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Aspects for the week beginning 14 April 2024

O.J. Simpson (1947 – 2024)

“They were a dramatic, fractious, mutually obsessed couple before they married, after they married, after they divorced in 1992, and after they reconciled.”

~ Sheila Weller

American football star, actor, murder suspect O.J. Simpson died this week, from prostate cancer, at the age of 76.  Although he was unanimously acquitted by a jury in 1995 after a lengthy and highly publicised trial (“the trial of the century”), for the murder of Nicole Brown, in many minds he was guilty.

Birth Chart

A Cancerian, his was a highly emotional chart, with half his planets (5) in the Water element, and he had 0 planets in the Earth element, which means he may have been regarded as ungrounded.  He rose to spectacular fame in American football (“one of the  greatest running backs of all time”) and blossomed in the acting profession (notably in “Roots” and the “Naked Gun” franchise), that he almost seems to have had a split personality when you consider the infamous shadow side of his character and destiny.  His North Node/Mars conjunction in Gemini displayed the Warrior Archetype.  Incidentally, as I describe his chart, if you have any of these characteristics in your chart, don’t think I am describing you!  His own soul and his own will are responsible for the outcome of what he “chose” to do with his life and astrological blueprint.

He had the Sun closely trine Jupiter, and for more than half of his life he was lucky… (a loaded word!).  Jupiter was closely conjunct the I.C. – he will have perceived himself as lucky, in a deeply rooted sense, from early in life.  The Moon in his chart was in Pisces, again making him extra emotional.  We do have a birth time for him, and can say that his Moon was square Venus: sometimes showing a problem with women, between the women in his life, or his own female side.  Emotions could be unstable, with the Moon square Uranus, too.  His Ascendant in Leo gave shape to his career arenas of sportsmanship and acting. Venus loosely conjunct Uranus, provided excitement in personal life, personal magnetism and charisma (possibly one factor in his acquittal).  But Venus square Neptune pointed to deception and obsession in connection with women.  Mars sextile Saturn gave him the capability of constructive and deliberate action, while Jupiter square Pluto produced power struggles, not least in his private life.  Saturn conjunct Pluto may have provided a melancholic, or macabre side – again, there are many people I know who have this conjunction and do not exhibit this in its shadow form. Pluto square Midheaven can describe the dramatic turn in reputation in his lifetime.

Life and Career

Orenthal James Simpson was born in San Francisco; his mother was an administrator at a psychiatric ward, and his father was a cook and a bank employee.  His parents separated when he was four or five, and the children were raised by their mother.  He grew up in San Francisco in a low-income neighbourhood.  He joined a street gang, and was detained in a youth guidance centre.  At this point he was described as a “really awful person” by a teenage friend who later became his first wife.  This shadow side was redeemed, and lifted out of that pathway, by sport.  He met a baseball star, Willie Mays, who helped him reform.  When attending Galileo High School, he began to play for their football team, and graduated in 1965.  By this time he had been hotly pursued by various universities for his talent as a running back, and chose the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.  With Mercury exactly trine the Moon, and trine Jupiter, he had a good brain from an astrological point of view, although his high school grades were mediocre.  His attention was more on sport.

He was picked in the NFL to play for the Buffalo Bills, but struggled to shine until a changeover in coach to Lou Saban, who allowed him to take a more standout role more suited to his talent.  He began to break records in the sport by 1973, but in the meantime he started to look at taking up roles in the acting profession.  In 1994 he appeared in the film “The Towering Inferno”.

He retired from the San Francisco 49ers in 1979, and gave himself over to acting in film and television.  In 1977 he starred in the television miniseries “Roots” [incidentally one of my all time favourite productions].  The “Naked Gun” franchise, which began in 1988, saw him star in a slapstick comedic role with Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley.

Nicole Brown

O.J. was first married to Marguerite Whitley, a friend from schooldays, but he met Nicole Brown in 1977 while she was working as a waitress in a nightclub, and was smitten with her while already married to Marguerite.

The synastry between O.J. and Nicole has all the hallmarks of karma and obsession:

His Neptune was on her Moon, inidicating possible obsession; his Pluto on her Uranus will have evoked extremely strong feelings; her Pluto sextile his Venus indicate a depth of relationship, and her Pluto closely square his Nodal Axis, a karmic triggering.  From the outset, O.J. was never able to get these emotions out of his system.

O.J. and Marguerite were divorced in 1979, and Nicole married Simpson on 2nd February 1985.  Her transits for the wedding are much more ominous than those of her husband.  He was blessed with Mars sextile his natal  North Node, and another sextile between transiting Neptune and his natal Chiron.

For Nicole, she was pinned down by three difficult transits from Saturn: Saturn opposing her Sun, transiting her Jupiter by conjunction and squaring her natal Chiron – from the outset that might feel like a trap.  She also had to contend with Pluto on her Neptune, one of the most psychologically complex transits.

The marriage lasted seven years, and produced two children.  But the police visited their home numerous times due to claims of domestic violence from O.J.  At the end of 1989, on New Year’s Eve, Nicole phoned the police frightened that he was going to kill her.  They arrived to find her hiding behind a bush, injured.  Her transits included Uranus (shock) on her Saturn (vulnerability).  His transits are revealing in terms of showing that his temper could be triggered:  Mars was trine his Saturn, Pluto trine his Sun (both transiting planets capable of triggering violence) and Pluto on his natal Jupiter (dramatic and exaggerated energies).  It was claimed that at the time he said “if he ever caught her with anyone he would kill her.”

Nicole felt strong enough to file for divorce on 25th February 1992, with Jupiter trine her natal Mercury, and sextile her Venus;  Pluto trined her natal Mars (a self-empowerment); but with Saturn opposite her Uranus (a personal earthquake).  O.J. may have sensed his time in the marriage was up by then, as he had had an affair.  Neptune was sextile his Jupiter, and trine his Midheaven, but Saturn was opposite his Pluto (hard to take) and Uranus opposed his Sun (an estrangement).  Clearly, though, he was still deeply jealous about her having any other partners.

The Murder 

So to the murder itself, which took place on the night of 12th June 1994.  It was a double murder, involving Nicole’s then partner Ron Goldman, who she had only met six weeks earlier.  Like O.J, he was a Cancerian.  Nicole herself had Venus and Mars in that sign, which may have attracted her.

What would a court astrologer have made of the planetary positions on that night?  Nicole’s transits showed Pluto in close opposition to her Sun (a perilous transit), Uranus opposite her natal Mars (quite a violent transit too) and Jupiter square her natal Uranus (taken by surprise).  But regarding O.J. Simpson’s mood that night and triggering factors: Mars was transiting his natal Sun  (inflaming his temper), Mars was trine his natal Jupiter (exaggerating his energies), Jupiter squared his natal Pluto (his power exaggerated) and Pluto trined his natal Moon (dark thoughts towards a woman).  Astrologically, the guilt would be very believable.

A filmed car chase ensued by the police on 17th June 1994.  Again, the transits were very descriptive: Mars closely sextile his natal Sun (in a hurry); Uranus was opposite his natal Mercury, very symbolic of such a car journey; Chiron was square his natal Mars (harrassed in a hurry) and Mars was opposite his natal Jupiter (more haste).

His long televised trial found the nation spellbound, if not the world.  The jury members were drawn from the black community, and the defence rested to a great extent on the racial card.  The acquittal, when it came on 3rd October 1995, was still a shock to many.  His astrological planetary allies at the time were Mars on his natal Jupiter, exact to the day (freedom) and Uranus sextile his natal Moon in Pisces in 8th House (another, more emotional, component of freedom).  A civil suit found him guilty three years later, and incurred a fine of $33.5 million.  He was not able to pay, and got involved in a robbery in 2007 which led to a conviction on 4th October 2008.  With Saturn sextile his natal Sun, he was facing some of his karma.  He was imprisoned and not released until 2021.

The Kardashians

Matriarch of the Kardashian clan, Kris Jenner, was a friend of Nicole Brown, and her ex-husband Robert Kardashian was part of the dream team who helped to acquit O.J. Simpson.  Though by that time, she was married to Bruce Jenner, their lives seemed to be intertwined.

I wrote in 2017, when Bruce Jenner had transitioned as Caitlyn Jenner and written a book about the process:

“Enter Kris Kardashian, wife number three, an extremely strong character, previously married to the attorney Robert Kardashian, and bringing four children to the marriage.  Theirs was an acrimonious divorce, and Robert’s Saturn was conjunct Kris’ South Node (difficult past karma).  Kris Kardashian, matriarch of the Kardashian empire, has an amazing exact conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto in Leo in 10th House conjunct her Midheaven (Careerpoint).  It is no wonder she carved out such a successful long running television slot.

Her previous husband Robert Kardashian was a friend of O.J. Simpson, and successfully represented him at the murder trial.  Bruce had known O.J. from the sports circuit, and tended to try and avoid him (“I have tried to erase O.J. from my mind”) but they socialized with him and his wife Nicole.  This has the hallmark of a karmic relationship, or part of a soul group situation.”

The trial was traumatic at the time for Kris, and Caitlyn Jenner pronounced (quoted on the front page of one of the tabloids this week) “Good Riddance” at the news of O.J’s demise.

O.J. Simpson’s death this week may have been a merciful release for him (Jupiter was on his Midheaven (freedom), and he took his secrets, such as they might be, to the grave. His family were gathered together: two children from his first marriage, and two from his marriage to Nicole, visited him, and he died surrounded by family.  He had three grandchildren.


After last week’s intense festival of conjunctions, we start with three more conjunctions this week.

Tomorrow (Monday 15th) we have a conjunction of Mercury with Chiron at 19 degrees Aries, which can produce minor healing crises, but can also pave the way for problem-solving.   One area which is especially suited to this conjunction in Aries is finance and economy.  Chancellor Jeremy Hunt may have an important announcement, or there may be a major development concerning banks.  We met this conjunction in March, but because Mercury is Retrograde, we are re-meeting it now.

Wednesday (17th) brings us a conjunction of Venus with the North Node at 15 degrees Aries, which is helpful for expressing love in verbal or written form.  You may feel a situation is lost, then someone may remind you of the power of love in the context of karma and destiny.

Friday (19th) is a day to get things done, and requires a timetable, there is so much going on:

8.59 a.m. Mercury conjunct Venus at 17 degs Aries – This may soften some of the effects of Mercury Retrograde, and bring some happy socializing, with great conversations. It is good for cafe culture, is ideal for artistic or literary endeavours, or negotiations.  Your communications will have an artistic flair, so it’s a good time to get creative.

14.00 Hrs. The Sun goes into Taurus – Look for guidance about how you can support efforts at combating climate change, for instance.  It is a good day for gardening, and planting seeds.  Taurus is a sign which fosters a whole host of talents: cooking (seasonal vegetables), expressing art and music, and creative management of money (keep following Martin Lewis).  So the coming month is a favourable climate for learning to breathe and blossom in whatever talent you wish to nurture within your repertoire.

15.28 Hrs. Mars sextile Jupiter – A straightforward combination  of energy and enthusiasm, so a good way to employ excess feeling in an absorbing leisure activity of your choice.  You’ll be able to find that extra drive, for what you are wanting to achieve, or go that extra mile.

23.56 Hrs. Mars sextile Uranus – This promises dynamism for the day and the end of the week.  Engineering especially benefits from this aspect, but that also includes social engineering.  Electricity and Astrology are other areas which can be stimulated by this combination.  Cars, mechanics, mechanical goods and household appliances may receive a boost or a renewal.  This aspect can refresh your energies, if you have been feeling jaded.  It is helpful for both beginning new tasks, or completing long term projects. The power of surprise may be constructive today, too.

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – healing issues highlighted
  • Wednesday – karmic relationships
  • Friday – getting things done: cafe culture; earth activities; energy allied with enthusiasm; surprise and engineering

Aspects for the week beginning 7 April 2024

John Torode and Gregg Wallace

Celebrating 20 years of Masterchef

“Cooking doesn’t get tougher than this!”

~ Gregg Wallace

John Torode and Gregg Wallace were celebrating 20 years of their collaborative presenting of Masterchef this week (on the This Morning sofa), although perhaps it is more true to say the completion of 20 years, as their format did not actually start until 2005.  Originally, the show was presented by Lloyd Grossman.  The show is hardly off our screens these days, with variations such as The Professionals, Celebrity Masterchef and Junior MasterChef.

John Torode

Birth Chart

With the Sun, and Mercury/Venus in Leo, John has to be the boss.  When the two began hosting the re-vamped Masterchef, he was the established name, and Gregg more of a sidekick.  Since then, Gregg has made a name for himself.  John carries the essence of the Leo individuality in many ways, not least for the fact that his Sun is at 0 degrees Leo and is unaspected.  Mercury in Leo likes to win an argument, and Venus in Leo is warm-hearted.  His Moon is in the cooking sign of Taurus, though we don’t know its precise position, as we do not have a birth time for him.  Mars loosely trine Jupiter provides his personality with energy allied with enthusiasm, while Mars closely trine with the North Node again likes to lead.

Life and Career

John Torode was born in Melbourne, the youngest of three boys, but his mother died when he was four and he moved to New South Wales to live with his grandmother, who introduced him to the joys of cookery. Leaving school at 16 and after apprenticeships in Melbourne, he came to the U.K. in the 1991 (aged 26) and continued to learn his trade as a chef in the Conran Group restaurants.

From 1996 he began a cookery slot on This Morning, and opened restaurants in London.

When he was approached in 2004 to front the re-vamped Masterchef, the producers put him together with Gregg Wallace.  He had known Gregg Wallace since working at Quaglino’s for the Conran organization, because Gregg had supplied the restaurant’s vegetables.  So their paths had already crossed…

Although the new show was prepared in 2004, its first airing was on 21st February 2005.  John’s main transit for that event was Saturn trine his natal Chiron in Pisces, which is constructive in many ways, for the start of a long running show, and gave him the opportunity to show his strengths.

The interaspects between him and Gregg show a similarity of interests (Mercuries closely sextile, and generational affinity (they were born within 9 months of each other and have the outer planets exactly conjunct).

Lisa Faulkner

Lisa Faulker, who had acting roles in Brookside and Holby City, took part in Masterchef in 2010, and emerged champion.  Two and a half years later she began seeing John Torode, and they embarked on a serious relationship.  Her Venus is exactly sextile his North Node, so the relationship was very much “meant to be”.  Her Saturn is exactly sextile his natal Sun, helping to ground him.

In recent years, John and Lisa have produced cooking shows together, John And Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen which started in March 2019 and John & Lisa’s Food Trip Down Under, which aired earlier this year.

Gregg Wallace

Birth Chart

Gregg has Sun closely conjunct Mercury in Libra, and Libra is an incurable romantic.  He certainly did not give up on love, because he has been married four times!  The conjunction forms a Grand Air Trine with Saturn in Aquarius, and the North Node in Gemini.  This keeps him curious, about love, life and food!  He has Venus exactly conjunct Uranus in Virgo, giving him exacting and unusual tastes, which is part of the specialism he has carved for himself.  Librans also have a reputation for being sweet-toothed, and he certainly enjoys tasting all those puds which he is required to judge!  He has made a living out of a discerning palate (food critic Jay Rayner also has Venus in Virgo).  Venus closely conjunct Pluto and exactly opposite Chiron accounts for the ups and downs in his private life.

Life and Career

Gregg Wallace was born in Peckham, and also left school early (aged 15).  He worked at Covent Garden Fruit and Veg Market.  From there he progressed to setting up his own greengrocery business, and later opened a restaurant in Putney.

His transits at the beginning of his long stayt at Masterchef were very impactful (more so than those of the more established John):

Pluto sextile his natal Sun (a profound event in his life), the South Node on his Mercury (a karmic reward in broadcasting) and Jupiter sextile his natal Mars (a chance to express his enthusiasms – he has Mars square Jupiter natally so can go over the top!).

Since the success of co-presenting Masterchef, he has diversified into various roles on television, such as the programme “Eat Well for Less?” and touring various food and other factories.

In 2014 he tried his hand at Strictly Come Dancing, leaving the show in the second week.

Fourth Marriage

After his second marriage ended in 2004 (a pivotal year for him) he was awarded full custody of their two children. He found love again in 2013, meeting Anne-Marie Sterpini on Twitter, and marrying her in August 2016.  John Torode was his best man.  Gregg and Marie have a son, Sid, who was born in May 2019.

Lloyd Grossman

Lloyd Grossman was the original host of MasterChef, when it began on 2nd July 1990, with the Sun exactly conjunct Mercury at 10 degrees Cancer.  It made an important impact on his life, with the transits of:-

Saturn exactly trine his Sun, a worthwhile enterprise; Uranus exactly trine his natal Venus, a new food-based venture; and Saturn sextile his natal Mars plus Saturn trine his natal Saturn, transits which reinforced the first two.

Like Gregg, he has Venus in Virgo (one hallmark of a gourmet).  I still buy his sauces, a brand he introduced to the supermarket shelves in 1995.

Of course, he had also presented Through the Keyhole, which snooped into people’s houses (“who lives in a home like this?”) beginning on 1st February 1983, so he was already a household name. His transits for that earlier breakthrough were Uranus square his natal Venus (surprise), Nodal Axis square his natal Neptune (intrigue) and Jupiter trine his Pluto (power).

The producers changed the format of MasterChef radically for John and Gregg’s version, and introduces changes all the time, so that we do not get bored.  All the different formats seem to work (the home cooks, the professional chefs, the celebrities and the juniors) – well they do for me, though I always have to mentally convert the dishes into vegetarian options.

“Just the fat, bald bloke on MasterChef who likes pudding”.

~ Gregg Wallace, referring to himself


It’s a week of conjunctions only, and there are four of them!  That means a series of burst of intensity to focus on and work with.

You’ve probably heard about tomorrow’s Solar eclipse (the Sun conjunct the Moon)… it will be seen in its totality in parts of Mexico, Texas and Canada.  Traditionally, it is regarded as a catalyst in the places where it can be seen.  It takes place at 19 degrees Aries, so may touch your lives more significantly if you have planets in that degree, or 19 degrees of any other sign.  You may find that it is a turning point or new beginning in the House it is placed in your birth chart.  Look to the future, unhampered by the past.  Set your intentions, wishes, creative visualizations and affirmations from your centre.

On the same day, we have the second of our conjunctions: that of  the Sun conjunct Chiron, also at 19 degrees Aries.  This may be a healing crisis, or an awkward situation.  Fortunately, Chiron transits often come with their own in-built solutions, because its ultimate purpose is healing.  You just need to turn the appropriate key (to go through the key hole – the glyph for Chiron is a key).  Something is ready to be released, and if your mind can’t work it out immediately, take a quiet moment and allow the answer to emerge.

The third conjunction appears on Wednesday (10th), being the combination of Mars and Saturn, at 14 degrees Pisces.  Some may find it tough and frustrating, especially if you are not used to your wings being clipped, or your will or energies encountering obstacles.  It can however bring an inner steel to concentrate on the job in hand, and even perhaps to live in the moment.  It may enable us to focus inward, economize on energy and thought.  You may then discover a new occupation which does not expend or over-consume.  However, in the current wars (of Ukraine and the Middle East) we may hear of further cruelties exacted upon innocents.

The last conjunction of the week to be visited upon us is that of the Sun conjunct Mercury at 22 degrees Aries, on Thursday (11th), which may bring an extra special quality to the day.  It is a good time to apply your mind with clarity,  concentrate and focus,  and make important statements.  Your perceptions may be heightened, both with regard to the microcosm (seeing the daisies) or the macrocosm (seeing things from a larger perspective than you are accustomed to seeing the issues).

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – turning point; healing directions
  • Wednesday – the frustration of obstacles
  • Thursday – seeing into reality

Aspects for the week beginning 31 March 2024

Bernard Williams (1929 – 2003)

“He understands what you’re going to say better than you understand it yourself, and sees all the possible objections to it, and all the possible answers to all the possible objections, before you’ve got to the end of your own sentence.”

~ Gilbert Ryle

Time for the next in my zodiacal series of Philosophers, and we now come to Virgo, for which I have chosen Bernard Williams, who was a leading British intellectual in the late 20th century.  His specialism was Ethics, and he was not so much an innovator as an interpreter, critic and analyst – very much a Virgoan way of operating.  Whenever we (hubby and I) were stuck in our early philosophical studies, a You Tube video of Bernard Williams helped enormously to clarify what we were grappling with.

Birth Chart

Bernard’s Sun in Virgo was square to Saturn, emphasizing the disciplined characteristics of that sign.  We do not have a birth time for Williams, so the precise position of his Moon is not known, but there is a trine between his Moon and Venus, indicating a good relationship with females: this is borne out in the evidence that he was a strong feminist and supporter of the females in his life.  Mercury sextile Venus contributed to the Writer Archetype in his make up.  One of the most emphatic complex of aspects in his chart was the conjunction of Mercury and Mars (The Critic Archetype) squaring his natal Pluto.  This combination meant that he could be brutal in his assessments.  Mercury trine Jupiter, contributed a wide-ranging Philosopher’s mind and curiosity.  Mercury closely sextile Saturn reinforced the analytical traits of his Sun sign Virgo.  Mars trine Jupiter gave him energy harmoniously allied with enthusiasm, which contributed to his passion for the truth.  The North Node was exactly conjunct Chiron in  Taurus, meaning his karmic mission was as a problem-solver – many Philosophers were born under Taurus.  Ted Honderich points out his “freshness in tackling problems”.

Life and Career

Bernard Williams was born in Westcliff-on-Sea, and went to school at Chigwell.  Reading on the subject of D.H. Lawrence (also Virgo) while there drew him to the subjects of ethics, and the problems of the self.  He was particularly taken with D.H. Lawrence’s advice to “find your deepest impulse, and follow that.”  He was awarded a scholarship to Oxford and read Classics, Ancient History and Philosophy at Balliol College.  The Philosopher Gilbert Ryle was one of his mentors there.  He originally met his future wife, the politician Shirley Williams (daughter of  the novelist Vera Brittain) while at Oxford, but they became close when they both spent time in New York: he was on national service, and she was studying economics at Columbia University.  The two of them returned to England;  he took up various academic fellowships, and she entered the worlds of journalism and politics.  They married in 1955, and he supported her political ambitions.


Bernard Williams became lecturer in Philosophy at University College London in 1959, and the pair had a daughter Rebecca in 1961, after Shirley had suffered four miscarriages.  Within his marriage and career he supported feminism – Philosopher Martha Nussbaum pronounced him “as close to being a feminist as a powerful man of his generation could be” (his Moon trine Venus).

In 1967 Bernard became the Knightsbridge Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of King’s College.  While there he was instrumental in the decision by King’s to admit women, a pioneering act.  Shirley, meanwhile, pursued her political career.

Shirley wrote of their relationship:

“… [T]here was something of a strain that comes from two things. One is that we were both too caught up in what we were respectively doing — we didn’t spend all that much time together; the other, to be completely honest, is that I’m fairly unjudgemental and I found Bernard’s capacity for pretty sharp putting-down of people he thought were stupid unacceptable. Patricia has been cleverer than me in that respect. She just rides it. He can be very painful sometimes. He can eviscerate somebody. Those who are left behind are, as it were, dead personalities. Judge not that ye be not judged. I was influenced by Christian thinking, and he would say “That’s frightfully pompous and it’s not really the point.” So we had a certain jarring over that and over Catholicism.”

The marriage ended in 1974, and they both went on to remarry. He married Patricia Law Skinner, an Editor at Cambridge University Press, and they went on to have two sons.  Shirley Williams married a political scientist, Richard Neustadt.

You can read more about Shirley Williams in my astro-obituary of April 2021.


In the field of Ethics, Bernard Williams was notable for his ability to create thought experiments.  He was especially interested in the metaphysics of mind, and tackled the issue of personal identity.

He wrote works elucidating the philosophy of the father of modern philosophy, Rene Descartes, stating that there was an “absolute conception of reality” inherent in Descartes’ philosophical project.

Within moral philosophy, he argued against certain approaches, notably those of Kant, and Utilitarianism.  He argued  that the “honourable instincts of Kantianism to defend the individuality of individuals against the agglomerative indifference of Utilitarianism…may not be effective against the Kantian abstract character of persons as moral agents.”  Instead, acting according to personal identity, accuracy, sincerity and authenticity was key to living.

He created the phrase “moral luck”, observing how luck pervades ethical life, citing as an example the painter Paul Gauguin’s decision to move to Tahiti, in pursuit of becoming a great painter but in that act, abandoning his wife and children.

On the issue of G.E. Moore’s Naturalistic Fallacy, not a prominent philosophical dilemma, Bernard Williams was critical.  I only mention it here because (curiously) it has found its way into both Volumes I and II of my trilogy of novels (“The Quiet Office”).  The Naturalistic Fallacy derives from the work of G.E Moore, specifically his “Principia Ethica” written in 1903.  It is a criticism or loophole that he spotted in the work deriving back to at least the Utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and J.S. Mill, with the latter especially held to account over the “mistake”.  Bernard Williams’ view is that the naturalistic fallacy is a misnomer, as well as being a problem for naturalists.  He claims that Moore failed to see the distinction between naturalism and reductionism (a method whereby a number of things are reduced and explained in smaller units).

So I have personal reasons for selecting Bernard Williams as my Virgo Philosopher of choice, over say the more prominent John Locke.  When we were floundering in our studies, his expositions saved us!

“An analytical philosopher with the soul of a general humanist.”

~ Colin McGinn

“Being in Williams’s presence is at times painful because of that intensity of aliveness, which challenges the friend to something or other, and yet it was, and is, not terribly clear to what. To authenticity, I now think: to being and expressing oneself more courageously and clearly than one had done heretofore.”

~ Martha Nussbaum, 2015


Bernard Williams. Descartes, The Project of Pure Enquiry. 2nd ed. Routledge; 2005

Bernard Williams  Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, New York 1985

Ed Ted Honderich.  The Oxford Companion to Philosophy.  Oxford University Press 1995


Mercury goes Retrograde tomorrow, Monday 1st April, which is no April Fool’s joke for some.  Depending on how you are normally affected, be clear in your communications for the next three weeks, in order to avoid misunderstandings and loopholes.  Although technology can go awry, it can be a good period to upgrade such devices.  You may have developed your own strategies, according to past experiences.

Wednesday (3rd) brings a conjunction between Venus and Neptune at 28 degrees Pisces.  This could be a serene, highly spiritual and artistically inspired conjunction, full of unconditional love.  This conjunction can express the best of the divine feminine.

Another conjunction occurs on Thursday (4th), that of the Sun with the North Node, at 15 degrees Aries, which gives a karmic flavour to the day.  This could bring a show of power by someone in your circle.  However, this show of power is firmly subject to the laws of karma, and if you have faith in the justice of that you’re O.K. (aren’t you?)  It could also heighten creativity if you are unattached to the power play of others.  Listen to the subtle instructions of the Universe…

I came across the words of Nassim Haramein on Facebook this week, which are relevant to this conjunction:

“There is a concept that a person can create their your own reality. This concept is only partially correct because it is generally discussed in a one-way manner i.e., a person sending a message to the field with a request/intention/prayer desiring an outcome. This is only ½ of the loop. The wave you’re sending is the feed-forward part of the loop. You need to realize that the wave coming back is the feed-back which is the rest of the universe creating its reality and responding to you.”

An ingress occurs on Friday (5th), with Venus entering Aries.  Venus waves goodbye to Pisces and enters Aries in the early hours.  Though Venus was sympathetic in Pisces, there is a warmer and more demonstrative feel while she is in Aries.  On the flip side, she is out of her comfort zone in the warrior sign, so there may be some uncomfortable wrestling with issues around whether to express true feelings or stay away from possible conflict.  Venus has a short stay in Aries, lasting until 29th April.

Last but definitely not least, Venus sextiles Pluto on Saturday (6th), an aspect which encourages soul-searching and arriving at deeper concepts and perceptions.  You can add extra artistry and harmony to your current projects.  You can also experience profound connections between people, and it’s a good time for evaluating what people mean to you. You may experience a volcanic eruption of creativity!  A good day for philosophical and psychological enquiries.

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – communication issues
  • Wednesday – spiritual art and music
  • Thursday – ethical and all-embracing creating of reality
  • Friday – demonstrative affection
  • Saturday – deep psychological interaction

Aspects for the week beginning 24 March 2024

Bryan Ferry, Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall

I have written about the love triangle between Pattie Boyd, George Harrison and Eric Clapton, and the entanglements of the various members of Fleetwood Mac…but it was pointed out this week that I haven’t written about the “love triangle” between Ferry, Jagger and Hall.  In the Daily Telegraph on 26th February, James Hall wrote about love triangles, and included this one.  He wrote: “Mick Jagger’s infatuation for Jerry Hall while she was with Bryan Ferry – he famously chased her around the ping-pong table at the couple’s home trying to kiss her – was said to be the inspiration behind both Miss You* (The Rolling Stones) and, later, the significantly harsher Kiss and Tell** (Ferry).”  As is well known, all three went on to develop other relationships, but it is interesting to look at this triad.

Bryan Ferry

I will start with Bryan Ferry, that fascinating Libran charmer, frontman of “Roxy Music”.  Bryan has a charismatic Jupiter/Chiron/Neptune conjunction in Libra.  With all his planets above the horizon in his birth chart, he was born to be high profile.  His Ascendant is Scorpio, and the astrological website Astrodatabank informs us:

“On the other hand, Ferry has a wit as dry as bone and a subtle graciousness. Unusually, for a man, he’s unafraid to admit shortcomings or vulnerability. He’ll even happily discuss his star sign (Libra with Scorpio rising: ‘There’s a bit of both in me’).”  You can really see that combination in his performance.  He has a quadruple conjunction, or stellium in Libra in his 11th House (of Bands).

He began dating Jerry Hall in 1975, when his Progressed Sun was sextile his natal Venus, a sign of a significant relationship, and they got engaged after she appeared as a model on one of his album covers.  The relationship lasted two years, until she linked up with Mick Jagger.  At that stage, her Progressed Sun had reached her natal Uranus, signifying a new attraction and excitement.

All three have karmic links, in terms of interaspects to the Nodes, and between Jerry and Bryan there are three exact such aspects: her South Node on his Moon, her North Node sextile his Jupiter, and her North Node sextile his Neptune. Also in their synastry are: her Sun exactly conjunct his natal Mars (a considerable spark), and her Chiron opposite his Pluto (some strain which may have contributed to the relationship not ending well; or maybe she saw Mick Jagger as a better prospect).

1977 may have been the right time for Bryan Ferry to move on, too.  For his Progressed Sun was trine his natal North Node.  He has married twice since.  He began dating Lucy Helmore, a model, after his relationship with Jerry Hall broke up, and they had four sons together.  They were married for 21 years.  The karmic ties between them were his North Node trine her Neptune, and his North Node sextile her Pluto.  Tragically, she died in 2018 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, having battled depression for many years.  As mother of his sons, Bryan will have been impacted at the time, as shown in his transits by Saturn transiting his South Node.  He is on record as saying he was “saddened and shocked”.

Bryan has dated many high profile women, and had a brief marriage to Amanda Sheppard, but is currently unattached.

**”She wanna live that Rockstar life

So I’ma take her to a different world (nah)

No we don’t kiss and tell (nah)”

 ~ from “Kiss and Tell”, Bryan Ferry

Mick Jagger

Well, where do you start with Mick Jagger? –  multiple partners (not so much marriages), and eight children (on a par with Rod Stewart’s record).  At the last count, he has five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Prior to his relationship with Jerry, he had had a child with Marsha Hunt, and married Bianca with whom he had a daughter, Jade.  Bianca filed for divorce on account of his adultery with Jerry.

Mick and Jerry had a wedding type of ritual in Bali, which was later declared null and void, but not before they spent twenty two years together and had four children.  Jerry herself endured his many infidelities – up to a point.  Their karmic astrological links are her North Node trine his Jupiter, her North Node trine his Pluto, and her South Node closely conjunct his Uranus.  There is a strong Uranian theme between them – as has already been mentioned, when they got together ” her Progressed Sun had reached her natal Uranus, signifying a new attraction and excitement”.  And in her synastry with Mick, her Uranus is closely conjunct his Sun, and as also mentioned  her South Node is conjunct his Uranus.  The relationship will have been kept alive by keeping each other on their toes!  Mick’s Chiron on Jerry’s Jupiter will also have provided chemistry.

A notable relationship he had later was that with L-Wren Scott, from 2001, whose suicide in 2014 was a shock.  Though they were together for several years, the relationship does not look easy from an astrological point of view: His Pluto squared her Mercury, and his Saturn was on her Venus.  His Nodal Axis squared her Neptune (karmically adverse) and though his Mars trined her Pluto, that interaspect can be exhausting.  At the time of her death, Saturn was opposite his Moon and Pluto was trine his natal Venus, both showing the impact on a female relationship in his life.

He began a relationship with Melanie Hamrick in 2014 and is still with her.  We do not have a birth date for her, so cannot assess what works successfully for him now.

Mick Jagger and Bryan Ferry have very strong links in their charts, which will have brought themselves into each other’s orbit all those years ago, but the most telling in terms of their rivalry over Jerry Hall, is the combative nature of Mick’s Mars squaring Bryan”s Pluto.

* “I guess I’m lying to myselfIt’s just you and no one elseLord, I won’t miss you, childYou’ve just been blottin’ out my mindFoolin’ on my time”

~ from “Miss You”, the Rolling Stones

Jerry Hall

I wrote in 2016:

“Statuesque blonde Jerry has  the Sun in Cancer and Moon in Aries.  She has 0 Earth Planets in her chart.  She has a very powerful Pluto, positioned exactly trine the Galactic Centre.  Jupiter conjuncts this Pluto, and Venus sextiles the conjunction, drawing her to powerful men, but she also has her own power.  Her Venus sextiles Jupiter, which brings up the Socialite Archetype.  In addition, she has Venus trine Neptune, associated with beauty and modelling (a Supermodel, no less).  She has Jupiter sextile closely her Neptune, so would be confident of her own spirituality and connection with the Universe.”

With Jerry and Mick both having Jupiter conjunct Pluto (expansive power), it is no wonder they became a power couple.  We do not have a birth time for Jerry, but Mick’s power conjunction is in his 2nd House of Financial Earnings.

At their “wedding” in Bali, Mars was transiting Jerry’s South Node, which was not a peaceful vibe.  That Uranian spark was there for him, in the shape of the activation of Mars on his Uranus.  Mars was also prominent for him, in a a trine to his Midheaven (boosting his profile) and Neptune trine his natal Mars.

In their 22 years together, Jerry put up with a lot of Mick’s philandering.  When their relationship ended in 1999 she took her time in choosing her next partner, but chose another symbol of power, Rupert Murdock the news magnate. She was much younger than both Brian Ferry and Mick Jagger, but of course the age gap between her and Rupert Murdoch (25 years) was much more of a talking point, and he was by then in his eighties and one of the wealthiest men in the world.  She would be his fourth wife.  His Jupiter was exactly conjunct her natal Sun, so she may have considered herself lucky and expanding her prospects.  They married on 4th March 2016, with Mars bringing enthusiasm in a square to Jerry’s Jupiter.  With Jupiter sextile Rupert’s Pluto at the time, it represented an increase of his power.  She may have brought him some happiness for a time, as Neptune was trine his natal Jupiter.  Jerry was reportedly shocked (“blindsided”) when he ended their relationship with an 11-word email in 2022, and there were 7 transits from Saturn to points in her chart.  She filed for divorce citing “irreconcilable differences”.  However, there was also an element of liberation, in a trine of Jupiter to her North Node.

So, a strange triangle, that of Jerry, Bryan and Mick, and all of them going on to explore other relationships.  Would Jerry have stayed with Bryan, if Mick hadn’t come along?  Well there are no reports of them getting back together now they are both single.  Mick seems settled in his most recent relationship.  Jerry seemed to get bolder with each chosen partner, but you can’t get much bolder than a liaison with the much older Rupert Murdoch.  She would have a long way to go to find a progression on that, from her previous pattern, but may settle for less in the future.


A Lunar Eclipse this week, but not a lot going on in the aspects otherwise.  This afternoon we have a sextile between Venus and Jupiter, a sociable and romantic aspect, suited to writing about love triangles.  This aspect is one of the high spots of the year aspectwise.  The day could bring hope and happiness, socially or romantically.  Engagements, celebrations and virtual parties could be on the agenda.  This sextile combines luck and love.  Enjoy!

Tomorrow morning (Monday 25th) we have a Lunar Eclipse (Full Moon) at 5 degrees of Venus-ruled Libra – sleep may be fitful tonight!  This Full Moon is emotionally dedicated to relating, while the Sun which opposes it in Aries wants its own way.  Thus a delicate balance operates, which may be resolved in common aims, e.g. in a united effort.  As an eclipse, it represents a turning point.  Change may benefit some, and be discomforting for others.

The last aspect of the week (I promised you it was a short list) is Venus sextile Uranus, which occurs on Thursday 28th.  Venus sextile Uranus is, like today’s sextile, very social and may produce some interesting outward manifestations.  For example, a chance meeting on a walk in the park or while out shopping is not out of the question, and may result in an impromptu coffee interlude.  Sometimes Venus-Uranus meetings can be strange or seem random.  Venus sextile Uranus is on the pleasantly uplifting side of the equation, and can bring reunions.  The three S’s come to mind: spontaneity, synchronicity and serendipity.

So, an interesting sandwich, or triangle, of aspects this week, to match the love triangle blog, and involving more than a smattering of love energy from Venus.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – love and luck
  • Tomorrow – turning point
  • Thursday – love and surprise

Aspects for the week beginning 17 March 2024

Diane Abbott

“It’s like trying not to be racist but you see Diane Abbott on the TV and you’re just like, I hate, you just want to hate all black women because she’s there”

~ Frank Hester

A shocking statement reported this week from Frank Hester a few years ago had a wave of sympathy sent Diane Abbott’s way, and political reverberations which are still ongoing.  Diane was already the MP receiving the most abuse, but this was a dangerous attack.  I have always had a certain amount of sympathy for her, based on the loyalty of her constituents, but she has received criticism of some of her statements in the past (even this morning from Theo Paphitis on Laura Kuenssberg’s programme).  And her loyalty to Jeremy Corbyn has also marginalized her politically since the purge of anti-semitism under Keir Starmer.  One of her statements was deemed to be anti-semitic and caused her to lose the whip last year, and she is still under investigation for it.

Birth Chart

Diane has 6 Air planets (mentally focussed) and 5 Cardinal planets (enterprising).  She has the Sun in Libra exactly trine the Moon if she were born at Noon (we do not have a birth time for her).  The Sun in her chart is trine the North Node, so she has a strong sense of destiny.  Mercury trine Jupiter increases her open-mindedness and intellect (she was Cambridge educated).  But Mercury is squared by Uranus, so she is not afraid to be controversial, and does not feel she has to toe the party line.  Mercury conjunct Neptune means that when under stress, she can get confused.  A few years ago, she made some confused statements, and claimed it was because her type 2 diabetes had got out of control.  She also has Saturn conjunct her Mercury and Chiron square to her Mercury, complicating her mental outlook.  Jupiter closely trine Saturn gives her some degree of  balanced judgement, to compensate for this.  Jupiter trine Neptune confers a good relationship between religion and spirituality, contributing to decent moral values.

Life and Career

Diane was born in Paddington and studied History at Cambridge University, under the tutelage of Simon Schama.

She herself made history in 1987 when she was elected as MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, the first black female MP.  That general election was held on 11th June 1987, so we can look at her transits at the time: Jupiter square her natal Uranus in Cancer, a surprise; Uranus trine her natal Pluto, groundbreaking and life-changing; and Pluto sextile her natal Mars – all power to her elbow.

In 2003 she prided herself on speaking out and voting against the Iraq War. But it was also in that year that she was criticised for sending her son to a private school, against political principles.  Her son stated that he had insisted.  That year was her Chiron Return in Capricorn (difficult issues of conscience).

She saw herself as leadership material (5 Cardinal planets and the Sun trine the North Node) and stood in the 2010 Labour leadership election, which was won by Ed Milliband.  He appointed her as Shadow Minister for Public Health.  She also took a shot at the London Mayoral election in 2016, unsuccessfully.

Under the Labour leadership of old friend Jeremy Corbyn in October 2016 she was appointed as Shadow Home Secretary.  In the run-up to the 2017 election, she went through a phase of what might be called brain fog, giving poor interviews.  This she attributed to type 2 diabetes affecting her performance.

Last April (2023) she lost the whip, from her writing that Jewish people, Irish people and Travellers are not always subject to racism.  She claimed it was a draft letter which had accidentally got published.

The transits for this event are heavy, and will have made a huge impact on her: Mars opposed her Chiron, a dangerous mistake; Jupiter trine her natal Pluto, overstepped the mark in expressing her truth and power; Saturn opposed her natal Venus in Virgo in 10th House, loss of reputation and standing politically; Neptune square her natal Jupiter, a delusion exposed; Pluto on her North Node in Capricorn in 3rd House, karmic drama.

Though a strange concept, there was a similar statement by Whoopi Goldberg in 2022, for which she was suspended for a while from a television programme, “Let’s be truthful about it because Holocaust isn’t about race.”

Keir Starmer

The synastry between Keir Starmer and Diane Abbott is mixed, and if she is allowed back in the fold there is potential for them to work together (their Marses closely sextile).  The volatility is her Mars close to his Sun/Pluto conjunction in Virgo, and her Mars opposite his Jupiter.  His transits when she lost the whip were Jupiter opposite his Venus, some contention with a female; and Mars possibly opposite his Moon (we do not have his birth time), in which case, again, conflict with a female.  Although he defended her rigorously at PMQs this week, she crtiticized the Labour as well as the Tory party in later comments.  Keir Starmer also has a dilemma: her comments last year were not personal, and do not endanger someone’s life in the way that Hester’s have, but the ongoing investigation probably involves evaluating whether they go against the rigorous purge of anti-semitism Keir has set out.  Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Angela Rayner has said she would like the whip restored to Diane.  The Independent has reported that the delay in her investigation is due to her refusing to attend an anti-semitism course of training.

Frank Hester

We neither have a birth date or time for Frank Hester, only a birth month (April 1966).  Hester owns The Phoenix Partnership, founded in 1997, specializing in healthcare technology.  Rowena Mason writing in the Guardian yesterday (16/3/24) says:  “Frank will be the biggest Conservative donor in history, contributing £10m towards Rishi Sunak’s election and potentially another £5 on top of that – if the party keeps his money”.

He absurdly claimed his remarks, seen at the top of this blog, were nothing to do with race or gender.  He was defended for at least 24 hours, while the Conservative party decided what to do, bearing in mind they had accepted a £10 million donation for him towards their election campaign.  Various Tory MPs defended Hester, but eventually Rishi Sunak went as far as saying the remarks were racist and wrong, but could not say the money should be returned.  Hester only apologised for making “rude comments”.  If a birth date becomes available, I can fill in this picture.

Diane’s response to Hester’s remarks is recorded as: “Reading his remarks I was upset but not surprised.  This is partly because I am hardened to racist abuse  I receive hundreds of abusive emails, phone calls and  letters monthly, and the numbers shoot up whenever I am in the media.”

This chimes with her transits, which are milder than for the original event which cast her out.

Lindsay Hoyle

I wrote sympathetically of Lindsay Hoyle as recently as 25th February, but he still seems to be in a sticky patch.  He had tried to be low key since the controversy over “the Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, against protocol allowed an extra amendment to be put forward by the Labour Party for voting, a new stance for them, stealing thunder from the SNP” and calls for his resignation.  He was suitably chastened, but found himself in further trouble on Wednesday, when Diane Abbott got up from her seat in the Commons 46 times to speak on her ordeal, only to be snubbed by Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, claiming there wasn’t enough time.  On that occasion, Mars was trine her natal Neptune, a wave of public sympathy towards her.  For Lindsay, Neptune was sextile his natal Mercury, and he seems to have succumbed to the negative side of Neptune, confusion/indecision/deception.

Rishi Sunak

This week’s controversy was considerably complicated by Rishi Sunak’s purported new drive to tackle extremism and hatred in society.  This was triggered by the election of George Galloway at the end of February.  He made an unexpected speech outside No. 10 the next day.  In this precipitous and fearful speech he appeared to be fervent in his sentiments. However, this week it was pointed out that these ideas did not square with him keeping Hester’s donations, a further £5 million of which is in the pipeline.

At the time of the speech, Uranus was conjunct his Sun by 2 degrees (sudden action);  Uranus was trine his Saturn (trying a new way to cope); the South Node was on his Pluto in Libra (a sensed danger); Chiron was closely opposite his natal Pluto (a headache); and in the general chart of the day Chiron was close to the North Node (people trying to fix things).

Michael Gove

As part of the efforts to tackle extremism, Michael Gove launched a new initiative this week, raising a new definition of the word.  His efforts were adversely timed, astrologically: Mars from Aquarius closely squared his natal Mars in Scorpio (swimming against the tide); Mars squared his Neptune in Scorpio (sowing confusion).  He has Mars closely conjunct Neptune in Scorpio natally and tends to fight with deception.

In addition, Uranus was trine his Pluto (he wants Change at the moment); Uranus opposes his natal Mars/Neptune (he was sailing into another row); Uranus in Taurus was square his natal Jupiter in Leo (taking a gamble); and Pluto is square to his Nodal Axis (an obfuscation too far, karmically).

On Question Time in Liverpool on Thursday evening, not one audience member raised their hand in support of his scheme

My own feeling is that Hester’s money needs to go to an anti-racism charity, or a permanent bodyguard for Diane Abbott.


Are there any future prospects of happier times for her in the near future?

There could be an upswing in her affairs over the coming year, depending on where her Moon is situated (we do not have a birth time for her) as Jupiter transits late Taurus and early Gemini.  A more predictable upturn in her affairs would occur at her Jupiter Return in Gemini around 22nd/23rd May 2025, a liberating time for her – better status, or even retirement.  There may also be more surprises in store over the next year, if Uranus transits her natal Moon (depending on the latter’s position).


Late this morning, the Sun was conjunct Neptune at 27 degrees Pisces, characterized by mystery and enigma.  We may wonder where we are, struggling to get our bearings.  If we can establish where we are, we may be able to access higher inspiration for whatever we are engaged upon.  It is a day when progress can be made on subtle and spiritual issues, with memorable ethereal experiences.

Tomorrow (Monday 18th) Mercury conjoins with the True North Node, bringing the karma of thought and speech to our attention. Choose your words wisely.  Much can be taught and learned under this aspect, and ideas exchanged.

This influence is extended to Tuesday (19th) for the Mean North Node reading of the Mercury conjunction, so extra nuance to the above may be added over the two day period.

A new outlook breezes in with the Spring Equinox on Wednesday (20th), with the Sun entering Aries.  It’s the beginning of the astrological year.  There are definite signs that Spring has sprung in the U.K.: the camelias in our garden have been out for a while, and the magnolias trees are shining brightly. For the population generally, if your energy has been a little low lately, you may feel yourself reviving.  It may be time to sprinkle that packet of wildflowers you have been saving for this moment, if you trust this slightly warmer spell…

There is also another conjunction with Mercury on Wednesday, one with Chiron.  This is a day you can focus on problem-solving.  If you don’t have a problem pre-prepared, the Universe will kindly oblige by alerting you.  There may also be a high degree of mental tension or anxiety in the air.  But use what comes up to find solutions, at whatever depth you need to engage with them.  One area which is especially suited to this conjunction in Aries is finance and economy.  Chancellor Jeremy Hunt may have an important announcement, or better still, Martin Lewis (our spiritual Chancellor!).

On to Thursday (21st) and a constructive sextile between the Sun and Pluto towards the evening. This can bring powerful help.  If you dig deep, you can find the treasure you need.  It is a profound aspect which may help to show us the direction we need to solve our collective problems, and understanding the meaning behind our dilemmas.  This sextile can bring a profound air of quiet contemplation.  It is a valuable time of assessment.

In the very late evening (past the bedtime for some people) Venus will be conjunct Saturn at 12 degrees Pisces.  This is not an easy prospect in terms of relationships or economics.  You will be looking more seriously at your close relationships, and evaluating what is important to you.  The care of the elderly may be a particular preoccupation.  The optimum condition for this conjunction would be loyalty and commitment, but there may need to be some letting go before that can be arrived at.  Finance too may be a cause for concern.  Preoccupations may lead to a restless sleep.

Another change of emphasis comes on Friday (22nd) with the ingress of Mars into Pisces, again late at night, but this time more conducive to sleep.  While its placement in Aquarius was humanitarian, and looked after the underdog, Pisces is even more compassionate, and very empathetic.  Pisces is also a very charitable sign, so we will see more appeals in that respect, and more people attempting feats which stretch them, e.g. in order to support the NHS and other worthwhile causes coming to light.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – mystery and enigma
  • Tomorrow – karma of thought and speech
  • Tuesday – further nuances of karmic thought and speech
  • Wednesday – Spring springing; problem-solving
  • Thursday – powerful thought; letting go
  • Friday – compassionate activity

Aspects for the week beginning 10 March 2024

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) and Taylor Swift

“If my lyrics sound like a letter written by Emily Dickinson’s great-grandmother while sewing a lace curtain, that’s me writing in the Quill genre.”

~ Taylor Swift

A genealogical link was reported this week between America’s currently most popular singer Taylor Swift, and its most popular female poet, Emily Dickinson.  Popular genealogy site Ancestry  revealed that they are sixth cousins thrice removed.  Is it possible also that Taylor Swift may be a reincarnation of Emily Dickinson?

Part 1

Emily Dickinson

“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church

I keep it, staying at Home”

~ Emily Dickinson

Birth chart

The two have birthdays within three days of each other, Taylor 13th December, and Emily 10th December (Sagittarians, both).  They were both born in the same early segment of the morning, within an hour of each other, 4.40 a.m. (Emily) and 5.17 a.m. (Taylor).  Consequently, they both have Scorpio Ascendants (Scorpio Rising).  They are both high in Cardinal signs: 6 out of 10 for Taylor, and 5 out of 10 for Emily.

Emily has a supremely literary triple conjunction in Sagittarius of the Sun with Mercury and Venus.  Mercury and Venus together depict the Writer’s Archetype.  Much of Emily’s poetry is described as transcendent, and she has the mystical conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune exact in her 3rd House of Poetry in Capricorn, the poignancy of which is shown by the trine of Chiron to that conjunction.  Chiron itself bears a poignant position in her birth chart, appearing exactly on her Descendant (relationship point).  Dickinson lived much of her life in isolation, and this is clearly shown in her having the Moon (day-to-day lifestyle) in the 12th House of Isolation.  Much of her poetry was also concerned with death and dark romanticism (she was hit hard by the many deaths of loved ones in her life), and that is shown by Venus loosely trine Pluto (the planet of death):

Because I could not stop for Death –

He kindly stopped for me –

The Carriage held but just Ourselves –

And Immortality.”

Her passion, too, is shown by the conjunction of Mars and Pluto.  Saturn being conjunct the Midheaven (Career Point) points to the fact that she was not known about in her lifetime, occurring in the 10th House of Reputation.  This is also part of a triple conjunction, with the North Node (karmic mission), indicating that it was her destiny to plough that anonymous path.

Life and Career

Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachussetts.  Her father was a lawyer, and she was one of three siblings, having a brother Austin and a sister Lavinia, to whom she always remained close.  As a child, she developed her musicality and played the piano well.  She was educated at Amherst Academy, then stayed for a while at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.

At the age of 14, she experienced her first traumatizing death, and its accompanying melancholy, that of her second cousin Sophia from typhus.  Pluto was transiting opposite her natal Moon at the time, death of a close female.

She was especially emotionally close to her brother’s wife Susan, whom she first met in Boston while recovering from the death of cousin Sophia, long before Susan married Emily’s brother Austin.  Susan was born only 9 days after Emily in the same year, so shared close ties in their birthcharts, and may have been soul mates.  Because of the mystery and ambiguity in her writings and her isolated lifestyle, Emily’s relationships have been a cause of intrigue, and she did have a number of close relationships, often alluded to in her writings.

One of these was Samuel Bowles, a married man, who published a few of her poems in his newspaper The Springfield Republican  He was close to her until he died in 1873.   She met him in her brother’s home, and they often discussed their shared interests of politics, and reform.  During the course of her life, she wrote him many letters and poems.  Their synastry indicates a constraint in their relationship (his Saturn opposite her Venus), as well as a complexity (his Uranus on her Neptune).

She became increasingly withdrawn and isolated in her life, by choice, taking to wear white and hardly leaving her home.  She did, however, continue to correspond to friends, sending flowers and snatches of poetry.  She suffered from Bright’s disease, a condition of the adrenals, which exacerbated her withdrawal.   She died on 16 May 1886, at 6:00 p.m., in the same house she was born in.  The prolific extent of her poetry was only discovered after her death in 1886, with the discovery of over 1000 poems by her sister Lavinia.  Some of these were published posthumously in 1890.  Among her letters that remained (Lavinia burned some of them in accordance with Emily’s wishes) were three letters, known as “The Master Letters”, to an unknown love, or composite loves, which have been a source of conjecture about the various identities of her male friendships.

Literary Output

Early influences in her writing were William Wordsworth and Ralph Waldo Emerson.  She also came to love the work of Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte and William Blake.  Her style was succinct, with idiosyncratic punctuation and unconventional capitalization.  Her use of punctuation gained effect from pauses and silences.  There is a great sense of ambiguity in her work, so that her poems repay revisiting in order to subsequently glean more meaning.

“The Soul has Bandaged moments –

When too appalled to stir –

She feels some ghastly Fright come up

And stop to look at her – “

Her poetry has been compared to that of W.B. Yeats.  Early publications of her work were distorted by alterations made by the Victorian sensibilities of the time according to traditional poetic forms and punctuation.  She may have been ahead of her time, in her more streamlined style.

Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Part 2

Taylor Swift

“If my lyrics sound like a letter written by Emily Dickinson’s great grandmother while sewing a lace curtain, that’s me writing in the quill genre.”

Regular readers of my blog who have good short-term memory, will realize that I only just wrote about Taylor Swift on 11th February!  Here is some re-cap:

Birth Chart

“Taylor has over half (6) of her planets in the Cardinal signs, marking her out as a leader, which she is in many ways.  She has the Sun in Sagittarius, but unaspected, making her very Individualistic, and Venus. An exception is a karmic sextile to her Sun from the North Node, so she may be driven by destiny.  She has a fascination for storytelling, and one of the Archetypes for Sagittarius is The Storyteller.  Venus is also unaspected, making her a free spirit in terms of relationship…”

Life and Career

“Swift’s parents were very supportive of her ambition (Saturn trine her natal Midheaven), and she began song-writing professionally at the age of 14.  By 2005 she had signed with a record label, Big Machine Records.  She was heavily influenced by the country music genre (Shania Twain being a favourite), and her first album “Taylor Swift” was released in 2006, but by 2014 (the year when she moved to New York after living in Nashville) she had departed from this genre with her fifth album “1989” (which was her birth year)…Harvard University has her lyrics as part of their curriculum, entitled “Taylor Swift and her World”, acknowledging the phenomenon that she is.”


“Relationships are all good fodder for songwriting, and Taylor Swift has had a stream of boyfriends, including Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal, Calvin Harris, Tom Hiddleston, Matt Healy and Joe Alwyn.  Most of the relationships were short lived, except for the six year relationship with Joe Alwyn.  And so to Travis Kelce..”.

Part 3


Physically, there is some resemblance, particularly around the mouth area.

Astrologically, they have extraordinary “coincidences” in common: close birthdays, the same rising signs, similar birth times.

Both have had problematic relationships.

They are both highly popular in their country as wordsmiths.

However, their lifestyles are completely different: one reclusive, and the other seeking the limelight.  Their natures may be different, but sometimes souls choose a completely different type of life for balancing purposes.

It’s also interesting that although she rarely ventured from her home at Amherst, Massachussetts, she did once, uncharacteristically, undertaking a long journey to Pennsylvania – the place where later her descendant Taylor Swift was born.

So, are they merely related, or is Taylor Swift a reincarnation of Emily Dickinson?  The astrology is compelling (and I have looked at many such pairs over the years, including Kate Bush and Emily Bronte).  A particular detail which could indicate a reincarnated soul is in their synastry, where Taylor Swift’s Pluto (Rebirth) is exactly conjunct Emily Dickinson’s Ascendant. But the jury is still out, not quite there.


First of all, Happy Mother’s Day!

The day’s aspects started in the early hours with the ingress of Mercury into Aries.  You might need to be prepared for plain speaking today, whether your own (perhaps without engaging the brain!), candid words from others, or unpalatable government announcements. You will need to get to the point much more directly in your communications, and there is more sense of urgency about paperwork.  So, more direct communication is on the cards.

At breakfast time, we were treated to a New Moon in Pisces, which is the most sensitive manifestation of the New Moon, and a time to set intentions, make affirmations, and creatively visualize along the lines of peace in your own environment, and the plight of war-torn nations around the world.  Lessons we have recently learned can be put to good use.  It may be time to soothe old wounds and move on.

This evening Mercury is sextile with Pluto, a harmony which can produce profound thought and communication, honouring the gravity of a situation if necessary, and enabling meaningful debate to occur.  It is a good space for reading something profound, such as the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Tomorrow, Monday 11th, Venus enters Pisces, bringing in a greater component of compassion.  You may have been looking at things in a mental or practical way, and may be able to relax a little and allow the heart greater expression.  The trend towards tenderness lasts until her entry into Aries on 5th April.  Charities can be honoured and prioritized, and the Arts can be especially inspired during this period.

We’ll have to be content with a Fixed Star for the rest of the week, in the absence of aspects.  Wednesday 13th has an alignment between our Sun and Markab, the alpha star of the constellation of Pegasus. “Starlight Elixirs” by Michael Smulkis and Fred Rubenfeld reveals of this star’s influence:

Markab can strengthen the ability to share psychic gifts such as telepathy in a loving way.  The characteristics of individuals who have struggled with telepathy will come into greater focus and consciousness so that they can resolve the deeper issues.  There is an enhanced ability to travel to remote locations with the astral body and exchange information easily with others at such a location.  This is a form of telepathy.”

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – plain speaking; new beginning; profound thought
  • Tomorrow – greater compassion
  • Wednesday – the development of telepathy

Aspects for the week beginning 3 March 2024

Dave Myers (1957 – 2024)

“David’s warm smile, hearty laugh, and genuine love for people were not just the ingredients of his success but a reflection of his zest for life.

“His presence brightened our screens, and his heart and soul inspired all who knew him and many others to embrace the simple pleasures of sharing a meal with loved ones.”

~ Robson Green

I’ve watched my fair share of Hairy Biker episodes in my time, and will admit to shedding a tear this week to hearing that Dave Myers at the age of 66, one half of the duo, is no longer with  us.  The two of them seemed to be so joined at the hip, that your heart goes out to his “brother” Si King.  How many towns and cities in the U.K. and around the world did we visit with them, in search of culinary inspiration?  Last night, I watched them in Mississipi and New Orleans…

Birth Chart

Dave Myers had the Sun in Virgo, a sign known to be interested in health, diet and hygiene.  The Hairy Bikers experimented with all sorts of regimes, and produced a book for each, among which were Veggie Feasts, and Eat to Beat Type 2 Diabetes.  They set up The Hairy Bikers Diet Club.  Dave’s Sun was conjunct Mercury, the ruler of Virgo, accentuating his Virgoan qualities.  But his qualification as a Biker Archetype permeates the picture painted by his birthchart.  First of all, he had the Sun conjunct Mars, then he had the North Node in Scorpio, the Moon opposite Pluto, and finally Mercury closely conjunct Mars, all going to make a convincing recipe for a Biker.  That’s also a lot of energy.  The Mercury/Mars conjunction in particular gave him very sharp mental and physical reactions.  He was born close to a Full Moon in Pisces, giving him that childlike wonderment which was part of his enthusiasm about life and food.  His Moon was also trine Neptune, indicating a sensitive Soul, and being opposite Pluto it will have made him deeply emotional.  He had a very artistic side, with Venus in Libra, loosely conjunct Neptune, and used his artistry earlier in life in connection with disability (Neptune).  Jupiter closely sextile Saturn provided excellent balance and judgement, and Jupiter sextile Uranus gave him the Entrepreneur Archetype.  Together with Simon, he sold a lot of books!  Saturn closely trine Uranus gave him a constructive sense of how to bring the old and the new together, while Jupiter trine Chiron gave him insight into healing.  He made a good recovery from his recent cancer, in order to create a comeback series of programmes with Si.  We do not have his birth time, which would provide a more finely tuned picture.

Life and Career

Dave Myers was born in Barrow-in-Furness, and Si King was born in Kibblesworth, Co. Durham, giving rise to a duo of distinctly northern accents.  Dave’s father was a foreman in a paper mill.  After he left school, he went on to study Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London, which was followed by an M.A. in Art History (Venus in Libra).  He subsequently worked as a professional make-up artist, and specialized in prosthetics (Venus conjunct Neptune).  This constituted 23 years of his life.  While working on a period drama in 1995, he met Si King (when his progressed Sun moved to his natal Venus, indicating a significant partner in his life).  The first television show they appeared on was The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook on BBC (2006).

I remember thinking at the time, that the format was similar to the slightly earlier Two Fat Ladies.  Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson were born a decade or two before the Hairy Bikers, and began their television journey a decade before, but travelled in Paterson’s Triumph Thunderbird motorbike, with Dickson Wright occupying the sidecar.  Clarissa had Mercury sextile Mars, a variation on Dave’s Biker astrological themes.  Myers and King together took the format to another level.

A 30-part series was undertaken from 24th August 2009, touring Britain, saw transiting Pluto sextile Dave’s natal Neptune (an in-depth undertaking) plus Pluto trine his natal Pluto (a supreme effort, and self-empowerment), while for Si Jupiter was trine his natal Venus (a successful achievement).

An even longer series, of 40 parts, took place starting on 25th October 2010, comprising of competitions between families, and entitled The Hairy Bikers’ Cook Off.  The transits seemed more significant for Si this time, with Jupiter on his natal Saturn (uplifting) and Neptune trine his natal Sun (spiritual).

Having launched their Hairy Dieters series in 2012, they created The Hairy Bikers’ Diet Club in 2014, inviting the engagement of their fans.

Their roving motorbikes took them all over the world, from Portugal to Morocco, taking us with them. In 2015 they wrote their autobiography The Hairy Bikers: Blood, Sweat and Tyres.

Si King

Theirs was a wonderful working partnership.  Si is a Libran, a sign which expresses itself best through collaborative partnership.  Dave, as the Virgo, represents the desire to give of service.  In their synastry, they both share Virgoan and Scorpionic placements, in itself an indication of harmony.  Crucially, King’s Mercury sextiles Myers’ Mars, itself a Biker aspect.  But even more significantly, King’s Pluto conjoins Myers’ Mars, another Biker interaspect, and one engendering great dynamic energy between them.  The major transit occurring for Si King this week on Dave’s passing was Uranus exactly trine Pluto to the day, life being changed due to a passing – as seen his natal Pluto being exactly conjunct Dave’s Mars (“The Hairy Bikers”). King wrote that his “best friend is on a journey he can’t follow.”

Liliana Orzac

His wife, whom he married in 2011, describes Dave as “a wonderful, brave man”.  They met in 2005 while Dave and Si were filming in Romania on their first series.  The Hairy duo walked into a Hotel’s reception, where Liliana worked, and made an instant impression.  In the intervening years, they kept in touch and years later, she visited England and says she was bowled over by his kindness, that being a quality treasured by many in their eulogies.  Dave  picked her up from the airport and asked her ‘What do you want me to cook for you?’ She explains “I’d never ever in my life had a man cook for me …My heart melted”.  He became very close to her children.  She finished her Facebook announcement this week by saying “Till next time we meet!”

Recent Years

On 5th May 2022 Dave Myers announced a diagnosis of cancer, though he did not specify what type.  At the time, Mars was opposite his natal Sun (a challenge), and Uranus was trine his natal Sun, a change of lifestyle, which resulted in him withdrawing for a while.  In the meantime, he underwent a regime of chemotherapy.  In January 2023, he announced that they were making a new series of The Hairy Bikers show (Go West).  This must have been enormously demanding physically, but he obviously felt up to it, and the completed series started airing this month, taking them from Scotland to Devon.  In the first episode, Dave said “It was a dream come true…I wasn’t sure I’d ever get back in the saddle again.  There was a time I couldn’t balance, I couldn’t walk”.

This week, Mars was transiting his natal Chiron (healing crisis), Uranus was trine his natal Mars (riding high on his new series), and Pluto square his natal Neptune (end of an era).  For someone with such joie de vivre, he had had a last hurrah.  How much he seemed to enjoy his life and work, infectiously so.

“He was an absolute joy to work with,” Tebbutt said. “He was just so down to earth, self deprecating, he was normal. There were no airs and graces.

“He was a genuinely lovely guy who genuinely enjoyed and loved what he did. I think that shines through in all the shows.

“The nation loved him because he was that bloke that you could relate to. Whether you saw him out in the shops or down the pub or wherever, he was just a normal, nice guy.”

~ Matt Tebbutt


Today’s aspect is a square between Venus and Uranus.  It may be an abrasive day for meetings.  The way through is to use your intuition, and stay one step ahead.  Relationships can be disrupted, and subject to misunderstandings.  On the other hand, on another level, it can open up telepathic communication between individuals  on a higher level.

Tomorrow (Monday 4th) brings us two congenial sextiles, the first between Mercury and Uranus.  This aspect gives rise to spectacular and unusual communications.  This encourages us to use all the new technology for our communications, and brings new ideas, heightening intuition and telepathy.   This aspect can amaze you and help you find that “wow” factor.

The second sextile, between Mars and the North Node, is an opportunity to express warriorship reasonably safely. You may be able to get your message across directly and actively, in speaking your truth or setting an example.  If you are a follower of Dan Millman (the “Peaceful Warrior), I’ll be preaching to the converted…  If you are a timid type, there is scope to embolden yourself slightly.  It’s a good aspect for bikers, both earthly and celestial.

Midweek sees a hiatus from aspects, so I am reaching out to the Fixed Stars to see us through Tuesday 5th and budget day Wednesday 6th.  There is an alignment at that time with the Star Achernar from the constellation of Eridanus (The River).  “Starlight Elixirs” by Michael Smulkis and Fred Rubenfeld reveals to us:

“This star has the capacity to increase the mental functioning needed for the ability to work in multiple dimensional understanding.  This can be helpful for some individuals who not only seek to understand the relationship of mathematics and science to the everyday world, but who also have a concept of the limitations of science at the current time.  This can be helpful to individuals who have blockages to science and mathematics in themselves, assisting them to bridge these blocks.  This star is helpful for individuals who seek to teach science and math to individuals of an artistic bent.”

Around 5th to 7th (Chiron Ephemerides vary), the North Node conjoins with Chiron at 17 degrees Aries.  Here in this conjunction, the potential for crisis or healing combines with collective karma.  For example, we may see groundbreaking health innovations during this time, or international crisis talks about the state of the world (for Ukraine, the Middle East, or about Putin).  A ceasefire for Gaza may be in that picture.  In our own lives, we may be shown where we next have the need to focus our healing efforts.

Mercury conjoins Neptune on Friday 8th, at 27 degrees of Pisces.  This conjunction can link you mentally with your spiritual sources, and provide the inspiration much needed at this time. It is a good time to ask for guidance, though you may have to sift reality from illusion, even in the guidance you receive.

On Saturday 9th we end with a square, just as we started with one at the beginning of the week.  This one involves Mars and Uranus, which can be hair raising, explosive or brittle.  So it is advisable to chill out, and urge others to do so, and hope the message radiates.  This square can also be accident-prone, so if you are out riding your bike, make sure your helmet is firmly held on.  There may be some escalation of aggression in the current wars.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – abrasive
  • Tomorrow – congenial: spectacular communication; expressing warriorship safely
  • Tuesday – multiple dimensional understanding
  • Wednesday – crisis talks
  • Thursday – healing applications
  • Friday – channelling
  • Saturday – need to calm situations

Aspects for the week beginning 25 February 2024

Lindsay Hoyle

“Just when you hoped you’d reached rock bottom, parliament finds a way of going still lower…Everyone wanted a ceasefire.  Only they wanted their own ceasefire, not anyone else’s ceasefire.”

~ John Crace

You will have seen the chaos in Parliament this week, specifically Wednesday evening.  It was to have been the day for the Scottish National Parliament to put forward their amendment on the situation in Gaza.  Instead, the Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, against protocol allowed an extra amendment to be put forward by the Labour Party for voting, a new stance for them, stealing thunder from the SNP.  And the Tories threw their toys out of their pram and left the chamber.  Sir Lindsay apologised, but there have been calls for him to resign, and that may come to pass after the posting of this blog, though I am hoping it won’t.

Birth Chart

Lindsay Hoyle as Speaker of the House of Commons has been regarded as a decent man and a safe pair of hands for this role, especially after the controversies surrounding his predecessor John Bercow (who has gone on to take part in reality TV, for example The Traitors US).  Lindsay has half his planets (5) in the Fixed signs, indicating a strong will, although his Sun sign Gemini is itself adaptable.  We do not have a birth time for him.  His natal Sun trines Chiron, so he is fundamentally a healer.  The theme for Gemini is Communication, therefore “The Speaker” is almost an Archetype for this sign!  And having Mercury sextile Mars heightens communication in Lindsay’s chart, making him straight talking.  Mercury is his ruling planet and with Mercury trine Jupiter, he is an intelligent and broad-minded being, with deep thinking born of Mercury closely square Pluto.  Venus trine Neptune means he likes the finer things in life – he formerly ran a textile and screen printing business.  Mars exactly sextile Jupiter shows an extravert, energy which is well coordinated with enthusiasm.  He has Mars trine the North Node, so is a warrior in respect of his karmic mission.  Saturn also trines Uranus in his chart, which is a balance between the old and the new – perhaps he thought there should be a new way of doing things, in that moment…

Life and Career

Lindsay was born in Adlington, Lancashire.  His father was Labour MP Doug Hoyle.  He became Labour MP for Chorley in 1997.  During Tony Blair’s premiership he clashed with him on certain issues (e.g. Gibraltar and tuition fees).  He stated:

“I’m not anti-Tony; he made us electable and won three times. But there are principles and promises you don’t break”.

Lindsay took over as Speaker from John Bercow on 4th November 2019, with the transits of Mars trine his natal Sun in Gemini (activating his Speaker Archetype), Uranus sextile his natal Venus (new social vistas) and Uranus square his Uranus (big Change in his life, bearing in mind the Speaker’s official residence is at Speaker’s House, in a corner of the Palace of Westminster).  Hubby and I watch Prime Minister’s Question Time regularly on a Wednesday lunchtime, and I sympathize with Lindsay Hoyle’s constant battle to subdue the hubbub in the Commons.

Tensions are high over the issue of Gaza, and Lindsay said he was worried about threats to his MPs, and so was putting safety concerns foremost.  Explaining the reasons for his self-confessed “mistake” this week, he stated:

“I never ever want to go through a situation where I pick up a phone to find a friend, of whatever side, has been murdered by terrorists”.

His transits this week revealed Neptune sextile his natal Mercury (a finely tuned decision to make) and Pluto square his natal Neptune (a deep and tricky dilemma).

Keir Starmer

Although the broad consensus in the chamber was the desire for a ceasefire in Gaza, the devil resided in the detail being fought over, a province of Keir Starmer’s Sun sign Virgo.  His Sun’s natal forensic conjunction with Pluto being a quality which saw him successful in his earlier role at the head of the CPS.

For Labour, it was an issue of the party being split, and the new amendment was an attempt at unity.  Keir is of the opinion that the SNP try to divide the Labour Party at every turn, but the Gaza issue is one of the utmost seriousness, and it was to be the day the SNP wanted to drive their amendment home.  Keir was accused of leaning heavily on Lindsay, who has to be impartial and keep to the conventions of the House.  Looking at his transits, you can see that while he may not have intended to lean too heavily on Lindsay or be seen to do so, he had a strong hand in Jupiter trine his Sun (luck on his side) and Jupiter trine his natal Pluto (power on his side) which he may even have unconsciously overplayed.  Where the result was harshly experienced, was the trigger of Mars transiting his Saturn, so the result was not congenial all round.

Stephen Flynn

Leader of the Scottish National Party in the House of Commons, Libran Stephen Flynn cuts an elegant figure on Wednesday lunchtimes, sometimes reaching the parts Keir Starmer doesn’t get round to.  His fascinatingly crisp thought and speech, which he delivers in a suave manner, usually with one hand in his pocket, at PMQs, is always worth hearing.  He has the strength of Saturn exactly conjunct his natal Uranus, Pluto exactly trine his North Node in Pisces (his interventions are often poignant); but the steeliness of his delivery sometimes owes much to his square between Mars and Saturn.

This week he turned very angry on Wednesday night, with Pluto sextile his natal Mars (a righteous anger perhaps?).  He has been trying to nail his point about Gaza for weeks.  And although he does get to pose two questions at PMQs, I do tend to think the SNP get a short straw in Parliament.

Penny Mordant

“Penny was all ice.  The theatrical fury of the intellectually compromised. Unable to see that putting all the blame on to Labour and exonerating Lindsay Hoyle was an untenable position…The rights of the SNP.  Mordant has never cared about the SNP.”

~ John Crace

Penny Mordaunt, Leader of the House of Commons, seems to have had a more prominent role in the chaos than PM Rishi Sunak.  She was heroic, carrying the sword at the coronation, but she always looks glum, sitting next to Rishi at PMQs.  The day after the debacle this week, she read the riot act to the assembled parliamentarians, without acknowledging that every section had contributed to the mess.  Her transits paint a picture of her exercising her power, with Pluto on her Jupiter, and Mars sextile her natal Neptune.

Rishi Sunak

“A Tory amendment whose only function was to knock out Labour’s, as there was hardly a cigarette paper between them.”

~ John Crace

Rishi got off relatively lightly compared to the above four participants in the drama.  He later stated that Sir Lindsay’s decision was “very concerning because the usual ways in which Parliament works were changed”.  Rishi’s main transit was Uranus trine his natal Saturn, a strengthening influence.

With the level of discord and uncertainty which accompanied proceedings in parliament this week, it is no wonder that the U.K. is not a great force in solving the situation in the Middle East at this time, though it was reported that we dropped in some aid into the North of Gaza this week by air for the first time, for the relatively few Gazans still living amongst the destroyed buildings.

“Sir Lindsay has made a genuine mistake for the best of reasons…being obsessed with the safety of MPs and their staff”.

~ Sir Charles Walker


There are three distinct phases to this week, broadly improving as we go on:

Two squares – stresses (Sunday to Tuesday)

Three conjunctions – intensity (Wednesday to

Three sextiles – ease (Thursday and Friday)

We start the week with a square between Venus and Jupiter in the early hours of Sunday morning (25th).  As squares go, it is relatively harmless, being composed of the two benefic planets.  This is a very social and sociable aspect, but can be gauche, awkward, or inappropriate.  Social non-conformists won’t care, but conformists may lament the lack of sticking to the rules.

Mars squares Jupiter on Tuesday (27th), which is sheer over-the-top enthusiasm allied with energy. This aspect can bring spirited exchanges or sporting achievements, but there is a possible hint of damage through lack of control.

We then go on to the three conjunctions occurring on Wednesday (28th) which are in effect a triple conjunction.  At breakfast time the Sun conjoins with Mercury at 9 degrees Pisces and you may become aware of deeper issues, such as the compassionate implications of things.  The Sun and Mercury together may come up with some insightful solutions, rekindling hope and allowing glimpses of light at the end of tunnels.

The following two conjunctions are not so easy in their components, although as I say they are part of a triple conjunction.  Next up is Mercury conjunct Saturn in the afternoon.  This is likely to prompt communications of a serious nature.  You may have found yourself attending to minute detail, or scrutinizing something, perhaps with a view to solving a problem.

The evening conjunction, that of the Sun with Saturn, is also serious in nature.  It’s a cautionary note.  Take note of the area/House the triple conjunction falls in your birth chart, if you know it, as that will help you to ascertain the purpose of this event.  There is a great sense of concentration about this conjunction, focussed on practicalities  such as “what can we do about the situation?”  The Saturn part of the equation demands responsibility, commitment, and common sense.

Significant challenges over or dealt with, you can relax more with the next phase of the week.  Three sextiles ensure more ease and harmony.  Firstly, on Thursday (29th), just after breakfast, Mercury sextiles Jupiter.  This sextile encourages mental development and learning (if you are on a course of study, for instance), and is helpful to businesses in need of a lift.  If you are learning a new language, you may experience a shift and take off with it!  It will also be favourable for the teaching profession.  If you are travelling, remember St. Christopher is with you.

Also on that day, Venus sextiles the North Node.  A softer side is brought into our karma, if we need to luxuriate a little or justify a little indulgence.  Expressing more love too, is easier under this aspect.  It’s good for re-establishing warmth in a relationship.

Finally, on Friday (1st March), a splendid sextile is brought to us in the form of the Sun sextile Jupiter.   One to be savoured.  It can bring new hope and joy!  It is one of the brightest  aspects of the year.  Focus on what makes you happy, and make more of that.  It may bring the return of an enjoyable leisure pursuit.

The week in bullet points:

  • Sunday – awkward social situations
  • Tuesday – over the top energy
  • Wednesday – intense: precision, cautious thinking and feeling
  • Thursday – expansive minds; karmic social rewards
  • Friday – luck, hope and joy


Aspects for the week beginning 18 February 2024

Alexei Navalny (1976 – 2024)

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing”

~ Alexei Navalny

We learned on Friday of the death at the age of 47 of that bravest of men, Alexei Navalny, who dared to stand up to Vladimir Putin, in the hope of keeping democracy alive and possibly being a contender for his replacement.  He identified fear as being the stumbling block, and urged people to never give up.

On Friday evening’s Newsnight (a programme they should not be axing) an array of experts appeared, speculating on what had happened.  They ranged from a Russian arguing that the Ukrainians killed him, to another expert positing that he died of natural causes.  The widow of Alexander Litvinenko was there, who had lost her husband to poisoning.  One stated it was definitely murder.  It was pointed out that his prison, within the Arctic circle, was extremely cold.  Georgian-Russian writer Boris Akunin told us that Navalny’s relationship with his wife was a story of true love, and described Navalny as the Nelson Mandela of Russia.  Speculation yesterday included the theory that Alexei appearing the day before in jail joking, was a taunt to Putin, and may have evoked an order to kill.  There was also the timing with the Munich security conference, at which Yulia spoke with great dignity after the rumour of his death.

His death was confirmed yesterday, but his mother was unable to gain access to his body, so the current mystery is the whereabouts of his body, and what would it reveal about the manner of his death.

I start this blog with some observations from my original blog of 2020, when he was poisoned with Novichok, and then continue to follow the story, through his documentary of 2022 and his return to Russia, and look at the amazing woman he married and their bond.

Birth Chart

“We are fortunate to have a birth time for this Russian opposition leader, a man of great courage.  He has the Sun in Gemini conjunct Venus, so inspires genuine devotion among his allies.  The Sun in his chart is sextile Mars, showing the brave warrior.  Venus exactly sextile Mars gives him great charisma.  Neptune closely opposite Sun/Venus shows the often subversive nature of his work, but his strength comes from the Sun/Venus trine Pluto, imbuing him with a deep sense of purpose and powerful allegiances.  The Moon is closely sextile his Midheaven: he is for the people in his career  – two of the political movements he has been associated with have been named “The People” and “The People’s Alliance”.  He has been endangered and injured during the course of his career, and has Chiron, South Node, Jupiter and Mercury in the 8th House of death – hopefully he can cheat death on this occasion.  He has a powerhouse of energy and enthusiasm, from Mars square to Jupiter and sextile Pluto.  But Mars square exactly to the Nodal Axis means he is constantly pitted against danger in his karmic path.  Saturn square Uranus has also brought personal earthquakes.  That he has great faith in himself comes from Jupiter on his South Node in Scorpio, a never-say-die attitude brought in from past life experiences.  The not inconsiderable healing challenges brought about by the injuries inflicted by his enemies, may be shown by Saturn in 11th House exactly square Chiron in 8th House.  His Rebel Archetype comes through in his conjunction of Uranus with the  North Node.” [2020]

Life and Career

“Navalny was born in the Ukraine, and gained a law degree from the People’s Friendship University of Russia. He is married and has two children.  He has for many years fought against the corruption of Putin’s leadership in Russia, describing the ruling party in 2011 as a “party of crooks and thieves”.  He has been arrested and imprisoned several times for his activities (with his natal Moon in 12th House of imprisonment).

In 2007 he co-founded a new political movement which he called “The People”.  The transits for that statement of political intent were triggered by Mars, but also included Jupiter conjunct his natal Neptune in Sagittarius in his 3rd House (an expression of his idealism) and Pluto conjunct by transit exactly his natal I.C. in Sagittarius also in his 3rd House (a deep expression of how he saw the right foundations for society).  “The People” joined forces with other nationalistic movements the following year, but in 2011 he admitted that the venture had not succeeded in practice.  By 2012 there were moves afoot by his comrades to create a new vehicle for his political path, but he took a low profile in order not to endanger these efforts.  He was elected leader of a new party (which had to change its name a few times) in November 2013, when he was literally flying in the face of opposition astrologically, with Saturn opposite his natal Jupiter, Uranus opposite his natal Pluto exact to the day, Pluto exactly square his natal Pluto.  Blocks were immediately put up by the government towards the new party’s political ambitions, for example the Ministry of Justice deprived the party of its registration.

On 27th June 2017 Navalny was attacked in the street outside his office and his face was sprayed with some toxic substances, an attack which he attributed to the Kremlin.  He lost 80% of the sight in his right eye.  At that time, Neptune (toxin) was square his natal Sun in Gemini, and the North Node was transiting his natal Moon in Virgo in 12th House.

In the Moscow City Duma Elections in 2019, Navalny supported various independent candidates.  He was arrested in July and then hospitalized briefly for damaged eyes and skin, before being sent back to prison.  An ophthalmologist suspected his condition was due to a chemical attack.  On this occasion, Mars was square his natal Jupiter, and Jupiter was opposite his natal Sun.” [2020]

Relationship with Putin

“Navalny’s personal relationship with Vladimir Putin includes an exact square between their Moons (a clash in the way they see the people and society).  Comparing Navalny’s chart to that of Russia itself, Navalny’s Uranus is exactly sextile Russia’s Sun (his destiny to try and shake up the old regimes), his Mars trine its Mercury (his destiny to stimulate thought), his Sun square its Jupiter (his individuality challenging complacency) and his Jupiter trine its Neptune (his appeal to true spirituality).  The transits for Russia of the current [2020] poisoning include: Uranus trine its North Node (an agent of change, towards its karma) and Pluto sextile its Venus (also an agent of transformation, towards its humanity).  But Putin is still firmly at its helm.” [2020]

2022 Storyville Documentary”Navalny”

This film premiered on January 25, 2022 at the Sundance Film Festival, a year after he returned to Russia, when transiting Uranus was on his South Node.  It is 1 hour and 34 minutes long, and was broadcast again on Friday night.  It’s apparently available to watch for 28 more days.  It is hard to watch at times, but extraordinary in showing Navalny’s resilience.  It showed Navalny, after recovering from the poisoning by novichok, working to uncover the truth about the poisoning, and obtaining crucial information by telephone from a chemist Kudryavtsev. Then it showed him preparing for his return to Russia.  The film proved to be an eye-opener for the west.

Return to Russia

Navalny returned to Russia, against the wishes of his supporters, to certain re-arrest on 17th January 2021.  Amnesty International declared him to be a prisoner of conscience.  On that exact day, transiting Saturn came to square his natal Uranus in Scorpio in his 2nd House, representing a hazardous act of defiance.  For his wife Yulia, who accompanied him and poignantly kissed him goodbye at passport control, her hand was forced (Mars squaring her natal Saturn) and matters were taken out of her hands (Uranus squaring her natal Saturn).

Yulia Navalnya

Theirs was undoubtedly a strong marriage.  Their synastry shows her Mercury conjoins with his Mars (she has a supportive mental interest in his fight), her Mars squares his Venus (a romantic spark), her Mars sextiles his North Node (her inner warrior is on track with his karmic mission) and her Pluto trines his Venus (a deep love).  They have a daughter Dasha and a son Zakhar.

Her own birth chart is very interesting.  They were born within a few weeks of each other in the same year.  She is an economist, and has a superbly literate exact conjunction between Mercury and Venus which is exactly trine her Neptune, giving her exquisite sensibility.  In the documentary, they joke about the fact that she is the best chess player in the family, and in fact she does have the Strategist Archetype, in the form of Saturn sextile Pluto, in her chart.  She also has the North Node conjunct Uranus (the Rebel karmic mission) and the Sun exactly square Chiron (she is no stranger to crisis).

His last few weeks

On 11 December 2023, Navalny was declared to have been out of contact for six days.  Neptune at that time was sextile his natal Mercury (mystery surrounding communication) and Pluto trine his Ascendant (his life in a state of flux).  He had apparently been removed from the penal colony where he had been situated.  It was reported on 15th December that he was moving to a harsher prison, and this was under the same transits as the previous week or two.  He was moved to the harsher facility, where he would face his demise, by 25th December, with Saturn trine his natal Uranus, the previous transits still operational, joined by two harsh transits from Pluto (Pluto opposite his Saturn, and square his natal Chiron).  On Friday we learned that he had gone out for a walk and collapsed, and that they could not revive him.  The time of death has been given at 2.17 p.m., which would put last week’s explosive Mars/Pluto conjunction was opposite the Ascendant [on the day of the conjunction last week, the shootings at the Super Bowl Parade took place].

At his death, Navalny’s main transit was the difficult opposition of Pluto to his natal Saturn in Cancer in 11th House.  For Yulia, Pluto (death) was exactly opposite her Sun (significant man in her life) and Mars (violence) square her natal Uranus (shock).

It remains to be seen how she will sculpt her future without her heroic and charismatic husband (he had Mars exactly sextile Venus).  She joins Litvinenko’s widow and the spouses of others who have met their ends through their opposition to Putin.  His cheerfulness in the face of his impossible position was remarkable.  In his faith, he started as an atheist but later joined the Russian Orthodox Church, crediting that with making him feel “a part of something large and universal”.  Many have laid flowers for him in Russia, despite also a number of arrests for showing support for him.  He holds a unique place in history, and in our hearts.


In the small hours of tomorrow (Monday 19th) the Sun enters Pisces.  We become more introspective and aware of our deeper emotions with the Sun in Pisces.  We become more aware of the sentience and oneness of all life.  The Sun in that sign shines a light on such matters.  It is our final stage of quietude and incubation before the Spring arrives in a month’s time.  Hang on, though…we have spotted a mass of blossom emerging on the trees already, this February week.  We all know why.

Later in the day, Chiron conjoins with the North Node, or at least comes into orbit with it.  Chiron ephemerides differ, as do those of the Mean and True Nodes, and so you could say that the next fortnight or so is the season for this conjunction, to bear in mind.  Here in this conjunction, the potential for crisis or healing combines with collective karma.  For example, we may see groundbreaking health innovations during this time, or international crisis talks about the state of the world (for Ukraine, the Middle East, or about Putin).  In our own lives, we may be shown where we next have the need to focus our healing efforts.

An easier conjunction to navigate occurs on Thursday (22nd), in the shape of Venus with Mars.  This is the most romantic day of the week, if you missed out on Valentine’s Day.  Tell those you love how you feel about them, and tell yourself how you feel about yourself (hopefully that will be a positive!).  Enjoy the moment.

Friday (23rd) sees Mercury enter Pisces at breakfast time, bringing the mental focus on to compassion, as applied to the most vulnerable in our society.  The focus in the world right now is very much focussed on what is and will be happening in Gaza.  It is a good time to apply your mind to wider perspectives and solutions generally, and those that can turn compassion into practical action.  Mercury is in this sign until 10th March.

The emotion may build, towards lunch time on Saturday (24th), as we approach the Full Moon at 5 degrees Virgo at that time.  There may be some strangeness in the air, building up from the previous evening, resulting in insomnia for some.  Things may not be all they seem, and emotions may be running high.  Or people may be looking industrious, but underneath their desks they may be paddling nervously. If you have health issues, or ecological interests, focus on your best outcomes, and release negativity and paranoia.

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – introspection; healing avenues
  • Thursday – sensuality
  • Friday – compassion
  • Saturday – emotional high tide


Aspects for the week beginning 11 February 2024

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce

“No one is more influential when it comes to writing music today”.

~ National music Publishers’ Association, 2021

The power couple of the moment is singer-songwriter Taylor Swift and her American football star Travis Kelce.  Taylor is on tour in Japan, flying back to America tonight for her boyfriend’s appearance at the Super Bowl.  To add to the anticipation, Republicans are nervous in case she endorses Biden at the event.

Birth Chart

We have a birth time for Taylor of 5.17 a.m. West Reading, Pennsylvania, but it is not wholly reliable, so I will use it with circumspection.  Where does her stupendous success lie in her birth chart?  Taylor has over half (6) of her planets in the Cardinal signs, marking her out as a leader, which she is in many ways.  She has the Sun in Sagittarius, but unaspected, making her very individualistic. An exception is a karmic sextile to her Sun from the North Node, so she may be driven by destiny.  She has a fascination for storytelling, and one of the Archetypes for Sagittarius is The Storyteller.  Venus is also unaspected, making her a free spirit in terms of relationship.  She has three planets in Cancer opposing four planets in Capricorn, a balancing act but powerful when mastered.  Mercury is opposite Jupiter, giving her an interesting breadth of mind, but with Mercury also conjunct Saturn, at the same time the ability to focus.  Mental brilliance comes from Mercury conjunct Uranus, and the ability to channel from a conjunction of Mercury and Neptune.  She has Mars rising within a degree of her Ascendant, in the 1st House, which is part of her charisma and fighting spirit.  Jupiter opposes Uranus, a sign of entrepreneurship.  There is also a healing conjunction of Jupiter and Chiron, plus a super strong sextile between Saturn and Pluto.  She can deal with complexity (Uranus conjunct Neptune) and deep healing (Pluto closely trine Chiron).  Altogether a strong suit of aspects.  If the birthtime is accurate, there is a success career path shown in three trines and a sextile to her Midheaven (careerpoint).

Life and Career

Swift’s parents were very supportive of her ambition (Saturn trine her natal Midheaven), and she began song-writing professionally at the age of 14.  By 2005 she had signed with a record label, Big Machine Records.  She was heavily influenced by the country music genre (Shania Twain being a favourite), and her first album “Taylor Swift” was released in 2006, but by 2014 (the year when she moved to New York after living in Nashville) she had departed from this genre with her fifth album “1989” (which was her birth year).  I have not followed her music, but recognize at least one tune from that album, “Shake it Off”.  I happened to see another of her songs from that album, the satirical “Blank Space”, on BBC TV last night.  She effectively strutted through the performance with great stage presence, accompanied by a vast audience who sang every line of the song with her.  Harvard University has her lyrics as part of their curriculum, entitled “Taylor Swift and her World”, acknowledging the phenomenon that she is.  She has sold 200 million records, and became the first billionaire who had music as the main source of income. Her career is studded with awards (literally too numerous to mention), and only this month she won two Grammy Awards for her 2022 album “Midnight”.  Critics have praised her work for its honesty (which is a core Sagittarian trait), intelligence, idealism and vulnerability.

A Bold Move

2014 proved to be an important year for Taylor Swift altogether, with her Progressed Sun sextile her natal Pluto in Scorpio (a play of power).  In November of that year, she removed her catalogue from Spotify, as its practices damaged royalties due to songwriters.  Among the transits in this important action, were Jupiter (her ruling planet) exactly trine her natal Sun (an expectation of success) and Uranus square her natal Saturn (freeing herself through Uranus, form authority/institution as represented by Saturn).  In the following June (2015) she spoke out again on the issue of the unfairness to artists, Apple Inc. announced a change in policy promising to pay artists during the free trial period, and Swift then allowed her new album 1989 on to the streaming service.  In June 2017 she returned her catalogue to Spotify.  She proved her power, and her worth as a mover and shaker in the industry.


Her unaspected Venus may say something about this area of her life.  Relationships are all good fodder for songwriting, and Taylor Swift has had a stream of boyfriends, including Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal, Calvin Harris, Tom Hiddleston, Matt Healy and Joe Alwyn.  Most of the relationships were short lived, except for the six year relationship with Joe Alwyn.  And so to Travis Kelce…

Travis Kelce

Taylor Swift started dating Travis, an American football “tight end”, last year (2023).  His team the Kansas City Chiefs are playing at the Super Bowl tonight.  Travis is a Libran,  born 2 months before Taylor in the same year, so there are some similarities in their charts, which makes them comfortable with each other, and mutually understanding.  Both have 6 Cardinal planets, so both are leaders.  He has Mars closely conjunct the Sun: an athlete and warrior (and car collector, another province of Mars).  His Moon, which represents females in his life, is in Sagittarius, Taylor’s sign.  With Mercury sextile Venus, he may be good with words, which is something Taylor may appreciate.  Mars notably exactly square to Jupiter gives him over the top energy.  He has a difficult Cardinal T-square composed of Saturn/Neptune opposing Chiron/Jupiter and square Sun/Mars.  Like Taylor, he has Jupiter opposite Saturn,  Jupiter exactly opp Neptune, and Jupiter conjunct Chiron.  Also like Taylor, he has Saturn closely conjunct Neptune, and Pluto closely trine Chiron.  Additionally, he has a conjunction of Saturn and Uranus.  Apparently, Kelce was one of the highest-profile white NFL players to take the knee during the National Anthem in 2017 in protest.

His liaison with Taylor Swift has raised the profile of his sport in America.  As well as having many birth chart features in common, they also have a higher than average number of interaspects in their Synastry.  In particular, her Mars keys into his Mercury-Venus sextile, which is a great personal mutual attraction.

Transits for the Super Bowl

For Taylor Swift

Taylor has transiting Jupiter trine her natal Mercury – flying across the world (her flights controversially tracked by Jack Sweeney)!  She also has a lucky sextile between transiting Jupiter and her natal Jupiter, and a career-enhancing trine from Jupiter to her natal Midheaven (if the birth time we have is accurate).  This makes for a memorable time!

For Travis Kelce

He has mixed transits.  His play may be steady, with Jupiter trine his natal Saturn and Saturn sextile his natal Saturn (exact to the day).  Neptune trines his Venus (glamour attached to the proceedings) but Neptune opposing his natal Mercury (some self-delusion).

For Mahomes

Hopes for his team rest to a great extent on Mahomes, the quarterback in the Kansas City Chiefs.  His team has a chance “to become the first team in 20 years to win back-to-back Super Bowls” according to Andrew Lawrence in this morning’s Observer Sports pages.  The transits for this Virgoan include an empowering transiting Pluto sextile his natal Pluto, but counterbalanced to that a square from Neptune to his natal Jupiter.  Again, expectations and delusion may be high so indications are it would not be an easy victory, but he has that empowering transit amongst a mixed batch of transits.  Aged 28, he faces his Saturn Return on the 28th May of this year.

For Joe Biden

An endorsement from Taylor Swift (he has Mars flattering his natal Venus with a sextile) would be very welcome, particularly as he has been under fire in recent days for a failing memory.  With transiting Pluto currently squaring his natal Moon, he is under severe emotional strain at this time, which must be a component of his situation.  However, Pluto is also trine his natal Neptune, an underlying strength and wisdom which will help him to endure this period.


This does not look like an easy week, but I am hoping that my guide will provide assistance!  We start on Tuesday with the ingress of Mars into Aquarius in the morning.  This gives us a push to do all we can to improve the conditions of our society, currently beset by the biggest crises in living memory.  Mars in Aquarius is about team spirit, and supporting the underdog.  It will provide us with a very helpful spirit for the undertaking, providing a sense of community and pulling together, and a sense of hope that it will all be worth the effort.  A Mars’ motto is “never say die!”  And while sometimes we may need acceptance and surrender, we all need to keep going and keep strong, and be there for each other.

It is followed, at lunchtime, by the easiest aspect this week (pay attention if you want to get the most out of the week) – that is Venus sextile Neptune.  This aspect can bring soothing waves of serenity, which hopefully you may experience.  People may come more into tune with each other.  New artistic avenues may flourish.

Valentines Day (Wednesday, 14th) holds the most difficult of aspects, that of Mars conjunct Pluto, an aspect which comes up once every two years.  This may spell extreme passion for some, but sounds an alarm bell of conflict for others.  Definitely a day to skirt round those scuffles in the supermarket.  It would be a good day to organize a group meditation if possible.

Friday (16th) is more congenial, with Venus entering Aquarius.  This may lighten the social mood, and you may have some extra mental energy at your disposal, such as the telepathic superpowers of Aquarius through its ruler Uranus.  You will feel more connected to people, but not in a clingy way, more in the mode of a higher evolutionary consciousness.

But the challenges continue on Saturday (17th) with an early morning square between Mercury and Uranus, so be prepared for glitches as you open up your devices first thing.  Back up your computer files (mental note to take my own advice!), and consider I.T. loopholes.  Speech may be controversial.  Use your intuition to be one step ahead – the Universe may be trying to show you new pathways, and possible new perspectives.

At breakfast-time, Venus conjoins with Pluto, introducing a deeper psychological element into the day’s complexities.  There is much more reflection about the enormity of change, and the impact on humanity.  You may need to do some soul-searching in order to have a handle on your feelings.  In your interactions, deep honesty may be required. A strong dose of chamomile tea and lavender may be needed all round.

The week in bullet points:

  • Tuesday – in defence of the underdog; some soothing vibes later
  • Wednesday – take extreme care
  • Friday – a lighter social mood;
  • Saturday – challenging: electrical and IT glitches; deep soul-searching