“If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky,
that would be like the splendour of the mighty one”.

~ Bhagavad Gita (XI,12), quoted by Robert Oppenheimer

The film “Oppenheimer” premiered on Friday (21st July), is being bizarrely pitted against the film “Barbie”, reflective of the aspect which occurred that day of Pluto (the bomb) opposite the Sun in Cancer (the female side of life).  J. Robert Oppenheimer was the scientist credited as “the father of the atomic bomb”, and the film features a glittering array of stars*, which include the lead role played by the charismatic Cillian Murphy, who is tipped for an Oscar, opposite Emily Blunt as his wife Kitty.  When I arrived at University in 1968, the big moral scientific dilemma was the creation of nuclear weapons, but since then we have had genetic engineering, man’s creation of climate change, and currently we are debating artificial intelligence and its implications.

Birth Chart

We are lucky enough to have a birth time for Robert Oppenheimer (not so for Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt).  Oppenheimer had the Sun in Taurus trine Uranus, marking him out straight away as an innovator.  The Sun is also exactly sextile the Midheaven in his chart, bringing that brilliance to a successful career.  But his Sun was also square his natal Chiron, showing starkly the Wounded Healer.  He became, in some ways, the victim of his own success.  He had the Moon closely sextile Mercury, a balance between imagination and intellect.  Mercury also squared Saturn, a thorough mind (he oversaw every detail of the Manhattan project, which created the atomic bomb).  Venus closely conjunct Jupiter was sociable, but squared Neptune, so he was often unfaithful in relationships.  This was borne out by Uranus conjunct the Descendant, in his 7th House.  His Mars in Taurus was unaspected, so he was very determined and able to go it alone.  One of the most powerful features of his chart was Saturn exactly trine Pluto, often seen in movers and shakers.  Neptune conjunct Ascendant, rising showed his keen interest in mysticism.  Where is the bomb, in his chart?  Pluto is loosely conjunct his Gemini scientific Ascendant, operating deep within his subconscious 12th House.

Life and Career

Oppenheimer was born in New York on 22nd April, 1904. His father had been born in Prussia, and was a textile importer who became wealthy enough to own a significant art collection whose works included Van Gogh and Picasso.  Robert Oppenheimer’s Sun sign of Taurus is associated with fine art, and he himself collected works by the art masters later in life.

Robert began his academic career with a degree in chemistry from Harvard, then a PhD in physics from the University of Gottingen.  He eventually became a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 1924, Oppenheimer applied to work at the Cavendish Laboratory, Christ’s College, Cambridge, under Patrick Blackett (James D’Arcy*).  The relationship with Blackett proved inharmonious, and it is during this phase of his life, that the film begins, with Oppenheimer in a state of anxiety and homesickness.  An AstroCartography map may have picked up an incompatibility with Cambridge, but I digress.  There were two main squares in their Synastry:  Blackett’s Jupiter square Oppenheimer’s Neptune (which may have increased the latter’s paranoia) and Blackett’s Saturn square Oppenheimer’s Midheaven (a hitch in his career).  The film does weave in and out of different time periods of Oppenheimer’s life.

He left Cambridge in 1926 and went to study at the University of Gottingen.  There he befriended scientists who were to become eminent in their fields, such as Enrico Fermi (Danny Deferrari*), Edward Teller (Benny Safdie*) and Werner Heisenberg (Matthias Schwieghhofer*).

He was awarded a fellowship at Caltech (California Institute of Technology) in 1927, where he befriended Linus Pauling, with whom he had an interesting synastry: their Moons were conjunct, and their Ascendants trine.  Subsequently, he shared his time between Caltech and the University of California, Berkeley, which determinedly secured his services.  At Berkeley, he worked with the Nobel scientist Ernest O. Lawrence (Josh Hartnett*).

During the early years of his scientific research, Oppenheimer was not interested in the wider world, being solely focussed on his work.  He did not read newspapers, and only heard of the Wall Street crash six months after it happened.  From 1934 he began to take an interest in politics, and in 1936 (aged 32) cast his first electoral vote.  In the 1930s he began to espouse communist ideas, and support related projects with donations.  He never joined the Communist party, but left himself open to McCarthyism. In 1936 he became involved with a communist, Jean Tatlock (Florence Pugh*), romantically, and they had an on-off relationship for some while.  He met his future wife, Kitty (Emily Blunt*) in 1939.  In their synastry, her Uranus trined his Mercury (a good mental rapport) and her Pluto sat on his Ascendant (a deep challenge).  In  1940 he attended a meeting at the home of Haakon Chevalier (Jefferson Hall*), a communist connection which later came under scrutiny.

The Manhattan Project

In 1942, Robert Oppenheimer was invited to work on the Manhattan Project by Major General Leslie Groves (Matt Damon*) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in order to develop the first nuclear weapons. Oppenheimer set up a Laboratory at Los Alamos in New Mexico.  Among others, he worked with scientists Edward Teller, Robert Serber (Michael Angarano*), and Hans Bethe (Gustaf Skarsgard).

The project was completed successfully, and on 16th July 1945, Oppenheimer was present at the firs testing of the atomic bomb, which he called Trinity. At that time, his transits were spectacular: Chiron was exactly trine his natal Chiron and square to his natal Uranus (healing but destructive); Jupiter was exactly trine his natal Mercury (the fulfilment of his intellectual work); and Neptune square his Neptune (an ethical dilemma, however much he was aware or not aware of it, at that moment).  Observers recalled an air of exultation in him at that point in time.

In August 1945, the reality of the work set in, at the use of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  At Hiroshima, Jupiter was square his Ascendant on 4th House cusp, and exactly conjunct his North Node in Virgo in 3rd House (a hugely blown up karmic mission); Neptune was still square his Neptune, emphasizing the ethical dilemma.

The implications of his role and his life’s work did not take long to dawn on Oppenheimer, and he set out to mitigate the wider implications.  In 1947, he chaired the General Advisory Committee of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.  He tried to bring about international control of nuclear power, and tried to block the development of the hydrogen bomb.

However, the FBI were “onto him”, and he was suspected to have put communist and pro-Russian interests before those of his country, something that was never proven.  Nevertheless, he was stripped of his security clearance, and that was the end of this phase of his working life.  At that time,  Neptune was square his natal Uranus (bizarre complication) and trine his natal Chiron (a merciful side to the release).

The Film

Christopher Nolan (Film Director) is a Leo, the bold and creative Sun sign I most associate with this profession, others being Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Sam Mendes, Roman Polanski, John Huston, Cecil B. de Mille, Wim Wenders, Peter Bogdanovich,  and Wes Craven.   Currently aged 52, this must have been his Chiron Return project, a huge one at that (with Chiron natally in Pisces = healing through film).

Cillian Murphy (Lead Role as Robert Oppenheimer) is the heart throb from Peaky Blinders (at one time, the most searched Netflix show), who has had a long association with Christopher Nolan’s work.  He has Sun conjunct Venus and Mercury in Gemini (we do not have a birthtime or Ascendant) and the Sun exactly sextile Mars – the Warrior Archetype, at least on screen!  Some of his power comes from the Sun trine Pluto.  He also has an electric energy (Mars square Uranus), and karmic opportunities (Jupiter conjunct the South Node).

In today’s Observer, Miranda Collinge writes that he has:

“a physical resemblance to Oppenheimer – the slight stature (made slighter, apparently, by a restricted diet), the high cheekbones, the arresting stare” and “the dark planes of his face; his otherworldly blue eyes, conveying glacial deadness in one frame and cosmic awe in another”.

Meanwhile in Film of the Week, Wendy Ide adds glowing references:

“For the most part,, the film is a towering achievement”

“Murphy’s far-seeing ice-chip eyes have never been put to better use”.

The synastry between Cillian Murphy and Robert Oppenheimer is very telling:

Cillian’s Uranus trines Oppenheimer’s Neptune and Oppenheimer’s Midheaven, creating a Grand Trine; and Cillian’s Neptune trines Oppenheimer’s Jupiter/Venus (Cillian is able to bring the vision).

In an article in the Guardian by Charlotte Edwardes on 8/7/23, Cillian says:

 “They put two actors in a room to see if there’s any spark, and have all the producers and director at a table watching. … sometimes you get a chemistry and nobody knows why.”

Emily Blunt (Kitty Oppenheimer)

Piscean Emily has been appearing in films since 2004, and her previous films include The Young Victoria,  Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Girl on a Train.

She says of Christopher Nolan “I’ve never met anyone as authoritative.  When he walks in, the air changes in the room.”

Her synastry with Cillian Murphy holds many tensions, but her Mars sextile his Venus can provide chemistry.

Chracters/Stars not mentioned in my account, who appear in the film:

Albert Einstein (Tom Conti*)

Niels Bohr (Kenneth Branagh*)

Harry S. Truman (Gary Oldman*)

…to name but a few!


Oppenheimer and his wife made it a habit to spend portions of the year on the island of Saint John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

He was nominated for a Nobel Prize three time, but did not win.

He died on 18th February 1987, having suffered ill health through smoking.  His Pluto was square to his Pluto.

A survey in this morning’s Observer showed more people queuing up for “Barbie” (mostly female, and pink-clad) than “Oppenheimer”, but I know which film I would rather see.

“For the most part,, the film is a towering achievement”

~ Wendy Ide, for the Observer


It’s a busy day for aspects!  We started in the early hours of the morning with Venus Stationary, prior to turning retrograde at 28 degrees Leo.  This betokens a time of reviewing relationships and finance.  Although you may need to go over old ground, you can refer back to a time when a relationship was entirely harmonious, and what brought you together in the first place, when working towards improvements.

Soon afterwards, at 1.50 a.m. the Sun went into Leo.  My fitbit tells me I woke up at exactly that moment (and took off my fitbit, by some instinct, and I stayed awake for quite a while).  It’s a cause for celebration, but we haven’t had enough of the Sun, and Southern Europe and some other parts of the world have had too much for us to ignore climate change.  For those of you on holiday by the sea, you may be able to enjoy a dip, alternating with lazing on a deckchair under a parasol sipping a pina colada.  Sun in Leo is also about the expression of the human spirit, and that can be enjoyed whatever the weather.  For many schoolchildren and workers, it is the start of holiday season…Have a good time.

We have Pluto square the Nodal Axis today, and may already have grappled with Pluto this weekend, with Friday’s opposition between Pluto and the Sun.  For me, it was researching Oppenheimer, who worked with plutonium, and created the atomic bomb.  this brings up the karma around deep issues, such as the dilemma posed by Oppenheimer’s life and work.

Next, Chiron is Stationary, prior to turning Retrograde (two retrogrades in one day!).  This will see us start to retrace some steps on our healing pathway.  A particular healing issue may crop up today to highlight this; perhaps you have gone as far as you can with a particular line of healing, and may need to revise or go over old ground for a while.  There may be more understanding to be achieved, for instance, about the emotional component of the healing issue.

This evening, Uranus squares Mercury, which is a spanner-in-the-works aspect.  Back up your computer files before bedtime, and consider I.T. loopholes, as this is a time when you may experience glitches in this area.  Your Intuition is your guide to your way through these anomalies.  Set your antennae to a higher frequency! 

Fast forward to Thursday (27th) and we encounter a conjunction between Mercury and Venus.  It may enable a sunburst of ideas to be communicated, discussed, and start the ball rolling towards making practical use of what has come to you.  This conjunction is ideal for socializing, artistic or literary endeavours, or negotiations.  Your communications will have an artistic flair, so it’s a good time to get creative.  I associate this conjunction with Cafe culture, but it has come to my notice that some people prefer pubs, so a pint may be more suitable in that case.  Conversation will flow just as easily… 

Friday (28th) furnishes us with a trine between Mercury and the North Node.  This ensures that information and communication are accurate and karmically relevant.  If you have something important to say, do it.

We finish the survey of the week with Mercury’s entry into Virgo on Friday evening, which is quite early in the yearly round for Mercury.  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 (rumoured to cost more than ever).  Businesses will be hoping for an extra push in efficiency for after the holiday period.  Some services will still be planning strike action.  Parliamentarians will be setting out their policies, trying to balance out popularity with the right direction.  Mental application will be needed all round.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – reviewing relationships; the Sun comes out; psychological ssues in groups; healing revisions; the spanner in the works
  • Thursday – Cafe or Pub culture (you choose…)
  • Friday – helpful karmic information; knuckling down to work plans