Popes Benedict & Francis – uneasy co-existence

When Pope Benedict shook the Vatican by going against half a millenia’s tradition to resign in 2013, there was no protocol for what came next. Instead of disappearing into seclusion he stayed within the hallowed walls and still comments on church affairs. Which will make life tricky for his polar opposite the present Pope Francis.

This was the focus for Anthony McCarten’s stage play turned into a soon-to-be-streamed Netflix bio-pic The Two Popes (see post November 4 2019)  with Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce has also been turned into a book, launched now to spice up the premiere. In it, the conflicting characters of the two popes are laid bare. Benedict is a Bavarian-born intellectual theologian with little pastoral experience, who moulded much of the policies of Pope John Paul’s administration and became known as ‘God’s rottweiler’ for his crackdown on liberal ideas. According to McCarten, he tightened the church’s rules about disclosure of child abusing priests which led to even greater secrecy and cover up; and tripped into a Holocaust denier scandal which raised questions about his own attitudes having been born a few miles from Dachau and the Vatican’s Nazi connections during WW11. Benedict: 16 April 1927 4.15 am Marktl, Germany.

Francis, known as the ‘slum bishop’ was appalled by the poverty he saw ministering in Argentina, is more flexible about his tolerances and lives simply. Though the book raises questions about his association with the Argentina junta during the dirty war of the late 1970s/early 1980s with tens of thousands ‘disappeared.’  Francis: 17 December 1936 9pm Buenos Aires, Argentina.

There’s no doubt they do clash in their attitudes. Francis is a Sun Sagittarius with a reforming Uranus in the 10th square Pluto; and a hope-for-a-better-society Saturn opposition Neptune. Benedict is a Sun Aries with a bookish, know-it-all Saturn in Sagittarius in the religious 9th.

Benedict’s Sun is conjunct Francis’s MC and opposition Francis’ Mars; and Benedict’s Pluto is conjunct Francis’s Ascendant, with Benedict’s Mars opposition Francis’s Sun – so Benedict will want to control and direct his successor; and sees him as a rival.

Their relationship chart has a competitive, argumentative composite Sun opposition Mars; with a chained-together-and-resenting-it composite Saturn opposition Pluto in a disruptive square to Uranus.

It’s fairly moot now with Benedict fading in his nineties but fascinating all the same to see the stress lines laid bare.


Prince Andrew – nul points for strategy


“I am perhaps too honourable at times,” quoth Prince Andrew on his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein in a BBC interview. Hallelujah. If that was supposed to be a mea culpa apology it scores 0/10. Using the media to draw a line under an undesirable story usually backfires and there’s nothing in the immediate future suggesting Prince Andrew will stride out clothed in shining white with his halo back in place.

All his closest relationships – with his two daughters, Eugenie and Beatrice, former but still present wife Sarah, sister Anne and brother Edward, nephew William – are sagging badly over the next few weeks courtesy of tr Neptune in hard aspect to their composite Suns, Jupiters, Venus or Moon .

Prince Charles who never was a fan of his younger brother will be on a roller coaster path with him next year with tr Pluto opposition their composite Uranus and tr Saturn opposition Uranus and square Neptune. Whatever happens will alter the nature of their relationship radically.

The Queen, for whom Andrew is deemed the favourite, will be in a double bind but even she is less than enchanted from February onwards as their mutual admiration society is undermined first by tr Saturn conjunct the composite Jupiter and then tr Neptune square the composite Saturn from late March on and off for a year after. With worse just before mid year as tr Uranus starts to square the composite Mars opposition Pluto and for a year thereafter. That may, of course, involve other family events since both she and Prince Philip are in their nineties.

But Andrew’s protection goes once she loosens her grip on the reins.

He has a couple of devastatingly negative Pluto hard aspects to his Mars/Saturn and Venus/Saturn midpoints running now till mid December – they’ll bring disasters, accidents, setbacks and plummeting popularity. He’ll have a minor blip upwards from late January for a few weeks. But then tr Saturn will conjunct his 6th house Mars, Venus from late February onwards, off and on for a year, which could bring health-related issues as well as work problems. Already events are being cancelled because of public antipathy towards him.

Late March onwards tr Pluto will square his midheaven, on and off till late 2021 – this usually brings a forced change in career or life direction. There will be resistance to the way he uses power or influence and it can be a humbling experience. There are also several Neptune transits to undermine his plans and create confusion, as well as perhaps bring secrets out into the open which is a Neptunian habit throughout 2020/21.

He doesn’t appear, from all past accounts from diplomats etc who had to suffer him on trade missions abroad, to have much insight into his behaviour. He seemed both to lack intelligence and humility which isn’t a great combination – stupidity and arrogance.

Yavanovitch impeachment hearings – a slamming indictment


Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said a “smear campaign” against her by the President and Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, undermined U.S. national security and emboldened Russia. During impeachment proceedings she said she was “kneecapped” by corrupt interests and abandoned by State Department leaders.

Trump in his usual knee-jerk fit of bile tweeted a smear about her as she was testifying which Adam Schiff promptly labelled witness intimidation. And the Clinton prosecutor, Ken Starr, said he thought Trump’s tweet showed “extraordinarily poor judgment… I think this was quite injurious.” Fox presenter Chris Wallace told viewers: “If you were not moved by the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, you don’t have a pulse….”

The BBC wrote: Her “testimony was a scathing rebuke of Giuliani and his work on behalf of the president — a top-to-bottom indictment of what she called a “campaign of disinformation” based on claims that originated with “individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.” She implicitly lambasted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, too, asserting that the department “is being hollowed out from within at a competitive and complex time on the world stage.”

And that is quite a slamming indictment, not only of Trump, but also Giuliani and Pompeo.

She was born 11 November 1958 in Montreal and is a resourceful and enduring Sun, Jupiter, Venus, Moon and Mercury in Scorpio with her Sun, Venus, Moon being opposition Mars in Taurus square Uranus. She’s formidably strong. Her Mars is conjunct Trump’s midheaven and her Saturn in Sagittarius is conjunct Trump’s Sun Moon and opposition his Sun so she will make him feel criticised and discouraged; as well as being seen by him as a rival. And she could be damaging for his reputation given her Mars is conjunct Algol on his Midheaven.

In the fragmenting chaos of Trump’s administration with constantly churning staff, two things are clear. One is that Giuliani’s relationship with Trump is sagging badly from today onwards as tr Neptune squares the composite Sun for the final time and aims in 2020 to oppose the composite Jupiter, which will take the shine off.

More interesting by far is the Pompeo/Trump relationship with Pompeo at risk of having his reputation for the future badly damaged by his complicit silence in the face of diplomatic staff being attacked. Even Republicans are beginning to rumble in discontent at public servants being treated so badly.

Pompeo’s relationship chart with Trump has an aggravated and teeth-gritted Mars opposition Saturn Venus. That has been jostled this year with tr Uranus conjunct the Venus which has a final exact aspect in the last few days of December to early February 2020, which might just be the trigger for a rupture. If not then, certainly towards May/June 2020 when tr Uranus starts to elbow the Mars opposition Saturn; and even before then in March tr Saturn will add its tuppence worth of woe to their interface.

Pompeo’s personal chart is showing up career losses from today till mid December with tr Neptune conjunct his Jupiter/Saturn midpoint with aggravating setbacks mid December. His Secretary of State chart 26 April 2018 2pm indicates the days over this coming New Year as very high stress – though that could also be world events disrupting his holidays.

Trump’s chart has a few discouraging Saturn blips to midpoints and to his financial Jupiter this month but he’s nowhere near as ring-fenced and infuriated as he’s going to be from late January 2020 onwards.

Trump Impeachment start – Jim Jordan, attack-dog in chief ** +


The first public hearings in the Trump impeachment process in Congress started today at 10.06am. It’s a long process that may end up in front of the Republican-controlled Senate who are likely to vote in favour of the president. But public testimony from diplomats and others indicating that Trump improperly used his office to leverage the Ukraine president for the purpose of digging dirt on a political rival will be damaging and have a knock-on effect for the 2020 election.

The impeachment chart isn’t too inspiring with Mercury retrograde; and over hopeful and muddled 3rd house Neptune square Jupiter; and the restrictive Saturn Pluto in a frustrating square to Mars.

The lead Republican rottweiler is congressman Jim Jordan, described as ‘less a wrestler and more a bare-knuckle fighter’ who will impugn witnesses and the process itself and will lash out at the president’s enemies. He is so unswervingly loyal that he recently told CNN he had never heard Trump lie. A political commentator said: “The success or failure of these hearings depends on how they play on television and almost more than any other member, Jordan understands that.”

Surprise surprise he was born 17 February 1964, within days of Sarah Palin, shock jock Glenn Beck and former mobster John Gotti Jnr. He has that fearsome, intemperate, inordinately stubborn Sun, Mars, Saturn and Mercury in Aquarius square Neptune.

He’s an odd match with Trump since his unpleasant collection of Aquarius planets oppose Trump’s Mars Ascendant and square Trump’s Midheaven. I suppose it could be seen as Jordan acting as attack dog to defend Trump but it’s highly unstable combination and could go entirely the other way at one point with all that destructive anger pointing in Trump’s direction. Their relationship chart has an illusory, delusional composite Sun opposition Neptune in a can-be-fanatical square to Uranus; with a power-struggling Mars square Pluto. That is also highly unstable.

There’s a distinct enthusiasm-sag coming from November 20 to December 1st this year both on the relationship chart and on Jordan’s personal chart – though his real distancing from Trump won’t come until February 2020 and beyond for the rest of the year with tr Saturn wading in hard aspect round their composite Sun Neptune square Uranus T Square.

Jordan is certainly running on high octane fuel at the moment with his Solar Arc Jupiter in a super (over?) confident square to his Pluto. He’ll have a few setbacks and jolts over the next few weeks into early 2020 as well as some successes late December and through January. Where he starts to sag is February next year when he steps onto a Neptunian banana skin off and on till the election and after. Plus his Solar Arc Sun and Mars are getting the tr Pluto hard aspect right through till 2021 which will put the brakes on his exuberance more than somewhat.

Jordan’s back-up is Kevin McCarthy, Republican congressman from California who is Minority Speaker, 26 January 1965. He’s another Sun Aquarius with a head-in-the-clouds Jupiter in indulgent Taurus opposition Neptune; and Uranus Pluto plus Mars in Virgo. Aquarius has a misplaced reputation as a tolerant humanitarian – many Aquarians are hard-right ideologues.

His astrology ahead runs along similar lines to Jordan – setbacks and uncertainties, in his case in from November 20 to December 1st but also extending into mid December; then more success and confidence late December to late January. Late January to late February everything comes apart at the seams and he’s on a Neptunian slide thereafter.

His relationship with Trump looks half relieved and half separated over the New Year and sags throughout 2020.

Sarah Brightman – time to say hello again


Sarah Brightman, the world’s best-selling soprano and a superstar of the crossover genre between pop and classical, has given her first concert in the UK for fifteen years to an enraptured audience in the Albert Hall. Best known for Phantom of the Opera and her ‘Time to say Goodbye’ duet with Andrea Bocelli, she has gone from small beginnings in the dance group Hot Gossip through stage musicals to become a world-class recording artist.

Born 14 August 1960 5.45 am London (from memory), she attended a performing arts school as a child and made her stage debut at 13. She appeared in CATS where she met Andrew Lloyd Webber who left his wife and two children for her and she split from her first marriage as well. The Lloyd Webber marriage only lasted six years and was, she later admitted, ‘a difficult time’ but it established her as a major talent.

She has a Sun Uranus in Leo on her Ascendant in a lucky and confident trine to Jupiter in Sagittarius on the cusp of the performing 5th house, as well as being square a 10th house Taurus Moon. Taurus is often a sign found in singers’ charts given its rulership of the throat. Her Neptune opposes her Midheaven squaring onto a flamboyant Mercury in Leo. She has a wide-ish Yod of Neptune sextile Saturn inconjunct an ambitious 10th house Mars in Gemini marking her out as an individual who stands out from the crowd. Plus a tough-minded Saturn in Capricorn in the 5th trine Pluto Venus in Virgo, sextile Neptune.

She’s definitely a strong personality, with Uranus in aspect to her Sun and Moon in Fixed signs, who won’t be comfortable with compromise or be overly adaptable. Her Saturn in the 5th gives her organising ability in the entertainment business; and also points to delays or problems having children which she tried to have with her third partner but it didn’t work.

Her marriage to Lloyd Webber was always going to be problematic with his Mars Saturn (Pluto) Moon in Leo sitting on top of her Sun Uranus and square her Moon. Though his Venus and Midheaven in Taurus were conjunct her Moon which would help initially both emotionally and in terms of professional ambition. They are evidently still on friendly terms.

Her creative 5th and 7th Harmonics are strong as is her ‘obsessive dream’ 11H.

Stock market madness – divorced from reality ** Add On 1987

The US stock market’s meteoric rise stands in sharp contrast to sagging investor confidence in the face of a worsening economic outlook. “There is a disconnect between where the market is going and where the economy is heading,” one analyst said, with the China-USA trade tiff harming US consumers and farmers more than Chinese. A majority of the wealthiest investors are expecting a major sell-off next year with the global economy resting on a knife-edge, according to a recent survey. More than other U.S. presidents, Trump has hitched his success to gains in the stock market and to the health of the U.S. economy.

Stock Market charts aren’t always rock solid indicators but for what they are worth:-

The Dow Jones, 26 May 1896 9.11 am New York, is looking upbeat at the moment with tr Uranus square the Jupiter which repeats in early 2020. There looks to be more cheer in 2021 with Solar Arc Jupiter opposition the Sun and Solar Arc Mars conjunct the Jupiter. Though there are foot-dragging transits to midpoints from early 2020 to 2023.

The New York Stock Exchange, 17 May 1792 New York, is also looking chipper with tr Pluto in a confident square to Jupiter in 2019/2020. Where it starts to look really sticky is in 2021/22/23 with tr Pluto square Saturn and then Neptune. Though there could be hints of that in 2020 from Pluto hard aspects to midpoints.

The FTSE First Trade 3 January 1984 10am London is also indicating 2021/2022 as frustratingly blocked and aggravating years; with some uncertainties through 2020.

The Nasdaq, 8 February 1971 9am New York, has hints of over-confidence from its super-optimistic Jupiter Neptune being triggered by Solar Arcs, with some challenges in 2020. But there’s nothing as catastrophic as the influences around the DotCom bust in 2000 when tr Uranus was conjunct the Nasdaq Sun with tr Saturn in Taurus moving to square the Sun; and much worse tr Pluto conjunct the Mars. There will be ripples of the same effect in 2022/23 when tr Saturn in Aquarius square tr Uranus in Taurus bounce off the Nasdaq Sun square Saturn – but the tr Pluto on the Nasdaq Mars won’t be repeated. So rocky but not as disastrous.

The S & P Index, 4 March 1957, New York, is moving into headwinds through 2020, but the main difficulties seem to be 2021 with Solar Arc Pluto conjunct Neptune and a bubble-bursting tr Neptune square the Sun/Jupiter midpoint. Though there are also confidence boosting influences at the same time. And it is no where near as shattering as when the Lehman collapse and wider crash in 2008 happened. Then tr Saturn in Pisces was conjunct the S&P Sun, tr Neptune was square the Mars, and an overly-confident tr Pluto was square the Jupiter.

1987 Black Monday: A previous market cataclysm on 19 October 1987 – on the NASDAQ the Jupiter Neptune was again being targeted by Solar Arc Saturn opposition the Jupiter Neptune; and tr Saturn Uranus was conjunct the Solar Arc Jupiter Neptune. So again some slight similarities to what is coming up though not as punishing.

On the S&P 500 in 1987 tr Saturn Uranus was opposition the Solar Arc Mars; and moving to square the Jupiter.

Princess Anne – the elusive Royal

A frisson of a Royal sex scandal (or two) is a welcome relief from the tedium of politics on a roid-rage rampage. Season 3 of The Crown dramatizes Princess Anne’s fling with Andrew Parker Bowles in the early 1970s, who was the about-to-be husband of Camilla, with Camilla simultaneously dallying with Princess Charles. The aristos at play. Parker Bowles was known as ‘the best lover in London’ but was also Roman Catholic which in those days was enough to knock him off the list of marital possibles. He married Camilla and a few months later Princess Anne was hitched to horseman Mark Phillips.

Despite her ‘duty before beauty’, severely unfussy fashion sense and obsessive work ethic, Princess Anne has always had a reputation for having an eye for the gentlemen before and throughout two marriages.

Born 15 August 1950 11.50am London, she has a 10th house Sun Pluto in Leo which will give her ambition, a need for control and growing influence through her life. It suggests a dominating father to whom she is close. Her Virgo Moon is conjunct Mercury Saturn for a hard-working and emotionally defensive mother who was not able, temperamentally or through circumstances, to give her the nurturing she needed, but to whom she is bound by chains of duty.

She also significantly has a private Water Grand Trine of Mars in uber-secretive Scorpio trine Jupiter in Pisces in the 5th trine Uranus in the 9th. Her relationship with her children – Jupiter in the 5th – has always been good and ditto her grandchildren. She travels extensively for Save the Children, Commonwealth visits and the Olympics – Uranus in 9th.

Her Venus in Cancer on her Midheaven gives her PR ability and charm; and squaring her Mars, a hint of passion. Her Venus also sits on her Uranus/Pluto midpoint pointing to ‘a constant longing for the new’ in her love life. And with her Jupiter opposing her Sun/Moon midpoint she has the good luck to attract enthusiastic and laid-back partners.

Andrew Parker Bowles, 27 December 1939, a Capricorn Sun with a Cancer Moon has his Pluto conjunct Anne’s Venus MC and his Venus in Aquarius is opposition so there definitely would be a strong attraction. But his Saturn squares her Venus MC – Saturn usually turns up when there are insuperable difficulties to making a long-term commitment. Their relationship chart has an affectionate composite Sun opposition Venus.

Her first husband Mark Philips, 22 September 1948, is a Sun and Saturn in Virgo so he would chime with her Virgo Moon Saturn; and his Taurus Moon falls in her 7th which is positive. He also has a passionate Venus Pluto in Leo square Mars in Scorpio so there definitely would be a sizzle initially though it didn’t last.

Her second husband Tim Laurence, 1 March 1955, has his Pisces Sun in her sporting 5th conjunct her Jupiter – and they do share sailing as an interest. His Venus in Capricorn opposes her Venus with his adventurous and lucky Jupiter Uranus conjunct her Venus – so there will be fun. Though the composite Venus in their relationship chart is in a confused and chilly conjunction to Neptune Saturn with the composite Moon square – and by all accounts they are not ‘close.’

She’s always been adept at flying under the radar as far as the media are concerned so won’t be overly delighted with this exposure though none of this was much of a secret. Tr Uranus will square her midheaven and oppose her Mars from mid this month till early March 2020 so she will be upset, if not about this, then because of other circumstances which blow up suddenly. Tr Neptune is also been opposing her Moon/Saturn midpoint exactly now and moving to oppose her Saturn Mercury in 2020 possibly indicating her concern for her ageing parents. Her Solar Arc Uranus has also been bouncing over her Moon last year and is aiming to conjunct her Mercury Saturn in three years – so not an easy phase of her life.

The Crown evidently also hints – shock horror – at the possibility of the Queen having an affair with her racing manager Lord Porchester, of which more anon another day.

Jacob Rees Mogg – an outsize prat


The asinine Jacob Rees Mogg has hit the campaign trial again flanked by his wife and five of his six children to dispel notions that he had been sidelined after causing outrage with comments on the Grenfell fire in which 72 people died. He suggested the victims lacked common sense for following fire officials’ instructions to stay put. And this follows on from his lordly and smirking slump across the House of Commons front benches during a vital Brexit debate.

He’s an MP on the far-right of the Tory Party, educated at Eton where he was known as a dogmatic Thatcherite, then Oxford University, where he was a keen debater and pronounced pushy; thence into investment banking and ultimately his own hedge fund (he and wife were deemed worth £100 million in 2016). A Roman Catholic he’s against abortion even in cases of rape, incest and foetal abnormality.

Born 24 May 1969, son of William Rees Mogg, editor of The Times, he is another dratted Gemini Sun which is opposition Neptune in late Scorpio and opposition Mars in Sagittarius – perhaps forming a T Square onto a late Leo/Virgo Moon. And another Mutable scattergun like Boris and Dominic Cummings. He also significantly has a powerhouse Pluto, Jupiter, Uranus in Virgo which will give him confidence aplenty and his sense of arrogant entitlement.

He regrettably looks upbeat and successful in 2021/22 as tr Pluto trines his Jupiter; with faint traces of that from March 2020 onwards as tr Pluto is trine his Jupiter/Pluto. But he’s got a disaster or two to overcome before then. Late December through till early February he’ll be facing catastrophes, jolts and jangles with tr Uranus opposition his Mars/Pluto midpoint and conjunct his Saturn. He’ll also be facing a major setback as his Solar Arc Mars squares his Saturn in 2021 or 2022.

His relationship with Boris is sagging badly from mid this month for four weeks and continuing on a downhill slide in 2020.

He’s everything that is wrong with our supposed ruling ‘elite’ – it’s almost enough to turn you communist. Brattish boys who never quite left the University debating society mindset.

Australia – fires out of control


‘Catastrophic’ is the highest ever fire risk warning put out by Australian authorities as bushfires, some life-threatening are endangering 100,000 homes in Sydney. This is weeks before the traditional bushfire season and to date 99 fires are burning out of control simultaneously across New South Wales. Already this year more than 850,000 hectares have been burnt which is three times as much as was destroyed all of last fire season. An extreme and persistent drought has left much of the region tinder-dry. That combined with temperatures in the high 30s and strong winds make it especially dangerous.

The Australia chart did have the July Cancer Solar Eclipse opposition the AU Sun Saturn in Capricorn which does suggest critical challenges in the following months; and that eclipse located to Sydney does have an amplifying Jupiter on the Descendant. Plus tr Neptune is in a debilitating square to the AU Pluto till late January 2020.

But on several charts this is by no manner of means the most difficult year for Australia – which may not mean more devastating fires ahead, just that this year won’t, in retrospect, be the worst. The AU country chart looks accident-prone and aggravated from mid 2020, on and off till 2023 with first tr Uranus and then tr Pluto hitting on Mars midpoints.

The Sydney incorporation chart of 20 July 1842 also suggests several years ahead of high stress with tr Pluto square the Pluto this year and then grinding across the opposition to the Sun/Mars midpoint and finally opposing the Cancer Sun in 2021/22 – for a pulling down of old structures and a need to rebuild on the far side.

The Bank of Australia 14 January 1960 chart indicates major pressure through 2020 with tr Pluto conjunct the Sun, high hopes not working out in 2021; and devastating confusion by 2022 with Solar Arc Pluto conjunct the Neptune.

It may not be a repeat of fire risk in future years. Often before a period of forced transition for a country there is a disaster at the start which symbolises the changes to come. First the ashes then the phoenix.