Utada Hikaru – great success, elusive happiness



Utada Hikaru is a Japanese-American singer/songwriter whose albums became a smash hit in Japan from 2001 onwards, although she also released in the US and worked on commercials and movie soundtracks. In 2010 she announced she was taking a hiatus because of exhaustion which might last several years. Her mother committed suicide in 2013 and she married a bar tender the following year, having a baby in 2015.

Born 19 January 1983 1.17am Manhattan, New York, she does have a tough, bleak chart with a Capricorn Sun square Pluto Saturn. The heaviness of that is leavened by a confident and adventurous Jupiter Uranus in Sagittarius square Mars in Pisces.  Though it’ll also make her excitable and nervy. Her Pisces Moon in the performing 5th is square Neptune – and that was being triggered by the tr Saturn in Virgo opposition tr Uranus in Pisces when she decided to take a break, which would certainly have been a disorienting and discouraging time.

When her mother committed suicide by jumping from a Tokyo high rise in 2013 tr Saturn was about to cross Utada’s Ascendant pushing her into a lower profile phase. Her Solar Arc Sun was conjunct her 4th house Mars and her Solar Arc Pluto was square Mars – so a dreadful and shocking time for her. Her Solar Arc Neptune was just over the conjunction to her Sun, so she may have already been worried.

With tr Saturn moving through her first quadrant she would want to rebalance her activities and find a more meaningful personal life. Her first marriage in 2002 had been short-lived and was to a music business film director, so maybe she wanted to find a partner who lived outside the bubble.

Her unaspected Venus in Aquarius in the 4th has stressed midpoints connections being square Uranus/Pluto and Jupiter/Pluto as well as = Mars/Pluto= Mars/Saturn; and her Moon aspects two Saturn and two Pluto midpoints, so she will have struggled to find emotional equilibrium. Her baby was born in July so probably has the Sun Mars in Cancer opposition Pluto, which doesn’t sound straightforward.

She looks due for a major success in late 2017/2018 with her Solar Arc Pluto conjunct her Jupiter. Though she won’t want to be over stretching herself for another two or three years. And tr Uranus square her Sun and opposition her Pluto in 2018, moving on to oppose her Saturn will be a bumpy ride into 2019.

Chelsea Manning – a Uranian liberation


Chelsea Manning has had her 35 year sentence for violations of the Espionage Act commuted with a release date of May 17th, which isn’t a full pardon since it will still stay on her record. But she will be freed from an inhumane military prison which saw her attempt suicide twice recently.

Born 17 December 1987, she’s an erratic, though confidently innovative Sun Uranus Saturn Mercury in Sagittarius trine Jupiter in Aries; with an intense and anguished Moon Mars Pluto in Scorpio. Tr Saturn is conjunct her Sagittarius planets throughout 2017 as tr Uranus is trine them – so there will be discouraging reality-checks as well as positive change.

She’s got tr Pluto square her Jupiter over her release, from mid March which will give her a morale boost and that stays around till late 2018. And tr Uranus trine her Uranus exactly as well. But I can’t imagine her jailers are too pleased so the intervening nearly four months may be tough going. She’s got an insecure tr Uranus square her Mars/Node in February as well as an undermining tr Neptune square Mars/Neptune; a more upbeat March; and an emotionally upsetting tr Uranus square her Venus in Capricorn in April.

The transition back to ‘normal’ civilian life will be tough going with some depression late 2017/early 2018 with her Solar Arc Saturn conjunct her Venus.

Inauguration – a Mars Saturn blight on celebrations

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Washington is filling up fast for Friday’s Inauguration with unprecedented numbers booked into hotels, with protesters as keen to be present as Trump supporters. At least 28 groups have been credentialed, compared to the five or six requests from groups usually received, and the Park Service is expecting more than 350,000. There will be a demonstration of about 200,000 women protesting Trump, at the weekend. The hotels have unusually booked additional security to keep warring guests apart.

What is noteworthy is the Mars square Saturn, exact late Thursday, on degree for the Inauguration, but in typically Saturnine form will hang around for a day or so. At the very least, Mars Saturn is bad-tempered and irritable. Ebertin describes it as harmful or destructive energy, harsh, self-willed, bitter. It can be accident-prone (broken bones). One of its meanings is blocked sexuality and abusiveness – Mars being libido and Saturn getting in the way.

The Moon (assuming 12 noon swearing in, though I wouldn’t be surprised it was slightly off timewise) is in Scorpio square the Mars/Saturn midpoint which is depressed, especially where women are concerned.

The Mercury of the Inauguration chart at 6 Capricorn is very badly aspected being conjunct Saturn/Pluto, square Mars/Uranus and = Mars/Pluto = Saturn/Uranus. That all adds up to extreme gloom, excessive irritation and nervousness, fanatical, hitting back under provocation. So major arguments raging and harsh words flying.

The Women’s March on the 21st starts at 10am, which puts the Scorpio Moon in the 8th trine Mars in Pisces in the 12th, so very hidden; with an over-controlled Pluto in the 10th square Uranus opposition Jupiter; with the Saturn square Mars still in orb. Not an easy or on the face of it a hugely successful chart, maybe even a touch before its time – so it could have spin-offs for later on. The organisers credo: ‘We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.’

Emmanuel Macron – the EU hope for France



The French election this year is one of the major worries for the EU given the far-right, protectionist, anti-EU Marie Le Pen’s rise to prominence. Francois Fillon who was supposed to be the main block to her success, has flip flopped and backtracked on policies including a cane-the-unions and reform-labour laws which has sent even the far left-wing towards Le Pen.

Now Emmanuel Macron, a former economy minister, who is running an independent, centrist, pro-EU campaign, is now seen as capable of causing a major surprise in the spring vote. Born 21 December 1977 10.40am Amiens, France, he’s a Sun Mercury in Sagittarius opposition Jupiter and trine Saturn; with a Taurus Moon opposition Uranus square Mars in Leo in his 7th – so definitely vocal, hard-hitting, excitable, hard-working.

He’s certainly on an upsurge at the moment with his Solar Arc Jupiter conjunct his Mars, exact at the moment, though still in effect over the two-stage election on April 23/May 7. He’s also got tr Jupiter conjunct his Pluto over the first round which should give his confidence a boost. But what is probably a sinker is tr Neptune opposition his Mars/Pluto midpoint over both rounds – which is usually bad news for election wins = being damaged by smears, suffering under attacks, lacking energy for resistance.

Ryan Phillippe – 8th house Mars Pluto Mercury

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Actor, director Ryan Phillippe, best known for roles in Gosford Park, Crash, The Bang Bang Club and most recently the TV thriller series Shooters has talked openly about his struggle with depression. He was married to Reese Witherspoon for eight years, producing two children.

In interviews he describes himself as ‘quietly tortured at times. Depression has been a huge obstacle for me ever since I was a child. As you get older I think it decreases some, but I’m just innately kind of a sad person. Some people do have this pervading sort of sadness, or they’re so analytical that they can kind of take the fun out of things because they think too much. I’m empathetic, and I take on the feelings of others and transpose myself into the position of others. I see it in my daughter. She has it, and I wish to hell she didn’t.’ But he also said that he’s much funnier than people think. ‘It’s a dark humour, like a gallows humour. I think that’s where, if you do carry any of that sadness or depression, your humour does tend to be a little darker than most people.’

Born 10 Sept 1974 5.18pm New Castle, Delaware, he does have a heavy chart – with Sun and Mars in Virgo in his 8th (not conjunct) and Mars conjunct Pluto and widely Mercury also in the 8th. Mercury Pluto can veer to the negative at the best of times and compacted by Mars and in the 8th will make him even more inclined to dwell on problems and suffer from anguished frustrations. His Sun is opposition Jupiter in Pisces which will help, and sextile Saturn in Cancer. His Cancer Moon squares Pluto Mercury, which again will anchor him into the depths of his feelings, rather than the lighter, brighter end. Though his Moon is also trine Jupiter which will give him hope to hang onto.

It’s an Earth, Water, Air chart with only one Fire sign – filmic Neptune in his 10th. Fire gives trust in life and confidence which is his weak element.

It’s probably as well he’s American, in a culture that is therapy and self-help-oriented, since leaving all those dark energies festering wouldn’t have helped him.

He’s in a hard-working phase till the early 2020s. 2016/17 are pressured with tr Pluto opposition his 6th house Saturn; and tr Neptune will conjunct his Jupiter in 2017, which may see some plans falling through. But Jupiter is heading for his midheaven by late 2018 for a year thereafter which will give his career a boost.

Another actor with some of the same chart markers was Marlon Brando, born 3 April 1924 11pm Omaha, Nebraska to an alcoholic mother and an abusive father. He had Pluto in the 8th opposition Mars square a New Moon in Aries in his entertainment 5th house. His chart certainly indicates great inner turmoil and angst. But he had a good deal more Fire with an inspirational, demanding Fire Grand Trine of Sun Moon trine Jupiter in Sagittarius trine Neptune. His emphasised Neptune, also on the focal point of a Yod to Mars sextile Uranus, would be what sent him into seclusion for many years.


Tom Hardy – turned his life around



UK actor Tom Hardy – Black Hawk Down, The Revenant, Mad Max, The Kray Twins, TV’s Peaky Blinders and at present in the savage BBC drama Taboo which he co-created with his father – revels in playing menacing roles. He’s even being mentioned as a future Bond.

Born 15 September 1977, he’s another Sun Virgo, like Rufus Sewell, Sean Connery, Jeremy Irons; but his chart is dominated by an adventurous and emotionally excitable Mars Jupiter in Cancer square Pluto, which gives him a reservoir of anger and a real edge of danger. His Mars Jupiter are also trine Uranus which again will stoke up his testosterone.

He had a tumultuous youth, being expelled from school, doing several short stays in prison and acquiring a cocaine habit that nearly killed him. He’s twice married and is now an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust which mentors the young.

Casey Affleck – talent shining through childhood demons

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Casey Affleck has been getting rave reviews for his starring role in Manchester by the Sea, a brooding tale of an uncle left to bring up his nephew.

Born 12 August 1975 7.38 pm Falmouth. MA, three years after his brother Ben, he had an alcoholic father, whom his well-educated and theatre-loving mother divorced when he was 9.

He’s had a chequered acting career and personal life, appearing early on in Good Will Hunting with family friend Matt Damon and his brother Ben, then acting in a string of bad movies, plus making the bizarre mockumentary with Joaquin Phoenix, his then brother-in-law; plus having two sexual harassment suits which were settled out of court in 2010 re-appearing in the headlines as this movie becomes a success.

He’s got a trickier chart than his brother Ben – 15 Aug 1972 2.53am Berkeley, CA. Though there are some similarities. Both are Leo Suns trine Jupiter in a Fire sign; with Scorpio Moons. So confident entertainers with intense emotional lives. But Casey has Pluto and Uranus in his 8th, so he’ll be marginally more erratic, than Ben who has Uranus Pluto in his 4th. Though in both cases it points to major emotional upheavals and disruptions in their family lives. Casey said his grandmother was also alcoholic so that may account for his 8th house planets.

He also has a hard and determined Mars in Taurus in the 3rd sextile Saturn in Cancer, square Mercury and inconjunct Uranus – so he will have anger and self-control issues. Neptune on his midheaven certainly suits him for the film business, and he does have a charming Sun, Mercury, Venus in his 7th so can turn on smiles when necessary. His Jupiter opposes Uranus squaring onto Saturn in Cancer in his 6th which will have been discouraging in the early part of his adult career, but should be mellowing now through his middle years. He’s got initiative but won’t be too good at sharing the driving seat in projects.

Another actor with Uranus Pluto in the 8th is Kiefer Sutherland, who has the same troubled bad-boy-come-good-in-later-life pattern.

Casey Affleck should be working hard in coming years, with tr Saturn moving through his upper quadrant; with some highs this year from tr Uranus square his Jupiter; and even more success when tr Pluto is square his Jupiter. But as ever his tendency to attract the good and the bad together will be around as well.

Uma Thurman – shades of Melania – Sun Saturn in Taurus

ut ab syn  ut ab comp


Actress Uma Thurman – Pulp Fiction, Dangerous Liaisons, Kill Bill – is involved in a messy court custody wrangle over her daughter with French financier Arpad Busson. She was born 29 April 1970 1.51pm Boston, MA (astrotheme) – three days after Melania Trump – so has the same stubborn/enduring Sun Saturn in Taurus opposition Jupiter in Scorpio; and the same showbizzy and excitable Mars in Gemini opposition Neptune, trine Uranus.

Thurman has been around with Busson since 2007, on and off through two engagements, and this followed two short-lived marriages for her to Gary Oldman and Ethan Hawke.

It would never be an easy mix with Busson since his Sun Saturn in Aquarius squares her Sun Saturn in Taurus; with his Mars in Leo square her Saturn; and his Pluto Uranus square her Mars Venus in Gemini. So blocked every which way and angry.

Their relationship chart unsurprisingly has a composite Sun Saturn Mercury conjunction trine Neptune, which is better for business than pleasure or affection; with the composite Venus in an erratic, roller-coaster opposition to Uranus Pluto. There’s a hot composite Mars trine Venus and opposition Jupiter, so when it worked it would be a sparkling adventure. But  never designed for the long haul.

If her birth time is accurate then her Pisces North Node is in her 7th so her line of least resistance will be to slide back into independence.

EU – the technocrats at war inside the tent

eu ms syn  ms eu comp


There seems to be a softening in attitude in certain parts of the EU to Brexit. Michael Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has said he wants to secure easy access to the City of London, the UK’s financial centre by the 27 remaining EU countries after Brexit. “There will be a special/specific relationship. There will need to be work outside of the negotiation box… in order to avoid financial instability.”

This follows on from Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor’s comments this week: “If you rely on a jurisdiction (the UK) for three-quarters of your hedging activities, three-quarters of your foreign exchange activity, half your lending and half your securities transactions, you should think very carefully about the transition from where you are today to where the new equilibrium will be.” Carney also said a hard Brexit would hurt the EU more than the UK. It’s tricky to establish exactly what the UK’s net contribution to the EU is since figures vary wildly depending on who is using them as rhetorical leverage. Possibly in the region of eight and a half billion pounds (having removed the rebate). Since many of the EU countries take rather than give to the EU coffers, it will have a sizeable impact.

Whether or not all the top EU bureaucrats will be on the same page as Barnier is questionable.

Der Spiegel this week described Martin Selmayr, head of cabinet for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, as the most powerful bureaucrat in Brussels, with some even going so far as to say that he is the true leader of the European Union. And he is determined to play a greater policymaking role in future. They described him variously as the Rasputin of Brussels and Juncker’s Doug Stamper á la “House of Cards.”

Born 5 Dec 1970, Bonn, Germany, he’s a Sun Sagittarius like Juncker, with a determined Saturn in Taurus opposition Jupiter in Scorpio which is square a devoted-to-a-cause North Node in Aquarius.

His Pluto is conjunct the EU Ascendant exactly so he’ll appreciate the prospect of controlling its image and identity; with his Venus in Scorpio tying into the EU Grand Cross, exactly opposition the EU Moon and square its’ Uranus. His Mars is conjunct the EU Jupiter Neptune, so tending to push for overly ambitious financial schemes that may end in Jup Nep bubbles bursting.

Tr Neptune will square his Sun this year until 2018 giving him a few sinking moments; with a highly strung and highly insecure tr Uranus opposition Mars and Solar Arc Uranus conjunct his Neptune in 2018. So not all going his way.

His relationship chart with the EU is under challenging pressures and sagging more than somewhat with tr Pluto sextile the composite Mars Neptune, and tr Neptune opposing Uranus in 2017 and Pluto in 2018/19. Plus a separating tr Saturn conjunct the composite Sun Venus Mercury in 2017 into 2018.

Mind you, Juncker and the EU are also not exactly singing off the same hymn sheet over the next two years (see previous post Jan 3); and Juncker’s relationship with Selmayr is also heading downhill.

Barnier and Juncker certainly don’t get on with a hostile composite Mars opposition Pluto, trine/sextile Saturn Neptune and a power-struggling Jupiter square Pluto. And the Barnier/Selmayr relationship chart is equally under argumentative, jolting and sinking influences in 2017/18.

The USA isn’t the only region in political disarray.