Heroes of the Week

Maya Angelou

“But a bird that stalks

down his narrow cage

can seldom see through

his bars of rage

his wings are clipped and

his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.”

~ Maya Angelou

It is ironic that Maya Angelou, author of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” has died in the same week that Michael Gove has pushed through his  recommendations that British schoolchildren should only study British texts – a retrograde step if ever I heard one.  We need to hear voices from other parts of the world, and expand our consciousness, not to narrow it

When I was at University in the early 1970s I studied American Negro history (it might be called something else now).  This included the literature of Langston Hughes, Richard Wrght and James Baldwin, but it was just after Maya Angelou had published her first autobiographical novel and before she appeared on a syllabus.  Her work was on the curriculum by the time my eldest daughter studied A Level English.

Neptune rising in her chart makes for a highly sensitive individual who may have difficulties with boundaries, especially early in life.  Her Ascendant is in Leo (at 6 foot tall) and she was a performer in many facets of the Arts.

Her courage (shown by Mars opposite the Ascendant) is combined with her great sensitivity (Mars/Descendant opposing  Neptune/Ascendant).  This warriorship gives rise to the various themes of her writing and activism:  the pain and injustice of racism, and rape, and her philosophies of endurance and affirmation of life.  It was James Baldwin himself who encouraged her to write her first and seminal work.

Two other conjunctions stand out in her chart:-

Sun conjunct Jupiter – a positive philosophy

Mercury conjunct Venus – the Writer Archetype

Two wonderfully expressive conjunctions, but nothing came easily  because both are “caged” (Sun/Jupiter is squared by Pluto, and Mercury/Venus is squared by Saturn).

However, she was destined to endear herself to humanity, with Moon (the people) trine her North Node (karmic mission).

Her Saturn in Sagittarius is another metaphor for the caged (Saturn) bird of freedom (Sagittarius). Her work and her message are very relevant this year as Saturn reaches the end of Scorpio and enters Sagittarius on 23rd December.  I remember when Saturn last entered Sagittarius in 1985 it registered instantly with me as a sense of wings being clipped, a pinning down of that natural Sagittarius expansion.  All things of course happen for a reason and in right timing, we discover later.  Such an experience can help concentrate (Saturn)  the higher mind (Sagittarius) and produce literature which in Maya Angelou’s case  carries the essence of wisdom. Her first book would therefore make an ideal stocking filler at the end of this year.

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them…” ~ Maya Angelou

Stephen Sutton

A very different hero here in the U.K. this week found a few minutes of fame at the end of his life, but made a huge impact.  Stephen Sutton, dying of cancer in his hospital bed, endeared himself to the masses on social media, and raised 4 and a half million pounds in a short space of time for the teenage cancer charity he sponsored (The Teenage Cancer Trust).  He received a huge send off last week, with a wave of thumbs raised.  His attitude to life was extremely positive, and he was relentlessly joyful about life.  Humour was a marked characteristic of his communications, along with courage.   Like Maya Angelou, his soul was irrepressible.

In looking at his chart we can start with his Sun sign Sagittarius, an equivalent to Maya Angelou’s  Sun closely conjunct Jupiter: a naturally positive thinker, with a philosophical view of life.  Mars squares exactly Jupiter in his chart, giving him extremely enthusiastic energy.  Love is his karmic mission (Venus closely conjunct North Node) in Scorpio (achieved just before his death).  Jupiter in its own sign of Sagittarius (magnifying the positivity) conjuncts Pluto in its own sign of Scorpio (emphasizing the death experience, as a vehicle for the positivity to flow).  This conjunction is enormously powerful, and is squared by Mars, showing the poignancy and pain of its expression in his life.  Chiron squares his natal Sun/Mercury, indicating the severity of his wound which took him at such a young age.  Pluto was exactly sextile his North Node when he died, showing that he had profoundly expressed his mission.

“Life isn’t measured in time, it’s measured in achievements” ~ Stephen Sutton


The aspects this week consist of two sextiles followed by a change of direction by our friend Mercury.

The first sextile appears on Wednesday (4th) so the intervening time can be spent, if you wish, making the most of Saturday’s (31st) trine between Mars and the Sun and preparing for Wednesday’s sextile between Venus and Neptune.  Purposeful action can occupy you till Monday therefore, and then a more passive reception of inspiration from Monday to Wednesday.  The crossover moment between may be characterized by a blend of the two: burn-out from overdoing things, and a quiet insistence from the Soul to sit still and listen.

So on to Wednesday (4th) and the first of the two sextiles, that between Venus and Neptune.  This favours any activities which are Venusian in nature that you wish to take up, then incorporating a spiritual dimension.  Venus represents a wide range of pursuits and qualities, and its heightening by Neptune creates a variety of possibilities:

Love (Venus) combined with Compassion (Neptune)

Money (Venus) with Limitlessness (Neptune)

Gardening (Venus) with Spiritual awareness (Neptune)

Relationship (Venus) with a Spiritual bond (Neptune)

Artistic creation (Venus) with Inspiration (Neptune)

Musical expression (Venus) with Upliftment (Neptune)

You may already know what path you are approaching for Wednesday and where you can look for the source of spiritual energy or input.

A different sextile (Sun with Uranus) presents on Friday (6th).  There is a strong creative theme from the Sun, but it is combined with a desire for change (Uranus).  This can produce innovation in Engineering, I.T.,  original creativity, stunning performance art, and high energy for your chosen activity.  It’s also good for networking.  Pass the star shaped canapés, please!

Saturday (7th) brings a reversal of direction by Mercury, standing still before turning retrograde.  Make a special effort to express your communications clearly for the rest of the month.

For a refreshing take on Mercury retrograde read Larry Schwimmer’s post on the subject:


The week in bullet points:

  • Wednesday – art and inspiration
  • Friday – creativity and originality
  • Saturday – trying to get your communications straight