his role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey (which, in many minds, was the beginning of a new chapter of serious trouble for the President). As noted above, Harris has a powerful and focused natal Mercury, ruling planet of the Gemini Ascendant. The “prosecutorial nature of her questioning” caused Republican committee members to interrupt Harris repeatedly and request that she “be more respectful of the witness.” (6)

On June 13, Harris questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the same topic. She was again interrupted by Republican committee members. (Sessions even stated that Harris’s mode of questioning “makes me nervous.”) (7) Apparently, AG Sessions has not been questioned by such a persistent force as a female with an Aries Moon — currently being tweaked by Uranus — and natal Mercury in Scorpio in a close (1° orb) semi-square (45º) to Pluto in Virgo.

When describing her style as a prosecutor, Harris once said: “I like to go to the scene, and I do that with almost [any] project. I need to see it and I need to hear it — I need to feel it, almost, so that I can have some intuitive sense, as well as some theoretical or intellectual or academic sense, of what’s going on.” (8)

(Author’s note: Although I did not include sect in this short piece, Harris’ chart shows some basic principles. I.e., as a night birth, Saturn is out of sect but mitigated somewhat by its strong placement in Aquarius. Venus and Mars are the planets in sect at night, and they took turns by transit at the MC at significant career moments mentioned above.)


(1) Birth certificate in hand, from data collector Steve Stuckey.

(2) Wikipedia: Kamala Harris

(3) Mother Jones: The Secret to Understanding Kamala Harris

(4) “Politically, in what’s become characteristic of her approach, she’d come to the conclusion that acting early and decisively was a smart way to get ahead of the pack.”
U.S. News: The Inevitability of Kamala Harris

(5) For further research: I think the progressed Sun–Moon aspects might be especially significant for her, since she was born at a nearly partile Full Moon.

(6) “Burr’s singling out of Harris sparked suggestion in the news media that his behavior was sexist, with commentators arguing that Burr would not treat a male Senate colleague in a similar manner. Other commentators suggested that treating Harris differently than other members of the Intelligence Committee is evidence of racism. In addition, when CNN pundit Jason Miller described Harris as ‘hysterical’, Kirsten Powers, who was taking part in the same on-air segment, told Miller that his use of the term to describe Harris was sexist, and that he would not describe male Senators in the same manner.” Wikipedia: Kamala Harris

(7) Wikipedia: Kamala Harris

(8) Mother Jones: The Secret to Understanding Kamala Harris

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Saturn calling…

By Mary Plumb | January 8, 2018

On December 21, the winter solstice, when the Sun entered Capricorn, Saturn was waiting, having arrived there on the evening of the 19th.

We all knew this was coming, the co-presence of Saturn in his own sign at the potent moment of the Sun’s standstill.

Themes connected to Saturn’s significations would be apparent for many of us. I always keep a look out for Saturn transits: I was born at midnight and in the doctrine of sect, night births are particularly susceptible to Saturn’s more troublesome side. It is also the most elevated planet in the natal, opposite the Sun at the nadir.

I had a plan for where I wanted to be at the solstice. I’ve been missing my four siblings in New York and with Saturn entering my Capricorn 3rd house (Whole sign) I got a ticket to be in New York with them.

However, Fate entered: a close (male) family member passed away right before the solstice. I traveled instead to extreme Saturn country — way off the grid in the mountains of northern Idaho, a remote and beautiful 20 acres with a log home, constant snow (three feet when I left) and, like much of the country, frigid weather. I spent two weeks there — gorgeous, deep, solemn, silent, sacred solstice days — saying goodbye to my old and beloved friend (and tending to the practical tasks left for the living).

For more specific astrological details: I am in a profected 8th house year. Gemini is on the natal 8th cusp, so Mercury is the most important planet for me this year. The transiting South Node was at 16º Aquarius, exactly on my natal Mercury when my former partner died in December. Yesterday (with transiting Saturn making its first partile opposition to my natal Cancer Moon) I spent a good part of the day slowly writing his obituary.

Saturn delays but does not deny: I was able to postpone the trip and will get to N.Y. for my reunion with siblings and east coast family before long.

Due to its retrograde, transiting Mercury was conjunct Saturn on November 27 (27º 27′ Sag), December 22 (28º 23′ Sag) and makes its last conjunction to Saturn on January 12 at 2º 48′ Capricorn. We may have bounced against — and walked through — myriad walls and apparent obstructions as we have met Saturn’s slow deliberations during this cycle, but surely will come through to the other side more closely aligned with whatever is our next best step.

Here are a few other blogs featuring the “moving slowly” one, also known as the “Dweller on the Threshold” and “the planet of experience” Saturn.

At The Enquirer (Jyotish) website, Vic Cara writes Saturn Liberates the Sun. “Saturn enters to smack us on the face and wake us up. ‘See, everything you are striving for is foreign to you. You are permanent, but you are trying to enjoy situations that are temporary. Wake up! This will never work!'”

Angela, the Ohio Astrologer, discusses Saturn in Capricorn — Success and Failure: “Saturn and Capricorn are disciplined and employ authority, rules, structure and caution to sustain that discipline. Think of driving a car on the highway versus driving a car in one of those amusement park rides – it’s much easier to drive when there’s a track or guardrails. In the free open space of the highway, discipline is much more difficult to maintain.”

Christina at The Oxford Astrologer has some links to What Astrologers Are Saying About Saturn in Capricorn. (She links to Steven Forrest, Jessica Adams and others.) Christina’s introductory remarks include:

“It’s been a long, strange trip around the Zodiac for Saturn over the last 27 years, but at last he’s come home. Yesterday, he arrived with the dust of the road clinging to his clothes, in Capricorn, the sign which, by tradition, he rules. Perhaps, he heaved a sigh of relief to be back in this cool, winter palace.

He left this place in 1991, and like Odysseus coming back to Ithaca, Saturn returns to find his house topsy-turvy in 2017. He has a few of years to sort things out — until 2020. But he is strong here, he knows how things work in this rocky region, and he is the king.”

Onwards, everyone. Have a good week.

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The Year of the Dog

By Mary Plumb | December 18, 2017

book cover

I want to use this week’s blog to alert readers to a new book from astrologer Gahl E. Sasson — The Astrology of 2018: The Year of the Dog and the Master. The author, who has taught astrology, Kaballah, storytelling, and mysticism internationally for more than 20 years, includes numerology in this work. (1) In the introductory remarks, noting that 2018 is an 11 year, he writes: “Since 11 is 1 looking at oneself, it is considered the most intuitive and mystical number. This year, do us all a favor. Trust your intuition!”

And, beginning on February 15, 2018, we enter the Year of the Dog. “If 2018 is the Year of the Dog, then we are talking about a pit-bull rather than a docile poodle.”

He writes the astrological overview for this upcoming pit-bull year — including five (not the usual four) eclipses, Uranus entering Taurus, Saturn in Capricorn, Jupiter in Scorpio, Mars and Venus both going retrograde, Mercury’s retrograde periods, and Chiron’s move into Aries. (He also has a short section on tips to “be your own astrologer.”)

Sasson’s viewpoint is heartfelt and direct. In the general notes on eclipses, he writes: “Be strong in those periods for yourself as well as for the people around you. Knowing these astrological trends make you more responsible. You are reading these pages so that you can become a lighthouse for others as well as for yourself.”

About Saturn moving into Capricorn: “This is great news to Sagittarius folks who, for two and a half years, felt the oppression of Saturn. Sagittarians will be free to return to their old optimistic, fun-loving selves. Saturn in Kabbalah is associated with the Sphere Binah, ‘Understanding,’ and wherever Saturn travels, it teaches us what we have to learn and understand. Kabbalah suggests that Saturn is the rectifier, Tikkun, the celestial contractor that helps fix the sign or house where it is located. It is the planet that helps us grow through crisis.”

After describing the general astrological year, Sasson offers a detailed look at the year for each sign. Following an overview of each sign’s main themes, there are specific sections on The 5 Eclipses — Your Emotional Landscape; Mercury Retrograde — Mental Landscape; Unpredictable Journey (i.e., Uranus in Taurus); Mars Retrograde; Venus: Money and Love; and a Conclusion.

Gahl Sasson is practical and inspiring throughout. He writes: “I wish you a happy and healthy year, full of abundance, creativity, love, and adventures. It is a wonderful thing to be a human and we are fortunate to have reincarnated during this era at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, the age of awareness.

“All is One. All is love.”

This 42-page book would make a wonderful present for anyone who appreciates succinct, sensible, and uplifting astrological guidance.

Gahl Sasson is also a passionate animal rights activist. “This book is dedicated to my friend and companion Balkahan, who rescued me when I rescued him. May he rest in peace and reincarnate back to me soon.” (Half of the proceeds from this book will be donated to dog shelters.)

The Astrology of 2018: The Year of the Dog and the Master is available from Amazon, in either print ($11) or Kindle versions ($7.40).

(1) I reviewed his book, Cosmic Navigator: Design Your Destiny with Astrology and Kabbalah in TMA Aug./Sept. 2009.

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A Look at the Spain/Catalonia Conflict through the Geodetic Zodiac

By Arielle Guttman | October 23, 2017

What does one do when Pluto is opposite your Ascendant and Saturn is square your Midheaven/IC at the same time? How would you advise someone in this circumstance? That’s the scenario in Spain currently, when viewed through the mundane zodiac, the Geodetic. (1) Obviously, the key idea that comes to mind is that a structural metamorphosis is at hand.

Catalonia has sought to break away from Spain for decades, so why is it now heating up to such an intense pitch?

The Geodetic Midheaven of the capital city, Madrid, is located at 26° Pisces, the degree Chiron has been sitting upon for most of the year.

Madrid: Geodetic chart with transits for the New Moon.
October 19, 2017; 9:12 p.m. CEDT
Madrid, Spain (40°N24′ 03°W41′)
Koch houses, True Node

Madrid geodetic NM

The current square between Chiron in Pisces and Saturn and Black Moon in Sagittarius are trigger points to the leadership in Madrid through the end of October. (2) The squares between Saturn and Chiron have been occurring all year. The first strike from Saturn to Madrid was in February when that transiting planet first came to 26° Sagittarius. But, within the past few weeks, transiting Mars and Venus have weighed in — transiting Venus crossed the 26° Virgo IC on October 10, with Mars arriving there on October 16.

The Geodetic Ascendant for Madrid currently fares no better for peace and quiet. At 15°54′ Cancer, Pluto is sitting at its opposition point now. This is the case throughout most of September and October, with one added element to the mix: Revolutionary Uranus, at 26° Aries, is involved in a biting quincunx to its IC (26° Virgo). This acts like the fly in your face — it’s not going to leave you alone unless you change your position or wind up killing it.

The Sabian symbol for the 26th degree of Pisces is: “People going ahead with their different projects.” As we’ve seen, that is Madrid’s Midheaven degree. Barcelona, however, is a different Midheaven degree. This is one of my favorite examples in Geodetic astrology — in looking at the world’s Midheaven signs, there is a separation between Catalonia and Spain. Spain is entirely within the borders of Pisces while Catalonia is in Aries. Of course, Catalonia wants its independence and needs to make its own decisions, like any true Aries would!

Barcelona: Geodetic chart with transits for the New Moon.
October 19, 2017; 9:12 p.m. CEDT
Madrid, Spain (41°N23′ 002°E11′)
Koch houses, True Node

Barcelona geodetic NM

Barcelona is the center of the current planetary cyclone. Its Midheaven degree is 2° Aries. This Sabian symbol is: “A cameo shows the outline of a man in the shape of his country.” (3) The meaning is clear: If you so completely identify with it, you become it. This is Barcelona, a nation of Catalonia, expressing itself, to the world. The caution, as Lynda Hill suggested, is: “Become yourself — don’t let anyone else define you.” With Aries, that’s always a burning truth.

Your Midheaven’s image proudly displays itself to all — it’s what you are “famous” for. The essential self can be found at the opposite degree on the IC, 2° Libra: “The dawn of a new day reveals everything changed.” This is the hope burning eternal for Catalonia — that tomorrow it will all change. Here are the planets that are currently parading across that degree in the heart of Catalonia:

Sep 23rd: Vesta conjunct Barcelona’s IC
Sep 25th: Sun conjunct Barcelona’s IC
Oct 1st: Mercury conjunct Barcelona’s IC
Oct 16th: Venus conjunct Barcelona’s IC
Oct 26th: Mars conjunct Barcelona’s IC

Meanwhile, Pluto has been slowly dancing across the Madrid ASC/DSC axis (15°54′ Cancer/Capricorn) for this past year.

Stay tuned in to this — we haven’t heard the last of it. Will Catalonians get what they want? Maybe the more important question here is whether they are prepared for sovereignty. Can they exit Spain (as well as the EU) and exist on their own?

This is not simply another crisis situation for Spain right now, but also for Europe and the EU. In 2018 Uranus has the final quincunx crossing to the IC of both Madrid and Barcelona. It will ultimately station at 2° Taurus in August 2018, where for most of the summer it reactivates Barcelona’s vertical axis (2°11′ Libra/Aries). But remember that it’s the quincunx. A forced separation by one or both parties due to the inability to come to a consensus would most likely result in a feeling of exile. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, there’s that fly again.


(1) Editor’s note: Arielle Guttman uses the Geodetic Zodiac for analyzing political and mundane matters. Here is an explanation of the Geodetic Zodiac from an article she wrote for TMA in 1995.

“To briefly summarize how this system works, imagine the 360 lines of longitude around the world applied to the 360° of the zodiac. Each line of longitude becomes a degree of the zodiac. The most universally agreed upon starting point is 0° longitude, which occurs at Greenwich, England. Therefore, Greenwich = 0° Aries Midheaven (MC). West of Greenwich, the MC becomes Pisces; east of Greenwich it becomes Aries, and so on, all the way around the world. The Ascendant and other house cusps are derived from the local MC. For instance, the MC for 0° Aries at 51° north latitude (London) yields an Ascendant of 26° Cancer (therefore London’s geodetic angles are 0° Aries MC and 26° Cancer Ascendant) — yet the Ascendant for the same degree of longitude at the equator gives an Ascendant of 0° Cancer.”

Readers may also enjoy Arielle’s previous TMA blog on the Geodetic Zodiac. (On a personal note, I thought this was a riveting look at the 2016 election.)

The Goddess of Discord, The U.S. Chart and the 2016 Election

(2) Author’s note: This is the same square that has been affecting Britain as well, with its Geodetic dividing line right through the heart of the country.

(3) Sabian symbols from Sabian Symbols

Bio: Arielle Guttman began her formal studies in astrology in 1974 in San Diego, CA. Based in Santa Fe for over 25 years, she recently relocated to Oakland, CA. Arielle’s work primarily focuses on private one-to-one client sessions, group seminars, and writing books on astrological subjects. Conversant in the many fields of astrology, her specialty areas are reflected in the five volumes she has written and published for the astrological community. Since the publication of her fifth book, Venus Star Rising, Arielle has been touring the country to introduce the Venus Star Point® theory, a revolutionary new astrological point that transforms a person’s chart and their perceptions of how they can function most harmoniously in life.
Contact Arielle via email:, or, visit her websites: SophiaVenus and VenusStarRising.

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Astrology and a PBS special

By Kate Plumb | October 9, 2017

As an astrologer with a great interest in history, I am always amazed to see birth charts activated hundreds of years after the death of the individual. I wrote previously about Alexander Hamilton — who died in 1804 — coming back to life with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical of the same name.

Although without the sensational cultural impact of Hamilton, Martin Luther has come back to life after over 500 years, with the PBS broadcast of “Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World,” which first aired on September 12, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. It is even more amazing that Lois Rodden has an AA rating for his birth time, and that his life is fairly well documented, with exact dates of significant life events, including a time for death. I have just begun researching his life and, in this blog, I will consider some of the current planetary placements connected to his natal chart. (1)

Martin Luther
November 10, 1483
10:46 p.m. LMT
Eisleben, Germany (51N20; 11E32)
Whole sign houses



I started writing this on September 20, when the New Moon (27º27′ Virgo) was opposite transiting Chiron (26º30′ Pisces). I noticed right away that Luther is a Chironic figure himself, with his natal Sun at 27º19′ Scorpio trining Chiron (26º58′ Pisces), and that during this lunation, he had a Chiron return. (Chiron returns to its natal position every 50 years, so obviously he has had many returns in the 533 years since his birth, but probably not many so strongly connected to a New Moon, and thus bringing him to our attention.)

Inner: Martin Luther, natal
Outer: September 20 New Moon

The September PBS special acknowledged Luther’s many accomplishments — the proliferation of schools and universities in Germany; the importance of teaching children of both sexes; the translation of the Bible into German from Latin so everyone could read scripture; the unification of the German language; the awakening of people to the concept that one’s conscience is the guide in spiritual matters; faith in Christ and the power of His forgiveness — rather than the performance of certain works — as important for salvation.

According to the program’s producers, Luther was the “first media star,” of history, as he was able to take advantage of Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press (1439). On October 31, 1517, he posted his “Ninety-five Theses” on the wall of the Cathedral in Wittenberg, which railed against the church’s selling of indulgences (to forgive sins and to get the money to build St. Peter’s). Copies became available throughout Germany very quickly, and, soon thereafter, throughout Europe. There are 130 volumes of his life works, both books and pamphlets, and true to his unique understanding of the importance of the printing press, he carefully made sure that each one was visually beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to hold.

Luther, who had been a monk, married after his excommunication by the Pope. He was considered to be an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor, who issued a decree that anybody could kill Luther without having to suffer consequences. He did not feel that celibacy was crucial to being a priest, but, rather, saw it as a “gift” that was not for everybody. Luther had a much more enlightened view of the role of women than most men of his time — he deeded his farm to his wife, which was illegal at the time.

Luther was a prolific hymnodist (the author of many hymns and psalms), and also encouraged such figures as J.S. Bach to compose music. He changed the liturgical service to include more music, and wrote a German Mass so that all the parishioners could understand what the priest was saying.

We can think of Chironic people as those singular, lonely figures that are emboldened by their own inner convictions, and — possibly without a conscious intention to disrupt the status quo — do so regardless of their own personal safety. Martin Luther was a maverick, one of those individuals whose calling is to break humanity out of the authoritarianism and tradition of Saturn into the more egalitarian and independent ways of Uranus.

But there must be something more to explain why Martin Luther’s chart has come to such prominence at this time. A few points: His Ascendant is 24º54′ Leo, and the North Node and Venus were conjunct at 23º58′ Leo on September 14th, two days after the PBS special about his life. The North Node–Venus conjunction on his Ascendant was also sextile Jupiter at 24º Libra, suggesting a pleasant event that brings the native into the limelight.

Luther is also having a Jupiter return: Natal Jupiter is at 27º Libra conjunct the South Node, and currently transited by Uranus. Luther, whose work proliferated via the printing press, the technology of his day, is now being exposed via current technology (Uranus) — a television special bringing his life and views into contemporary livingrooms.

Luther’s natal chart has Mercury–Neptune conjunct at 9º09′ Sagittarius. His solar return chart for November 2016 has the Midheaven at 5º Virgo with the North Node at 9º Virgo, opposing transiting Neptune and the South Node, both squaring Mercury at 10º Sagittarius; this repeats the Mercury—Neptune connection in the natal (which is further emphasized by the solar return Midheaven and the transiting nodes.)

Martin Luther
Solar Return
November 2016
set for birthplace: Eisleben, Germany

One last note: There is a very famous event in Martin Luther’s early life. On July 2, 1505, at the age of 22, he was riding back to the university on his horse when he ran into a frightening thunderstorm. Praying fervently as the rain, wind, and lightning plummeted him, he cried out that if God delivered him from the storm, he would become a monk! Upon arriving back at school Luther switched out of law school into theology, becoming one of the intellectual giants of his day, earning two BA’s and a Doctorate in Theology.
On that day, his progressed Jupiter was within 0°12′ of arc to natal Mars at 1º15′ Scorpio. Transiting Jupiter will be there on October 14th, one more aspect signifying that Martin Luther’s life is awakening anew at this time.(3)

There is lots more than can be done with this chart. I have only skimmed the surface. I wanted to look at his profections but have had difficulty in figuring out what house/sign is being activated in his 533rd birthday year!!


(1) Martin Luther, November 10, 1483; 10:46 p.m. LMT; Eisleben, Germany. AA

(2) Biographical material from the PBS program and Wikipedia.
Wikipedia: Martin Luther

(3) For those readers interested in zodiacal releasing, Luther has the Moon at 11º Aries conjunct the Part of Fortune at 11º Aries, squared his Part of Spirit at 8º38’Capricorn. That means every time his Part of Fortune gets activated so does his Part of Spirit which must add great strength to the success of his initiatives.
Releasing from Spirit from 11/10/1483 to 6/21/1510 he was in a level 1 Capricorn time band, igniting both Fortune and Spirit. On level 4 he had a loosening of the bonds from 6/26/1505 to 6/30/1505 from Capricorn to Leo and then on July 2nd (the date of this life-changing experience) entered his 4th level Libra, again triggering his cardinal setup.

Bio: Kate Plumb, “cycles scientist,” is a certified NCGR counseling astrologer who teaches monthly at Joshua’s Place in Southampton and sees clients in her home office. She is also certified in Astro*Carto*Graphy. Website: Kate can be reached at or (631) 725-9133.

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Eclipse stories, part 2

By Mary Plumb | September 11, 2017

For many of us, the notion that the “Great American Eclipse” (so named by NASA) would primarily be a seed-planting time (as per its connection to the New Moon as a cycle that begins in the dark) has been (temporarily) washed away by hurricane winds, floods, storm surges, or blown away and burnt up by raging fires and mandatory evacuations. (1)

As noted in our last blog, the eclipse degree was on the Midheaven in Houston where Harvey landed on August 25, the first national disaster in this current run.

Irma has now devastated Cuba and islands in the Caribbean and is whipping through Florida, where more than four million homes are without power and in the path of Irma’s wind and storm surges.

On September 2 at about 3:30 p.m., a few feckless young people threw a firecracker into the dry tinder on a well-used hiking trail near Portland, Oregon (which saw the solar eclipse at 99% visibility). The ensuing blaze jumped the river into Washington State and quickly became a 30,000-acre conflagration, tearing through the gorgeous Columbia Gorge. Transiting Mars was at 28º26′ Leo and Mercury was at 28º 52′ Leo, exact to the minute of arc to the August 21 solar eclipse degree.

Eagle Creek fire
The Eagle Creek Fire, which crossed the Columbia River to burn in two states. Photo from:
Oregon Department of Forestry

I am in southern Oregon, not in any path of fire, but surrounded by smoke from the multiple large fires in the region. (2) This morning there is a blue sky with “moderate” air quality, the first day in weeks that is not “unhealthy” or “hazardous.” Locals are temporarily venturing out to the land of the living without zombie masks (to protect the lungs). In this particular microcosm, it is a moment when we remember what normal felt like. May everyone in the lands impacted by the storms and fires also have a moment soon that feels like “normal.”

In a tweet that captures the moment — and echoes many conversations in these past days — writer John Scalzi wrote on September 8: “These aren’t the End Times, but it sure as hell feels like the End Times are getting in a few dress rehearsals right about now.”

A story from outside the realm of natural disaster — and certainly in the category of an event that will unfold over many months — is the Equifax security breach. “On September 7, 2017, Equifax announced a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers.” (3) On September 7th, Mercury was direct and back exactly to the minute of arc of the eclipse degree (28º52′ Leo).

Although first reports of the actual potential damage are sketchy, the timing of this looks pretty bad. Whilst discussing the current air quality here in Oregon my friend, Jyotish astrologer Steve Stuckey, alerted me to the Equifax chart. He found the business formation date of December 20, 1913. (4)

The chart, set for 12 a.m., as stated on the government site, has 19º41′ Gemini at the MC; thus, 19º41′ Sagittarius at the IC, less than 2º from Saturn’s direct station on August 25.

Equifax, business formation
December 20, 1913
12 a.m.
Atlanta, GA

Equifax natal

The chart also has Saturn at 13º37′ Gemini and Mars and Neptune co-present at 20º and 27º Cancer. ” The company thinks the hack happened sometime between mid-May and the end of July, but has only now announced the breach. That’s all we know.” (5)

On May 10, transiting Mars was at 13º36′ Gemini, conjunct the company chart Saturn, with Neptune at 13º Pisces squaring the Equifax Saturn. (Transiting Neptune square Saturn was exact on April 27, August 6, and again on February 23, 2018. Fun fact: The transiting Moon will be at 13º40′ Gemini on February 23, too. More is bound to come on this story, but as the Moon represents the people, this must be a celestial heads-up to fix our cyber security pronto.)

Stay safe out there, dear readers. The outer events and personal awakenings following the solar eclipse are just beginning to show themselves. One simple aspiration: May the good people of the U.S. emerge with a clear commitment to the common good — and, bonus points in honor of the eclipse on our land — may climate deniers everywhere take another look at the evidence.


 (1) This blog is centered on the U.S. — extreme weather and natural disasters are worldwide — i.e., a magnitude 8.2 earthquake (the strongest in 100 years) devastated southern Mexico, massive flooding in South Asia, etc. In the Guardian today, Bill McKibben wrote: “For the sake of keeping things manageable, let’s confine the discussion to a single continent and a single week: North America over the last seven days.”
The Guardian


(3) Wikipedia:Equifax

(4) Georgia: business search

(5) Equifax data breach: How to find out if you were one of the 143 million hacked


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Early Solar Eclipse reports

By Mary Plumb | August 28, 2017

Tem, whom I know to be an aficionado of weather conditions, noted several days ago on Facebook that the solar eclipse was on the Midheaven in Houston and eastern Texas, the site of Hurricane Harvey’s biggest impact.

On Sunday morning, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center said: “Everything that we had hoped wouldn’t happen but was forecasted is happening. We have a catastrophic, life-threatening flood event taking place over southeastern Texas, including the Houston metropolitan area. It’s bad now and it’s getting worse.” Torrential rains are forecast for days to come.

I am writing this blog at the time of the above dire announcement — the Moon is in Scorpio and will square the North Node and Mars (24° Leo) and the eclipse degree (29°) early Monday morning (Pacific time).

Transiting Mars has been conjunct the North Node (August 26-27) and will reach the eclipse degree (29° Leo) on September 3, followed by Mercury’s direct station on September 5 at 28°25′ Leo.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all our friends and families — known and unknown — in Texas.

Here are a few other early stories from the eclipse:

On Science Alert site, How Did Animals React to the Solar Eclipse? includes this report from the Memphis Zoo (93% visibility):
“Visitors and staff observed the black bears running around during totality, then calming down after the sun returned, the giraffes moving toward the barn like it was nighttime, and African black-footed penguins vocalizing.”

For those of you who may have been on the internal prayer/ritual path and missed the excitement of watching the eclipse, here’s a well-done 5-minute video from Madras, Oregon.

And these guys at Smarter Every Day caught the space station transit across the Sun from Wyoming — “There’s good people all across America, y’know.” They had great equipment, and at totality the photographer got so excited his “brain stopped working.”

A reporter from N.Y.’s station PIX11 went to Oregon for the eclipse. Read his report and watch the video clip: The emotions and impact of seeing a total solar eclipse – a reporter’s first hand accoint.
“I had heard, and seen on TV, my entire life, reports and dramatic images of total solar eclipses and the effect they can have on people fortunate enough to view them. And then I was one of the fortunate ones Monday … The 1 minute and 38 seconds of totality that I had was … again, there are no words for the emotions, the feelings.”

And, from Richard Quinnell, editor-in-chief at Electronic Products website, here’s another account: Solar Eclipse 2017: My first hand account of witnessing totality
“The moment has arrived. Solar glasses come off and the awesome spectacle of a black hole in the sky surrounded by a white nimbus becomes visible to the naked eye. The crowd around us cheered; small children shrieked and danced with excitement. People pointed out the brightest stars that suddenly appeared (“There’s Venus, the morning star!”). I felt like I was suddenly in another world, or at least on the set of a science fiction movie. Others simply grew profoundly quiet, perhaps contemplating how truly small we are and how vast our universe is.”

Nick Anthony Fiorenza, creator of Lunar Planner works with the sidereal zodiac. He has a very detailed look at the sky configurations surrounding the solar eclipse.
“In addition to the Total Solar Eclipse, another equally significant event occurs within this lunar cycle: the Ceres Jupiter-Haumea Eris T-Square.” He has a beautiful graphic ephemeris (from May 2016 through October 2017) of Ceres Uranus-Eris Opposite Haumea-Jupiter & the Jupiter-Pluto Square.

Also, a 2-minute video of the angles for Harvey’s landfall in Rockport, Texas as “a ‘Grand Square’ forms on the location’s angles … Pluto-Midheaven (MC) opposite Ceres (IC) and Eris-Uranus rising (ASC) opposite Moon-Haumea-Jupiter setting (DSC).” (This is very easy to follow with his graphic.)

And, from TMA‘s (newly formed) Planning Ahead department, here’s a short video that shows every upcoming solar eclipse until 2040 (created by Tech Insider).

We look forward to hearing from more of you about your eclipse experience for a future blog.

Until then, stay safe out there, everyone. And, in deference to Saturn’s direct station (August 25), enjoy the passage of time.

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