August Astro-Insights – The Return of Kate Bush to the Stage


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Kate Bush – Tortured artist or reclusive misfit?

Kate Bush lionheart cover

An attempt to pinpoint a timed birth chart for the enigmatic singer and songwriter

As Kate Bush, the well-known singer from the 80s and 90s prepares to tour again for the first time in over 35 years, I thought I might be a fitting time to look at the horoscope of this rather unique and inspiring songstress who played such an important part of my youth and who paved the way for kooky artists like Bjork and Tori Amos to follow.

Reclusive and private, she remains, for many, something of an enigma, and of course everyone loves to try and solve a mystery! This is an astrological attempt to better understand her.

Described by critics and colleagues as a ‘maverick,’ banshee’ and ‘pop’s embodiment of fairy,’ Kate Bush was discovered at the precious age of 14 when she had already written haunting songs such as ‘The Man with the Child in his Eyes.’ Her refusal to conform to the gender stereotypes so often imposed upon women in the music industry, along with her decision early on in her career to produce her own music, meant that she bucked the trend in many ways for female singers, and in doing so, won the respect of many of her artists for her strong sense of artistic integrity and feminist attitude.

Born on 30 July 1958 in Bexley Maternity Hospital in Kent, Catherine Bush was the only daughter of a musical family of Anglo-Irish descent. Her mother was a former Irish folk dancer, and her father, who was a doctor, played the piano. However, it was her brothers, John and Paddy who she claims were the biggest influence in her life musically. Certainly, it was thanks to her brother’s contacts in the music industry that Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame discovered her and helped her to record a demo that led to her signing with EMI in the late 1970s and her first hit single at the age of 19.

This date makes her a sun Leo, and although she seems to have fulfilled this in the sense that she became a performer and followed a career that involved being on stage and in the public eye, she is somewhat uncharacteristic in that she was also very shy and reclusive and didn’t seem interested in courting attention from fans or the media.

Obviously much depends on her birth time, as house placement would help to give us more information about how and in what sphere her natal planets work. After much guesswork, I have plumped for a 2:30pm birth time, although I do also wonder about whether she has Cancer rising. Below is my analysis of her natal chart based on this time.

Kate Bush natal chart best guess

Sun/Leo vs Pluto-Mercury/Virgo dichotomy

Some of the most frequent adjectives used to describe Kate are words like ‘original,’ ‘unique’ and ‘maverick’. This may have something to do with the fact that she has a natal Sun-Uranus conjunction, a combination I have in my own chart. This combination tends to make people very independent and keen to forge their own path. It also means they are not really concerned about conforming to societal dictates and are happy if left alone to do their own thing. It is this combination that is most likely responsible for her drive to take control of her musical career and produce her own albums so that she was less at the mercy of the commercial dictates of record companies to produce music that will be popular or release albums before she feels they are ready.

So, although she may have the Leonine self-possession and confidence needed to express herself artistically and perform in public, Uranus may make her more detached and cool, so that she may be less interested in what people think of her personally or in developing a high profile public image for PR reasons. This may explain her reluctance to do much publicity for her albums – she is not as egotistical or as needy as many Sun Leos can be when they are insecure.

It is a shame that her birth time is not known, but Kate has often talked about how exposed she feels in public and her biographer has described her as ‘morbidly self-conscious,’ which has a distinct Plutonian sound to it. People with strong Scorpio or Pluto influences in their chart are very often highly sensitive to criticism and rejection. As a result, they can become very secretive and reclusive.

If she had Scorpio rising, then the Pluto-Mercury conjunction in Virgo would become quite central to her chart – in fact, it would become the chart ruler. Having Pluto and Mercury in Virgo is of itself difficult, because it tends to produce compulsive perfectionists who set very high standards for themselves and others, who are very self-critical and who have trouble accepting any form of compromise or failure, especially with regards to work – if this is the correct birth time, then this conjunction sits in her 10th house of career. It therefore comes as no surprise that those she has worked with have described her as something of a control freak, especially when it comes to the details.

This combination probably also explains why she was driven to a ‘state of severe exhaustion’ after the poor reception of her first film, The Line, The Cross & The Curve, which she made in the mid-1990s after spending four years on the album ‘The Red Shoes,’ which also received fairly lukewarm reviews (although I personally loved it!). She has said in the past that her work almost speaks for her  – and naturally if this is not well-received, it could lead to feelings of personal rejection. Having said that, it is also probably her Pluto-Mercury conjunction that has given her the label deep, especially when it comes to her lyrics.

Virgo is also a pretty humble sign, and this quote, from a TV interview she did in the December 1993 for a programme called Ego & Icons, perhaps sums up why she isn’t a typical Leo:

I really like the idea of my work speaking for me, not me speaking for me. I think my works says a lot more interesting stuff than I ever could and it’s more eloquent, and that is what I feel I have to offer the world. I don’t feel that what I have to say personally is that interesting and it’s not something that I have enthusiasm about, it’s not fun for me – I don’t really enjoy it.

As well as the influence of Virgo, I think we can definitely hear the influence of her Moon in impersonal Aquarius and her Sun-Uranus conjunction here, which makes her less interested in ego reinforcementand more removed emotionally from what society or the media thinks of her as a person.

Scorpio rising would also put Chiron, symbolic of the wound and where we feel most vulnerable, on her IC, which might explain her need for privacy, seclusion & separation from the world in order to remain centred as an artist and individual.

Having a Scorpio AC would also mean that she had natal Neptune in the 12th house, an exceptionally sensitive combination that would endow her with musical ability, as well as possibly an almost psychic ability to tune into the realm of the imagination and draw from it for artistic inspiration, as well as the feelings of those around her. On the negative side, it may have made her exceptionally open to negative influences from a psychic point of view, which may explain why being in the public sphere proved to be so taxing mentally and emotionally for her. More on this later.

Femininity, Feminism and Female Embodiment – Venus in Cancer and Mars in Taurus

Many scholars who have studied Kate’s work over the years have noted that her fan base is mainly female and that her lyric soften seem to help them negotiate female issues, such as their role of women as lovers, mothers etc, with one academic describing her lyrics as often epitomising the ‘nourishing and life-giving force of the maternal for women, as the speaker sings to the woman in the song as sister, daughter and mother.’1

This could well be because her muse, natal Venus, happens be in nurturing Cancer. This means that creatively and personally, Kate values the role of motherhood/nurturing (and conversely may feel a strong need for familial closeness and support) and is happy to elevate these qualities to the realm of art, something she does very well in her duet with Peter Gabriel, ‘Don’t Give up.’ Yet, some would argue, she goes further; rather than simply using motherhood/the maternal as an emblem of the traditional function of women in society, she goes further, extending the maternal metaphor to both ‘celebrate the creativity and resilience of women, as well as inscribing woman as agent of desire.’2  In this last, we hear the distinct echo of Venus in her role as goddess of beauty and sensuality.

It may also be significant here that she has Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, and the star of the Egyptian mother goddess, Isis, conjunct her natal Venus. Bernadette Brady describes this combination as indicative of someone who strives to combine the sacred with the mundane through art, music or poetry, as well as someone with a tendency to look for divinity within one’s relationships. This is a topic we see played out in songs like ‘Breathe’ in which she describes breathing her mother in, and of the mother as the beloved – a great expression of Venus in Cancer. We also see the themes of love and mysticism crossing over in her album, The Red Shoes.

If she does indeed have Scorpio rising, this would put her Venus in the 8th house of intimacy and collaboration, making it trine to the Ascendant, which might explain how she manages to draw in her listener in and make them feel like an integral part of the experience that she is singing about. It might also explain why she has always chosen to work with family and close friends/those who are familiar to her (Cancer being the sign of family and the home) and record and produce much of her material from a home-based studio. Keeping the family theme, it seems that she is now passing on the family tradition of music to her son Bertie, who played a key role in her stage performances. Creativity, home and family all seem to be closely inter-linked for her.

We also hear refrains of her Moon in Aquarius, (ruler of Cancer) which is essentially subversive and feminist, delighting in being ‘other.’

Source of Tension – the Moon in Aquarius

However, in Kate’s natal Moon, we find a certain conflict between the need for closeness and relationship on one hand, and the desire for freedom and independence, on the other – a theme that is echoed by her Sun-Uranus conjunction.

This may be because the Moon in Aquarius forms a T-square with her natal Leo Sun and Mars in Taurus, a combination that points to internal emotional tensions. The Moon in Aquarius always wants to be separate (Aquarius is not a fan of intimacy) and retract from too much interaction with the world, and yet her Leo Sun will crave affection and affirmation from others.

Both sit in contrast to her physical and banshee-like ability to express herself more freely through non-verbal lyrical mediums such as dance (her teacher described her as ‘wild’ when she danced). In this way, she could use dance as a way to throw off the shackles of self-consciousness and emotional anxiety, and help her to reconcile any difficulties she might be having in terms of processing/showing her emotions and expressing herself openly without fear of criticism or rejection.

Mars in Taurus – lyrical movement & contact with the elemental

Dance always formed a very important part of her image and life as a performer – many of her music videos and live shows contained elaborate dance routines and in many of her early publicity photos, she wears a leotard and dance attire. As well as possibly allowing her to tap into an ancestral ability to connect with music and the world of myth and poetry through her mother’s side, it may also have provided a much-needed outlet for any internal tensions or stresses that she may have been experiencing in her life at the time.

In later years, the loss of contact with the physically grounding experience of dance may have also contributed to her growing unhappiness with her physique and increasing reticence to be seen in public. I would argue that for her to feel grounded, she needs to keep exercise as a key part of her daily routine – a form of reconnecting her body to the rhythms of music and nature, to the earth and the pulse of life and vitality that runs through it. I would argue that the ‘Red Shoes’ may well be a metaphor for her natal Mars (red) in Taurus (shoes, dance, earth)…and that in the song, ‘The Red Shoes’, she begins to feel a compulsive need to dance as a way to feel alive and recover from her grief – this very sensual and physical form of non-verbal self-expression may have proved very healing for her psychologically.

Neptune and connection to the mystical & imaginal realms

In her 1993 album, The Red Shoes, she includes a song called ‘Lily’ which includes references to a protective magical ritual (the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram used in Kabbalah and other esoteric traditions) involving the creation of a circle of fire and a summoning of the angels of the four directions & elements. It also features an English version invocation of an ancient Vedic hymn, The Gayatri Mantra’ or Path of Light, which has its origins in a series of ancient Hindu texts known as the Rigveda, in its opening:

Oh thou, who givest sustenance to the universe
From whom all things proceed
To whom all things return
Unveil to us the face of the true spiritual sun
Hidden by a disc of golden light
That we may know the truth
And do our whole duty
As we journey to thy sacred feet

This, together with other magical and mystical references in songs such as ‘Song of Solomon’ and ‘Constellation of the Heart’ which has clear references to the stars (and by association, astrology), suggests that she does have some interest in divination and alternative spirituality. Some have speculated that Lily, whose voice we hear chanting the above invocation on the track that bears her name, is in fact, a real medium and healer. Perhaps, this could well be true, given that Kate is often described by friends as extremely sensitive, and that she went through a rough patch before her son was born and after her mother died.

Given how reclusive she has been in recent years, and that her record label is called ‘The Fish People,’ I would venture to speculate that she has a strong Pisces/Neptunian/12 house aspect to her birth chart. If she was born in the early afternoon of July 30th, then she would indeed have Neptune in Scorpio located in her 12th house.

This kind of natal Neptune could prove to be something of a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, as the possible ruler of her 5th house cusp (the house of creativity), it could mean that she has an incredible, almost shamanic ability to tap into the more ethereal realms of the imagination, and become a kind of vessel through which creativity and artistic inspiration can flow, a process that Tori Amos has described as being similar to a spiritual medium. It may also explain the ease by which she was able to evoke dreamlike, surreal images and sounds in her songs, as well as shape-shift into different characters from a lyrical perspective.

On the other, it would also potentially leave her very open and vulnerable to the energies of her environment and the feelings of others because of Neptune’s difficulties in maintaining good personal and psychological boundaries. This might explain her tendency to speak of feeling very exposed when in the public eye, as well as her tendency to tire easily and feel drained after performances and tours.

Rectification can sometimes help to confirm the correctness of a guessed birth time by matching events to transits. If Kate does indeed have Scorpio Ascendant, this might explain the timing of her retirement from public life, which would have coincided with the transit of Pluto over her natal Neptune and Ascendant. This suggests a devastating few years in which she may have had some kind of psychological breakdown or personal death/rebirth experience, possibly triggered by a dramatic event such as a death, which would force her to completely reassess her life and then rebuild it again, almost from scratch. Between 1989 and 1992, she is said to have collapsed with grief over the untimely deaths of several close friends from HIV-related complications, followed by her mother’s tragic death from cancer a few years afterwards.

It is perhaps telling that in 1993, she released an album that included a song with these lyrics:

“Lily, Oh Lily I don’t feel safe
I feel that life has blown a great big hole through me”
And she said: “Child, you must protect yourself
I’ll show you how with fire”

This very aptly describes someone experiencing the devastating power of Pluto to destroy one’s sense of orientation and mental security, and may well have been written around the time that she was experiencing her Pluto-Neptune conjunction, or Pluto crossing her Ascendant.

In his book Planets in Transit, Rob Hand describes this transit in the following terms:

At this time, your relationships with others, both intimate and otherwise, will be greatly transformed. Your personality will undergo a period of change that will bring to light some very important but often unacknowledged elements of your psyche, which you will have to deal with. This may be a period of extreme crisis in your life…The psychological changes that take place now may make it desirable for you to undergo psychotherapy or a similar treatment in order to get more in touch with yourself.

The advice offered by Lily to protest herself psychically fits perfectly with what any astrologer would advise someone with Neptune in the 12th house, while Hand’s advice about how to deal with a Pluto-Asc conjunction offer a way to deal with the terrible compulsions and fears that may arise from deep within and need dealing with. On wonders if Lily was a real life healer who did fact, play the role of counsellor to Kate during this difficult period of loss and change.

It does seem telling to me that much of her work has a dreamlike, watery quality to it (think, for instance of the instrumental beginning to ‘Wow’) and her work frequently references fish, water, oceans, fog – all of which are very Neptunian symbols.

I find it fitting that just as Mars and Saturn make a conjunction in Scorpio (possibly on or near her Ascendant) she makes a public re-appearance – how apt, given Scorpio’s affiliation with the phoenix and reinvention. Perhaps she will trump fellow Leo, Madonna yet on that score!

Still, with Jupiter currently moving over her Sun and Venus having recently contacted her natal Uranus, I think we can expect big things from Ms Bush – she certainly has the stars working in her favour!. Some things just get better with age, and I think as far as this particular artist is concerned, the best may be yet to come.

Just as a postscript, I understand that she opened her new tour with this song, which makes me wonder if she was in fact, initiating the protective ritual before the concert to help provide her with the psychic protection she needed to get through the show and overcome any anxiety she might have about performing in public again.



A mundane review of the April 2014 Grand Cross


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For many, April was a month when the ground literally seemed to move. A powerful and turbulent Cardinal Grand Cross involving Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Cancer, Mars in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, keyed into the lunar eclipse in Libra mid-month, turbo-charging the days between April the 15th and 23rd.

Not since the Cardinal Event of August 2010 which I mentioned in my post about the London Riots of August 2011, have we seen astrological conditions of this explosive nature. Mass protests (India and Venezuela – 21 April ), outbreaks of violence (Ukraine), revelations of corruption/cover-ups (Hillsborough Anniversary 15 April) and tragic accidents (Sewol ferry disaster in South Korea – 16 April ) became the order of the day as the planetary Titans squared up for battle with each other.

With Mars and Pluto retrograde during the peak of this configuration, much of what arose now had its roots in the past. For example, on April 15th, the football fraternity commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, in which nearly 100 football fans lost their lives in a crush during a match at Sheffield Football Stadium. Earlier this year, as a result of years of campaigning by families of the victims, an enquiry into the true cause of this tragic event was launched after evidence of a police cover-up emerged.   Given how Pluto in Capricorn has consistently been associated with the rooting out of institutional corruption, it could hardly be a coincidence that nearly a quarter of a century on, proof of a widespread police conspiracy to conceal their involvement in what unfolded finally came to light.

In Boston, Massachusetts the local community held a number of ceremonies and events to mark the first anniversary of the Boston Bombing that took place during the Boston Marathon on 20 April 2013.

Elsewhere in the world, there were riots over matters that had their roots in past grievances or injustices, including a demonstration in India on 21 April by the Sikh community who took to the streets to protest about the way political leaders referred to a rally in 1984 during which over 3000 Sikhs lost their lives.

On the same day, anti-government protests in Venezuela also broke out, whilst in the Ukraine, the situation remained tense with photos being released by officials in Kiev of masked pro-Russian soldiers operating in towns such as Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. This was met by accusations by the Russian government that the Ukrainian government had broken the Geneva Agreement. The day before, three guards manning a pro-Russian checkpoint near Sloviansk had been shot by people believed to be Ukrainian nationalists, further escalating tension levels in the region.

Given the connection between Mars and war, and the involvement of Uranus, the planet of popular protest, in fiery Aries, in the Cardinal Grand Cross – it hardly seems surprising that so much violence and unrest took place around this time, much of it stemming from around the Spring when Martian energy is usually at its peak due to the presence of the Sun in Aries.

Sewol Ferry Disaster & the April Lunar Eclipse

On the other hand, the sinking of the South Korean ferry off the coast near Jindo on the morning of April the 16th, which killed over 250 people, seems to bear the hallmarks of the lunar eclipse. Given that it began its voyage on the day of the eclipse – April 15 – from the port of Incheon at around 9pm (see the chart), we will use this to cast a horoscope for that particular journey.

As is clear from the chart, the eclipse, formed by an opposition between Sun in Aries and the Moon in Libra, keyed very powerfully into the Cardinal Grand Cross. We can see the big red square in the aspect quadrant very clearly. One of the corners of this grand cross is held by Jupiter in watery Cancer, which happens to occupy the 8th house and is conjunct the Arabic part representing ‘water journeys’.

According to Hellenistic astrologers like Firmicus Maternus, this house was called Epicataphora by the Greeks. Loosely translated, this means ‘Casting Down into the Underworld’ while its opposite counter-part, the second house was known as Anafora = ‘Rising up from the Underworld’. So you can clearly see how this house came to be associated with death and that dark place of worry and anxiety that often comes with owing people money.

So, having Jupiter in Cancer in the 8th is already not a great omen. Although usually a benefic influence, if we consider that is under siege from Uranus and Pluto by square aspect, then its position in the 8th house could well be interpreted as meaning a large number (Jupiter) of deaths (in 8th) at sea (Cancer). We saw something similar in the astrology of Flight MH 370, where the chart ruler was Jupiter in Cancer in the 8th house.

Although not the ruler of the AS here, Jupiter has a clear connection to Pluto, which is the chart ruler via its aspect to Pluto and, secondly, because it rules the cusp of the 2nd house where Pluto is located. Frankly, having Pluto as the chart ruler doesn’t in itself bode well, given its very clear associations with death, catastrophe and immutable change, so even if we were to ignore this, the auspices from Pluto are not great either.

As if that weren’t bad enough, we also see that the Ascendant, which is 18-19 degrees Scorpio, happens to rise smack bang between the fixed stars, Zuben Elgenubi and Zuben Eschamali, which straddle the 12th and first houses. These stars have ancient associations with the Underworld, which is the place where, in Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythology, justice on souls who has transgressed during their lives was thought to be meted out, so we can see the connection with the Scales of Libra here. The Moon, ruler of Jupiter also happens to be in the via combusta, or burning way, another sector of the sky with underworld associations, which I wrote about in detail in relation to the death of Whitney Houston.

To add to the negative omens, Saturn in Scorpio is also rising. Saturn is considered a malefic planet in horary and traditional astrology, and placed in Scorpio, the water sign most associated with death, rebirth and resurrection; we are again met with symbols of death by drowning or submersion in water. In this chart, Saturn also rules the 3rd house of short journeys and local travel, which further reinforces the idea of a ferry trip that was doomed.

Suffice it to say, I don’t think we need to look too much further into the chart to see that it speaks of tragedy at sea on a grand scale. My condolences go out to all the families who lost loved ones that night.

When it comes to April 2014, I don’t think anyone will be able to look back on this period without associating it with some degree of strife, stress or tragedy. Although in astrology, one is encouraged to look at the potential for growth in any situation, I think with this one, it is very difficult to put a positive spin on things.

Of course, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and sometimes reforms and positive social change don’t come about with struggle and strife. As a whole, we humans don’t like change, especially if we are in power or somehow benefitting from the misery of others, forcing others to take up arms or become more militant in order to defend themselves and protect their rights. Thus, the last planet to join the Cardinal Grand Cross, Mars, seems to be the most significant when we look at the overall spirit of this time.

We have certainly seen its role, both directly and indirectly through its rulership of Uranus in Aries in the Arab Spring uprisings, which I have written about in previous postings, including the Astrological Review of April 2013 . It is probably no coincidence that during this period, the Sun, Mercury and Uranus were forming a stellium in Aries, alongside the South lunar Node.

Currently positioned in Libra, the sign of justice, Mars seems to be tasking us with the desire to take action to redress old wrongs and rebalance the inequalities in our society. Let’s hope that we can do so without embarking on yet another senseless war. The Grand Trine in water signs, active on and off during and after this period, may provide some hope of a more peaceful solution.

March Mystery: What happened to Flight MH 370?


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I couldn’t really write about March without stopping to consider the rather bizarre, tragic and gripping episode of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370 that went missing in the early hours of 8 March 2014. In this day and age of modern communications and surveillance equipment, including spy satellites, CCTV, mobile phones, radio contact, radar and so forth, many found it hard to believe that an airplane could just vanish from the skies without trace with 239 passengers on board.

Having said that, I have been quite reluctant to pass any astrological judgment on the situation, not only because it is very complicated and ongoing, but also because of the emotional toll that all this must be taking on the surviving relatives of those who were on board. To them I send my sincerest sympathies and well-wishes. I hope they get some concrete answers soon.

From a more technical point of view, one of the problems with making any judgements about this particular incident, is that the only definite time and location information we have is that of the flight’s take-off from Kuala Lumpur airport, together with a few estimated co-ordinates for the time of last contact with air traffic control at around 01:30 am local time, shortly after the plane’s communications and tracking systems appear to have been either switched off or went on the blink. We do not know exactly when the decision was taken to change the plane’s course or the precise direction in which it then headed or ended up – all we have are ‘best guesses’ based on satellite data pings and radar logs, along with hypothetical scenarios based on the flight paths of other aircraft.

However, one branch of astrology, horary, does offer some methods for trying to find lost items (and people) based on certain directional symbolism that has become associated with the angles or chart quadrants. I therefore decided to put this method to the test to see whether it could shed any light on where, more or less, the aircraft may have ended up and what events might have led to its interrupted journey and change of direction.

The main chart I looked at is, of course, that of its take-off. The details for this are: 00:41 local time, 8 March, Kuala Lumpur Airport.


See a horary version of the chart here: Horary MH 370

Using a technique for ships setting sail, we should interpret the AS as the aircraft and the ruler of that angle, signifier of crew and passengers. Calculating a chart for take-off, we get a map with Sagittarius rising. Seeing as MH 370 was an international flight, and Sagittarius is a sign associated with long journeys and exploration, this seems fitting. The ruler of Sagittarius is Jupiter, so this becomes the symbol of the aeroplane in the chart.

Jupiter is located in the water sign of Cancer. Although this is generally considered to be a highly dignified position, and, Jupiter is located in the 8th house, which in ancient times, was the sector that ruled death. So not a great omen, despite Jupiter being exalted in nurturing and family-oriented Cancer. Jupiter had also only recently stationed after a retrograde spell, so may not have reached normal speed at this point, thus minimising its usually benefic influence. It could, therefore, indicate unfounded optimism (of surviving family members) in the face of what might otherwise be considered challenging circumstances.

Jupiter’s position in the west-north-west segment of the chart is interesting because the charted course for the plane was set to fly north-eastwards, towards Beijing, China, not north-west. In horary astrology, this would usually tally with a planet located in the 3rd house, if we are calculating direction by house. This is because the Ascendant has always been associated with the east and the time of sunrise in traditional astrology. In fact, the whole concept of the AS or ‘rising sign’ in natal astrology is centred on the notion of the constellation that is rising (sometimes with the Sun, depending on the time of day) on the local eastern horizon at the moment of an individual’s birth.

By sign, though, things are a little different: Cancer is a sign associated with the North (possibly because of its traditional association with the IC), which fits quite well with the intended direction of the plane, symbolised by Jupiter in Cancer.

Still, why is Jupiter, the chart ruler, in the WNW sector of the chart? We know now, thanks to Malaysian and Thai military radar, which unwittingly tracked the plane over the ocean until around 02:40am, that shortly after its last communication with air traffic control at 1:20am, the plane banked west. Then, according to Thai military radar logs, the plane turned north over the Andaman sea…Local villagers in northern Malaysia were also reported to have seen lights in the sky, and an aircraft flying very low over the jungle in the early hours of Saturday morning, whilst crew on a Greek vessel in the Malacca Straits spotted debris in the sea. Later, an oil slick on the water’s surface was picked up in satellite imagery, all of which fits with the position of Jupiter and early theories that the plane had crashed into the sea somewhere off the coast of northern Malaysia.

Although this theory was later discounted, because no jet fuel was found on the ocean surface near to the oil slick, and because of the satellite pings, which suggested that the aircraft flew on for several hours after this time, this particular chart does place the aircraft in a WNW position, which can’t entirely be explained at this point, certainly not until the aircraft is found.

Leaving this for a minute, let’s look at the aspects of Jupiter to see if we can ascertain what may have happened to the plane.

The plane’s transponder and ACARS system, which enables the on-board computers to communicate with ground control computers, then appears to have been switched off or malfunctioned shortly after the pilot’s last radio transmission at just after 01:30am. This all fits with Jupiter’s most recent separating aspect, a square to Uranus, the planet that rules unexpected events, sudden accidents and sometimes electrical/technical malfunctions. So, could mechanical failure have been responsible for the plane’s disappearance?

Uranus was just separating from a very difficult cardinal T-square with Pluto and Jupiter, so it is entirely possible that this extremely malefic combination meant that a deadly technical malfunction went undetected by aircraft maintenance crew in Malaysia, but lead to serious electrical failures during the flight, possibly even an explosion of some kind, given that Uranus is in Aries, which is a fire sign.

Uranus is also associated with abrupt severing or cutting off, which is what seems to have happened with the communications systems. Some experts believe that the aircraft communications and tracking systems may have been deliberately switched off after the pilot’s final transmission to KL Air Traffic Control before entering Vietnamese airspace. As co-ruler of the 3rd house cusp with Saturn, the house of communications, this does seem to fit with what happened – all communications went quiet after this.

In this map, Pluto, planet of death and disappearances, rules the 12th house, also considered malefic and associated with death, confinement and secret enemies, whilst Jupiter co-rules the 4th house cusp or IC, another angle associated with the end of the matter, which was sometimes interpreted as the end of life, or falling into the grave. Not a great combination of auguries then…

The Moon, ruler of the 8th house, is opposite the AS, which again suggests that the aircraft may have come to a watery (Cancer) demise somewhere in the ocean – something that appears to be backed by Neptune on the IC. More on this later when we look at applying aspects to Jupiter etc.

So what other information can we get about what might have happened? Here it is worth looking at other implicated planets and aspects.

Yet, an Inmarsat satellite orbiting above the Indian Ocean picked up an automatic ‘ping’ or handshake between the aircraft and a ground station just after 08:11am, suggesting that the plane may have flown on for another 7-8 hours after it was last tracked.

This new and rather startling information, disclosed nearly seven days after the plane’s disappearance, suggested that flight MH 370 flew on in the direction of one of two flight corridors: one, stretching north between Thailand and Kazakhstan; and the other, south between Indonesia and the southern Indian Ocean.

So, does the astrology have anything to say about this, then?

Well, if we look at the condition and aspects of the ruler of the MC (which would represent the captain or head pilot), we have Mercury in Aquarius in the 3rd house of communications and transport; we get the clear signature of a pilot who is technically competent and intellectually well-positioned to handle crises with coolness and poise. So why didn’t he radio for help?

Mercury’s last aspect seems to be a square to Saturn, co-ruler of the 3rd house and therefore of communications. Saturn is in the malefic 12th house in Scorpio, suggesting some sort of limitation or block that may have prevented the captain from being able to radio for help.

Could this have been an explosion or mechanical failure leading to a fire (Uranus in Aries) that led to cabin decompression, which in turn, rendered the passengers and crew unconscious, and thereby unable to radio for help?

Perhaps something could also have happened to make it impossible for the pilot/crew to communicate with ground control, such as loss of consciousness?

If CNN reports are to be believed, the plane experienced a dramatic drop in altitude, traced by Malaysian military radar, from 35,000 ft. to12, 000 ft., by the plane as it banked west and flew over northern Malaysia. According to experts, this is usually the standard emergency measure if there is a sudden loss of cabin pressure. So, is this why the plane turned around and flew over northern Malaysia? Was the pilot trying to find somewhere to make an emergency landing? Can any further clues be gleaned from this chart?

By nature, the Moon moves very swiftly through the zodiac and so, on its own, is associated with change and flux. This also makes it key in horary astrology prediction, because it makes the most aspects with other planets and so, very often, can bring about perfection by connecting the planetary symbols for Querent and Quesited.

The Moon, ruler of the 8th house is located in the 6th house, very close to a conjunction with the Descendant or 7th house cusp. Placed in Gemini, a sign associated with communication, transport and travel, and close to the 7th house cusp, it could well represent the agency or catalyst that led to the plane’s disappearance. Routine maintenance that didn’t pick up a fault because of the constant turn-around of planes? Lack of communication about a particular technical problem amongst ground staff?

Now, what is quite interesting is that, in addition to the Moon’s rulership of the sign and house in which Jupiter (plane) was located, these two planets are further connected by similar but opposite aspect patterns: Jupiter is separating from a square to Uranus, while the Moon is separating from a square to Neptune and applying to Uranus by sextile.

The Moon’s last separating aspect can offer further information about what led to the plane’s disappearance. In this case, it is a square to Neptune. Neptune rules large bodies of water, mist and liquid form of fuel such as gas, oil etc. Does this hint at some kind of moisture build-up (condensation) or gas leak (Moon-Neptune) that may have led to an electrical fire or explosion (Moon-Uranus)?

Turning to fixed stars for any further details, we learn that Neptune is conjunct Deneb Adige, described as ‘a brilliant white star in the tail of the Swan’ or the constellation of Cygnus – what an incredibly visual description! It very much evokes the image of an aeroplane with a fire in its tail end. So, was the fire/explosion/electrical fault (Uranus) due to some kind of fuel or gas stored at the rear of the plane (Neptune)? Quite possibly.

If this is what happened, then the explosion would have led to cabin decompression, oxygen loss and ultimately a loss of consciousness by crew and passengers. If the plane was on automatic pilot, it may just have flown on in a straight line until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea, as indicated by Neptune conjunct the IC (IC = the end of the matter) in this chart suggests. Interestingly, both Jupiter and Neptune, as co-rulers of the sign of Pisces, jointly rule the IC, which has Pisces on its cusp. So symbolically, the end of the matter for Jupiter (plane) appears to be a watery grave (Neptune conjunct IC, Pisces on 4th cusp).

Given that Jupiter is moving from a square to Uranus (explosion or fire on board/sudden mechanical failure) towards an opposition with Pluto (death, disaster), ruler of the 12th house (associated with death, misfortune, murder/suicide) I would not expect anyone to have survived this particular event. There is a certain finality about circumstances when Pluto is involved that is hard to ignore, however difficult this may be to accept for those relatives left in limbo, wondering what happened to their family members.

Of course many of them will be left wondering what happened to the plane after it turned around and dropped in altitude. No one is sure exactly what took place next because the communications system and transponder seem to have gone dead or been switched off (Mercury-Saturn square). So, the plane ‘disappeared’ from most aviation tracking systems. Given that Pluto is the ruler of the 12th house cusp where Saturn is located, and that Pluto is the planet associated with invisibility, this fits very well with the astrology.

According to the CNN report, which quotes an avian expert’s interpretation of the existing data, including the drop in altitude shown by military radar, the corridor into which the plane turned when it banked west was quite a busy place for airline traffic, so flying at low altitude would have helped it avoid a crash in mid-air with another oncoming plane. Paraphrasing an official who could not be named because he was not officially sanctioned to speak to the media by Malaysian authorities, “…the area the plane flew in after the turn is a heavily trafficked air corridor and that flying at 12,000 feet would have kept the jet well out of the way of that traffic.”

But where did the plane go after that?

Traditionally, if one is looking for something lost in horary, one would look at the signs and positions of the major significators for directional information, while proximity and contacts between significators may give some idea of whether the item will ever be located or not.

We have already looked at Jupiter’s house and sign position and established that these only indicate the original flight path of the plane – north towards Beijing, which is unhelpful. So what if we look at the position of Jupiter’s applying aspect?

Well, Pluto is in the 2nd house, which traditionally is associated with the direction East – North – East, which doesn’t seem very likely, based on the models run by Inmarsat. However, if we consider the sign of Pluto – which is in Capricorn, this is traditionally associated with the South because of its connection to the Midheaven and the direction where planets culminate over the course of a year, and where the Sun reaches its highest position at noon during its daily cycle, if viewed from the northern hemisphere.

Distance can be calculated by totting up the number of degrees separating both aspecting planets, in this case 177.25 degrees. For planets in cardinal signs, each degree would then equal 2 miles, according to Derek Appleby. This gives us a total of approximately 354.5 miles in a southerly direction.

Of course, astrology is not an exact science and can only really give an approximation of where to look. It may also be worth drawing up a chart for the moments when search crews first picked up possible signals from the black box recorder to see whether any further clues can be gleaned.

For now, though, it seems certain from the Jupiter-Pluto opposition, which only perfected recently as part of the April Cardinal Grand Cross event that is currently wreaking havoc across the globe, that no one escaped alive from MH 370 and that its final destination was a watery grave somewhere in the Ocean, either to the north west of Malaysia or several hundred miles out to sea in the southern Indian Ocean.

NELSON MANDELA: The Jupiter-Saturn trine and the celebration of a remarkable life


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 A life celebrated

One of the most famous and admired men of our generation, 95-year old Nelson Mandela, or Tata Madiba, as he was affectionately known to South Africans, was finally laid to rest after a long battle with pneumonia last month. His funeral and memorial service was an elaborate and drawn out affair, attracting dignitaries from far and wide, including several current and former British prime ministers, four US presidents, celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Bono and Charlize Theron, and even royalty – Prince Charles came to pay his respects, amongst many other members of the world’s aristocracy.

The funeral itself took place over the course of the week-end of 12-14 December 2013 – the same period as a rare and important Jupiter-Saturn trine. Such transits only come along once every 20 years or so and usually presage a time when the seemingly contradictory qualities of these two planets blend more seamlessly.

Marjorie Orr sums it up best:

The Jupiter-Saturn mix is an interface of opposites. Idealism versus materialism; high-flying boundless ambition versus melancholy awareness of the inevitable limitations of life; the urge for immortality versus the Grim Reaper at the core of the human condition…[1]

A more appropriate set of aspects we could not hope to find presiding over the commemoration of such a distinguished life. For not only did the event turn out to be a suitably solemn and reverential (Saturn) affair, but it also managed to be a jubilant celebration (Jupiter) of the life of this historical giant – not an easy balance to strike on such an important but also incredibly poignant occasion.

Resonances of these two planets seemed to echo everywhere. As well as the obvious association that Jupiter and Saturn have with dignitaries, pomp and ceremony, the involvement of the signs of Cancer (family) and Scorpio (death) – the two zodiac points where Jupiter and Saturn were located – seemed equally fitting.

Mandela himself is known to South Africans by the nickname of ‘Tata’ which means ‘father’ in Xhosa[2]. Saturn, in its rulership of Capricorn, is very much the symbol of the wise sage or elder – fitting for someone considered to be a patriarch and ‘father of the nation’; while Cancer, the sign under which Mandela was born, and it’s ruler, the Moon, is emblematic both of home, birth and family, and of crowds or the populace. These two signs very much epitomise the age old polar opposite qualities of youth and old age, the cradle and the grave – both qualities very much present at his funeral.

After dying at his home in Johannesburg, Mandela’s body was brought back to rest at his ancestral home, the place where the Thembu, his Xhosa clan, reside. Here, according to traditional Xhosa beliefs, his body would re-join with his spirit and that of other deceased members of his family, and he would make the transition from human being to that of a family ancestor – an ancient belief dating back thousands of years and evident in both indigenous and prehistoric cultures alike. The notion of his body ‘returning home’ – a phrase often used by black South Africans in relation to death – to re-join his deceased and living family members and undergo a spiritual transformation to that of guardian family spirit, seems to resonate in the astrology quite uncannily: at the time, Saturn was in Scorpio – the supreme sign of death and transformation, and Jupiter was in Cancer – sign of ancestral beliefs, and family-based ceremonies and rituals.

In Mandela’s nativity, we also find some interesting synastry with these planets and signs. For example, Nelson happens to have been born with Jupiter in Cancer, which is no mean feat, considering that Jupiter takes approximately 12 years to move through the entire zodiac! Although his exact birth time is not known, because it was not common practice during the Apartheid years for black people to be given birth certificates, we do know that he was born on the 18th of July 1918 in Mvezo in rural Transkei[3] – one of the African homelands in the Eastern Cape set up by the Apartheid regime. Some astrologers assign a Sagittarius Ascendant to his chart, which would make this quite a significant planet for him in terms of life-force and health. However, we do not have an exact birth time for him, so this is mere speculation. Whatever his time of birth, though, we cannot argue with planetary placements such as Jupiter, which moves much slower than the inner planets and luminaries, and so doesn’t change position much during the course of a day. In Mandela’s case, what first associates this Jupiter with death is the fact that his father died when he was 12 years old[4], which to any astrologer, would scream ‘Jupiter Return.’ Ordinarily this might seem odd for a benefic planet like Jupiter, exalted as it is in Cancer, except that in Mandela’s case, he happens to have a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Cancer, which could indicate big, life-changing events such as the death of a family member, may occur when one of these two planets is transited.

His Moon, the natural ruler of Cancer, and therefore of his natal Sun, Jupiter and Pluto, is also in Pluto-ruled Scorpio which means that there is a mutual reception between the Moon and Pluto in his chart, reinforcing what is an important signature in his chart relating to emotional intensity, family drama, a steely inner resourcefulness, as well as a deep devotion to his country and people.

This deep devotion to reforming his country can be heard being clearly expressed through some of his speeches, including the famous lines uttered by him during his famous ‘Speech from the Dock’ made on 20 April 1964 before his imprisonment on Robben Island:

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”[5]

Interestingly, these points also have strong synastry with the chart for the Transkei, the independent homeland created for the Xhosa tribe from which Mandela was descended, which has Cancer rising and the Sun, north node, Mars and Uranus in Scorpio (midnight, 26 Oct 1976, Umtata[6]). Scorpio, the sign par excellence of reinvention, unwavering loyalty and transformation, also happens to be the sign ruling the planets Jupiter, Pluto and the Moon, as well as the Midheaven in the chart for the newly created Constitution for the Republic of South Africa; created in 1994 (midnight, 27 Apr 1994, Pretoria[7]) after the elections and reforms initiated and brokered by Mandela himself, and over which he presided as the country’s very first black president. In his inauguration chart (11h20, Pretoria, 10 May 1994[8]) Scorpio is the ruler of the IC, which is conjunct Jupiter, resonating with his Scorpio Moon and perhaps reflecting his loyalty and dedication to his country (Scorpio IC) through his role as leader; together with his faith (Jupiter) in helping to transform South Africa (Scorpio on IC) into a better place through his guidance and good example.

However, given the involvement of Scorpio, it is not surprising that the whole event did not pass without controversy – often where Pluto or Scorpio is involved, certain uncomfortable truths or emotional undercurrents are forced out in the open. In this case, the public used the opportunity to voice their disillusionment with current President, Jacob Zuma, whose time in office has been mired by a succession of scandals, including rape charges and corruption allegations. Some used the global media coverage to voice their concern about institutional corruption – an issue we have seen raised a lot in recent years, particularly since the ingress of Pluto in Capricorn – and Zuma was even booed by onlookers at the funeral itself.[9]

Scorpio is also associated with covert operations, conspiracy and secrecy, so it is therefore not entirely surprising that the actual date of Nelson Mandela’s death became something of a contentious topic, with rumours swirling of a cover-up to hide the fact that he died much earlier than was stated, and was kept on life support while preparations were made for his funeral and his family tried to sort out their legal wrangles.

These suspicions appear to have been fuelled by reports in certain US newspapers such as the Las Vegas Guardian Express who allege that their sources, including a recorded telephone conversation, indicate that he actually died as early as June. This appeared to be backed up by court documents,  filed on 26 June, which the French media outlet, AFP, reported to have described Mr Mandela at that stage as being ‘in a permanent vegetative state’ and ‘assisted in breathing by a life support machine,’ which doctors advised the family, ‘should be switched off.’[10]  Coupled with the timing and changed itinerary of President’s Obama’s visit to South Africa, together with the bungled condolences published by the office of George Bush Senior, mistakenly released in September[11]  and then sent out again two days before Mandela’s death was officially announced in December[12], these allegations have made the official date of his death somewhat questionable.

Let’s see if astrology can help to clarify the situation and shed any light on what might be the truth of the matter.

Jupiter-Pluto and Decease Date Controversy

The best place to begin is the offical announcement made by President Zuma, which stated that he died at 21h00 South African Standard Time at his home in Johannesburg on 5 December 2013[13].

In this chart, we have a very strong Jupiter-Pluto signature – Jupiter in Cancer is rising in the first house, and Pluto, planet of death and resurrection, is positioned in the 6th house of health and wellbeing, close to the cusp of the Descendant, almost like the spectre of the Grim Reaper. Neptune, sometimes associated with death because of its association with spirituality and the breaking down of boundaries/merging with the collective, is in the 8th house – the house associated with death in traditional astrology. Saturn, the planet of old age, is in Scorpio, sign of death, and located in the 4th house, which does fit quite well with the notion, well-known in horary astrology circles, of the fourth house being the ‘end of the matter’ – the house of Saturn (and therefore of fathers and old age) where people ‘fall into the grave.’[14] It therefore has all the hallmarks of a legitimate death announcement.

The next thing to do is to look for any sort of confirmation of this in Mandela’s transits (which I have set for Noon because of insufficient clarity about birth time, even though my gut feeling is that he was born at around 18h00 local time). Here we have transiting Saturn conjunct his natal Moon in Scorpio- certainly not a cheery aspect; an opposition between the transiting Capricorn Moon & Venus and his natal Sun in Cancer (So a Full Moon of sorts, which could indicate an ending of sorts?). No Neptune contacts of relevance. Uranus, considered by some to be a malefic planet associated with accidents and sudden death, is conjunct his natal Chiron in Aries. But Mandela’s death was more of a slow and drawn out affair, so this doesn’t count. And although some of these transits might be considered somewhat ominous, what is conspicuously absent are any negative transits to his natal Jupiter-Pluto conjunction, or any contacts between transiting Jupiter or Pluto and any of his natal planets. So not really definitive then…

So what might the alternatives be?

According to the Las Vegas Guardian Express, sources placed within the South African national broadcaster, SABC, suggested that he had actually died on the evening of 25 June.[15] Later, they would present evidence, ostensibly obtained by a separate additional correspondent, sent to South Africa, who, according to them, ‘returned with an audio recording of two top government officials confirming the fact that Mandela was totally brain dead and was declared so on June 11’[16] by the head doctor working at the Pretoria hospital where he was being cared for – so even earlier than was originally reported. The recording is allegedly that of a telephone call between a security operative and his contact within the South African Defence Force, but of course, we have no way of authenticating it[17]. Judge for yourself – a link can be found in the Reference notes.

These allegations were strenuously denied by the South African authorities. The newspaper alleges that soon after publication, their website was subject to a cyber-attack, traced back to South Africa. Conspiracy theory or rumours dressed up as fact?

So what to make of this allegation. Let’s look at the charts for 11 and 25 June to see if they can offer any clues…

25 June: This chart has a stellium of planets, including the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter; all bunched close together in Gemini and Cancer. Other than that, there are no negative aspects that might lead us to believe something ominous is going to happen.

However, if we project these as transits onto Mandela’s chart, then a few interesting contacts begin to emerge. First of all, the transiting Sun in Cancer, together with Jupiter in the last degrees of Gemini, appear to be heading for a conjunction with Madiba’s natal Jupiter-Pluto conjunction. Both are within 1 degree of their respective natal planetary counterparts. This is because we are coming up to Mandela’s birthday, or solar return, when the Sun returns to the same position it was at when Mandela was born. Also as it transpires, Mandela was due for his Jupiter Return in 2013 – on 1 July to be exact. The Jupiter return is more interesting because it only occurs once every 12 years and, as I explained already, it does seem to be associated with certain key tragedies in Mandela’s life. However, at this stage, Jupiter has not even ingressed into Cancer, so the aspects are not quite exact. So, although this date has some hallmarks of possibility, for me it’s a case of ‘nice try but no cigar’.

The 11 June chart, however, is a bit of a different story…

11 June:  Firstly, the event chart for this date has a rather ominous opposition between Venus in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn – the two signs representing birth and death that we demonstrated were so prevalent around Madiba’s funeral. Transposed onto Mandela’s chart, this Venus is orbiting close to his natal Jupiter-Pluto conjunction, while the Sun and Jupiter in Gemini are both contacting his natal Venus. This serves to activate his nodal axis (natal Venus is conjunct his south node), thereby introducing an element of fate/the collective into the picture – the impact of his death on the public?

What’s more, transiting Saturn in Scorpio (intimations of mortality/death from old age) is square to Mandela’s Neptune (transition to the spiritual realms/the happy escape). That same Saturn also happens to form part of a grand trine involving transiting Neptune and Mandela’s Pluto-Jupiter conjunction, which sits at the apex. If you were looking for the sign of a peaceful death, then to me this would be a very good one. What’s more, the aspects are very tight – Saturn and Neptune are EXACTLY trine while Nelson’s Pluto is only 10 seconds off being peregrine. Given how slowly these planets all move, this configuration does seem rather significant. Looking at this chart overall then, I could easily be convinced that this might well be the true date of his demise.

As an astrologer, though, I always feel that the best way to ascertain confirmation as to whether a particular transit is likely to be significant for a client, is to look at their natal chart to see if there are any contacts. If we examine Mandela’s chart, what seems to recur again and again in relation to health-related matters is that Jupiter-Pluto conjunction, as well as, to a lesser degree, contacts to his natal Venus and Saturn.

First Jupiter-Pluto. As I mentioned before, Jupiter seems to have been fairly significant for Mandela – his father died around his first Jupiter Return at age 12 (1930) and his only surviving son died in January 2005 of an AIDs-related illness when transiting Jupiter had recently gone over his natal Mars; and transiting Pluto was opposing his natal Venus. In addition, transits to these two planets do seem to coincide with major, possibly life-threatening illnesses. For example, on 12 August 1988, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB)[18]. This coincided with a transit of Venus to his Jupiter-Pluto conjunction. This often lethal respiratory condition would later come back to haunt him in his final months – it weakened his lungs which made it difficult for him to fight off the complications from pneumonia that he later died of. Here, it may be noteworthy that this natal configuration (Jupiter-Pluto) also happens to square Mandela’s radix Chiron in Aries, perhaps representing a physical wound that would render him vulnerable healthwise further down the line?

Another example was his brush with prostate cancer in 2001, which he announced in the late July of that year. Around this time, on the 18th of July 2001, Mandela experienced another Jupiter Return. At the time of the announcement, just a few days later on 24 July, transiting Jupiter can be found hovering at around 2 degrees of Cancer, so still very much within orb of that natal Jupiter-Pluto conjunction. As it happened, Mandela was due for his Jupiter Return in 2013 – on 1 July 2013, to be exact, which does seem pretty spooky and could corroborate the idea of an earlier demise.

But why Jupiter?

Normally Jupiter Returns are fortuitous and expansive times, but, in the case of Nelson Mandela, his natal Jupiter happens to be conjunct Pluto, the ultimate symbol of death and destruction. So when transiting Jupiter makes any conjunctions with Mandela’s natal Jupiter, it is also contacting Pluto, a planet very much tied up with themes of death, survival and life-altering or life-threatening circumstances. The fact that these Jupiter-Pluto contacts seem to have coincided with events concerning illness (1988, 2001) or death (1930) in Mandela’s life could also be used to rectify his chart – illness and health is a 6th house matter, which does seem to suggest that he may have had Aquarius rising and not Sagittarius, as some have suggested…For one thing, it may not be a coincidence that his father named him Rolihlahla. In his auto-biography, Mandela writes:

In Xhosa, Rolihlahla literally means ‘pulling the branch of a tree,’ but its colloquial meaning more accurately would be ‘troublemaker’. I do not believe that names are destiny or that my father somehow divined my future, but in later years, friends and relatives would ascribe to my birth name the many storms I have both caused and weathered.[19]

But let’s not forget Saturn, which also seems to have been a key planet in many of the big events in the great leader’s life.

For example, in the case of the two illnesses mentioned above, in 1988 a transiting Saturn-Uranus conjunction in Sagittarius was going over Mandela’s north node, thereby activating the nodal axis, which would involve his natal Venus-south node conjunction in Gemini. The New Moon in Leo (exact at 14h30 local time that day) had also just gone over Madiba’s natal Saturn-Mercury conjunction, perhaps indicating news (News Moon) of an affliction (Saturn) with the lungs (Mercury). If we look at the 2001 chart, we notice that transiting Saturn is making an opposition to Pluto and Mars in Sagittarius, with the latter planet orbiting quite close to Mandela’s north node.

However, generally speaking, Saturn tends to be a signifier, less of health-related matters and more about personal limitations and tragedy in Mandela’s life – for example, in late 1968 when Mandela received the news in jail that his mother had died suddenly of a heart attack, transiting Saturn (loss/separation) was making a square to his Sun in Cancer – the sign par excellence of someone who is close to his mother. He also lost his only surviving son in 2005 when Saturn was conjunct his Sun. On 11 June 1964, Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment just as transiting Jupiter and Neptune were forming a T-square with his natal Saturn (and Mars, to his natal Uranus), perhaps symbolising that his imprisonment (Saturn) was a sacrifice (Neptune) on his part towards achieving the greater good. Transiting Saturn in Pisces was also contacting Mandela’s Jupiter-Pluto conjunction. Again, if Capricorn was on his 12th house cusp, then this would make complete sense because then Mandela’s natal Saturn would be the ruler of that house – the house of imprisonment. Of course we can’t ignore the Mars-Uranus square here either as signifying a blow to his personal freedom either. Mandela was said to have a stern and rather austere side to his character when it came to how he treated others, which would also fit with someone who had a Saturn-Mercury conjunction in the 7th house.

So, in terms of the three so-called ‘death’ dates, which one seems the most resonant? Clearly, of the June charts, the 11th is especially ‘radical’, given the Saturn-Neptune-Pluto trine, despite the fact that the latter date is closer to Mandela’s Jupiter Return. And yet, one cannot ignore the very clear symbolism of the December chart…However for me, the fact that the Jupiter-Saturn trine is conjunct to Madiba’s Scorpio Moon is perhaps most significant – if there was a cover-up, it all panned out in the end because this was an excellent time in which to publicly (and privately) mourn, as well as celebrate, the passing of a great man. The Moon is often symbolic of crowds, as well as people. If my rectification is correct, then Madiba’s Moon falls in his 11th house, which would resonate with this particular occasion very well as the place of groups, large gatherings and national pride. So, in the end, perhaps it doesn’t really matter exactly when he died – just that his funeral was a fitting tribute  – and what better transit to have astrologically for this than a Jupiter-Saturn trine! (Though of course there was also the major grand trine involving Neptune in July, but let’s not go there, shall we!)

Of course, all this being said, there are no hard and fast rules or archetypal transits that one can say will unfailingly foreshadow a death – much depends on individual context and the symbolism of the birth chart itself. To attempt to predict the death of a client is not only very bad form and highly unethical, but is also hubris.

In the case of Mandela, though, what we have seen though, is how powerful the process of rectification can be. Going back and using past transits to trace the affects of certain key planets can offer strong clues as to time of birth. Looking at the final rectified natal chart, which I have added here, I can’t help but see so many fitting symbols – the Libra Midheaven (pursuit of fairness, his legal career), the strong Uranian values he inherited from his father (Uranus in Aquarius in 2nd), the personal charm and magnetism of the Leo Descendant and his dedication to a life of service to his country, symbolised by the Sun in the 6th, made possible through personal sacrifice and his ability to publicly exercise forgiveness towards those who persecuted him (Neptune on DS).

As the sun ingresses into Aquarius, the sign I believe to be that of his Ascendant, it seems a fitting time to pay my last respects to a man I never knew personally but whose actions and words had a giant impact, not only on my own life, but also on that of thousands of people around the world. Good night, Tata Madiba – as they say in Xhosa, ‘Hamba kakuhle’.


[1] Marjorie Orr, 2002, The Astrological History of the World, p. 51

[2] Nelson Mandela Foundation,

[3] BBC News,

[4] Nelson Mandela Foundation,

[5] Nelson Mandela Foundation,

[6] Nicholas Campion, 2004, Book of World Horoscopes, pp.297-300

[7] Nicholas Campion, 2004, Book of World Horoscopes, pp.297-300

[8] Nicholas Campion, 2004, Book of World Horoscopes, pp.297-300

[9] BBC News,

[10] ‘Mandela doctors advised family to turn off life support’, AFP,

[11] The Telegraph,

[12] New York Daily News,

[13] BBC News,

[14] See for example, Houlding, The Houses: Temples of the Sky, 2006, pp.69-71

[15] Las Vegas Guardian Express,

[16] Las Vegas Guardian Express,

[17] See:

[18] Nelson Mandela Foundation,

[19] Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, p. 14

Neptune in Pisces: flooding, drowning and tidal surges in the UK


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Giant waves on the seafront at Seaham, County ...Neptune stationed on the 11th of November, ending its annual retrograde period, which began around 7 June 2013. For many, this came as something of a relief. Neptune’s stay in the sign of Pisces has been anything but peaceful or uneventful, especially when it comes to the sea. Since Neptune’s ingress into water-ruled Pisces in April 2011, we have seen a surge in sea piracy, large ships capsizing and/or running aground (think of the such as the Costa Concordia), as well as a rise in sea drownings off the coast of the UK and Europe, especially during Neptune’s last retrograde spell. For example, in Ireland four people drowned in separate incidents within the space of 48 hours between the 11th and 12th of July.[1]

Flooding has been another characteristic of Neptune’s stay in Pisces. Just this month, we experienced some rather alarming tidal surges off the UK coast, resulting in what some have dubbed a ‘mini-tsunami’. A storm out in the North Sea whipped up swells of up to 7ft (2.4m), leading to the evacuation of several seaside towns along England’s east coast and north Wales, including Great Yarmouth in Suffolk and Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, as well as the collapse of a number of cliffside homes in Hemsby, Norfolk, flooding in Whitby, Yorkshire and the drowning of two people. The latest surge was widely considered to be the worst in 60 years, but, significantly, there were much fewer casualties or flood damage compared to the North Sea Tidal Surge of 1953, thanks to the introduction of many sea and flood defence systems since that fateful natural disaster on New Year’s Eve.

Usually one would expect such events to be tied into soli-lunar cycles but on this occasion, it was just past New Moon (which took place on 3 December 2013); as opposed to the event of 1953, which happened within a few days of the Full Moon of 29 January.

It is perhaps significant from an astrological perspective that Neptune, the planet that rules oceans, made an exact square to Mercury on the evening of 6 December 2013 at around 21h30 GMT.

Neptune is very much the planet of idealism and dreams, as well as the ruler of large bodies of water such as lakes or the sea. At its best, Neptune can lower any boundaries or obstacles that prevent us from accessing sources of artistic inspiration, or enjoying closer emotional or psychic connections, both with higher spiritual dimensions and other sentient beings. It can also move us to dream of a better life or get in touch with our more noble intentions, including caring for others less fortunate than ourselves.

However, when retrograde, or badly aspected, Neptune can act like a sort of mist, interfering with our judgement, leading to mistakes and sometimes a desire to escape from reality. From a mundane perspective, Neptune rules open water of all kinds – lakes, rivers and the sea. It is possible that over the summer, for example, when it became unusually warm, that many people misjudged the dangers of diving into deep pools or swimming far out to sea, and so took some risks that ultimately found them injuring themselves on unseen rocks, or overwhelmed by strong currents and unable to get back to shore.

For most of the year, Neptune and Chiron have also been orbiting within close proximity of each other. This combination can lead to increased vulnerability to tragedy, rejection or some form of physical or psychological wounding, so it is possible that this also played a role in what occurred in the last couple of years or so. This influence is likely to have been especially strong for those with planets in the early degrees of Pisces, or any of the other mutable signs, over the summer but would also have continued on into the winter as Neptune stationed and began moving closer to Chiron again. In fact, these two planetary bodies have been orbiting close to each other for some years now, both remaining within 8 degrees or so of each other, which may explain why, in recent years, the UK has been hit by an unusually high number of flooding incidents.

Let’s take a closer look at the chart for the December 2013 UK tidal surge. Although direct at the time of the December 2013 sea surges, Neptune’s square to Mercury was certainly not a good sign. Mercury happened to be in the sign of Sagittarius, ruled by the former ruler of Pisces, Jupiter, which is the sign of Mercury’s detriment. Jupiter has a tendency to enlarge or amplify things – in this case, possibly the waves of the sea (Neptune in Pisces), which are often referred to as white horses – an animal definitely ruled by Sagittarius! At the time of the square, Mercury was also orbiting close to Antares, the fixed star known to the Persians as the heart of the Scorpion and, according to Bernadette Brady, this combination can lead to ‘a time of anxiety and worry.’[2]

However, we cannot ignore the influence of several other planets that are prominent in both the charts of the recent tidal surge and that of its 1953 predecessor. In the 1953 chart, Mercury was at 10 degrees Aquarius and conjunct the Sun (under the sunbeams) and the North Node. Both the Sun and Mercury were approaching a square to Jupiter in Taurus, although neither was in contact with Neptune in Libra. The Sun is also in the sign of its detriment, Aquarius. Perhaps it is also significant that the Moon had just entered Aquarius on the evening of 6 Dec 2013 and had recently separated from a sextile to Uranus – ruler of Aquarius? Aquarius, is after all, represented by a sigil that represents flowing waters  …More on this later.

However, more significant perhaps is the fact that, in both charts, Neptune is forming some kind of connection to the fixed star, Spica. In 1953, Neptune was almost exactly conjunct Spica at 23 degrees Libra, and in 2013, the planet was parallel to Spica. You may recall that I picked out Spica as being an important star in the charts of many of certain members of the British royal family. Spica also happens to be setting (i.e. close to the Descendant) in the chart of the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, which many astrologers consider significant for the UK because it symbolises the beginning of Norman rule in Britain and the unification of the disparate Anglo-Saxon kingdoms into one fiefdom and therefore the start of both England and the royal family as we know it. 23 degrees of Libra is also a significant degree in this chart – the Descendent of the 1066 chart is 22˚ Libra 17” – pretty close to an exact conjunction (although because of precession, Spica in 1066 was positioned at 10 degrees Libra).

Spica (and therefore, Neptune’s position in the 1953 chart) is also located in the first house of the UK’s 1801 Union chart (the date of the formation of the United Kingdom when England and Wales unified with Scotland), which is the one I tend to use in my astrological work. I also like this one because it has Sirius, considered one of the brightest stars in the sky and a star connected to the current generation of British royalty, including Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge, on the Midheaven.

Returning to our analysis, we cannot ignore the many instances in which the sign of Cancer also seems to crop up in relation to water-related incidents. Over the summer of 2013, the Sun and Jupiter were both in Cancer when many of the sea drownings took place. In both 1953 and 2013, an important outer planet was occupying the sign of Cancer. It also happens to be the ruler of the Midheaven in the 1801 Union chart, and the ruler of the IC in the 1066 chart. So perhaps this sign of Cancer (the sign which Spica currently occupies) may be significant in indicating a connection between floods and homes for the people of the UK?

If we transpose the 2013 chart onto that of the 1801 chart, we get Jupiter in Cancer conjunct the Moon on the Midheaven, and if we do the same with the 1953 chart, we get Uranus in Cancer on the Midheaven. By being close to the Midheaven, both oppose the 1801 chart‘s IC, which as we know, symbolises homes, lands, buildings and property. If we place them onto the 1066 chart, both Jupiter and Uranus move to the 4th house of property, family and home. Uranus also makes an opposition to Mercury in Capricorn on the Midheaven.

To me, this seems to indicate that Cancer and Capricorn along the MC-IC axis are clearly important significators for the UK, pointing to a strong social emphasis on property ownership, home life and family values, and a connection between family bloodlines, land ownership and social status. We only have to look at the reverence given to the royal family and the aristocracy (who are essentially landed gentry who pass down ownership of large estates and titles via a system of family inheritance) to see that this is still very much the case for British society, no matter how much it has claimed to modernise.

Although this serves to help us pinpoint what signs indicate which aspect of British life (the ‘where’), we still cannot get away from the fact that Neptune is still very much a good indicator of the ‘what’ – the floods themselves. Neptune is placed in fairly prominent positions in all of the charts we have looked at concerning the tidal surges, which as an island nation, seems fitting: It appears in the first house of the 1953 chart, and is located in the 7th house of the 2013 chart. If we transpose both flood charts onto the 1801 chart, we also get significant placements for Neptune – the 1953 chart puts Neptune in the first house of the 1801 chart, from where it aspects the 1801 Saturn, ruler of the IC in the Union horoscope. The 2013 chart puts Neptune in the 5th house of the 1801 chart, where it conjuncts Pluto, ruler of the 2nd house (a secondary indicator of property because of its association with money and material assets). Pluto also happens to square the 2013 Mercury in Sagittarius, which is conjunct to the 1801 Chiron…Once again, the Neptune-Chiron connection in relation to flooding seems to emerge!

What strengthens this connection further is the fact that both of these planets have been orbiting very close to Fomalhaut, the fixed star located in the mouth of Pisces Australis, the southern Fish. This star has a rather ambiguous reputation amongst  astrologers – on the one hand, it is the star associated with immortality, spiritual virtue and fame, but on the other, it is considered to be indicative of secret enemies, narrow escapes and the deception – a bit like Neptune!. What is most interesting is that it lies in that part of the sky which Aratus called the ‘Water’ because of its proximity to the sign of Aquarius the water bearer, and in Western stellar mythology, ‘this is the fish that drinks the flow from the urn of Aquarius.’[3] This may explain the connection between Neptune/Pisces and Uranus/Aquarius with flooding in our charts.

With Neptune currently located in its own sign, that of Pisces, the emphasis on water and flooding is likely to continue for some time. Neptune will remain here until at least 2026, so UK authorities would be seriously advised to make plans to protect the many homes that lie along the south and east coastlines, as well as those positioned on the flood plains of major rivers such as the Thames estuary, because these are more likely to be affected by heavy rains and tidal surges in the future as the planet becomes hotter and wetter, and ocean levels rise in the wake of melting polar icecaps.

According to the UK government website:

“In England, more than 5 million properties are at risk of flooding – that’s nearly 1 in 6.

There are also more than 200 homes at risk of complete loss to coastal erosion in the next 20 years. It’s possible 2,000 more could become at risk over this period.

The latest climate projections indicate that sea levels will rise, and there will be increasingly severe and frequent rainstorms. This means the risk of floods will increase.”[4]

As a result, they have set aside £2 billion in funding to improve flood forecasting and early warning systems; reinforce existing flood defences and improve flood protection for 165,000 households over the next four years. However, it is expected that flood insurance premiums are likely to rise in the near future, so anyone thinking of buying a home close to a river, along the east coast or on a flood plain, should consult the Environment Agency to find out what flood zone they are in and get an estimate of what sort of costs may be involved.

Of course, Neptune’s stay in Pisces is not all doom and gloom. In July, Neptune was also involved in the major grand trine with Jupiter and Saturn. This coincided with the birth of Prince William’s heir, Prince George of Cambridge, on whose chart I have written fairly extensively, and who also has Spica quite prominent. The other two planets in this grand trine, Jupiter and Saturn, also happened to be within orb of a second trine on December 6, which may have served mitigated the damage caused by the latest tidal surge and preventing casualties levels from reaching those of 1953, no doubt via the many sea and flood defences that have been put in place since then.

Furthermore, HM Government is also currently in negotiations with the UK insurance industry to try and ensure that those living in the most flood-prone areas of the UK are still able to get access to affordable flood insurance. Another positive spin-off of the July major grand trine? Let’s hope so!


[1] ‘Four drowning deaths within 48 hours in Irish Republic,’ BBC News,

[2][2] Brady, Star and Planet Combinations, p. 125

[3] Brady, Star and Planet Combinations, p. 169

Developments in the French Alps Murders


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English: Lake of Annecy by the sky. Français :...

Lake of Annecy in France near the Swiss Alps. This quiet region was the scene of a horrific family murder in September 2012.

October saw quite a lot of planetary activity in the sign of Scorpio. This seemed to coincide with the re-opening of several high profile criminal cold cases, including that of Madeleine McCann, which I blogged about last month, along with some new developments in others.

One such case, which saw a resurgence in media interest last month as a result of the release of a new e-Fit of the suspected assailant, was that of the Al-Hilli’s, a family formerly from Iraq, who resettled in Britain in the 1980’s. Saad Al-Hilli, along with his wife, mother-in-law and children, were brutally attacked by what police think was a lone gunman whilst on holiday in France, an event which left all but the two children alive, if severely traumatised. Despite an extensive investigation by French police in co-operation with Interpol, no one has ever been arrested and charged with the multiple murders.

Given the recent press about new witness sightings and TV and newspaper interviews with Zaid Al-Hilli, Saad’s brother in connection with his possible involvement in the crimes, ostensibly because of a rumoured rift over money, I thought it might be a good moment to have a look at the event chart of the murder to see whether it holds any clues. According to news reports, the murders took place sometime after 3:30pm local time at a beauty spot near Chevaline, a small alpine town on the French-Swiss border.

chart cast on the day of the murders for 15h40 local time has Sagittarius rising, making the chart ruler Jupiter. However, perhaps more significantly, Pluto in Capricorn is also in the 1st house. Pluto rules the cusp of the 11th house by its dominion over Scorpio, whose co-ruler is Mars. This suggests that powerful institutions (Pluto in Capricorn) and secret groups or associations (Scorpio on cusp of 11th) may play a significant role in what took place on this fateful September day.

In this particular delineation, Mars also happens to be in Scorpio, so is very strong, and is located in the 10th house, very close to the cusp of the 11th. We have seen elsewhere, such as the astrology of the death of Boris Borezovsky, that Mars can often signify the nature of the killer, given its traditional association with guns, knives, war and butchery. Placed in Scorpio, a sign associated with revenge, violence, ruthlessness and extreme views, it seems to describe a cold-hearted, clinical killer, possibly a mercenary or professional hitman, given Mars’ position in the 10th house of careers, suggesting that this person kills for a living and could well be ex-army or affiliated with some form of military or para-military group.

Although this sounds like one of those crackpot conspiracy theories, it is not altogether out of the question, as stated in the media by the French police. According to them, the shooter was obviously very experienced because, of the 21 bullets that were fired from the gun, 17 hit their target. There was also no damage to bodywork of the Al-Hilli’s car, even though it was moving (Saad tried to get away but the car got stuck on an embankment as he turned it, and he was then shot in the driver’s seat). Also, because of the type of gun that was used, the shooter had to reload the gun twice, something only an experienced shooter could do without making a mistake or letting people get away. Furthermore, the ‘double tap’ to the head ‘execution’ style of the shootings also seems to smack of someone carrying out a professional hit.[1]

One of the three main theories about the motivation for the killing is that a state-sponsored agency or underground political movement might be involved, although this was quickly dismissed in favour of more personal theories involving family disputes over money. However, the astrology seems to suggest that it is not altogether out of the question.

But why would such organisations want to assassinate Saad Al-Hilli? Here we need to look a little closer at Jupiter, the chart’s ruler.

Jupiter, ruler of the AS, is in Gemini – the place of its detriment (being opposite the sign that it naturally rules) – a sign associated with communications of all kinds, including communications technology – and is in the 6th house of health, work, pets and everyday routines. Traditional astrologers felt that this house was not a terribly auspicious place. According to the Roman astrologer, Firmicus Maternus, for example, any astrologer should pray ‘that the chart you are working on does not have planets, either malefic or benefic, in the sixth or twelfth houses; or in the second or eighth. For these houses are always filled with hostile influences from all planets.’ (Mathesis, Book Six, I.6). In her book, The Houses: Temples of the Sky, Deborah Houlding writes that, ‘Generally, this is regarded as a house of weakness and affliction. As a cadent house, it represents alien or unhelpful conditions.’[2]

The planet that rules the 6th house cusp is Mercury, which is exalted in Virgo and located in the 8th house, close to a conjunction with the Sun. This is rather interesting, for the 8th house was considered to be the house of death. Known to the Greeks as Epicataphora which means ‘falling down’ (usually into the underworld) in crimes of murder, it is considered to be the house of the victim/s. From the Sun-Mercury conjunction, we might infer that the primary target in this murder was Saad Al-Hilli, who is represented by the Sun in Virgo, on the cusp of the 9th house of foreign travel (the Al-Hilli’s were on a camping holiday to nearby Lake Annecy at the time). Although in the 9th house, this house is also ruled by Mercury, which together with the conjunction, seems to bind these two planets together.

Jupiter is also square to the Sun, which may be significant. Could it point to a work connection of some kind? Al-Hilli was a systems engineer who worked for a satellite company and some have speculated that because of his Middle Eastern background and technical know-how, he may have been approached by the criminal underworld or a state agency keen to involve him in industrial espionage. According to Eric Maillaud, spokesman for the French police,

“His [Saad Al-Hilli’s] company worked for many foreign states. Any mention of foreign countries and industrial espionage inevitably raises the possibility of the involvement of secret intelligence agencies.” [3] He adds that the former satellite communications engineer had recorded all of his telephone conversations in the months leading up to his death and that he “Al-Hilli had in his possession a lot more material than his job would justify.”[4]

A recent BBC Panorama documentary dismissed this claim, saying that the material on Saad’s computer was not defence-related. They also interviewed a friend and colleague who asserts that Saad had no security clearance at all because he was a contractor brought in to solve ‘small problems’ and was too subordinate to be privy to any “classified” technical secrets.[5] However, given the position of Pluto in the first house (secret agencies), and its rulership of the 11th, and the connection between the main victim, Saad Al-Hilli (represented by the Sun in Virgo in the 9th) and Jupiter in Gemini in the 6th (work in the communications field), perhaps this is not altogether as far-fetched as it may sound? In fact, according to other reports, Saad had worked as a contractor for a a number of different companies, including a nuclear research facility in Oxfordshire during the 1980’s, at which time a friend remembers him  expressing rather passionate anti-Israeli views via forums and chatrooms. It is possible that he may well have been recruited at some time by an insurgent group or rogue state at this time, or at the very least,come to the attention of the authorities. (See: Ref 13)

Jupiter’s presence in the 6th has already brought our attention to the sixth house. This house was referred to by Latin astrologers as Mala Fortuna (bad fortune) and is the house where the minor malefic planet, Mars, is said to rejoice. One again, it seems we are being led back to Mars, not just because of its natural association with the 6th house, but because in this chart it seems to represent the killer. It seems clear that the killer was some kind of professional hitman.

So, if we put aside the notion of a foreign agency for a minute, who else might have hired a professional hitman to kill the Al-Hilli’s?

Here, Mars’ rulership of the IC (Aries is on the cusp of the 4th house) may provide a clue. The 4th house governs both the past, family ties and matters connected with the father. It is also the house of land, property and hidden wealth, as well as riches extracted from beneath the earth, such as gems, minerals and sources of energy like oil and coal. The connection of Mars to the 4th house could be interpreted in one of two ways. Either the answers to Saad Al-Hilli’s death lies in his family’s past connections to Iraq, or it has to do with his father’s legacy – the family fortune.

Rumours have swirled in the French and English press about possible associations between Saad’s father, Khadem Al-Hilli, and the regime of Saddam Hussein, with one article stating that:

“There have been reports that his late father, Khadem, was once close to Saddam’s Ba’ath Party but fell foul of the tyrant in the Seventies, and fled Iraq for Britain.

Alternatively, it has been suggested this was a smokescreen and that Khadem’s true role was to manage secret accounts for the regime.”[6]

It is now known by the authorities that Khadem had left over £800,000 in a private Swiss bank account, which he opened in 1988 – one that a man from Salford was recently charged with attempting to defraud, although the case was later dropped.[7] Noone is sure where this money came from. It may have been the proceeds of the sale of the family business in Iraq, (the family owned a gypsum factory and a poultry farm) or it could have had a more sinister origin? French Newspaper, Le Monde, has made claims that the German intelligence agency, BND, has traced a large deposit of nearly £840,000 to the Geneva bank account back to Saddam Hussein, although this has never been confirmed publicly.

So was he killed by some extremist group with links to the former Iraqi regime? Were they tapping him up for technical secrets or were they hoping to get their hands on the old regime’s secret funds? Let’s look at Pluto’s aspects to see if we can glean anything from the chart.

At the time of the murders, Pluto had just separated from a sextile to Mars. Clearly, there is a link between the killer and the powerful individual or shadowy group that Pluto represents. Prior to this, Pluto made a trine to Mercury, ruler of the 6th, 7th and 9th houses, which seems to suggest a foreign link (9th) as well as a connection to work or health (6th) and some kind of partnership (7th). As with the chart for Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, Gemini on the 7th house cusp hints at the involvement of at least two people in the murder – and if a recent press release from the French police is anything to go by, so do they.  Speaking at a recent press briefing in Annecy, Mr Maillaud said that, thanks to new witness evidence which places a car with British plates in the area just before the murder, the ‘case looks more and more like an ambush’ and that more than one gunman was likely to have been involved.[8]

The presence of Venus in the 7th house does make one wonder whether the second person was a woman. Venus’ rulership of the 5th house (lovers and children) and 10th houses (career, ambition) could hint at a Lady Macbeth-type character as the power behind the situation, but equally it could point to the two daughters who survived the killings.  They could become the nemeses of the killer when they grow up, especially if they begin to remember more about what they witnessed, or if they decide to try and find out more about who killed their parents. We forget that the 7th can represent sworn enemies as well as close partnerships, and Venus’ rulership of the MC (Libra) may point to a later quest for justice if their parent’s killer is never found.

Of course, Pluto could also represent powerful friends or associates. And rather than a shadowy institution, Capricorn might symbolise someone powerful with a link to the father. While this could point to Iraqi political or family connections, it could equally suggest the involvement of a friend of Saad or the Al-Hilli family. Could someone have been threatening or blackmailing a member of the family, for instance? Here, we may need to consider the fact that Saad had made a visit to Iraq to try and recover a family property that had been taken over by squatters post the chaos of the Iraq war. He returned, badly beaten and shaken, obviously having been attacked by the squatters, but had told friends just before his death that ‘everything was sorted.’[9]

Given Mars’ rulership of the IC, it is possible that the disputed property in Iraq may have been a reason for his killing. However, more importantly, we cannot rule out the possibility that Saad may have been killed by a member of his family. Both friends and the French police have claimed that the brothers may have been locked in a family feud over money and that Zaid Al-Hilli may have had his brother murdered by a hitman because he wanted to get his hands on the family fortune.

It may be significant that Lake Annecy, the scene of the crime, is only an hour’s drive to Geneva, and it is thought that Saad was planning to make a detour there the following Monday to see the bank. The French police also found all the proof that he had collected about his brother’s alleged fraud in his holiday caravan, papers that perhaps he intended to show to the Swiss authorities in the hopes of preventing his brother from gaining sole access to his late father’s accounts.

It emerged later that Saad had confided in a friend that Zaid had had him deliberately excluded from the deeds of a family-owned property in Spain and was going to try and steal his inheritance from him through a fraudulent will that Saad had found after going through his brother’s things at the family home in Claygate which they shared at one time. French police have corroborated this saying that they had found two copies of the father’s will when they searched the property, one of which left everything to Zaid; and another, which called for the father’s assets to be divided equally amongst his two children.  Although he has denied that there was any kind of serious rift between them, friends say that the brothers had been estranged from each other in recent years and were engaged in a legal dispute over the family properties. In a further twist, it also emerged that the Swiss authorities had discovered that in the final year of Khadem Al-Hilli’s life (the brothers’ father), Zaid had attempted to obtain access to his father’s Swiss funds by fraudulently opening up a credit card and forging his father’s signature, which had been denied by the bank after performing some security checks . In addition, correspondence between Saad and a friend show that there had been serious altercations about money between the two brothers, and that the murder victim suspected that his brother had tried to steal from his father by various means, which is why after Zaid moved out of the family home, he had the locks changed and had a new alarm fitted.

The older Al-Hilli brother, an accountant, has already been arrested for conspiracy to murder his brother and been taken in for questioning twice but so far, no charges have been brought against him. He has been able to provide an alibi, proving he was in the UK at the time of the shooting, and no proof has emerged so far connecting him directly to the crime, so he remains a free man.

So, is there any hint in the astrology as to whether or not it was Zaid, and not some powerful secret institution, that might have killed his brother and his family?

Well, firstly, the Moon in Taurus happens to be in the 4th house of home and family. Furthermore, as ruler of Cancer, it also happens to rule the 8th house, which, aside from being the house of death, is also the house of legacies and shared assets. What’s more, the Sun in Virgo in the 9th happens to make aspects both to the Moon and Mars, which appears to hint at a family connection between Saad and his killer, which is reinforced by Mars’ rulership of the 4th house.

Furthermore, Mars is also separating from a trine to Chiron in Pisces in the 2nd house, which reinforces the idea of a financial motive to the killing. The unusual involvement of Chiron might hint further at some sort of financial difficulties, or at the gaping wound of the brothers’ rift over the family inheritance, which is said to have hurt Saad deeply.

But who or what, then, might Mercury represent? Given that Mercury is the sign of movement and transportation, perhaps it points to Sylvain Mollier, the unsuspecting bike rider who, it is thought, just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time – and being witness to a multiple murder, was killed to protect the perpetrator’s identity.

But, what of the fact that the Sun is, technically, in the 9th house, and that it is actually Mercury that is in the 8th? Does this lend weight to the theory that it was, in fact, Sylvain Mollier, and not Saad Al-Hilli, who was the intended victim of this crime? This is the argument being put forward by several camps, including Zaid Al-Hilli. This theory was fuelled further by news reports claiming that Mollier, a welder at a local factory that made components for the nuclear industry, was the first to die and that a leaked forensics report shows that he was shot five times – more than any other victim.[10]  Some have theorised that his wealthy soon-to-be father-in-law, the former owner of a local pharmacy, didn’t approve of his relationship with Claire, his daughter, a pharmacist who had just taken over the family business and had him killed. Speaking in an interview, Zaid Al-Hilli claimed that:

“Sylvain Mollier was involved in family disputes and was an outsider to [his] rich family. There is something more to it locally… most crime has local roots.”[11] He remains convinced that ‘powerful local forces’ are at work to cover up what really happened and has stated that he has become the target of the investigation for ‘racist’ reasons.

However, these allegations have been refuted by the French police, who claim that there is no evidence to suggest a hit based on a local family feud involving Mollier and his future in-laws. Their explanation for the additional bullets is that Mollier probably took the gunman by surprise and he shot the biker several times to make sure that he left no witnesses. Although a professional hitman was initially suspected, the choice of gun, a Luger, considered to be a WWII relic, which is unreliable, requires manual reloading and is fairly easy to trace, as well as the spent shells left at the crime scene, may suggest otherwise.[12]

More interesting is that fact that Mercury happens to be very close to an exact opposition with Chiron in the 2nd house and is in paran with fixed star, Thuban.  Bernadette Brady’s Star & Planent Combinations describes Thuban, the alpha star in the constellation of Draco, in paran to Mercury as either signifying a link to professions that involve collecting, conserving or even guarding information, or as pointing to ‘national secrets, spies and security matters.’ Strangely, in Saad Al-Hilli’s natal chart, Thuban happens to be conjunct his natal Pluto…Sadly, however, because we do not have his exact time of birth, we cannot look at house placements.

The Mercury-Chiron link is interesting. Does it suggest a financial vulnerability that left one or both of the victims open to an approach from a foreign power such as Iran trying to buy materials for their nuclear programme as one newspaper suggests[13], or a secret agency trying to collect technology secrets? And, given the conjunction between the Sun and Mercury, could these two men have known each other?

Maillaud has expressed his suspicions about why Mollier was at this particular beauty spot on his racing bike, as the road leading there is full of potholes and not suitable for bikes with his thin tyres. So was he there for a secret assignation? The French police doubt it, saying they think he just got lost and so was there by mistake. However, he was not a holiday maker but local to the region, so this seems a little unlikely. Could there be more to his presence than meets the eye? And do the answers to this crime lie in the local region, as Zaid Al-Hilli has suggested?

Quite possibly, if the event chart is anything to go by. What gives this theory added weight is the square between Pluto and Uranus in Aries in the 3rd house. The presence of Uranus here could possibly point to a local connection since the 3rd house rules close relatives like siblings, neighbourhoods and local affairs, the 3rd house. Uranus in Aries points to someone who is a bit of a loner and a rebel, but who may also be potentially violent, so we are talking about an outsider of some kind, perhaps a black sheep or someone not native to the region who is a bit of an outcast. Uranus rules Aquarius, which is intercepted in the second house of money and property. Again, we seem to have a link to a financial motive or a dispute over property. Uranus is also quincunxed by both Mercury and Mars, linking Sylvain Mollier and the killer to this planet. All very bizarre, unless we really do consider the theory that both Sylvain and Saad were the intended targets and that they did possibly know each other and were working for a foreign power who may have been trying to obtain the technical know-how and raw materials to improve their weapons programme, as one former security analyst has suggested.[14] But it does not explain the family/property connection, unless of course this is referring to Saad’s father’s links to the former ruling elite of Iraq and possibly the chicken farm and house still owned by the family in Baghdad.

The French prosecutor, Eric Maillaud, thinks that this investigation is unlikely to be solved anytime soon, and judging by the astrology, it looks as though he may be right.


[1] ‘Al-Hilli murder: Police believe killer was experienced’, BBC News,

[2] Houlding (2006) The Houses: Temples of the Sky, p. 75

[3] ‘Al-Hilli killings: One year on, mystery surrounds the quadruple murder in the Alps,’ The Independent,

[4] ‘French Alps murders: Was victim Saad al-Hilli involved in shady work deal?’, The Mirror,

[6] ‘Iraqi intelligence asked to probe murder of British engineer in French Alps amid claims he was “beaten-up on business trip”’, The Daily Mail,

[7] ‘Man denies fraud charge over Saad al-Hilli accounts,’ BBC News,

[10] ‘French Alps murders: Cyclist ‘was shot first,’ BBC News,

[11] ‘Alps murders: French police “covering up”, says brother’, BBC News,

[12] ‘Alps murders: Family of French cyclist Sylvain Mollier speak out for first time,’ The Telegraph,

Madeleine McCann – Why it’s so difficult for astrologers to make pronouncements about the case


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Have You Seen _ Madeleine McCann - Maddie ?

Missing Persons Poster for Maddy

Madeleine McCann, daughter of Gerry and Kate McCann, disappeared from the Ocean Club beach resort in Praia de Luz, a holiday destination on the Portuguese Algarve, on 3 May 2007. Since then speculation concerning what happened has led to a number of false arrests, as well as several successful libel suits against both British and Portuguese newspaper groups, not to mention the publication (and banning) of several books on the subject.

Now, with the case being re-opened by the London Metropolitan Police and a brand new appeal to be launched on BBC’s Crimewatch this evening, I thought I would briefly outline why many well-known astrologers may have been reluctant to comment in any conclusive way about the case.

Aside from wanting to avoid legal action and accusations of slander, many astrologers have been fairly confounded about her disappearance for a number of reasons. The first becomes immediately apparent when a horary chart is cast for the event of her disappearance. Although the Moon, in fall in the secretive sign of Scorpio, is very close to rising, it is also void of course – a condition that makes it difficult for any kind of horary judgement to be made about the matter.

In fact, if we are to take our lead from William Lilly, the famous 18th century English astrologer, on the matter, it may be foolhardy to do so. In his well-known text, Christian Astrology, he writes:

“Generally consider the state of the Moon, for if she be void of course there’s no great hopes of the Question propounded, that it shall be effected; yet if she be in Cancer, Taurus, Sagittarius or Pisces, your fear may be lesse, for then she is not much impedited by being voyd of course.”

[CA, Aphorism 9 of his section entitled ‘APHORISMES and Considerations for better judging any HORARY QUESTION.’]

It is, perhaps this Scorpio Moon that has lead astrologers such as Marjorie Orr to talk of a ‘niggling feeling that everyone seems to have that everything is not quite what it seems.’[i] By itself, the Moon in Scorpio suggests that the matter is far from straightforward or clear – adding a murky and mysterious, if suspicious element to proceedings. The condition of the Moon, in fall, makes it difficult to read.

If we consider that in this chart, the Moon rules the 9th house of foreign travel, then perhaps the lack of clarity may be due to the fact that the event took place in Portugal, foreign territory for the McCanns, a place full of strangers and where police investigations are conducted somewhat differently. We know now that the initial enquiry was bungled by the local police, perhaps unused to contending with high profile cases of this nature, and that, like the case of the murder of Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007, much forensic evidence was either lost or contaminated due to poor crime scene management procedures.

Although it is tempting to interpret Venus (Lady of the 7th house) in the 8th as Madeleine, the fact that the Moon is about to change signs means that it is difficult to draw any kind of conclusions from this placement, however persuasive or compelling the symbolism.

The other factor, of course, is that we do not know the definite birth times of all the parties involved. Although several birth times and dates have emerged over the past six years for Gerry, Kate and Madeleine, none has been confirmed by the family. We do know that Madeleine was born on the 12th of May 2003[ii], probably in Rothley, Leicestershire, where her parents live.[iii] It has since been claimed that her birth time is 18h14, but this remains unconfirmed. Gerry’s birth data is given on Astrodatabank as  being 07h45 on 5 June 1968, Glasgow, while Kate’s is thought to be 5 March 1968 Liverpool, England with two suggested times – 6.50 am and 7.45 am.

Marjorie Orr has made some preliminary comments about the parent’s charts, as well as the astrology surrounding Madeleine’s disappearance, which perhaps might further explain why, for many, the whole matter is so murky:

Madeleine also disappeared when there was a fixed Grand Square of the Full Moon onto the Saturn-Neptune opposition – and that is very paranoid and prone to conspiracy theories. It may also be partly that both Gerry and Kate McCann have Jupiter in Leo square Neptune in their charts – Jupiter in Leo is a showman, given to extravagant gestures; and square to Neptune, which adds a slightly unreal streak to their natures and their image. With Neptune around, there’s always a feeling that things aren’t quite as straightforward as they seem. There’s no suggestion in it of anything really nasty – it’s just difficult with Neptune to pin down exactly what is going on.[iv]

This could explain why suspicion originally fell on them – not necessarily because they were guilty per se, but because they gave off this very unreal, slightly ‘shady’ energy, which made it difficult for people to trust them.

Neptune is a planet that governs mists and can have the effect of obscuring things, blurring outlines or making people seem a little unreal or deceptive, so it is probably quite important that not only do Gerry and Kate have an afflicted natal Neptune, but that Neptune was very close to an exact opposition with Saturn at the time of the event. One could say that this opposition, which was in effect for much of 2006 through to the end of 2007, could be characterised by the theme of ‘appearance vs. reality’. During this time, many people found it hard to separate fact from fiction, and indeed, it was during this period that the global financial bubble, caused by reckless futures trading and the buying and selling of ‘fantasy money’ on the stock markets, reached its height before finally bursting in 2008.

We saw a similar pattern with the case of Meredith Kercher, in which two of the prime suspects, Amanda Knox and her lover, Raffaele Sollecito (along with Ivory Coast national, Rudy Hermann Guede, who was convicted in a separate fast track trial), were hastily convicted of Meredith’s murder in 2008/9, but this was swiftly followed by a successful appeal to have the case overturned in 2011.[v] Once again, seemingly due to police incompetence, not only was the crime scene contaminated, affecting the validity of later DNA testing, but certain leads were never followed up. A definite time of death for Meredith has also never been properly established. Now, with a re-trial currently underway in Florence, the strange and rather complex case is once again in the spotlight.[vi]

It is interesting that Amanda Knox, the student co-accused of conspiring to kill Meredith, also has a natal Mercury-Neptune opposition[vii]. This may help to explain why she changed her story so often during questioning (which may simply have been because she was scared and trying to protect herself by adapting to changing circumstances) and why she continues to appear so guilty and untrustworthy, despite, like the McCanns, protesting her innocence.

As well as the Jupiter square mentioned above, Kate McCann also has a Moon-Neptune opposition,  which is particularly interesting, given that Maddy was born on the New Moon when Madeleine’s natal Sun was exactly conjunct Kate McCann’s Moon – ‘a classic child parent connection,’ according to Orr.[viii]

Following on from this, it is perhaps worth noting (although no definite conclusions can be drawn from it at this stage) that on the 3rd of May 2007, the transiting Sun and Mercury, both in a tight conjunction in Taurus (13 degrees Taurus), were both transiting extremely close to Maddy’s natal Mercury (also 13 degrees Taurus), which is square to her natal Mars-Neptune conjunction. Again, we have the signature of Neptune, albeit somewhat indirectly, further suggesting that the truth of what happened that day is being obscured in some way. Mercury, if afflicted, is often associated with thieves in horary astrology. Tied by aspect to the Sun, it does suggest that two people may somehow have conspired to carry out what happened to her on that day. Of course, as with any other transit, these can be interpreted in a number of ways, so to try and say more than that at this stage, would be mere speculation.

Here I should point out that, other than the Moon, we can be certain of Madeleine’s natal planets – we just cannot be sure of her Moon sign (it was on the cusp between Virgo and Libra on that day) or her house cusps. You can view my working natal chart for  Madeleine McCann, along with transits, by clicking on the hyperlink.

On that fateful day, the Moon in Scorpio was also very close to an exact conjunction with Maddy’s natal North Node (0 degrees Sagittarius), so perhaps, from the perspective of evolutionary astrology, this was part of her role in this particular lifetime, to teach her parents, or society at large, certain lessons concerning the need to discern between beliefs vs. facts, especially in the media, through her ordeal. On the other hand, if she is ever found, it may well be the case that, like the girls recently found in Cleveland Ohio after being abducted and held for over 10 years, her parent’s faith and hope that she is alive will prove to be well-founded.

Of course, Neptune has changed signs since then, making positive contacts to Jupiter and Saturn in July, so perhaps the time has come for some answers to emerge in this longstanding and tragic case. On the eve of the Crimewatch broadcast, with the transiting Moon newly ingressed into Pisces, and a lunar eclipse in Aries in a few days’ time, perhaps this fresh appeal to to the public will finally yield some clues. Let’s hope so.


[i] Marjorie Orr,  Blog post, 10 Nov 2007 14:10, Astro Information,

[ii] See the post entitled ‘General Update May 2009’, on,

[iv] Marjorie Orr,  Blog post, ‘McCanns, 21 Jul 2008 20:30’, Astro Information,

[v] BBC News, ‘Meredith Kercher murder: Timeline’,

[vi] BBC News, ‘Meredith Kercher murder: Amanda Knox retrial opens’ (30 Sept 2013),

[viii] Marjorie Orr,  Blog post, 10 Nov 2007 14:10, Astro Information,

A Closer Look at the Natal Chart of Prince George


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Copyright Michael Middleton

Copyright Michael Middleton

As promised, here are some notes on the natal chart of Prince George Arthur Louis Windsor. As I will only be focusing on key aspects of his horoscope, I have also included a downloadable PDF download of his Zodiac Child natal interpretation on the Sample Reports page on the Astro-Report Shop website for those who are interested in a more over-arching personality profile.

Many astrologers, including yours truly, had high hopes for this royal child’s birth chart, especially with his due date being so close to the time of the major grand trine involving Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune, which reached its peak between the 17th and 19th of July. However, many, including myself, were somewhat disappointed, when the royal arrival chose 16h24 on the 22nd of July 2013 to arrive – less than an hour before the Sun would have ingressed into the regal sign of Leo, and several hours before the Full Moon made its appearance.

In fact, the natal chart of George Alexander Louis, Prince of Cambridge seems more of homage to that of his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, than the chart of a future king – filled with plenty of planets in Cancer and Capricorn, the sign of Kate’s Sun and Moon. With Sun, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter all in Cancer, Prince George is likely to be sensitive and very close emotionally to his family, his mother in particular. In fact, his Moon in Capricorn seems to be a very clear symbol of her future importance in his life. Hopefully her gentleness and warmth will help him avoid getting too down or emotionally inhibited – a distinct possibility with this placing, which can make people prone to seriousness and depression. His father also happens to share his Cancer sun, suggesting that there will be a similarity in their emotional outlook and approach to life – William was very close to his mother, and may see himself in his son if George turns out to be similar. Highly likely, given that Kate has a very strong Moon in Cancer and was born on the day of a lunar eclipse. I also sense that his family will want to protect him from media intrusion and do everything they can to give him a ‘normal’ and private upbringing away from prying eyes, something which Cancerian children really appreciate.


However, many of his natal planets are in signs where they are not traditionally comfortable, including Venus (detriment in Virgo), Mars (fall in Cancer), Moon in Capricorn (detriment) so he is not likely to have an easy time of it – expressing himself, especially emotionally is unlikely to come naturally. So in that sense, he may be quite serious and introverted like Charles but relax as he gets older and become more comfortable with himself over time.

That said, he does have a Mars-Jupiter conjunction in Cancer. Jupiter is very much exalted in Cancer, so this is a strong placing, one he shares with his great grandmother, the Queen, who has a Mars-Jupiter conjunction in Aquarius. (View her chart.) Given that Sagittarius forms a large portion of his natal first house, it does seem likely that he will be a very energetic and active child – we have already heard that he is a wriggler with a strong voice. Perhaps he will share her love of equestrian pursuits? My own guess is that he will follow his father and uncle’s footsteps by joining the military and that this will form an important part of his life. Given the 8th house placing of these planets, another possibility is that he will play an important role in keeping the legacy of certain deceased relatives alive. Already, within weeks of his birth, it was announced that new evidence had been presented to the detectives in charge of the investigation into Princess Diana’s death. Could it be that his life, and hers, are somehow spookily intertwined?

Scorpio Ascendant

Here, we should turn to his Scorpio Ascendant. Often children with strong Scorpio or 8th house placements have this uncanny knack of being born very close to the date of the death of another deceased relative, representing a sort of continuity. Here, he forms part of a male line in the family, starting with his grandfather, Prince Charles, who has the Sun in Scorpio, and before that, his great great grandfather, George VI (the Queen’s father and the main character in the Queen’s Speech) after whom it is thought he may have been named. George, known to his nearest and dearest as Bertie, was born with a stellium of planets, including Venus, Saturn, Uranus and the Moon; all in Scorpio. He was also born on the exact date of the anniversary of his grandfather, Prince Albert’s death on 14 December 1895.[1] Queen Victoria was quite spooked by this but was appeased by the fact that he was to be named after her beloved husband, saying later in her correspondence that his birth ‘had broken the spell of this most unlucky date’. So clearly, a string connection to some of his ancestors there…

In terms of personality, this placement can sometimes, contrary to popular belief, induce great shyness or self-consciousness, as especially in youth – as we saw in the movie, The King’s Speech, Bertie had a terrible stammer. He also had knock knees and was naturally left-handed but was forced to write with his other hand. Such early setbacks can lead to masochistic tendencies in childhood or later life, with people punishing themselves for any physical weaknesses or emotional inadequacies they may feel they have, or which they have been told that they have. Often, these children will take on psycho-somatic illnesses, sometimes as a way of taking away the suffering of loved ones – these people are highly sensitive, if a bit prickly, no doubt a sort of defence mechanism.

So, could this indicate ill-health in the prince? Possibly, given that his house of health is ruled by Venus, which is in Virgo – the sign very much associated with hypochondriacs and health nuts. What is more, the prince’s south node, said to have the nature of Saturn, and therefore a certain degree of suffering and difficulty, is in Taurus in the 6th. Perhaps tonsillitis or constant throat infections might be an issue. More than likely, though, a Scorpio Ascendant could indicate moodiness, and a determination to get his own way, as well as an interest in mystical subjects, or a possible preoccupation with power and/or sex. Perhaps, like Price Charles, he may also choose to tackle what are deemed controversial or taboo subjects in the arena of public debate.

Will he be a playboy like his uncle Harry and great-uncle Andrew then? Given the super-charged physicality indicated by his Mars-Jupiter conjunction in the 8th house of his chart – the house associated with sex and intimacy, it does seem likely that he may be endowed with some prowess in this area, but with Venus, ruler of his 7th house cusp, in super-fussy Virgo, he won’t settle down with just anyone – so it is likely that if he does choose to marry, it will late in life, if at all. Venus is also very prominent in his chart, sitting right near the top in the 9th or 10th house (depending on what house system you use Equal Houses), which again suggests either artistic flair or someone who is a professional loverboy.

Cuspal Sun

His Sun, which is just two minutes’ short, in degree-terms, from being in Leo, is also rather ‘iffy’ – not quite Leo but only just Cancer. Bernadette Brady commented on this via her Facebook platform, saying that when studying the charts of 25 other members of the royal family whose chart data she had collected, starting with King Henry II in the early 1100’s, 16 have “ …either their Sun or Moon between 28 to 1 degree of the zodiac.” She adds: “This appears to be a ‘family’ pattern which began with Edward II in 1284 and includes Elizabeth II, her son, Charles and his son William.” His grandfather, Prince Charles, has a very cuspal Moon, also in Taurus, this time at around 0 degrees 25 minutes whilst his father, Prince William, has his natal Sun at just 0 degrees and 6 minutes of Cancer. Her Majesty the Queen was born very close to the cusp of Aries and Taurus – her Sun is just 00 degrees and 12 minutes in Taurus. Interestingly, like Prince George, she too has a natal Mars-Jupiter conjunction in Aquarius, as well as Saturn in Scorpio, which is very prominent on the midheaven, which many astrologers would associate with her absolute dedication to her role as Her Majesty, Queen of England. Will they share a love of horses and sailing? And will he takes his royal duties as seriously as the Queen does? We will have to wait and see…

Looking at the horoscopes of the British royal family, it is interesting that Leo, the sign most associated with royalty and leadership, with the exception of Prince Charles, who has Leo rising, and the Queen, who has the Moon in Leo, tends to show up mainly in the charts of the second born child and not the heir to the throne. For example, Princess Anne, the Queen’s second child, is a Sun Leo with Pluto also in Leo whilst Princess Margaret, the Queen’s younger sister, was also a Sun Leo. Prince Phillip, whose official title is the Prince Consort and not the King, also has his Moon and Neptune in Leo and Prince Andrew, like Charles, also has Leo rising. Bertie also had Jupiter in Leo while his brother Edward had the Descendant but not any planets in Leo – perhaps an indication that he would give his right to the throne away to his younger brother when he abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson.

Fixed Stars

In terms of the history of astrology, the star most associated with royalty is that of Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo, which, since ancient times, has been synonymous with kings and noble births. In fact, Regulus, which once marked the summer solstice (but due to precession, is currently located in the early degrees of Virgo), is also known as Cor Leonis, which in Latin means ‘heart of the lion.’ This may explain the title given to the British king, Richard I, who was known as Richard the Lionheart, ostensibly because of his bravery in battle[2], but which may have had an astrological origin. Giving a certain amount of credence to this idea, medieval astrologers and biographers seem to have assigned to him a 3am birth, which gave him a Leo ascendant.[3]

However, with this royal family, Regulus does not have appeared to produce a major signature in the charts of its members, particularly if we look at key former sovereigns going back to 1066, which is considered to be the start of the current line of kings and queens. Instead, the stars/ that tend to predominate are those of Arcturus and Spica – two stars associated with blazing a unique trail and endowing the potential for brilliance, according to Bernadette Brady. These stars feature strongly in the charts of William the Conqueror, considered by many historians to be the first great ancestor king of the current British dynasty, who has Mercury and North Node conjunct Arcturus & Spica, and Henry III (Arcturus and Spica conjunct his Sun).

Where Regulus does feature natally in the charts of other members of the British royal family, it seems to be either hidden or more representative of the royal line of succession, rather than saying something about the individual themselves. For example, both Henry III and the current Queen, Elizabeth II, were born with Regulus conjunct their south nodes (inherited power through royal bloodlines?) whilst Queen Victoria’s chart features Regulus below the horizon close to the IC, indicating her eventual inheritance of the throne after the death of her father, who was the only one of his brothers to have children, his three elder brothers all having died without issue. Clearly here, then we see Regulus and the IC as indicating the royal line of succession through bloodlines, given the IC’s connection with ancestral roots and children.

However, what is interesting in our Prince’s chart is that he has another set of stars prominent in his chart, including Regulus!

Looking at his natal chart with the fixed stars included, we see that his natal Venus – the same Venus which I initially thought represented a royal princess in my birth enquiry chart – is almost EXACTLY conjunct Regulus, which is currently sitting located at 0 degrees Virgo. So, what could this mean? Much will depend on how this Venus manifests in his life. Located in Virgo, but in the 9th house (which has Leo ruling the cusp) it points to a connection between love, personal values and foreign travel, religious or philosophical beliefs, the law as well as education.

Already his impending birth helped to catalyse the need to change the UK’s succession laws, which were amended in October 2011, in the wake of the marriage of William and Kate with a view to the conception of any future heirs, which means that gender will no longer play a part in determining who could inherit the right to ascend to the throne.[4]

Could his future marriage partner be important to the fate of the monarchy? Perhaps he might be the first openly gay member of the royal family? That would certainly cause controversy! Or he could decide to become a monk or celibate, in which case, there would be no offspring to succeed him, which might explain a 9th house Venus square to Uranus in the 4th…which could mean a severing of the royal bloodline, a desire to free himself from family or parental constraints, or an unconventional family life.

Interpreting any potential implications is largely dependent on which house system you choose to use for George’s chart – the Equal and Koch systems put his Venus in the 10th house, conjunct the MC, which seems to point to his career and possibly his role as a future king, whilst the Placidus system puts Venus in the 9th house, which are suggestive of foreign travel, writing, scholarship, the law or religion/philosophy as possible expressions of his leadership abilities. It could also mean he will marry a foreigner who could prove pivotal to the course of British royal history.

Echoing this connection to the feminine, his Mercury is conjunct to Sirius, the star associated with the planet Venus in medieval hermetic and philosophical circles. Mercury is in Cancer in the 8th house of intimacy and shared possessions – is it possible that he will choose to pay more taxes to the State or give away some of his family properties in order to benefit the people of Britain? His legacy seems somehow to be important here – perhaps he will choose to make some unusual requests in his will that might have ripple effects on family wealth and traditions?

Of course, this is all very much speculation at this point. We will have to wait and see what transpires as he gets older.


[1] King George VI – the Unexpected King, BBC,

[2] King Richard I The Lion Heart (1189 – 1199), Royal Family History,

[3] See the Notes section of ‘Richard I, King of England,’ AstroDatabank,,_King_of_England

[4] ‘Girls Equal in British throne Succession,’ BBC News,

Predicting the Royal Birth Rebooted

Last month, the world waited…and waited… for the birth of the third in line to the throne – the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, known to you and I as Kate and Wills. By mid-month, even the usually placid Taurean Queen seem to be getting impatient, telling well-wishers on a royal excursion on the 17th that she hoped the child would arrive soon as she was due to set off for her annual summer holiday in Balmoral[1].

Despite all the initial predictions and an ‘official’ due date of mid-July, Prince George of Cambridge was born almost two weeks’ late. Leaving hospital, Prince William promised to ‘remind him about his tardiness’ when he got older.[2] In retrospect, perhaps this should not have been that unexpected, given that Mercury was retrograde until the 21st of July – the day before the young prince was born, but of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Amidst all the high hopes for a stellar natal chart, incorporating the stunning major grand trine in water signs that was in play on the 17th, 18th and 19th, the young royal arrived, not with a bang but something of a whimper, on the afternoon of July the 22nd at 14h24 BST, weighing in at 8 lb 6oz.[3]  For example, although Kensington Palace originally stated that the birth announcement would be made via a formal notice, posted theatrically on an easel in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, as had been the case with Prince William’s birth, when it came to the day, protocol seemed to fly out the window. Instead, members of the British media received an e-mail several hours after the event, confirming the birth along with a few keys facts – so much for pomp, ceremony or tradition then…

I won’t go into an analysis of his chart and all its notable features here – a separate article, complete with chart and a link to his Zodiac Child astro-report will be put up for that purpose shortly. All I will say is that I did find his horoscope a tad underwhelming, especially when compared with what it potentially could have been, and part of me wonders if that is a sign of his future prospects as a king. Anyhow, more on that in my other article.

So, back to the birth itself. What I thought I would do, given all the speculation during the build-up to the event, is concentrate on the difficulties of predicting something like a birth that precisely using astrology because for one, it really isn’t as easy or straightforward as people like to make out – astrology is an art and NOT a science. In order to do so, I thought I would relay a little story about how George’s birth time was eventually revealed to me when I chose to take a less structured and more intuitive approach to my astrological enquiry – an experience I found both spooky and rather fascinating because I think it says something about the nature of astrology itself.

In my last blog article, I approached my astrological analysis of the possible birth dates for the prince favoured by the mass media in quite an analytical and most would agree, traditional way, looking for possible transits and mundane planetary positions that might confirm or indicate a royal birth. And as many of us discovered, this might have worked in theory, if the child had been born on time, but it wasn’t.

As we astrologers know only too well but aren’t always prepared to admit, this sort of thing is pretty typical – things don’t always go to plan and life is therefore, never entirely predictable, even with astrology to guide us, despite what some astrologers out there might claim. Many of us go through phases where we believe that our predictions would be more accurate, if only we could master this new technique or improve that area of our technical knowledge or insight etc, but I don’t believe that to be the case. I know I am not the only one who has experienced phenomena such as getting great results from what turns out to be an incorrectly calculated chart or conversely, find myself gazing at a horoscope and not being able to squeeze one iota of meaning or riveting symbolism out of it, despite the fact that you know that something really important happened at this particular moment and so forth. Geoffrey Cornelius is one astrologer who thinks he knows why this is and I highly recommend his book, The Moment of Astrology, if you ever want to delve into this topic more deeply. In fact, he uses Princess Diana’s two birth chart dates as an example of how ‘the apparent rightness of the wrong chart’ can shed new light on the nature of astrology and how it really works.[4]

The relationship between fate, prediction and forecasting is a subtle and complicated one that has been studied and debated by some of the best minds over the centuries and is something that everyone who practices astrology, tarot or some other form of divination has explore and come to terms with at some time. Here I will add that even weather forecasting requires a certain degree of guesswork and opinion-based judgements based on individual experience, despite all their fancy weather-modelling computers and measuring instrumentation, so to suggest that the one is all art and the other all science, is also something of a misnomer – the truth really does lie somewhere in between.

So, on with my story. Initially, after doing much analysis, looking at synastry with both Kate and William’s chart and taking major transits such as the grand trine into account, my initial feeling was that the child would be born on the 18th of July at around 9pm. As we know, that did not prove to be the case.

Along with everyone else, I became increasingly antsy as the days passed and nothing appeared to be happening. By the time we got to the week-end before the birth, I began to wonder whether, given that both parents have the Moon in Cancer in their natal charts, and given its traditional association with motherhood, that all that was left in terms of astrological symbolism which might signify a royal birth was the Full Moon, which also happened to be taking place in Cancer. However, with nothing more concrete to go on in terms of news from the palace, and no strong intuition about a particular time or date, one way or the other, on the Sunday night before the birth, I turned to a looser, more horary-style approach.

Enquiry Chart

Casting a ‘Here and Now’ style chart, I asked the question, ‘When will the royal birth happen?’ If I had been following traditional horary principles, the chart I cast would not be suitable for reading as it contained what is known as a stricture – Saturn was in the 6th house but within a 3.5 degree or so orb of the Descendant and therefore close to being in the 7th house. However, as I was taking a more intuitive, less formulaic approach, I pressed on and was rather surprised by what I found.

Venus in 5th

Looking at the chart, the first thing that struck me was the fact that Leo, the royal sign, happened to govern the cusp of the 5th house – a place in the chart very much associated with children. Secondly, Venus, ruler of the Taurus AS (and therefore, of the chart) happened to be positioned in this house, right at the cusp of Leo at 29 degrees and 19 minutes, which to me seemed suggestive of a baby about to be born (here, though, I must admit that with Venus being the planet in question, I was rather surprised that the child turned out to be a boy – more on that later).

The Moon on MC, but ruler of IC

What is more, the Moon, symbol par excellence of motherhood, happens to be both ruler of the Cancer IC and positioned right on the mid-heaven in Capricorn – the very sign of Kate’s sun – so symbolically, this seemed to me to echo the nature of my question. As horary astrologers would say – the chart definitely appeared to be ‘radical.’

Sun in Cancer in the 4th

The Sun, ruler of the fifth house, was also located in the 4th house of parenthood and the home, and in the final degrees of Cancer. At the time, I thought this might be symbolic of William, the father, with his natal Sun in Cancer. Now I think that perhaps this must’ve been symbolic of Prince George himself.

Saturn in Scorpio in 6th

That Saturn I mentioned earlier, which is ruler of the mid-heaven, the most public part of the chart, but lurking in invisible Scorpio just below the horizon of the 6th house, on the cusp of ascending, via secondary motion, into the 7th house – the house of agency or the other person –which again, seemed to signify that this much-anticipated event of the arrival of the prince into the world (above the horizon) was veiled and hidden from view (there was no public knowledge available as to when the Duchess would go into labour). The nodal axis, flanking either side of the Ascendant-Descendant axis, also seemed to add an air of destiny and a universal or popular element to the reading –the world was indeed, waiting for news of his birth. To me, this chart seemed to hold the promise of being able to answer my question.

Given its connection with the MC and relationship with the Moon in Capricorn, I couldn’t help wondering if this indicated that the birth might not be an easy one, or that it might impact on the health of the mother, but that was just in passing and of course we may never know the details of Kate’s condition at or during the birth. I do also remember musing whether the Mars-Jupiter conjunction, due to perfect on the day in question, might mean a large baby but that was after I had heard she had gone into labour.

Anyhow, having identified what I felt were the major signifiers in the chart,  namely the Moon (Kate), Venus (the child) and the Sun (the birth), my next step was to see whether these would, in the near future, make any sort of contact with each other by aspect before the Moon changed sign, because this, as with a horary or judicial style astrology reading,  might suggest a potential time for the child’s arrival – when the matter might ‘perfect’ as they say in horary parlance.

As it happened, I didn’t have long to wait to find my answer. Looking at the grid of separating and applying aspects, it became clear that the Moon would quincunx Venus close to the Full Moon – at which time the Sun and the Moon would make their monthly opposition to each other = virtually simultaneous contact between all three significators! Having already intellectually identified the Full Moon in Cancer as a strong indicator of birth, this seemed to make perfect sense. The strange and uncanny thing for me, though, was how close the Moon’s quincunx with Venus would be in terms of timing to the Sun-Moon opposition – at 19h34, it would occur just 20 minutes after it. In astrological terms, this is pretty remarkable and did me a bit of a shiver.

However, if we choose to follow horary-style logic, then contact needed to happen BEFORE the Moon changed signs, which was due to occur at approximately 6:05pm BST, which made the window a bit narrower. Still, even at this point, the Moon and Venus, and the Moon and Sun, would be less than 1 degree away from peregrine which was indicative enough for me to think that the child would arrive some time on or before the Full Moon, which is what I ended up writing in my Astro-Insight for that day.[5]

And indeed, he arrived that afternoon just before 4:30pm. I did think that he might wait until the Sun ingressed into Leo at 16h56 BST, what with its connections to royalty – something that grandmother, Carole Middleton, is also alleged to have believed, if news reports are true[6], but in the end, this was not to be. I guess we will never know whether labour was induced or not, as this may have played a factor.

It is interesting that one of his closest tightest and most fortunate natal aspects is a Mars-Jupiter conjunction in Cancer, which nicely echoes the Mars-Jupiter conjunction in Aries that formed part of that stellium of planets in Aries present when William married Catherine back in April 2011. It is almost as though their relationship has now taken the next step symbolically as passion (Aries) is transformed into parental love and the promise of new life and indeed, a new family unit of their own (Cancer).

What comes next for the new family is anybody’s guess. For now, though, I hope that my foray into divinatory-style astrology has provided some food for thought.


[1] ‘Hurry up Kate: Even The Queen wants the royal baby to come soon as she’s off on holiday,’ The Express, 17 Jul 2013,

[2] ‘Royal Birth: leaving hospital,’ Duke And Duchess of Cambridge official website,

[3] ‘The Duchess of Cambridge has been delivered of a son,’ Duke And Duchess of Cambridge official website,

[4] Geoffrey Cornelius, The Moment of Astrology, 2003, pp. 245-57


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