Maybe you’re great at your job, maybe you’re fantastic. But can you perform at that level day in and day out? You’ve no doubt had a bad day at work. Was it so bad you had to worry for your health, your sanity, your very life? Was the whole world watching you, judging you? You’ve had pressure but not the kind that could make you crack.
Now that the “2020” Tokyo Olympics are over, we can look back with awe at another feat Simone Biles has achieved: a come back from a dark and scary place. This entailed bravery in facing her hesitations and being public about them, and selflessness in setting aside ambition to withdraw and allow her teammates to go for (and get) a team medal.
When I first saw Simone falter early in the games, I looked at her chart and wondered about the future of her gymnastic career. Astrodatabank.com has her chart with a data reliability rating of “C,” which means the original source is unknown or unverified. It’s not a strong rating but the chart seems to fit her personality and life circumstances quite well and I’m inclined to rely on it. Some of the statements I make here are not dependent on a birth time, only on her date of birth, March 14, 1997. When the “C” time comes into play, I’ll mention that.
The most recent lunar eclipse occurred a little more than two months before the Olympics. A lunar eclipse is an extra-powerful full moon that has longer lasting effects (perhaps up to six months) than a regular full moon (strong only for a few weeks), and full moons in general can signal a pinnacle, an ending or a completion. This one was exactly at the degree of Simone’s natal Pluto, a planet that often indicates a turning point or major shift. It’s also the planet of psychological depths, secrets, abuse and an all-or-nothing intensity. Pluto heralds the survivor and is famous for bounce backs, too. So I wasn’t sure it was the end for her. I had to look further. And I wanted to see why she was all of a sudden bothered by the “twisties,” a term I hadn’t heard before but that makes sense for a gymnast twisting through the air.
Simone is a Pisces sun-sign and currently the ruling planet of Pisces, Neptune, is moving slowly through its home sign. While it’s there (from 2012 to 2025), it spends about a year near any Pisces Sun person’s natal Sun degree and that will be one of the most important times of his or her life, maybe in a good way or maybe in not such a good way. This sign and planet have a lot to do with the subconscious and beliefs, and are certainly associated with dizziness. They do not represent grounded energies. Think of the fish swimming in circles in the Pisces symbol. You will not be surprised to hear that Neptune was in the important one-degree range approaching Simone’s Sun when she was bothered by the “twisties,” even though Neptune won’t reach her Sun degree exactly until next spring, visiting until winter of 2023. Who knows if she’ll re-experience the “twisties” then but one thing is for sure, it won’t be with the pressure of the Olympics!
After Simone dropped out of the team competition, it was unclear whether she would participate in the individual events. To check for her prospects, I used the monthly forecast technique called a lunar return, which is a chart cast for the time and place when the Moon returns to its natal degree and minute (fraction of a degree). This method does rely on a birth time because the Moon moves so far in a day that it travels about a degree in two hours. Using the “C” rating, her natal Moon is in Gemini, at an early degree. Without knowing her birth time, we could at least say it was either in Gemini or at a high degree of Taurus. The Moon passed through that part of the zodiac during the Olympic games, specifically on August 2. This means she began the games under the influence of a lunar return from July and then had a new influence come in before the individual event in which she did finally decide to compete. She could be expected to have a change in her outlook.
The July lunar return (set in her home gym location of Spring, Texas) shows heavy pressure, like the weight of the world, from Saturn, the planet of achievement, at the very top degree of the chart, the place of one’s role in public and reputation. Saturn was less than half a degree away from her natal Jupiter, a planet known for exposure and the potential for doing great things (as the biggest planet). Saturn’s nature is to contract or limit, so its visit to her Jupiter put a damper on her drive. In addition, Saturn wasn’t far past making its square (an abrasive connection) with Uranus, the planet of the unusual and surprises. In that chart, Uranus was in the First House, a location related to one’s physical condition and view of oneself. Maybe she didn’t feel like her usual self. Sure enough, the unusual pressure (combined with the dizzying effect of Neptune) got to her. In addition, Jupiter in the early degrees of Pisces was making a nearly exact square with her natal Moon, which could contribute to amplified emotions, especially when far from home. (The Moon shows our feelings and in friction with Jupiter, those can skyrocket. Jupiter is also the planet of foreign travel.)
In the August 2 lunar return chart, set for Tokyo, Saturn and Uranus were not as tightly in their square and Jupiter had retrograded back into Aquarius, further from its square to Simone’s Moon. Saturn was high in the sky, still showing a lot of public attention, but it wasn’t right on the top point, where it has its most potency. Instead, the planet closest to the top was Pluto, her come back friend (which, using the “C” rated birth time, was exactly rising, at the place of most personal expression, an clue she would be able to make a come back). Ceres, the dwarf planet of nurturance and support, was just two degrees from Simone’s Moon, pointing to the great support she received. The Sun and Mercury, just over a degree apart, were both across from Saturn, providing concentration and mental focus. Mercury lined up exactly opposite her natal Jupiter, an indication of lots of communication from far and wide – think of all the social media and mainstream media attention. This was her chance for redemption and for an unusual performance. Uranus was near the rising degree in the lunar return chart, echoing Uranus’s rising position in Simone’s chart relocated to (as if born in) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she had such success in the 2016 Olympics.
The differences in these two charts led me to think she would have a different experience in the individual medal competition than she had in the qualifying rounds, and she would do better. Indeed, she took a chance and got a medal. Although it’s bronze not gold, she says it’s the sweetest prize of all her Olympic medals. This makes that “C”-rated natal chart with Pluto rising look like it might be right. She not only survived, she rose to new heights as she brought attention to athletes’ struggles. That makes her a double winner in my book.
A guiding principle in teaching is: tell them what you’re going to teach them, teach it, review what you just taught. Repetition. By repeating something three times, it sinks in. You get the message across.
Mercury operates the same way. It goes around the sun three times for every one earth orbit. It passes between earth and the sun three times in every year, creating three retrograde cycles. And in each retrograde cycle, it makes a series of three aspects to one or more slow planets, and usually a series of three aspects to planets in any given natal chart. In this way, Mercury the Messenger gets his message across.
The three Mercury retrograde cycles in the period of a year (not necessarily a “man-made” calendar year) are often in the same element, since there are three signs in each of the four elements, and they are about a third of the sky apart. Frequently, there’s a repetition of a portion of the degree ranges in these three signs. Thus, three consecutive Mercury retrograde cycles may aspect a particular slow planet or a planet in a natal chart. Now, the message is blaring!
For instance, in 2021, the three Mercury retrograde cycles occur in Air signs.
January 15 – March 13 in Aquarius between 11 and 26 degrees (Rx 1/30 – 2/20)
May 14 – July 7 in Gemini between 16 and almost 25 degrees (Rx 5/29 – 6/22)
Sept. 6 – Nov. 2 in Libra between 10 and 25 degrees (Rx 9/27 – 10/18)
These dates cover the full time span from the entry of Mercury into the range of degrees across which it actually backtracks to its exit from the range. The time frame of reverse motion (Rx) is shorter. Note how the degrees between 16 and 24+ are covered in each cycle. If there is a slow planet traveling in that degree range in a sign affected by major aspects from Air signs, it receives three hits from Mercury three times, for a total of nine in a year – talk about repetition! Planets in Air and Fire signs qualify for such emphasis.
In some one-year periods, all the Mercury retrogrades are in the same element. On either side of this, there will be years in which the Mercury retrograde range zigzags between adjacent signs of two different elements. The next year might be all in the new element. The degree positions of the retrograde ranges shift lower in the zodiac from year to year: the retrogrades themselves retrograde.
Again, using a three-year span, we see:
2020 Mercury retrogrades in Water signs or Water signs shifting to Air signs
2021 Mercury retrogrades all in Air signs
2022 Mercury retrogrades in Air signs shifting to Earth signs
Typically, there is a slight overlap in the date ranges from one year’s Mercury retrogrades to the next. It’s usually just a few days, six or so, from the beginning of the earlier year’s span to the end of the next year’s. Here’s an example:
2020 autumn retrograde 10/13 – 11/3
2021 autumn retrograde 9/27 – 10/18 (repeating prior year’s 10/13 – 10/18)
2022 autumn retrograde 9/9 – 10/2 (repeating prior year’s 9/27 – 10/2)
Because of this overlap, you can have Mercury retrograde at two birthdays in a row, an extended period for learning and re-learning certain lessons or to make and reiterate your points.
The only slow planet traveling in 2021’s repeated Mercury retrograde sites (in an Air or Fire sign, thus receiving major aspects from the Air signs in which Mercury retrogrades) is the dwarf planet Eris at 23-24 degrees of Aries. The only possible major aspects between planets traveling in two different elements of the same polarity (such as Fire and Air both being “masculine” signs) are trines, sextiles or oppositions. (Conjunctions would occur in the same element; squares do not occur between compatible elements.) Mercury is sextile Eris in the winter and spring retrogrades of 2021 and opposite Eris in the autumn. In researching for his book on Eris’s influence in U.S. history (Yankee Doodle Discord), Thomas Canfield discovered that Eris behaves with more chaos and difficulty in the “soft” aspects, such as the sextile, and has a more positive expression in the “hard” aspects, such as the opposition. This little powerhouse planet likes to spur conflict. In mythology, Eris entered the battlefield with her brother Mars and delighted in seeing people fight, not caring which side they were on.
Eris seems to be playing a part in the current climate of conflict and divisiveness in the U.S. It’s in the process of making a series of squares to U.S. natal Mercury at 24 degrees of Cancer. Eris aspects are generally four to five years in duration and have nine or, more frequently, eleven hits. We can’t even agree on facts and information (Mercury’s turf). And we seem to keep having the same arguments over and over, a “curse” of our natal Mercury being retrograde! Eris makes eleven squares to U.S. Mercury from 2019 to 2024, covering two consecutive presidential election primary seasons. If you thought the past campaign was vicious, wait until the next one. Eris is not all bad, though. She has a great respect for truth. Perhaps the force of these squares will help shake and wake the portion of the populace suffering under delusions to see reality. Dates for the squares depend on the exact location of natal Mercury, and since it’s a quick planet and there is no definitive birth time for the U.S. on July 4, 1776, it’s not possible to pinpoint specific dates.
In addition, this year’s three Mercury Retrogrades all strongly aspect the U.S. natal Mars at 21 degrees of Gemini. The Aquarius Mercury retrograde was trine the U.S. Mars, as the Libra Mercury retrograde will be, and the Gemini Mercury retrograde is conjunct it. The June 10 solar eclipse aimed a big spotlight at U.S. Mars, too. The Moon and Sun at almost 20 degrees of Gemini were less than two degrees away from U.S. Mars and retrograde Mercury at almost 21 degrees of Gemini was about half a degree away. This fires up our ire and raises the stakes. The dates of Mercury’s conjunctions to U.S. Mars (exact times depending on which U.S. birth time is used) are 5/19-20, 6/9 and 7/3-4 – yes, right at our birthday. Having this aspect at our solar return will stretch its affects out over the coming year. Expect the heated arguments to continue.
Adding confusion to its current retrograde cycle, Mercury makes three squares to transiting Neptune (exact on 5/22, 6/5 and 7/6). Neptune is already exceptionally foggy during its twelve-year movement through the sign it rules (between 2012 and- 2025). Some characteristics of Neptune in Pisces easily seen at this time are: sensitivity to suffering, including feelings of mistreatment; focus on health care systems (and their shortcomings); secrets and people who lie or intentionally misconstrue situations or can’t tell truth from fiction, e.g., the conspiracy theories running rampant. There are positive expressions, as well, such as increased sympathy and the realization of our interconnectedness with all people and life on our planet. Faith and beliefs are under the purview of this planet/sign pair, too, and for good or ill, religious tenets are seeping their way into many aspects of our experience and discussions.
Mercury often presents the same (or similar) information or situations to us over and over until we get the message or see things from a different angle. It’s all part of Mercury as the teacher, repeating the lesson again and again.
In its orbit of just under twelve years around the Sun and circling the zodiac, Jupiter generally spends about a year in any given sign. But that’s not always a nice, neat twelve contiguous months. Jupiter’s visit to Pisces will take place in three parts! Such a mishmash seems to fit well with the Pisces symbol of fish swimming in circles. We may have a sense of trying to go in one direction, only having to switch mid-stream and later come back around to what we were aiming for.
The first part is a brief foray from May 13 through July 27, 2021, moving only two degrees into the sign before retreating back into Aquarius. Its longest stint in Pisces is from December 28, 2021 to May 10, 2022, when it moves ahead almost 9 degrees into Aries. Its final visit is October 28 to December 20, 2022.
There will be two important occurrences during Jupiter’s time in Pisces. First is the New Moon on March 2, 2022, which is less than two degrees from Jupiter, beginning a four-week cycle when all that Jupiter in Pisces signals will be highlighted and maximized. The second comes when Jupiter joins Neptune, which happens only once (not part of a triple repetition due to retrogradation), on April 12, 2022, not that that day there will be a major occurrence, but somewhere around then, significant things should be happening.
Before Neptune’s discovery in 1846, Jupiter was the ruling planet of Pisces and it’s still very strong in this sign. As the biggest planet, Jupiter expands whatever it connects with. In Pisces, it is likely to increase imagination (which can be used in a positive way or could lead to deception or misimpressions), boost creativity, add to sympathy and help for those in need, and surely in this period, we’ll be able to return to live arts and entertainment performances. Health matters, medicines and even “street drugs” are under the auspices of Pisces. We could see new cures and more acceptance of the helpful properties of cannabis. The oceans are related to Neptune and Pisces and not only do we have rising sea levels to contend with, there’s a big problem with plastics (also ruled by Neptune) in the Pacific. Neptune and Pisces are the rulers of oil and chemicals. The last time Neptune was in Pisces (1848 – 1861), the main source of energy was shifting from whale oil to petroleum. This time around (2012 – 2025), petroleum use seems poised to wane and be replaces by what? Maybe a multitude of things. This sign is famous for variety! Harnessing ocean tides would be smart.
Look to see where Pisces is in your chart and keep your eyes open for expansion and progress in that area. Pisces is associated with dreams and Jupiter wants you to dream big!
The world watched in awe in late March as a giant container ship got stuck sideways in the Suez Canal, blocking international transportation in that major artery for days. A look at what was going on astrologically might hint at when the ship would be set free.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) reported for that the ship became lodged at 7:40 AM on March 23 near Suez, Egypt. Remarkably, two major difficult planets were exactly on the major “angles” (directions) right then and there. As the world turns, the four directions as viewed from any particular point on our planet shift a zodiacal degree every four minutes on average (hence the need for accurate times for births or events). The angles are the most potent points in a chart. When two planets occupy angles simultaneously in a certain location, they are said to be in “paran.” This relationship is thought to be as important as an aspect and acts like an aspect, even if the planets are nowhere near the exact degree designations of the aspects. Parans can mimic a conjunction, square or opposition. In this case, the paran was similar to a square (90º, considered a very difficult interaction). At the time of the grounding, Uranus, a planet heralding quick, unpredictable and unusual events, had just risen and was within a degree of the eastern horizon, while Pluto, a planet of extremes and of big money, associated with havoc, sat atop the chart precisely at the Midheaven (the southernmost degree). They were 102º apart but interacted as if by square.
Both Uranus and Pluto are currently in signs of the Earth element, Uranus in Taurus and Pluto in Capricorn. Some people are blaming a dust storm (dirt blown around by wind). It ran aground into the canal bank, literally earth. At first, a post stated there may have been an electrical blackout on the ship (Uranus rules electricity) but that post was soon taken down and the theory was ruled out. Then it was reported that steering could have been a problem during high winds and the dust storm. Uranus also rules strong winds. Records show the ship was speeding at the time of the grounding. Speeding is often a maneuver to cope with high winds in the canal and the ship following behind the Ever Given was doing the same. Speed is related to Mars and damage to Chiron. The rising degree at the time of the lodging was exactly at the midpoint between Mars and Chiron. (A midpoint between heavenly bodies is a key blending of their influences.) Speed does look to be a factor.
The head of the SCA said ships pass frequently through the canal in high winds without incident and discounted the storm as the cause, instead theorizing some kind of technical error. Uranus rules electronics and technology, too, and is also associated with errors, including human errors. One way or another, Uranus seems to be involved.
Marine shipping insurers are bracing for a slew of claims, so determining the reason for the grounding is crucial with huge financial implications. To avoid the blocked canal, many ships went all the way around Africa to travel between Europe and Asia, adding days and cost to the journey. Insurance is ruled by Pluto and at the grounding, it was in a tense T-square pattern with Eris, the dwarf planet known for chaos, and the Moon in the sign it rules, Cancer, together associated with tides, which affect canal water levels. The process of successfully dislodging the Ever Given was assisted by a high tide.
Ships come under the auspices of Neptune. Saturn is notorious for blockages. Though these two planets were not in any aspect, the midpoint between Saturn and Neptune was at the same degree (0º Pisces) as the midpoint between Jupiter and Mercury, linking all their energies together. Jupiter rules everything international, including trade and transportation, and Mercury is related to commerce, as well. Saturn and Neptune were 40º apart, equal to the separation between Jupiter and Venus, which rules goods and valuables. Such “equal differences” are a key consideration in “symmetrical astrology,” a modern branch of the field. Jupiter shows involvement through these symmetries and midpoints even though it had no official (standard) aspects at the time of the grounding, a condition called “unaspected,” thought to mean acting as a wild card. Jupiter is in another potentially influential midpoint combination. The Jupiter-Neptune midpoint (keywords = large ship) at 6º Pisces occupies the same degree as the midpoint between Saturn and Venus (keywords = a contraction in profits). And finally, a very telling midpoint is Saturn at the midpoint of Jupiter and Pluto, three heavy-hitters pointing to restrictions (Saturn) on international (Jupiter) joint financial matters (Pluto).
At the time the ship was freed, there was type of a lucky triangle composed of three points positioned either one-fifth or two-fifths apart around the circle. The rising degree (a place in a chart that shows what’s happening at that minute in that place) was pointed to by Chiron and Pluto, which had been in a long-term quintile (one-fifth aspect) with seven occurrences from 2018 to 2021, the final one being on 3/23/21, the very day of the grounding. Their connection was still strong six days later and helped to mark the lucky moment when the tragedy ended by connecting with the rising degree.
When ship traffic resumed in the canal at 6:00 PM on March 29, Chiron (an indicator of repair and healing) was exactly on a directional angle, the western horizon. The Moon was one third of the sky (a relationship judged as favorable) from Jupiter, a signal that a tide (Moon) was cresting and therefore fortunate (Jupiter rules largeness and luck).
As with airplane crashes, an official investigation will seek to explain exactly what happened. Astrologers await their findings.
In trying to figure out what astrological correlate(s) might help explain our current difficulties – primarily the pandemic, but America’s dire political divide, as well – I thought surely Neptune must be involved somehow.
Neptune is associated with health matters and diseases, especially those caused by something invisible. One might expect the planetary ruler of virus would be Neptune but it turns out to be Pluto. Named for the Lord of the Underworld, Pluto is certainly a killer. In a previous blog, I wrote about the pandemic’s connection with an ongoing clash (by “square” 90º apart) between Pluto and Eris, the dwarf planet discovered in 2005 related to chaos and discord. Pluto is affiliated with economics and financial matters and we can see those are precarious due to the pandemic. It will take a long time to get them under control. Yes, Pluto is key and Eris seems telling. Still, I smelled Neptune in the mix.
Neptune is related to fraud, lies and deception. We hear a lot about “the big lie” of a stolen election. Ironically, those who believe it think those who don’t have been duped by a conspiracy. Racial tension reached new heights in 2020, as well. Neptune is the planet of the oppressed, the ruling planet of slavery. We have yet to heal the wounds from our “original sin” in America. Another political wedge issue. Our pledge to “one nation, indivisible” rings hollow as our social contract seems to be dissolving. Here’s Neptune again, associated with chemicals and solvents, with the process of falling apart. Another Neptune trait that has also intensified in a harmful way is fear. People, including politicians, are afraid of losing their jobs. People are afraid to run out of money. People are afraid to get the virus. Sure sounds like a lot of Neptune!
Neptune is famous for “hiding in plain sight” so I went sleuthing and my search took me to midpoints. A midpoint is just like it sounds: the middle degree halfway between two planets. It’s a potent position that joins their influences together. The movement of midpoints is not easy to follow unless you have special tables, and these might not include Eris since it’s a rather new addition to the astrological family and not all astrologers are paying attention to it. I checked the midpoint between Neptune and Eris. Sure enough, there was a “planetary picture,” the term for when one planet is at the midpoint of two others, blending the influence of all three. Beginning in the spring of 2020 and continuing off and on until early April of 2021, Chiron is within 1-1/2 degrees (the range of potency) of the Neptune-Eris midpoint. Chiron signifies a wound or weakness, as well as potential for healing. In this combination, it shows the harm of lies and the resulting discord we’re experiencing politically. It also points to our difficulties in responding to COVID-19.
Oxford Languages explains chaos theory this way: “the branch of mathematics that deals with complex systems whose behavior is highly sensitive to slight changes in conditions, so that small alterations can give rise to strikingly great consequences.” I added italics to emphasize a feature of Eris in mythology and astrology, namely matters which begin small grow and grow and become powerful. A disease that starts with just a few cases. A lie that is repeated again and again.
Looks like I found a salient factor, but we can’t conclude things will improve when the troublesome Chiron-Neptune-Eris planetary picture breaks apart in a couple months. It’s leaving a flood of calamity in its wake.
My writing group had an assignment to write a “2020 wrap-up in five sentences” and this is what came through me. I sent it to my newsletter list and now, considering the positive response and recent events, I thought I would post it here.
Like Eris, it started off small and grew and grew, seeding chaos as it went.
Like Pluto, it plowed through everything in its path, turning over the very ground, tilling, burying what was on top underneath, raising up what was below, a fertile reversal.
Like Neptune, it drowned us in tears until we were washed clean, purified, and could face our fears.
Like Saturn, it demanded we finish our business of seeing what reality really is and paying – on time – the price for the lesson.
Like Jupiter, its principles became crystal clear, the higher way there for all who have vision to see, and by following its guiding light, break free into the re-imagined future.
December 20, 2020
They are the two biggest planets in our solar system. On December 21, 2020, Jupiter will join Saturn. They do this dance every twenty years in what is called a Great Conjunction (conjunction means a coming together and “great” because they’re the biggest planets. Their cycle is the longest of the original planets, prior to the discoveries made possible by the invention of telescopes. So is this a big deal? In a word, YES!
There are two ways in which this conjunction is extraordinary. The first has to do with proximity. In their travel, planets go around the zodiac as well as up and down within a certain band-with. Not every time they reach the same point on the orbital racetrack are they at an equivalent vertical position, said to be “parallel.” Riding at the same elevation in the sky, they practically merge, appearing like one big star to the unaided eye. With magnification, Saturn will look like it is sitting atop Jupiter. That definitely does not happen every time the quicker giant planet overtakes its ringed neighbor. When I looked across more than eight centuries, from 1600 to 2420, there were only two other instances of Jupiter and Saturn appearing as one bright object, in 1623 and 2417. There were a half a dozen other times when they’re almost as close but are distinct: a trio of conjunctions in 1682-83, 1961, 2080 and 2140. Had you been alive in 1623, you probably could not have seen their merging because they were so close to the Sun they would be obscured by the Sun’s brilliance. If you’re young enough, you may live until 2080 and be able to check how close they are then (on March 14) – they wont be quite as close as this year. This is definitely the best viewing until 400 years from now. Maybe in a future incarnation you can see this very rare phenomenon again!
This article from EarthSky.org has a great explanation and helpful illustrations.
Though they travel near one another in the zodiac for several months, more often than not, when Jupiter passes Saturn in their dual-decade dance, it happens just one time. Rarely, they join in a series of three instances, spaced months apart. You might think this is not so rare if you only examined the past hundred years, when there were two triplets, in 1940-41 and 1980-81. In the same period mentioned above, there were only three other triplets, in 1682-83, 2238-39 and 2279. This conjunction is not a triple but it’s special in another way, having to do with the element of the sign where it occurs.
Jupiter-Saturn meetings strike a drumbeat for cultural changes and developments, and this one holds the promise for a whole new era. The 2020 meet-up heralds the end of almost two centuries dominated by Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in signs of the Earth element and ushers in a period of over a century when Jupiter’s and Saturn’s paths cross in Air signs. This is part of a long-term cycling through the four elements, usually with seven pairings in an element before migrating to the next.
The Earth element is associated with material objects, practical concerns, and wealth and tangible assets. The Earth era premiered with a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in 1802, but it was followed by a throwback to the prior era with a conjunction in the Fire element in 1821. The long stretch of Earth conjunctions began in 1841. Soon afterward, transportation progressed from steamships to railroads, then trucks and automobiles, followed by airplanes and space travel. Communication technology developed beyond books, letters and newspapers to telegraphs, telephones and satellites. In the 20-year period from the first conjunction in an Air sign in 1980 to 2000, the last conjunction in an Earth sign, we added personal computers, the internet, cell phones and the Apple watch, which was only dreamed about in 1946 in the cartoon strip Dick Tracy. The growth of banks and financial institutions and the amassing of great personal or family fortunes accompanied these other advancements. And in the process, the earth itself has been abused and trashed. And in the last Earth period from 2000 to 2020, income disparity and the wealth gap between the “top one percent” and everyone else has skyrocketed.
We’ve now moved past the Industrial Revolution and Robber Barons of the Earth period and we’re living in the Information Age. Communication and information are associated with the Air element, as are relationships. As with every element, there are three signs in Air. Gemini correlates with education, neighborhoods and community. Libra is about connections (who you know), cooperation and fairness. Aquarius is the sign of friendship, associations, humankind and humanitarianism. The long period of Air sign conjunctions will run from 2020 to 2159, with an extension for two more cycles from 2179 to 2218, after which the prominent element shifts to Water. Thus this 2020 conjunction is the turning point, and is known as a Great Mutation, a Great Conjunction that shifts to a different element. People will matter more than things.
For forty years, since my early years of studying astrology, I have been waiting for this time of Air sign Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions. Living through the period initiated by the 1980-81 conjunctions, I was upset that we weren’t making enough progress in equality and fairness, and that we weren’t following the example of the first Earth Day in 1970. Reagan was elected in 1980 and removed the solar panels Jimmy Carter had installed on the White House. Racial tensions have not calmed down. Women have not ascended to an equal status. I had and continue to have high hopes, although reality has not always lived up to the ideal. (Jupiter relates to optimism; Saturn to realism. There’s always a balancing act between them.) With the conjunction at the first degree of Aquarius, I thought this would be the true beginning of the Age of Aquarius, a time of “brotherhood.” Many people erroneously think the Age of Aquarius occurred in the hippie days of the late ‘60s when the associated song came out. Actually, it’s an astronomical phenomenon related to a cycle of more than 26,000 years, with periods of approximately 2,160 years assigned to each of the twelve zodiac constellations according to where the spring equinox occurs. (Here are two articles, one I wrote and one written by a colleague, describing the Age of Aquarius in more depth.)
I do think we’re headed toward more equality and harmony among the people of the world, but it won’t happen immediately. What I didn’t anticipate was the extreme fight a dying breed would put up. Power in the hands of (mostly) white (mostly) men won’t easily yield to the demographics of an increasingly multi-racial population. And the trend, worldwide, toward more authoritarianism caught me off-guard. Capricorn is the sign of authority and control and Pluto is the planet of big bucks and power (which go hand-in-hand in America even more so since the Citizens United decision in 2010). Pluto moved into Capricorn in 2008 in the midst of the subprime mortgage crisis and ensuing Great Recession. But that didn’t quell rising wealth inequality. And during the pandemic, the uber-rich have gotten even richer and the poor, poorer. Governments have clamped down on the populace, especially in places like Hong Kong and Chile, but we’ve seen civil rights violations by unidentified armed federal agents attacking protestors in this country, too.
The trio of Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto traveling together through most of 2020 brought international (Jupiter) virus and death (Pluto) as well as restrictions (Saturn) and widespread (Jupiter) economic (Pluto) hardship (Saturn). The concentration of these three powerhouse planets in one sign has been too much! Saturn and Pluto are usually very difficult while Jupiter normally has a reputation of being beneficial. As the biggest planet, it’s main function is to expand whatever it’s contacting. So it made the bad stuff worse. We’ll be happy this combination ends before the New Year and the three planets start to spread out by the end of January. Had the Great Conjunction been in the final degree of Capricorn, the ripple effects of this heavy energy would have continued over the next two decades. Instead, because Jupiter and Saturn beat their drum in Aquarius, we have a Great Mutation and the beginning of a New Age. And none too soon.
Think about this: Aquarius = Aqua (water) + r + i + us = the connecting force of water + R (plural of to be: we aRe), shifting from I (Individuals) to Us (Unity).
In October, I entered a “Mundane Challenge” sponsored by a chapter of an international astrology organization of which I’m a member. “Mundane” is used in astrology as a term for worldly matters and events in the news. It wasn’t a “contest” to determine a “winner.” The goal was to predict the election outcome – not necessarily to be right – and to “show your work,” explaining the techniques used to reach conclusions. At an event in early December, five astrologers (myself included) will present their findings. Without going into great detail here, I will share some of what I submitted and then add a little to it.
Both presidential candidates have strong career success indicators in their charts or they wouldn’t have risen to the position of running for the highest office in the land. Born at a lunar eclipse full moon, Trump has had a “larger than life” story. Biden’s more modest beginning set him on a path of building a public presence over time. In 2019, in his personal updated chart, he had a solar eclipse new moon, providing a “late bloomer” boost. At Inauguration Day 2021, the ruling planet of his career area is close to the updated position of his Sun, the leadership planet, boding well for him. Becoming the Presidential candidate, win or lose, is a crowning achievement he’s sought for decades.
The candidates’ history of winning or losing was an important consideration. Both Biden and Harris have won every election in which they’ve run. (Biden lost primaries but never an election in over forty years.) Pence lost in two consecutive attempts before a decade’s break from running and finally making it into Congress. Trump barely eked out an electoral college victory after losing the 2016 popular vote. In 2018, he encouraged people to vote in the mid-terms as if he was on the ballot; that was a resounding defeat. In 2020, Biden and Harris enjoy a repeat of a new or full moon activating their same natal planets that were similarly stimulated around the time of all their winning elections. A full moon at the career point (top) of Trump’s chart heralded his victory in 2016. This year, the new moon nearest the election is at the bottom (home point) of his chart, signaling a possible change in residence. That same new moon highlights Pence’s natal Jupiter but he has lost before with a connection to this usually fortuitous planet. Perhaps it’s time for him to return to broadcasting, ruled by Jupiter. (He gained notoriety doing a radio talk show in Indiana between his failed campaigns and his office tenures.) At the time of the certification of the vote in 2016 and at the 2017 inauguration, Trump had important highlights to his career area and its ruling planet. No such luck this time.
A key technique I used for the “challenge” was examining the chart for the moment each candidate accepted the nomination. This was fascinating! The charts were similar in many ways since both Biden and Trump accepted at nearly the same time of the evening a week apart in cities geographically close. The slower planets were in the same locations in the two charts, which had nearly identical degrees on the four crucial chart directions – degrees that are only two degrees from the same positions in the 2021 inauguration chart! The main differences were in the signs of the quick moving planets and their connections to the slower ones. The slow planets, continually indicating big change, were not aggravated by quick “personal” planets at the Democratic convention. A week later at the Republican convention, a quick planet applied stressful pressure to them. The candidate with the most favorable acceptance chart was the first one nominated for a place on the ballot: Kamala Harris. (Regardless of the election outcome, her career has taken a giant leap forward with this nomination.) There’s more to the charts than this brief synopsis provides, all favoring the Democratic ticket.
In checking the “astrological atmosphere” surrounding the election, I identified prior elections with planetary cycles similar to those happening now. A major one occurred twice in recent years, both times with significant shifts in the balance of power between the parties: the 1992 mid-terms, when Republicans had a resounding victory in the House during Bill Clinton’s first term, and the 2008 “hope and change” election of Obama and Biden. Another repeating feature mimics conditions in 1976, when the Presidency went to the Democrats following the corruption of the Nixon administration. These factors show 2020 “leans blue” and just might color results across the board.
Of course, we can’t ignore how Mercury is at a standstill ending its retrograde on Election Day 2020, exactly as it was in 2000. Al Gore conceded late that night and hours later, retracted his concession. Then recounts and court battles ensued for weeks, ending up at the Supreme Court. There’s likely to be some confusion and hub-bub this time around, too. However, I don’t think the overall results will be as close and therefore the outcome should not end up in the hands of the High Court.
The following additional comments are beyond what I submitted in the “challenge.”
Biden has a Scorpio Sun with Sagittarius rising. Thus his ruling planets are Pluto and Jupiter. These two are now traveling together and very powerful. The recent full moon with the Sun in Scorpio and Moon in Taurus echoes Biden’s natal chart signs, likely a positive indication for him. In contrast, Mercury rules Trump’s (and Pence’s) Gemini Sun and it is motionless (going nowhere) on Election Day, as mentioned above. This is an indication of weakness. Trump has Leo rising. That sign’s ruler, the Sun, is opposite Uranus now (nearly exact at the recent full moon). This shakes things up for him personally and for him as the head of state, a position associated with the Sun.
Throughout 2020, the planet of karma and accountability (Saturn) has been traveling across from Trump’s natal Saturn and his Venus, the planet in charge of his career and reputation area. This relationship shows strong opposition from outside oneself. Although his impeachment trial ended in acquittal, that doesn’t erase the charge and he will go down in history as an impeached (and weakened) president.
On a practical political level, in the presidential race, Trump has never polled over 50%, whereas Biden has exceeded that important threshold in multiple polls over the course of many weeks. (Per nbcnews.com, Hillary Clinton touched 50% just twice in 2016, in two-way match-ups, which did not reflect the election’s total choices.) Trump’s approval percentage has been consistently in the 40s since 2015. His base is loyal but he hasn’t been able to expand it to a majority. His “unfavorable” rate has been above 50% for his entire term (per RealClearPolitics.com), a hurdle nearly impossible for an incumbent to overcome in a referendum bid for reelection.
My conclusion and prediction: Biden wins.
It’s our country’s “birthday” and not very often is there a Full Moon at the anniversary of our independence. It’s even more special if it’s a lunar eclipse! Since eclipses can repeat after nineteen years, this has happened before. A lunar eclipse occurred on July 4 in 1936. Repeats came within a day or two of the fourth, and thus in a 1-2° “orb” (or range of influence) of our “solar return” (the astrological equivalent of a birthday), in 1944, 1963, 1982, 2001 and 2020, which is the last in this series.
With such a big deal as a lunar eclipse on a birthday, we’d expect big events to be associated with it or to occur “around” that time (possibly months before or after). Looking back, we indeed see these years have indeed been very important.
We were in the midst of the New Deal during the Depression and the three-year “dust bowl” was coming to an end. Gone With The Wind was published. African-American athlete Jesse Owens won the 100-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics. The US joined an international brigade to help fight for Spain in the Spanish Civil War.
The tide was turning in the Allies’ favor in WWII with D Day and the liberation of Guam. The gang rape of a black mother by six white men in Alabama, and the failure to indict any of them, provokes nationwide protest and activism among the African-American community. FDR was re-elected for an unprecedented fourth term (which he would not complete). A Supreme Court decision ended “white primaries” in the South in which only whites could vote.
Travel, financial and commercial transactions between the US and Cuba are outlawed. In George Wallace’s inaugural speech as governor of Alabama, he proclaims, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!” amidst a year of major Civil Rights protests. The Supreme Court rules that state courts must provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who cannot afford their own attorneys, and that Bible-reading in schools in unconstitutional. And of course, the assassination of JFK was the biggest story in 1963.
Amidst a powder keg of anti Asian-American animosity in Michigan, a young Chinese-American was beaten to death in a strip club at his bachelor party by two white auto-workers (a planet supervisor and his laid-off stepson), who thought he was Japanese and the cause of the declining American auto industry. An economic downturn from July 1981 to November 1982 was triggered by tight monetary policy in an attempt to fight inflation. (This was the worst economic downturn to date in the US since the Great Depression.) Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil and Republican President Ronald Reagan reach a deal to cut spending and raise taxes. After November election, the stock market soars to a new high.
The giant game-changing story of 2001 was the terrorist attack on 9/11, so you might not remember other key events. For instance, despite a recession beginning in March, a giant tax cut favoring the wealthy was passed in May and signed into law in early June, two days after Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party, shifting control of the Senate to Democrats. In April, an unarmed Black teenager was shot in a police pursuit (wanted on misdemeanors like driving without a seat belt), sparking four days of protest and unrest considered the largest urban disturbance in the US since the 1992 Watts uprising. Following 9/11, the Patriot Act gave sweeping surveillance powers to the government, infringing on 4th Amendment privacy rights. The US invaded Afghanistan, President Bush withdrew the US from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and China was granted permanent normal trade status with the US.
President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for attempting to withhold aid to a foreign government in exchange for information he hoped would affect the upcoming election. He was not convicted by Republican Senators, who refused to hear witness testimony. A virus pandemic enveloped the globe and the US has failed in its response, reaching record cases and deaths. Black Lives Matter marches have continued non-stop since the Memorial Day murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man suspected of passing a forged $20 bill. Just ahead of our birthday, news emerged of Russian bounties paid to Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, where the 19-year-long war continues. The President claimed not to know and now seems disinclined to do anything about it. And we’re only half-way through 2020.
The US was born with Mercury in retrograde and we seem to repeat some of the same situations over and over, not learning our lesson. Get ready for more of that. Mercury was ending a backtrack at the 2000 election and remember that hanging chad debacle? Mercury ends its retrograde this November on Election Day, too; don’t be surprised by unclear results or disputed vote counts.
Mercury is retrograde at our birthday, a time when the influences present extend their sway for the coming year. We should think twice before doing anything major to try to avoid what we might regret. Mercury is in a troublesome “T-square” pattern across from the Moon, both perpendicular to the duo of Mars and Chiron, which are a little over 5° apart. Mercury in Cancer inclines us to be whiny and express our feelings, although the Moon in mature Capricorn counters with a stiff upper lip. The Mars-Chiron combo adds gripes about illness or wounds. These two are in Aries, fomenting heated discussions with hurtful potential.
Mars, Aries’ ruling planet, spends the second half of 2020 in a long visit in its home sign due to a retrograde there beginning mid-September. Arguments and impatience are likely to cause trouble and the possibility of armed conflict or martial law are not out of the question, although not necessarily occurring in America. Hong Kong comes to mind as a hotspot and this lunar eclipse is accentuated on the North/South line there. The Middle East is always precarious, as well. At the summer solstice (providing indications for the summer season), Mars and Chiron lines enclosed Israel, Jordon, Lebanon and Syria. When Mars entered Aries on June 27, one of its lines ran right through the Straits of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s oil travels.
This year, we can’t get away from the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, which promises big changes in finances, governments, laws and international relations. Pluto also happens to rule viruses and death. The second of three occurrences was on June 29 (the first being April 4 and the last coming November 12). Throughout their alignment, both are square Eris, the dwarf planet of discord and rivalry. Mars joined in the fray around the time of the spring equinox as it passed through Capricorn and will add to the trouble when it joins Eris in Aries three times: August 17, October 3 and December 22. Seeing this coming down the pike and noting the lunar eclipse at our birthday, last fall in my 2020 Highlights, I remarked “Holy Uncle-Samoly!” not knowing what all would develop. Current events are even more dramatic than anything I could imagine, and who knows what’s coming next. Enjoy the fireworks!
With Mercury Retrograde, it’s an appropriate time to revisit something written earlier. So I dug up my post from three years ago and found it’s still interesting reading and rather prescient. See what you think.
July 3, 2017
Uncle Sam’s Foreboding Birthday
The USA was born of rebellion and to this day, protesting is in our blood. Somebody’s always fighting about something somewhere – we’re a rowdy bunch. In the nation’s birth chart, we see this signaled by our Moon (one’s emotional nature and what one feeds on or hungers for) in the sign Aquarius. (While the Moon is important in any chart, it’s especially so when the Sun sign is Cancer, ruled by the Moon. Born in early July, the USA has the Sun in Cancer.) Aquarius is the sign ruled by Uranus, the planet of the common man, and is the sign positioned opposite Leo, the royal sign. We united in opposition to the crown and declared all men to be equal, as the most egalitarian sign, Aquarius, would be prone to do! Uranus, said to rule revolution, was discovered in 1781, about midway between the revolutions in America (beginning in 1774) and in France (1789). Some charts for the USA (including the one I usually use) are based on an early morning time when Uranus was rising at the eastern horizon, which is a key position in any chart and indicates what is being manifested. I think this fits well with our national character, but since there is not a definitive, agreed-upon time for the USA’s birth, I will restrict this analysis to apply to July 4, 1776 in general, no matter what time.
A key planet related to fighting is, of course, Mars, named for the god of war. At our inception, it was in Gemini, a sign of communication. “Them’s fighting words,” old Westerns used to say, although sometimes we battle with more than our tongues. Gemini is also a sign of siblings and neighbors. In some instances during our Civil War, brother fought against brother and neighbor against neighbor. Gemini’s ruling planet, Mercury, is named for the messenger of the gods, who also carried a moneybag. Astrology associates Mercury with commerce. In America, business has long been a bone of contention. In fact, our first act of war was heaving the Brits’ tea into Boston harbor. Mars is situated in the USA chart about halfway between Uranus and Venus at their “midpoint” (which blends their influences). Venus shows what one loves; we love to rebel and we do so with our words and wits (Mars in Gemini).
The Sun in a country’s chart represents its leader, even if not a king; there’s a regal or high-ranking implication (the Sun rules Leo). At the USA’s birth, the Sun was in a 90-degree angle (indicating friction) relative to Saturn, the planet of rules and the law. Saturn was in Libra, the sign of equality and justice. Our tenant is no one is above the law, not even our President. This Sun-Saturn abrasion also represents limitations (think of Saturn’s rings) that affect our leader or even our nation as a whole (the Sun in a chart indicates identity, one’s very being).
The USA is blessed to have the two planets most favored by ancient astrologers, Venus and Jupiter, paired only 5 degrees apart at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Big and bright and the easiest of the planets to spot in the night sky, they were dubbed “benefics” (good do-ers), and indeed their combination often yields positive results. They herald the bounty and riches of our nation. Our “bread basket,” love of country and “family values” are consistent with the sign Cancer, where Venus and Jupiter joined. The iconic American Dream is to achieve abundance, usually thought to include home ownership (Cancer rules real estate).
Three Presidents of the modern era were all born relatively near a solar eclipse in the summer of 1946 at 6°49’ Cancer, only a degree away from Jupiter’s position at the USA’s birth. This solar eclipse was 7 degrees from George W. Bush’s Sun, 2 degrees from Donald Trump’s Mercury, and less than a degree from Bill Clinton’s Midheaven (the important top point of a chart, indicating career and status). All three men present Jupiter’s qualities of hope, humor and homespun philosophy, which America found appealing enough to put them in the White House.
However, also in the summer of 1946, Chiron, an asteroid nicknamed “the Wounded Healer,” was traveling in Libra, teamed up with big Jupiter, which magnifies all that it contacts. Both Jupiter and Chiron came to the USA’s Saturn degree, 90° from the USA’s Sun. This can be interpreted as each of these men, born with their natal Jupiter and Chiron activating the USA’s Saturn-Sun abrasion, present the potential for big harm to the respect (Saturn) of the country’s highest position (Sun). Of these three Presidents, Trump’s Chiron is closest to the USA’s Saturn and thus the injury he can do may exceed the wounds of the other two. Thus far, we have seen Clinton nearly thrown out of office over a lie and Bush taking us into the prolonged and basically unwinnable Iraq war based on a lie (that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which were never found). Will a lie, or perhaps his many lies, also be the undoing of Trump? Time will tell. And the time may be upon us before long. To add a little spice to this stew, consider that Vladimir Putin’s Sun is in Libra only a degree from the USA Saturn and exactly 90 degrees from the USA Sun. He is not a friend to America and he may well play a role in the unfolding drama.
The USA’s 2017 Birthday
The Moon at our birthday is in Scorpio, the sign of transformation and evolution, a water sign signifying deep emotions. The Moon is a key indicator of the people, and as our country’s Sun-sign ruler, it definitely signifies the populace. We are shifting and our feelings are an important part of the process. Women, also related to the Moon, will play a key role in the coming changes.
At our birthday, Jupiter is in Libra, close to the exact degree of the USA’s Saturn and Trump’s Chiron (both 9 degrees from the square to the USA Sun). Jupiter closes in on that degree about a week later, around July 12 (the exact date depends on the unknown USA birth time but it’s within a day or two, at the most, of the 12th). Jupiter is famous for bringing things out into the open. Keep your eyes on Putin’s and Trump’s first face-to-face meeting as world leaders on July 7 or 8 (details to be determined) at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, midway between our July 4 birthday and the July 12-ish Jupiter visit. Whatever these two do or do not discuss may not seem tremendously significant at the time, but I suspect it will set some wheels in motion that will turn out to be very important. It probably won’t be a love-fest since Venus is in a rough relationship with Jupiter at the USA’s 2017 birthday. Although these two had a good relationship at the nation’s birth, the current connection isn’t likely to deliver the wished-for goodies since it activates the difficult link between the natal and birthday Sun with natal Saturn. Venus is the planet of values. Russia’s clash with America’s, but whose will Trump tout? So far, he hasn’t criticized Russia or Putin on any issues. But an altercation may be in the offing. Mercury and Mars are conjunct at our birthday, roughly 6-7 degrees apart, echoing the USA natal Mars in Mercury-ruled Gemini. Lots of heated discussions are in store, as is our wont. We love our fightin’ words, which is where we started this discussion. And oh, by the way, Trump’s Sun is at the degree of the USA Mars. He exemplifies our pugilistic nature. And rather than making American great again, it’s more like he’s at war with the nation he was elected to lead.