TMA This Week

People in the News

By Mary Plumb | April 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Footnotes and references:

(1) Wikipedia: Julian Assange

(2) Wikipedia: Billie Eilish

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

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

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

(4) PaperMag

(5) Wikipedia: Pete Buttigieg

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A Neptune interlude…

By Mary Plumb | March 18, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meghan Markle’s eventful few years

By Mary Plumb | February 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good week, everyone.


(1) AA data from BC

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

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

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

(5) Economic Times

(6) New York Times

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Uranus’s Fare-thee-well to Aries

By Mary Plumb | February 6, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Mary Plumb | January 7, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here she is dancing in college:


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


(1) All biographical material from Wikipedia

(2) From the New York Times: Opinion

(3) Wikipedia

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Michael Avenatti’s eventful year

By Mary Plumb | December 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


(1) Astrodatabank

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

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

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Tracking Saturn & Pluto and Welcome to Jupiter

By Mary Plumb | November 12, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


(1) Merriam Webster

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

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Kavanaugh Decoded

By Alex Miller | October 22, 2018

I think we can all agree that the recent confirmation process for President Donald Trump’s latest Supreme Court Justice pick was not without incident, to put it mildly. Whichever side of the political spectrum you come down on, the spectacle of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s promotion to the highest court in the land was an almost unprecedented judicial fracas — among the most contentious and fraught in American history. With the critical “swing vote” on the SCOTUS hanging in the balance, the long knives were out on both sides, and the result was a hullabaloo the likes of which we have rarely witnessed, even in these entrenched partisan times.

But we’re not here to dissect the pros and cons of the nominee, or the nomination process. Astrology’s lens can be adapted to opinions of any political stripe, but put into proper focus, it can provide clues as to character and destiny that supersede partisan agendas.

Among the best tools for determining crucial factors in a biography are asteroids, a relatively new field of research that began to open up in a serious way with the technological advances in telescopes in the 1990s, allowing us to peer more closely, not just at far-flung galaxies, but also our near neighbors in the Asteroid Belt. These bits of space debris may be tiny, almost infinitesimal in some instances, but they can pack a real punch in a birth chart! This is especially the case when these “minor” bodies come to station, creating embedded presences in consciousness, indicating factors — be they attributes, places, persons, or things — that have a disproportionately greater impact on the biography of the native than would typically be the case.

There are now more than 17,000 named asteroids, including many place names, first names, and surnames, as well as a wealth of mythically based points that can flesh out more generalized planetary energies. Let’s take a look at what the stationary asteroids in Brett Kavanaugh’s chart have to say about the themes that will predominate in his life.

Brett Kavanaugh was born on February 12, 1965 in Washington, D.C. (no time available), and the first stationary point we encounter is his birthplace itself, in the form of asteroid Washingtonia, representative of the U.S. capital. (1) At 13° Libra, Washingtonia turned retrograde on January 27, 1965, more than two weeks before his birth, but on the day of his birth is still at that same degree and moving slowly. Rather than focusing on the elapsed time since the actual station, the fact that the degree hasn’t changed is what’s significant here — as long as the body in question is still in its station degree, the station is in effect. (This notion of the impact of the station degree applies to faster-moving bodies, not necessarily those that grind more slowly, like Pluto.)

So, beyond being Kavanaugh’s birth place, does Washington resonate in his biography? Boy, does it ever! Starting with clerking for SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy after graduation from Yale Law School, Kavanaugh has spent his entire adult life in D.C. He followed this Supreme Court precursor with a stint on Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s Whitewater investigation staff, and was a principal author of Starr’s report to Congress. He joined the George W. Bush White House as Staff Secretary, and in 2003 Bush nominated him to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, though he was not confirmed until 2006. With this current promotion as Associate Justice of the SCOTUS, it’s a safe bet that Kavanaugh will end his career days in Washington.

Our next stationary asteroid is Justitia, which appears at 4° Gemini in Kavanaugh’s nativity, and came to station at that degree on January 24, 1965. Justitia is named for the Roman goddess of justice; it is the root of our word “justice,” and now it will be Brett Kavanaugh’s job title for the rest of his life! Does that resonate with his biography? You decide. Let’s pause here a moment to note that two other Justices on the current SCOTUS bench also have a stationary Justitia (as did the late Antonin Scalia); two more have a stationary Themis (Justitia’s Greek goddess predecessor, also goddess of justice); two others have Justitia conjunct the Sun; and another has Justitia on the Ascendant. (Only Ruth Bader Ginsburg doesn’t fit this pattern, though her Justitia does square natal Mars–Neptune in Virgo and is trine Mercury in Aries.)

Now here’s where things start to get interesting in Kavanaugh’s chart. Because right next to Justitia, also stationary, is a centaur body named Nessus, at 2° Gemini. Nessus turned direct on February 14, just two days after Kavanaugh’s birth. And this centaur’s mythic backstory revolves around an attempted rape! After ferrying Heracles’s wife Deianeira across a flooded river on his broad equine back, Nessus, thinking he was safe with Heracles on the far shore, attempted to ravish her, only to be shot by a poisoned arrow from Heracles’s bow.

This isn’t to say that Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of the charges levied against him by Professor Christine Blasey Ford — just that the stationary status of Nessus makes the theme of coercive sexual activity a major issue in his life, and I don’t think that anyone who witnessed those hearings can argue with that. Whomever you believe, it’s undeniable that this subject was critical to the confirmation process. What’s significant here is the fact that Justitia and Nessus, both stationary, are also closely conjunct! They are inseparable — you can’t activate one without energizing the other. So, yes, you can have that SCOTUS seat, but first you have to deal with that Nessus baggage.

There are three more points in late Gemini that are at station and conjunct each other, but are apart from the early Gemini pairing. The first is asteroid Sphinx, which denotes an impenetrable mystery, a quality of inscrutability, something opaque and enigmatic, and the truth behind it cannot be unraveled. At 17° Gemini, Sphinx turned direct on February 5, 1965, and surely resonates with the issue of Kavanaugh’s veracity. Which of the two opposed images should we believe? The choirboy who focused on studies, sports, and making friends in high school, or the drunken teen reveler who joined “train” rapes and got girls intoxicated to make them more sexually accommodating? There seems no way to resolve these disparate images beyond the bias of one’s political persuasion, and that function of opacity or mystery is Sphinx writ large.

The other two Gemini points at station are so apt, so resonant with this story, as to be almost unbelievable. They are asteroids Pecker and Beer. Yes, you read that right — Pecker and Beer! Pecker at 22° Gemini turned direct on February 9, just three days before Kavanaugh’s birth, and Beer turned direct on the 5th (the same day that Sphinx stationed) at 25° Gemini. These points hold special importance because, in addition to being stationary, they also closely trine Kavanaugh’s natal Sun at 23° Aquarius, making them integral parts of Kavanaugh’s self-image, his core identity.

Pecker isn’t intended as a penis euphemism (it’s actually named for Jean-Claude Pecker, once head of the observatory in Nice, France), but trust me, it functions quite well in that capacity! In story after story of sexual scandal, from the Lewinsky affair to Stormy Daniels, Pecker’s presence is as reliable as an old friend. Here, it shows a predominance of sexual themes in the life, perhaps an inordinate focus on sexual matters, even obsession — but, at a minimum, a very active sexual appetite.

Similarly, Beer (which is named for the alcoholic beverage it represents) will have a prominent part to play, and could be a formative factor in developing character or self-identity, especially early in life. It’s interesting that beer was the drink of choice for the teenaged Kavanaugh, with references to the “Keg City Club — 100 Kegs or Bust” in his high school yearbook; calendar entries from that era highlighting meeting with friends for “’Ski’s” (“brewskies,” or beer); his Senate testimony that he “likes beer”; and the current trending hashtag of “#BeersforBrett” by triumphal conservatives after his successful confirmation vote. Is beer of note in Kavanaugh’s biography? You betcha!

Again, we see that these points, Pecker and Beer, are conjunct, which naturally blends sexual energies with intoxication, and this is just what the allegations portray. As before, it’s not an astrological testimonial of guilt, but it does show a predisposition to blend these factors at some point in the life, in some way.

So, just in examining the points that are stationary in Brett Kavanaugh’s chart, we’ve seen a place-name asteroid of vital importance in his biography (Washingtonia); a job title (Justitia); some involvement with issues of coerced sexual contact (Nessus); a nature that connotes an enigmatic, unsolvable riddle (Sphinx); and a strong accent on both sex (Pecker) and alcohol (Beer). Not bad, considering that we haven’t even looked at single major planet!

There is one more stationary point to be considered: Incredibly, it’s asteroid Ford! At 16° Libra, Ford turned retrograde on February 10, just two days before Kavanaugh’s birth. This indicates that someone of that name would have a highly influential, impactful, and powerful role to play in Kavanaugh’s life. I would submit that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford fits that bill quite well. Whatever the truth or falsity of her accusations, they will forever be remembered, and cast a long shadow on Brett Kavanaugh’s biography.

Truly, there is no such thing as chance.


(1) Birthdate and biographical details from Wikipedia

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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Equinox in Washington, D.C.

By Mary Plumb | September 24, 2018

The Libra Equinox was at 9:55 p.m. EDT on September 22, 2018.

Libra equinox
Sept. 22, 2018
9:55 p.m. EDT
Washington, D.C.

The equinox is that rare (twice a year) and fleeting moment when the hours of day and night are precisely equal, when we are half in the light and half in the dark.  It is the mythical and magical state of equipoise before we slip gradually onto a different trajectory as, day by day, the nights become longer and longer (in the Northern Hemisphere — the opposite, of course, occurs in the Southern Hemisphere). The cosmos does not offer us a precipitous decline or a sudden elevation, but a gentle and ageless yielding to our place around the Sun.

The experience of inhaling and exhaling our way through the days is ongoing. We can see ourselves as both entangled and free; abundant and scarce; arriving and departing; asleep and awake; above and below; lost and found; guilty and innocent; humble and proud; transparent and opaque — all carried, as the yogis say, on the rhythm of the breath.

To consider a more public view of the equinox chart, here is a prominent news story in the United States: the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh as Justice for the Supreme Court.

When the chart is set for Washington, D.C., mutable air sign Gemini is rising — conditions are changeable, and exchange of information is a dominant theme for this quarter of the year. (The next quarter is governed by the Capricorn solstice chart.)

Mercury, the ruler of Gemini, is a planet of great significance for this quarter, having just been purified at the heart of the Sun (cazimi was on September 20 at 28° Virgo). Mercury then quickly got focused with its square to Saturn, suggesting that we must understand what needs to be said, at least in some critically important areas of life.

The Sun at 0° Libra is opposite Chiron at 0° Aries — painful situations (inner and outer) are apparent everywhere we look — and with the square to Saturn, we have the  fortitude to walk with our respective wounds and move forward to a place of greater insight. (Wise centaur Chiron travels in his orbit between Saturn and Uranus, advising that insight, integration, and healing are parallel with what may be painful to acknowledge.)

Anita Hill, born on July 30, 1956, has been speaking out. (1) Her recent opinion piece begins: “There is no way to redo 1991, but there are ways to do better. The facts underlying Christine Blasey Ford’s claim of being sexually assaulted by a young Brett Kavanaugh will continue to be revealed as confirmation proceedings unfold. Yet it’s impossible to miss the parallels between the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing of 2018 and the 1991 confirmation hearing for Justice Clarence Thomas.” (2)

Anita Hill
July 30, 1956
Tulsa, Oklahoma
sunrise chart, no birth time known

She testified in hearings for Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court position (which began on October 11, 1991) and spoke of his inappropriate sexual behavior. Hill has Chiron opposite the Sun in the natal chart, and transiting Chiron was conjunct her Sun at the time of her testimony.

Bi-wheel: inner: Anita Hill, natal; outer: transits to Oct. 11, 1991
(Clarence Thomas hearing)

The most recent solar eclipse, on August 11, was at 18°34’ Leo, conjunct Hill’s natal Mercury. (The sunrise chart gives Mercury at 18°35’ Leo.)

That same eclipse is strong in the chart of Brett Kavanaugh (born on February 12, 1965). (3)

Kavanaugh has Jupiter at 17°54’ Taurus opposite Neptune at 19°59’ Scorpio, with both squaring the Sun and Mercury (whose midpoint is 19° Aquarius). The August solar eclipse at 18°34’ Leo fills in a grand fixed cross in his horoscope.

Brett Kavanaugh
Feb., 12, 1965
Washington, D.C.
sunrise chart, no birth time known

The U.S. Sibly Mars at 21° Gemini is conjunct Kavanaugh’s North Node, indicating the volatility of the gentleman’s connection to the country.

Onward, friends. With Chiron in Aries, we are the heroes of our own stories, and individual bravery is a sign of the times!


(1) AstroDataBank

(2) Her opinion piece was published in The New York Times on September 18.
Anita Hill: How to Get the Kavanaugh Hearings Right

(3) Wikipedia: Brett Kavanaugh

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Superman and OOB Mars

By Mary Plumb | August 6, 2018

Along with record-breaking heat, fire, and drought in many places on the globe, the current cycle of Mars traveling out of bounds (OOB) has seen the arrival of a new Superman.

Ten-year-old swimmer Clark Kent Apuada, of Salinas, California, broke Michael Phelps’s 23-year record for the 100-meter butterfly on July 29, 2018. When Clark Kent broke that record, people started calling him Superman. (1) (I have not seen his birthday published anywhere, but that will be an interesting chart to look at one day.)

The Moon or a planet is out of bounds when it exceeds the maximum northern or southern declination reached by the Sun at 23°36’. An OOB planet is seen as acting above and beyond its normal behavior. Along with excess heat and strife, Mars is also connected to acts of physical courage, and this breaking of a sporting record fits the symbolism. Mars is traveling OOB from July 7 through September 23.

Actor Christopher Reeve was best known for his award-winning portrayal of the superhero in the 1978 movie Superman. He was born with natal Moon conjunct Mars in Sagittarius, the sign of the man and the horse, and both planets are also OOB: Natal Mars is at 24°S54’, and the Moon is at 27°S03’. (2)

Christopher Reeve
Sept. 25, 1952
3:12 a.m. EDT
Manhattan, N.Y.
(chart created by Graphic Astrology, IO edition)

In 1995, Reeve was thrown from a horse at an equestrian competition. This accident left him paralyzed and unable to breathe without a respirator; he was on a ventilator for the rest of his life. Recognized for his courage and persistence in overcoming his injury, he became a highly visible advocate and lobbyist for spinal cord research. Reeve died in 2004 at the age of 52.

On another note, Mars will reach maximum declination on August 14 at 26°S29’. Unhinged, a reportedly “tell-all” book by former reality television star and Trump administration aide Omarosa Manigault, goes on sale August 14. There’s no certainty that this book will have any impact on public perceptions, but the irony of the title, Unhinged, being released on the day of Mars’s most extreme declination could hardly be richer.

And, with a reference back to Superman, the upcoming solar eclipse on August 11 is at 18°41’ Leo — the degree of the Reeve’s Ascendant is 19° Leo. RIP Christopher Reeve.

We wish continued success to ten-year-old Clark Kent Apuada.

And may we all experience a bit of our radically, heroic best with OOB Mars!


(1) “ ‘This kid is unlike any other young man that I’ve ever coached,’ Clark’s coach Dia Riana told CNN. ‘He’s always stood out, he’s just, he’s kind of a savant of sorts.’
Clark’s supernatural abilities aren’t confined to the pool. ‘He does piano lessons, he does martial arts, and at school if there’s a computer class, coding, or STEM programs he’s always joining,’ his father, Chris Apuada, said.’ ”

(2) Wikipedia: Christopher Reeve
He was born on September 25, 1952; 3:12 a.m. EDT; Manhattan, NY, USA; Rodden rating: A.

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