Alan Turing

Voted Greatest Icon of 20th Century

“There should be no question in anyone’s mind that Turing’s work was the biggest factor in Hut 8’s success. In the early days, he was the only cryptographer who thought the problem worth tackling”

~ Hugh Alexander

This week cryptanalyst Alan Turing was voted Greatest Icon in 20th Century.  In 2002 Winston Churchill was voted Greatest Briton, from a list of 100 on which Alan Turing featured as number 21.  Alan Turing’s profile has since risen, with a detailed biography by Andrew Hodges and a film “The Imitation Game” made from the book, “Enigma”.  Both men were inextricably linked in the task of saving our country and the fate of others in World War II.  With the Sun in Cancer, it seems fitting that Alan Turing’s greatest service was to his home country.

Birth Chart

Alan Turing’s vital statistics (astrologically) were Sun in Cancer, Ascendant in Gemini and Moon in Libra. His Sun was conjunct Pluto, depicting one who was psychologically deep and faced huge inner challenges.

His Moon was sextile Mars and square Neptune, increasing the emotional content of his birth chart.  It was also closely conjunct the South Node in Libra in 5th House.  Mercury was conjunct the Sun, and more tellingly, trine his Chiron, a problem-solving, code-cracking trine.  His Venus was exactly conjunct Pluto, so his feelings could sometimes be volcanic.  Saturn was trine Uranus in his chart, enabling him to bring together the old and the new.  Another key factor in his chart was Uranus conjunct exactly with the Midheaven, showing brilliance in a scientific and technological career.

Early Life

Alan was born in Maida Vale at a time when his father Julius Turing was back in England temporarily from his post in the Indian Civil Service. On his mother’s side her grandfather’s second cousin had been George Johnstone Stoney, a famous Irish scientist.  His Pluto was sextile Alan’s Midheaven, so there may have been an astrological legacy there for his scientific future.

He was educated at Sherborne in Dorset at a school which was at odds with his natural talent, favouring the classics over science, to an extent that he was discouraged from pursuing his chosen subject.  However, he went on to win a place at King’s College Cambridge.

Christopher Morcrom

While still at Sherborne he developed a strong bond with a fellow student, Christopher Morcrom, who helped bring through his talent and passion for science.  Their relationship was a key component in Alan’s emotional history.  They were both Cancerian; Christopher had Mars sextile Alan’s Venus, an attraction, and there was also a powerful magnetism of Christopher’s Mars sextile Alan’s Pluto.

Sadly, Morcron died suddenly from complications from bovine tuberculosis (on 13th February 1930), and this was a great shock and loss to Alan.

Some of the effects on Alan show up in his transits at the time:  Saturn opposed his natal Mercury (sadness), Uranus squared his Mercury (shock), and Pluto exactly squared his natal Nodal Axis (karmically affected by a death).

The biography quotes from a letter he wrote to his mother at the time, feeling that destiny was calling him to continue their work together on his own: “I feel sure that I shall meet Morcom again somewhere and that there will be some work for us to do together, and as I believed there was for us to do here”.

Christopher’s mother recorded in her diary how Mrs Turing had called in on her: “We talked nearly all the time about Chris and she told me how much he had influenced Alan and how Alan thought he was still working with him and helping him”.


At Cambridge, Alan gained a first-class honours degree in mathematics.  He then continued to pursue an academic path at Princeton University in the U.S.  At the approach to World War II from September 1938 he began working part time at Bletchley Park, the codebreaking centre working on analysing German codes.  The day after the outbreak of war, he joined them full time, working and for a time leading the effort at Hut 8 to crack the codes for the Enigma machine, which had been invented in Germany at the end of the first World War by Arthur Scherbius.  At the time, Saturn was sextile his natal Sun (responsibility) and Pluto on his I.C. (founding a profound life’s work).  The efforts of the group at Bletchley Park contributed greatly to the prediction of the movements of the German navy in particular.

Joan Clarke

On 17th June 1940 another Cancerian arrived in his life, Joan Clarke, another mathematician and cryptanalyst, whose intellect won her a position in the team. In their synastry, Their Suns were conjunct, his Nodal Axis was square her Venus (romantic karma), and his Saturn was on her Jupiter (she was able to give him encouragement). Their friendship grew, enjoying chess and bike rides together, and in 1941 Alan proposed marriage and she accepted.  Eventually, he broke off the engagement deciding he could not go through with the marriage, despite her knowledge and acceptance of his homosexuality.

Winston Churchill

Just after the end of 1940 the efforts of the cryptanalysts began to pay off.  Appreciating the potential of their work, Winston Churchill paid a visit to Bletchley Park in the summer of 1941.  He gave the workers there a pep talk, and was introduced to Alan Turing [thus the greatest Briton of the 20th Century was introduced to the greatest Icon!].  The work had been lacking recognition and resources, and it was hoped that the visit from Churchill would make a difference to their working conditions.  But time dragged on without that hoped for change, and on 21st October 1941, Alan wrote to Winston about the work being held up.  Because of the secrecy of the work, there was no direct acknowledgement, but the help came through and the work was expedited.

The transits for Alan at this important moment of time were: Mars sextile his Midheaven (seizing the initiative); Saturn trine his Neptune (bringing reality to an ideal); Pluto trine his Sun (a deeply felt truth) and Pluto square his natal Neptune – sensing peril in the world.

The transits for Winston at the time were also galvanizing: Uranus was square his Moon (electrifying his emotions); the North Node was trine his Pluto  (a karmic urging) and Uranus trine his Ascendant (again, electrifying).

Bearing in mind their unique collaboration in history, what was the synastry between the two men?  Turing’s Jupiter is exactly conjunct Winston Sun, bringing him luck, Turing’s Moon was exactly conjunct Winston Mars (a shared motivation), Turing’s Neptune was exactly square Winston’s Jupiter (a spiritual challenge), and Turing’s Mars was on Winston’s Uranus (an encouragement to action).

By 1943, Turing’s role at Bletchley had been completed, but the work curtailed the war by more than two years and saved over 14 million lives.

After Bletchley

Alan’s secret mission was completed, but as a scientist and mathematician he extended his work to include more groundbreaking invention which further sealed his place in history.  Drawing on others who came before him in his field, such as Charles Babbage and Countess Ada Lovelace, he in effect invented the modern computer, computer programming and artificial intelligence, which are so much a part of our modern age.  He was awarded an O.B.E. by King George VI in 1946, even though his work had been in secret.


Turing made no secret of his homosexuality, even though in his time it was illegal.  However, he was targeted by the British government when in late 1951 and early 1952 he began a relationship with Arnold Murray and was subsequently prosecuted for “gross indecency”.  His case was heard on 31st March 1952.  Jupiter was square his Neptune at the time, which might have contributed some spiritual angst.  He was advised to plead guilty, and opted for chemical castration instead of prison, which disastrous effects.  It seems inhuman that he was given that choice and it was coldheartedly implemented.


Alan Turing was found dead on 8th June 1954, the cause thought to be suicide by cyanide poisoning, but some room was left for the possibility that it was accidental.  The transits at the time were:- Mars opp Pluto (possible violence against the self); Saturn square his natal Uranus/Midheaven (desperate measures), and Neptune square his Neptune (extreme confusion and poisoning).

Reputation Restored

Partly because he work during the Second World War was so low profile, Alan did not get due recognition for it until much later.  Certainly he did not become a household name until this century.  In 2009 Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a public apology on behalf of the British government, and in 2013 Queen Elizabeth granted him a posthumous pardon.  The book “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges was published in 2014, and the film “The Imitation Game” was released on 28th November 2014.  His posthumous transits for this week included Jupiter (recognition) trine his natal North Node (a karmic reward finally coming through).

“There was always a sense of this immense power and of his ability to tackle every problem, and always from first principles”

~ Peter Hilton

Bibliography: “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges


There is just the one aspect this week, accompanied by two ingresses.

The first ingress occurs today, with Mercury entering Pisces.  Mercury stays in Pisces until 17th April, a longer than usual stay in a sign by his standards, because there is a retrograde period occurring during that time.  One of the features of this placement is mental confusion, and of course we have the Brexit transition due to occur in this period.  Strange to tell, Mercury goes Direct on the purported day of Brexit itself, 29th March.  Countries, businesses, and ordinary folk do not know where they stand at the moment, with no firm plan in sight.  Every astrological feature of course has its positive as well as negative side, so the upside of Mercury in Pisces is more imaginative thinking (hopefully by politicians) but also in private lives.  There is also more creativity and inspiration, so it is not all confusion.  There may be times it is hard to focus, and you may feel your mind is “elsewhere” (which may be on other planes of light, sorting through possibilities).  So bring that inspiration down, and attempt to do something practical with it.

Wednesday features the only actual aspect of the week, a conjunction between Mars and Uranus, at 29 degrees Aries.  That is very focussed action, sometimes conducted at lightning speed.  It favours engineering, mechanics and science, and could be explosive if the energy is not harnessed with some sense of control.  The energies could be very galvanizing.   This conjunction makes a statement, and even more so by virtue of its position at the very end of Aries – a parting gesture, perhaps.  It is very dynamic, and with Mars about to enter Taurus there is a feeling of action needed now or there will be delay, or significantly slower progress. Uranus enters Taurus next month, which will also create more change, and enforce more contemplation.  It is currently opposite Theresa May’s Neptune.  However, next week Chiron will enter Aries (more of that later) which brings a new and different urgency to solving problems.  At the end of March, Chiron will be trine Theresa May’s North Node, a karmic reckoning.

The slowing down of Mars entering Taurus then occurs on Thursday (14th), Valentine’s Day, at 10.51 a.m. in the U.K.  If you are going to do any rushing around, complete it by that time!  Then take the day slowly, and savour the difference in energy.  Martian types (for example Ariens) may feel that they are straining on the leash, frustrated or impatient.  Venusian types (for example Taureans and Librans) may feel an influx of energy and a sense of purpose.   John Gray’s  adage “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” may get a little mixed up, as some people may be acting out of their gender roles.  On the romantic side, it could be a day of  fluctuating feelings, but it is certainly a demonstrative day with a mix of perplexity and sensuality.   Gentleness wins the day though, not the bull in a china shop approach.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – soft-focus, mentally
  • Wednesday – impulsive
  • Thursday – a gentler approach