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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The Brian Williams Debacle

This week news anchor Brian Williams has become the news.  On Wednesday 4 Feb 2015 he apologized on the evening news for misstating the extent of his involvement in an incident during the Iraq war in which a helicopter was hit by enemy fire. Williams’ supporters say that he mis-remembered an event that happened many years ago as all of us are wont to do.  His detractors say that he deliberately lied.

Williams time of birth is unknown, so I cast a chart with Noon positions and solar sign houses.  Around the natal chart I placed the transits for the 6:30 pm evening news on the day of his apology.

Brian Williams natal chart, Noon positions, time unknown, with transits for the day of his apology superimposed.

Brian Williams natal chart, Noon positions, time unknown, with transits for the day of his apology superimposed.

What immediately stands out the the prominence of the transiting Uranus/Pluto square exactly aspecting his natal Mars.  If Williams were born during the morning, transiting Pluto would be precisely opposite his natal Mars on the day of the apology. This is a typical interpretation of transiting Pluto opposite Mars quoted from

Pluto Opposition Mars
“Any conflicts that arise now likely are intense. Whatever opponents you encounter at this time usually are formidable, although you also can demonstrate considerable strength in asserting your wishes. Important issues, especially with others, may require much effort. Sometimes they reach a critical point during this cycle because you are unlikely to let important things pass without reacting. You typically find it easier to stand up for what is right, which you may do on your own volition, or people or circumstances may compel you. It is possible that controlling influences in your life become too overbearing, requiring you to defend your position, even to sever ties.”

Natal Mars here is significant because Mars occupies his 3rd solar house of communications and is opposed by transiting Pluto in his 9th solar house of broadcasting. Furthermore, Mars rules his Capricorn solar 10th house of career by exaltation and his solar 12th house of scandal, seclusion and self-undoing.  Transiting Uranus occupies the 12th house of exile and undoing, squares transiting Pluto in the 9th of broadcasting, and also squares natal Mars in the 3rd of communications.  As I write this, Brian Williams has gone into voluntary seclusion (a 12th house matter) for a several days and will not be broadcasting the evening news.

The transiting Uranus/Pluto square has been prominent in the charts of many news stories in recent times.

These are his major transit to natal aspects, using solar sign houses and a birth time of Noon, for the first three months of 2015:

Sat (8) Sqr Plu (5) Tr-Na Jan 9 2015   01°Sg41′ D 01°Vi41′ R

Jup (4) Tri Mer (12) Tr-Na Jan 24 2015   19°Le18′ R 19°Ar18′ D

Plu (9) Tri Sun (1) Tr-Na Feb 6 2015   14°Cp24′ D 14°Ta24′ D

Plu (9) Opp Mar (3)  Tr-Na Feb 7 2015   14°Cp25′ D 14°Cn25′ D

Nep (11) Sxt Sat (9)  Tr-Na Feb 13 2015   06°Pi46′ D 06°Cp46′ R

Ura (12) Sqr Mar (3) Tr-Na Feb 28 2015   14°Ar25′ D 14°Cn25′ D

Jup (4) Sqr Sun (1) Tr-Na Mar 5 2015   14°Le24′ R 14°Ta24′ D

On the up side, transiting Pluto forms a trine to his natal Sun suggesting that these difficult times will bring about a deeply personal transformation in all matters symbolically ruled by the Sun.

Addendum: On 10 February 2015 NBC announced that it was suspending Brian Williams for six months without pay. This action is consistent with the emphasis on Mars ruling the 12th house of exile in the solar sign chart.  At the same time natal Mars is opposed by transiting Pluto in the 9th of broadcasting and squared by transiting Uranus in the 12th of undoing.

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Rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight arrested on suspicion of murder

Having just reviewed the astrology of an incident involving ex Power Ranger actor Ricardo Medina who fatally stabbed his roommate with a sword, I was struck by its similarity to another item which appeared around the same time in the news.  This other story got me wondering even more about the role of Mars and Pluto in signifying impulsive violent actions.

Authorities in California have charged rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight with murder following in a fatal hit-and-run in Compton, CA.  According to the NY Daily News, “the deadly hit-and-run occurred around 3 p.m., after Knight drove onto the set of ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ a biopic about N.W.A, and got into a confrontation with two unidentified men.” Astrologically this sounds like a Mars afflicting Pluto event.  Let’s look at the relevant charts.

Mr. Knight was born on 19 April 1965 in Compton, CA, time unknown.  Here is a sunrise chart for the rap mogul.

Suge Knight, sunrise chart, time unknown.

Suge Knight, sunrise chart, time unknown.

Mr. Knight is born with a Mars/Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo opposed by Saturn in Pisces, a difficult configuration in which an intense desire for personal freedom is pitted against the structures and laws of society.

His almost exact Saturn/Pluto opposition is squared by the Moon in Sagittarius, forming a powerful T-square which in this case suggests a person of deep feelings who gets caught up in emotional dramas.

In addition, his Sun forms a stressful  sesquisquare to Pluto, which is an aspect similar to the Sun square Pluto which we saw in the chart of Ricardo Medina in the previous post in which I noted that stressful Mars/Pluto aspects are associated with a somewhat explosive temperament and a need to control one’s emotional reactions. One website calls the Sun square Pluto aspect “transformation through loss of control.”

The hit-and-run incident apparently occurred around 3 pm on Thursday 29 Jan 2015 in Compton, CA.  Let’s superimpose the chart of the incident on Mr. Knight’s natal chart.

Chart for incident superimposed on natal chart.

Chart for incident superimposed on natal chart.

As expected, transiting Mars at the time of the alleged hit-and-run killings is sitting on top of natal Saturn and almost exactly opposing natal Pluto. Thus, our initial hypothesis is confirmed.  Furthermore, the transiting Uranus/Pluto square is activating his natal Mercury in Aries, suggestive of aggressive impulsive thought patterns. Transiting Moon at 3 pm opposes his natal Moon, thus activating the natal T-square. In other words, transiting Moon almost exactly squares the natal Saturn/Pluto opposition and square transiting Mars at the time of the hit and run.  The astrological symbolism describes very accurately the hit-and-run event.




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Ex Power Ranger Ricardo Medina Jr. Arrested for Murder

A headline over the weekend caught my eye. An actor allegedly stabbed his roommate with a sword, resulting in his death. According to news reports, police arrested “actor Ricardo Medina, Jr. for murder in Palmdale, California on Saturday. Medina allegedly killed his 36-year-old roommate Joshua Sutter after an argument turned physical.  According to the sheriff’s deputies, Sutter had forced his way into Medina’s bedroom, where Medina and his girlfriend were, during the altercation Saturday afternoon. Medina then allegedly stabbed Sutter once in the abdomen with a sword he kept next to the door. Medina called 911 at about 3:50 p.m., and the detectives interviewed him at their Palmdale Station. He is now in jail with a US$1 million bail.”

These kinds of dramatic killings usually involve Mars and Pluto — Mars being the god of war and bloodshed and Pluto, god of the underworld, symbolizing powerful forces that are hard to control. Several sources say that Medina was born on 6 July 1977 in Los Angeles, time unknown, so I cast a sunrise chart for that date and place:

Medina, Jr., sunrise birth chart, time unknown

Medina, Jr., sunrise birth chart, time unknown

As expected, this gentleman was born with natal Sun square Pluto, an aspect associated with a somewhat explosive temperament and a need to control one’s emotional reactions. One website calls this natal aspect “transformation through loss of control.” In this case, the failure to control the use of the sword which resulted in the death of his roommate will certainly transform the life of Mr. Medina.

Actor in his role as a Power Ranger

Actor in his role as a Power Ranger

Looking further, let’s compare the solar return for this year to the natal chart:

Medina Solar Return 2014-2015.  Note transiting Pluto opposing Sun.

Medina Solar Return 2014-2015. Note transiting Pluto opposing Sun.

The Solar Return for this year is striking for transiting Pluto opposing natal and return Sun.  Since he was born with Sun square Pluto, this aspect brings to the force the issues of explosive use of force and the need to control emotions in order to avoid unpredictable dangerous behavior.  Also of note is that SR Mars squares natal Mercury, giving an aggressive cast to mental processes.

Finally, let’s compare the chart for the 911 call to the natal chart.

Time of 911 call compared to natal chart.

Time of 911 call compared to natal chart.

The 911 call was made at 3:50 just at the transiting MC at the location of the stabbing was opposing Mr. Medina’s natal Pluto and the ASC of that location was crossing his natal Mercury. Most notable is the nearly exact opposition of Pluto to the actor’s natal sun on the day his roommate died due to a wound he had inflicted with his sword.  Astrological timing doesn’t get much more precise than this example illustrates.

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A barbaric theocracy flogs an open-minded blogger

The Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (born 13 January 1984 in al-Khubar) received 50 lashes recently for his “crime” of asking fellow Saudis to use their minds to think rather than living in fear of fundamentalist religious authorities who put out contracts to kill people who disagree with them. The primitive Saudi government, spurred on by such rigidly dogmatic religious leaders, wants to inflict a total of 1000 lashes because Badawi values secularism and the open debate of ideas. This kind of behavior by a theocratic government teaches its citizens that the resolution of conflict likes in torturing or killing those who disagree with your views and sets the stage for terrorism. Let us not forget that the fundamentalist parochial schools of Saudi Arabia produced Osama bin Laden.

In Badawi’s own words:

“As soon as a thinker starts to reveal his ideas, you will find hundreds of fatwas that accused him of being an infidel just because he had the courage to discuss some sacred topics. I’m really worried that Arab thinkers will migrate in search of fresh air and to escape the sword of the religious authorities. … States which are based on religion confine their people in the circle of faith and fear. … Muslims in Saudi Arabia not only disrespect the beliefs of others, but also charge them with infidelity to the extent that they consider anyone who is not Muslim an infidel, and, within their own narrow definitions, they consider non-Hanbali [the Saudi school of Islam] Muslims as apostates. How can we be such people and build … normal relations with six billion humans, four and a half billion of whom do not believe in Islam.”

Raif Badawi

Raif Badawi

Let’s look at the chart of Mr. Badawi in the context of the current abuse of human rights that he is suffering at the hands of the Saudis. His time of birth is unknown, so I cast a chart for Noon at this birthplace and used solar sign houses.

Raif Badawi Natal Chart, Noon, Solar Sign Houses

Raif Badawi Natal Chart, Noon, Solar Sign Houses

A striking feature of this chart is the close conjunction of Mars and Pluto in Scorpio. Mars is the traditional ruler of this sign, and Pluto is considered its modern ruler.  This Mars/Pluto configuration suggests a person of great intensity and determination. He is willing to fight like a dog for what he believes in.  The pairing of Mars and Pluto suggests a person is is prone to domination and violence either as a perpetrator or a victim. Surely his current abuse by the Saudi government is a manifestation of his natal Mars/Pluto conjunction.

Natal Saturn in Scorpio opposing his Moon in Taurus suggests that his emotional life and desire for nurturing (Moon) is thwarted by harsh, severe figures of authority (Saturn in Scorpio). He will not be nurtured by the Saudi government.

Badawi has a stellium in Sagittarius, a sign known for its love of tolerance, independence and freedom. Uranus in Sagittarius is a marker of a generation that values justice and open-mindedness, especially in matters of philosophy and religion. Neptune in Sagittarius approaches the same goals but from a more spiritual and idealistic perspective. Jupiter conjunct Neptune in Sagittarius increases his idealistic view of the possibility of universal respect, tolerance and brotherhood (or sibling-hood, to be politically correct).

Transiting Saturn, having recently crossed into Sagittarius, highlights the conflict between the openness and religious tolerance of Sagittarius and the fundamentalist religious traditions of his culture. Transiting Jupiter is currently in trine aspect to his natal Sagittarius stellium. With luck, this trine will have a protective influence on the life of this victim of state oppression.

All civilized countries have condemned the backwards stance of the theocratic Saudi government. One can only hope that the pressure of world opinion will have some influence on moving Saudi Arabia away from its barbarism toward civilization.

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The Christmas Truce of 1914

This Christmas season marks the 100th anniversary of the famous Christmas Truce during World War I.  According to

“Starting on Christmas Eve, many German and British troops sang Christmas carols to each other across the lines, and at certain points the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.  At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.”

The truce may partly have been in response to the urging of Pope Benedict XV who, on 7 Dec 1914, suggested a temporary hiatus in the war so that the soldiers could celebrate Christmas.  Politicians in the warring countries chose to ignore the Pope’s entreaty, but the soldiers in the trenches decided to declare their own unofficial truces, starting on Christmas Eve, against the wishes of their commanders who would have preferred to go on killing.

According to Wikipedia:

“The Germans placed candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were excursions across No Man’s Land, where small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco and alcohol, and souvenirs such as buttons and hats.”

“The first truce started on Christmas Eve 1914, when German troops decorated the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium…”

Here is the chart for sunrise on Christmas Eve of 1914 in Ypres, Belgium:

First Christmas Truce 1914, sunrise, Ypres, Belgium, Placidus Houses.

First Christmas Truce 1914, sunrise, Ypres, Belgium, Placidus Houses.

Features which stand out in this chart are:

  • A Grand Trine involving Venus – Neptune – Moon in the 11th, 7th and 3rd houses respectively.  Venus in the 11th fosters friendship.  Neptune in the 7th (open enemies) dissolves boundaries between adversaries.   Moon in the 3rd fosters emotional communication.
  • Mars almost exactly conjunct the Sun (i.e., Mars cazimi or “as if in the heart of the sun”) in Capricorn where Mars is exalted.  Planets in the heart of the sun are considered greatly fortified.  Mars in Capricorn is exalted and displays his best features as he is extremely dignified in this chart.  Mars also disposes the Moon in Aries (see next bullet point).
  • The Sun/Mars conjunction on the horizon at sunrise opposes a Saturn/Pluto conjunction in the 7th house of open enemies.  This extremely powerful opposition forms a T-square with the Moon at the beginning of Aries (ruled by Mars).  The Moon is in a sense ‘supercharged’ by its T-square to the Sun/Mars – Saturn/Pluto opposition, and this immense energy is discharged through the Moon’s Grand Trine with Venus in the 11th of friendship and Neptune in the 7th of adversaries, resulting in the Christmas Truce of 1914 in defiance of the state authorities represented by the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in the 7th.
Photo from The Illustrated London News, 9 January 1915, "British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches"

Photo from The Illustrated London News, 9 January 1915, “British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches”


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Portrait of a deranged killer

An article in Vanity Fair about the recent murder of two policemen in Brooklyn reports the following:

“Approximately nine hours before he shot and killed the two officers in Brooklyn, Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot his ex-girlfriend, Shaneka Thompson, in Baltimore. Approximately a year before Saturday’s murderous spree, Brinsley tried to hang himself.”

According to Wikipedia, “Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley (born October 31, 1986) had a long criminal record and was estranged from his family prior to the shooting. He was born in Brooklyn to a Muslim African-American family.”  This history of poorly controlled anger and violent outbursts suggests difficulties related to Mars and Pluto in his natal chart.

Since the time is unknown, I cast a chart for Brooklyn at sunrise on the date of his birth:

Natal Chart at sunrise

Natal Chart at sunrise

As expected, this young man has a tight Sun/Pluto conjunction in stressful square to his natal Mars.  In the sunrise chart, both Mars and Pluto are angular.  With four planets in Scorpio, this is the chart of a person with intense and powerful emotions.  At its worst Scorpio is a vindictive sign, as symbolized by the sting of the scorpion when it gets angry with you.  Mars, which rules this stellium in Scorpio, rules not only stingers of scorpions but also other types of weapons which produce penetrating wounds.

Sun/Pluto aspects are intensely obsessive and often give a paranoid and intolerant bent to one’s worldview.  There may be a preoccupation with power and control, and an angry desire to rid oneself of whatever one dislikes regardless of the means.

Mars square Pluto often indicates difficulties with anger, aggression and impulse control. There can be a driven quality to the personality. Mars square Sun can be quite pushy and unable to discern the difference between assertion and aggression, often going to extremes.

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