Ruth Ginsburg (1931 – 2020)

“It’s about time. For so long women were silent, thinking there was nothing you could do about it, but now the law is on the side of women, or men, who encounter harassment and that’s a good thing.”

~ Ruth Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on 18th September, was an amazingly influential figure in the American justice system, as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States for 27 years until her death.  She was notably a great champion of feminism and equal opportunities, and pushed forward a great number of progressive reforms. The timing of her death could not have been more poignant, for those hoping for a change of party, let alone a change of president in the United States in November’s election.

Birth Chart

She was born under the Sun sign of Pisces, the sign of compassion, and  could well have been an advanced Soul – symbolically Pisces represents the completion of the zodiac, and sometimes can denote a final lifetime on the wheel of incarnation.  She certainly worked all her life painstakingly for the betterment of conditions for society; at first she was moderate and non-confrontational, but later as she gained confidence and power, she asserted her voice increasingly.  With the Sun trine Pluto and the Moon in Scorpio added to her Pisces Sun, there was great depth and power about her work and character.  With the Sun exactly sextile Chiron, she was working to achieve a healing.  The emphasis in her work on achieving a better quality of life for women is clearly shown by positive aspects to her Moon (trine Venus, the other feminine planet; sextile Mars, exactly sextile Neptune, great emotional sensitivity, and trine her North Node in Pisces (karmic service to women).  Saturn square to her Moon may reflect the fact that both her sister and her mother died young.  She had an unaspected Mercury (probably denoting an independence of mind).  Her natal Mars conjunct Neptune would have made her especially sensitive to issues around physical abuse.  That conjunction is placed around her South Node, denoting a pattern from past lives of defending the vulnerable.  She was  comfortable with the use of power, with Jupiter sextile Pluto. Uranus in her chart was exactly square Pluto, making her an agent of change [note that last week’s blog subject Terence Conran had Uranus more loosely square Pluto, and was an agent of change in a different way, and in a different field].

Life and Career

Ruth Ginsburg was born into a Jewish family in Brooklyn, though became non-observant at 17.  Her mother had not had the educational opportunities she craved, and encouraged Ruth to follow hers.  She studied government at Cornell University, and met her husband Martin Ginsburg there, becoming a mother while at law school in Harvard.  She became a professor at Rutgers Law School in 1963, where she taught civil procedure (at a lower salary than her male colleagues).  From the beginning of her career it was apparent that there were very few opportunities afforded to women in the field of law, and being Jewish was also a handicap.  So she always worked with the principles of more opportunity and equality in mind.

In 1972 she began teaching at Columbia Law School, where she co-authored the first law school casebook on sex discrimination.  To put this in historical context, in terms of the feminist movement, Germaine Greer’s book The Female Eunuch was published in 1970, an early book of its kind.  Ruth Ginsburg had already been addressing inequality of the sexes in her work for a few years.

She founded the Women’s Rights Project in 1972, and argued discrimination cases before the Supreme Court, proceeding slowly and cautiously in trying to cover all major injustices.  She substituted the word “gender” for “sex” in her cases, being less confrontational, and less distracting for the judges.

The Omnibus Judgeship Act of 1978 advocated that more women and minority groups were included when electing judges, and as a women and a Jew (unusual…) President Jimmy Carter nominated her to a seat on the DC circuit appeals court in 1980.  At the time, Saturn was sextile her natal Pluto (a serious step forward), Uranus was trine her natal Sun (a surprise breakthrough) and Neptune was trine her natal Uranus (taking on increasing complexity).  By the time she took up her commission two months later, Uranus was also trine her natal Pluto (a huge change or shift, upwards).

In 1993 President Bill Clinton nominated her for the crucial role of Associate Justice of  the Supreme Court, a first for one of her gender and race.  Under the American system, the appointment is for life, which is why the current appointment of (young) Amy Barrett aged 48 to replace Ruth Ginsburg is so contentious and momentous, tipping the balance of power in the long term towards Republicanism.  Ruth had been known as a consensus builder, but in this post, she gained confidence and power, and became more forceful, finding her voice.  Her style was described as that of a “rational minimalist, a jurist who seeks to build cautiously on precedent rather than pushing the Constitution towards her own vision.”  With Sun in Pisces and Moon in Scorpio, that is the way that water flows…And as time went on, she gained in authority by way of her seniority. She was able to push forward feminist issues, supported the right to abortion, anti-discrimination laws, equal pay, and other progressive and liberal values, but her approach was always gradual.  She was the first Supreme Court justice to officiate at a same-sex wedding.  She also lent significant support to the Me Too movement, bringing in her own experience.


She forged an enduring marriage with tax lawyer Martin D. Ginsberg, and had two children (and four grandchildren).  Their Venuses were exactly trine in Water, making for a harmony of feeling;  His Mars was exactly sextile her Pluto (energetically constructive).  At their wedding in 1954 Mars was trine her natal Mars, and Jupiter was sextile her natal Mars.  They balanced their careers and parenting equally.  Sadly, Martin Ginsburg died of cancer in 2010.


Her health record was remarkably complex, but her stoicism and conscientiousness meant that she worked through many different health crises.  In 1999, she had colon cancer, the treatment involving chemotherapy and radiotherapy; in 2009 she was treated for pancreatic cancer; in 2014 she was given a stent in heart surgery; she fractured three ribs in 2018, but an x-ray brought to light nodules in her lungs, so she subsequently had surgery to remove the nodules; the pancreatic cancer returned this year, but she worked as long as was possible.

She died on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.  There is a Jewish tradition that those who die on that day are saintly, or extremely righteous.  She received full honours, lying in state at the Capitol, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  For Ruth, Jupiter was exactly trine her Jupiter (a transit which often appears as a sign of release in the elderly), and Pluto exactly square her natal Uranus, the great transformation.

Implications for the government of the U.S.

Amy Barrett was announced as her nominated successor by Donald Trump just last night.  It had been Ruth’s dying wish that the election be settled before a replacement was found.  Amy comes from a paternalistic Catholic sect called People of Praise, and holds beliefs (such as anti-abortion, and health policies), which may see the reversal of Ruth’s achievements, in the same way that Donald Trump has reversed Obama’s policies.

Who is Amy Coney Barrett, astrologically?  Here is a thumbnail sketch: She has the Sun in Aquarius conjunct the North Node, a sign of power;  Mercury squares Mars, in a T-square with Uranus, which is acutely contentious, Mars opposing Uranus being quite unpredicable.  Jupiter square Pluto loves power, but not necessarily uses it in the best way.  Neptune exactly sextile the North Node in Aquarius, with the South Node in Leo, speaks of power in past lives and her strong Catholic faith.

The run up to the American election comes increasingly to fever pitch, with Donald Trump refusing to categorically deny that he would accept the results of an election, if it went against him.  In an article in yesterday’s Guardian, Jonathan Freedland conjectures that if Trump were to impose such policies and intransigencies after an election, there could be dissention in various states, and the possibility of civil war in America:

“How long will a woman in, say, California accept the presence of guns and the absence of abortion rights because that’s what a minority of voters in small overrepresented states wants?”

At Ruth’s death, Mars was square the Pluto in the US chart, a sign of the danger facing the country.

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

“It is essential to women’s equality with man that she be the decision-maker, that her choice be controlling.  If you impose restraints you are disadvantaging her because of her sex…abortion prohibition by the state controls women and denies them full autonomy and full equality with men.”

“[I would like to be remembered as] someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.”

~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Mercury entered Scorpio this morning, bringing greater intensity, depth and rigour to our mental functioning and purpose.  The mental outlook is more forensic in nature, and looks deeper than the surface, than was characterized under Mercury in Libra.  You may have more courage to look at what really matters, and to worry less about how things appear to others

A softer side is brought into our karma with Venus sextile the North Node, if we need to luxuriate a little or justify a little indulgence.  Expressing more love too, is easier under this aspect.

The contrast between these two features of the day brings to mind the phrase “an iron fist in a velvet glove”, which some may employ.

On Tuesday (29th) Venus trines Mars very early in the morning.  This betokens harmony between the sexes, or within the structure and relationship of your own anima and animus.  It would be a good opportunity for sharing and balancing roles, such as career and parenting.  Body awareness, whether it be through yoga, or massage, will bring a sense of wellbeing.

That same morning, Saturn is Stationary, prior to turning Direct.  This may be experienced as a relief to some, especially for Capricornians, and may release some of their chains or burdens.  Certain matters which have been stuck since May, may slowly start to make progress again.

Chiron also opposes the Sun on Tuesday, which could bring up a health crisis.  It is an opportunity to work on your Inner Healer and your Inner Problem Solver, and find intuitive answers to problems.

There is awkwardness in the evening, with Saturn squaring Mars.  Physically you may want to push an issue, but that approach may not work.  The Chironic way, as described in the previous paragraph, is more likely to succeed.  Think before you act, to avoid clumsiness.  Adding to the tension of this square, the Moon is building to the Full.

On Thursday evening (1st October) the Moon is Full at 9 degrees Aries.  The Full Moon in Aries (emotional needs) opposes the Sun in Libra (balancing your own interests with that of the other) so it is a tussle, as it always is with a Full Moon.  This Full Moon is about Selfhood and Relationship, and bringing the two into balance.

A different focus arrives on Friday (2nd) with Venus entering Virgo.  We become more selective and discriminating in our tastes.  We become more aware of the issues around the environment (courtesy of David Attenborough now joining Instagram).   Venus stays in Virgo until 28th October, so American voters will be fine-tuning their choices during that time.  We may also be specializing in our work and studies.  Hubby and I are now entering the winter term of our new year in the Certificate of Philosophy at Cambridge (online, of course), and the focus is Ethics.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – intensifying thought; loving karma
  • Tuesday – complex: harmony in gender issues; some paths eased; other paths blocked; problem-solving
  • Thursday – emotional high tide
  • Friday – ecological awareness; refining tastes