TMA This Week

Eclipse talk..

By Anne Whitaker | July 23, 2018

Writer Ernest Hemingway once memorably observed that all writers need a built-in, shockproof “crap detector.” Those of us who inhabit the Otherworlds of palmistry, the I Ching, Tarot, astrology, politics (!), etc., need one of these as well, in my opinion. An opening gambit of mine during the years of teaching beginner astrology classes was usually this: Don’t necessarily believe a word I say, exciting, interesting, and persuasive though it might sound — always test it out in your own experience.”

Now, what on earth is the relevance of the above to this week’s topic? Just read on …

We are between the July 13th solar eclipse at 20° Cancer, and the July 27th lunar eclipse at 5° Aquarius. Then, we have the final eclipse of this season, a solar eclipse at 19° Leo on August 11th. As usual, the Web is awash with excitement, apprehension, and a liberal dose of doom and gloom in relation to those powerful energies. My aim in this post is to cheer you up and to make the point that the powerful symbolic endings which eclipses often bring can also open doors to hitherto unforeseen possibilities.

Hence the importance of trusting your own experience in those matters, rather than being unduly swayed by the generalities swirling around in the media. Personally, I have found eclipses to bring endings which were usually necessary in order for me to move on and grow some more. This was not always comfortable — but then the process of personal growth cannot proceed without a few jolts. I’d be most interested in readers sharing their eclipse experiences. To start you off, here is a memorable one of mine.

Scroll back 31 years with me. It is March 29, 1987, in London, UK, just before lunch on the final day of a weekend workshop on Esoteric Astrology led by master astrologer Alan Oken. I am feeling tired, suffering from information overload, and not very receptive to any more input, much less a new experience. Unbeknownst to me, however, I am poised to have one.

Alan informs us that there is about to be a solar eclipse at 8°18’ Aries. I’ve not paid much attention to eclipses yet (that was certainly to change as the years went on!), but at that time, I am not hugely interested. Nevertheless, it dimly registers that the eclipse opposes my natal Neptune at 8°53’ Libra in the 2nd house, which is closely sextile natal Mercury at 9°03’ Leo in the 12th house.

Having briefly outlined the significance of eclipses, Alan then invites us to focus on something in our lives we wish to leave behind, as he leads us through a meditation at the exact time of the eclipse. I have never been keen on guided meditations and am not at all visually oriented when imagining things. However, it seems churlish not to join in. I dutifully adopt an appropriate posture: closing my eyes and beginning to breathe slowly and deeply, as instructed.

What did I want to leave behind? Smoking, that’s what. I’d been trying and failing on that one for about ten years. As Alan talked us through the visualization, I focused on dropping my last fag packet into a bin — forever. The ethereal sceptic, permanently resident on my left shoulder, was taking the view that I’d tried everything else, so why not?

To my amazement, as I participated with the group, waves of colour began to appear — a wash of sea greens and purples, almost like the Northern Lights — behind my closed eyes. The waves peaked with Alan’s voice, then died away as he gently led us out of the meditation.

I was astounded by this experience, awed, and chastened. Something powerful had clearly occurred, despite my scepticism. As we all filed out for lunch, I had a strong urge to take my cigarettes and drop them in the nearest bin. So, I did. My thought: “Goodbye, smoking; I’m done with you!”

Half past two the following morning saw me — sleepless, twitchy, and angry — slipping out of my in-laws’ flat into rainy North London. Heading for an all-night grocer, I bought 20 cigarettes, smoking the first one on my way back. My only company for that weekend was Tadzio, my brother-in-law’s ferociously unwelcoming old cat. “Well, Tadzio,” I remarked bitterly to him as he hissed at me on my return, don’t ever bother meditating at an eclipse.”

However, dissatisfaction at my inability to break that smoking habit continued to gnaw at me, especially since my husband, an even more dedicated smoker than I, had managed to stop that February, aided by a severe bout of mumps which (fortunately!) affected only his throat. He could barely eat or speak for several days — and could not bear to smoke. (Chiron just happened to be sitting on his Gemini MC at the time … inconvenient benefic, indeed!)

On my return from London, I could see that he was struggling. Suddenly I had a bright idea and said: “How about this: If you can stay off the fags until the Easter weekend, I’ll stop then, too.”

“Right,” he said through gritted teeth.

Two weeks after that “failed” meditation, three days before Easter weekend, I had a lightbulb moment (lunar eclipse, anyone?) — a Leo moment shot with my usual Leonine melodrama. “I’m going to die as a smoker on Good Friday,” I announced to my rather sceptical Aquarian husband, “and be reborn as a non-smoker by Easter Monday.”

And so, reader, it duly came to pass. I have not smoked since.

Endnote: An earlier version of this  post was first published in Not the Astrology Column in the July/August 2017 issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver.

Bio: Anne Whitaker is a writer, astrologer, and astrology teacher based in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work appears in various media, including the UK’s Astrological Journal, Dell Horoscope Magazine, Infinity Astrological Magazine (where she has regular bi-monthly columns), The Mountain Astrologer, and Astrodienst. Find Anne at:

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The Death of Kate Spade

By Alex Miller | June 26, 2018

The tragic suicide of New York fashion designer Kate Spade is one of the most stunning examples of the power of asteroids that I have ever seen, and I’ve been doing this work since 2005. Spade was found on June 5 in the closet of her Manhattan apartment, hung by a scarf. Her death shocked the fashion world and raised awareness of the subject of suicide generally.

Kate Spade
December 24, 1962
Kansas City, Missouri

(chart displays the planets to make it easier to follow the asteroid patterns)

Born December 24, 1962 (no time available), Spade made a splash in fashion in the mid 1990s, with a line of handbags and other accessories which quickly became “must have” items among New York’s glitterati. (1) Her company was founded in 1993 as Kate Spade New York, and her work was known for its brightness, color, and sophistication, but also its relative affordability, making it a signature look for New Yorkers pre-millennium. In 1999, Spade sold a controlling interest in the company to Neiman Marcus, but continued to design until 2006, when she sold the rest of her shares and took time off to raise her daughter. In 2016, Spade legally changed her name to Kate Valentine Spade and embarked on a new fashion venture, Frances Valentine.

There is so much to say about the birth chart, the date of her suicide, and the comparison between them, that it’s beyond the scope of this article (further details — and I do have them, with my Virgo Moon! — are available at my website). Here, I’d like to focus on a few of the more remarkable connections, and what they have to say about Spade’s death.

Let’s cut right to the chase and deal with the manner, means, and locale of Spade’s sad death. As noted above, she was found hanging by a scarf in the closet of her Manhattan apartment, an apparent suicide. There are a number of asteroids named for mythic, literary, or historic characters who end in suicide — at least ten of them. So, finding one or two of these points active in the birth or death charts is not at all unlikely. But finding all ten active in both charts? Now, that is unusual!

I’m going to pull the most dramatic out of the mix and add additional PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) to flesh out the picture. Natally Spade had asteroid Thisbe at 28° Sagittarius conjunct her 2° Capricorn Sun, which could indicate a predisposition toward self-destruction. Thisbe is named for the female half of Pyramus and Thisbe, a pair of doomed lovers in ancient Greece, whose story forms the basis of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Briefly, the two lovers are kept apart by their families’ mutual animosity, and they attempt to elope. But due to a series of misunderstandings, Pyramus is convinced that Thisbe has been killed, and, disconsolate, kills himself; later, when Thisbe comes across his lifeless body, she uses his sword to join him in death.

In the chart, Pyramus and Thisbe can often work together, and that’s the case here, with Pyramus at 13° Leo, exactly sesquiquadrate his lover (Thisbe at 28° Sagittarius). But what’s so fascinating is the other contacts Pyramus makes: Incredibly, it is precisely square an exact conjunction of asteroids Manhattan and Scarfe, at 13° Scorpio! The mind reels at the thought of this “coincidence” whereby Spade chose to end her own life (Pyramus) by hanging herself with a scarf (phonetic match for “Scarfe”) in her Manhattan apartment! So, in this simple square we have the manner (suicide/Pyramus), means (scarf/Scarfe), and locale (Manhattan/Manhattan) of her death. Right next to this pair is natal Neptune at 14°52’ Scorpio, which not only bumps up the likelihood of their expressing themselves somehow in Spade’s biography, but also resonates with the hopelessness and despair necessary to make the decision to end one’s own life.

But if you want to really have your mind blown, stay with me here. When Spade made her fatal decision, transiting asteroid Scarfe was at 13° Leo, exactly conjunct natal Pyramus and exactly square its natal degree and Manhattan (13° Scorpio)! Not only that, but there was an exact t-square formed with asteroid Ophelia at 13° Aquarius, precisely squaring and opposing the natal square and transiting Scarfe. Ophelia is another suicide asteroid, named for the character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet who goes insane and drowns herself in a stream. And … wait for it … Ophelia is also at station, adding incalculably to its power and force: Ophelia turned retrograde on June 3, two days before Spade’s suicide. In and of itself, the transiting opposition between Ophelia and Scarfe suggests suicide by this means; add in the overlay to the potential of the natal square, and we find a combination that was, apparently, irresistible.

But Ophelia wasn’t alone! Also stationing that week were both Pyramus and Thisbe! Pyramus turned direct at 19° Libra on June 11, almost a week later, but was already at its station degree at the time of Spade’s suicide. Thisbe, which natally conjoins Spade’s Sun, turned retrograde at 3° Aquarius on June 7, two days after her death. The effectiveness of both Ophelia and Thisbe was increased by their concomitant conjunction with transiting Mars, then at 6° Aquarius.

There’s another oddity involved here, which is asteroid Valentine. This appears at 10° Leo in Spade’s birth chart, conjunct Pyramus. It’s interesting that Spade’s suicide occurred just two years after she legally incorporated this name into her own, considerably increase this asteroid’s importance in her chart, both on a personal and professional level. It’s almost as if this augmentation gave Pyramus permission to express itself and, in reaching out to its chart compatriots, found Manhattan and Scarfe as suitable accomplices in its “goal.”

Asteroid Scarfe gives us the means for the suicide, alludes to the method of hanging, and is also strongly present in the chart in its own right. PNAs that represent the native can be very powerful loci of energies that become critical in the biography, identifying, by their contacts, essential elements of the native’s psyche and how others view them. This is especially true when the PNA is an exact match for the name, and this is the case with asteroid Kate, which appears at 27° Libra in Spade’s birth chart. From there, it is exactly square asteroid Arachne at 27° Capricorn, named for another suicide-related myth. Arachne was a famous weaver of ancient Lydia, who challenged Athena to a contest of skill and, having lost to the goddess, hanged herself. Note that she hanged herself! So, Kate Spade had an exact square from her PNA to a point that represents suicide by hanging, and that is the method she chose for her own end! Also, natal Ophelia, at 29° Capricorn, is with Arachne, which “just happens” to be one of the points stationing that week.

Not only that, but asteroid Kate (27° Libra) is also conjunct one suicide asteroid, Phaedra at 23° Libra (named for a queen of Athens who killed herself after her stepson’s rejection of her affections), and trine to another, asteroid Ajax at 21° Gemini (named for a Greek hero who fell on his own sword after disgracing himself during the Trojan War). Further, the natal Sun (2° Capricorn) does not express suicidal tendencies only through the aforementioned conjunction with asteroid Thisbe, but also reaches out with an exact sextile to Dido at 2° Pisces (named for a queen of Carthage who threw herself on a burning pyre after her lover Aeneas abandoned her); a trine to Antinous, stationing at 0° Taurus (named for a historic personage, a 2nd-century lover of Emperor Hadrian, who threw himself into the Nile in fulfillment of a prophecy, to save his beloved); and an exact quincunx to Centaur Hylonome at 2° Gemini (who impaled herself on her husband’s spear when he was killed in battle). The only remaining suicide asteroid unaccounted for is Sphinx, named for the man-eating creature who killed herself out of frustration when Oedipus correctly answered the riddle she posed to him. At 9° Sagittarius in Spade’s birth chart, Sphinx is exactly sextile natal Saturn, ancient lord of death, at 9° Aquarius.

When Kate Spade died on June 5, transiting (T) Sphinx at 2° Capricorn was exactly conjunct her natal Sun, with T Ajax and Hylonome nearby, both at 10° Capricorn. We’ve already mentioned T Ophelia stationing at 13° Aquarius and setting off the deadly natal square between Pyramus (13° Leo) and Manhattan–Scarfe (13° Scorpio). T Arachne and Dido, both at 15° Pisces, and T Neptune at 16° Pisces opposed natal Pluto, modern lord of death, at 12° Virgo. T Thisbe, stationary at 3° Aquarius, squared natal Antinous, stationary at 0° Taurus, which was also conjoined by T Uranus (sometimes considered to be the planetary ruler of suicide) at 1° Taurus, T Phaedra at 2° Taurus, and T Valentine at 4° Taurus. T Antinous at 24° Gemini opposed natal Thisbe (28° Sagittarius) and trined natal Kate at 27° Libra (also exactly sextile natal Mars at 24° Leo). T Pyramus, stationary at 19° Libra, opposed T Kate at 24° Aries. Finally, T Jupiter (ruling celebrities) at 15° Scorpio highlighted the natal Neptune–Scarfe–Manhattan grouping.

This is truly a remarkable (and tragic) rendering of “as above, so below.”

(1) Wikipedia

© 2018 Alex Miller – all rights reserved

Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, specializing in deep space points and minor bodies of the solar system. A past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society and currently a member of the board for the Philadelphia chapter of NCGR, Alex is the author of The Black Hole Book, detailing the use of black holes in astrological interpretation, and Cat o’ Nine Tales, a memoir of his cat rescue work. He has been chronicling the effects of asteroids and other minor bodies since 2005, much of which can be found at his website: alexasteroidastrology. Alex can be reached at

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Why the Sudden Surge in Veteran Candidates?

By Kate Plumb | June 11, 2018

This is the question Lisa Desjardins asked in a segment for a PBS NewsHour episode that I heard on Friday, June 1. (1) Military veterans are running for the United States Congress in record numbers this year. To investigate this trend, Desjardins focused on northern New Jersey’s 11th District where four veterans are running, two in each party and all first-time candidates. When speaking to Memorial Day celebration organizers in the 11th District, Desjardins heard several possible explanations for this phenomenon.

One veteran commented that vets intuitively understand how important it is to put the country ahead of one’s personal interest. He does not feel that all the current representatives in Washington think that way. Veterans also swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. The sergeant to whom Desjardins spoke believes that veterans hold themselves under that oath to serve the Constitution, even after being discharged from the armed forces.

Another Memorial Day celebrant, in answering the interviewer’s question, felt that, as an inductee, he knew that this enlistment lasted for a certain duration and was not a lifelong commitment. This vet sees some current members in Congress becoming professional lifelong politicians. He mentioned the framers of the Constitution as examples of those who left George Washington’s army after their time in the military and returned to their previous occupations.

There is also evidence that voters’ trust (or lack of it) in government is a consideration as to why more vets are running for Congress this year. In a recent NewsHour/Marist/PBS poll, only 25% of adults had any confidence or trust in Congress, and 43% in the presidency, but 88% of adults have confidence in the military!

This upsurge in veterans seeking public office  is not an accident, as there have been groups, like New Politics, formed to help these first-time candidates make a go of it. Historically, before 1975, more than 70% of members of Congress had served in the military; now it is less than 18%, the lowest in history. (2)

One of the winners in the New Jersey 11th District race was Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a Naval Academy graduate, retired Navy pilot, and prosecutor whose grandfather was a Navy pilot in World War II. She is part of the influx of Democratic veterans running this year.

Can we also find an astrological reason why this trend is so noticeable this year?

The first thing that comes to this astrologer’s mind is the condition of the U.S. Mars, the planet  the planet that governs the military, and the 6th house, which signifies the armed forces in a country’s chart. According to the Sibly chart for the U.S., Taurus is on the cusp of the 6th house (using Whole Sign houses), and Venus, its ruler, is in Cancer in the 8th house closely conjunct an exalted Jupiter.

U.S. Sibly chart (Whole sign houses)
July 4, 1776
5:10 p.m. LMT
Philadelphia, PA (39N57 75W10)

(chart created in Time Cycles IO Edition)

Our nation’s servicemen and women can thus be described by Venus conjunct Jupiter in Cancer. Washington’s army was a collection (Jupiter) of state militiamen who left their homes (Venus in Cancer) to fight. Venus conjunct an exalted Jupiter also suggests the growth of the military; placed in the 8th house, this becomes the big business of the military, so obvious today.

I want to consider the Mars retrograde station in the U.S. Sibly’s progressed chart as another indication of the present state of affairs. This is germane as we are looking forward to a transiting Mars retrograde period on June 26. This will be the first Mars retrograde in Aquarius since 1971, when the planet was retrograde between July 11 and September 9, and President Richard M. Nixon was in his first term.

Excerpts from the Pentagon Papers — Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s previously unpublished history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam — began to be published by The New York Times on June 13, 1971. McNamara’s account began in 1954 when President Harry S. Truman secretly sent aid to France to help fight their colonial war with Vietnam. The Vietnamese, having been under French rule for 100 years, wanted independence. (3) The Nixon administration placed an injunction on the Times to cease publishing, but the Washington Post came to the rescue and kept printing the material. The case was heard by the Supreme Court, who sided with both newspapers’ right to publish.

It is interesting to note that McNamara ordered the study on June 17, 1967 and did not tell President Lyndon B. Johnson about it. Transiting Mars was at 17° Libra, conjunct the U.S. Saturn, the planet of accountability. Mars had just finished a retrograde period with its direct station at 15° Libra on May 26. The U.S. progressed Mars was at 11° Libra, within one degree of the progressed IC. So, a study commissioned in 1967, under a newly direct Mars (on the nation’s natal Saturn), was finally revealed to the public during a retrograde Mars period four years later. Might we expect some military secrets to be revealed this summer?

Progressed Mars went retrograde in the Sibly chart on July 19, 2006 at 18°42’ Libra. From this point forward — through March 27, 2086 — our aggressive and assertive tendencies, instead of projecting outward, are being turned inward to our own country — shooting ourselves, so to speak (literally, as it is unbearably sad to say). Our ability to win wars, especially those we initiate, is no longer guaranteed. Might this also indicate that we must look to using the military for a different purpose? Instead of sending the military overseas and fighting no-win situations, perhaps retired servicemen can stay at home and help govern the country.

When a planet goes retrograde, it is changing its orientation to the Sun, which signifies one’s purpose. When a country’s actions are no longer aligned with its purpose and mission, then a readjustment has to take place. In the article “America Attacks Itself,” Francis Donald Grabau wrote: “America is due for an 80-year period of self-examination regarding the nature of Mars, its power, force, and potential aggression.” (4)

Might the U.S. progressed Mars station also indicate how the military is being used in this country? The progressed Mars retrograde station in 2006 took place in Libra, a good sign for generals so that they can see both sides of the conflict  but also for negotiators and peacemakers. Seems to me quite appropriate to have military personnel in Congress deciding when and if the military can or should be used, rather than these decisions being made by professional politicians who have never been on a battleground.

The current Mars retrograde period can also explain the #MeToo movement coming to a head, as well as the continuing struggles for racial justice, more equitable sentencing guidelines, and prison reform. We are not very far from slavery when we shoot and incarcerate so many young black men, while their white counterparts often get lighter sentences. Our violent Mars shadow — our misuse of forceful action, our misuse of will, our misfiring military missions — all of our collective missteps are rising to the surface.


(1) PBS

(2) All of these details are from the PBS episode cited above.

(3) See, for example, Ken Burns’s recent documentary, Vietnam.

(4) This is the subject of Steven Spielberg’s recent movie The Post.

(5) Progressed Mars Turns Retrograde in America’s Birth Chart

© 2018 Kate Plumb – all rights reserved

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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Black Panther

By Mary Plumb | April 2, 2018

Ryan Coogler is the writer and director of the megahit movie Black Panther. Opening on February 16, 2018, the film has broken innumerable records, including opening day attendance and the amount of money it has earned worldwide. (1) Here are some first thoughts about his horoscope.

Ryan Coogler was born on May 23, 1986 at 5:43 p.m. in Oakland, California. (2)

Natal chart: Ryan Coogler
May 23, 1986
5:43 p.m.
Oakland CA 37N37 122W16

With such a highly visible (and early) success in one’s life story, it’s revealing to look at the eclipses surrounding a birth: Events are magnified near an eclipse, and charts are quickened when they hold eclipse degrees. (3) The prenatal solar eclipse (PNSE) for Ryan Coogler occurred on April 8 at 19°06′ Aries, just past the degree of the Sun’s exaltation (18°-18°59′ Aries). Next was a lunar eclipse on April 24, a month before his birthday; the lunar eclipse was at 4°03′ Scorpio-Taurus, across his birth chart’s Ascendant-Descendant axis.

Coogler was born at a Sagittarius Full Moon, with Scorpio on the Ascendant. The Sun is at 2°34′ Gemini (with Mercury at 3°46′) and the Moon at 4°56′ Sag. With a birth just after the exact Full Moon, the maximum light of the Moon indicates enormous public exposure and a rapport with the moods of the time (hinted at in the prenatal birth eclipses as well). The Sun and Mercury in Gemini point to gifts with words and language, and the Sagittarius Moon carries the ideas broadly and enthusiastically. Saturn is there as well, conjunct the Moon and opposing the Sun, adding focus and serious intent to the communication tasks.

Ryan “worked since age 21 as a counselor with incarcerated youth at San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall, following in the footsteps of his father, who has long shared the same occupation.” (4) Saturn rules the natal 4th house of father; Saturn’s connection to both the Sun and Moon suggests a constructive or supportive familial relationship. Perhaps some of Saturn’s harsher storylines have been softened here with Jupiter, the dispositor of the Moon and Saturn, in the sign of his traditional rulership, Pisces, and also trine by sign to the water Ascendant. We don’t know how Saturn may be playing out in Ryan’s personal life, but here, it is a picture of “following in the footsteps of his father” in his work with incarcerated youth. (Sag is connected to the legal system.) Ryan Coogler is also a founding member of the Blackout For Human Rights campaign, “which is committed to addressing racial and human rights violations happening throughout the United States.”

In a daytime birth, Jupiter is the benefic in favor and is placed in the 5th house of sports, creativity, arts, theater, and places of enjoyment.

Ryan Coogler had substantial success before the Black Panther phenomenon. Fruitvale Station, his first feature-length film, opened on January 19, 2013. (5) It was made with a budget of $900,000, has garnered at least $17 million at the box office, and won the 2013 Cannes Film Festival award for Best First Film. At the film’s opening, transiting Saturn was at 10° Scorpio, just past Coogler’s Scorpio Ascendant. His progressed Moon was at 22°53′ Scorpio, with the progressed Ascendant at 22°26′ Scorpio, combining the strength and visibility of the 1st house with his intuitive connection to the public. There was a lunar eclipse on April 25, 2013 at 5°52′ Scorpio, conjunct natal Pluto on the Ascendant.

Bi-wheel: Inner: Ryan Coolger, natal; Outer: progressed to Jan. 13, 2013

Black Panther opened on February 16, 2018. A few weeks earlier, on January 31, there was a lunar eclipse at 11°32′ Leo, very near Coogler’s Midheaven (7°24′). His progressed Moon was also on a natal angle: 9°29′ Aquarius, just past the IC. The progressed Sun was 2°56′ Cancer, exactly conjunct natal Venus; progressed Venus was at 10°30′ Leo at the MC.

Bi-wheel: Inner: Ryan Coogler, natal; Outer: progressed to Feb.16, 2018

At the film’s opening, transiting Jupiter (dispositor of the natal Moon) was in the 1st house at 22° Scorpio, trining natal Jupiter in Pisces in the 5th house.

Coogler’s Ascendant ruler, Mars, is exalted in Capricorn and sextile Jupiter in Pisces. He was a football player, and in college, the players were encouraged to take a creative writing class. His teacher “praised his work and said it was very visual, and encouraged him to pursue screenwriting.” One of the many close midpoints in the natal chart is the Mercury/Neptune midpoint conjunct Jupiter (ME/NE=JU). Of this combination Ebertin writes: “A rich imagination and great powers of fantasy, stepped up powers of imagination. Poet, actor. The inclination to harbor great hopes.” (6)

Also, the Neptune/Pluto midpoint is conjunct the Moon (NE/PL=MO); this suggests a deep instinct for collective themes and powerful, dramatic creative sensibilities. When looking at the 90° dial, the Sun, ruler of the Midheaven, is on the Neptune/North Node midpoint – a career in the creative arts and connected to artistic people; bringing dreams or visions into the public eye.

There’s much more to say, of course (for instance, I’m curious about the speed, declinations, and decans of the planets), and I look forward to your always insightful comments and feedback.

(1) YouTube: Here’s Every Record Black Panther Broke on Opening Weekend

“Less than a month after hitting theaters, Black Panther has officially made over $1 billion at the global box office.”
Vanity Fair

(2) Ryan Coogler, May 23, 1986; 5:43 p.m. PDT; Oakland, CA, USA (37°N37′, 122°W16′); AA rating: Astro-Databank

(3) The prenatal solar eclipse was popularized in our era by Robert Carl Jansky, who wrote about eclipse patterns in the 1960s and ’70s. More recently, the late Robert Blaschke also worked extensively with prenatal eclipses.

(4) Biographical material and direct quotes from:Wikipedia: Ryan Coogler

(5) Wikipedia: Fruitvale Station

(6) Reinhold Ebertin, The Combination of Stellar Influences, Ebertin-Verlag, 1972, p. 127.

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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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