Ophichius, the 13th – are Virgos really Leos, and Pisces now Aries?

Below are a couple of pieces I wrote when this hoary old chestnut came up a couple of years back, for the umpteenth time.

Did my sun sign change?

Noooooo. You are precisely as you have always been. How could an intense passionately emotional Scorpio suddenly morph into an elegantly detached Libra? Not possible. Your sun sign (birthday sign) in Western astrology comes from a zodiac set by the solstices. The zodiac circle round the earth is divided into 12 exact segments each named after one of the 88 constellations in the heavens. These zodiac signs have been in use for thousands of years and aren’t going to change just because one astronomer got the wrong end of the stick.

Why are people talking about a new, 13th, sign? Astronomers like making mischief about astrology as a way of undermining its credibility. They imagine that pushing up the idea of a 13th sign will throw a spanner in the works. And the media especially on the internet loves a good argument. Astronomers don’t like astrology since they don’t understand it. They also feel it diminishes their lofty scientific status being even faintly associated with it via the stars. This is despite the fact that all the early astronomers – Galileo, Kepler, Brahe -and indeed early scientists were also astrologers.

What is the meaning of this new sign? The constellation Ophiuchus was in Roman times known as Serpentarius and associated with Ascelpius the healer who was reputed to be able to bring people back from the dead or keep them alive indefinitely. So it has a meaning somewhat similar to Chiron, the wounded healer.

Is this new news?

Nooo. It keeps cropping up every few years when yet another astronomer decides to try to rock astrology’s boat. One of astrology’s problems is it has bad PR despite being everywhere and accepted by two thirds of the world’s population. At the moment there is no explanation for astrology since it doesn’t fit in with any of the accepted scientific theories of the universe. And science in its arrogance says what we can’t explain can’t possibly exist. Hah.

How might I learn more?

When I first started doing astrology I knew I had to put aside the why question. Why does it work? We don’t know why is the simple answer. How it works is a different matter. People have been studying and practising astrology for several thousand years and a considerable body of knowledge has been accumulated. If you want to learn how astrology works then there are a huge variety of courses on offer – just go google. Find your country’s main astrological association and ask them.

For a general background on astrology my website has a brief summary of where it came from and just how many leading figures have used it.




Sigh. Astronomers do like to cause mischief on the basis of utterly no understanding of how astrology works. One has suggested because of the wobble of the earth on its axis we are all one sign out. And the Precession of the Equinoxes is news? And shock horror there is a thirteenth sign named after the constellation of Ophiuchus. This is a hoary chestnut that reappears every so often and is all beside the point.

Back to basics. Astrology works off a mathematically exact zodiac marked out from Zero Point Aries which is a line through the centre of the earth. That zodiac circle divided into twelve equal segments is named after twelve of the eighty eight constellations in the heavens which are roughly in a circle.

If you think of the astrological zodiac as a map grid reference it helps. Constellations vary enormously in size and distance from the earth so would hardly be useful for accurate predictions.

Where some of the confusion comes in is that 2000 years ago Zero Point Aries was very roughly against the start of the constellation of Aries. Two thousand years before that in the time of the Babylonians that line through the centre of the earth was against the constellation of Taurus. We have for the past two thousand years been moving through the Age of Pisces and now are hovering on the brink of the Age of Aquarius. But since the constellations are impossible to put a start and finish on estimates for the start of the Age of Aquarius run from 1966 to 2034.

In any event these great epochs as they are known have nothing whatsoever to do with the working of day to day astrology.

While for some it is reassuring to think of astrology working because we are ‘zapped’ by solar system energy, few serious astrologers believe there is a cause and effect mechanism working. The explanation has to be a good deal more complex than that. Since science has dismally failed to even start to grapple with the issue, other than throwing out silly smears once in a while we still have no idea why astrology actually works.

Which it undoubtedly does. Even at the simplest level of Sun signs it does make sense. Many early astronomers and indeed modern many scientists are Pisces. Comedians tend to be Aquarius or Sagittarius. Farmers and singers Taurus. Yes there are exceptions but anyone who knows astrology knows what their friends and family are like and most fit the rules of the thumb for that sign.

Birth charts can be startling accurate in pin pointing temperaments, talents, hang ups and life’s patterns. The examples are legion.

I wrote a book some years ago looking at the history of the past two thousand years and what was around astrologically during the great historical shifts. You can track the history of economics and the handling of money through times of Pluto in Capricorn which we have at the moment – 2008 to 2024. Pluto is about transformation. Capricorn is about governments and finance. Pluto melts down to produce a better system. The world went into a global financial spasm when Pluto moved into Capricorn. It occurs roughly every 250 years. Last time round Adam Smith was writing the free market bible ‘Wealth of Nations’. Prior to that currencies were re-organised, stabilised, banking was invented.

There is abundant proof that the kind of astrology we use, based on the map grid of the zodiac with the twelve signs we know and love so well, named after but not exactly matching constellations, does work. One day scientists will stop sneering and smearing and get on with their proper business of providing an explanation.

Pink Panther heists – well-planned, fast and brass-necked

There’s suspicion that the Kim Kardashian robbers were part of the Pink Panther group of East European criminals who have pulled off some astonishing jewellery heists in the past two decades all over the world. They are a loose network of about 200 it is thought, so if some are caught, which they have been, it does not affect the set up. They don’t use violence although they have been armed; are meticulously well prepared and disappear fairly instantly after audacious raids.

What is interesting is that the charts of four of the highest-grossing raids are reasonably similar, and all have Fire Suns (although not this one).

Carlton Hotel, Cannes, 28 July 2013, $136 million – a Water Grand Trine of Mars Jupiter in trine Neptune trine Saturn North Node, formed into a Kite by Mars Jupiter opposition Pluto. So certainly talented, but with the confident-chancer Mars Jupiter; with Mars Pluto highlighted which has criminal overtones. The Leo Sun was trine Uranus.

Wafi Mall, Dubai, 14 April 2007 -a Fire Grand Trine of Aries Sun trine Saturn trine Jupiter (Pluto), formed into a Kite by Saturn opposition Neptune; with the Sun opposition the Saturn/Pluto midpoint and Uranus = Mars/Pluto.  Certainly entrepreneurial and risk-taking.

Graff, 6 Aug 2009, £40 million, one of London’s biggest robberies – a Leo Sun widely opposition the high-finance Jupiter Neptune; with Mars in Gemini on the point of a T Square to Saturn opposition Uranus.

Harry Winston, 5 Dec 2008, Paris, $110 million, called the robbery of the century by the French media – a Sagittarius Sun conjunct Mars on the focal point of Saturn opposition Uranus; with Saturn square the Mars/Pluto midpoint and Uranus = Mars/Saturn.

This Kim Kardashian robbery had the Sun square the Mars/Pluto midpoint.

So all have Fire Suns – inspirational and entrepreneurial; all have afflicted Mars, especially tied into Pluto; and three out of these four older examples had a Jupiter trine Saturn, which points to careful pre-planning; several had a heavily aspected and evasive Neptune as well.

Kim Kardashian – assaulted by Mars Saturn




Kim Kardashian was tied up by gunmen dressed as police, in a luxury Paris apartment in the early hours of this morning and robbed of around 8 million euros worth of jewellery. She was in town for the fashion shows and has since left France. Horrible experience and her security will no doubt be getting a sharp boot.

What’s showing most clearly on her chart is her Secondary Progressed Mars almost exactly square her Saturn (within 10 minutes which is a sixth of a degree). That is accident-prone, can be life-threatening and is certainly a huge setback. Tr Saturn has been conjunct her Mars in Sagittarius earlier this year, which can also attract destructive energies; and is heading for her Ascendant by mid this month. Tr Pluto is sextile her Mars/Pluto exactly now which is minor but high-risk. Her Solar Arc Venus is also conjunct her trapped Sun/Pluto midpoint so emotionally intense.

Given that mishaps/disasters tend to come in cycles – or one cataclysm is a harbinger of a run of bad luck, she does have trying times over the next few years. Tr Saturn into her lower-profile 1st quadrant from this April for several years may gradually persuade her to be less visible. Her Solar Arc Sun is conjunct her Mars in 2018 which is a collision of sorts; at the same time as she has an undermining Solar Arc Neptune square her Sun; followed in 2019 by a jolting, high-tension Solar Arc Uranus square her Saturn.

I would marginally worry about her finances. I can’t think she’ll be short of a dollar or two but tr Pluto is now moving through her 2nd to be joined by tr Saturn from 2018. So there could be some major shift in her money situation.

PS. Other thought. This month does have what are euphemistically described as challenging influences.  First Sun Pluto Uranus; then as tr Mars in Capricorn draws to exact in the second half of the month a conjunction to Pluto and square Uranus.  These usually trigger early and are dangerous for some, and thoroughly frustrating and bad-tempered in general. So out in the world there’s likely to be more mayhem, murder and disruptions or upsetting incidents. A time to take greater care all round. [See Heavenly Headlines]

RIP Rosetta – went boldly into the unknown



Rosetta, the highly successful European Space Agency comet probe has reached its final resting place, 720 million kilometres (450 million miles) on the other side of the Solar System beyond Jupiter, and shut down. Its observations have transformed understanding of the mountainous balls of ice and dust that wander among the planets; and added to knowledge of the early Solar system.

Rosetta, a project started 30 years ago, was launched on 2 March 2004 at 7.17am UT Kourou, French Guinea, with a cosmic Pisces Sun Mercury Uranus in a Water Grand Trine to a Scorpio MC trine Saturn, formed into a Kite by Sun Mercury opposition Jupiter, making Jupiter the driving planet. So a talented and innovative chart, blessed with luck. Jupiter was also in a positive-thinking, new-project trine Mars and North Node in steadfast Taurus.

Ground control lost radio communication at 11.40am in Darmstadt, Germany on September 30 2016 indicating the craft had landed on the comet surface and shut down.

Tr Saturn square tr Neptune had this year been in hard aspect to the launch Sun Mercury; with tr Pluto trine Mars as the mission drew to a close. There was sadness about the end as well as jubilation for an inspirational achievement – with tr Pluto trine the Jupiter.

The Great EU Repeal Bill – history in progress



The Great Repeal Bill is Theresa May’s response to anxious UK citizens floundering in uncertainty about what comes next after the June 23rd referendum vote for Brexit. It will revoke the European Communities Act, given assent 17 October 1972, in preparation for the UK joining the then EEC on Jan 1 1973.

The EC Act 1972 has a Libra Sun Uranus – with tr Uranus exactly opposition the Sun over the referendum, splitting apart an always uncomfortable partnership, with UK laws becoming subservient to Brussels law. That’s a Half Return for tr Uranus, so a mid-life crisis which does often throw everything in the air. Tr Pluto will square the EC Act Uranus exactly when formal notification is given to the EU next March, at the same time as tr Uranus returns to oppose the EC Act Sun – and it all starts to rock n’ roll thereafter for the two years of tr Pluto on Uranus, which is always a game-changer in diplomatic terms. Tr Pluto will then catch up to the square to the Sun in 2020/21, so two years may not be enough time to disentangle a complex web of legislation and trade ties/tariffs etc.

It won’t be easy or pleasant. But at least the astrology is spot on.

The UK joining the EEC chart, of 1 Jan 1973 12am, has had a power-struggle-for-the-upper-hand tr Pluto conjunct Jupiter through 2016 and that continues through 2017; though 2018 looks swampy and confused with tr Neptune square the singleton Saturn on that chart. By 2018 tr Saturn into Capricorn is starting a downbeat, separating conjunction to the UK EEC Sun, the UK, EU and Germany Suns as well. With the disruptive tr Pluto square the UK EEC Uranus in 2019/20.

So the game is on. And with Frankfurt disappearing down a plug-hole bank-wise; and the Hungary anti-migrant push gaining traction in other Eastern European countries, whether today’s referendum wins or not; and France’s economy staggering, ditto Italian banks, the EU looks to be sinking under an avalanche of unresolvable problems. We live in interesting times.

Amanda Knox & Raffaele Sollecito – carrying the scars of their history



The aftermath of the Meredith Kercher sexual attack and murder ten years ago is about to be replayed in Netflix’s documentary about Amanda Knox, out this week. In it she says: “There are those who believe in my innocence and those who believe in my guilt. There is no in-between. If I’m guilty, I’m the ultimate figure to fear, because I’m not the obvious one. But, on the other hand, if I’m innocent, it means that everyone is vulnerable, and that is everyone’s nightmare. Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or I am you.”

The director of the film said: “This dark and tragic event had morphed into this episodic piece of consumer entertainment, and presented to us in the most salacious way possible, over and over and over again.”

Amanda Knox and her (at the time) very recently acquired boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito spent four years in an Italian prison before being definitively cleared by the Italian court of Appeal.

Both have clearly been scarred by the experience and although they are no longer in a relationship, their fates will always be intertwined, certainly in the public eye. His Aries Sun is exactly conjunct her North Node; and his North Node is exactly conjunct her Ascendant. Destinies colliding. Her Saturn, Moon, Uranus in Sagittarius are conjunct his Ascendant, so his meeting with her irrevocably changed his image.

Neither have easy charts or contented personalities, and looking forward, they’ve still got difficulties to face.

She was born 9 July 1987 2.47am Seattle, Washington and has a 2nd house Cancer Sun alongside Mercury Venus all in opposition an 8th house Neptune, trine/sextile Pluto in Scorpio. So tricky to fathom with an evasive Neptune,  she’ll be controlled as well as charmingly seductive with Venus Pluto. And she will give off confusing signals. Her fiery Sagittarius Moon sits awkwardly with her Watery Cancer Sun and Venus, as well as being hemmed in by discouraging Saturn and erratic Uranus.

Tr Pluto is continuing to oppose her Sun from the 8th till late 2017 which will be a heavily pressured time and tr Pluto continues in her trapped 8th for another four years, being joined by tr Saturn from 2018. 2019 will be especially tricky and downbeat with her Solar Arc Saturn opposition her Sun.

Raffaele Sollecito, 26 March 1984 1.15am Bari, Italy, says he doesn’t think about his future anymore, taking it week by week. His Aries Sun is square Neptune Jupiter in Capricorn, so he could have been laid-back, dreamy, overly confident before. But he’s also got Mars Saturn and Pluto spread out through Scorpio, which is angst-ridden, quite dark; with Mars sextile his Capricorn Moon. He’s got a slow-slog tr Pluto sextile his Saturn till late this year; and if his birth time is right, Solar Arc Saturn conjunct his Ascendant in 2017 which will be enthusiasm-dampening; and a panicky-failure Solar Arc Mars conjunct Neptune in 2018.

Rodrigo Duterte – deploying criminal tactics to fight crime



Rodrigo Duterte, the new President of the Philippines, much given to expletive-laden tirades, has been mouthing off again about his bloody campaign against drug dealers and addicts. President Obama cancelled a meeting with Duterte recently after he appeared to call him a “son of a whore” for speaking out against extra-judicial killings. Duterte has openly said he would “kill 100,000 criminals” to reduce crime in the Philippines. Since June 3,000 people have been killed in police operations or by vigilantes.

A former lawyer, prosecutor, he was city Mayor for Davao for 22 years, which became known as the murder capital, as Duterte sanctioned civilian death squads to cut crime rates. He was born 28 March 1945 and was sworn in at noon on 30 June 2016 in Manila. At least a third of the population live below the poverty line in the Philippines.

He’s an upfront Sun Aries opposition Neptune in Libra square Saturn in Cancer, so will have a vision and executive ability though won’t be good at sharing the driving seat. His Pluto is heavily aspected being trine his Sun and on the focal point of a mini-Grand Trine of Neptune to Uranus in Gemini, as well as square Venus – in a Half Grand Sextile. His Mars in Pisces is square Uranus and trine Saturn. So talented but power and aggression drive him. He looks pleased with his achievements by 2018/19 with tr Pluto trine his Jupiter in Virgo.

His Presidency chart is also controlling with the Sun Venus opposition a 4th house Pluto which squares onto a 7th house Uranus – so a firm clamp down internally and divisive diplomatically  with neighbours. There’s also a heavy-duty and hidden Earth Grand Trine of Moon in Taurus trine Jupiter Node in Virgo trine Pluto, formed into a Kite by Pluto opposition Sun Venus. Plus a stressed, explosive, vengeful Mars in Scorpio inconjunct Uranus – so not harmonious or risk-free.

The Philippines Independence chart, 4 July 1946 9.15am Manila, is surging with confidence at the moment with Solar Arc Pluto conjunct Jupiter and tr Pluto square Jupiter in 2016/17 – but that combination always carries the risk of going a step too far, breaking rules and regulations out of arrogance. Duterte has already said he doesn’t care about human rights laws when threatened by UN sanctions. There will be some jolts in 2017 with Solar Arc Sun square Uranus and tr Uranus square the Saturn.

India v Pakistan – brewing up for a hot-headed confrontation

18 Indian soldiers died in the raid on a Kashmir base recently, the worst such attack in more than two decades. It is blamed on Pakistan who hotly deny it but it has heightened tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Indian PM Narendra Modi is under pressure from his own party and his own past rhetoric to take decisive action. So far he’s holding back mindful of the risks of war, damaging India’s fast growing economy and causing international alarm. But he is set to boycott what was to be a historic regional summit in Islamadad in November, a symbol of reconciliation, which is a humiliating diplomatic blow to Pakistan.

Previous Indo-Pak wars in 1965, 1971 were launched on Saturn Pluto aspects – 1965 on Saturn opposition Uranus Pluto; and 1971 with Saturn trine Pluto trine Node. Indeed the initial 1947 war was fought on the Saturn Pluto conjunction in Leo. There’s nothing similar until 2018/19. But there is a good deal of insecurity and high risk on both country charts and their relationship chart come early 2017 running right through the year.

Nothing will resolve quickly with a slide in confidence running through till January; then at least angry words flying, if not violent incidents from February onwards.

Narendra Modi’s PM chart looks very bullish through this December and across 2017, which may push him into going several steps too far.

UK Child Abuse Inquiry – still stuttering after 2 years plus



The beleaguered UK Child Abuse Inquiry set up by Theresa May on 7 July 2014, announced at 4.40pm London, now on its fourth chairman, is in trouble again. The lead lawyer, Ben Emmerson, is ‘considering his position’ after an alleged dispute with Professor Alexis Jay, the new head, over the remit for the Inquiry.

It was set up on a Cardinal Grand Cross of a Cancer Sun opposition Pluto square Uranus opposition Mars – so no surprises it’s progress has been beset by rolling crises. Disruptions, upheavals and aggravations are likely to be the theme ahead as these four planets shift by transit and Solar Arc to stoke up problems for years ahead.

Alexis Jay, much praised for her Rotherham Inquiry, 25 April 1949, is a charming and stubborn Sun Venus in Taurus; with her Mercury in Taurus square Pluto; and a tough-minded Mars in Aries trine Saturn in Leo.

Ben Emmerson, 10 Aug 1963, is a Sun Venus in Leo opposition Saturn in Aquarius, so both flamboyant and meticulous. They are not a great mix with her Pluto conjunct his Sun and opposition his Saturn, and her Mercury square his Saturn, so they were always likely to take different standpoints.

Their relationship chart, if Amber Rudd, the present Home Secretary, manages to patch it together, looks fraught and aggravated through the next two years with tr Pluto opposition the composite Mars.

Australia and North Ireland seem to manage to run child abuse inquiries without all this rolling brouha.