Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s plight has newly come to our attention this week, in a stark reminder of how desperate her situation is  The Iranian mother was detained on 3rd April 2016, and was held in an Iranian prison almost continuously until 20th March this year, when the coronavirus crisis began to affect the country.  Since then she has been under house arrest at her parents’ home, but separated from her husband Richard and her daughter Gabriella. In an announcement on Tuesday, the Iranian government said they wanted her to undergo a re-trial and face further charges, despite the fact that she has served four of her five years.

Birth Charts

Astrologers were originally working with a birth date of 16th September 1978 (no birth time) for Nazanin.  Wikipedia now gives as her birth date 26th December 1978.  In checking her history, there are several occasions where the first birth date seems very relevant, so I am reluctant to give that up altogether, and will refer to both for the time being.

For the September birthdate, Nazanin would be Sun in Virgo, born on a Full Moon (attracting strong reactions from others).  Jupiter (luck and freedom) in this chart has three squares.

For the December birthdate, Nazanin has Sun in Capricorn (the sign of the Scapegoat) conjunct the warrior planet Mars, but with Moon conjunct Venus (at the same time great gentleness).  The Sun trines Chiron exactly in this chart, highlighting healing, and may show her resilience.  This chart also has Mercury trine Jupiter (widely travelled, with a facility for languages / journalism).


Nazanin visited Iran with her daughter Gabriella on 17 March 2016, and was detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard when she tried to return to England on 3rd April 2016.

The relevant transits for her journey to Iran were: for the September chart Saturn on her natal Neptune, and for the December chart Uranus opposite her natal Pluto, both signalling difficulties.

The transits for the detention are more descriptive for the September birthdate, with Jupiter squaring her natal Neptune, Saturn on her Neptune and Neptune opposing her Mercury (with Neptune involved in all three transits, that is a great deal of confusion).

She was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for “plotting to topple the Iranian government” on 10th September 2016 (she had come to visit her parents for the Iranian New Year).  Again, the transits for the September chart are more eloquent: Saturn square her natal Mercury (sentencing), Neptune opposite her natal Mercury (incarceration) and Pluto square her natal Pluto (disempowerment).  For both events, the December chart yields transits which are benign or favourable.

In my blog dated 12th November 2017, I noted:

“In one of his most damaging gaffes in a long history of gaffes, Boris Johnson has endangered the life of a British citizen Nazanin Zhagari-Ratcliffe, who is being held in Iran after visiting relatives there to introduce them to her child.  In a casual remark, he stated that the purpose of her visit was to train journalists, and this statement may double her sentence.  He then made a half-hearted retraction in parliament, which went nowhere near a restoration of the situation.”

On 9th July 2018 Jeremy Hunt took over from Boris Johnson in the post of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.  It was thought that his approach might be more diplomatic, and he did have friendlier relations with the Iran government, but was ousted from his post when Boris became Prime Minister on 24th July 2019.

Brief and bittersweet was her joy when Nazanin was released for three days on 23rd August 2018.  She was able to see her daughter who was living with her parents.  Her September birthdate reveals transits of Uranus square her natal Jupiter (a short lived release) and Neptune square Neptune (emotional confusion).  The December birthdate is also very relevant, with Pluto sextile her natal Venus/Uranus (some emotional comfort and change), but with Pluto also square her natal Pluto (disempowerment).  The latter transit speaks of the psychological torture of recovering her freedom for a short time and then having it snatched away.  Her condition deteriorated a great deal after that experience: she regretted the temporary release and began to have panic attacks.

On 13th January 2019, I wrote (in relation to the September chart):

“Nazanin, languishing in an Iranian jail, is about to go on hunger strike this week, with no sign of clemency from the government there.  The Nodal Axis is square to her Mars, a desperate  karmic action.  Saturn is sextile her Uranus, some strength if she decides to go through with it, though her health is in a parlous state.  Neptune trine her Uranus – it is something she feels she has to do, from her spirit.  A very sad situation, she’s in.”

During Jeremy Hunt’s tenure of the post of Foreign Secretary, on 7th March 2019 she was granted diplomatic protection by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  This act raised her status to a dispute between two governments.  Jeremy was succeeded by Dominic Raab, whose hands now cradle this delicate matter.

On 14th June 2019 Nazanin and her husband went on hunger strike together for two weeks.  The December chart spoke more eloquently about this event, among the transit were Saturn square her natal Pluto (reaching rock bottom) and the Nodal Axis squaring her natal Pluto (a life or death gamble).  She was subsequently moved to a psychiatric hospital.

On 11th October 2019, her daughter came to England to live with her father so that she could attend school in England.  The transits for Nazanin at the time of this further enforced separation will have been experienced on an emotional level.  For the September chart, Neptune squared her natal Neptune, but for the December chart Pluto was trine her North Node.  In December of that year, her appeal for conditional release was denied.

When the pandemic started to affect Iran, she was temporarily released from Evin prison and placed on house arrest (17th March 2020).  Both charts speak to this event: the September chart has transiting Jupiter trine her natal Sun (a release), and the December chart has Uranus trine her natal Sun in Capricorn (also showing freedom).  Interestingly this date was the fourth anniversary of her arrival in Iran.  During her release she has been wearing an ankle tag which restricts her movements to within 300 metres (984 ft) of where she lives.

And so to the events of this week when on Tuesday (8th September) we were told she was facing new charges, a tremendous blow.  The most difficult transit that shows up here was for the September chart, that of Mars opposite her Mars (literally, a blow!)

That is an account of only some of what she has been through since March 2016.

Richard Ratcliffe

I have an approximate chart for Nazanin’s husband Richard, based on a newspaper report a few days after his 42nd birthday.  The chart I am using is 22nd January 1975.  He has lobbied tirelessly on her behalf.  At the time of her shock detention, I found that transiting Neptune was square his Neptune (extreme confusion).

In February 2018, Richard highlighted the fact that the interest on a debt from decades old (1971) arms sales owed to Iran by the U.K. was a major factor in her detention.  The amounts quoted are in the region of up to £450 m.  If true, then it makes the behaviour of both governments seem even more callous.  In October 2019 he stated that the U.K. government were using “every legal roadblock to delay and minimise the payment”.  In January 2016, the U.S. government had paid 400m dollars in exchange for four Iranian-Americans.  The U.K. Ministry of Defence believes that a similar payment on Nazanin’s behalf would be misused by Iran for military purposes.  We await to hear what further charges the Iranian government intend to bring to further complicate her fate.

Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe

At the heart of this tale of unjust imprisonment is the poignant separation of a mother and daughter. Gabriella is now six years old, having been born on 11th June 2014.  Her chart is characterized by a scarcity of aspects to her “lights”, her Sun and Moon, which represent her parents.  The transits for the time her mother was taken do not register the drama which was unfolding in her life, but may show up in a chart of the precise time she was born.

In the transits for her move to England Jupiter was opposite her natal Sun, which is a classic transit for such a move in life.  On a personal note, Jupiter was opposite my natal Sun when I moved to England at the age of four, to be with my father, strangely enough.  Gabriella also had a life-changing transit of the South Node on her natal Pluto at the time of her move to England.

Iranian Powers

One doesn’t hear much from the leaders of Iran directly on this matter (President Hassan Rouhani and the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei), and I am not sure how the power dynamic works within Iran.  With the chart of Iran there is a karmic tie of Iran’s Mercury which conjuncts Nazanin’s South Node (past karma) for the September chart.  For the December chart the Iran Sun squares her Mars, which can bring danger.  The Iran Revolutionary Guard initially arrested her and have been holding her: their chart relationship shows the IRG chart Sun exactly opposite Nazanin’s Uranus (they perceive her as a Rebel), and the IRG Venus opposes her Pluto (a very stormy relationship), on the September chart.  The December chart shows a conjunction of her Uranus with its Uranus (as both were “born” close in time).

For President Hassan Rouhani, their Saturns are conjunct, which is not easy, for Nazanin’s September chart.  For her December chart, Rouhani’s Mars is sextile her Pluto, which involves some power play, but nothing remarkable.  However, when you look at her relationship with the supreme leader Ali Khamenei, this looks to be very serious.  For the September chart,  Nazanin’s Mars opposes his Sun, and her Pluto squares his Mars (he would perceive her as a threat, though in reality she is a pawn). For the December chart his Neptune is on her South Node (some very complex karma).

Any Cheer?

If there is to be any breakthrough, these dates are just possible:

For her September chart – Jupiter trines her natal Sun on 14-15th November this year

For her December chart – Uranus trines her natal Mars on 26th Apr ’21

For Gabriella – Jupiter trines her natal Sun on 18th March ’21

“Nazanin has already served most of her sentence for a crime she didn’t commit.  This is hostage diplomacy and Iran needs to know that Britain will not stand for it.”

~ Jeremy Hunt, this week on Twitter


While Mars turned retrograde last week (joining other planets in this), stalling some areas of progress and momentum, we do have some good news today in that Jupiter is Stationary prior to turning Direct, as of the early hours of this morning.  This may enable something to happen or gain progress which has been prevented up to now.  Jupiter has been retrograde since mid-May.  Jupiter moving forward might bring a breath of fresh air to your day’s plans, peppering them with promise.  You may see the light at the end of one tunnel, or resume an earlier goal.

Venus will also be trine Chiron today, so there may be a healing project which you can nurture.  The healing power of love may come to the fore.  Try to keep the heart open, and keep the faith.  There may be a real opportunity to re-group your healing energies and feel harmony within your being.

Tomorrow (Monday 14th) the Sun trines Pluto, which is a deeply constructive aspect when it comes to the human psyche.  You may experience and contemplate  in great depth, and any creativity will have this profound quality imbued within it.  You may find that you have made more real progress than you thought, your patience is rewarded, or a pipe dream could become a going concern.

Tuesday (15th) is a more quirky day, possibly out of your routine or out of your comfort zone, with Venus square Uranus.  Your social plans may have to be modified at the last minute.  The way through is to use your intuition, and stay one step ahead.  The strangeness of the day pertains particularly to relationships.

Wednesday (16th) brings a challenging karmic aspect: that of the Sun square the Nodal Axis.  This may bring power issues within groups to the fore.  The positioning of the Nodal Axis will ensure karmic justice within the structure of projects and power balances, though there may be a few personality clashes.  You may need to glimpse a more multi-dimensional picture than just the here and now.

Another square occurs on Thursday (17th), but perhaps a fairly easy one: it’s Mercury square Jupiter.  You may have far to travel, or have a lot to learn, and feel overstretched, but could enjoy the ride nevertheless.  It would however be a good day to be out in nature, taking a good stroll as far as the rules allow, and picking up information.  A  day of possibility…

There is a New Moon the same day, which is always a good opportunity to start afresh.  The Sun and Moon conjoin at 25 degrees Virgo, and if that is a meaningful point in your chart that will intensify your experience.  Ecology and the environment are one of the provinces of Virgo, so benefits could accrue for the planet if enough minds are concentrated on this aspect of life.  David Attenborough and his new programme “Extinction” may echo in your mind, and galvanize action.

The Sun also trines Saturn, in the evening, and this is a solid and productive aspect.  If you are engaged in creativity, it can help ensure that it works on a practical level.  Simplifying your plans, or making economies, may make them more workable. This is especially useful to bear in mind if you own a business, and are considering staffing and resources at this crucial stage of the brink of a possible second wave of the pandemic.  One solid step at a time, and one day at a time.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – the turning of a tide, and the possibility of healing
  • Tomorrow – a deeper realization
  • Tuesday – quirky
  • Wednesday – a karmic challenge
  • Thursday – overstretching; a new beginning; a constructive path