(A tale of two Russian fathers and daughters)

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

Sergei Skripal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Georgi Markov

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

Russian Elections

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

Ksenia Sobchak

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

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

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


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

In a reassuring Guardian leader yesterday, we were told:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The week in bullet points:

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