Mary Beard

This week Mary Beard announced her retirement as Professor of Classics at Cambridge University next year.  In doing so, she intends to boost diversity by leaving an £80,000 fund for students from under-represented groups.

Birth Chart

Born with the Sun in Capricorn plus the North Node, Mercury and Chiron in that sign, Mary nevertheless has half her planets in Water signs, so is very emotional.  The Sun conjunct the North Node may indicate that part of her karmic mission is to illuminate, and she teaches us about Antiquity and Archaeology (some of the provinces of Capricorn, but also shared by some other signs), in particular Roman history.  Mercury sextile Saturn in her chart gives her mental focus and academic rigour.  Venus exactly trine Jupiter describes her as a lover of humanity.  Venus loosely conjunct Saturn in Scorpio, is another sign that she likes to dig and delve, though more in the realms of psychology, than in the literal earthy Capricornian sense.  Venus exactly trine Uranus makes her shine brightly in society, but may also point to her individualistic appearance.  Jupiter is exactly conjunct Uranus in her chart, the sign of an Entrepreneur.  Mars in Pisces trines Jupiter/Uranus indicating tremendous enthusiasm and excitability, which is of course very visible in her personality.  With Venus/Saturn in Scorpio, this completes a Grand trine in Water, so she has a powerful way of moving people.

Life and Career

Mary enjoyed archaeology from an early age, spending time on digs.  At eighteen she went to Cambridge University at Newnham College, where among other things she fostered the feminist attitudes which had been encouraged within her family background. She also paid her first visit to Pompeii.  She later completed a doctoral thesis, whose subject was “The State Religion in the Late Roman Republic: A Study Based on the Works of Cicero”.  She became Professor of Classics at Cambridge in 2004, around the time of her Chiron Return in Capricorn.

When she presented a television series Meet the Romans with Mary Beard in 2012, the late critic A.A. Gill gave a harsh review, and declared her not to be presentable enough for television.  She subsequently received similar criticisms of her appearance by the “trolls” of the day (the word had not yet come into its current connotation).

She has stated:

“I used to be scared of looking like this, but now I couldn’t wish to be any different.  Never mind the masochism of Botox.  I can’t even imagine dyeing my hair.  It’s not just the boring hours it would take.  It’s that every time you did it, you’d be reminded that you were hiding something.  And how do you stop once you’ve started?”

She would respond to detractors on Twitter directly at one stage.  Shortly after the initial fuss, I saw her get into my train carriage at Cambridge, and was very tempted to approach her and tell her how much I admired her, but thought better of it, as she seemed very comfortable in her own space!

On 4 August 2013, she received a Twitter-related bomb threat, which she reported.  At the time,  Pluto (bomb) was transiting her natal Sun!

She has presented an entertaining cultural programme on BBC entitled “Front Row Late”, where she engages in discussion with various guests.  It is a good vehicle for her erudition and her personality!  She identifies as a Socialist, politically.  She is married, with two children.

Current Transits

The current transits to her chart emphasize Pluto, and so do show decisions made on endings in her life:  Pluto is sextile her natal Venus in Scorpio; and Pluto exactly opposite her Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Cancer.  She is responding to the call for change from Pluto, and hopefully new avenues will be rebirthed eventually.  But in the meantime, she will ensure that from next year, two students will receive four years of funding, who may not have otherwise been eligible.


The Sun trines Pluto tomorrow, so there may be the sense of an ending.  You may have to make a decision which brings about change.  It is time to construct a new psychological mindset: one which is creative but also bears in mind the changes and cycles which are transforming our lives at this time. You may have felt that you haven’t got very far with a goal, but may receive an indication in this period that you have done better than you thought, your patience is rewarded, or that a pipe dream could become a going concern.

Venus also conjoins the North Node in Gemini tomorrow.  On its own, it is helpful for expressing love in verbal or written form.  Taken together with The Sun’s trine to Pluto the interpretation and outcome may be deeper; for example, you may feel a situation is lost, then someone may remind you of the power of love.

On Tuesday, Venus in Gemini goes on to sextile Chiron, so some of the communication that day will be very healing, and may literally concern the subject of healing, especially for relationships.  It is a good day to combine the Arts with Healing, such as creativity which involves and brings about healing.

Venus is busy this week, and on Thursday (20th) she trines Saturn (in the early hours).  This trine is quite stoical and productive, and stabilizing in terms of feelings.  If you are catching up or socializing with someone you haven’t seen for some time during lockdown, it is a good opportunity to re-establish your relationship.  Those of you interested in the Fixed Stars may note that our Sun aligns with the Pleiades around this date.

In the evening, the Sun enters the sign of Gemini, and earthy preoccupations may give way to a need for Communication and lightness of heart.  ‘Tis the season of chatting to the neighbours over the garden fence.  In the month of Sun in Gemini any kind of communication goes, writing your book, dealing with your documentation.  It all aids the general connectivity and circulation, which society needs.

Friday (21st) brings a square between the Sun and Jupiter, very descriptive of the type of hype preceding the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday!  This may make things more tricky than they need to be, as that aspect exaggerates everything it comes into contact with.  It’s the square of the Clown and the Prankster, among other Archetypes. Just try not to get side-tracked.  There is also a joyful, humorous side of Sun square Jupiter, so some laughter-yoga from time to time during the day would not go amiss!

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – love, and endings
  • Tuesday – love, and healing
  • Thursday – love, and loyalty
  • Friday – laughter, at whose expense?