Last week brought a high death toll for the U.K. in Afghanistan, losses from swine flu, and the loss of the world’s oldest man Henry Allingham, who died of natural causes yesterday.  What was the secret of his longevity?  “Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women” he once joked, but if you were coming into incarnation and wanted a long life, what sort of birthchart could you choose, from what we can glean from his chart?  He had 5 planets in Gemini, which included a conjunction of Sun and Pluto, not an aspect you would normally associate with longevity.  He had witnessed harrowing scenes as a serviceman, but his life force battled through, past the cusps of two centuries.  His close Sun/Neptune conjunction was squared exactly by Saturn at his end.  We do not have a birth time for him but the chart for the time of his departure (excarnation?) shows Pluto exactly opposite the Ascendant.  But as for the most telling aspect depicting his longevity, I would plump for his exact trine between Mercury (his Sun ruler) and Chiron (his inner healer) which were in excellent rapport.  At the other extreme another Gemini Sir Edward Downes chose to end his life in Switzerland, together with his wife Joan who was terminally ill.  At his end, Jupiter was exactly conjuct with his South Node (a karmic choice indeed).  Moving on to present time, the theme of this week is change and surprise, both chosen and imposed (on some level).  The day’s main event is Sun trine Uranus, which ushered in the week just past midnight in the U.K.  It may prompt you to make a big bold statement or resolve to do things differently.  Stagnating on the couch is not going to be allowed today or this week.  Tomorrow (Monday 20th) Mercury in Leo is in sextile conversation with Mars in Gemini.  They talk of cutting edge procedures, are slightly confrontational but stopping short of actual conflict.  They may sizzle with anticipation and excitement, and may not just be all talk, but could rise to action.  On the following evening, Tuesday (21st) Venus squares Saturn, which is a whole different conversation, on a feminine and feeling level.  It’s a conversation which acknowledges loss, and is the first step towards coming to terms.  Just a few hours later, in the early hours of the morning in the U.K. Wednesday (22nd) we have an eclipse of the Sun, and a New Moon in the last degree of Cancer.  In the afternoon of the same day, the Sun enters Leo.  All this activity around the cusp of Cancer and Leo is about creating, self-creating and co-creating; parenting, self-parenting and co-parenting.  There is also an element of  nurture and nourishment.   Something or someone may come up from the past.  If your birthday is around this time, the eclipse is going to be even more meaningful to you than most.  Eclipses in general can be turning points: the end of something and the beginning of something else.  Like the end of cynicism and the beginning of innocence.  I have a mandala on my Poetry page which I painted earlier to represent the cusp of Cancer and Leo, and also a poem written many years ago on the Cancerian New Moon.  The experience of the eclipse, though it happens mid-week, may resonate through the rest of the week and beyond (they often shape events for months to come)…Your own experience may hold the soulfulness of the sign of Cancer, the joyfulness of the sign of Leo, or it could be both.