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Aspects for the week beginning 18 March 2018

Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2018)

“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up”

~ Stephen Hawking

Universal admiration and fondness was expressed this week about physicist Stephen Hawking, who died in the early hours of Wednesday morning.  It mattered not whether you had read and mastered his book “A Brief History of Time”, there was plenty of inspiration in his life, character and work for anyone to relate to.  And such was his engagement with popular culture that he appeared in such programmes as the Simpsons, the Big Bang Theory, and Star Trek.  And if you had no interest in science or popular culture, seeing him as a human battling a fateful diagnosis of motor neurone disease and defying the odds for 55 years, plus achieving what he did during that time, you could not fail to be awe struck.

Birth Chart

We have no birth time for Stephen, and so we do not have the full facts to investigate the mystery of what made him such a great scientist or character.  He had the Sun in gritty and determined Capricorn, and over half his planets were in Earth signs.  He had no planets in the Water signs, and it is possible that a lack of emotion contributed to super-rationality.  His Sun in Capricorn was trine Saturn, emphasizing his Capricorn nature, and trine closely his North Node (karmic mission) in Virgo, bringing creativity to his scientific research.

His brilliant mental trine between Mercury and Uranus was undoubtedly one factor in his genius, but his nervous system was also under strain from an exact square between Mercury and Mars, and an opposition between Mercury and Pluto.  Uranus trine Neptune may describe the breadth of his imagination.  His illness was diagnosed shortly after his 21st birthday, when Pluto was squaring his natal Jupiter in Gemini (a disempowerment).  Natal Jupiter exactly sextile Chiron, however, may hold the key to his longevity.

The Science Bit

Stephen Hawking obtained his first degree at Oxford University, as his father had, and then managed to switch to Cambridge University for his postgraduate studies.  As an atheist, he might have described the people turning up in his life as a random phenomenon.  But working with past life therapy as I do, I see souls contracting to meet in order to facilitate and encourage each other in their line of work.  His PhD was under the supervision of Dennis Sciama, who introduced him to Roger Penrose, who in turn sustained a long and fruitful scientific collaboration with Stephen.

Stephen Hawking was developing theory around black holes, and as Roger Penrose states in his Guardian obituary:

“…it did not take Hawking long to find a way to use my theorem in an unexpected way, so that it could be applied (in a time-reversed form) in a cosmological setting, to show that the space-time singularity referred to as the “big bang” as also a feature not just of the standard highly symmetrical cosmological models, but also of any qualitatively similar but asymmetrical model.”

Hawking and Penrose had good astrological working chemistry:

Penrose’s Saturn is exactly conjunct Hawking’s Sun in Capricorn, a serious and fundamental tie between two people, and useful for shared work and purpose.  Hawking’s Jupiter was square Penrose’s Mercury, a mentally stimulating combination.  Hawking’s Pluto was sextile Penrose’s Mars, adding energy and depth to each other’s working operations.  Hawking’s Pluto was conjunct Penrose’s Jupiter, both contributing to each other’s success.  And in a further serious but constructive connection, Hawking’s Saturn was sextile Penrose’s Pluto.

In 1966 Hawking and Penrose shared the Adams Prize, a prestigious prize awarded by the University of Cambridge.  By 1970, Stephen was recognized as a leader in his field, and once again collaborated with Penrose on a more powerful and groundbreaking reasearch theorem. This was the year of Stephen’s Saturn Return in the sign of Taurus, the Saturn Return often being a time of the cementing and crystallization of a person’s life purpose.

In the mid-1970s Stephen deepened his scientific quest, in the search for a theory of quantum gravity in order that he may bring together Einstein’s laws of general relativity with the theories of quantum mechanics.

In April 1988 he published his most famous popular work “A Brief History of Time”, subtitled “from the Big Bang to Black Holes”, an attempt to bring his work to non-specialist readers, and also to finance his ever growing needs in terms of staff and equipment for his declining health condition.  Mars was opposite his natal Pluto in Leo at that time, representing a burst of energy and creativity in a constructive application in his life.  As at his birth, Saturn was conjunct Uranus at that time.  This is a challenging conjunction of two very different forces, which may in some way depict black holes or some part of their process.

A Nobel prize eluded him in the recognition of his work, because there was no tangible proof for his theories, though they were widely approved and debated, and used as the basis for scientific researches.

Jane Wilde

While studying for his PhD at Cambridge he met Jane Wilde, who would become his wife, and around that time his illness also began to surface.  He became depressed at the diagnosis that he would only possibly have two years to live, and nearly gave up his studies.  Jane Wilde determined to marry him and look after him, and there is no doubt she made a vital contribution to his life and ability to work and establish his career.  She is a woman of great determination, and positivity (natal Sun trine Jupiter) whose great strength of character helped sustain family life for many years, but eventually the strain of their lifestyle and her own needs to develop her interests led to them drifting apart.

We are fortunate to have her memoir, originally published in 1999 as “Music to Move the Stars” when they had broken up, then revised and re-published after his second marriage failed and they grew closer again.  The new publication “Travelling to Infinity” was made into a phenomenal film “The Theory of Everything” starring Eddie Redmayne in an outstandingly convincing portrayal of Stephen Hawking.  Jane’s book, drawn from detailed diaries, gives us a unique perspective of their life together, and for an astrologer contains gems such as the birth times of their children, and the minutiae of crucial moments, for example the time (7.30 p.m.) when a doctor was called prior to a major illness!

They married on 14th July 1965, with challenging transits to her birth chart of Neptune square her natal Jupiter (a triumph of idealism) and Pluto opposite her natal Venus (a deep personal challenge).  There was great hope too, in the shape of Jupiter sextile her natal Mercury and Jupiter (her natal trine of Mercury and Jupiter depicts her specialism in language). It was quite a commitment for him, too, with Saturn on his South Node, but spiritually serene at the time with Neptune sextile his Sun and sextile his North Node.

In her synastry with Stephen, he was able to bring groundedness with his 6 Earth planets to her 0 Earth.  Although religion was a contentious issue between them (she was a Christian and he was an atheist; her Mars squared his Neptune), there will have been lively discussion and shared interests with her Mercury sextile his Venus.  Her Saturn was trine his Venus, producing a great deal of mutual loyalty over a long period of time.

Both Jane and Stephen loved the family life with the children, and Jane details family moments with great warmth.  Penrose noted in his obituary: “He took great pleasure in children”. It is interesting to have the birth times of their three children (two are given precisely, the third is vaguer, given as “evensong”), as sensitive points in birth charts run in families and there may be clues as to Stephen’s Ascendant.  One possibility is Sagittarius, because his eldest child Robert has his Ascendant in mid-Sagittarius, and his daughter Lucy has her Moon there.  Sagittarian interests and vision lie very much in the realms of Cosmology.  We do know that his Part of Fortune (Joy) lies in his 9th House of Higher Philosophy and Cosmology, related to Sagittarius.  Stephen collaborated closely with his daughter Lucy over various projects – her Pluto was trine his Mercury (a deep mental connection) and their Neptunes were exactly sextile (a harmonious spiritual connection).  Jane and Stephen also have grandchildren.


In August 1985, his sudden medical crisis of pneumonia when they were holidaying separately in Europe was a crucial time for them both.  Stephen had Venus square Saturn natally, and transiting Saturn was opposing natal Saturn and squaring natal Venus, highlighting both the health and relationship crisis. Jane rushed to his side in Geneva, and was briefed by a doctor.  She related the scene in her biography:

“The question was whether his staff should disconnect the ventilator while Stephen was in a drugged state, or should try to bring him round from the anaesthetic.  I was shocked.  Switching off the life supply was unthinkable.  What an ignominious end to such a herioic fight for life, what a denial of everything that I, too had fought for!”

Her response:

“Stephen must live.  You must bring him round from the anaesthetic”.  Agonizingly, Neptune was opposite her natal Mars.  But Mars was trine her natal Sun at the time, requiring her fighting spirit.

The whole crisis was movingly and gravely depicted in the film of his life.

A tracheotomy was advised to save his life, and this led to the use of his acquiring a computerised speech synthesizer and that distinctive “voice”.  This was three years before he gave us his best-known book.

Stephen required even more intensive nursing from this point  in his life, and the constant thoroughfare of nursing staff built further barriers in their relationship.  Jane felt increasingly remote from Stephen, and was particularly sensitive to the fact that Stephen had always wanted to do things for himself, and many of the nurses were oversolicitous in doing things for him.  Jane states in her biography:

“…the nurses, on the other hand, tended to smother Stephen in a blanket of sentimentality. This belied his strength of mind and undermined my attempts to keep the correct balance.”

One nurse in particular, Elaine Mason, grew very close to him, so much so that he left the family home in February 1990 (with a freedom loving trine of  Uranus to his natal Jupiter) and married her in 1995 (we do not have Elaine Mason’s birth date). Jane meanwhile married Jonathan Hellyer Jones, a church pianist she had known since 1977.  The marriage to Elaine Mason lasted until 2006.

Concerns about the Future

Stephen Hawking’s concerns about the future of mankind and artificial intelligence bear a similarity to those of Elon Musk.  They both believe that colonization of other planets may save us in the future.  Hawking believed there may be aliens out there, but we should be wary of communication with them.  He was very concerned about global warming, and Donald Trump’s approach to the problem.

In an interview, he stated:

“The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory, or partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all. A major nuclear war would be the end of civilization, and maybe the end of the human race. The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state.”


“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.”

~ Stephen Hawking

Despite the harshness of his physical condition, he was able to demonstrate to a remarkable extent the ability and value of not giving up.  In this way, he was able to encourage and inspire everyone.

He held strong political views as a supporter of the Labour Party, and as a campaigner for nuclear disarmament.  He gave out a particularly powerful message in recent years, as the National Health Service crumbled due to neglect by Conservative governments, in fighting for the N.H.S. literally to the end of his life.

“I have received excellent medical attention in Britain, and I felt it was important to set the record straight.  I believe in universal health care.  And I am not afraid to say so.”


“I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.”

Life and Death

Stephen Hawking was born on 6th January 1942, exactly three hundred years after the death of Galileo, a scientist he strongly identified with.  Galileo himself was born the year in which Newton died.  Stephen died on 14th March 2018, which was the 139th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s birth.  Stephen’s nickname at school had been “Einstein”.  Accordingly, perhaps a new star is being born right now.

Although an atheist, Stephen talked in scientific terms of describing the Mind of God, if God were to exist.  He was however tolerant of those whose beliefs were more inclined towards religion, believing “We are each free to believe what we want”.

Transiting Pluto (finality) was trine his natal Saturn (his ruling planet) this week. There was also support from Chiron (healing) at his passing.

He was not afraid of death, but now he is on the other side of that veil he will know more of the truth of existence.  Though he was an atheist, I crave indulgence for my view of him now as a being of light enabled to whizz about and travel and explore those parts of  the universe he travelled to in his imagination while on earth.


Venus trines the True North Node today, which may ensure harmonious karma, truces and declarations of eternal love.    You may search out old friends, and renew old alliances.  The Arts may receive encouragement.  However, the weather is freezing here in the U.K. and there is a cold war brewing with Russia, so the trine may not reach all the parts we would want it to.

 Tomorrow, Monday (19th) the Sun conjuncts Chiron, and this may bring a focus on healing, and problem-solving in relation to crisis management.  Ingenious minds are often born with this conjunction, and so it is possible to reach out for solutions and obtain them under this influence.

A literary and diplomatic influence arrives on Tuesday (20th) with Mercury conjunct Venus, a helpful and communicative combination. good for catching up with writing projects.  Socializing, and lingering in tea shops and coffee bars are all congenial pursuits on such a day.  Caveat: again, there may not be any thaw in some wider international relations!  Venus is considered the “lesser benefic”, and not associated with major breakthroughs on that level.

However, a fresh outlook is possible in the mid-afternoon when the Sun enters Aries to usher in the new astrological year on the Spring Equinox.  Minor paranoias may be put aside, and positive resolutions made with more confidence.  If you didn’t achieve some clutter clearing while the Sun was in Pisces, you may have more energy for it now.  Take a deep breath and make a start on your new priorities.  Hopefully, the snow will have thawed (if not international relations) and you may enjoy the Spring vibe.

Friday (23rd) sees the interruption of communications, with Mercury stationary prior to turning retrograde.  You know the drill:  be clear in  your communications, focus, allow more time in your travelling schedules, check details, etc.  If you want to get ahead, attend to documentation between now and Friday, then you can relax more easily.  And don’t buy too heavily into the retrograde, it is possible to make progress, especially if you pay heed to historic lessons.  Mercury turns direct on 15th April, so make a note of that in your diary if you intend to shelve all paperwork in the meantime.

In the late evening Venus squares Pluto, and this is more problematic on an emotional level.  You might, on encountering any problem, be tempted to blame Mercury retrograde, but if there is an emotional or psychological element, Venus square Pluto may be the cause.  It may be a time for soul-searching, either individually or with a partner.  Letting go and forgiveness may be necessary tools in the process.

The Sun squares Mars on Saturday (24th) and caution is definitely the watchword of the day.  Hotheads could cause havoc, so keep a cool head, keep your car serviced, keep your dogs on a leash, and avoid conflict.  Otherwise, you’ll be fine.  The energy, fire and enthusiasm which the Sun with Mars generates can be positively harnessed if you are especially mindful, e.g. if you are conversant with car engines and handle dogs well.  It can also be useful in sport, and courageous in the face of danger.  Not for the faint-hearted, though.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – harmonious karma
  • Tomorrow – healing
  • Tuesday – literary; a new beginning
  • Friday – interrupted communication; soul-searching
  • Saturday – heated exchanges

Aspects for the week beginning 11 March 2018


(A tale of two Russian fathers and daughters)

Salisbury is a wonderful place, close to my heart.  I visit family there once a month.  It is utterly bizarre to be watching it on the news daily, in the context of a Russian spy mystery.  Father and daughter Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found last Sunday in an extremely distressed condition on a bench near the centre of the city.  The cause of their physical distress was a nerve agent, which apparently could only have been developed by a state.  The police officer who first rendered aid to the pair was also affected, and is in hospital in serious condition.  A passing doctor also tended them, but was not affected.  They have been praised for their incredible courage.  Like Amber Rudd, our Home Secretary, it is not for me to point the finger until the truth has been established.

Sergei Skripal

Sergei Skripal is a former military intelligence officer from Russia, who acted as a spy for Britain.  He was imprisoned in 2004 for such activities (with a dangerous transits of Pluto opposite his natal Mars); and then released in 2010 as part of a swap between Russia and the U.S. and allowed to live in Britain.  At his release transiting Uranus was square his Sun, a sudden freedom but probably bringing difficulties in adjustments to change.

Last Sunday (4th March 2018) was an extremely Neptunian day.   The Sun was exactly conjunct Neptune in Pisces, Neptune’s own sign.  One side of Neptune is glitz and glamour (as in the Oscars) but the more sinister side can be poisoning, as Neptune rules such substances.  As a peculiar aside, I find it interesting that the French word for fish, poisson, (linking it with Pisces) is similar to the English word for poison – but there is no etymological basis for that peculiarity. Sergei had the transiting North Node exactly quincunx his natal North Node, a karmically based event, plus Neptune (poisoning) on his North Node. Father and daughter remain critically ill in hospital.

There are two aspects I would especially like to pick out of Sergei Skripal’s birth chart.  One is the trine of Mars and Neptune: the capacity to be successful and skilled at clandestine activity.  The other is Jupiter square Uranus, an aspect I call “The Chancer”.

Skripal bought a house in Salisbury in 2011.  His wife, brother and son have since then died, and their deaths are often referred to as “suspicious circumstances”, which is partly why the grave of his wife and the headstone of his son have been the centre of attention in the last few days.  Their birth and death dates keep popping up on news broadcasts, and far be it from an astrologer to avert one’s gaze.

How suspicious are the transits for the deaths of his wife and son?  The stated cause of death for his wife is endometrial carcinoma, and for his son liver failure.  The wife, Liudmila, was a Cancerian like her husband.  Cancerians tend to be patriotic, but Sergei has Uranus (the Rebel) square to his Sun in Cancer, alienating him emotionally.  Were her transits suspicious at the time of her death?  Saturn was trine her North Node, indicating it might have been her time to go karmically.  Pluto was square her natal Jupiter, so the cards were stacked against her, powerwise.  And Pluto was on her natal Chiron, indicating a wound that was difficult or impossible to heal at that time.  These are fairly difficult transits, but not impossible to overcome for the average person.  She may have been suffering years of strain.

The son, Alexandr, was a Piscean, and died last July: At his death, Mars was square his natal Uranus (indicating danger) but Uranus was sextile his natal Jupiter and Saturn which should have been more protective.  Pluto was square his Chiron, a similar transit to his mother on her death, but Neptune (poisoning) was not strongly evident in either case.  There have been alternative scenarios to ill health posited for both of them, but Liudmila’s seems likely to have been a health condition, and Alexandr may have died in a car accident as is the alternative theory to liver failure.  Sergei’s daughter Yulia was thought to be visiting Salisbury from her home in Russia last Sunday, but I do not have a birth date for her.

Russia seems very powerful at this time, and Pluto is sextile its natal Pluto (empowerment).  It also has a happier than usual social vibe, Jupiter on its Venus.  This can give rise to good humour, and there have been interviews with the general public enquiring about how they see our drama, and the public making a joke of it.  The state has been putting out sarcastic comments about it too.


Parallels have been drawn to the poisonings of Alexandr Litvinenko and Georgi Markov years ago. There have been other suspicious deaths which have not been investigated.  Litvinenko died of polonium poisoning in 2006 with Chiron transiting his natal Saturn, a transit also operating when he was poisoned a few weeks earlier.  We have two possible birthdates for him, and for one of them there is a Neptune transit (Neptune sextile his natal Mercury) for the time of the poisoning. It took years to obtain a judgement that the poisoning of Litvinenko was down to the responsibility of the Russian government.

Georgi Markov

In the case of dissident writer Georgi Markov, who was spiked by an umbrella on a London street, with a pellet containing ricin.  On that day, the Sun was square to Neptune.  Pluto was exactly square his natal Pluto at the time of his assassination aged 49.  Pluto square Pluto is a regular mid life transit of great challenge – his was more challenging than most, sadly.  It was confirmed by KGB defectors that the KGB were responsible for this.  Looking into the deaths of Litvinenko and Markov has not provided an astrological pattern, but it takes more examples to create a statistic.

Russian Elections

The looming Russian election, due to take place on 18th March (next Sunday), seem to be a bizarre pantomime, or as often referred to in Russia itself “managed democracy”.   However nobody, not least the candidate opposing Vladimir Putin, expects any other outcome other than a win for him.

Ksenia Sobchak

36-year old Ksenia Sobchak, his opponent on behalf of the Civic Initiative Party, is exercising her political muscle with an aim to perhaps become president in 6 years’ time, providing Putin does not last beyond that. Ksenia has a powerful triple conjunction between Jupiter, Mercury and Pluto in Libra, and her exact conjunction between Mercury and Jupiter describes her profession as a journalist. She has been an activist, and was linked with anti-corruption activist Navalny.  When she decided to go for the candidacy, she formally went and told Putin in person.  He did not put any blocks in her way (some think he put her up to it to provide some credibility for his election, but she denies this).  He certainly does not fear her opposition, but interestingly she is the daughter of an old ally of his, Anatoly Sobchak the former Mayor of Saint Petersburg, who helped him gain power.  It was mentioned on Newsnight that it was at the funeral of Anatoly Sobchak that Putin was last seen to cry in public.  Incidentally, Sobchak himself died unexpecedly of a heart attack resulting from poisoning. The transits at this suspicious death were Uranus opposite Anatoly’s Sun (sudden events) and Chiron square his Neptune (possibly vulnerability to poisoning).

In the relationship between Putin and Ksenia, Putin’s Mercury is conjunct with her Mercury and triple conjunction; they have some level of mutual understanding.  She has a natal conjunction of Venus and Neptune, and Putin’s Mars sits right in the middle of that conjunction; they understand each other on an instinctive level, as well as on the mental level.  Putin’s bond with her father is displayed in a strong exact trine of their Jupiters: they had each other’s backs.  Putin has said of his friendship with her father: “I respect her father Anatoly Sobchak, I believe that he was an outstanding figure in contemporary Russian history. I’m saying this without a trace of irony. He was very decent, played a big role in my own destiny”.

On the day of the Russian election, the Sun will be exactly conjunct Chiron in Pisces and square to the Galactic Centre (power in need of healing).  Putin’s own powerful natal Mars sits at the Galactic Centre, and receives the square from Sun/Chiron: something might make him think, if only momentarily.  He will also have Jupiter square his Pluto (exaggerated power), Uranus trine his Mars (the use of force) and Pluto square his Neptune (some confusion and chaos).  Russia’s own transits are as they were for the Salisbury mystery, Pluto sextile natal Pluto (power to the status quo) and Jupiter on its Venus (good humour, temporarily at least). Ksenia Sobchak’s astrological prospects at the election are the Nodal Axis exactly square her natal Sun (the Universe saying it is not her time yet), Saturn on her Mars (a block to her efforts) and Chiron trine her Uranus (she will have a sense of achievement anyway).


An interesting documentary this week detailed Putin’s rise to power, which at first was quite low key and humble, then seemingly the power went to his head, and turned to resentment towards the west.  He seemed particularly upset by the break up of the Soviet Union. But no one really knows the extent of his ambition and motivation.  It remains to be seen what the British government will do if it is proved that Russia was behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal – one avenue described in the Observer this morning would be to remove the Russian Oligarchs and their influence in this country.  As for Sergei Skripal, things don’t look good for his survival.  His daughter is responding a little to treatment, and if she became able to communicate might be able to provide clues about how the poison was administered.  If Sergei were to survive until May, Uranus trine his natal Chiron around 17th of that month might strengthen him, but if he does not survive then that date may be important for the investigation, impinging on a posthumous chart.

In a reassuring Guardian leader yesterday, we were told:

“Mr Putin is not as powerful as he looks.  Russia has developed a capacity to sow discord abroad, but the western alliance has the nobler record of underpinning stability and spreading prosperity.”


Early morning might have got off to a dull start today, with Mercury square Saturn: there may have been a disappointment, or an unwanted chore.  Communications may have been delayed, e.g. that Mother’s Day card or phone call you are eagerly awaiting.

But things may then have perked up, with two bright aspects:

The first is Mars trine Uranus, which may bring exciting surprises or activities. Perhaps you are being whisked away for lunch by a son or daughter.  Otherwise, there may be technical advances in your home (my printer just got mended this morning).

Then the Sun sextiles Pluto, providing food and nourishment for the Soul.  Either a thought-provoking lunch, or a deep conversation in another context during the course of the day.  There is plenty of prospect for having an enjoyable day, whether you are a mother or not.

On Tuesday (13th) Venus squares Saturn at lunchtime, which could be deflating socially or emotionally.  There may be issues to work through in this respect.  You may for instance feel undervalued, in which case you may need to look at how much you value yourself.

However, the evening brings a complete change of mood, when the Sun trines Jupiter (one of the best aspects of the year).  Luck and optimism can win the day, and positive thinking triumphs.  In many ways, this is the opposite of the earlier aspect, as it radiates good will outwardly, whereas the earlier aspect requires a little introspection.

Wednesday (14th) brings a square between Mars and Chiron, and the vibe is brusque (Jeremy Paxman has it natally).  You might feel a bit buffeted between helpful and unhelpful influences, as the Sun trine Jupiter may still be operative, and there may still be some residue of the Venus-Saturn square.  There is a sense of “Well some things are working, but why can’t everything work together?”  It will take some adjustment to obtain complete harmony, both within yourself, in relation to others, and in physical and practical projects.  At the same time, health and safety factors will be important.

Mercury trines the North Node on Friday (16th), which may bring advantageous information to your attention, especially in relation to karma.  This may help you to ascertain your next step on your karmic mission, especially if it relates to co-operation and communication with others.

On Saturday (17th) there is a New Moon at 26 degrees Pisces. If the weather is at all clement, it would be a good day to head for the coast and commune with the sea.  If not, spiritual pursuits of a leisurely kind would be a lovely gentle way to spend the day and contemplate.  Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and Qijong would fit the bill, or dance and artistic and musical projects.

In the mid-afternoon, Mars leaves Sagittarius and enters Capricorn, so philosophy and contemplation may give way to practicality and greater action and ambition.  Some wishful intent during the New Moon may crystallize into more well-defined  social or political aims.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – starting flat, with peaks later
  • Tuesday – again starting flat, with a peak later
  • Wednesday – awkward
  • Friday – ear to the ground
  • Saturday – new beginning, starting softly then more well-defined

Aspects for the week beginning 4 March 2018

The Oscars 2018: 90th Academy Awards

Tonight sees the 90th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.  The Sun conjuncts Neptune today, an ideal day to focus on glamour and film.  Mercury conjuncts Venus and Chiron, which is ideal for writing about it, too.  Here is an astrological guide to the Best Actresses up for nomination.  I did set out to cover the Best Actors as well, but literally ran out of time.  If I stayed at my desk to do the lot, I would overlap with the start of the Oscars!

Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird”

Saoirse Ronan, the daughter of Irish American parents, is a fresh faced Aries Sun, with 0 planets in Air signs making her very instinctual.  In this film she expertly portrays a youth in Sacramento, and Aries represents a time of youth.  She has in her chart a square between the Sun and Uranus/Neptune, and so she would be a non-conformist, capable of creating an illusion, and would not shy away from a challenge.  She has Mercury conjunct Mars – quick mental reactions (which displayed in a recent chat show as a party piece in a speedy recital of mnemonic poem to describe how to pronounce her name). Mars also trine exactly Pluto gives her a powerhouse of energy, and Mars also trines her North Node so warriorship is part of her karmic mission. Uranus also sextiles exactly her North Node so the Rebel Archetype is also a strong element in her karmic mission.

The comedy drama film “Lady Bird” is one of two films in this category of nomination with the theme of difficult mother-daughter relationships, and one of two films exploring coming-of-age (the other is “Call Me by Your Name” starring Timothee Chalamet, which I haven’t had time to cover).  In the film, Lady Bird has aspirations of going to an East Coast University, but the family cannot afford it.  Eventually (spoiler) she obtains a place at New York University, and manages to get there with some assistance from her father, the main drama being the conflict with her mother.  A.O. Scott of the New York Times is quoted as saying of Saoirse’s performance: “Ronan navigates each swerve in Lady Bird’s story with an uncanny combination of self-confidence and discovery. She is as spontaneous and unpredictable as an actual 17-year-old … which suggests an altogether stupefying level of craft.”

She won the Golden Globe in January in Scorpio, when Jupiter was exactly trine her natal Neptune (inspiration and euphoria).  By the time of the BAFTAs in February, this trine had widened.  For the Oscars, the Jupiter-Neptune trine is again close, but the transit of Uranus square to her natal Uranus has tightened which may preclude another win.

Meryl Streep in “The Post”

One of the most versatile actors of her age, Meryl Streep will never be accused of being typecast.  I wrote about her when she appeared in the film “Suffragette”:

“Ordinarily, you can often see important roles mirrored in an actor’s chart, but Meryl Streep, who plays Emmeline in the film, is no ordinary actor or actress.  She has had so many award nominations, and has 2 Academy Awards, and has played some extraordinary and varied women, including Margaret Thatcher.  But what she does have in her chart, which is very telling, is the Sun in Cancer at 0 degrees of that sign: the essence of womanhood.  Her female planets (Moon and Venus) are in harmony with each other, in a sextile.  Her Sun is exactly conjunct Uranus, so she is a good role model for female emancipation too.”

Three out of the five female nominees this year are Cancerian, Meryl’s birth sign.  With Jupiter in Scorpio this year, it trines the sign of Cancer, bringing successes.  Meryl’s Ascendant is the performing sign of Leo.  Like Saoirse, she has the quick mental reactions of Mars conjunct Mercury (she can mimic accents well and memorizes her lines very quickly).  Her Moon is exactly square Pluto, which brings an emotional range and depth to her work.  This was displayed from very early on in her career. I remember noticing her in the TV film Holocaust in 1978, around the time when she was nursing fellow actor John Cazale when he was dying. She had a three year relationship with Cazale, and about the pain of his dying, said: “I didn’t get over it. I don’t want to get over it. No matter what you do, the pain is always there in some recess of your mind, and it affects everything that happens afterwards. I think you can assimilate the pain and go on without making an obsession of it.”  That is very descriptive of her exact Moon-Pluto square. With her Midheaven conjunct North Node in Aries in 9th House her  conventional career is consonant with her karmic mission.

She has of course already earned and won many nominations and awards for her excellence. The film “The Post” is a slice of American journalistic history, in which Meryl plays the first female publisher of The Washington Post, Katharine Graham, appearing opposite Tom Hanks as the Editor.  It concerns the attempt to publish the Pentagon Papers, classified documents about the Vietnam War.  The story tells of the deception of the public by the government, and ends with the impending demise of the Nixon administration.

Meryl’s transits at the time of the Oscars show Neptune sextile her natal Moon in Taurus in 10th House, showing an appreciation of the occasion, but the Nodal Axis will be square her natal Moon, so the transits overall are probably not strong enough for a win.

Frances McDormand in “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Frances McDormand, winner of the Best Actress BAFTA award, is another Cancerian.  She has few personal aspects, and sometimes that results in a wider service, something which the profound nature of the film provides.  She has a dynamic conjunction of Uranus and Mars in Leo, and her Nodal Axis squares exactly Chiron giving her a complex healing karmic mission.

The film “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” stormed the BAFTAs, and may well do the same at the Oscars.  Frances controversially decided not to wear black completely (an expression of the Time’s Up movement) on the occasion, saying she has “a little trouble with compliance” – that may be down to her Uranus/Mars eccentric will.  The film “Three Billboards” (for short) is a black comedy drama.  Frances portrays a single mother who uses three billboards to draw attention to the fact that the murder investigation on her daughter is going nowhere.  Woody Harrelson plays the Sheriff in the investigation, who is dying of cancer.  There is a gruesome clip of the film where Frances (playing Mildred) injures her dentist with his own drill, which is shocking.  But the story apparently is about moral ambiguity, and the heroine certainly a strong female character.

In her transits, Pluto was exactly opposite her natal Venus at the BAFTA’s – not what you would usually associate with a win.  Jupiter was sextile her Jupiter (more indicative of a win), and that sextile is still operative now at the Oscars.

Sally Hawkins in “The Shape of Water”

Sally Hawkins has the Sun in Taurus exactly conjunct with Jupiter, which is a very sensory combination.  She brings this quality to her performance in the unusual fantasy film “The Shape of Water”.  She does have a particular sensory connection with water, in her trine between the Moon and Neptune.  She also has the North Node in Scorpio, which is resonant of the theme of the film.

“The Shape of Water” is set in Baltimore in 1962, and Sally plays a mute who works in a government laboratory.  As “Elisa” she falls in love with an amphibian creature under surveillance in the laboratory, which has been captured from a South American river. She forms a telepathic bond with the creature, and plans to release it.  As the plot thickens, the creature is revealed to have healing powers, a Chiron-Centaur theme incidentally, and Sally has Venus conjunct Chiron in her chart, reflecting this telepathic healing bond in her role.

Hawkins’ transits for the Oscars reveal a steady showing (Saturn trine her Sun/Jupiter and Chiron sextile her Mercury) but with Neptune square her Neptune she may also feel a little at sea in her personal life or mood.

Margot Robbie in “I, Tonya”

Originally from Australia, Margot is the third Cancerian actress in the category, and deserves triple praise for acting in the film, producing the film, and actually skating in the film which concerns the drama of ice skater Tonya Harding’s real life.  Margot has an enterprising 7 out of her 10 planets in Cardinal signs.  She has the Moon (depicting important women in her life) in Scorpio, of which Tonya is one (certainly one she has decided to champion on her creative path).  Margot also has a useful Mars-Jupiter square, providing huge energy and enthusiasm (though also tempered by a square between Mars and Saturn).  Jupiter powerfully trines Pluto in her chart, too.

The film is the second of the five to deal with difficult mother-daughter relationships and depicts the life of ice skater Tonya Harding, her difficult relationship with her mother LaVona (a role for which Allison Janney picked up a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actress), and relates the scandal of the attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan.  The story relates the poor background Tonya came from, and the sacrifices her mother made in pushing her daughter on her successful career path, successfully albeit through cruel behaviour (both physical and psychological abuse). Tonya is in an unsavoury relationship with Jeff Gillooly who becomes involved in a plot to damage her rival.  Tonya was not directly implicated, but suffered by association.  She had to give up her skating career, and took up boxing in later life.

The film is unusual in that it depicts the life story of someone who is still alive.  Tonya herself is a Full Mooner, with the Full Moon in Taurus exactly conjunct Saturn, opposite Jupiter, Venus and the Sun, stressing the important role of the mother in her life, and showing the difficulty of her life circumstances.  Tonya has Sun trine Midheaven in Pisces (often associated with ice skating) in 9th House.  Tonya was first American woman to successfully land a triple axel in competition.  At the time of the attack which ended her career, Neptune was sextile her natal Sun (scandal and mystery).  Pluto is trine her natal Sun at the moment, so the film experience may be cathartic for her.  In addition, Tonya’s Ascendant is exactly conjunct Margot’s Chiron, so the effort on the part of Margot may actually be healing for Tonya.  Margot Robbie’s transits for the Oscars show Mars trine her Mars, Saturn conjunct her Uranus, which are not promising, but it is clear that the whole production is a huge achievement for this actress and promises great potential.

And the Winner Is…

Probably Frances McDormand!


It’s a busy day for aspects, starting with the Sun conjunct Neptune (13 degrees Pisces) at lunchtime, while I was writing my blog about the Oscars.  It is a very glitzy and glamorous conjunction, especially placed in Pisces, but there are other more serious associations.  Water is very much emphasized, and certainly the snow here in the U.K. is now turning to slush, and threatening floods.  Environmental issue in connection with water are also highlighted, such as the amount of plastic in our seas,  In Antarctica a supercolony of Adelie penguins has been discovered, which is heartwarming.  It is a day when progress can be made on subtle and spiritual issues, with memorable ephemeral experiences.

In late afternoon, early evening, Mercury conjuncts Venus at 26 degrees Pisces, which is a communicative and literary aspect, helpful for diplomacy and generally constructive human interaction.  You can safely take up writing tasks which you may have shelved earlier.

Mercury then conjuncts Chiron at 27 degrees Pisces, which can produce minor healing crises, but can also pave the way for problem-solving.  The solution to a crisis may be close at hand.

Later still, Venus conjuncts Chiron at the same degree, highlighting the need for healing in relationships, and hopefully also providing the means to that healing.  Where there is a will on both sides, healing can be achieved.  Or forgiveness on one side can also move mountains.

Mercury enters Aries on Tuesday (6th).  This provides a more matter-of-fact mindset than its placing in Pisces, and the days of wine, roses, glitz and glamour.  It is a good time for looking at accountancy issues, and for plain speaking.  Mercury stays in Aries until May, because it turns retrograde later this month.

Nearer midnight on Tuesday Venus follows Mercury into Aries, and the harmony loving planet is out of her comfort zone, but forced to be bolder.  It is a warm placing for feeling and affection, though also self-centred.  Venus stays in Aries most of the month, entering Taurus right at the end of this month.

Jupiter is stationary, prior to turning retrograde on Friday (9th).  Some progress or momentum in a project or passion you have made recently is stalled, and will be needing revision.  You may observe someone, e.g. Theresa May, doing a U-turn…

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – busy on a psychological and spiritual level
  • Tuesday – a change of tone, from dreamy to matter-of-fact
  • Friday – need to re-examine progress, with U-turns possible


Aspects for the week beginning 25 February 2018

Billy Graham (1918 – 2018)

“My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.”

~ Billy Graham

The Archetypal Evangelist Billy Graham died this week, on Wednesday 21st February.  He was revered by many, but my first impressions of him in the early 1970s were that his rallies were a scary display of hypnotic power.

Birth Chart

If ever a birth chart suited its subject to the letter, Billy Graham’s does to an amazing degree.  I am fascinated by the interplay of religion and spirituality in a chart, and this chart does not disappoint.  All roads lead to religion in his chart, and his personality is a force to be reckoned with.

Firstly, he has half his planets (5) in the element of Water, so his power is on an emotional level.  Curiously, one of his health ailments may be linked with this, as he suffered from hydrocephalus from 1992.

He had 0 planets in the element Earth, and may have been ungrounded, as evinced by the quote “My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.”

6 of his planets were in the Fixed signs, depicting a very strong willed individual, and this quality he undoubtedly used in his persuasive preaching, and in his adherence to his ideals.

The Sun conjunct Venus in Scorpio gave him charisma and magnetism.  You can see the Sun in Scorpio in those mesmeric eyes.

His Sun trined closely Jupiter, imbuing a love of religion, and his chosen religion or the religion given to him at birth, was Christianity.  Neptune squared his Sun, and when it came to spirituality, though he had the force and the connection with divinity, it may have been slightly skewed (e.g. restricted towards one religion), and of the two modes (religion and spirituality) religion was his stronger suit (though he was spiritual advisor to many U.S. Presidents).  Neptune square the Sun can produce an illusionist.  On the more constructive side, Neptune (Christianity) was trine his North Node (karmic mission) depicting his role as spiritual advisor.

The Moon was closely conjunct Mars and his Midheaven in Sagittarius (the sign of religion) in his 9th House of Religion, what greater sign of his path of  religious persuasive power could there be?  He was truly destined to be the Archetypal Evangelist.  He may have possessed additional power by virtue of his Mars/Moon being close to the Galactic Centre.  Mars in the House of Religion makes for the Crusader, and is the fuel for the Evangelist Archetype.  Mars conjunct the Moon sextile Uranus in Aquarius showed the expanse of his working in large groups.

There was a genuine love for humanity, in his Venus trine Jupiter.  In addition, Venus trine Pluto added to his personal power and magnetism to make him a veritable pied piper.  He was  told early in life by Bob Jones at the College he attended in his late teens: “You have a voice that pulls.  God can use that voice of yours. He can use it mightily.”

His Moon/Mars square Chiron provides a coercive aspect to his healing, his Inner Healer Chiron operating from his House of the Unconscious (12th House).  The healing on display at his evangelical services was not of a quiet and gentle nature.  It was more a Plutonian force of transformation, a bolt from the blue.  Pluto was closely square his Ascendant, near the 4th House cusp and conjunct his I.C.  This accentuated the fact that his physical presence was in itself transformative, and Pluto as his Sun sign ruler also portrayed his emphasis on the Afterlife, and his central message which was that you had to accept Jesus Christ as your saviour or you would not be allowed into heaven.

Beliefs and Integrity

Billy Graham was hard line about several issues, some of which he changed in the course of his life, but notably one which he never changed, and that was his attitude to homosexuality.  He always denounced homosexuality, and quoted the bible on that, and opposed gay marriage.  He also made statements suggesting that he supported gay conversion therapy.

He supported many U.S. Presidents in his time, and in the case of Richard Nixon, was forced to backtrack during the Watergate scandal.

To his credit, he was always anti-segregation of the races, and for a long time befriended Martin Luther King.  He was quoted as saying: “There is no scriptural basis for segregation.  The ground at the foot of the cross is level, and it touches my heart when I see whites standing shoulder to shoulder with blacks at the cross.”  But they then did have a falling-out at some point, partly in connection with their opposing views about the Vietnam war (King being anti-war).  Billy Graham has been lauded as saintly by many, but somehow I always felt Martin Luther King to be much more wholesome in his spirituality and his integrity, and his speeches much more uplifting, and never tainted by the menace or fire and brimstone threats of Billy Graham.


Billy Graham married his wife Ruth in 1943, and famously avoided temptation by never being alone with another woman (he gave this advice to Mike Pence).  They were married for 64 years, before her death.  On his marriage, transiting Jupiter was exactly conjunct his natal Neptune in 5th House, a blissful transit.  In their synastry, her Jupiter was trine his natal North Node in Sagittarius in 9th House, which was a great support for his mission.  He did however, believe that a woman’s place was in the home.  They had five children, nineteen grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren.


His transits on receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989 are very interesting.  Transiting Jupiter was exactly trine his natal Venus, often the sign of an award or success.  Uranus was exactly conjunct his Midheaven in Sagittarius in 9th House, an exciting recognition of his life’s work.  Neptune was sextile his Venus (adding a touch of glamour) and Pluto was exactly conjunct his natal Sun in Scorpio in 8th House, an affirmation of the depth of his reach.


One of the transits on his death, the Sun sextile his natal Midheaven in Capricorn in the 9th House of Religion, was very much symbolic of meeting his Maker, an event which he had stated he did not fear.  Although he himself instilled fear in other people for this event, he himself was content that he had done enough to earn his place in heaven.

Bob Moser, writing an obituary in The Rolling Stone, stated: “Graham carefully cultivated a reputation for personal integrity and moderation, despite the fact that he was not only a virulent homophobe, but a few other not-so-Godly things as well: Jew-basher, aspiring war criminal, back-stabbing political operator and Christian Dominionist predicting imminent apocalypse, for starters.”

But, although I have made it plain where my own sympathies lie, judge not lest ye yourself be judged.  In Spiritualism, everyone goes to the same heaven, and we only judge ourselves when we pass over.  In Michael Newton’s between-life therapy, we see that we are advised by spiritual elders between lives and construct a life where we learn the lessons we want to learn and create opportunities for what we want to achieve.  Who knows what Billy Graham’s stated mission for his life was, but he probably did achieve what he wanted to achieve.  It was not harmony between religions, but it was loyalty to one religion.

If you by accident of birth are a Syrian refugee or the member of an indigenous tribe somewhere in the world outside the bible belt, would you be denied entry to heaven graced by the same God or Creator who made the whole earth? I personally don’t think so.  In the reporting of Billy Graham’s dealings with Richard Nixon, it is revealed that he was antisemitic.

So, in the interest of balance, I will end with two quotations in his favour:

Barack Obama described him as “a humble servant who prayed for so many – and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans.”

Andrew White, the “Vicar of Baghdad”, is a true peacemaker and universal in his religious outlook (a broker between religions, working towards universal peace).  His Neptune (spirituality) is exactly trine Billy Graham’s Jupiter (religion), and they worked together closely.  White wrote in his autobiography: “I had never met anyone like Dr. Graham. He was a statesman of the church and had an incredible warmth and godly presence about him. To this day I have only ever met two people like this, whose very presence has an immediate effect upon one: Dr. Graham and Pope John Paul II.”


There are three aspects for today, and the first is Venus square Mars, one where you may need to mind your p’s and q’s, or may inadvertently be found to be politically incorrect.  Sensuality may hold sway, but may need to be observant of society’s norms.  Dieting, temptation and addictions may be difficult to control, such as sugar cravings.   You may find yourself writing a blog about someone revered in certain circles, which has a slightly critical edge, and wrestling with your own conscience.  It could be a balancing act, and you hope you will be forgiven.

Another influence today, Mercury conjunct Neptune, is fine-tuning your mind, spiritually.  You may receive ideas through your antennae from other worlds (e.g. heaven), and this can be inspirational.  If you are not consciously tuning in, the messages may get scrambled, you may feel lost, or even tinged with paranoia.  So it is useful to know that someone, somewhere, in another part of the Universe, is trying to get a message to you.

The words of the Bee Gees seem apt…:

“The preacher talked to me and he smiled
Said, “Come and walk with me, come and walk one more mile
Now for once in your life you’re alone
But you ain’t got a dime, there’s no time for the phone”

In the late afternoon, the Sun is sextile Saturn, which is more settling and grounded.  It is an aspect which is suitable for laying groundwork, making plans and foundations.

On Tuesday (27th), Venus sextiles Pluto, a prosperous alliance boosting love and money.  Relationships can go to a deeper level, and finances may be stabilized and their nature more easily understood.  This aspect warms the heart and soul in a real way.

Wednesday (28th) is more fractious, with Mercury squaring Mars.  Virgos and Geminians could feel more irritable than usual.  A spot of meditation may achieve equilibrium for them, and you in your dealing with them.  There will be an urge to get a lot done, but clumsiness and haste may result in mistakes, and one foot going forward and two steps going backwards.  Again, pause and reflect, and you may make more progress – as in the phrase “slowly is holy”.

All may be restored on Thursday (1st March), when Mercury sextiles Pluto, especially for the Mercury-ruled Geminis and Virgos.  Where they (and you) may have felt they were skimming the surface on Wednesday and getting nowhere, they (and you) have a grasp of the real issues, real solutions, the way things work and the meaning of situations on Thursday. It is also good for psychology, and the rationalization of feelings.  If Wednesday is a red light, Thursday is a green light.

We are also blessed with Venus trine Jupiter on Thursday, one of the best aspects of the year.  If you have read my obituary of Billy Graham, you may have noticed that this aspect in his natal chart conferred a love for humanity.  So this is a good day for opening the heart, and socializing.  There may be a party to attend, or a celebration (such as an engagement).

The only cloud on the horizon on Thursday may be a spot of tension building as Friday (2nd) has a Full Moon at 11 degrees Virgo.  This occurs at 00.51 a.m., so just after midnight on the Thursday.  If you are late up, at the party for instance, you may notice some group emotional tension towards the end of the day.  You will need to focus positively, say as you are on the point of retiring for bed, so that the emotional qualities of this Full Moon bring out the best for you.  If you have health issues, or ecological interests, focus on your best outcomes, and release negativity and paranoia.

We end the week’s aspects, still on Friday, at lunchtime, on a really positive note: Mercury trine Jupiter.  There is a capacity for mental upliftment with this aspect.  Sales, business, teaching, philosophy, travel of all kinds, all benefit from this combination.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – sense, sensibility, sensitivity and insensitivity
  • Tuesday – depth of feeling
  • Wednesday – fractious
  • Thursday – go ahead
  • Friday – emotions ebbing, then mental upliftment

Aspects for the week beginning 18 February 2018

Year of the Dog 2018

Chinese Astrology

As with Western Astrology, true Chinese Astrology is much more complex and intricate than the characteristics of the twelve animal signs, which is our main contact with the art.  And the ancient Chinese were responsible for some of the names of our Fixed Stars, such as Wei in the constellation of Scorpio, Han in Ophiuchus, Tsih in Cassiopeia.  The Chinese system takes account of both the solar calendar, and the lunar calendar.

The Twelve Animals

These, in order, are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Cock, Dog and Pig.  They bear little relation to the animals of the Western Astrology zodiac and constellations.  Apparently Sheep is synonymous with Goat, so there is a vague resemblance in the Goat following the Horse as in Capricorn and Sagittarius.  The Ox, resembling the Bull, is the second sign of the zodiac, as in Western Astrology, but the Chinese New Year does not start in the Spring.

The Elements

These are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.  Thus, no Air as in the Western system, but the addition of Wood and Metal.


Five Planets are used in traditional Chinese Astrology: Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury.  But they have different characteristics than used by the Western Astrologer, for example Jupiter represents birth and motherhood, which we ascribe to the Moon.

Character of the Dog

So we find ourselves (as of Friday 16th February 2018) in the Year of the Dog.  In popular knowledge and use, the character traits of the various signs are important, and the compatibilities are also employed, both between people and in ascertaining whether it will be a good year.

The characteristics of the Dog in Chinese Astrology are first and foremost loyalty, defence and protection.  Home and family are important to them. As with our Western Astrology, there are always negative traits too, and one of these for the dog is fearfulness. These would be the traits of babies born this year, if there are any expected in your circles.  Tigers and Horses make good companions.

In the last century, people born under this sign hail from the following years:

1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

1958 was the last Earth Dog year.

Jupiter Cycle

The popular use of Chinese Astrology is based on each year belonging to one of the twelve zodiacal animals, and this corresponds to the cycle of the planet Jupiter, which spends a year in a sign (in the Western system).  This year Jupiter is in Scorpio, and so the characteristics of this year include greater passion, intensity and drive.  This does not particularly synchronize with the Dog, though it might coincide more if the year was Dragon  or Snake.

Suzanne White

Suzanne White is a pioneer of the synthesis of the Western and Chinese Astrological systems.  Her book “The New Astrology” was first published in 1986.  She combines your Western sign with your Chinese sign to create 144 new astrological signs.  If you would like to know more about her work and the coming year, visit her website:


What the Year of the Dog will bring

Generally speaking, if you were born in the Year of the Dog, you will be more comfortable with the energy of this coming year.  Taking the principles of dogginess forward (loyalty, defence and protection.  Home and family … fearfulness) we would expect an emphasis on these in the forthcoming year, both in our personal lives (we find out who we can count on, we put our money where our mouth is, etc.) and in the world.

The issue which stands out for me in relation to Dog is gun control in the U.S. (perhaps because of the school shooting in Florida this week, and the stand the schoolchildren are making that enough is enough).  It is about whether or not to trust that getting rid of the guns is the best thing to do.  Will Donald Trump’s protection of the right to bear arms be an issue that contributes to his demise?

In the U.K. we have the issue of whether or not to get rid of Trident (do we need it, could the cost go to the NHS, is it worth keeping just for deterrent value?).  We have issues over party loyalties, both in the ruling Conservative Party (are Theresa May’s Cabinet on side?) and in the opposition Labour Party (do the party members back Jeremy Corbyn in loyalty to the party even if they disagree with some of his policies?)

In France, Emmanuel Macron is considering bringing back compulsory military service.

In the Middle East, nobody is quite sure whether or not to trust Iran in its nuclear capability.

I am not a Chinese Astrologer, but in the spirit of empiricism, it will be interesting to see if these issues make progress in the coming year, by the time it is the Year of the Pig.  That will be something to review at the time.

Dog Celebrities

Barbara Woodhouse, the famous dog trainer of the 1980s, was born in 1910, which was a Year of the Dog.  Her western Sun sign was Taurus.  She was born on a New Moon in Taurus exactly sextile Neptune, the latter planet giving her the instinctiveness to work in what was in those days an unusual way.  Her rigid and authoritarian personality was very different to the more contemporary U.S. dog whisperer Cesar Millan, whose intuitive and psychological approach (though equally firm) teaches you a lot about human psychology, the dynamics of the pack, and the role of  telepathy.  However, he is a Virgo in the western system, and a Cockerel in the Chinese system.  His powerful communication is revealed in his chart by a conjunction of Mercury with Jupiter/Uranus/Pluto.

The last Earth Dog year was 1958, and there are plenty of celebrities born that year, among them Madonna, Lenny Henry and Michael Jackson.  Another Earth Dog from that year is acclaimed actor Gary Oldman, who has recently played “the British Bulldog” Winston Churchill (who was himself born in the Year of the Dog, 1874).

Nick Park (a Sagittarian) was also born in 1958.  He of course is the creator of the animated duo Wallace and Gromit, the eccentric inventor and his trusty canine friend.  Since writing about the animal totems, I have been researching dog breeds for the various signs, and Gromit’s breed is apparently a beagle.

Which leads me nicely on to the cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, a Water Dog, born in 1922.  His dog Snoopy is also a beagle. He too is a Sagittarian, with Jupiter in Scorpio like Nick Park.

If you have any thoughts about Chinese Astrology, The Year of the Dog, defence and protection issues, or Dog Breeds, do add your comments below.


Mercury entered Pisces in the early hours of this morning, so if your brain felt a bit fuzzy on wakening,  that might be why.  From the certainty and cut and dried mindset of Aquarius, we are in the territory of seeing more subtlety in the various issues that we are pondering.  We are now looking at more facets of the truth, and feeling the fluidity and ever-changing perception of reality.

Late afternoon, the Sun enters Pisces, joining Mercury, so the feeling of confusion or mellowness deepens and extends to the overall experience of the collective.  It would be a good time to put your feet up and watch the box set of Blue Planet II, the highs of experiencing the life of the whales, and the lows reminding us of the proliferation of plastic.  That would make a good entree into the month of Pisces.

Tomorrow (Monday 19th) Mars trines the North Node, and we might be more galvanized to action, especially from a karmic standpoint.  You may feel there is something you must do, or right a wrong, put something straight.  Dogs, cars and men are ruled by Mars, and these may be involved in the karmic interaction or be triggers, hopefully in a constructive way.

On Wednesday (21st) Venus conjuncts Neptune at 13 degrees Pisces, in the most elevated feature of the week.  It is on this day that you may be capable of your most inspired artistic or musical expression, and giving your best in relationships.  It is a magical, sensitive and spiritual oasis, in which you may be able to lose yourself, away from the everyday cares and stresses.  On the other hand, the inspiration you derive may actually give you a new perspective on those everyday cares and stresses.

In the evening, Mercury is sextile Saturn, and that brings you more down to earth, but in a constructive way, as in seeing a plan forward, and intelligent understanding of a situation.  It is helpful for paperwork and organization.

Fixed Stars

There are no planetary aspects after Wednesday, and therefore I will look at the alignment of our Sun with the Fixed Stars for the rest of the week, providing a seed thought in each case from “Starlight Elixirs” by Michael Smulkis and Fred Rubenfeld.

Thursday (22nd) sees an alignment with Sadalmelik, the alpha star in the constellation of Aquarius:

“A gradual accumulation of the awareness of group interaction and group energy takes place unconsciously for most people who regularly interact in any group  situation.  The use of this star will gradually improve one’s ability to bring the energies that are unconscious into better focus.”

Friday’s (23rd) star is Fomalhaut, the alpha star in Pisces Austrini:

“This star has an excellent ability to release addictive states by bringing to consciousness the purpose of addictions.  These can include addictions to relationship, thinking, sex, or various substances.  The awareness of past-life connections that create the necessity for such addictions also comes to one’s consciousness with repeated use of this star.”

For Saturday (24th) we have Deneb Adige, the alpha star in the constellation of Cygnus:

“Deneb has the ability to create in people deeper inspired states, an awareness of the teachings of the masters, and an enhancement of the channelling process to connect to non-physical beings of light, assistance and love.  There is a deeper stimulation of the higher aspects associated with the lungs and circulatory system.”

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – wishy washy and airy fairy
  • Monday – karmic action
  • Wednesday – inspired arts and relationships; looking at detail
  • Thursday – group interaction
  • Friday – tackling addiction
  • Saturday – connecting with the light


Aspects for the week beginning 11 February 2018

Elon Musk

This week, on Tuesday 6th February, while we in the U.K. were celebrating 100 years of the female vote and wondering how far we had got with equality, across the pond in Florida U.S. (male) billionaire, entrepreneur, inventor and futurist was launching the biggest rocket and re-igniting the space race, through the development of his SpaceX projects. The launch itself went according to plan, but then other aspects of the project missed their targets. However the Observer leader this morning was very enthusiastic: “It is an exciting prospect that offers rich rewards to entrepreneurs – and to society”.

Birth Chart

The charts of entrepreneurs and inventors make fascinating study, and Elon Musk’s is no exception, but it would be even more fascinating with a birth time.  We find Elon Musk’s Sun unaspected (individualism) except for a square to Uranus (invention and futurism) – his main connection with reality.  He lacks personal aspects generally, and that may indicate his huge aspiration for mankind (he worries about human extinction and wants us to be able to live on Mars).   His technological aspirations are reinforced by a conjunction of Mars and the North Node (karmic mission) in Aquarius, the sign of technology and futurism.  Mars/North Node/Aquarius represents engineering, and even specifically symbolizes his electric car company Tesla, which was named after the earlier passionate  inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla (though he co-founded the company but was not responsible for naming it).  His Uranus, opposing his natal Chiron, creates a T-square with Mercury, which tackles problems out of the box, out of necessity.

He also has Mars square Jupiter, which I often say has the capacity to project into other dimensions energetically.  A powerful contributor to his success is Jupiter sextile exactly Pluto in his chart.


Elon Musk has been married three times, twice to the same woman (Talulah Riley), and has dated the actress Amber Heard.  The relationship floundered after a year due to their work schedules (although their astrology is compatible).  He has five children with his first wife Justine Wilson.  We do not know the condition of his 7th House of Marriage without a birth time, but Venus in Gemini can incline to more than one marriage  (Last week’s subject Robert Wagner had Gemini dominating his 7th House, and also married the same woman twice).

His transits at the Rocket Launch of Falcon Heavy

Jupiter was square to his natal Mars at this launch, reinforcing that natal square which I equate with the energy of extreme propulsion.  However, he may also be aware of the limitations of the exercise, with Saturn currently opposing his natal Sun.

Nikola Tesla

Elon Musk has a resonance, and not just in name, to the earlier passionate and prolific engineer, entrepreneur, inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla.  Tesla was born on 10th July 1856, though under the Julian calendar he shares a birthday with Elon Musk (28th June).  In their appearance they differ greatly, as Tesla sported a dramatic and moustachioed look worthy of his Pluto on the Ascendant (we have his birth time).

Like Elon Musk, Nikola was a workaholic, with Moon conjunct Mars in his 6th House.  But Nikola only slept 2 hours per night, and worked 140 hours per week, compared to Elon Musk’s 80 hour a week schedule!  Tesla was a more solitary character, and never married.

Tesla had a remarkable mind, including an eidetic memory, experiencing flashes of light, and the capacity for 3 dimensional visualization.  I think his depth of vision is connected to the presence of Pluto on his Ascendant. He also spoke eight languages.  His Inner Healer (Chiron) was expressed through the sign of Aquarius, i.e. science, invention and futurism.  He never visited a doctor in adult life, though he had suffered cholera when young.  Curiously, he credited reading the works of Mark Twain as helpful in his healing, and in later life became a close friend of Mark Twain (whose Jupiter was exactly conjunct Tesla’s Venus)

Tesla is a fascinating character, deserving of his own blog (which I hope to write one day).  He had a particular affinity for pigeons:

“I have been feeding pigeons, thousands of them for years. But there was one, a beautiful bird, pure white with light grey tips on its wings; that one was different. It was a female. I had only to wish and call her and she would come flying to me. I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life”.

He patented a huge number of inventions, and is mainly known for his contribution to the development of the Alternating Current.  But towards the end of his life, he was involved in pursuits such as a patent for a biplane, and a motor that would run on cosmic rays: interests which ran more along the lines of Elon Musk’s.  So it could be said that Elon Musk is continuing the work of Nikola Tesla.

An interesting set of transits to Nikola Tesla’s chart (posthumously) were evident when the company Tesla Inc. was formed:

Chiron was opposite Nikola’s Sun in the 3rd House, Jupiter and Pluto were sextile Nikola’s Mars (motor car).  Mars was trine his natal Saturn in Cancer in the 3rd House of Transport, and Mars was also sextile his natal Pluto rising in Taurus.

Louise Mensch

Today’s blog might seem like a bit of a mish mash, as now I would like to link Elon Musk’s chart with that of Louise Mensch.  You may remember her as the Conservative politician, MP for Corby and Northamptonshire, who in the middle of serving under David Cameron’s government suddenly upped sticks and moved to the U.S. with her new American husband.

On the surface you would not expect a link with Elon Musk, but they are Astro-Twins (born on the same day of the same year, and whereas we do not have a birth time for Elon Musk, we do have one for her (which she freely revealed in the media last year).  She has Leo rising.

In certain googled photographs, from their smile, cheekbones and eyebrows, they could in their appearance be “separated at birth”!

But her Sun in Cancer is seen much more easily, in her original profession as a successful writer of “Chick-Lit”.  And knowing her Ascendant makes a great deal of sense of her individual life path, for example she has the South Node exactly on her Ascendant and the North Node in on the cusp of her 7th House (giving up her own profession in favour of the spouse’s location).  She has three children by a first marriage.

Since moving to the States, she has become a “conspiracy theorist”, a feature of the paranoia of Saturn exactly opposing Neptune in her (and Elon’s) natal chart.  She has concentrated on political themes, such as Donald Trump’s links with Russia.  Elon Musk’s Saturn-Neptune opposition has got him into hot water with some of his contemporary entrepreneurs (notably Mark Zuckerberg), over fear-mongering about the dangers of artificial intelligence in the future.

Mensch has in the past been diagnosed with A.D.H.D. (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), which may be equated with Elon Musk’s workaholism, and their high energy Mars/North Node in Aquarius square to Jupiter.


On Tuesday (13th), Mercury squares Jupiter, so expansive travel and information overload may be on the menu.  If you have meetings that day, it could be agenda-heavy and there could be a lot to discuss.  Although this is not an easy aspect, it can prove quite productive and quite heady, energetically.

The next day, Wednesday (14th), is of course Valentine’s Day, and the aspect (Sun sextile Uranus) is more conducive than most times to surprises (of the more welcome variety)!  So if some of your Valentine surprises have fallen flat in recent years, and you decided not to bother, perhaps it might be worth another try to please your intended or your other half.  You might ask for inspiration from the sources of the great inventive minds, past, present and future!  Otherwise (and if you are not romantically focussed), this is a great day for invention and creativity, and surprise meetings.

Thursday (15th) continues the themes of mental exploration, mind-broadening and invention, with a sextile between Mercury and Uranus.  If you were inundated with bright ideas on Tuesday, started to implement them on Wednesday, you can carry on implementing on Thursday.

Later on, in the evening, there is a Solar Eclipse, a New Moon at 27 degrees Aquarius.  If you found the recent eclipse a fortnight ago momentous, you may find further significance in this one.  If not, you can treat it as a new beginning, especially in matters of science, technology, invention and future vision.  Your own Future Self may appear, to assist you, or failing that seek a future life progression session with a qualified practitioner:


In the last hour of that day, Venus sextiles Saturn, and your feelings may settle down after all the excitement of the Solar Eclipse.  You recognize what is worthwhile in  your life and where your loyalties lie.  You may receive a late night text from a best mate, reassuring you of friendship forever…

Saturday morning (17th) however may bring a little confusion to rain on your equanimity.  Mars squares Neptune, and you may find it difficult to harmonize your spiritual ideals with your practical action.  Some meditation could do the trick. Energies may be frittered, and water currents could be flowing in unhelpful directions, e.g. leaks.

However, another influence around lunchtime, a conjunction of the Sun and Mercury at 28 degrees Aquarius, may bring more clarity, especially if you are wrestling with a confused situation.  You may experience a flash of light (hopefully not a precursor to a migraine, but more of the Tesla enlightened variety) as information reaches your mind (from an inward or an outward source) which helps your current situation, the confused state, or just your life in general.

The week in bullet points:

  • Tuesday – travel and information overload
  • Wednesday – pleasant surprises
  • Thursday – mental exploration; a turning point; settled feelings
  • Saturday – confused action; then some clarity


Aspects for the week beginning 4 February 2018

Natalie Wood

A Neptunian Mystery

The beautiful actress Natalie Wood died in 1981 from drowning, while on a boat trip at Thanksgiving.  The only other people on the boat were her husband actor Robert Wagner, the actor Christopher Walken (who had been filming “Brainstorm” with her) and the skipper Dennis Davern.  At the time, her death was deemed an accident, then in 2011 the case was re-opened.  In 2013 her death was reclassified as “drowning and other undetermined factors”, and this week Robert Wagner (now aged 87) was stated by the Police to be “a person of interest” in the case.  She disappeared some time overnight, with Robert Wagner reporting her missing at 1.30 a.m. and her body being found at 8.00 a.m.  A chart for Santa Catalina Island at this time shows Neptune (mystery at sea) exactly on the Ascendant.

Natalie Wood

Natalie’s Sun sign Cancer was in the water element, yet she had a fear of “dark water” and could not swim.  This may have been a phobia stemming from  past life trauma, but Neptune (the sea) in her 12th House of the Unconscious may have been relevant here.  Uranus (planet of accidents) in her 8th House of death loosely conjunct her South Node of past lives may hint at a similar event happening in a previous life.  Her North Node in Scorpio might represent “dark water”, as might her Moon closely square Pluto.

Libra rising and Moon in Taurus give Venus a strong rulership over her chart, and that would have contributed to her reputation as a great beauty.

She also had a coercive exact Mars-Pluto conjunction in her chart (close to her Sun), which can turn inward into self-harm or being a victim of coercion.

She married Robert Wagner twice, with another marriage in between.  They were celebrated as having a strong marriage, but Saturn in her 7th House of close relationships hints that relationships were not always easy for her.

Natalie’s Synastries and Transits

Her relationship with Robert Wagner shows up well astrologically, though Robert Wagner acknowledged in his autobiography that they argued the night of the drowning.  There is tenderness (her Venus sextile his Moon), loyalty (her Venus trine his Saturn), a karmic bond (her Venus trine his North Node), a deeper spark (her Uranus sextile his Pluto), but her Saturn squared his Pluto (some seed of depression, but there are always some difficult interaspects in a relationship).

Her sister Lana Wood wrote on their second marriage:

“Her marriage was considered to be one of the best in Hollywood, and there is no question that she was a devoted, loving — even adoring — mother and stepmother. She and R. J. had begun with love and built from there. They had overcome each other’s problems and had reached an accommodation with time and the changes time brings. As with anybody else who has settled into making a long marriage work, they were far more determined than most people to make it work …”

Her synastry with Christopher Walken (who has never been implicated in her death) was more difficult, with Walken’s Mars squaring Natalie’s Uranus (the potential for accidents in their interaction), Walken’s Saturn square her Venus (sadness and disappointment), his Uranus square her Jupiter (possible high jinks).

Her transits at her drowning are mixed.  At the time, the party had been drinking, and Natalie had a drug synthroid in her system, which may have accounted for bruising apparently, plus another drug.  As well as rumours of Natalie and Robert arguing, there were also rumours that Christopher Walken and Robert had argued.  Some of the transits describe a party atmosphere.  Jupiter was opposite Natalie’s Moon in Cancer, but trine her Jupiter.  Uranus was square her Jupiter, and Jupiter was square her Pluto (possibly indicating a power struggle, but that may have been with herself). Uranus was quincunx her natal Moon, and that may have been a powerful factor in the tragedy or accident.

Robert Wagner

Robert Wagner has Sun exactly conjunct Venus in Aquarius, detached but charismatic.  This conjunction provides the other half of the beautiful couple that he and Natalie were known as.

The symbolism in his birth chart of his Moon in Cancer (representing a Cancerian woman in his life) in 8th House (drowning of wife) exactly opposite Saturn in 2nd House in Capricorn eerily portrays some of the story.  In addition, his Moon squares exactly Uranus in Aries in 5th House (accident of wife when drowning), and the Moon sextiles closely North Node (highlighting the karma of his wife).  Neptune closely square the Ascendant, 9th House side, may depict a drowning incident while abroad and a love of boats.  However the event impacted his life, he did manage to continue his career unaffected by it, in such television series as “Hart to Hart” with Stephanie Powers.

Robert has Jupiter in his 7th House of Marriage and Close Relationships, in the multiple sign of Gemini (four marriages in total, including two with Natalie Wood).  Saturn in his chart square exactly Uranus may point to personal earthquakes in his life.

Robert Synastries and Transits

Robert’s synastry with Christopher Walken (we do not have a chart for the skipper who was on board) shows the capability of friendly discussion (Walken’s Mercury sextile Wagner’s Jupiter), some complexity (Walken’s Uranus square Wagner’s Neptune) and depth (Walken’s Pluto trine Wagner’s Ascendant).

Robert’s synastries with Courtney, his daughter with Natalie from their second marriage, are strongly positive: his Pluto trine her Sun, his Jupiter on her Moon, his Uranus trine her Neptune, and his Jupiter trine her Pluto.  Courtney’s distant aspects with her mother may reflect her mother’s early death:  Courtney’s Sun opposite Natalie’s Neptune, and Courtney’s Uranus square to Natalie’s Sun, though there are some happy aspects too between them.

Robert Wagner’s transits at the drowning showed up South Node on his natal Mercury (karmic mental strain), and Pluto square his natal Mercury (mental anguish).  His transits at this time of being labelled a “person of interest” shows Uranus square his natal Mercury (mental strain and uneasiness).

Christopher Walken’s Transits

At the time of the drowning actor Christopher Walken was going through his Uranus Opposition (mid-life crisis or rebellion).  He also had Uranus sextile his natal Neptune (complexity) and Neptune trine his Chiron (a healing mystery) but these two transits were fairly positive and benign in nature).  Astrology does not seem to implicate him in the mystery any more than the police department.

Robert Wagner has remained silent on the matter for many years.  The mystery continues, and may never be solved…


Today brings us a square between Venus and Jupiter, which may stretch us socially.  Maybe you need to be in two places at once, or something you may find funny is not so for someone else (or vice versa).  If you are the leader of a political party, you may be finding it hard to keep your ducks lined up.  It’s an awkward type of day, but capable of providing lighter moments.

Wednesday (7th) is a much more successful day, socially, with Venus sextile Uranus.  It’s a good day for meetings, especially with the aim of brainstorming and thinking outside the box.  It could also be quite surprising romantically, or include spontaneous reunions.

Friday (9th) brings a conjunction of Mercury and the South Node, and this may bring information about past lives, or a new understanding of past conversations, teachings and learnings in this lifetime.  An exchange of information can evolve both parties, or the group.

Venus enters Pisces on Saturday (10th), but in an intense bit of timing the Sun squares Jupiter two minutes later, so be mindful between 23.19 Hrs on Saturday evening (U.K. time) and 23.21 Hrs.

Your heart may open as Venus enters Pisces.  From the cool detachment of Venus in Aquarius (Robert Wagner’s natal placing) to the sudden registering of emotion of Venus in Pisces, the contrast may be marked.  Perhaps you are watching a late night movie and something touches your heart.

So at virtually the same time, Jupiter squares the Sun, and tears of laughter may also be present.  Perhaps the late night movie is a rom com, and the end is bittersweet.  Spirits may be high, but egos could also loom large.

You might find yourself releasing a ton of emotions on Saturday evening, without necessarily knowing why, or being able to define whether they are happy or sad.  It may just be their time to emerge.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – awkward
  • Wednesday – sparkling
  • Friday – informative
  • Saturday – intense


Aspects for the week beginning 28 January 2018

Neil Diamond

” ‘I am’… I said, To no one there
And no one heard at all, Not even the chair”

 ~ Neil Diamond


On Tuesday this week (23rd) Neil Diamond made a two-fold announcement: that he was retiring, and that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I have to say I was extremely sad to hear that news, both on  his behalf at facing this challenging disease, but also as he has been my favourite male singer since my teens, it is sobering to think that there is no possibility I will ever see him in concert (one of the first albums I bought was “Neil Diamond Live at the Troubadour”, 1970). I can’t explain why he has had this appeal for me, but there is something about his energy and vitality which gives me strength.

Birth Chart

Neil Diamond has the Sun in Aquarius, a very individualistic sign, and 6 (over half) of his planets in the Fixed signs, making him strong willed.  For whatever reasons, he has had three marriages, and maybe that combination makes compromise in close relationships difficult.  Aquarians have to be true to themselves.  One of my early favourite songs of his (and one of his own favourites) was “Solitary Man” (1966), containing a theme of loneliness that pervades his work:

“…until I can find me, The girl who’ll stay
And won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am, A solitary man”

He has a challenging T-square in  his chart, involving his Sun.  The Sun opposes a conjunction of Pluto/Chiron (itself a challenge), squaring a conjunction of Jupiter/Saturn (another very challenging feature).

Songwriting is highlighted in his chart  in different ways, and he has been most prolific:  Venus is in his 3rd House of songwriting, and Mercury is exactly sextile Mars (a prolific penmanship). He has stated that he has a love-hate relationship with songwriting.  Sweet Caroline was written in an hour, whereas “I am I said” (probably my favourite song) took four months:

“L.A.’s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feeling is “lay back”
Palm trees grow and rents are low
But you know I keep thinkin’ about
Making my way back

Well I’m New York City born and raised
But nowadays,
I’m lost between two shores
L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home
New York’s home,
But it ain’t mine no more”

(pardon me the indulgence)

However, performing has by his own account given him most pleasure, and it is highlighted in his chart in two ways: the Sun (Performer) from Aquarius in 4th House trine exactly North Node in Libra in 12th House – a karmic mission as performer.  And Pluto in Leo (performance) sextile closely North Node:

“Performing, on the other hand, is the most joyful and happiest thing I do. The bigger the audience the more anticipation, the more excitement.”

One of his most memorable performances, which gave rise to an album, was on 24th August 1972, when his ruling planet Uranus was crossing his Ascendant (in Libra, the sign of the Singer).

And as for that indefinable quality which makes him so popular, I would pinpoint two features of his chart: Moon exactly trine Jupiter (an emotionally buoyant, feelgood factor), and Mars in Sagittarius, which as I tried to describe last week when it was ushered in, is a life-affirming energy and sense of vitality.

Mercury sextile exactly Mars

I think Mercury sextile Mars is a key component of his astrological make-up.  As already mentioned it helps to make him a prolific writer.  But it also relates to a high school activity of his: fencing.  I associate a positive connection of Mercury-Mars with this sport.  He later won a fencing scholarship which he took up at New York University, so it was an outstanding talent of his.

It may also relate to his Parkinson’s diagnosis.  In August 2012, I took a look at Parkinson’s in relation to some of its prominent sufferers of the day:  Muhammed Ali, Michael J. Fox and Bob Hoskins.

I wrote: “What I would look for in trying to find an astrological signature for the disease is problematic placements or aspects to Mercury or possibly Uranus, plus extreme agitation from Mars in the chart which over-activates the nerves.  Mars might also be involved as the ruler of Aries, which represents the head and the brain.  Also relevant are the transits at the time of the onset of symptoms or diagnosis, i.e. what outer planets may have been exerting pressure or stress on key points in the birth chart of the sufferer.”

Since then, we have had other high profile sufferers such as Billy Connolly and Robin Williams (and I have been diligently keeping up my researches).  But Neil Diamond’s Mercury exactly sextile Mars, while a positive force leading to a prodigious creative output, may have put some stress on his nervous system.

Elton John

Coincidentally, Elton John also announced his retirement this same week, on Thursday (25th).  His reasons were to spend more time with his children, but he also stated that he would continue touring for three more years, to soften the blow to his fans.  His mother died in November (transiting Neptune from Pisces in his 7th House of Close Relationships sextile exactly his natal Moon = mother).  This may have set off his thinking.  What has triggered this week’s announcement though would be transiting Saturn from Capricorn in his 5th House of Children squaring his natal Sun in Aries in 8th House of Mortality, an occasion for serious thinking about one’s life.  He has an important time coming around 10th May this year, with transiting Uranus trine his natal Ascendant and moving from his 8th House to his 9th House of touring foreign lands.

He expressed gratitude to Neil Diamond:  “I would like to pay my respects to him,” John said. “He introduced me off his own back at the Troubadour [in Hollywood] because he loved my record. He was a huge star then, and he’s a huge star now. And I know that he’s said he’s not going to tour anymore because he has Parkinson’s. I’m going to contact to him personally, but I would like to say publicly that I love him and I can’t thank him enough for what he did for me along the way.”

Going Forward

Thankfully, this is not an obituary.  But I am missing him already…

I hope the disease shows some mercy for him; it seems that some high profile sufferers have fared better and longer than others.  His current transits include Pluto on his I.C. in Capricorn in 4th House of Home (a more fundamental approach to his life) and Jupiter trine his natal Midheaven (in his case, freeing himself from an aspect of his career).  His stated aim is to “continue his writing, recording and development of new projects.”

“You are the sun, I am the moon
You are the words, I am the tune”

~ Neil Diamond


We start today with a square between Mercury and Uranus, where words can get twisted and communications may shock or at the very least surprise.  Controversy is the name of the game, whether intended or otherwise.  Technological and travel glitches are possible, too.

But also today, Mercury sextiles Chiron, and there may be a satisfactory outcome in the arena of communication.  For example, something you might have been told was impossible finds a way through, and a problem may turn up with a solution.  This may be particularly true for health conditions.

Tomorrow (Monday, 29th) Venus conjuncts the South Node, and there is a focus on love and relationship in a karmic context.  For example, you may find answers to current relationship issues in looking back at relationships in your past, which includes your past lives.

There’s a significant Full Moon at 11 degrees Leo on Wednesday (31st).  It’s not just any old Full Moon; it’s also a Blue Moon, an Eclipse, a Supermoon and a Blood Moon.  For Moon enthusiasts and specialists, it is a veritable Moonfest.  Placed in Leo, it is about holding your own individuality, self-expression, creativity and power, within the collective group (as represented by its opposition with the Sun in Aquarius).  I look forward to hearing your individual impressions.  Here at Lightpod, we shall be concentrating on healing that day, and anticipate that it will be a memorable session.

On the same day, Mercury enters Aquarius.  This will accentuate the pull of the collective and social experience, especially on the mental level (e.g. you may be bombarded by messages on social media).  The volume of communication may suddenly be turned up, though you may internally be more focussed on the emotional level.  It is important to be centred and listen both within and outside yourself, before making a judgement or adding to the chatter.  For the duration of Mercury in Aquarius (up to 18th February), communication will be more zippy than during its time in Capricorn, and more telepathic potentially.

Saturday (3rd February) brings an exciting sextile between Mercury and Mars.  If your productivity has slowed down at all recently, this sextile may give you the boost you need.  If you have been reading my appreciation of Neil Diamond, it is one of the keys to success in his birth chart, producing quick mental reactions and prolific writing.  It could also help you with clearing clutter, and the mental acuity needed for that. It is also helpful for speaking your truth without being hurtful.

Later the same day, the Sun conjuncts the South Node:

The Sun transiting the North Node shines a light on to the past, so that is both the past in your present life and also your past lives.  It can bring forward the talents you developed, but also enable you to release habits you no longer need.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – words can get twisted, and then smoothed out again
  • Tomorrow – karmic relationships
  • Wednesday – emotion at full flood but also a change in mental focus
  • Saturday – nippy communications; light on karma

Aspects for the week beginning 21 January 2018

Donald Trump’s 1st Year

(warning: some colourful language used, from the outset)

It has probably been the most bizarre year in the history of the U.S. Presidency, with many hoping that his tenure would not last even this long, let alone go into a second year.  I am taking a historical and astrological retrospective, picking up on some of the interesting twists and turns on this hair-raising trip.

20th January 2017: Inauguration

From the Guardian:  “From its first moments, the Trump presidency defied normal conventions.  Witnesses reported that the former president George W. Bush left the scene of Donald Trump’s inauguration remarking: “That was some weird shit.”  On the day, Uranus was exactly sextile his North Node (a weird manifestation of his karmic mission).  Saturn was pulling away from an opposition to his Sun, so the run up to this event may have been stressful to him.  But Jupiter was trine his Sun, and he was trusting his luck. Pluto was squaring his natal Jupiter, hinting at possible mis-use of power.

21st January 2017: Women’s March

“The months of his campaigning had seen him insult women, gays, other races, the disabled and climate protection.  A show of strength was needed, on behalf of human decency.” (from the blog).  The transits to his chart were very similar to those for the inauguration.  The women marched again yesterday, one year on.

28th January 2017: Travel Ban

Yesterday’s Guardian took a look back at the ten strangest days of Donald Trump’s presidency, starting with the “Travel ban chaos.”

From the Guardian:He told reporters: ‘It’s not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared.  It’s working out very nicely.  You see it at the airports, you see it all over.’  But in reality there was chaos and anger after scores of immigrants and refugees were kept off flights and stranded in airports.  Even green card holders were being stopped in foreign airports as they tried to return home”.

The Jupiter trine to his Sun was nearing completion at this point, as was a trine from Uranus to his Moon.  He was already getting away with preposterous behaviours, although a federal judge began a challenge to this initiative.

4th March 2017: Wiretapping Claim

From the Guardian: “Accusing his predecessor, Barack Obama, of illegally wiretapping Trump Tower, Trump tweeted: ‘How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process.  This is Nixon/Watergate.  bad (or sick) guy!’ … Obama denied he or the White House had ordered a wire tap.  The investigation into alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 election continues to dog Trump”.

The set of astrological influences prevailing in January were on the wane, and the astrological triggers behind this event seems to have been the stirring of his emotions, on which he tends to act immediately: Mars squared his natal Venus, and trined his natal Mars, while Jupiter sextiled his natal Moon.

18th April 2017: Popularity Slide

Donald’s popularity rating had begun to slide around this time, though his Jupiter (luck) was still holding out (he had a Jupiter Return, and Jupiter was trine his Uranus).  Some alienation with the public was due to Uranus square his Venus, and Uranus square his Saturn.

11th May 2017: Hirings and Firings

There were many hirings and firings throughout the year, and it is difficult to choose one’s favourite.  Here is one from a blog comment:

“We heard about Trump’s firing of Comey late on Tuesday night, another amazing moment.

Comey has Uranus trine his Uranus at the moment, showing a surprise twist and turn in his life, but one that might benefit him, e.g. he may be relieved at being relieved of a difficult job.

Trump has the Nodal Axis on his Ascendant/Descendant Axis at the moment, with the North Node on his Ascendant. So he may feel the karmic power is in his favour, in that he can fire whom he jolly well likes. But the karma is not just about his ego (Leo Ascendant) and may have repercussions that backfire on him.”

And still the hirings and firings continued…

31st May 2017: Covfefe

From the Guardian: “It was just after midnight when Trump sent out a very peculiar tweet: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” A tsunami of Twitter speculation trying to decipher its meaning coursed through the night.  Just after 6 a.m., the president woke up, deleted the post and wrote another: “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’??? Enjoy!”  To this day, the mystery has never been sold, but the covfefe cottage industry now includes hats, mugs and T-shirts.”

One imagines him falling asleep over his i pad…Again, he had the sort of transits which might trigger hasty words: Mars was exactly sextile his Mars, and Uranus trine exactly his Mars.  At least it provided some opportunity for light relief and release of tension for a short while.

22nd June 2017: Repealing Obamacare

Trump began to try to dismantle Obamacare and replacing it with his own alternative plan for health care.  This act was close to the transit of the North Node (karma) to his natal Mars in 12th House (of chronic health).  Instead of this being an endangering of his own person, as I had earlier surmised, it turned out to be his wounding and endangering of the circumstances surrounding the chronic health of his people.  Various politicians sought to block his attempts, and the matter is still not resolved, but has already created chaos particularly in the poorest sectors of society.  It does highlight how much time and energy he has devoted in the year to overturning Obama’s constructive policies, and like Theresa May in the U.K., but for different reasons (hers was a preoccupation with Brexit), he has achieved virtually nothing.

4th July 2017: Personality Disorder

I love this quote from one of my favourite American Astrologers, Nancy Sommers, who wrote in her blog Star Light News:

“It is pretty much uncontested that DJT has a narcissistic personality disorder. This does not preclude being charming and successful but describes an underlying imbalance of significant proportion. It can manifest in being very thin skinned due to a very fragile ego, and, as with most personality disorders, a tendency to blame everyone else and never take responsibility for anything (again due to an over-fragile ego). The impulsivity, projection, quick anger, lack of frustration tolerance are all symptomatic.”

14th July 2017: Celebrating Bastille Day

From the Guardian: “First there was the hand-hold with Theresa May, the epic handshake with the Japanese prime minister, Shinz Abe, and the non-handshake with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.  Then, during a visit to France for Bastille Day, there was a handshake with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, that lasted 29 seconds.” Trump was treated to a display of pomp and circumstance which he described as “one of the most beautiful parades I have ever seen”. His transits were definitely geared to enjoyment and hedonism that day: Mars was on his Venus, and Jupiter on his Chiron.

21st July 2017: More Notable Hirings and Firings

From the Observer: “Commentators said the past week was the worst endured by any US president in living memory and warned that, as Trump becomes increasingly isolated and volatile, the situation could rapidly deteriorate – especially if he is tested by an international crisis”

From the blog: “Re-winding to Friday July 21st, Donald appointed Anthony Scaramucci as Communications Director.  White House staff come and go, under Trump, but this one gave an arresting interview on our British television screens with Emily Maitlis (mentioned last week as one of those who didn’t quite make £100,000 p.a.).  “Can he be for real?” we wondered (in this house, anyway).

Scaramucci is an ambitious Sun in Capricorn, with Mars and Mercury also in that sign.  His flamboyance may be due to a square between his Sun and Jupiter, but also Uranus trine his Sun (so he is not a typical or staid Capricornian).  The power in his chart comes from an almost exact double trine from Sun and Mercury in Capricorn to Pluto and Uranus in Virgo.  Like Trump, he has Venus conjunct Saturn.  Saturn rules Trump’s 6th House of Employees, so the conjunction may reflect his unsentimental ability to dispatch them, and Scaramucci seems to emulate his style in some ways.”

From the Guardian: “The reboot of the administration’s media operation lasted all of 10 days.  Scaramucci’s fate was sealed by an expletive-laden New Yorker interview in which he denounced Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus (“fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac”).”

30th July 2017: Kim Jong Un

From the blog: “Donald Trump’s karma saved the most dramatic for the end of the week, with his North Korean nemesis Kim Jong Un deciding to trial another nuclear missile launch, and declaring that North Korea had the capacity to fire anywhere in the U.S.  As dramas go, this international crisis has to be top in the league of seriousness.  I have two charts for President Kim Jong Un of North Korea.  The first, for 1983, reveals a current transit of Uranus opposite his Pluto, which is destructive enough.  The second, for 1984, shows much more suitable transits for such an event:  Pluto on his Sun (trigger happy), Uranus opposite his Mars (unpredictable) and Chiron square his Neptune (slightly unhinged).  By now, Jupiter was exactly conjunct Trump’s natal Jupiter (a Jupiter Return) in Libra, as well as the aspects reported for midweek.  Donald may be at his most reckless, arrogant and careless.  How will he react, we wonder, to Kim Jong Un’s irrationality…”

15th August 2017: Charlottesville March

At a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, a civil rights activist was killed.  Trump made one of his most extraordinary pronouncements, refusing to condemn the white supremacists: “I think there is blame on both sides. You had a group on one side that was bad.  you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.  Nobody wants to say that.  I’ll say it right now.”

The transits for his chart at that point were interesting: Mars was sextile his Jupiter, upping his usual arrogance.  But Saturn was transiting his natal Moon/South Node, a feature of his chart which hints at his strong emotions about his fellow man which go back a long way, way back to childhood or even past lives.

21st August 2017: Leo Solar Eclipse

The August 21st New Moon and Eclipse last year was a turning point for many Leos, but for Donald Trump, whose Ascendant and Mars were close to the end of Leo where the eclipse fell, it wasn’t the change that many hoped for.

Astrologer Wade Caves was reported to comment in Newsweek: “The effects of the coming eclipse could take time to show up, according to astrologers’ claims. Caves believes the impact will appear over the next two years because the eclipse will take around two hours to cross the continent (for a solar eclipse, astrologers interpret each hour as a year). The result could be “a loss of a leader in some sense,” he says, whether literal or symbolic. ‘It seems to me very possible that by this time next year, we’re looking at the reality of Trump not being in office.’ ”

The results of an eclipse can take a while, often six months, or more.  We are still waiting…

29th November 2017: The Muslim Videos

Donald Trump shared videos and tweets originating from the far right group Britain First without checking their veracity, which purported to show Muslims committing acts of violence, but in fact were not the case at all.  Theresa May was obliged to condemn this.

This was another case of Mars triggering his chart in an inflammatory way: Mars trine his Sun and Mars square his Saturn.  We need a member of the White House staff permanently tracking his Mars transits.  Another interesting astrological feature encouraged him in the mis-use of power: Jupiter squaring his Pluto, at the same time as Pluto also squared his Jupiter (a double whammy!)

5th December 2017: U.S. Embassy moving to Jerusalem

Another edge of the seat moment, as Donald Trump reverses decades of foreign policy in failing to sign a waiver delaying plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem.  The implications for the Middle East peace process (slim though it currently is) are potentially disastrous.

What was he thinking?  Some of the transits from earlier in the year were recurring, but Uranus squaring his natal Saturn seems the most disruptive and destructive, and descriptive of not preserving the status quo.

20th January 2018: Government Shutdown

Exactly on the cusp of his second year, there is a government shutdown caused by a standoff in the Senate about a new budget: it’s an event that we are told does happen from time to time, and last happened in 2013 during Obama’s administration. Emergency services will continue to function.  Currently, Jupiter squares his Neptune and Neptune squares his Sun, bringing confusion.  In addition, Saturn is on his Chiron, impeding healing, and causing a block.  For the U.S. chart, Saturn opposes its Venus, and Uranus squares its Mercury, both difficult transits for the populace.

From my New Year blog:

Is there any chance of unseating him this coming year?  On 10th May the North Node transits his Pluto in 12th House, which could indicate a possible unseating.  If not, he may still be around in October, when on 12th of that month Jupiter transits his I.C. in 3rd House: he could cause a twitter storm on that day.  On 8th November Jupiter squares his Ascendant, causing even more than usual exaggerated behaviour, then moves into his 4th House of Home – could there be home changes? 16th November sees the North Node on his 12th House cusp, and entering his 11th House, so he may be making new karmic alliances at that time, possibly away from the White House…Looking at the U.S. chart, on 4/5th July (2018) Uranus will be transiting its natal Chiron in the 5th House, which may be a sudden healing crisis.


Aspects begin in earnest on Wednesday (24th), though if you wish to work with the tail end of last week’s aspects in the meantime they will still be operable.  On Wednesday Mercury is conjunct Pluto, an aspect which requires a depth of thought.  If you are skimming the surface, you may be wondering why something isn’t working, or what you are not seeing about a situation.  There’s also a taste for the dramatic about this aspect, which may be assuaged by some creative scriptwriting.

Thursday (25th) brings us a much more upbeat aspect to Mercury: a sextile with Jupiter.  This is reinvigorating for teaching, business and sales.  The uninspired and jaded post-Christmas high street stores may suddenly have a spike in interest and success.  It is a good time for broadening the mind with literary input: you may start on that pile of books you received for Christmas which have occupied the living room floor and blocked access to the shelves.

Mars enters Sagittarius on Friday (26th) which is a less combative energy than Mars in Scorpio, but equally dynamic.  Mars in Sagittarius can be a green light to new exercise regimes and sports initiatives, foreign transactions, and further education studies.  If you are seeking to pursue a line of life philosophy with gusto in order to test out if it actually works, then pick your mantra and go for it!  You’ll have the energy at least, though success is not absolutely guaranteed.

The week in bullet points:

  • Wednesday – think things through
  • Thursday – mental uplift
  • Friday – energy and enthusiasm

Aspects for the week beginning 14 January 2018

Oprah Winfrey

“I believe in the God force that lives inside all of us, and once you tap into that, you can do anything.”

~ Oprah Winfrey

The story so far:

Jupiter went into Scorpio, Harvey Weinstein was brought down, the “Me Too” movement was born.  Kevin Spacey was also brought down by sexual allegations, and parts of his film (“All the Money in the World”) had to be re-shot.  On 1st January the Time’s Up fund was set up to support sexual assault survivors.  On 7th January the 75th Golden Globes saw all the women on the red carpet dressed in black protesting against sexual misconduct.  Oprah Winfrey made an iconic speech, accepting the Cecil B. de Mille lifetime achievement award.  She is hailed as a possible contender for President. Cometh the hour, cometh the woman.

This week also saw a small backlash against the movement: French actress Catherine Deneuve and actor Liam Neeson tried to put other views forward.  Catherine Deneuve defended men’s “freedom to pester”, while Liam Neeson sees allegations as a witch-hunt.

Oprah’s Birth Chart

On the Andrew Marr show this morning, Tom Hanks described Oprah as a social force which has brought people of differing views together over the years.  In an interview, Hanks, Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg all endorsed her credentials for leadership.

Oprah Winfrey has the Sun in Aquarius, a sign which at its most evolved has great integrity, is humanitarian and visionary.  She has built up a formidable career in broadcasting, has been an actor, and is one of the world’s wealthiest women, as well as its richest black woman.

She has her Ascendant and Moon in Sagittarius, with a deep interesting in philosophy, global issues and bringing ideas to people.

“…it’s the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To — to tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

~ Oprah Winfrey, from her Golden Globes speech

The first thing that strikes me about the birth chart of this outstanding woman is that she has three exact conjunctions:

  1. Chiron exactly conjunct North Node in Capricorn in 1st House of Personality – Karmic Mission as a Healer, which can be placed in the political sphere. She started life wounded (a childhood which included sexual abuse), but emerged to teach others about woundedness and how to heal.
  2. Sun exactly conjunct Venus in Aquarius in 2nd House of Finance – A Lover of Humanity, and enormously wealthy. She is also a great philanthropist.
  3. Neptune exactly conjunct the Part of Fortune in Libra in 10th House – The combination of Sensitivity and Joy, and a mystical route to the divine, channelled into her career path.

Other notable features of her chart are Saturn square exactly her Sun/Venus, depicting in part the  suffering in her origins; an unaspected Moon, possible neglect as a child (she has chosen not to be a mother, which is a function of the Moon); Mars exactly square Pluto, the victim of violence early in life; and Jupiter exactly trine her Midheaven, the unqualified success of her career.

She also has Mercury square Mars (Thandie Newton once said: “She’s got a mind like a razor blade.”).  Sharp interviewer and chat show host David Frost also had Mars square Mercury.  At the inauguration of The Oprah Winfrey Show Uranus was exactly sextile her natal Mercury, an apt transit for what she was to make an artform.

At the Golden Globes this week, transiting Uranus (change) was exactly trine her Pluto (deepest psychology), so she was truly expressing her intent to be the change she wanted to see in the world.

Time’s Up

The Time’s Up fund was set up on New Year’s Day, when the Moon went into Cancer (a supportive placement for women).  This morning it was announced that actor Mark Wahlberg would be donating his fee for re-shooting the scenes with Christopher Plummer (replacing Kevin Spacey) to this fund.  It is interesting that natally, like Oprah, Mark Wahlberg has Neptune exactly conjunct the Part of Fortune (a heightened compassion) – in his case it is in Sagittarius in 5th House.


I am not sure how motivated Oprah Winfrey is to satisfy the need of the nation for a humane President, but her transits and progressions are certainly interesting, and encouraging for the time period of the next election.  Her progressed Sun will be positioned close to her I.C. in Aries in the 4th House, in a sextile with her natal Jupiter; and Jupiter will be transiting her natal Sun/Venus conjunction in 2nd House of Finance.

“So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again.”

~ Oprah Winfrey, from her Golden Globes speech


The Sun squares Uranus today, so even if you are not thinking about change, it may come your way.  Better to think around the subject in advance, and mull over your preferences, and be open.  The aspect occurs this evening in the U.K.

Tomorrow (Monday 15th), there are possibilities for healing, with a Sun sextile Chiron favouring dental and health check-ups.  At the start of the working week in the office, initiatives may be successful which try to solve existing problems.  You may decide to call a meeting to bring staff onto the same page.

Tuesday (16th) holds the most important aspect, and may be the key to the whole week: Jupiter sextile Pluto.  This denotes a wise balance of power, and possible philanthropy.  Generally speaking, it is a day for grand gestures of the beneficent variety.

The New Moon at 26 degrees Capricorn appears on Wednesday (17th), applying its refreshment to matters of politics and administration.  It is a good time to focus your intentions on new beginnings related to the structures and organization of your life.

Venus enters Aquarius on Thursday (18th), and a greater quality of humanitarianism may steal into our hearts.  Venus will be staying in this sign until 10th February, so there is plenty of time to practise good works and express good feelings.  Oprah has Venus in Aquarius natally, and you can spread the love even if you don’t have the money to be philanthropic.

On Saturday 20th, we have a sweet sextile between Mercury and Neptune, so the mind is affected by the finer feelings.  Compassion influences thinking, and inspiration flows into words.  Mind and spirit are aligned harmoniously.

The Sun also enters Aquarius that day, bolstering Venus’ attempts to widen our social initiatives.  You may find yourself rebelling against recent schedules, and looking at different choices, options and avenues which will give the next month more vision.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – revolutionary
  • Tomorrow – healing
  • Tuesday – wisely balanced power
  • Wednesday – new beginnings
  • Thursday – humanitarian; healing activities
  • Saturday – mental inspiration and new vision