The Amazing Randi’s Natal Chart

James Randi is one of my favorite skeptics.  He has done much to debunk ridiculous claims by so-called psychics like Uri Geller who are simply clever stage magicians who are able to dupe a gullible public. Randi has also been a sharp critic of astrology which he views (accurately) as a pseudoscience. His criticism was not helped when an astrologer published a video on YouTube about Randi’s chart based on the wrong birth date! This video has subsequently been revised, using the correct date of birth.

According to, Randi was born 7 August 1928 in Toronto, Canada. Randi responded to a request by Isaac Starkman for his time of birth and gave it as 1:20 AM. Even though the time comes directly from Randi, he is known to provide false data to confound his critics. For the time being, let’s assume that Randi was telling the truth and use data from his biography to test the validity of the birth chart which Randi has provided us.

Perhaps the most striking event of his childhood was a bicycle accident at age 13. He was hit by a car while riding his bike and needed to remain in a body cast for more than a year. Such an event should show up clearly in his birth chart. I was unable to find the date of the accident but all sources agree that Randi was 13 years old at the time, so it occurred between August of 1941 and August of 1942. Randi says of this accident: “… it took over two years to recover from a back injury. It was quite serious and it still bothers me to a certain extent.”

In looking for such a serious accident in a chart, I would look to hard aspects involving Saturn (gravity accidents, confronting hard reality), Mars (force, iron, motor vehicles) and Uranus (accidents and sudden happenings.  Confinement is ruled by the 12th house. Major life changes and dramatic medical treatments are an 8th house matter. The 6th house governs infirmities of all kinds. The ASC rules the body and one’s vitality. These factors should be prominent in his transits, progressions and directions at age 13. Here is the natal chart, using the birth time provided by Randi.

Randi natal chart.

Randi natal chart.

At this time of birth, the most angular planet is Saturn in Sagittarius in the 7th. This is fitting, as Saturn is the planet of hard reality and quite related symbolically to skepticism as well as to the type of car accident he suffered at age 13.  Here are his essential dignities calculated with the Morinus program:

Essential dignities

Essential dignities

As one might expect, the most essentially dignified planets are Mercury (intellect) and Saturn (the reality principle). The least dignified planet is the Moon, a symbol of emotionality and sentimentality. Here is his natal chart with the Solar Return for age 13 superimposed:

Age 13 Solar Return superimposed on natal chart.

Age 13 Solar Return superimposed on natal chart.

At age 13, natal Uranus (accidents, unexpected events) rises to prominence as it conjoins the solar return MC. In addition, the SR Saturn/Uranus conjunction in the natal 12th conjoins natal Mars, which is trapped between these two SR planets. In fact, natal Mars lies exactly at the midpoint of the Saturn/Uranus conjunction!  The conjunction of Saturn, Mars and Uranus in the 12th house of confinement is emblematic of a serious accident involving a crash which leaves one confined to bed. SR Pluto (intense force) conjoins natal Mercury (ruler of the ASC and the body) in the natal 3rd of local travel. The SR ASC conjoins the cusp of the natal 3rd making matters of local transport a major issue for the year. Here is the same SR chart with the natal chart around it:

SR for age 13 with natal chart superimposed

SR for age 13 with natal chart superimposed

This view of the two charts shows that Cancer rules the SR ASC with the Moon (Caner’s ruler) conjunct the SR 8th cusp (major medical procedures).  The SR 8th house is also emphasized by its close conjunction with the natal MC, suggesting a confrontation with mortality. The SR Pluto conjunction natal Mercury rises to the 1st house of the return, giving this aspect special prominence during the year. Finally, let’s look at his primary directions based on the birth time Randi provided. These are Placidus semiarc directions, using latitude, with the natal equatorial arc as the unit of measure.

Primary directions 1941-1942, Placidus semiarc, with latitude.

Primary directions 1941-1942, Placidus semiarc, with latitude.

What stands out in this list is the opposition of Mars and Saturn summer of 1941. Saturn rules his 8th house (death, major medical interventions) and Mars rules the 12th (confinement) and co-rules the 6th (infirmity) because Scorpio is intetcepted in the 6th. These are the types of aspects which we predicted would be in effect during the year of the accident; and since primary directions characterize an extended period of time, the hypothesis appears to be verified by the facts. The astrological data suggests that Randi was not lying about his birth time. If it turns out that the time was inaccurate, we will need to re-analyze the data to determine whether it has astrological validity.

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Formula One driver Jules Bianchi succumbs

Sadly, Formula One driver Jules Bianchi has died, nine months after suffering severe head trauma in a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix. It is always instructive to study the astrological charts of such dramatic incidents.  Here is the relevant data:

Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team. 04.10.2014. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Qualifying Day.

Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.
04.10.2014. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Qualifying Day.

Born: 3 August 1989 at 07:10 MEDT in Nice, France (AA – from birth record).

Accident: 5 October 2014 in Suzuka, Japan.

Demise: 17 July 2015, Nice, France.

Here is the natal chart with Placidus houses:

Jules Bianchi, natal chart. ASC: 19 Leo 02. MC:   08 Taurus 53

Jules Bianchi, natal chart. ASC: 19 Leo 02.
MC: 08 Taurus 53

A striking feature of this natal chart is the stellium in Leo, suggesting a person who is outgoing, confident, enthusiastic and in love with enjoying life. Venus rules his 10th house (career) and his 3rd house (cars, short-distance travel), thus linking transport to professional matters. Mercury, messenger of the gods and a symbols of travel, lies on the nodal axis, giving it a special prominence.  In addition, Venus lies in the 2nd house of income, so that he might earn money through matters related to 3rd house transport. Jupiter rules his 8th house (death) and closely opposes Uranus in the 5th house of sporting events and recreational activities.  Perhaps this Jupiter-Uranus opposition is a marker of a potential cause of death while engaging in a recreational or sporting event. Pluto, a planet of power and intensity, is angular at the IC, a symbol of conditions at the end of life.

Here is his solar return for Nice, France in August of 2014:

Solar Return in effect at the time of the 2014 crash.

Solar Return in effect at the time of the 2014 crash.

This is an important years (Aug 2014 – Aug 2015) because the angles of the solar return (SR) repeat the angles of the natal chart. The Sun rules the SR ASC and occupies the SR 12th house of self-undoing as it does natally. The main these of this year, therefore, has to do with confinement, restrictions and limitation often brought about by one’s own actions. Jupiter, which rules the SR 8th cusp as well as the natal 8th cusp (death), conjoins the unfortunate SR 12th house cusp, a signal of possible danger due to personal action.  Pluto in the SR 5th of sporting events forms a stressful quincunx to the Sun.  Mars, which rules the SR 4th cusp (end of life), lies in the SR 3rd of automobiles and short-distance travel and squares very closely the SR Jupiter/Mercury conjunction at the cusp of the 12th of undoing. In addition, Mars rules the 9th cups of foreign travel and activities done abroad.  SR Uranus on the cusp of the 9th house has a similar meaning. All in all, this SR chart warns of the risk of a serious accident while driving or pursuing recreational or sporting activities during this solar return year.

Superimposing the SR chart on the natal chart reveals some additional symbolism:

2014 Solar Return superimposed on natal chart.

2014 Solar Return superimposed on natal chart.

Prominent in this superimposition is the SR ASC in the natal 1st house closely conjunct the natal Moon/Mars conjunction. Natally, the Moon rules his 12th house of undoing, restriction and confinement — the major theme of this year.  The conjunction of the SR ASC with natal Mars adds the force and aggressiveness of Mars to the mix.  Mars is associated symbolically with iron, automobiles and injuries due to force. In addition, we see SR Uranus in the natal 9th of foreign matters closely quincunx SR Saturn in the natal 4th of end of life matters. SR Venus, ruler of the MC (career), closely conjoins the natal 12th cusp of undoing and confinement.

Finally, a look at his lunar return which was in effect at the time of the accident is also quite telling.  The lunar return for this period occurred on 21 Sep 2014. Here is the lunar return chart with the natal chart superimposed.

Lunar Return at the time of the accident with natal chart superimposed.

Lunar Return at the time of the accident with natal chart superimposed.

In the lunar return (LR), his natal Saturn/Neptune conjunction comes to the ASC where it conjoins the return Pluto. This configuration is being squared by natal Pluto in the LR 10th. Transiting Pluto conjunct natal Saturn, especially at the ASC, suggests a powerful confrontation with hard reality. His natal ASC closely conjoins the LR 8th cusp. Return Pluto is almost exactly quincunx his natal Sun.  In addition, return Saturn in the LR 10th almost exactly squares his natal ASC at the LR 8th cusp. Finally, just eyeballing the superimposed chart one can see a prominent stellium of seven planets plus the ASC in the 8th house of loss, surgery, dramatic change and death.

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‘A Beautiful Mind’ mathematician John Nash dies in car crash

Around 4:30 pm on Saturday, 23 May 2015, a taxi crashed into a guard rail on the New Jersey Turnpike near Interchange 8A in Monroe Township (coordinates 40°20’59″N   74°28’34″W).  Inside the car were John Forbes Nash Jr., the brilliant Princeton University mathematician whose life story was the subject of the film “A Beautiful Mind,” and his wife.  They did not survive the accident.  It is always instructive to look as the astrological symbolism of such dramatic events. Here is John Nash’s birth chart with Placidus Houses:

Natal Chart of John Nash

Natal Chart of John Nash

According to news reports, the crash was reported at 4:30 pm so that the deaths most likely occurred very shortly before that time.  Here is the chart for 4:30 pm for Exit 8A of the New Jersey Turnpike:

NJ Turnpkike, Exit 8A, 4:30 pm, 23 May 2015

NJ Turnpkike, Exit 8A, 4:30 pm, 23 May 2015

This is a striking chart.  The Libra ASC is almost exactly opposite Uranus, which is setting  on the western horizon.  ASC-ruler Venus lies in the 9th house of long-distance travel and closely applies to square Uranus, a planet long associated with sudden unexpected events such as accidents.

If we compare Nash’s solar return to his natal chart, we see indications of a potential travel accident.  His return calculated for either his birthplace or his current residence in NJ gives an Aries ASC, making Mars the ruler of his solar return for the year.  Symbolically Mars is associated with speed, violence and bloodshed and also with mechanical devices such as automobiles.  Here is his Solar Return for his birthplace around his natal chart:

John Nash solar return at time of accident around his natal chart.

John Nash solar return at time of accident around his natal chart.

SR Mars rules the ASC of his Solar Return and occupies the 4th house of endings of his natal chart. SR Mars in Libra opposes his SR ASC and SR Uranus and squares the natal Mercury/Pluto conjunction in Cancer in the 12th house of undoing. The square between SR Mars in Libra and natal Mercury in Cancer is almost exact, with Mercury ruling his Virgo 3rd house of local travel.  It is also noteworthy that the Solar Return ASC/Uranus conjunction in Aries is very closely square his natal ASC/Pluto conjunction in Cancer.

Finally, Nash’s primary directions for this period are quite telling. Using the Morinus program to calculate primaries, I typically use Placidus semi-arc with the static rate at the midpoint of the Ptolemaic and Naibod rates for timing.  Here are his primaries as calculated with these parameters:

Placidus Semi-arc Primary Directions for 2015, rate = average of Ptolemy & Naibod.

Placidus Semi-arc Primary Directions for 2015, rate = average of Ptolemy & Naibod.

What stands out in this list are the connections between his ASC and Mars as well as the square between Mercury, ruling his natal 3rd house, and Pluto.  Mars, of course, rules his Solar Return for the year as it afflicts his natal ASC in the primary directions for the year.

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Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, suspected of mass murder

The crash this week of the Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf is increasingly being attributed to a deliberate act by the co-pilot who apparently concealed his psychiatric and medical conditions from his employer.  Comments by his ex-girlfriend, who apparently ended the relationship because she was afraid of him, suggested that Lubitz had planned to do something dramatic because he wanted to be remembered.  His birth date has been given in the media at 18 December 1987, time unknown.  I have been unable to find official confirmation of this birth date, so the following chart, cast for Noon with Solar Sign houses is rated XX in the Rodden system.

Andreas Lubitz, time unknown, solar sign houses.  Date from news media.

Andreas Lubitz, time unknown, solar sign houses. Date from news media.

There are several striking features of this chart.

He has a stellium of four planets in Sagittarius, consistent with his life-long ambition to become an airline pilot.  The Sun/Saturn conjunction suggests someone with very high standards who is relentless in his pursuit of his goals.  Sun/Saturn is a marker of a serious individual with lofty ambitions, but such driven behavior can lead to depression when one does not live up to one’s ideals.  The Sun/Uranus conjunction is often a marker of a highly unusual individual who can be quite willful in insisting that things be done his way.

The other stellium occurs in secretive Scorpio with Mars conjunction Pluto, a powerfully intense and potentially explosive combination, followed by the Moon whose position is not known exactly but which lies in Scorpio.  This Mars/Pluto conjunction in Scorpio suggests someone who may act vengefully and violently when things don’t go his way. The combination of Moon, Mars and Pluto in Scorpio is consistent with the intense emotion and secrecy suggested by news report which quotes his ex-girlfriend as saying:

“He would suddenly freak out in conversations and yell at me,” she recalled. “At night he would wake up screaming ‘we are crashing’ because he had nightmares. He could be good at hiding what was really going on inside him.”

The two stellia are connected by a very close semi-square between Pluto in Scorpio and the Sun in Sagittarius, in addition to the close Uranus semi-square Pluto aspect between these outer planets. The involvement of the Sun makes this connection quite personal.  Here are his closest aspects in the Noon chart (with the exception of the Moon whose position may vary up to 6 degrees before or after the one that appears in the chart):

Andreas Lubitz – Natal Chart – Aspects Sorted by Orb – Maximum Orb 2°00′

  • Ura SSq Plu 0°14′ S
  • Mer Cnj Sat 0°37′ A
  • Sun SSx Ven 0°41′ A
  • Sun SSq Plu 0°38′ A 
  • Sun Cnj Ura 0°52′ A

His natal Uranus semi-square Pluto (separating) is repeated in the transiting Uranus square Pluto (also separating) at the time of the crash.  His natal Sun semi-square Pluto connects his Sun to the transiting nearly exact Uranus square Pluto through this repetition. Morinus regarded the repetition of natal aspects in one’s directions or transits as highly significant because they re-activated those natal tendencies in the current life of the native.

Interestingly, I saw mention in Facebook that Lubitz was born just a few days after the psychotic mass murder James Holmes who gunned down movie goers in Oklahoma in 2012. It will not be surprising to astrologers that these two individual will have much in their charts in common. For a discussion of James Holmes chart, see 

The main difference is that Holmes has his Moon in Virgo whereas Lubitz has his Moon in Scorpio.

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Germanwings A320 plane crashes in French Alps

The major event in yesterday’s news was the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 which took off from Barcelona at 10:01 AM local time with a destination of Dusseldorf.  The plane reached cruising altitude over southern France at 10:45 AM and about a minute later began a rapid descent without any warnings being sent to air traffic controllers.  According to news reports, at 10.47 air traffic controllers implemented an aircraft distress alert, based on the plane’s rapid loss of altitude. At 9.53 AM, all contact was lost. The plane had crashed in the Alps close to the small town of Digne-les-Bains, France. Here is the chart for the takeoff with Placidus houses:

Germanwings flight takes off from Barcelona

Germanwings flight takes off from Barcelona

At first sight this chart does not look particularly troublesome, though there are some negative indications. Gemini rises, making Mercury the ruler of the ASC.  Mercury is debilitated in Pisces, the sign of its detriment and fall. Saturn rules the 9th house of long-distance travel. Saturn is peregrine (without essential dignity) and is traveling retrograde in the unfortunate 6th house. In addition, Saturn opposes the ASC and is involved in an approaching opposition from the Moon at the end of Taurus. The Moon, one of the general signifiers of travel, is exalted in Taurus but lies in the unfortunate 12th house (undoing) where she conjoins the problematic fixed star Caput Algol, the Head of the Medussa. According to astrologer Kenneth Johnson, “This star has the dubious distinction of being called ‘the most evil star in the sky.’ … As the decapitated head of a demoness, Caput Algol became known in medieval times as a star of evil omen, and was often interpreted quite literally in terms of losing one’s head  …” I was curious whether other techniques might be descriptive of the horrific accident and loss of life, so I checked the list of Arabic Parts, using Solar Fire.  The following contacts appeared (this is the complete list):

  • Jupiter opposite Emerson’s Point of Death* (Mars + Saturn – MC)
  • Jupiter opposite the Part of Fatality (ASC + Saturn – Sun)
  • Sun opposite the Part of Children
  • Saturn conjunct the Part of Inheritance
  • Pluto conjunct the Part of Marriage
  • ASC conjunct the Part of Danger or Peril
  • Saturn conjunct the Part of Profession
  • Mars and Saturn conjunct the Part of Work
  • Pluto conjunct the Part of Sexual Union

I highlighted the ASC contact because the ASC symbolizes the start of a matter, in this case, the actual flight. Furthermore, recasting the chart for the town of Digne-les-Bains, France, I calculated that the ASC changed from Gemini to Cancer at 10:49:29 AM in that location. This means that at approximately 10:50 AM, the ASC shifted from Gemini to Cancer, changing the rulership from Mercury to the Moon, which was in the 12th house (self-undoing) and conjunct the malefic fixed star Caput Algol (losing one’s head). Three minutes later all contact with the plane was lost.

—————– * The Death Point of Charles Emerson: I learned about this many years ago from Barbara Watters, who in turn had learned it from Charles Emerson. In her horary book on p. 173 she writes that the “death point” which she learned from Charles Emerson “is arrived at by adding the longitudes of Mars and Saturn and subtracting the longitude of the MC.” I have found Emerson’s Death Point very informative in these kinds of charts. Formula:   Death Point = Mars + Saturn – MC. 26 March 2015

Addendum: In today’s news it was reported that “the co-pilot of the Airbus A320 that crashed on Tuesday, killing 150 people, appears to have deliberately flown the plane into a mountain after locking the flight commander out of the cockpit.” In hindsight the aspects of Jupiter to Emerson’s Death Point and the Part of Fatality now make sense. The 10th house rules the pilot in charge of the flight. His ruler, Saturn, is debilitate and Rx in the 6th house.  Jupiter rules Pisces on the 11th house, which is the house of the assistant to the 10th house pilot, that is, Jupiter rules the co-pilot who is in close contact the the Death Point and the Part of Fatality in this chart. The Sun, which rules the end-of-the-matter 4th lies in the 11th of the co-pilot. PS: For more about the Part of Fatality, see this post

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Llewellyn reissues Spanish edition of Tarot Plain and Simple

Llewellyn just reissued the Spanish edition of Tarot Plain and Simple. It had been out of print in Spanish for several years. I don’t know yet if there will also be a Kindle edition of the Spanish text. This was pleasing and unexpected news. Reviews of the out-of-print edition were generally favorable.  Here is the new cover:

Tarot Plain and Simple, Spanish edition, 2015 re-issue.

Tarot Plain and Simple, Spanish edition, 2015 re-issue.

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Science uses astrological symbolism

A headline in the news read:


NASA Spacecraft ‘Wakes Up’ Near Pluto, 2.9 Billion Miles From Earth

The article went on to quote NASA’s 6 December 2014 statement: “After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles —the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation today for its long-awaited 2015 encounter with the Pluto system” (italics mine).

Mission control received full confirmation at 9:53 p.m EST.  NASA launched New Horizons on 19 January 2006. It has traveled 2.9 billion miles from Earth and is now (on 6 December 2014) within 162 million miles of Pluto. “After spending 1,873 days in hibernation mode, operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., confirmed at 9:53 p.m. (EST) on Saturday that New Horizons switched to ‘active’ mode and the radio signal took 4 hours and 26 minutes to reach NASA’s Deep Space Network station in Canberra, Australia.”

In astrology Pluto is a symbol of rebirth, transformation, resurrection, crossing new horizons and exploring unknown realms. As god of the underworld, Pluto represents that which is hidden from view and can be discovered only with great effort to penetrate its mysteries. In the tarot, Pluto has become associated with the 20th trump card, Judgment, depicting souls rising from the grave to face the Lord on Judgment Day. Below is the Judgment trump from Llewellyn’s Classic Tarot with its Pluto-related image.


Note the Plutonian themes of “waking up” and “coming out of hibernation” in this card. NASA and the news media use the same images to write about the emergence of the New Horizons spacecraft from its long slumber to explore the hidden world of Pluto.  Perfect symbolism!



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