James Lovelock (1919 – 2022)

“Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

~ James Lovelock

James Lovelock, creator of the concept of “Gaia”, died this week on his 103rd birthday.  His groundbreaking book “GAIA, a new look at life on Earth” of 1979 proposed a hypothesis which was responsible for a whole new way of thinking.  It posed a scientific question which flew in the face of Darwinism, put him at odds with some other scientists, and in its solution also conflicted with some environmentalists’ views of how it should be dealt with.  He saw the Earth as a living organism in which its components were interconnected.  He brought up the danger of CFCs, greenhouse gas emissions, a problem which we are still dealing with.  He held very individual views about climate change, and it is interesting that he has left the planet at this time, a few days after the extreme 40 degree celsius temperatures in his home country.  People are still questioning whether climate change is real (deniers), and in our Tory leadership contest, there is no attempt to put this planetary issue at the forefront of their policies.

Birth Chart

The work and thought of James Lovelock appealed both to scientists, and to New Agers.  The Green Movement also owes a lot to his pioneering ideas.  The genial, open face which consistently presents itself in his photographs is the epitome of the sunny sign of Leo.  That he was born and died on 26th July would be especially significant to the New Age ascension movement, a proponent of which, Celia Fenn, declares that date annually to be the start of the Galactic or Planetary New Year.  His theories are holistic (“My role has been to bring separated things and ideas together and make the whole more than the sum of its parts”), and he insisted on working independently as a scientist, both hallmarks of the sign of Leo, ruled by the all-embracing Sun.  He stated:

“Any artist or novelist would understand,  some of us do not produce their best when directed.”

His Sun was in conjunction with Jupiter, giving him an expansive outlook.  Some of his scientific research was in relation to life on Mars.  His North Node (karmic mission) was at 0 degrees Sagittarius, the sign ruled in esoteric Astrology by the Earth.  His Mercury was exactly conjunct Saturn in Leo (capable of very precise thought and accuracy) and opposite Uranus  (not afraid to be controversial, thinking outside the box).  Venus in Virgo gave him a leaning towards Environmentalism.  Mars conjunct Pluto in Cancer bestowed upon him a powerhouse of energy.  Academically, he gained a PhD in Medicine, depicted in his chart by Chiron (the Inner Healer) in his 6th House of Health.  He had Uranus trine Pluto, depicting enormous strength, which may be one of the secrets of his longevity, but also gave him the ability to bring about constructive change.  Uranus in fact takes a pivotal role in his chart: it is exactly square his Nodal Axis, prompting him to smash prevailing world views, and marking him out as an inventor.  Neptune conjunct the Midheaven portrays him as a spiritual leader of sorts.  Last but not least, he has a full 9th House of publishing, containing Pluto, Mars, Moon, Jupiter/Sun.  He is known especially for the book which changed world thought: GAIA – A New Look at Life on Earth 1979 Oxford University Press.  The term GAIA was suggested by neighbour and friend William Golding, citing the Greek goddess brought forth the living world from Chaos.

Life and Career

James Lovelock was born in Letchworth Garden City, coming from a humble background, and could not initially afford to go to University on  leaving school.  A Quaker upbringing instilled in his mind that: “God is a still, small voice within rather than some mysterious old gentleman way out in the universe”.  After establishing himself as a scientist and inventor, he refused to take up any professional post in a university, so as to remain independent.  Instead, he used a home-grown laboratory in a barn on the Devon-Cornwall border for his continued explorations.  He was married twice and had four children.

The Science Bit

Lovelock’s scientific interests were wide and eclectic.  Early experimentation on mice (in connection with researching the possibility of life on Mars) had later applications for cryogenics, and he claimed to have accidentally stumbled upon the use of the microwave oven (though he did not claim to actually have invented it).  It was when designing scientific instruments for NASA, that he developed his GAIA hypothesis.  He invented the electron capture detector, which led to his pointing out the need to reduce CFCs, the proliferation of which was causing global warming due to the greenhouse effect, and their role in eroding the ozone layer.  To this end he proposed a method of climate engineering.  By 2001 the scientific community formally acknowledged the concept that the planet “behaves as a single self-regulating system comprised of physical, chemical, biological and human components”

But he was at odds with certain members of the scientific community, for example evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkings over Darwinism.  The Darwinian view was that life was shaped by the environment, but Lovelock felt that it was just as true that life shapes the environment.   Although his work had nurtured the Green Movement, he did not agree with their policy over carbon footprints, and felt that nuclear power was the only way forward.   He wrote in 2006:

“I find it sad, but all too human, that there are vast bureaucracies concerned about nuclear waste, huge organisations devoted to decommissioning power stations, but nothing comparable to deal with that truly malign waste, carbon dioxide.”

At odds with the Greens, he also surprisingly approved of fracking and disliked wind turbines.


His death, though coming after a fall, was graced astrologically by Jupiter trine his natal Neptune, a sign of being at peace after a life well lived.

In his various publications, he portrayed an apocalyptic future where much of the Earth would turn to desert, and then would from time to time row back on his own assertations, only to re-state his warnings.  Nowadays, scientists agree that we have virtually passed the tipping point of terrestrial climate resiliance, and that our targets are a damage-limitation exercise.  Even so, and despite warnings and efforts from David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Caroline Lucas and Chris Packham, our governments are still failing to tackle this all-pervading issue, or to meet their own proclaimed targets.

According to his Obituary in the Guardian, he had wondered how Earth might appear from the perspective of an extraterrestrial intelligence.  I like to think he was actually mentally attuned to guardians of the Earth from out in the Cosmos.  And hope that, from wherever he is now, he will still have a care and an influence on humanity and the planet.

“One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”

~  James Lovelock


This week could be an important turning point, both on a personal level, and in society and global affairs.  For today,  the True North Node conjoins with Uranus.  You may have had inklings of such changes in the last few days.  This karmic conjunction can bring sudden and surprise events, and is good for innovation and innovators.  I think the passing of innovator James Lovelock is an indicator of the passing of one karmic (Nodal) cycle and the beginning of another.  Perhaps it heralds a new thinker, scientist or environmentalist coming to the fore – another Futurist.  As mentioned last week, it could be eventful for those engaged in Uranian professions, such as Electricians, Engineers and Astrologers.  On the world stage, there may be some startling changes.  Aquarians and Taureans may be most affected, as well as anyone who has a planet or angle at 18 degrees in their chart.  World finance could also be affected, as the conjunction takes place in Taurus.  Financial Astrologer Raymond Merriman observes: “… with the rare conjunction of Mars, Uranus, and the Moon’s North Node in the money sign of Taurus… This is a consistent signature for a sharp (but possibly short) drop in equity markets.”  Take note, financiers.  There may be events now for which the consequences may not be immediately clear or realized.

Saturn opposed Mercury early this morning, possibly while you were still having a Sunday lie-in.  Saturn promises more frustrating and delay in communication and travel, some being repercussions from yesterday’s rail strike.  You will be urged to think before you speak, or even to remain tight-lipped in order not to deepen an existing crisis.  Documentation may be delayed, e.g. passports and driving licences – well, even more delayed!  You may have to tell someone “It’s in the post!”.

In the late evening, in contrast we have one of the brightest aspects of the year, in the trine between the Sun and Jupiter.  If you have been feeling stressed, you may experience a welcome distraction.  It’s a happy-go-lucky aspect where circumstances allow.  So whatever lights your candle today, grasp the opportunity in the evening.  Good cheer, laughter, and adventure may characterize the later hours.  For those watching the Women’s football final, fortune may favour either side, but the astrology can promise a good match (though my remote control will be heading elsewhere!)

Tomorrow (Monday, 1st August) Mars may trigger events and specifically the Uranus/North Node conjunction at 18 degrees Taurus, forming a triple conjunction.  In the U.K., this is the day that Tory Party members receive their ballot papers: choose wisely!  The consequences could be indeed far-reaching.  At this time, Liz Truss seems to be a foregone conclusion to take over the role of Prime Minister.  Mars conjunct Uranus is an explosive and volatile mixture, and Liz is not known for her tact in her current role of Foreign Secretary.  I will say no more!  Similarly, in personal lives, try to take the heat out of events, and choose the more peaceful option, I would say.

This combination brings out the dignity of our own Inner Warrior, and the practice of asserting this in the most constructive way we can understand at this time.  It depends where you are with your own Inner Warrior…you may be in denial that you have one at all, you may be working on being a peaceful warrior or a warrior on behalf of women’s rights.  With Mars conjunct the North Node, we see the karmic results of our actions straight away, giving us the wisdom of knowing, instant-karma style, whether or not we are doing things the right way and learning the right lessons, including the way to conduct our Inner Warrior.

In the last hour of the day, specifically the Mars/Uranus element of the triple conjunction kicks in.  It is important to check health and safety practicalities, particularly before you retire, in the U.K timing.  Mars conjunct Uranus 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. If you are engaged in a creative venture, your mind could be over-active on retiring at night, with original ideas.

While Mars dominates at the beginning of the week, Tuesday and Wednesday could have a more soothing vibe, being dominated by Venusian aspects (Venus sextile the triple conjunction).  This can take the edge off some of the harshness of Mars/Uranus.  The first, on Tuesday (2nd), is Venus sextile the North Node, which is ideal for smoothing over karmic issues, resolving relationship karma and easing connections. It is more about forgiveness and laying aside grievances than exacting karmic balance.  The law of karma works automatically – you don’t need to engineer it.  Your own knowledge may not be complete enough to judge.

At lunchtime, Venus goes on to sextile Uranus – There may be a social sparkle somewhere in your life, even if only on social media.  It’s a good day, for the most part, for socializing and meeting new people.  Meetings are significant with the combination of Venus and Uranus, and sometimes they can be strange.

The third Venusian aspect in the row occurs in the early hours of Wednesday (3rd), a sextile between Venus and Mars.  This is an altogether more relaxing prospect.  Time for some pleasure and enjoyment.  A better night’s sleep may be on the cards, with romantic dreams possible!

By the morning of Thursday (4th), we are in a more mental and practical mode, with Mercury entering Virgo.  This signals a more studious change in focus and presaging the next academic term.  We will be thinking ahead, planning for September schedules.  Students and teachers will be trying to plan for the term ahead.  Parents will be stocking up on essentials such as school uniforms and various kits.  Businesses will be hoping for an extra push in efficiency for after the holiday period.  Retail will be preparing for the run up to Christmas. Some services will be planning strike action.  Parliamentarians will be setting out their policies on strike action.  Mental application will be needed all round.

The rest of the week is free of major aspects, so I will leave you again with a Fixed Star for the end of the week (Saturday 6th).  The alignment of our Sun would be to Dubhe, the Alpha star of Ursa Major.  “Starlight Elixirs” by Michael Smulkis and Fred Rubenfeld puts forward the following information:

“A particularly good application here is the pouring of such an energy into a clear quartz crystal to allow this energy to strengthen further and vibrate on its own.  The combination of free will and love can be better communicated to others.  These stars can also create certain deeper states of forgiveness of the elderly in your life, be it your parents, grandparents, or ancestors.”  This star is associated with the colour and substance of Gold.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – game changing; communication delay; a touch of luck
  • Tomorrow – explosiveness; karmic warriorship; engineering
  • Tuesday – smoothing over karma; social sparkle
  • Wednesday – sensuality
  • Thursday – knuckling down mentally and practically
  • Saturday – combination of free will and love; forgiveness; going for Gold