The First Recorded Christmas

Recently on Facebook astrologer William Stickevers posted a chart for the first recorded celebration of Christmas.  According to William:

“When was Christmas first celebrated?  In an old list of Roman bishops, compiled in A.D. 354 these words appear for A.D. 336: “25 Dec.: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae.” December 25th, Christ born in Bethlehem, Judea.  This day, December 25, 336, is the first recorded celebration of Christmas.”

William also posted a chart cast with Placidus houses for sunrise on the day of the celebration.  Since Placidus would not be born for several centuries, I have recast the chart with Whole Sign Houses which were more commonly used in Hellenistic times.  Here is the chart cast for Rome at sunrise on the first recorded celebration of Christmas.

First recorded Christmas, Whole Sign Houses, Sunrise in Rome.

First recorded Christmas, Whole Sign Houses, Sunrise in Rome.

Does this chart presage the modern celebrations of Christmas in the West?  Perhaps Saturn ruling the Ascendant and the 2nd house of money and possessions foreshadows the crass commercialism of the holiday, especially with Saturn as the most elevated planet rising toward the MC in Scorpio.

Neptune in Sagittarius in the spiritual 12th conjunct the North Lunar Node characterizes the sacrificial quality of the new religious with its message of universal love and the value of suffering.

Mars in Sagittarius, closely conjunct the ASC, well describes Christian proselytizing as well as the propensity of the Church to torture and murder non-believers, as it did during the Inquisition, the Crusades and the conquest of the Americas.

Uranus in Aries at the start of the 4th house is a marker of the radical break with tradition, which the new religion represented.

Perhaps Moon conjunct Pluto in Pisces in the 3rd house of communication signifies the powerful message of the new religion along with the tendency to use such power to manipulate and control the masses.


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Transiting Saturn conjunct Pluto

Transiting Saturn conjunct Natal Pluto

Transiting Saturn conjunct Natal Pluto

Recently a young man born in 1993 asked me to look at his chart.  I noticed that he had natal Pluto in late Scorpio and had experienced Saturn crossing over his natal Pluto earlier this fall.  He told me that at the time of the transit he had a serious disagreement with his coach, which had prompted him to quit the team despite the fact that he loved his sport.  His experience of conflict with authority is typical of this transit.

He then asked me to look at the chart of his friend who was also born in 1993 but in a different month.  She also had Pluto in late Scorpio, and the same Saturn/Pluto conjunction was going to perfect in mid-November (about a month later than he had experienced the Saturn to natal Pluto transit).  I told him that she was also likely to experience some significant conflict with authority, with a government agency, or possibly with the police in mid- to late November.  He assured me that such a prediction was highly unlikely because his friend was very amiable and peace-loving and had never gotten into trouble.

Today he informed me that his female friend was doing an assignment for a class which involved a photo shoot.  She went to an abandoned house to take the photos.  Apparently the police noticed her entering the house and confronted her about trespassing.  They also confiscated her data.  Both this young man and his friend were quite impressed by the fact that the “prediction” came true.  Sometimes astrology is truly amazing.

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The Death of Joan Rivers

This week Joan Rivers has been much in the news.  On August 28, 2014, the comedian experienced serious complications and stopped breathing during a medical procedure at a New York clinic.  She was then hospitalized at Mount Sinai where she was put on life support two days later.  On September 4 she died at 1:17 pm EDT.  A recently released report by NY State health investigators reported that the Manhattan clinic where she suffered fatal complications had made several errors, including failing to identify her deteriorating vital signs and failing to provide timely intervention.

Could any of this have been foreseen in her birth chart?  Using the data from astrodatabank, I calculated her natal chart to be the following:

Joan Rivers Natal Chart

Joan Rivers Natal Chart

The houses that have to do with health and illness are the 1st (ASC, the body & its vitality), the 6th (illness) and the 8th (surgery, major medical interventions, death).  Mars is the traditional ruler of her Scorpio 8th house.  Pluto is considered the modern ruler of Scorpio.  The Sun rules her 6th house and is in square aspect to Mars, suggesting health problems related to surgery (6th ruler square 8th ruler).  This aspect is also significant because Mars rules her ASC (her body) and the Sun is the exalted ruler of the Aries ASC.  Mars also makes a stressful quincunx to Saturn, suggesting impediments due to surgery.

If we superimpose her current solar return on her natal chart, we see the following:

Rivers Solar Return on Natal chart

Rivers Solar Return on Natal chart

Uranus rises in the solar return for 2014.  In fact, she is approaching a Uranus return.  SR Uranus opposes SR ASC, Mars and Moon.  Uranus lies in the natal 1st (her body) and opposes SR Mars (natal 8th ruler of surgery and death).  SR Saturn lies in the natal 8th near its cusp.  These are all indications of possible health problems and the need to be cautious about any surgical procedures in 2014.

If we look at her primary directions for the period around her death (using Placidus semi-arc and Ptolemy’s time measure), we find:

Rivers primary directions, summer -fall 2014, Placidus semiarc, Ptolemy key

Rivers primary directions, summer -fall 2014, Placidus semiarc, Ptolemy key

Most significant is the primary direction involving Uranus opposing Pluto in September of 2014.  Natally Uranus occupies her 1st house and in the solar return Uranus is again in her natal 1st house (the body and its vitality), while in the solar return chart Uranus occupies her 6th house of health issues.  Modern astrologers would regard Pluto as the ruler of her Scorpio 8th house, so that the primary direction of Uranus opposing Pluto in September of 2014 is a clear warning to be cautious about health matters (Uranus in SR 6th) involving surgery (Scorpio 8th house).

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Freud and Astrological Fixity

Sigmund Freud Natal Chart, Rodden Rating AAA

Sigmund Freud Natal Chart, Rodden Rating AAA

The BBC recently did a podcast about Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, first published in 1899.  In this podcast Carl Jung is quoted as saying of Freud, “I soon discovered that when he had thoughts on things, then it was settled, while I was doubting all along the line.”  Jung’s observations of Freud’s approach could be a textbook description of the astrological concept of fixity, which is associated with the “fixed” signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.  It would be interesting to see how prominent fixity is in Freud’s birth chart.

According to AstroDataBank, Sigismund Schlomo Freud was born on 6 May 1856 at 18:30 in Freiberg/Mähren, Czech Republic, 49n39, 18e10. The time was in LST, and the data is rated AA.  If we look at Freud’s birth chart (above), we see that all four Angles lie in fixed signs:  ASC in Scorpio (a sign associated with psychology), IC in Aquarius, DSC in Taurus, and MC in Leo.  His Sun lies in Taurus, as does his Mercury (thinking style).  In addition, two of his outer planets, Uranus and Pluto, lies in Taurus.  This is a chart of tremendous fixity, as Jung noticed in his personal dealings with Freud.

At the same time Freud has Capricorn on the cusp of the 3rd house of mind and communication.  Saturn, which rules Capricorn, lies in mental Gemini in the 8th house of the penetrating pursuit of occult knowledge.  The Moon, which rules the 9th house of the higher mind, also lies in Gemini in the 8th house.

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Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras dies in car accident

On Sunday, 26 October 2014, baseball player Oscar Taveras and his girlfriend died in a car accident in the Domincan Republic where he was born on 19 June 1992.  It is always instructive to study the charts of such dramatic events to learn more about astrological symbolism.

The time of birth of Mr. Taveras is not available, so I cast a sunrise chart which is a generic chart for someone born on the same day and in the same place of birth.  Here is his sunrise natal chart (time of birth unknown):

Taveras natal

In the sunrise birth chart, Mercury rules the Sun and the ASC.  Mercury is closely opposed to a Neptune/Uranus conjunction which could be symbolic of a certain accident proneness, perhaps due to Neptunian factors such as carelessness or altered awareness.

If we look at the solar return of this chart for 2014 at the birthplace, we see the following:

taveras SR

The solar return of the sunrise birth chart is quite striking because it has Mars, Pluto and Uranus on the angles in a T-square formation.  This is a clear symbol of risk of injury or accident during 2014, especially when the charts are superimposed:

Oscar Taveras natal superimposed on solar return.

Oscar Taveras natal superimposed on solar return.

Note the almost perfect square between natal and solar return Uranus, the planet of sudden and unexpected accidents.  Note also how the natal Mercury opposite Neptune/Uranus participates in the solar return T-square involving Mars, Pluto and Uranus on the angles.

As usual, the astrological symbolism is impressively descriptive of the dramatic events of this young man’s life.

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Mars and the Passion for Speed

This week the BBC did a program about the death of legendary actor James Dean, which occurred late in the afternoon on 30 September 1955  when the Hollywood actor crashed his car and died.  Interestingly, he had received a speeding ticket a couple of hours before the crash.  The BBC report commented that racing cars had been a passion of the young actor since childhood.  I immediately thought of Mars, the planet of action, and speculated that the red planet and Mars-ruled Aries must be quite prominent in his chart.

According to a BBC news report from 1955: “The 24-year-old actor was behind the wheel of his German-made Porsche sports car when it was involved in a head-on collision with another car 30 miles (48 km) east of Paso Robles this evening.  Mr Dean’s mechanic, Rolph Wutherich, who was a passenger in the car, was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the other car was also injured.  Medics said Mr Dean, who was dead on arrival at hospital, suffered a broken neck and numerous broken bones.  At the time of the accident the road racing enthusiast was on his way to a race meeting at Salinas, California.”

According the the Death Certificate, James Dean died at 5:45 pm PST in Cholame, California, 35N43, 120W18.  His birth information from his birth certificate is 9 a.m. CST on 8 February 1931 in Marion, Indiana.  Here is his natal chart with Placidus houses.

Natal chart of James Dean (data from birth certificate).

Natal chart of James Dean (data from birth certificate).

As expected in a birth chart of someone who loves speed and racing, Mars is quite prominent.  Mars-ruled Aries rises.  Mars lies in the fire-sign Leo, making it quite powerful and dramatic.  Mars in Leo lies in a close square with the Moon in Mars-ruled Scorpio, suggesting an impatient person with strong passions and an emotional need for adrenalin rushes.

Uranus in Aries lies almost exactly on the Ascendant, suggesting a fondness for thrills and quick action.   Mercury rules his Gemini-3rd house of automobiles and opposes ASC-ruler Mars in the 5th house of fun and recreation.

His Solar Return for 1931, the year of his fatal car crash, is quite telling.  Here is the return chart superimposed on his natal chart.

James Dean 1955 Solar Return superimposed on Natal Chart.

James Dean 1955 Solar Return superimposed on Natal Chart. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Note that Solar Return Mars, which rules the 8th house of death, rises in his natal chart. In 1955, SR Mars conjoins natal Uranus and squares natal Pluto.  SR Mars also squares SR Jupiter and SR Uranus.  SR Mercury, which rules his natal 3rd of local travel, conjoins the natal 12th house cusp (self-undoing) and opposes SR Pluto on the cusp of the 6th of illness.  SR Saturn, a traditional symbol of death (Father Time, the Grim Reaper) lies almost exactly on the natal 8th cusp of death.  At the same time SR Mars, ruler of the 8th, squares natal Saturn which by transit lies on the cusp of the 8th.  All-in-all the astrological symbolism is quite apt.


Pennies from heaven

A man who lives nearby told me the following story today.  On Saturday, 13 September 2014, he was mowing his lawn when his weedwacker died.  Around 4 pm he was driving to the local home depot when something fell out of the truck and onto the road in front of him.  He applied his brakes to avoid hitting the object, got out of his car and pulled the object to the side of the road.  It was a weedwacker!

He assumed that the truck belonged to a professional landscaper but could identify no markings which would reveal the identity of the landscaper.  Being a good citizen, he waited by the side of the road for about 20 minutes, assuming the the truck driver had heard a crash as the object hit the road and therefore expecting the landscaper to return.  It became apparent that the truck was not coming back and so he was stuck with the device.  When he got home, the weekwacker worked perfectly and was of a better quality than the one he was intending to replace.  Of course, if he ever learns who the landscaper is, he will return the equipment which fell out of the truck and nearly damaged his car.

He was kind enough to give me his birth data.  His chart is reproduced below with the transits for 4 pm EDT at this location around the outside of his natal chart.

Weedwacker fall from truck as man is wishing for a new weekwacker!

Weedwacker fall from truck as man is wishing for a new weekwacker!  Inner chart of man’s birth.  Outer chart of the moment the weekwacker fell from the truck.

This chart is interesting because of the lucky transits to the natal chart.  Transiting Jupiter, the planet of luck, is sextile the man’s ASC.  Transiting Venus, the lesser benefit, is sextile his MC.  The transiting Part of Fortune is conjunct the transiting Sun.  Transiting Mars applies to sextile natal Jupiter.  The transiting Moon applies to conjoin natal Venus.  Transiting Venus is almost exactly trine natal Mars in the 8th of other people’s possessions.  Transiting Jupiter is trine the man’s natal Part of Fortune.

All in all, this is a very fortunate chart by transit.  Too bad he wasn’t on his way to buy a lotto ticket!

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