Paula Vennells

“What is it about this seemingly mild-mannered, devout woman that caused her to preside over a reign of total corporate psychopathy?”

~ Marina Hyde

Paula Vennells, former CEO of the Post Office, appears this week in front of the government’s statutory Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry, over the course of three days.  I first wrote on this subject in January, after watching the incredible TV series “Mr Bates vs. the Post Office”.  Alan Bates himself has recently rejected the latest offer of government compensation, labelling it “derisory”.

Birth Chart

I wrote in January:

“Paula Vennells has been an easily identifiable villain in the scandal.  Although not present at the beginning of the subpostmasters’ woes, she was instrumental in the harsh treatment given by the Post Office, and prolonging the agony over a long period of years.  She was the chief executive officer of Post Office Limited from 2012 to 2019.  She has the Sun in Pisces exactly opposite Pluto, which can be a recipe for deception.”

Mars in her chart is square to her natal Sun, giving rise to the Warrior Archetype, and physically granting the red hair.  We do not have a birth time for her, which may strengthen some of the impressions formed from the Noon birthchart analysed here.

The strange conundrum of her story and her character is the parallel career of CEO to the Post Office, with her role as a priest in the Christian (Anglican) church. Paula has the Sun in Pisces, which is particularly associated with Christianity.  One of the negative traits of Pisces’ ruler Neptune can be deception.  And in addition, her Sun, as well as being square to Mars, is also square to Jupiter, which inclines to a religious leaning.  I also observed in January:

“Jupiter at the very beginning of, the essence of, Sagittarius.  This may point to an attitude of over-optimism that the whole thing would go away.  It also describes her secondary career as an Anglican priest.”

She has a very difficult feature in her chart, in a Mutable Grand Cross formed between the Sun opposite Pluto, and Mars opposite Jupiter.  The Grand Cross is a highly stressed combination to manage.

Moon in Leo enjoys power, and the square between Jupiter and Pluto can be liable to the misuse of power.  Mercury square Mars indicates The Critic Archetype.  But most damaging is the square between Mars and Pluto, extreme harshness given and received in life.  Saturn closely trine Pluto equals the Strategist Archetype, and there are examples, to our knowledge, where she tried to influence policies which might have prevented further suffering to the subpostmasters and subpostmistresses.

In addition her Chiron in Aquarius is unaspected.  This means she may not be in touch with her Inner Healer, or it may be very unusual in its manifestation.  Pisces is a soft and sympathetic sign, but if it encounters an overload of suffering early in life, the heart can close up.  We do not know a great deal about her upbringing.

Life and Career

Paula Vennells grew up in Denton, Lancashire, in a working-class area.  Her father was an industrial chemist, and her mother was a bookkeeper and volunteer with the Citizens Advice Bureau.  She attended Manchester High School for Girls, and received her further education at Bradford University, reading Russian, French and Economics.  On leaving University, she trained at Unilever, then worked for L’Oreal, Dixons, Argos and Whitbread.

She became CEO of the Post Office on 1st April 2012, under difficult transits, which included:

Jupiter square her Uranus (risk-taking), Uranus square her Saturn (trying to reconcile the old and the new), transiting Neptune on her Sun (a personal challenge of integrity), and Neptune opposite her Pluto (a deeply complex task).  Looking at her astrological picture, she may have been inwardly floundering from the start (paddling furiously under the surface of the Piscean sea).  Problems with the Horizon IT system were already known, but she consistently sought to deny their existence.

She was paid £5m for her time as CEO, but the financial performance of The Post Office declined considerably during that period.  She resigned from the post in 2019, and took up a post with the NHS (Chair of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust).  In the same year, she was awarded a CBE (for services to the Post Office and charity).  She resigned in 2021, as a result of the growing publicity about the subpostmasters scandal, from the NHS position, and stood down from her Anglican duties.

The broadcasting of the television drama in January of this year has marked an escalation in her exposure, and shortly after the show was broadcast she issued a formal apology, and her CBE was revoked.  Saturn was sextile her natal Saturn (taking some responsibility, and Neptune was transiting her natal Venus (a personal scandal).


Paula Vennells trained for holy orders and was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 2005, then as a priest in 2006.  According to Tim Adams writing this morning in The Observer, she was a confidant of the Archbishop of Canterbury:

“Justin Welby reportedly supported her – unsuccessful – candidature to become bishop of London in 2017…The Bishop of St Albans, her diocese, expressed his distress at the suffering of post office employees, particularly as his father had been a subpostmaster.”


The performance of actress Lia Williams in portraying Paula Vennells in Mr Bates vs The Post Office was uncanny, at least visually.  It’s amazing what styling and make-up can do in television and film!  The connections between the actress and Paula were strong in the personal layer of interaspects: Lia’s Sun was opposite Paula’s Mars, and Lia’s Venus was trine Paula’s Sun.


from January’s blog:

“The transits for the programme, were Jupiter trine her natal Saturn (a final reckoning), and Saturn was opposite her natal Pluto (a personal nadir).  Eight days later, under immense public pressure, she handed back her CBE, with Mars trine her natal Pluto (life forced her hand), Saturn squared her Mars (relinquishing something important to her) and Saturn sextiled her natal Saturn (doing the right thing).”

The transits for this week’s reckoning show the North Node (karma forcing the issue) trine her natal Uranus, including a shock factor.  In mid-June, next month, Jupiter will transit her natal Mars in Gemini, so there may be a temporary respite in intensity, and perhaps a sense of relief that it is all out in the open, having resisted the truth coming out for so long.  In mid-April 2025 Saturn will transit her natal Venus in Pisces, which may signal a considerable personal loss, e.g. to her freedom.  In the coming years, Uranus will transit and trigger her Grand Cross, beginning with an opposition to her natal Jupiter in early August 2025.

In this most distressing of sagas.  I can’t help seeing a comparison with the current benefits scandal in which vulnerable carers are being asked to repay thousands of pounds (which they haven’t got) to remedy mistakes made by the government.  Also, a comparison with the contaminated blood scandal in which the government is dragging its heels in providing the compensation which has been promised.

If anything comes up worthy of astrological analysis, I will post a comment below.

“I saw something in the Post Office that was bigger and deeper, maybe it was something about giving back…”

~ Paula Vennells


There are eleven astrological features this week, including 3 ingresses, so I will begin without preamble.

Late this evening, the Sun will be sextile Neptune.  It’s a sweet sextile, and as you reflect on the day, you may be in an equable spiritual state and ready for a good night’s sleep.  This aspect gives you a better chance of creating beauty and inspiration in your life, conferring spiritual harmony.

Even later, Mars will be conjunct the North Node, which conflicts somewhat with that peaceful vibe.  An early night may ensure that you settle into sleep before the challenges of this conjunction at 14 degrees Aries, though you may dream of ancient battlefields!  There is some element of needing to “fight the good fight”, but these two transits together may mean a need and ability to negotiate peace.  The worldwide news may be interesting, from that perspective, with contrasting pronouncements by doves and hawks.

Tomorrow (Monday 20th) brings the first ingress, that of the Sun entering Gemini.  With the Sun leaving Taurus, earthy preoccupations may give way to a need for Communication and lightness of heart.  In the month of Sun in Gemini any kind of communication goes, writing your book, dealing with your documentation, ensuring that you are walking and cycling to work instead of taking public transport.  It all aids the general connectivity, which society needs.

Deep progress may be made on Wednesday (22nd) when the Sun trines Pluto.  There may be the sense of an ending, which clears the way for a new beginning or rebirth.  You may have to make a decision which brings about changeIt 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.  You may have cause to remember fondly the dearly departed.

Thursday (23rd) is quite a day, with 5 Aspects creating an aspect overload!  I will resort to a timetable:

8.29 a.m. – Venus conjunct Jupiter

First we have the great conjunction of Venus and Jupiter at 29 degrees Taurus, in line with the Pleiades.  In terms of beneficence, this is one of the year’s highlights.  It is an aspect of celebration, social pleasure, and romance.  There may be announcements of engagements, for example.  Look out for some good news, and crack your best jokes.

10.50 a.m. – Venus sextile Neptune

So next up we have this sextile.  This aspect can bring soothing waves of serenity, which hopefully you may experience (extra kudos to those who have been able to maintain it since Sunday’s Sun sextile Neptune).  People may come more into tune with each other.  New artistic avenues may flourish.

13.53 Hrs – Full Moon at 2 degrees Sagittarius

(Apologies for switching to the 24-Hour clock.  It’s not a mistake, it’s just how I like it!)

This particular emotional high tide concerns the expansive bigger picture (Sagittarius) in your life, your psyche, or the world.  If you are feeling such a maelstrom in your life, then you may need to start by going within to that still small spiritual centre, find peace (hopefully drawing from the positive Neptune aspects this week), then make your responses from that place.

20.30 Hrs – Venus into Gemini

The second ingress of the week, bringing a lightness and freedom of heart with the new placement.  It demonstrates a more mental focus to relationships, and increasing communication around love, art and money. Your diary is likely to be full of engagements during the period that Venus travels through this sign, which takes us up to 17th June.  We’ll all be social butterflies, deftly spinning plates in social circles!

21.44 Hrs –  Jupiter sextile Neptune

Last but definitely not least, this sextile between the outer planets could bring spiritual benefits and uplift, whether you subscribe to conventional or alternative religions.  This sextile allows religion and spirituality to work together well.  Higher solutions can be found to even practical problems, filtering down into consciousness from the causal planes.  In raising our consciousness now we have to find higher ways of looking at things, and that includes practical solutions (Jupiter-Neptune are not practically minded, but can inspire us to new practices).  It’s a heavyweight aspect in terms of importance, so make the most of it.

Saturday (25th) is another important day.  It begins with a profound but likely successful trine between Venus and Pluto.  This aspect can settle your deepest feelings into a more comfortable psychological context.  It helps us through changes and transformations on a human level.  Venus in harmony with Pluto benefits both love and money.

In the evening, there is a major ingress of Jupiter into Gemini.  Yay! Gemini, this is your year!  We may experience a surge of optimism.  Not that Jupiter in Gemini is necessarily better than Jupiter in Taurus, but a change is as good as a rest.  It brings new ways to better our lives.  We are moving on, philosophically.  New ideas will be coming in, and new ways of thinking.  We’ll be thinking deeply about the processes of our thoughts, and receiving insights.  Communication will also be stimulated, both in your personal life and in the Communications industry.  Publishing too may have a revival, and initiatives in Education. You may see a change of consciousness.  If you are a Gemini you can look forward to growth this year, with a special surge when Jupiter transits your actual natal Sun.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – harmony and conflict
  • Tomorrow – lively communication
  • Wednesday – constructive completions
  • Thursday – it’s all happening
  • Saturday – psychological resolution; a new mindset