Lucille Ball is one of the most famous Americans of the 20th century. There was a time in the 1950s when she was the most recognizable face in the world. Her television show, I Love Lucy, was pioneering and revolutionary in inventing and developing many industry standards that we now take for granted. She and her husband, Desi Arnaz, broke new ground by filming the show using three 35 mm film cameras (still used today), which enabled the show to be recorded in much higher quality (thus inventing the rerun) instead of the inferior process of kinescope in standard use at the time. It was the first ensemble sitcom; it was the first mixed race sitcom; it had the first TV pregnancy; and it was filmed in front of a live studio audience to get more authentic reactions, rather than canned recorded laughter.
Lucy and Desi were the first husband and wife team to form their own television production company (Desilu Productions) and later bought RKO studios, thus establishing them as a major and powerful film studio to rival MGM, Warner Brothers, Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Columbia. Desilu would go on to produce such hits and groundbreaking shows as Twilight Zone, Mission Impossible, The Untouchables, Make Room for Daddy, The Andy Griffith Show and countless others that used their production company for filming. After their marriage dissolved, Lucy bought out Desi Arnaz of his shares and became the first woman to run a major Hollywood studio. She proved herself to be a very adept business woman. She was groundbreaking, pioneering, as well as being one of the most brilliant comediennes of our time. She is without argument the first lady of comedy and paved the way for everyone to come after.
Lucille Ball was born on August 6, 1911 at 5:00 p.m., Jamestown, New York. (From Birth Registry, Kathleen Brady, AA, Lois Rodden AstroData Bank.)
A rounded off birth time is always a little suspect, but in going through some major life events, there is one in particular that really stands out to help pinpoint this time. Her second child Desi Arnaz Jr. was born on January 19, 1953. On exactly the same day Ball gave birth to Desi Jr., the fictional Lucy Ricardo gave birth to “Little Ricky.” As a testament to how interested the American public was in Lucy's TV baby, Arnaz appeared on the cover of the very first issue of TV Guide with the headline “Lucy's $50,000,000 baby.” The episode “Lucy Goes to the Hospital” was watched by more people than any other television program up to that time, with 71.7% of all American television sets tuned in, topping the 67.7 rating for the inauguration coverage of President Dwight D. Eisenhower the following morning. The revelatory transit to Lucy’s chart on this day has Saturn at 27.03° Libra conjunct her MC at 27.01° Libra. I’d say that is a pretty amazing timing for an exalted public event that has a major influence on her career, status and public image. In the natal chart, Saturn sits in the 5th house of children (hence her difficulty in conceiving and having children later in life, she was 42 at the time), so the transit brings 5th house imagery to the 10th. Also, the transiting South Node on the day of the birth is at 13.05° Leo, and Lucy’s Sun is 13.17°.
A brief analysis of Lucy’s chart reveals interesting insights. Yes, she was a Leo (the clown) but the Sun is in the 8th house, generally a weak and hidden position, behind the scenes and slow to activate. Lucy didn’t become famous as a comedienne and the world’s funniest clown until she was 40 years old. That’s rather late, especially for a woman in Hollywood.
The Sun is in a powerful t-square with Mars/Saturn and Jupiter. Mars/Saturn/Jupiter are in very favorable houses, so they push that 8th house into the spotlight after much hardship, effort, mistakes and diligent effort. It took a long, long time for Lucy the Clown to come out of the hidden and inactive energy of the 8th house, and it was only after years of being pushed by Mars/Saturn, along with some grace from Jupiter, that she uncovered the hidden and buried treasure of an 8th house, dignified Sun. It helped that Saturn rules the 1st house and the Moon, so it was Lucy herself (along with her mother) that did all the pushing and supporting.
The Sun represents the most important men in our life, beginning with our father. The Sun in the 8th house afflicted by the malefics Mars and Saturn is indicative of several things: Lucy's father died of typhoid fever at age 27, when Ball was only three. Her mother remarried and she was separated from them for a two-year period. She had an intense sense of abandonment. Her grandfather then became the most important figure in her life afterwards, and she adored him to the point of registering as a communist in 1935 just to please him. That would come back to haunt her, almost destroying her career in 1953.
At 15 there was an accidental shooting incident involving her grandfather and the death of an 8-year-old neighborhood boy. The boy was paralyzed and in a wheelchair the rest of his life, and died five years after the accident. Lucy’s family was ostracized, ruined financially and run out of town. It was a defining moment in her youth. In the first decade of her life, she lost her father, grandmother, was separated from her mother for two years, lived in eight different places and the family dealt with financial ruin and breakups. That was a lot of grief and hardship in a young girl’s life.
As a young woman Lucy was wild, bossy, attention seeking, liked men and had a penchant for hooking up with mobsters and nefarious 8th house types of men. Her husband, Desi Arnaz, although the love of her life, was an alcoholic and serial cheater. The squares from the malefics in the 5th and Jupiter in the 11th forced her to channel that Leo Sun’s craving for attention into her creative and artistic pursuits, and she eventually turned those hardships around into something productive, as the t-square involves the houses of good spirit and good fortune.
The Capricorn Moon rising was so important in her identifying with family, motherhood, as well as with challenge, extreme hard work and her need for structure, control and discipline in order to feel secure. She always was extremely obsessed with the pursuit of building familial and marital security. She went to great extremes to achieve both. She always said that being a mother and having family was the most important thing to her, and when she became a success, she turned her TV series into a family affair. She surrounded herself with her blood family and TV family every chance she could get. She was a self-admitted workaholic. Being a mother was as important to her as being a star. Her life was all about building structure through family and career.
She has two grand trines in Earth, which gave her that supreme gift for physical comedy, common sense and the ability to make lots of money. She was practical, serious, no nonsense and she NEVER considered herself to be naturally funny. If you watch her behavior outside the “Lucy” character, what you see is that Capricorn Moon ruled by Saturn. She was very earthy! Saturn became so vastly important to her overall personality because it rules the Ascendant and the Moon and sits in the 5th house conjunct Mars, while both square the Sun. She was deadly serious about her art and work. She was harsh, tough, ambitious, and I would say greatly motivated out of fear. Let’s not forget that Capricorn is the sign of time, and all comedians need a good sense of timing to be successful. There is so much more one can say about this chart, but I’ll stop there.
Speaking of timing, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are big news again as the highly anticipated movie Being the Ricardos, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, was released on December 10, 2021—a week before Venus turned retrograde in Capricorn and exactly conjunct transiting Pluto. Venus was firmly in her first shadow at that point, so the effects of the impending retrograde would have been stimulated. Why is Lucy making such a comeback right now? Venus retrograde in conjunction with transiting Pluto is happening in Lucille Ball’s first house. Her identity and image is being resurrected, analyzed, resuscitated and transformed as her story is being retold and reinterpreted. She is literally being brought back from the dead! Venus retrograde is always about harkening back to past relationship issues.
This is a revisiting and retelling of her marriage to Desi Arnaz and a behind the scenes look not of Lucy and Ricky, but Lucille and Desi. This movie deconstructs their marriage and gives us a psychological look on how they struggled to stay together and in the process built an empire. Lucy embodies the Venus retrograde in Capricorn archetype of a creative woman as an institution and part of our tradition, legacy and past. The Venus retrograde conjunct Pluto digs up the past and reinterprets, rebalances, recalibrates and restructures our image of this institution and woman, who has shaped the foundation of the television industry and eventually became the gold standard by which everything else is compared. This is the time to re-evaluate her achievements.
The show is not about destroying Lucy’s image but transforming it and allowing us to see something richer, deeper, more psychologically complex about a woman that we “think” we know. The public only knows the image of Lucy the Clown, and this show is about exposing Lucille Ball the woman. The Venus/Pluto is conjunct her natal Uranus, which enables us to reverse our perceptions, as well as opposing natal Neptune in the 7th, allowing us to see past, dissolve and transcend the outer image of who she was vis-a-vis the marriage. It’s interesting to note that both Uranus and Neptune square her MC and she came before the public eye via film (Neptune) and television (Uranus).
The Venus/Pluto transit also squares her MC, so it actively brings this revisionist story to the attention of the public. The approaching transit of Uranus to her natal Saturn/Mars conjunction in the 5th squaring her 8th house Sun is also responsible for the enlightenment and shocking revelations of the woman on a deeper level and the creative power that she unleashed. Finally, transiting Saturn in Aquarius fills out the empty leg of her natal t-square, forming a grand square for the next year. She’s unmasked to show us the woman behind the image. This is not about destroying our love of Lucy, but allowing us to see her humanity—warts and flaws included.
I can’t wait to see what kind of job Nicole Kidman does. A quick synastry glance shows they share the exact same nodal axis with the South Node at 4° Taurus and the North Node at 4° Scorpio, Nicole’s Sun tightly conjuncts Lucy’s Pluto, Nicole’s Ascendant conjuncts Lucy’s Jupiter and Nicole’s Venus/MC/Jupiter conjuncts Lucy’s Sun. That’s all significant, but I’ll leave it up to interpretation for another article!
2020 was shaped by the evolutionary forces of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn. 2021 will be dominated by Saturn in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus which perfects three times: February 17, June 14 and December 24. Saturn is in charge of the material world and preserving our earthly existence. He’s a task master, making us conscious and accountable for the productive use of time. He pressures us, sometimes through fear and guilt, to build careers and reputations and, perhaps, leave a legacy behind showing an impact of our existence on planet Earth. The outer planets don’t really care about mundane earthly existence. They deal with psychological and transpersonal themes beyond our immediate personal awareness and therefore have a tendency to throw things off balance and spinning out of control. It is Saturn’s job and responsibility to ground and make sense of the simultaneously creative and destructive forces of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in forms that we can practically utilize. Saturn must filter alien energy in a way that makes the unknown less fearful and more constructive. The outer planets can be experienced as a destructive transpersonal power or can transmute, transform and transcend by being woven into our earthly fabric in ways that enlighten and contain energy rather than short circuit it.
2020 was the year of a pandemic that was a catalyst for revealing cracks in our society, system and century old structures and institutions. Pluto’s terrain encompasses death, disease, destruction and evolutionary power. Pluto may violently erupt and break through Saturn’s protective walls and boundaries and in the process cause much terror, but it is Saturn’s job to responsibly limit destructive power. Saturn must fix what is broken by doing the necessary work to rebuild and reestablish the balance of law and order. Lest we forget, Lord Saturn is exalted in Libra.
The Saturn/Uranus square of 2021 is about reining in chaotic craziness so society can incorporate the new, innovative, progressive and technological into some sane form of earthly manageability. The square signifies that the new, progressive and innovative will meet up with blocks, frustrations, limitations and restrictions in how it is assimilated. We all know this will have a great deal to do with speed and effectiveness in rolling out the Covid vaccine, as well as its efficacy, and whether or not half the population refuses it. The configuration will also continue the political polarization in our country and throughout the world. All you need to do is watch the news to see these planetary configurations playing out in real time.
I’d like to talk more about the psychological effect on us personally, and how we can use this aspect to prepare for inevitable change and make way for a “new order,” so that the energy has some place to be received within our body, mind, heart and spirit.
The mythology of Saturn and Uranus is fairly violent, and the imagery gives us some glaring lessons and insights on how to deal with this challenging square. Uranus mated with Gaia (Earth) and produced the first race of Titans, of whom Saturn was the youngest. Unfortunately, Uranus viewed his progeny with horror because of their imperfections. They were ugly and made of flesh, so he banished them to the depths of the underworld where they could not offend his sight. Gaia naturally became enraged and planned revenge. She recruited the services of her youngest, Cronus (Saturn), and gave him a sharp scythe. While Uranus laid asleep, Cronus castrated his father and cast the bleeding genitals into the sea. The genitals floated to the surface producing a white foam out of which rose Aphrodite (Venus). Thus we get the phrase, “Out of chaos comes creativity.” It’s also a symbol of the procreative powers of the sky god Uranus.
Saturn square Uranus says we have to prepare for the future now, in the present, so that we have a vessel to hold and contain the new procreative power that is coming out of the ensuing chaos. Revolutions are bloody. Uranus in Taurus suggests that Gaia is unleashing something from her bowels, and that can be pretty terrifying unless Saturn takes control and channels that unleashed wildness with a new infrastructure.
Uranus is the first planet beyond Saturn, so it harkens and says there’s a light in outer space that provides further enlightenment and knowledge. He wants to break through the ceiling and walls of Saturn, and if he has to crash into that ceiling, he will, in order to capture attention. Saturn’s initial negative response to foreign forces is to block, but once the fear is faced a more positive and constructive Saturn realizes that he must assimilate. Saturn in Aquarius says, “I’m willing to allow that enlightenment, but you have to let it in according to the dictates of time. I will not permit you to crash into the psyche of mankind and short circuit my children.” There are flashes of brilliance coming through the dark from beyond, and you have to make sure your wiring and hard drive is up to date and ready to receive the voltage, otherwise you can check out.
Saturn in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus can easily be fearful of the eruptive changes to material security forced upon us by technology, ideological shifts, climate change, and political upheavals, as well as the general disruptive nature to our material security. Yet, don’t forget that Saturn has dignity in Aquarius, so he’s at home doing the necessary work to incorporate the change through filtering all the new stuff through a new set of rules and regulations. If you do the Saturn homework, then the fear of the unknown subsides as you start saying to yourself, “Ah, I can work with the new; I can learn to integrate more diversity; and I don’t have to allow fear to banish me into a smaller and more narrowed group of like-minded people that only support a special interest community.” That way of thinking is like the stereotypical rich, white wasp that moves into a restricted community that doesn’t allow Blacks, Jews, different religions, ethnicities or anyone who doesn’t earn a certain amount of money to move in.
As we get older, Saturn has a way of making us pay attention to our knees, bones, teeth and skin as they start to break down and cause more problems. On a daily basis we are constantly reminded by Saturn to pay attention to these parts of the body. Saturn in Aquarius says it’s time to pay attention to what we are doing in the present moment, for it will determine our future. When a wise person pays attention to a problematic knee, they will work with it, go to the doctor, do more exercise, listen to the pain and put in the effort to buttress and support it in some way. That’s what we have to do psychologically in the Aquarius part of our chart. If you ignore the pain and sweep it under the carpet or hide it away, it festers and only gets worse, and then like all Gaia’s banished children, the ignored comes forth in more grotesque terms. Yet, by working with it and doing what you can to meet the challenge, you may not alleviate all the pain but you are able to discover ways to work with it.
Saturn rules the end of time. We can gain a lot of knowledge and understanding from watching our elders and how they prepare for death and leaving the physical realm. The physical body breaks down for all. It is a common theme we all share, but how we prepare for that on a mental, spiritual and soul level can make a monumental shift when dealing with pain and suffering. You see the difference in those that enter their golden years with a continued, albeit more restrained life force vs. those whose light is visibly extinguished and darkness takes over. The Saturn/Uranus square begs the questions, “How will you deal with life now and prepare for the future?” Those that prepare for death both physically and psychologically are better equipped to deal with the unknown. Getting our personal infrastructure ready will prepare us for the future, just like the government has to work on the infrastructure of society towards putting money into public services. We have to take care of our own internal wiring to be prepared for the evolutions and revolutions within society.
The generation born with Uranus in the first decanate of Aquarius (January 1996 through December 1998) will have to mature, step up to the plate and start taking responsibility for their vision of the future. This generation will be responsible for breaking past the old, ossified and outworn, and begin making their voices and actions heard to restructure laws, rules and regulations into something that holds more hope for the future. Saturn/Pluto said the old guard is dead, and Saturn/Uranus pushes past the old forms into a new paradigm based on the past.
Look at the positions of transiting Saturn and Uranus in the natal chart to see the areas of life where the two energies play out the back and forth game of building and rebuilding, structure and re-structure, old vs. new, young vs. old and any other combination you can think of. I subscribe to the ancient rulership scheme; therefore Saturn rules both Capricorn and Aquarius, so check out the houses ruled by both signs for further insight. Pay attention the entire year when this fixed square is triggered by lunations in the fixed signs, as well as Mercury, Venus and Mars transiting the fixed signs and the stations direct and retrograde of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Saturn has dignity and power for the next two years while being in Aquarius and in a superior square overcoming Uranus. In traditional astrology, this is a dignified position for Saturn, so while there will be struggle, there is also great hope for the Uranian energy to enter our consciousness. Finally, because Uranus is in a sign ruled by Venus, pay careful attention to shifts in the structure of your value system, including money, career, earning potential and relationships when Venus enters her shadow and turns retrograde in the sign of Capricorn beginning on November 17, 2021 and lasting through March 2, 2022.
The Dance of Venus & Mars Retrograde 2020
Prelude: 2020 Saturn/Pluto Conjunction
Nothing in astrology exists in a vacuum and the transits of the “little guys”--Mars, Venus, and Mercury--almost always trigger events based upon grander themes laid down by the “bigger guys” Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Astrology involves a complicated process of synthesis, which explains why every Mars, Venus, or Mercury retrograde--because they work alongside other transits and progressions that together formulate a complete picture--are not created equal.
Therefore, we cannot talk about the current transit and upcoming retrograde of Mars in Aries--from June 27, 2020 through January 6, 2021--without framing it in the larger context of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction ushered in at 22.46° Capricorn January 12, 2020. This relatively rare conjunction happens approximately every 33-38 years and lasts slightly over two years, though its effects progress slowly over the long-term. This makes it important to view the entirety of 2020 through this conjunction’s lens and to understand that its energy looms behind faster moving transits.
When Saturn, the lord of karma and planet of structure, limitation, achievement, and maintenance of traditions, joins Pluto, the lord of the underworld, planet of power, hidden motivations, secrets, and deep psychological complexes, it functions as a kind of “global Saturn Return.” This conjunction’s particularly karmic nature represents an evolutionary death/birth cycle during which the world has to purge old, archaic, ossified beliefs and ideas to clear a path for the new. The testing of the status quo faces the firing line now, alerting us it’s time to both fortify our lives as well as tear down and rebuild them where necessary.
Proof that this 2020 Saturn/Pluto conjunction sets the stage for a new world order is evidenced by its presence during previous major world wars. For example, the Cancer Saturn/Pluto conjunction of 1914/15 coincided with the outbreak of World War I when humanity witnessed the emergence of global warfare, and after which the world was never the same. The Leo conjunction of 1947 occurred just after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. This resulted in the end of World War II, the reconstruction of a desecrated Europe, the beginning of the global nuclear arms race--and the start of the Cold War era--and the emergence of a modern new world order as we know it today.
Likewise, the Libra conjunction of 1982 ushered in a short but severe U.S. recession that birthed the era of “Reaganomics” and a trickle-down economy which has steered the economic course of much of the western world until now. This time period also saw the beginning of the AIDS pandemic.
And that leads us to the present and current life-altering events in the zeitgeist: the Covid-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, police reform and calls for greater social justice for all, and an upcoming U.S. presidential election. All these events will undoubtedly change our consciousness and usher in yet another new world order going forward.
Act One: Venus Retrograde 2020
Venus partnered with Mars in mythology not by marriage but through a love affair, and often (but not always), these two planets retrograde within months of each other. When they do (as in 2020), their alignment to each other cannot be ignored, and we interpret their retrogrades as part of their overall dance of partnership.
When Venus retrogrades, according to ancient traditions, she becomes the morning star, and because she’s closer to Earth then and moving in a direction antithetical to her nature, she’s more war-like, aggressive, and apt to show her brutish or more Martian face. Instead of using diplomacy, she takes a warrior stance--especially when fighting injustice—making her seem more like Mars, who likes to do battle on the front lines.
This year’s Venus retrograde in Gemini between May 12 and June 24 highlighted two major themes: social distancing and social values. The former included a reevaluation and redefinition of how we communicate with others, including incorporating innovative uses of technology to satisfy social distancing restrictions yet still help stimulate the U.S. economy. The latter illustrates Venus as warrior goddess: It was in the twin cities (Gemini) of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, that the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police sparked the resurrection of the civil rights and Black Lives Matter movements.
Additionally, Venus retrograde ignited another conversation and forged debate around how the rule of law is continually applied in grossly unequal ways that have resulted in bringing the age-old split in race relations to a boil. Concerned with principles of equality, peace, and harmony, but angry that they’ve been ignored, Venus changes her form, alters her tactics, and adopts a more martial stance, transforming the goddess of love into the goddess of war in her quest for fairness.
Having lost her balance and equilibrium, Venus’s normal tools of diplomacy and peaceful debate become ineffective. Therefore, she becomes the iron fist in the velvet glove--though I’d go one step further by saying the velvet glove comes off too!--and adapts the more brutal and angry approach of her partner Mars.
I mentioned that Venus and Mars connect in mythology as lovers, but not marriage partners and, as I edit this article at 10:30 am on July 2, the TV news plays in the background announcing that Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire. Accused of being the chief enabler and sex trafficking procurer of young minor women for Jeffrey Epstein to sexually exploit, Maxwell’s charged also as a co-conspirator for participating in sexual acts along with Epstein and these minors.
This occurs as Venus--direct only since June 24--entered her second shadow period, and shortly after Mars entered Aries June 27. Almost a year to the date from when Epstein was arrested, Mars’s 0-Aries ingress triggers by square the recent June 21 solar eclipse at 0° Cancer--a degree made even more potent because it sits on the world axis, known as a point of notoriety and fame.
Epstein and Maxwell were lovers who had the same type of volatile and passionate relationship as did the mythological Venus and Mars. In mythology Venus was married to Vulcan but couldn’t resist the macho, virile, potent charms of Mars whom she lured into her marriage bed as often as possible when her husband was away. Vulcan, who eventually gets wind of their affair, fashions a net and throws it over them to entrap the lovers during one of their assignations. He’s invited all the other gods to bear witness to this and they roar with laughter at the humiliated lovers caught in a trap of their own making.
This imagery and the unraveling of recent events coincide with the transits of Mars/Venus, the eclipse triggers, and Saturn’s retrograde back into Capricorn July 1, the latter of which represents one last swipe to clean up and complete Saturn’s journey through Capricorn over the past two-and-a-half years. The last pass through a sign shows us the lessons learned and completes the cycle. The July 2 announcement of Maxwell’s arrest coincided perfectly with Saturn’s retrograde station back into Capricorn and, occurring at 29°57’ Capricorn, represents the symbolic humiliation of these former lovers’ sexual misdeeds.
Act Two: Mars In Aries
Mars entered Aries June 27 where he remains for six months due to his upcoming retrograde from September 9 through November 14. Since he doesn't leave Aries until January 6, 2021, Mars energy dominates the rest of 2020 by taking us through an internal purging and transformation that can lead to some sort of new beginning. This is true on both a national collective and personal level, so best to prepare to redirect, reorient, and question our power drives and motivations during this period.
Mars, for his part, is a yang planet representing action and how we get what we want, whose mission is to carry out the will of the Sun. This “get up and go” energy in our lives—our survival instinct, without which we’d be dead—represents such Martian themes as anger, sex, violence, bravery, courage, assertion, aggression, war, the military and police, valor, honesty, potency, power, sports, fighting, and competition.
Blatantly male, macho, and phallic, Mars energy manifests firmly in the fight or flight root chakra, depicted by the color red, like the planet itself. Loud, rude, rough, brash, and visceral, he’s the bully who’ll often use brute force to get what he wants. Living without Mars, however, would be incredibly boring--as well as dangerous--because we wouldn’t know how to protect ourselves in a life-threatening situation.
Mars allows us to feel the thrill, adrenaline rush, excitement, and danger of being alive—he’s the part of us that asks: What would life be without taking risks? Healthy expressions of Mars, especially when young, come through participation in sports as either player or spectator, and through sex—which can be one of the most beautiful energies life has to offer—as its stimulation leads not only to pleasure but creation and procreation. Mars provides the confidence to fight for what we want and to act with bold pride, yet there’s always the threat that ego-driven, competitive battles may spill over into the arena of violence or murder.
In planetary order from the Sun outward, Mars links the Earth to Jupiter. If we take our grounded earthly pursuits and push forward to something bigger--outside the scope of Sun/Moon/Mercury and Venus--we’re rewarded for our bravery by broadening our existence to other worlds through Jupiterian themes of adventure, growth, optimism, learning, and travel beyond the merely earthbound environment. Achievement of such Mars to Jupiter growth requires risk-taking of the kind famously given voice to in the original Star Trek television series through its quest “to boldly go where no man has gone before..."
Mars in Aries, the sign of its dignity, possesses greater freedom of action and so may more easily fuel any fire, meaning we should pay close attention to this particular transit. Since Mars entered Aries June 27, combined with a confluence of energies--including aforementioned eclipse triggers, Venus and Neptune retrograde stations, and Saturn’s ingress back into Capricorn—several heated events have transpired:
Federal forces, armed with tear gas and some kind of gun-fired projectiles (though not called bullets) have gone into Portland, Oregon, with the intent of protecting federal buildings from destruction by protestors. However, such forces were not invited in by state authorities, nor were they welcomed, especially since their tactics have injured innocent people and violate the Constitutional right to gather and peacefully protest. The U.S. Administration threatens at this writing to send such militia troops into other U.S. cities which neither want them nor condone their actions in Portland.
Historic centuries-old national status symbols of repressive regimes are being torn down and/or removed. Particularly true for confederate statues, the confederate flag, and state flags. Mississippi was one of the first to take down its flag and to implement legislation to remove other confederate emblems. The argument, spurred on by the Black Lives Matter movement, is that such statues and flags may be memorialized in museums rather than glorified in public as society attempts not to forget history but to reframe it, and represents part of the current larger cultural war.
The massive uptick in Covid-19 cases throughout the country, especially in areas that opened too quickly during Venus retrograde in social Gemini, turned face masks into a polarizing political issue. Both Mars and Aries represent the head and face, and the politicizing of this issue caused lots of yelling and raised the question: what symbolic image do you want to project in public?
Senate Republicans vowed to get to the bottom of bombshell reports that Russia offered bounties to Afghan militants for the targeted killings of U.S. troops overseas and suggested possible retaliation against Moscow. Anger exists around the fact that U.S. President Trump has, since learning this fact from intelligence agencies, spoken to Russia’s Vladimir Putin seven times, reportedly none of them about this issue.
Act Three: Mars Retrograde 2020
During the next six months many of these extremely important ongoing events—including the coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming 2020 presidential election, the Black Lives Matter movement, police reform, and the use of federal military force against individual states’ citizens--will continue to unravel.
Meanwhile, this Mars retrograde pattern becomes a very powerful one because it will square the pandemic 22.46 Capricorn degree of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction of January 12, 2020 three times--August 12, October 8, and December 20--designating them potential “trigger” dates. The days surrounding these exact dates represent hot spots when Mars can exacerbate challenges surrounding the pandemic and other issues that demand we redirect the battle in order to conquer the hidden enemy.
During the upcoming Mars retrograde period from September 9 through November 14 normally outgoing Mars energy turns inward, urging us to reorient in a new direction. Instead of boldly going where no man has gone before in the external world, it’s time to get in touch with our internal warrior and confront our inner rather than outer selves--not something Mars normally feels comfortable doing!
In general, retrogrades provide the opportunity to bring to light certain unsolved challenges with a particular planet’s energies based upon old habit patterns. During Mars’ retrograde any misuse of power--and old ways of assertion, competition, and aggression--will be called out on the carpet now and may not work the way to which we’ve been accustomed. This, in turn, calls for the reevaluation of our motivations: a) to determine if we’re on the correct path; and b) to adjust our actions and aggressive instincts to ensure better accomplishment of our goals.
Not usually a very introspective energy, Mars asks us to burn the fire within and purify our Martial energy by taking stock of our actions every two years when retrograde. We test our motives for proper action by surging bravely--not forward--but inward during this six-week retrograde period so we may revitalize and reanimate our healthy energies with renewed vim and vigor on the direct station.
Would that this could be easy to accomplish! However, much of the time Mars retrograde manifests as anger turned inward. Mars can become the bully when retrograde, making us much harder on ourselves because it’s difficult to let off steam appropriately. Old resentments may resurface, making this an ideal time to develop new strategies and approaches for dealing with issues. Adjustments and changes become required learning now, so that at Mars’ direct motion we may emerge with more mature ways to handle and implement our martial energies.
Misdirected and misguided anger has an odd way of manifesting physically because we can push too hard and cause inflammation of unhealthy patterns that result in flare ups of old health issues. These may appear on the surface as boils, welts, sores, fevers, headaches, accidents, and a myriad number of other problems. Our level of individual consciousness and awareness dictates how well we incorporate this energy, making this Mars retrograde period an especially good time to take care not to impulsively expose ourselves to Covid-19. Rash decisions can have long-term implications and being mindful now by finding other, safer, ways to blow off steam can alleviate the pressure and still safeguard us physically.
Mars retrograde contains three distinct parts:
His first “shadow period”: This begins when Mars hits 15-degrees Aries on July 25–the degree to which he will return at his station direct on November 14. This shadow period lasts until Mars’ September 9 station retrograde and comprises the beginning of our awareness of problematic issues and circumstances.
The retrograde proper: From September 9 through November 14 we’re asked to confront these issues on a deeper level and to find satisfying solutions. Our knowledge about what’s been brought to light during the first shadow period will deepen, and it’s now we’ll fight and take action to accomplish actual internal change.
Mar’s station direct/second “shadow period”: November 14 until January 2, 2021 represents Mars’ second “shadow period” because it’s then he once again reaches the 28-degree Aries mark at which his retrograde period began. This comprises a time to see if the action undertaken has worked or made a noticeable difference, and if not what further action needs to be taken.
In short, when retrograde, the potential for Martian themes outlined and discussed above come under scrutiny, review, and re-evaluation in order to be rebirthed and reactivated. The positive image of Mars retrograde centers on that of guardian and protector vs. warrior and aggressor. This period initiates an intense review of appropriate vs. inappropriate use of force and misuse of power. That means for us all, both individually and collectively.
This will prove a time when we see if the murderers of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor—and so many others--are brought to justice. Likewise, it will be a time when we see just how far efforts to mitigate the current pandemic work and/or how far Covid-19 will go in further ravaging our country, people, and economy. We’ll also discern if those who want to defund the police will prove successful and how far the Black Lives Matter movement can evolve. In addition, we’ll ascertain as well how any number of myriad dizzying changes since the start of 2020 may or may not progress in a positive direction, including whether a presidential election will decide if the future holds a reversal of power—or not.
We must remember, however, that there’s a revolutionary movement occurring now and that Mars stimulates the fight on both sides. Meanwhile, no one has unbridled energy and a flashing red stop sign eventually comes to everything. In war, each side believes it’s right--reflecting tremendous polarities in thinking--and everyone defines the battle on their own terms. Akin to a boxing match where each side fights back against the other, it’s the side that feels empowered to initiate new beginnings which will start making changes. Meanwhile, the side resisting change will feel a tremendous urge to defend the status quo. A retrograde makes the underdog fight back with full force. It’s like the hand that pops out of the ground at the end of the movie Carrie to indicate “I’m not going down without a fight!” and that there’s one last battle to come.
The Mars/Neptune conjunction of June 13 also plays a strong part in the 2020 story, especially since it squared Venus at her inferior conjunction in the midst of the June 5 lunar eclipse. Mars brings the flame of action to Neptune in collective-oriented Pisces, and ignites the fight for the underdog, the invisible, and disenfranchised.
This warrior battle cry from the soul of the collective unconscious encompasses the unmitigated pain and suffering of our black and brown brothers and sisters who’ve been historically and traditionally relegated to the fringes of society. This old pattern, woven into the collective psyche of this nation for eons, is playing out by rising into greater collective consciousness now.
The struggle to find common ground between the heart and the mind--inherent in the eclipse charts of June, the Mars/Neptune conjunction, and the Venus/Neptune square—has awakened a battle between beliefs, thoughts, words, and principles. Out of the struggle the voice of the invisible is finally being heard as new laws to defend and protect emerge. Peaceful protest, a definitive phrase for retrograde Venus, can accomplish this, despite some fringe element violence amidst this philosophical battle.
A fiery planet like Mars in a water sign like Pisces produces hot steam, conjuring up imagery around a pot of water boiling over. This fight has compassionate undertones to its surface anger. As Mars transits forward and backward through Aries over the next six months all this will be further examined. While there may be a reemergence of violence during Mars retrograde if peaceful tactics don’t work, remember these events are playing out against the bigger life-altering landscape of the Saturn/Pluto/Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn.
This Capricorn stellium is ultimately about tying up loose ends to the current status quo, patriarchy, and all those institutions, structures, traditions, and laws that have been corrupted and need to be purged, transformed, and rebuilt. Finally, let’s not forget that at the end of 2020 Mars hands the baton over to the Saturn/Jupiter conjunction at 0° Aquarius--always about the formation of a new economy.
This energy syncs with Pluto’s transit through Capricorn and the upcoming Pluto return in America’s chart. America’s at a crossroads as we face this pandemic and the social upheaval exposed once again through the racial inequality that’s been at the root of this country since its founding and the implantation of slavery. America’s Pluto return, which begins in early 2022 and lasts until the fall of 2023, means the next few years will be about staring the ugly part of our history squarely in the face and emotionally processing the collective mess, as it’s time for all the pestilence to be unleashed. Mars carries out the hard, dirty work that Pluto excavates and exposes, as he’s traditionally the soldier and the fighter who does Pluto’s bidding. The beginning of the Plutonian process is like an infection or abscess that has festered for a very long time, in this case for centuries, that finally intensifies and erupts in volcanic ways, and not just once but many times until a complete transformation has evolved. It spits out the putrid, rancid and rotten. Pluto is the vile, base, seedy, murderous type of behavior that gets swept under the carpet and is only dealt with in backrooms, bar rooms, dark rooms and board rooms. These are the secret nasty power dealings and negotiations that go on behind closed doors. Pluto is the mafia and all underground, covert types of behaviors. Pluto is the “original sin” if you want to put things in those terms, and America is being forced to confront that in all its ugliness. The Corona Virus Pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement is part of this. Both these monumental events are showing the gross inequality of society and the disproportionate and unequal way a valuable part of our society has been treated. Pluto is like a toilet bowl being clogged and shit just backs up and overflows. Our plumbing is the problem and we need to unclog the pipes from centuries’ old buildup of muck and mire. There are layers and layers of coagulated dirt and grime. Pluto is a watery and subterranean planet so feelings must be felt and processed. That is not an easy thing to do on a personal level so can you imagine the struggle this is on a collective one?
What about Mars’ effect on a personal level? As astrologers, we counsel our clients that relationships begun during Mars retrograde periods run into problems in the arena of sex, anger, and power struggles. Sex can prove particularly problematic because, more than likely, a hot sexual encounter or affair begun then will fizzle out when Mars stations direct. However, if the relationship does continue, it will be burdened by some kind of restriction or limitation.
You may remain friends and feel emotionally close yet physically distant. Whatever the manifestation, it won’t be an easy sexual relationship. Things usually work out better on the retrograde if someone you know re-enters your life to work out a past fight or disagreement. Just as Venus on her retrograde becomes more martial, Mars during his retrograde becomes more Venusian, and therefore may appropriate a more diplomatic approach to problem-solving. He may listen more attentively before he acts.
As mentioned, be careful about redirecting anger inward and causing health problems such as ulcers, high blood pressure or, even worse, unleashing unconscious anger that can explode in unexpected rage toward others. If we put effort into the harder work of becoming a spiritual warrior by fighting the internal battle with our own demons and purging them, rather than projecting them onto others, this will make for a much better world in the long run.
Joseph Addeo, a Level IV NCGR-PAA Certified Astrologer who serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Chapter, can be reached via his website at www.josephaddeo.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/josephaddeoastrologer.
I'd like to talk about the lunar nodes. They are extremely important points in astrology that carry symbolism about past and future habit patterns. They have a great deal to do with destiny. They are points in the chart that are 180° apart from each other. The North Node of the Moon is the point at which the Moon crosses the ecliptic heading north, and the South Node the point where the Moon crosses the ecliptic going south.
The South Node is where you meet up with a feeling of "never enough." It's a point, represented by sign and house placement, of great comfort and familiarity. If you like the word karma, then this is often said to be a point we've experienced fully from a past life, so the energy is something that you've lived before and has a feeling of déjà vu. It's where you may want to maintain the "status quo" and because of that feeling, there can be an obsessive, addictive and seductive feel to it. It's that hunger of desiring that which at one time in life may have been good for you, but because of misuse or over use, no longer is. One of my colleagues, Michael Lutin, always used the example that the South Node is like snorting cocaine. Once you start, you want more and more and more. No matter how much you snort, it's never satisfying enough. These are old habit patterns. The South Node may be an energy that is good to tap into when you're younger, but as you get older, you must start to use that energy to springboard into the North Node, which is much more about growth and life purpose.
The North Node is an energy that you must learn to incorporate into the present life, yet it is unfamiliar, and therefore is accompanied by a certain amount of doubt and fear because it has a feeling of being new and unchartered. It is one of the great indicators of our life purpose. It's the faculty in ourselves which we most need to develop if we are to grow. The North Node nourishes by providing us with new experiences, new people, new contacts and new ideas which satisfy and leave us feeling whole and complete. The North Node shifts us out of old habit patterns, experiences, relationships and situations that no longer serve our higher good. It allows access to a new perspective and opportunity to welcome previously unrecognized possibilities into the light of consciousness.
The South and North Nodes must work together. They are not isolated. The South Node doesn't disappear as we get older, but it should feed the North Node as we spring back and forth between the old and familiar towards the new and unchartered. The more we access the energy of the North Node, the more we grow, mature, achieve, accomplish and fulfill our destiny. Interpreting them in the natal chart is very important.
I want to talk about what the transiting nodes mean in a mundane way as they affect society and world events. The nodes are always moving retrograde due to the astronomy of the cosmos and the movement of the Moon, Earth and Sun. They remain in a zodiacal polarity for approximately 19 months and eclipses that occur every six months will always be in the signs represented by the nodes; therefore we have eclipses in the same signs, more or less, for approximately 19 months.
Since November 2018 through the beginning of May 2020, the nodes are retrograding through the signs of Cancer and Capricorn. The North Node in Cancer, the South Node in Capricorn. As a society we are meant to loosen the grips of the old negative patterns of Capricorn and redevelop the attributes of Cancer. This transit is winding down, and we are getting a huge dose on a global level as to its meaning and purpose. Covid-19 has brought the meaning of this nodal axis into sharp focus. What are we meant to give up and let go? That is represented by the South Node in Capricorn. We are being forced to let go and release the negative constructs that have been built up in Capricorn. The traditions that have held us together as a society via the business and corporate structures are melting away. Those old Capricorn habits of doing "business as usual" will no longer work. Letting go of the South Node structures of society as we know it instills lots of fear and panic because it is what we are used to, even if it no longer serves a healthy growth-oriented purpose. Capricorn represents the patriarchy and the walls are tumbling down. "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the King's horses and all the King's Men couldn't put Humpty together again!"
As walls are being torn down we are being forced to access a new version of what Cancer represents. Cancer represents the Matriarchy, and that is being reborn to balance out the Patriarchy. Cancer is about home, family and that which nurtures us. We are all being forced to spend more time at home with our family, with our feelings and learn how to bond in new ways. The foundations of our home life and our countries must be rebuilt. We have to lay a new foundation to our home, as well as our country. Throughout the world each society has to find new ways to nourish and feed its people. This works on a collective level as well as a personal level. As we shelter in place all over the world, family bonds are being renewed and reformulated. These are Yin signs, and that energy has to do with security, introspection and safety. They are more conservative than the Yang signs, so we have to take new action (cardinal signs) to constrict and conserve our energy. In Cancer we have to look more deeply into our soul and get in touch with the inner feminine energy of Motherhood, the matriarchy and the feeling principle. This pandemic has forced a new understanding towards the basic, simpler foundations of life and how to redefine it. New foundations laid now will build new future structures. It's all about basic instincts in Cancer.
The nodal axis is now shifting into the Gemini/Sagittarius polarity beginning in May, and that transit will last through mid-January 2022. What we have to give up in Sagittarius is reliance on freedom and global movement through international travel. We have to let go of the privileged feeling of unfettered boundaries and moving about the world wherever and whenever we want. This is a mutable polarity, so the next 19 months are about learning. We have to release old worn out philosophies and teachings that have guided us in the past. The meaning of life is shifting and so is higher education. The old system of law will transform. The travel industry will mutate. The Gemini North Node is what needs to be redefined. Our local neighborhood will become more important. Supporting local business and local government is the way to go. We have to redevelop our neighborhoods and education system in Gemini. The basics of everything we learn in logical ways must realign left brain thinking. Facts will become more important and essential because Gemini deals with logic, facts and information.
We must get back to the ABC's of life and learning and come down from the high horse grandiosity of Sagittarius. Like Icarus we have flown too close to the Sun, and our hubris has led us down a path of competition with the Gods. That is no longer tolerable, and we have to get away from forming opinions without having the facts to back up those opinions. How the media reports and disseminates information will come under closer scrutiny. We have to stop the excesses of stretching the truth in Sagittarius and get back to sane, logical fact-based thinking in Gemini. Foreign and local governments must work in better harmony. Much of this will come about through new regulations of importing and exporting, as well as new international laws. We are a sisterhood and brotherhood, and it will be more important in the coming years to reach out our hands and form closer fraternal ties. Our communication systems are in a massive evolutionary phase. There is a never ending process of new learning on how to communicate via Zoom, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok and our ever evolving smart phones.
Of course all this will be more specifically aligned in your natal chart, depending on what house the nodes transit. That adds a more detailed interpretation as to the area of life where you, as an individual, will experience this energy most acutely and personally. We are in an evolutionary period of world history, and the transiting nodes will help us navigate this path.
Though we are no longer incarnate in physical form after death, our charts continue to live and breathe. Famous people are wonderful examples of how a chart can still be used to predict events, especially with the way a person’s legacy remains alive in the public consciousness. There is further insight into the unfolding of their personality, growth, and psychology through the events that occur after death as represented by transits and progressions. That person often comes back into the consciousness of the public for a reassessment of their talents and contributions, as well as learning more about who they were and why they influenced the world in such a profound way.
As most of my friends and colleagues know, I have an obsession with Joan Crawford!! I love studying her chart. She is a larger than life star, actress and film legend of the 20th century and never did anything in a small way. While alive, she led an extraordinarily active and complex life, so it’s no wonder that in death she remains a fascinating and polarizing woman who continues to have an active and complex afterlife that is under constant scrutiny and reassessment.
On August 12, 2016, coinciding with transiting Saturn’s direct station in Sagittarius, there is a major revival of one of her greatest hits from 1952, “Sudden Fear,” for which she received an Oscar nomination as Best Actress. It is being re-released in a digitally remastered version and is playing for a week at Film Forum in New York City, a revival house known for premiering Hollywood classics of yesteryear, as well as current independent, foreign and art house releases. The film is having a sold out run as it is rediscovered by new and old fans and film aficionados. Modern critics have been praising the film, Crawford’s performance and her enduring legacy. She’s getting reviews now, well after her death that she often didn’t get while alive. There is a reevaluation of her talent, as well as resurgence of her popularity and reputation.
Joan Crawford’s birth information is somewhat in dispute, but I am using the chart that came with Solar Fire. This time was given to astrologer Nelle Sliter by Crawford herself. I have used this chart since 1999, and it works incredibly well. Though you will see more popular dates such as 1904 and 1906, it is the 1903 date that has worked so very well in all my research.
Birth Information: March 23, 1903, 10:00 p.m., San Antonio, Texas
Let’s interpret transits and progressions to the birth chart for August 12, 2016. I use this date because it is the re-release date of the film “Sudden Fear,” and numerous reviews of Crawford’s work in on-line publications such as Film Comment and Roger Ebert, as well as Karina Longworth’s sensational podcast “You Must Remember This,” which chronicles Crawford’s ground-breaking career. There has also been an announcement of the upcoming made for TV series by Ryan Murphy called “Feud,” which chronicles the tense rivalry between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis during the filming of “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,” due for a 2017 telecast and starring Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon.
Since there currently is a resurgence to rehabilitate Crawford’s professional standing and career achievements, I thought that there must be something happening with the planet Saturn, which has to do with one’s legacy, reputation and status in the world. Saturn, at its best, is a builder, and there is a restructuring element going on to re-establish Crawford’s legacy and stature.
The re-release of this film along with the positive articles and reviews are occurring on the station direct of Saturn at 9.46° Sagittarius. This alone can account for the prolonged showing of the film for a week at Film Forum. To have a film from 1952 play for an entire week straight at any theater is quite an accomplishment, and the Saturn station symbolizes the long lasting nature of the run as opposed to a one-time showing that one can miss with the blink of an eye. She’s lasting and durable!
Keep in mind that we are entering an eclipse season and the important degrees are 9 and 24 of the mutable signs. The solar eclipse takes place on September 1 at 9.21 Virgo followed two weeks later by the lunar eclipse at 24.20 Pisces. When looking at transits and progressions to her natal chart, we will see these degrees highly emphasized.
Her progressed MC (reputation, status, standing, career, legacy and recognition) is 9.03 Sagittarius. Transiting Saturn is conjunct it, indicating her reputation is due to undergo a restructuring and rebuilding. It is ready for this overhaul now, at this moment in time. Transiting Saturn and the progressed MC are forming a tight sextile to natal Mars (the handle of a bucket chart and co-ruler of her natal Ascendant and Aries Sun). The solar eclipse degree occurs in her 10th house, doubly emphasizing career resurgence. Progressed Venus at 7.14 Virgo tightly opposes natal Jupiter at 7.32 Pisces and squares natal Juno at 7.30 Sagittarius. This T-square resolves in the 7th house of the opinion of others. There is a rebalancing and recalibration by critics and public as to the true self-worth and talent of the woman, which has been dimmed and somewhat undermined over the years (Taurus on the cusp of the 7th, Venus as ruler of the 7th and 12th, Jupiter as ruler of the 2nd and 5th). Juno forming the apex of this progressed T-square has something to do with gaining an understanding and reforming our negative opinion on just how much of a shrew she really was as new information of the facts comes to light through the written word (Gemini is the empty leg). Juno is also the first lady of the zodiac and here we have some important work to resuscitate her standing as one of the great first ladies of the cinema.
The lunar eclipse degree is also highly emphasized through the healing of Chiron and Jupiter. Progressed Jupiter is 23.14 Pisces, progressed Moon is 25 Pisces and transiting Chiron is at 24 Pisces. All this indicates the chart is ready for a healing via a more optimistic and empathetic view towards Crawford by the public and how she connects with the collective unconscious. The biggest indication of a reversal in our outlook and view of her talent, self-worth and historical significance is that her natal Uranus at 25.36 Sagittarius is being hit hard by the September 16 lunar eclipse. New information is coming to light and something is being awakened and reversed (Uranus) about the past and history of this woman (Uranus as ruler of the 4th). There is a more detached and objective perspective being revealed about a woman who is a very polarizing figure–I mean you either love her or hate her–there is very little middle ground when it comes to Joan Crawford. She’s a rebel, maverick, independent and revolutionary 20th century person.
Progressed Saturn has been retrograde for many years and will make an exact conjunction to its natal position of 6.47 Aquarius in 2020. It currently is approaching exact conjunction by 17 minutes. Here again we have the slow influence of Saturn reassessing her reputation, which will only increase over the coming years as more and more is written about her (natal Saturn resides and rules the 3rd).
Progressed Mercury tightly squares natal Mars, so the written word is being activated. A new direction is needed and the chart is ready to change direction on what is written about her persona and career.
Transiting Uranus is trine natal Uranus and that’s a rather upbeat energy regarding her career and talent (natal Uranus sits in the 2nd and transiting Uranus is in the 6th). It indicates an awakening to what her true talents and skills are as an actress and revising the past story (Uranus rules the 4th).
The frosting on the cake is the transiting Sun conjunct the MC on the day of the re-release of this film. It’s a day of victory, basking in the glow and light of being a star!
On top of everything, as this article goes to print, the week long run at Film Forum has been so successful they extended it another week. This is a good example of Saturn slowing things down in a beneficially enduring way.
Joseph Addeo is a Level IV NCGR-PAA Certified Astrologer and serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Chapter. He can be reached via his website at www.josephaddeo.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/josephaddeoastrologer
Do people ever ask you what’s your rising sign or ascendant? They’re the same thing; just two different ways of identifying it. The rising sign is an extremely important part of the astrological chart and says an immense amount about your personality. It is the persona or mask we adapt in our approach to life, new situations and people. It is how we interface with the world. Usually it is easier to identify a person’s rising sign because it is what we feel most comfortable showing people on first encounter. The Sun sign which really is our identity and who we are at a core level is something that is not always visible until you get to know a person better. The Sun sign comes out and shines once our ego feels a certain amount of confidence and security. The Ascendant or rising sign on the other hand is much more immediate and evident. Think of it as being much more social; the good, or bad face, you put on when you meet people. Here’s a wonderful example to explain the difference between your Sun and Ascendant. Imagine yourself home all alone in the house; you put on some great music and you begin to let loose dancing and singing at the top of your lungs, not caring what you sound like, dressed or undressed in whatever you feel most comfortable. It’s just like that scene in Risky Business with Tom Cruise – you remember the one – when with full abandon he’s dancing around the house without a care just expressing his identity in total and complete joy. That’s you and that is your Sun. Now suppose the doorbell rings and you have to answer it. All of a sudden you shift gears, turn the music down, fix your hair, get dressed or rearrange your clothes, look in the mirror to make certain you look presentable, preparing yourself to make your standard impression to face whoever is at the door. In other words you put on your mask, which may be friendly or not. That is your rising sign. Now when you open the door it could be someone you feel extremely comfortable with and so you may make another shift. The Sun and rising sign work very much together because they are both indicators of our identity. Some people view the rising sign as more superficial but I don’t think so. We are constantly adjusting and adapting to new situations every day as we try to get along with people. You show your rising sign to every stranger you meet. It’s only those people close to you that get to see your Sun sign. How many people have said “After we got married they became someone totally different.” Well, that’s what happens when the Sun sign begins to emerge and we let our mask (rising sign) down.
The only way to find out your rising sign is to know the exact time of your birth. It is worth getting a hold of your timed birth certificate so that the next time someone asks “What’s your rising sign?” you’ll know.
No matter what the sign or house placement of Mars in the birth chart it is a yang planet representing action, work, anger, sex, energy and how we get what we want. It is the get up and go in our lives and without it we’d be dead. Martian energy, normally outgoing, when retrograde is turned inward urging us to reorient in a new direction. Time to get in touch with our inner warrior. We must confront ourselves rather than others and that is not something Mars normally feels comfortable doing. Mars by nature is not very introspective. But every 2 years we must burn the fire within and purify our Martian energy and take stock of our actions. By surging inwards for the 6 week retrograde we can test our motives for proper action so that on the direct station we can reanimate ourselves with renewed vim and vigor. Our energy healthily revitalized. It would be great if we could all do that but so much of the time Mars retrograde becomes anger turned inwards against ourselves. Mars can be a bully and when retrograde we are much harder on ourselves because it is very difficult to let off steam appropriately. It’s very easy to push too hard and inflame unhealthy patterns causing flare ups to old health issues. Misdirected and misguided anger has an odd way of physically manifesting in the body as boils, welts, sores, fevers, accidents and a myriad of other problems. Individual consciousness and awareness dictates how well this energy can be incorporated. The purpose of Mars retrograde is to evaluate what motivates us and determine if we’re on the correct path. It’s time to adjust actions and aggressive instincts to ensure that we can accomplish our goals. Old resentments have a way of resurfacing and it is an ideal time to develop new strategies and approaches for dealing with issues that can be implemented when Mars goes direct.
When Mars turned retrograde on October 1, 2005 I decided to get back in touch with my acupuncturist to help with some health issues. Several things prompted this. I had stopped seeing him for almost a year because of a money shortage but as Mars was approaching its retrograde in Taurus I rethought my issues surrounding money and decided my health was much more important. After all, this doctor always helped me tremendously. I had been overworking myself, burning the candle at both ends, and felt a bad cold coming on. Lastly, some welts and boils had appeared on my butt! I didn’t like the appearance and I wanted to have this taken care of. Mars natally rules my 6th and 7th house and it was turning retrograde in my 7th. The interpretation is easy; going back to an old relationship involving a doctor in order to take care of my health. Aries on the cusp of the 6th house symbolizes healing the body through acupuncture. I reassessed my values as they pertained to my physical body. Was I going to let money block the more important value of my health? Mars retrograde got me in touch with truly what was of value to me on an inner level and helped me not worry so much about my material “stuff”.
As Astrologers we counsel our clients that relationships begun on Mars retrograde are fine so long as you don’t have sex. And if you do have sex there will be something about the relationship that won’t work out easily. More than likely a hot sexual encounter or affair begun on a Mars retrograde will fizzle out when it turns direct or if it does continue there will be some restriction or limitation placed on it. You may remain friends and feel emotionally close yet physically distant. Whatever the manifestation, it would not be a sexual relationship of ease. Things usually work out better on the retrograde if someone you know re-enters your life. So of course I had to test this theory out. I met two different men on the retrograde. The first I had been introduced to a year ago and at that time he barely gave me the time of day. All of a sudden on the Mars retrograde I met him at a local bar and he starts speaking to me as if he’s discovered a new friend. He didn’t even remember who I was from a year ago. My appearance had changed rather dramatically within the year and I wasn’t about to remind him of our previous meeting. Of course he would come back into my life on the retrograde as he is an archetype of a hot, sexy man. In the second instance, I met a guy for the first time and we had a very fateful first encounter and things have been progressing in a very interesting way. First time sexual encounters generally don’t bode as well on the retrograde as do encounters of people from the past. It will be interesting to note how these relationships adjust when Mars turns direct.
In a third, far more intimate relationship of mine, resentments and feelings from the past came rushing to the surface. I was forced to deal with my emotions on an inner level and instead of getting angry, had to evaluate how I was going to confront issues. So before talking to this person directly I spent a month confronting myself with what I wanted in this relationship and how I could achieve that. Mars became more reflective. I broached some issues but not all of them. I am waiting to confront other more complicated matters when Mars turns direct. But the retrograde has been invaluable in helping me re-assess my values, desires and how to achieve them.
Natal Mars Direct by Progression
Let’s talk about my favorite subject and a very Martian woman: Joan Crawford! If you read my article from a couple of months ago Crawford was born with Mars retrograde in Libra in the 11th house and the handle of a bucket chart. That’s a scary Mars. But we’re talking about Joan Crawford after all, a pretty scary woman. A very masculine woman, a very Mars in Libra Retrograde kind of woman because so much of her life was about desperately wanting to be “liked” and going to any measure humanly possible to be seen as someone worthy of being liked. She was consumed with putting on appearances of elegance, refinement, beauty, glamour and proper behavior. One could accuse her, and many have, of putting on “airs” (Libra is an air sign). By progression her Mars in Libra went direct in September 1949. With Mars ruling her ascendant, Sun, Venus and 6th house we can expect major changes in her life. Something hidden should be coming out. The Mars in Libra became more like Mars in Aries and she had a harder time keeping the lid on her mask and persona. Some said her “true” colors are finally surfacing. That hard edge that was always percolating and simmering underneath was finally unleashed and we saw the woman in a more direct way. The nastiness became more overt. Something very interesting happened to Joan Crawford’s screen persona at this time. Before 1950 her movie roles always had a hard edge but the characters, with a few exceptions, were always sympathetic, likable and, if morally a little vague, the screenwriters always led you to an understanding of her behavior. This all changed with two films released in 1950: “The Damned Don’t Cry” and “Harriet Craig”. Both films were in production at the end of 1949 and early 1950 exactly at the time her progressed natal Mars turned direct. These films heralded the Joan Crawford that everyone remembers to this day: cold, hard, mean, unsympathetic, heartless, masculine, cruel and camp. In “The Damned Don’t Cry” she plays a woman from the wrong side of the tracks that claws her way to the top of the success ladder. She has no morals whatsoever and is ruthless in her drive and ambition to get ahead at any cost. In “Harriet Craig” she plays a cold heartless woman who cares more about her house and possessions than her husband or anyone else in her life. Her bold, calculating lies inevitably are her downfall. The woman is as cold and icy as a freezer and seemingly has no heart. The rest of her film career until her death used variations on the theme of this type of woman. From 1925 until 1950 Crawford played driven and ambitious characters but always with a soft, sympathetic edge with occasional glimpses of the monster she would later become. From 1950 to 1975 she played driven, ruthless monsters; Amazon women, frightening in their intensity with only occasional glimpses of the softer, more sympathetic woman that she had been in the past. And physically she became so much more masculine in this period as well. She also became more outwardly combative with younger actresses. Her fights were legendary with Janice Rule, Gloria Grahame, Mercedes McCambridge and Marilyn Monroe. The lid was off her Mars and she didn’t care as much anymore about being “nice”. It was a major turning point in her life and career, accurately reflected by this profound chart progression.
Even more bizarre is what was happening in Christina Crawford’s chart at the same time. Let’s talk about karma shall we? Christina also has a bucket chart with Mars as the handle. Natally her 4th house Mars in Aquarius is stationary getting ready to turn retrograde by progression but this doesn’t happen until the spring of 1950 when she is 11 years old. Remember that Crawford’s progressed Mars changed direction in the fall of 1949. Within a matter of months they each had major life altering changes in the direction their lives would take. (Let’s throw in a little synastry while we’re at it: Christina’s Mars conjuncts Joan’s Moon/Saturn conjunction). Can anyone doubt the deep connection that these two women shared and had to play out? In February of 1950 Christina was enrolled in Chadwick, a private boarding school. Crawford wanted Christina out of the house because she was becoming too rebellious. Shortly thereafter Christina had a sexual awakening with a boy of 16. Needless to say Crawford became irate and the confrontations that would fuel the rest of their lives, culminating in the publication of “Mommie Dearest”, were initiated and intensified at that psychologically hot time. So while Crawford’s aggressiveness became more overt, Christina had to get more in touch with her inner warrior to fight the battles with the outer demon represented by her mother. The inner drive and reserve in Christina would be vast. One last ironic twist, Crawford’s natal Mars resides in the 11th house of adopted children and Christina’s resides in the 4th house of the mother. Enough said. I am intensely curious to see what happens in Christina’s life when Mars turns direct by progression in July of 2012. That will be a date to watch in this ongoing saga and you know I will be there to report on it for the Ingress!
“Divorced, beheaded, died…….divorced, beheaded, survived!” So goes a famous rhyme, recalling the order of Henry VIII’s six wives. It’s an easy way to remember the fate of each wife, even if you can’t recall who is who. The story is so famous, like a Hollywood movie from the golden age, rife with passion, melodrama, political intrigue, murder and sex, that it has held the imagination of the entire world for over five centuries! In thinking about what I wanted to write for an article about family relationship dynamics, it popped into my mind that coinciding with the retrograde of Venus in Leo, it might be fun to talk about these royal wives and explore the darker side of the love goddess. Here we have a perfect example of how to have fun with derived houses. What I’d like to do in this article is give my synopsis and interpretation of Henry’s chart, followed by a brief discussion of each of the six wives, their fate and how they fit into his life.
Lois Rodden’s Astro Databank gives Henry VIII’s chart its highest accuracy rating of AA as quoted from the BC (birth certificate) and BR (birth record). As a monarch, his birth would have been highly anticipated and recorded at its exact moment in time by, I imagine amongst others, the court astrologer. Therefore, we can be fairly confident of an accurate, practical and psychological depiction of Henry and each of his six wives.
Henry VIII, King of England. June 28, 1491, 8:45 am, Greenwich, England. Julian Calendar.
Let’s start with the trilogy of Sun/Moon/Ascendant and work our way from there.
Sun in Cancer in the 11th conjunct Juno. His identity as a Cancer is tied up with his country as well as with politics (11th house) and his wives and royal consorts (Juno conjuncts the Sun), including waging war with those wives. Juno is known to be wrathful, jealous and angry, so the archetype is actually a part of who he is (that raging temper) as well as how he experiences partnership. Adding to his immense personal frustration is the combative nature of the yin and yang battle of the Aries Moon in the 8th house square the Sun and Juno. He’s uncomfortable in his own body and he may see himself as a caretaker and nurturer, while he views his women (once the passion of the 8th house has worn off) as jealous, bitter, screaming, raging, manipulative warmongers that he eventually has to destroy and kill, which would be quite a literal interpretation of a warmongering Aries Moon in the 8th square the Sun. The Moon square the Sun from the 8th to the 11th means his private life comes out before the public and is instrumental in shaping his public and political image. It’s hard to keep a secret with that square, as the Moon rules the Cancer planets as well as the 11th house. Perhaps his wives wield an awful lot of influence behind the scenes. The 11th house Sun makes him rebellious, revolutionary and a leader of political movements as well as someone who would like to identify himself as a team player, though that might not be others’ perception. An opposition to Uranus adds to the political and social consciousness of the man, as well as to the struggle he has with his children and the constant love/hate relationship with them. He periodically spoils his daughters and then when they seem to disobey him, does a 180° turn and banishes them from the kingdom. This is a volatile and unpredictable king.
As a Cancer, he views himself as caretaker to his family, country and children, hence bearing the weight of upholding the family tradition. The 11th house nature reflects something about bringing his family legacy into the future through rebellion and revolution. He is responsible for breaking away from the Catholic Church, leading to the formation of the Church of England and the social reform that produced the Protestant Reformation in Great Britain.
We’ve all come to know this king as excessive, fat, loud, diseased and a larger-than-life, often rather grotesque figure. This is the Henry of middle and old age. When he was a young man, he was extremely handsome, tall, virile and an avid sportsman possessing an athletic and muscular body. His contemporaries considered Henry in his prime to be an attractive, educated and accomplished king, and he has been described as one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne. That’s not the way we’re used to seeing him portrayed, as so much of the drama in his life that fascinates the public surrounds his personal life and occurs when he is well into middle age. His Virgo rising gives him the “perfect” male physique, an ability to see things practically, a critical nature, but also intelligence and a consciousness of what his duty is. Virgo rising would be an analytical approach to life. In old age, the Virgo rising, along with the many inconjuncts, produce chronic health problems. Venus inconjunct Pluto: syphilis, although some historians dismiss that and say he suffered from diabetes. Saturn inconjunct the Ascendant: knee problems and gout. Jupiter inconjunct Uranus: mental problems which plagued him in later life. The placement of Mercury in Leo (which I perceive as being in Fall, though some astrologers might disagree) gifts him with his royal personage, prideful nature and athleticism. This is a Mercury of extremes in the royal sign of Leo, so when Henry feels that politicians, family, his subjects and the public are in accord with his point of view, he will rule with a kindly, generous and beneficent nature. Yet, when they disagree with his worldview—and with an exact opposition from Saturn, I’m sure this happens quite often—he will bring out the negative side of Leo and become petulant, childlike and loud, ruling with a sense of cruelty and willful pride. The Saturn opposes from the 5th house and rules the 5th house, so he will keenly feel opposition from his children. Interesting that both Uranus and Saturn reside in the 5th and his two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were responsible, respectively, for a) trying to overthrow his reforms by returning to the Catholic Church and b) upholding the revolution and thereby forming new traditions as set into motion by him. Saturn opposite Mercury would also be his bastard children, of which we know he had at least one son and probably others. The Saturn opposition also says that he doesn’t get the legitimate son to carry on his legacy that he so desperately desires. His one son by Jane Seymour, Edward VI, died at a young age before he was able to have a major influence.
Mercury trines the Moon; Henry was known for being a great seducer of women. I’m sure the trine made it very easy to woo with words and make many promises and charm those women with royal favors and dashing language. It would also indicate that he likes smart women and perhaps shares secrets with them behind closed doors. The opposition from Saturn says that, from his perspective, he feels blocked by everyone. The great thing about this Saturn is that it does rein him in from being a total despot and gives him consciousness about his thinking, because others will always ask him to question his motives and analyze his ability to take proper and judicious action. It tempers the excessive authority that is naturally inherent in a fire-sign Mercury. Although, on a bad day, others may make him feel stupid. At closer look, that Mercury is in a grand square with Saturn (work and reputation), Pluto (power) and Chiron (wounds and healing). This configuration would always provoke a feeling of being a caged animal, producing immense paranoia at its worst and a constant creative urge to solve problems at its best. When pressure gets to be too much, he would explode in a volcanic rage. This Mercury adds to his excessive appetites with food, sex and just about everything, as well as his late-in-life health problems, of which he had many (so does the south node at 29° Taurus, but more on that later). Chiron in Taurus is in the 9th, having to do with the Church and its religious values. There’s plenty more that can be said about this grand square with such powerful outer planets involved. Needless to say, the Chiron would be the need to bridge a gap between two worlds. The chart ruler’s involvement in this configuration forces Henry to be a key player in the transformation, break and eventual healing of a religious rift.
Mars rising in Virgo adds to his masculinity, musculature and sexiness, as well as his courage and ability to start wars and take action based on a strategic approach with acute mental capabilities and organizational skills. At its worst, he’s brash, abrupt, violent and bombastic. Mars being in the first, trining the MC, brings the Martian qualities before the public, granting him the personality and reputation as an imposing figure. Mars is in a grand trine with Uranus and the MC, forming a Kite with the nodal axis, so his efforts for social reform are eventually successful. Mars is part of an out-of-sign trine with Venus, therefore it’s easy for him to get in and out of relationships and he usually gets what he wants, at least in the beginning. Eventually he feels the square of Neptune to Mars, which extinguishes his passion and disappoints him in some way.
Jupiter opposing Neptune indicates a schism between his religious beliefs and philosophies and his spiritual principles and facts. It’s a very tight opposition in mutable signs and is one of the major indications of a religious/spiritual crisis of consciousness.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this radix is what is at the foundation of his legacy and reputation and what so many of us remember about this larger-than-life monarch. Look at that Venus and nodal axis!!!!! The South Node at 29° Taurus conjunct Venus at 0° Gemini says he’s obsessed with his women, as well as with his sexual and physical desires, appetites, pleasures and needs. 0° is about new beginnings, and 29° is about endings. He’s constantly ending relationships with his wives in order to start new ones in a never-ending pursuit of happiness and a male heir. Pisces on the 7th house cusp indicates a true romantic and someone who doesn’t always see partners clearly. That Neptune opposes Jupiter suggests an inevitable disillusionment and disappointment, after a promising beginning, and putting the partner upon a pedestal, from which they inevitably topple. This reputation for marriages and affairs (Venus) is what informs even the casual person’s knowledge of Henry VIII and his six wives. The Taurus/Scorpio axis is all about money, power, desire, passion, sex and pleasure, and the Gemini Venus is all those wives and his fickle wants. When he tires of wives, they are eliminated. He beheaded two; Taurus rules the neck! This nodal axis is uncontrollable passions, desires and power. That it is so angular forms the mythological basis of his reputation and overwhelming effect on transforming history.
And as if that weren’t enough, the Sabian Symbol for the degree of his rising sign is: A Harem!!!!!! I can’t make this stuff up, folks!
Now let’s take a look at his six wives using derived houses. The sign on the cusp of the 7th house, its ruler and any planets within the 7th will tell us what he’s looking for in a partner and most specifically his first wife. Using derived houses, we move up three houses to describe each successive wife so the 9th would be wife number two, the 11th wife number three and so on and so forth.
First Wife: House 7 – Catherine of Aragon. Married 1509–1533. DIVORCED. This was Henry’s first and longest marriage. Catherine was previously married to Henry’s older brother Arthur, Prince of Wales, from November 14, 1501 until his death several months later on April 2, 1502. There was apparently no problem getting a dispensation from the Pope for Henry to marry his brother’s widow since the marriage had not been consummated. Catherine testified to this, and as a deeply devout and pious woman, her veracity was never questioned, especially since Henry often boasted in his youth that he had indeed found Catherine to be a virgin on their wedding night. This would come back to haunt him many years later when he was trying to have the marriage annulled on the grounds that he had married his brother’s wife and was therefore cursed with a childless marriage (meaning there was no male heir).
By all accounts, particularly Henry’s and Catherine’s own, this was a deeply romantic coupling forged from love as well as from political alliances. It was a very happy marriage that produced many children although only one, a daughter Mary, lived. Obviously Catherine was able to produce an heir but had the misfortune, over a lengthy marriage, to have none of her sons survive.
Pisces on the cusp of the 7th house indicates a first wife to whom he is devoted and cherishes. It would also describe Catherine as a deeply spiritual and devout woman. It’s a dream romance and an alliance with a foreigner (Neptune in Sagittarius) with whom he can start a family as well as help his native country, England (4th house). It would also bring Catherine some status since Henry’s 4th house is Catherine’s 10th. We must remember that Pisces has two rulers and Jupiter and Neptune oppose each other. The eventual split from Catherine will be the result of not having a male heir, which would bring a crisis of faith (Jupiter vs. Neptune) and an appeal to the Catholic Church for an annulment. When this was not granted, there was a philosophical, moral, religious and spiritual split from Rome, the repercussions being the formation of a new church and sides being chosen. Catherine would be caught in the middle of this moral dilemma of a split between Jupiter and Neptune. Will she remain loyal to her husband and his beliefs or will she stay true to the spiritual core of her upbringing? Henry sincerely loved Catherine, and she him, but her chart rulers are in opposition, and with Mars squaring both of them, this would indicate Henry (her partner) fighting her on every count when it comes to religion and spirituality. This first wife and marriage would cause the break from the Catholic Church and the beginnings of the Church of England. I see Catherine as the Neptune in Sagittarius, while Henry takes on the Jupiter in Gemini role of duality in religious matters. Catherine has God on her side, while Henry seeks to interpret the Bible and redefine the meaning of the law and religion (Jupiter in Gemini). Because Catherine’s chart rulers are in a T-square with Mars, the resolution of which is the 7th house, Catherine will staunchly stick to her guns and not waver from her moral high ground.
I do think Catherine was his true love, but unfortunately she’s caught in that T-square. He doesn’t kill her but instead divorces, banishes and forces her to live out her remaining years in seclusion. By all accounts, she was dearly loved by her English subjects and her death set off tremendous mourning among the public. Her daughter Mary would grow up to be Queen of England and try to counteract her father’s break from the Catholic Church by restoring it back to the one true religion of England. Henry’s 11th house is Catherine’s 5th house. The Sun opposes Uranus in these houses so Catherine’s firstborn and Henry’s firstborn, both Mary, are in opposition! That’s very interesting, because it forces Mary into a karmic split between her two parents.
Second Wife: House 9 – Anne Boleyn. Married 1533–1536. BEHEADED. Anne Boleyn was Henry’s mistress in the last days of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. That Chiron is in this house in Taurus is a strong indication that the wound Anne may suffer would be to her neck! As we all know, she was the first wife to be beheaded. Aries rules this house: the head! Mars is in the T-square with Neptune and Jupiter. Anne is put directly in the middle of the problem and moral dilemma and plays an instrumental role in the split from the Church. The ruler of the 9th is in the 1st, so Henry and Anne are very much alike. Both possess a fiery nature. That old adage that you grow to hate the one you love comes to mind. The disillusionment with Anne comes in the fact that he doesn’t know who to believe about her Martian behavior. Is she promiscuous and cheating on him with others or is she innocent of such wicked crimes? With the ruler of the 9th being Mars square Jupiter and Neptune, you don’t know who to believe. Who is telling the truth and who is lying? Mars becomes violent for poor Anne Boleyn and she winds up losing her head. She does leave Henry with another daughter who grows up to be Elizabeth I, one of the greatest monarchs in English history. You can interpret Elizabeth as his 7th house (second child), but another indication of Elizabeth’s character would be Henry’s 1st house (5th from the 9th—Boleyn’s first child). Elizabeth most likely had much in common with her father. She was a Virgo and known as the Virgin Queen and became a great leader (Mars in Virgo in the 1st). After Elizabeth’s birth, Anne had three miscarriages. Henry, disappointed that he did not have a male heir transferred his affections to Jane Seymour and had Anne investigated for high treason. By all accounts, most of the charges were trumped up, and she was tried by a jury, convicted of adultery, incest and witchcraft and then beheaded. As a result, she has retained her hold on the popular imagination. Anne has been called “the most influential and important queen consort England has ever had,” since she provided the occasion for Henry VIII to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and declare his independence from Rome. Mars is Anne’s ruler, and as the focal planet in that mutable T-square, it is sadly descriptive of her destiny.
Third Wife: House 11 – Jane Seymour. Married 1536–1537. DIED. Jane Seymour was not as highly educated as Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn. She was better at needlework and household management, had a meeker disposition and was more concerned with traditional wifely duties. That the Sun is in the 11th house indicates she bore Henry his one surviving male heir, Edward VI. That Uranus opposes the Sun implies that his life was cut short. Cancer on the cusp of this house describes Jane as wifely, womanly, motherly and able to bear children. Jane was highly praised for her gentle, peaceful nature, being referred to as “gentle a lady as ever I knew” by John Russell and being named as “the Pacific” by the Imperial Ambassador Eustace Chapuys for her peacemaking efforts at court. Her motto as a queen was “Bound to obey and serve”. She was regarded as a meek, gentle, simple, and chaste woman, whose large family made her a suitable candidate to give birth to many children. The Moon, as ruler of the 11th, squares the Sun which resides in the 11th, indicating the early death of this wife. Jane died a week after giving birth to Edward VI. But she does produce a male heir, so perhaps the Sun and Moon in mutual reception, yet square one another, signifies that Henry receives a blessing upon this wife’s untimely death in the gift of their son, which ensures his lineage and legacy are passed on.
Jane put forth much effort to restore Henry’s first child, Princess Mary, to court and to the royal succession. Jane brought up the issue of Mary’s restoration both before and after she became Queen. While Jane was unable to restore Mary to the line of succession, she was able to reconcile her with Henry. A letter from Mary to Jane shows that Mary was grateful to Jane. Cancer on the cusp of the 11th shows her caring and motherly nature. Cancer is also a sign that respects the past, history and tradition. Her affection for Mary would come as no surprise. It also shows that she will always be remembered for being mother to the future king and only legitimate male heir.
Fourth Wife: House 1 – Anne of Cleves. Married January 1540–July 1540. DIVORCED. Anne of Cleves was the fourth wife of Henry and Queen of England from 6 January 1540 to 9 July 1540. She was German. The marriage was declared never consummated. Following the annulment of their marriage, Anne was given a generous settlement by the king and was thereafter referred to as the King’s Beloved Sister. She lived to see the coronation of Queen Mary I, outliving the rest of Henry’s wives.
Henry valued education and cultural sophistication in women, but Anne lacked these. She had received no formal education but was skilled in needlework and liked playing card games. She could read and write, but only in German. Nevertheless, Anne was considered gentle, virtuous and docile, qualities that recommended her as a suitable candidate for Henry, and a German alliance was considered good politically. Anne’s family was unaligned religiously, with her mother, the Duchess Maria, described as a strict Catholic. Germany’s ongoing dispute over Gelderland with Emperor Charles V made it a suitable ally for England’s King Henry VIII in the wake of the Truce of Nice. The match with Anne was urged on the king by his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell.
From historical records, Anne’s appearance was not pleasing to the king, though he married her anyway. The marriage could or would not be consummated because of Henry’s lack of desire for his wife and her inability to arouse him. Henry VIII’s physician stated that after the wedding night, Henry said he was not impotent because he experienced “duas pollutiones nocturnas in somno” (two nocturnal pollutions while in sleep; i.e., two wet dreams). Typical of male hierarchy at the time, the woman’s appearance is to blame for a lack of interest on the husband’s part. Far be it from Henry to admit to impotency of any kind. Virgo on the cusp of this house would describe a spinsterish, humble type of woman who lived more in the background and did not mind a sexless, pure, virgin marriage.
Anne is Henry’s 1st house, which indicates that she was probably like him on some level and perhaps asexual in nature, and that may have been the big turnoff for him. She’s also ruled by that Mercury, which is in that grand square configuration. Because she winds up being practical and readily consents to the annulment and to being considered his “Dear and Beloved Sister,” this would perfectly describe the Virgo rising of someone chaste to him, humble in nature, spinsterish, sexless and virgin-like. All attributes directly opposite to Henry, which supports the interpretation that when one house rules two people, we often see the polarity of the sign played out between them. She remains in a nonsexual, sibling relationship with the king. She’s part of the royal family, a good friend to him in a detached way, befitting someone described in Henry’s chart with Virgo rising ruled by Mercury. Because she’s practical in affairs of the heart and remains subservient to the king by following orders, Henry looks kindly upon her and spares her a deadly fate.
Fifth Wife: House 3 – Catherine Howard. Married 1540–1541. BEHEADED. Henry referred to Catherine Howard as his “rose without a thorn”. A phrase which suggests that he thought her pure, without guile and perfect, seeing her in a romantic light with blinders on. Spoken like a true man with Pisces on the cusp of the 7th house; the ability to raise someone up on a pedestal, and just when you become disillusioned with them—either by seeing them for who they really are or by just waking up to the fact that perhaps you’ve been blind all along—you begin criticizing and controlling them as a good Virgo rising would. And then when that doesn’t work, the Mercury in Leo in that grand square, along with the Sun square Moon, dictatorially screams out in a dramatic rage, “Off with her head!” And so there you have it: a reputation being formed based upon that South Node at an anorectic degree of Taurus conjunct Venus at 0° Gemini, all conjunct the MC.
Unfortunately, poor Catherine was beheaded after less than two years of marriage to Henry on the grounds of treason, for committing adultery while married to the king. Suffice it to say, Pluto resides in the 3rd house, and that’s a pretty apt symbol for her destiny. With Libra ruling this house, we can see why Henry would describe her as his “rose without a thorn” though that thorn is uncovered by the Pluto as the darker side of her nature. It would erupt from within, turning that Libra demeanor into its opposite of Aries and Scorpio. Venus is in fickle, curious, playful and tricky Gemini, which again would describe the two-faced nature of this woman, if not totally accurately, then at least through Henry’s eyes. Pluto would indicate this queens passionate sexual nature. If she wasn’t being satisfied by an aging, grotesque and impotent monarch, then she may alternatively participate in court intrigue to satisfy her lustful passions elsewhere. There could be some truth to the charges of adultery against her.
During the summer of 1541, a crisis began to loom over Catherine. People who had witnessed her indiscretions at Lambeth Palace began to contact her for favors in return for their silence, and many of them were appointed to her household. Her court was filled with many people who knew secrets and would use them against the young and naïve Catherine, ultimately contributing to her downfall. Pluto in Libra in the 3rd has a way of eventually uncovering the truth.
Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn were first cousins. Venus (ruler of the 3rd) is in Gemini, sign of cousins. Even more interesting when looking at derived houses, the 3rd (Catherine) is opposite the 9th (Anne Boleyn), placing them as mirror images of one another. Both were feisty, Anne in a direct Aries way and Catherine in a more indirect Libra way where the image may have more of an artifice. Both were accused of adultery, treason and beheaded. And both have powerful planets involved in that grand square: Anne has Chiron, and Catherine has Pluto! These were the only two who were beheaded, and the other planets involved in that grand square are Mercury, which is Henry’s chart ruler, and Saturn, which would be the leg of the square not covered by one of these three personalities. And that would be the end result of any conflict: Saturn in Aquarius, planet of endings in a sign having to do with castration.
Sixth Wife: House 5 – Catherine Paar. Married 1543–1547. SURVIVED. Catherine Paar was the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII. She outlived him by one year. She was the most-married English queen, with four husbands.
Catherine enjoyed a close relationship with Henry’s three children and was personally involved in the education of Elizabeth and Edward. She was influential in Henry’s passing of the Third Succession Act in 1543 that restored both his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, to the line of succession to the throne.
The fact that Catherine and Henry’s children are represented by Henry’s 5th house would indicate a natural bond between them. Catherine exerts her influence politically to aid those children, and he listens to her. Uranus in this house would indicate the political allegiance to these children, as well as friendship, and forging a bond as an adoptive parent by using her status and position (Saturn) to help them. She is also highly Protestant and would support Henry and his regime in the Protestant Reformation. Saturn is the planet that would represent Catherine, and because she came to Henry in his old age and the latter part of her life, she perhaps incurred the positive side of Saturn in Aquarius in a fixed grand square, rather than the wrathful. Saturn is one of those planets that learns its lesson late in life, so Henry didn’t crucify her in any way but came to be a good friend of hers, valuing her wise counsel (within reason), especially when it came to matters of his children and the political and social structures. Uranus in Capricorn would be a great placement to topple long-held traditions.
She was his oldest wife, descriptive of the sign Capricorn ruling this house cusp. Though her ruler (Saturn) opposes Henry’s ruler (Mercury), because they came to each other late in life, the opposition of these two planets, that could cause so much trouble in youth, can have a far more beneficial outcome in old age. Reason, wise counsel, loyal friendship and a woman who is more an equal partner intellectually would be the rewards to reap.
It’s interesting to note that on account of Catherine’s Protestant sympathies, she provoked the enmity of powerful Catholic officials who sought to turn the king against her—a warrant for her arrest was drawn up in 1546. However, she and the king soon reconciled. Further indication that although the planet Saturn is in that nasty grand square, she benefitted from that Saturn in rulership and Henry’s advanced age. The interpretation being that one benefits from their Saturn placement later in life, provided you become conscious and learn your lessons.
She was a learned woman who published three books. Her book Prayers or Meditations became the first book published by an English queen under her own name (Uranus in the 5th). With Venus in Gemini trine Mars in Virgo, Henry does value intelligent women and enjoys lively debate with them, as long as they don’t challenge his authority (Mercury in that grand square but specifically opposing Saturn).
Another “first” for Catherine was that she was the first Queen of England also to be Queen of Ireland, (again, Uranus in the 5th).
Finally, she outlived three of her four husbands. Her last one outlived her. Catherine died only six days after giving birth to her only child. I guess Uranus and Saturn in this house says she’ll deal with much separation and have to learn to expect the unexpected through sudden endings.
As I finish writing this article, I’ve come to realize that the Sun has just entered Virgo, soon to arrive at a conjunction with Jupiter near 4° Virgo, only two degrees away from Henry VIII’s Ascendant! So the grandiosity, charisma, pomposity and godlike qualities of this larger-than-life king’s personality are being highlighted and examined. Venus retrograde and Mars direct, both in Leo, make a conjunction on September 1 at 15° Leo, a world axis degree. A royal sign and royal couplings, so what better time than now, to reignite the flame of interest in their romantic past. And to prove that your chart lives after death, a major British television series in 2015 has been Wolf Hall, in which the history of Henry VIII and his wives plays a prominent role. I love astrology!
NOTE: Facts for this article were culled from The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser, The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George and Wikipedia.
Joseph Addeo is a Level IV NCGR-PAA Certified Astrologer and serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Chapter. He can be reached via his website at www.josephaddeo.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/josephaddeoastrologer.
Charts Activated after Death: A Case Study of Charles Manson and Sharon Tate and the Release of Quentin Tarantino’s Movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino has a new film going into worldwide release on July 26, 2019 called Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It had its official first press screening at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2019, 4:30 p.m., Cannes, France. The time source for the Cannes chart is from Variety.com.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of faded television actor Rick Dalton, played by DiCaprio, and his stunt double Cliff Booth, played by Pitt, who strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the waning years of Hollywood’s Golden age in 1969 Los Angeles. The plot intersects with the Charles Manson cult. Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate.
As working astrologers we know that charts continue to live on beyond death. After death events are triggered by major transits, progressions and solar arcs as well as other techniques for divination. We have exact birth times for both Sharon Tate and Charles Manson, and since their lives are so inextricably tied together, I thought it would be interesting from an astrological point of view, to see what’s being activated in their charts, bringing them once again to the forefront of public consciousness. I’m using whole sign houses and both traditional and contemporary planetary rulerships.
Sharon Tate: January 24, 1943, 5:47 p.m., Dallas, Texas. Source: Lois Rodden AstroData Bank, AA.
Charles Manson: November 12, 1934, 4:40 p.m., Cincinnati, Ohio. Source: Lois Rodden AstroData Bank, AA.
Progressions let us know on a deeper level what is ready to be changed. In a person that is dead we could interpret this as what is shifting on a deeper collective level of the public’s perception of the person in question. Transits will time events and the progressions tell us how deeply those events will transform the person or their story. I’ll be using planetary placements for the Cannes premier date of May 21, 2019, although for a general discussion as this is, it won’t make any major difference if using July 26.
Sharon Tate Progressions
Mars at 25 Aquarius 29 is in a 45’ approaching conjunction to the 8th house South Node. In a day chart Mars is the malefic contrary to sect. So it’s said to be the most challenging planet in the chart. The angry red planet is ready to dredge up this violent, gruesome, shocking murder from the past. Aquarius also has to do with groups, in this case a destructive cult. Mars rules the natal 10th so her reputation is tied up in this very malefic Martian act from the past. He also rules the 5th, the area of the chart having to do with actors.
The progressed Sun is in exact sextile to natal Venus. Venus lives in the 8th house along with the natal Sun. This progression presents the opportunity to recreate her identity and star quality to the public and highlights who she is as a woman of beauty and talent. Her beauty and talent is still so identified with her untimely death. Venus rules the 4th, the past, and the 11th, groups and organizations. The Sun rules all those natal second house planets including Pluto (death and transformation), the North Node (her destiny) and Chiron (the wound that never heals, as well as well as the rape/murder scenario via a group of lascivious, cultish, deranged centaurs following a guru. Read your mythology of the centaurs as they relate to Bacchus, who in this case would be symbolized by Charles Manson).
The progressed Sun also forms an applying square to the ascendant/descendant axis by 47’. This axis along with the MC/IC axis is a point of action and visibility, indicating it’s time for this story to come before the public once again. The famous relationships in her life, her marriage as well as her destroyer are being made eminent once again. There’s a re-creation of these infamous events surrounding her most fated relationships.
The progressed MC trines progressed Mars, separating by 10’ and natal South Node, applying 35’. This emphasizes her reputation and karma from the past affiliated with the violent planet Mars.
Progressed Mercury forms an applying trine to natal Mars by 13’, and separating trine to natal Chiron by 35’. The ease of the grand trine suggests it’s time for the story to be told again. Mercury is the planet of communication and it rules the 3rd and 12th houses. This would be telling the story once again in more poetic terms, in this case through film. The 12th house of Ms. Tate’s chart also connects the story to the collective unconscious. Mercury also rules those 12th house planets, Uranus and Saturn. This suggests a new twist of an old story that permeates not only the psyche of Sharon Tate but also the collective group energy as bound to the Saturnian material world. The Mercury progression says it’s time for the story to be reanimated and reinterpreted. She’s part of social-political movement.
Lastly, the progressed Moon is traveling through Cancer, her rising sign. She’s therefore ruled by the Moon. This progression is symbolic of a new beginning regarding her story, her past and her personality. Because she has a Virgo moon, this progression digs up and re-analyzes her story. When an important planet like the progressed Moon is in an angular sign and house, it has more power.
Sharon Tate Transits
The tightest aspect that is in effect for an entire year is the 11th house transit of Uranus squaring the 8th house Sun/Mercury conjunction. It’s time for this shocking death to be unearthed once again. Uranus is strong, being in a house in which it feels at home, and ruling the Sun/Mercury conjunction.
Transiting Saturn is angular being on the descendant all year, as well as opposing Jupiter. The angularity makes for action, and the 7th house is the major relationships in her life with Polanski, and of course Manson, which is a fated 12th house kind of thing. Natal Saturn sits in the house of hidden enemies by birth. Saturn also rules the 8th house of death and resurrection.
Transiting Pluto and the South Node are also all over the descendant degree, adding to the excavation of this horror and the obsessions with the story, the past, and having it transformed into a new interpretation. History has forced her to be connected to two very important, powerful and destructive men, and it’s all being unearthed via the myths of Uranus, Saturn and Pluto.
Transiting Neptune trines Jupiter and semi-squares Sun/Mercury all year; the story is being told and disseminated through the world of film. Transiting Saturn sesquiquadrates the natal Saturn/Uranus 12th house planets; this is another connection between her husband Roman Polanski, who is a 7th house open enemy (as all spouses are), and the 12th house hidden enemy as represented by Manson.
The July 2 solar eclipse at 10 Cancer squares her MC from the first. Her story comes to the attention of the world. The eclipse affects her status, reputation and brings more recognition to her story.
The solar eclipse on January 10, 2020 will be on her ascendant, so the release of the film on the July solar eclipse will connect to the January solar eclipse in some way. That’s around the time the Academy Award nominations are announced, so perhaps there will be a nomination for Margot Robbie, who portrays her in the film.
Charles Manson Progressions
His Sun at 15 Aquarius is on the world axis, bringing his infamous identity back to the world stage. The progression is in the 10th and it rules the 4th. The South Node is ruled by the Sun, so it returns all that karma and obsession for stardom to the forefront. It’s interesting that though not in the exact same degree, Manson and Tate have the nodes in reversed signs. His progressed Aquarius Sun, though not in aspect, does resonate with her Aquarius 8th house stellium.
His progressed ascendant has just entered Leo, bringing him back into the limelight and connecting his identity to the past (Leo rules the 4th house). It’s as if he’s screaming from the grave, “I’m a star, I’m a star, I’m a star!” His progressed South Node conjunct the progressed ascendant tremendously inflames this feeling.
Progressed Mars trine natal Saturn. Both malefics rule angles, the 10th having to do with his reputation and legacy and the 7th having to do with his relationships. Mars rules his Scorpio stellium in the 7th bringing all those energies into play. Some 10th house authority, namely Quentin Tarantino, is bringing his violent past back to life. This progression was extremely tight while the film was being made. Saturn and Mars also rule houses 12 and 9.
Progressed Venus sextile natal ascendant and semi-square natal MC, both applying by 47’. His chart ruler in aspect to his ascendant provides an opportunity to reexamine his personality and his relationships, while in aspect to the MC brings him back into prominence. I can’t emphasize enough how transits and progressions to the angles are among the most important for being visible and coming before the public.
Progressed Mercury trine natal Mercury is an emphasis on communication and storytelling.
Progressed Jupiter tightly squares natal Saturn. This could be summed up as an exploration and expansion of his legacy. Jupiter seeks meaning for something, and this story can always be served by further explanations into the philosophy and meaning of the times and Manson’s role in the turbulent mythology of the late ‘60s. They both are domiciled in angular houses in the natal chart.
Charles Manson Transits
His major transit is Uranus over the ascendant. This is the end of one way of life and the beginning of new way of life. Since he’s dead, and Uranus is coming out of the 12th, it’s presenting a new perspective on who he is. A detached viewpoint of what his contribution was to the collective unconscious and our interpretation of the radical changes that were initiated in the late 1960s. His is a personality that is inextricably linked to this time period, for better or worse. How does his unique, shocking and crazy personality get reinterpreted as part of history? Maybe enough time has passed to get a bird’s eye view and some detachment from those horrific crimes, and see them in a more intellectual historical context. In a very obvious way, he is being thrown and projected back on to the collective, and this may be a shocking new interpretation of who he is, and what he has done. He died on his Uranus return in the 12th house, and now there can be new observation without him making any personal statements. It’s up to us, via the film, to formulate and reassess his image. Time gives us distance and perspective.
This transit also squares the lunar nodes and natal Moon, so it deeply connects the public to his image and his influence over the mass psyche and the collective karma. We project an awful lot of our dark image on to him, understandably so. This transit brings that all out into the open. All those 10th house Aquarius planets are brought into this transit through rulership, and it is extremely powerful.
At the same time, transiting Pluto and Saturn conjunct his MC and sextile the Sun. The imagery here is astounding and fairly obvious. The holocaustic effects of his deeds from the past are ready to be re-evaluated. Saturn, Pluto and Uranus are all transiting the angles. Place any obvious imagery and words on to these transits and you’ll be right in the interpretation.
Transiting Neptune trine the Sun/Venus conjunction and sextile the MC. Everything about this historical event is being easily told through the lens of cinema, the movies and poetic license to translate his story through a creative lens.
This is anticipated to one of the biggest movies of the year, and personally, I’m looking forward to its opening. In closing, I’d like to suggest as research projects, to look at charts of deceased famous people and not-so-famous people of interest to you. Track their transits, progressions, solar arcs and any other preferred techniques. It’s a great tool for learning and can bring insight to interpretations in client consultations for the living.
Joseph Addeo is a Level IV NCGR-PAA Certified Astrologer and serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Chapter. He can be reach via his website at www.josephaddeo.com or on Facebook at