Ian Rankin, Mick Herron – Grand Trine + yod

Crime novelist Ian Rankin has a new incarnation of his best-selling middle-aged detective Rebus in a prequel TV series with a hunkier lead casting of a younger version in Outlander actor Richard Rankin.

Ian Rankin is now the most widely-read crime novelist in the UK, as well as having his novels translated into many languages.

 His chart does standout with an Earth Grand Trine formed into a Neptunian kite and a Uranian yod.

  He was born 28 April 1960 10.30 pm Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and started writing early from aged 12, constructing an alternate universe for himself as a way of escaping the Presbyterian constraints of a “claustrophobic small town”. He flunked accountancy, later baled out of a PhD, and on the way to becoming a full-time novelist worked as a grape picker, swineherd, taxman, alcohol researcher, hi-fi journalist, college secretary and punk musician. His first novel was published in his mid twenties, but it was his late thirties before he had his first best seller.

 He has a Taurus Sun in a confident trine to Jupiter and Pluto, with Neptune opposing – not short of drive or creative talent. He also has Saturn in Capricorn sextile Mars in Pisces inconjunct Uranus making him independent-minded, determined on his own path, a trailblazer and a catalyst – as he moved crime fiction into a genre demanding respect.

  His early novels came out while Saturn was moving through his lower profile First Quadrant though his Solar Arc Mars was trine his Uranus giving his yod a nudge onto the right track. Towards the end of the 1990s when success came tr Jupiter was opposition his Uranus and conjunct his SA Saturn giving his yod a Jupiterian boost. And by the time of his first TV series in 2000 his Solar Arc Uranus had moved to conjunct his Midheaven.

A similar astrological pattern has propelled spy novelist Mick Herron through early setbacks to success with his Slow Horses series, now a tv series. His hero, like Rankin’s, is a shambolic character, who makes an unlikely protagonist. Herron, born 11 July 1963, Newcastle, no birth time.

   He also has a Grand Trine, possibly formed into a Kite with two yods in his chart. A Sun Cancer trine Neptune probably trine a Pisces Moon, he has his Moon maybe opposition Mars in Virgo. He has two yods of Sun sextile Mars inconjunct Saturn and Jupiter in Aries sextile Saturn inconjunct Mars.

  Like Rankin he kept writing through early setbacks and even his first Slow Horses novel did not excite the UK publisher enough to agree to his second. If his US publisher had not accepted it, the series may never have taken flight.

   His Solar Arc Uranus was pulling on his Jupiter on one leg of his Martian yod when he started to attract attention.

  Maybe both having yods attracted them to main characters who were talented misfits.

I am always fascinated by individuals with an internal forward gear that propels them onwards through setbacks. Do they have a vision of future success which keeps them going?

Golf – small ball, small hole, long club = fun for some

Golf is having a moment with various eyebrow-raising headlines from Saudi’s sportwashing to Rory McIlroy’s divorce and Scottie Sheffler’s Louisville arrest on the way to the PGA.

  The beginnings of golf are lost several centuries back though in 1457, King James II, in an Act of Parliament banned citizens from playing football and golf because the naughty natives had been skiving off practicing archery skills for their mandatory military training. The Scots lay claim to the game’s invention but the Chinese also played a version of “hit ball” about the same time.

  Stockbroker Charles Blair MacDonald, who learned the game at the St. Andrews Golf Links, is considered the father of American golf course architects. He was born 14 November 1855 Niagara Falls, Canada with a Scottish father and Canadian (part Mohawk) mother and grew up in Chicago.

 He was a Sun Scorpio opposition Uranus square Jupiter in Aquarius; with a publicity-attracting Mars in Virgo opposition Neptune. Confident certainly and a risk-taker with his posthumous chart on the alert at the moment.

 Scottie Scheffler, 21 June 1996 Ridgewood, New Jersey, is a Sun Cancer square Saturn and inconjunct Pluto with his Pluto opposition Mars. Hard-driving, not an easy temperament and would not appreciate being hustled/hassled by the police.

 Rory McIlroy, 4 May 1989 Belfast, Ireland, no birth time, is a determined Taurus Sun and Venus opposition Pluto; with his Mars in Cancer in an excitable and volatile opposition to Uranus (Neptune Saturn) in Capricorn. There’s no birth time but his Sun/Moon midpoint is in early degrees Taurus and may be catching the tr Pluto square. But divorces don’t happen overnight and he has had a sticky several years with his Solar Arc Saturn square his Sun opposition Pluto four years back and SA Neptune in a confused, undermining square to his Sun and Pluto in 2022.

Golf is a game whose aim is to hit a very small ball into an even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose.’ Winston Churchill

‘Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness.’ William Wordsworth

‘Golf is a good walk spoiled.’ Mark Twain

Ben & Jen – both Leo Sun Scorpio Moon

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez appear to have hit a marital stumbling block according to reports which will upset devoted fans of BenJen and evoke told-you-so nods from cynics.

 Both are Sun Leos with Scorpio Moons which is a tricky enough combination individually and as a twosome would raise the emotional temperature considerably, both positively and negatively. Added to that the Leonine inclination to want attention – though less obvious in his case – might have created a tension or two.

  Plus he has Uranus and Pluto in his 4th so will be inclined to over-control the domestic environment as well as demand freedom to please himself. And her Pluto and Uranus fall in his 4th so she’ll be doing exactly the same.

  If her birth time of 5.49am is sound (thank you to Parker McPhinney) then both of them have their marriage significator Sun/Moon midpoint at 28 degrees Virgo which is catching the undermining tr Neptune opposition through this year as well as being in the line of fire of the September Lunar Eclipse and the 2025 October Solar Eclipse as well.

  Their relationship chart has a chained-together composite Saturn trine Pluto but also an uncertain Saturn opposition Neptune square North Node which is being buffeted this year and next; as well as a disappointed tr Neptune square the composite Venus this year.

  Their wedding chart of 16 July 2022 Las Vegas which has Sun Mercury conjunct Procyon (= flies high and crashes) opposition Pluto. The Solar Arc Uranus is conjunct the North Node now as the Solar SArc Sun moves to oppose the Pluto exactly over the next year plus.

 At the very least it will be a rough patch and the sentimentalists will hope they weather the storm.

  They do mirror each other’s temperament which is not always a winning combination.

Francis Ford Coppola – the courage to take risks

Francis Ford Coppola’s passion project Megalopolis has premiered at Cannes film festival with reviews divided between “staggeringly ambitious”, “absolute madness”, and “bafflingly shallow”. The film’s premise is about “political ambition, genius and conflicted love” where “the fate of Rome haunts a modern world unable to solve its own social problems”. It stars Adam Driver as a Nobel prize-winning architect and scientist named Cesar Catilina, who has gained powers to control time and space after a scientific discovery.”

  Bilge Ebiri wrote in Vulture that it “sometimes feels like the fevered thoughts of a precocious child, driven and dazzled and maybe a little lost in all the possibilities of the world before him”. “There is nothing in Megalopolis that feels like something out of a ‘normal’ movie. The characters speak in archaic phrases and words, mixing shards of Shakespeare, Ovid, and at one point straight-up Latin.”

 The NY Times reported a “mishmash of acting styles” with dialogue “either bluntly declarative or totally impenetrable”.

Jason Gorber wrote “Megalopolis can feel almost as if HBO’s Rome was rewritten by a thousand monkeys, some of them even getting their spelling correct.”

Other reviews were more positive – Deadline: “something of a mess: unruly, exaggerated and drawn to pretension like a mother to a flame” – but also lauded its “sheer audacity” as “the work of a master artist who has taken to Imax like Caravaggio to canvas”.

  Coppola’s Apocalypse Now was also slated when it launched in 1979 but became regarded as a cinema great.

  Coppola was born 7 April 1939 1.38 am Detroit, Michigan into a creatively talented family of Italian immigrants, had polio in his childhood which confined him to bed where he made his own puppet theatre productions.  His reputation as the greatest ever movie maker was cemented in the 1970s with the Godfather and then Apocalypse Now and he has won every award going for his other movies as well.

He has a quick witted and communicative 3rd house Sun, Saturn and Mercury in Aries with his emphasized Jupiter in Pisces also in his 3rd in a creative Water Grand Trine to Pluto in the 7th and a Scorpio Moon, formed into a Kite by Jupiter opposition Neptune. Saturn in Aries will make him self-reliant and a Water Grand Trine give him a fertile imagination. His Sun Mercury are also square a go-getting, assertive Mars in Capricorn on his Ascendant.

 Despite his golden reputation his career has always been roller coaster. His 1970s saw great success with the Godfather and Apocalypse Now but his debts were piling up and in the 1980s he went bankrupt three times as tr Pluto moved across his Midheaven crossing his North Node in Scorpio with his Solar Arc Neptune moving in tandem.  His Water Grand Trine makes him creative but not always realistic – and his driving Jupiter opposition Neptune will lean him towards the overly optimistic.

 His 10th harmonic, the wheel of fortune ups and downs, is heavily aspected with a hint of over confidence being his Achilles Heel. His creative 5th and 7th harmonics are strong, as is his break-through, genius 13H and global influencer 22H.

  The recent Solar Eclipse was conjunct his Saturn Sun perhaps for a sobering moment with the October Solar Eclipse opposing his Mercury for a back-to-the-drawing-board and collect-his wits few months. His Grand Trine and Kite are being jolted with tr Uranus opposing his Moon on one leg this July onwards into 2025; tr Pluto square opposition his Pluto; and tr Saturn conjunct his Jupiter opposition Neptune in 2025. Plus his SA Sun in a jarring opposition to his Mars exact in six months.

  He will get some cheer from tr Uranus conjunct his Jupiter/Pluto midpoint this  June and onwards into early 2025. Not exactly ecstatic but he will have some morale boosts alongside a few setbacks.   

Kevin Spacey – is a redemption on the cards?

Kevin Spacey unceremoniously dumped by Netflix in 2017 over allegations of sexual harassment and shunned since despite being cleared by courts in the UK and the US of allegations is being supported by fellow thespians who insist he has been badly treated.

Stephen Fry accepted Spacey had been ‘clumsy’ and ‘inappropriate’ but should not be lumped in ‘with the likes of Harvey Weinstein’. Trevor Nunn, Liam Gleeson, Sharion Stone have spoken out asking he be allowed back into the industry. F Murray Abraham accused his detractors of being “vultures”.

  In the initial court case Spacey was cleared of all allegations and his accuser was ordered to pay him $40,000 (£31,600) in damages.

Sexual offence allegations always inhabit a swamp where it is all too easy to leap to judgement in either direction. Always believing accusers discounts those with ulterior/vengeful, pecuniary motives. While those who routinely deny sexual offences brandish questionable motives behind allegations as a get-out-of-jail-free card every time as a way of silencing victims.

 The middle-of-the-road bemused assume there is no smoke without fire and a Netflix dismissal spoke volumes – except they acted without any investigation or proof.  

 Two things were always true – well three. Spacey was psychologically damaged by a sexually abusive, neo-Nazi brute of a father. Secondly he is hugely talented as an actor. Thirdly much sexually clumsy or provocative behaviour passed as the norm in pre-#METOO days and I speak as someone who started work in a Glasgow paper newsroom and then in television. I don’t mean rape or underage, just the jousting between the sexes or same-sexes was an ever present part of working life. Modern HRs would have a breakdown nowadays at what went on and no one raised an eyebrow.

  Spacey’s birth data is somewhat muddy but the one he claims himself of 27 July 1959 5.51 am South Orange, New Jersey, worked well enough when it came to his fall from grace.  At that point tr Pluto was square the Aries Midheaven with tr Uranus just across it and into his 10th for a spectacular career and reputation meltdown.

 He has a Leo Sun square a 10th house Taurus Moon opposition Neptune so will have an ego, creative abilities and at times a lack of common sense and realism. His Moon is trine Saturn trine Mars Pluto in Virgo – for a cruel childhood which left its mark in anger and probably loss of empathy. His sensitivity to others’ wishes and needs will have been blunted. Mars Pluto can be overly forceful in approach and enraged when opposed.  Plus he has his North Node in Libra hinting that cooperation is not his strong point. On this birth time his Chiron is on the cusp of his 8th house of sexuality which may be significant.

  But guilty or not, or to what degree, he has no magic eraser coming up to wipe out the past seven years and restore his former glory. Tr Pluto is square his 10th house Moon this year and next for challenges and blockages in his career along with a good deal of emotional angst. Then tr Pluto moves to oppose his Sun and square his Neptune in 2025 to 2027 putting him under tremendous pressure. At the same time tr Neptune Saturn in Aries will square his Saturn; and tr Uranus will square his Pluto Mars also from 2025 through 2027. It’ll be an uphill struggle ahead.

Slovakia – assassination attempt raises tension

Slovakia is in turmoil after an assassination attempt on its pro-Russian prime minister, Robert Fico, by a disturbed, possibly politically-motivated pensioner. Slovakia is a landlocked country in Central Europe,  bordered by Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic from which it split in 1993. A developed country with an advanced high-income economy, it is a member of the EU, the UN, NATO and other European groups.

  Slovakia, 1 January 1993 12 am Bratislava, has an expansive, go-ahead Jupiter on the Ascendant with a volatile, ambitious Mars in Cancer in the 10th opposition a highly-strung, can-be-fanatical Uranus Neptune in Capricorn. Mars is also trine a money-minded Pluto in the 2nd house of finances with Pluto in an unyielding square to Saturn.  It is a tough chart with a propensity for violence. Transiting Uranus is exactly square the Solar Arc Mars now  and moving to oppose the Pluto within weeks, on and off into early 2025 which will cause unrest, though it is a battened-down country which won’t de-stabilise easily. The SA Mars then moves to square the Pluto by 2026 which suggests significant trouble ahead, financially and in terms of risk. The country looks to be hemmed in at that point.

Robert Fico, 15 September 1964, has been prime minister on and off since 2006, being ousted in 2018 after corruption allegations and the murder of a journalist investigating his ties to a Mafia cartel. Despite the accusations, he bounced back in 2023, on a pro-Russia campaign, insisting on no military support for Ukraine with opinion polls suggesting a third of Slovaks believe the war was provoked by the West.

  He is a Sun Virgo conjunct Pluto with Uranus, Mercury also in Virgo. His Mars in flamboyant Leo is inconjunct his Saturn for a hard-edged temperament. He also has the Boris Johnson Jupiter in indulgent Taurus widely opposition Neptune.

  Exactly now he has tr Uranus square his Mars/Pluto midpoint which Ebertin describes as ‘violence, brutality, disasters or calamities of great consequence.’ 

  He has been under pressure this year with tr Pluto opposition his Mars for a caged in, scary mood, running on and off into the New Year. With 2026 stacking up to be a meltdown year. He has survived but will no doubt be a long time in recovery.

 His 25 October 2023 Term chart has been edgy since the start with Saturn trine a Sun, Mercury, Mars collection in Scorpio.

Anita Pallenberg – a walk on the dark side

‘Dazzling, beautiful, hypnotic and unsettling’ was how the ‘wicked Anita’ Pallenberg was described by her friend Marianne Faithfull. The epitome of the 1960s sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, she ricocheted amongst the Rolling Stones, from Brian Jones, to Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. She did stupendous quantities of heroin, indulged in a fascination for Aleister Crowley rituals and was potent, volatile, and often chaotic.

   The miracle is any of them survived though there were deaths around her of a sudden infant death of one of her three children with Richards and the ‘Russian roulette’ death of a 17 year old boy she was entertaining in her bedroom – and the death of Brian Jones from drowning in later years.

 Catching Fire, a documentary about to be released is based in part on her unpublished memoir titled Black Magic.

 She was born 6 April 1942 in Rome, no birth time, with a frustrated artist/Italian travel agent father whom she claimed had worked in Berlin as an interpreter between Mussolini and Hitler. Her mother was a secretary in the German embassy. A wild child at school, she emigrated to New York, fell in with the avant-garde set and became a model.  At 21 she met the Stones and fell in with Jones – and embarked on an irresponsible and self-centred lifestyle, where the damage she inflicted on others, not the least her two children never seemed to cross her mind. Her daughter was removed by Keith Richards’ mother who called Anita an unfit mother after the SIDs death of her second son.

  Latterly Anita finally emerged sober, completed a degree course at St Martin’s School of Art in textiles and fashion, and became a doting “gangster granny” to her five grandchildren. She died in 2017 from complications due to hepatitis C.

  She had an upfront, fiery, pro-active Aries Sun sextile a passionately enthusiastic Mars Jupiter in Gemini. Her Venus in Aquarius (Pisces)was inconjunct Neptune and square Saturn, Algol, Uranus in Taurus which would space her out, make her inordinately stubborn and headstrong, a risk-taker as well as harbouring low emotional self-esteem; with Algol thrown in to pull her towards the dark side. Her Sagittarius Moon was either in an escapist square to Neptune or an excitable opposition to Jupiter Mars – either of which is possible.

  Her Pluto in Leo was conjunct Chiron, trine Mercury and sextile Uranus. Pluto close to Chiron, Melanie Rhinehart describes as emphasising sexuality and the use or abuse of power and can lend a destructive quality.

  Her son Marlon, who remained with her, seems to have emerged intact from his chaotic childhood, where he was often left to clean up a drug mess before the authorities showed up. Born 10 August 1969 he is a Sun Leo square Neptune but has not followed his parents down the music route. He has two yods of Venus sextile Saturn inconjunct Mars and Jupiter Uranus sextile Mars inconjunct Saturn – not an easy life but he seems to have developed maturity early on.

Alice Munro – a connoisseur of ordinary life

Alice Munro, the Canadian Nobel Literature Prize-winner, renowned as the master of the modern short story and compared to Chekhov, has died at 92. She drew on the lives of her neighbours for stories which became parables about the tests of character faced by people everywhere and managed to invest the humdrum events and parochial dramas of daily small-town life with a haunting significance. “She offered subtle, quiet and often moving observations about sex, desire, work, discontent and ageing; yet her writing was peopled by types whose claustrophobic lives might not have seemed, on the surface, to promise much.”

The novelist John Updike wrote “she moves gimlet-eyed and rabbit-eared through a world of romantic possibilities, marital fury, poignant offspring (daughters, as a rule), and un-ignorable signs of ageing.”

 She was born 10 July 1931 9pm Wingham, Ontario, with a teacher mother and failed fox and mink farmer father. She wrote of her father’s independence, self-sufficiency, forbearance and appreciated his love of history books. Her mother was difficult, distant and ill with Parkinson’s during Alice’s solitary and poor childhood. Yet her death in Alice’s late twenties, brought anguish, anxiety and ulcers which interfered with her writing.

  She starting writing early, excelled at school and college and her first collected short stories won a major award with many others following. Her dream was to write an all-embracing novel but short stories were where she excelled.

 She was of the Shirley Conran generation with the tough Saturn in Capricorn opposition Pluto square an inventive Uranus. In Alice’s case her talent for pushing back the boundaries in her chosen field was aided by a confident Jupiter Pluto conjunct her Cancer Sun in her hard-working 6th house.

  She evidently regarded herself as ‘a plodder’ which may have had something to do with a heavy 6th house (Virgo) element plus an 8th house Mars in Virgo as well as Neptune, and a Taurus Moon. Her Mercury in Leo was conjunct Jupiter but was otherwise unaspected, perhaps allowing giving her a single-tracked ability to concentrate on what interested her.

  What is of note psychologically is her 8th house Mars – she came from a large family who had intermarried over generations with one great grandmother committing suicide. The other is her Chiron exactly conjunct her Taurus Moon hinting at her unmothered childhood where she had to take over the caring role as her mother’s condition deteriorated. Her mother was her wound which threatened to overwhelm her when she died even though they were not emotionally close.

 Her creative 5th and 7th harmonics were strong as was her writer’s 21st; as well as her leaving-a-legacy 17H and her global reputation 22H.

The Moon – roaming through the astro-houses

The astrological Moon – soft, protective, sensitive, maternal, sentimental, moody, mysterious, evasive, programmed by the past, a seeker of comfort – has as many faces as there are different kinds of mothers.

  In mythology the renowned mothers: Demeter for one is so possessive of her daughter Persephone she wreaks destruction on earth when separated from her.  Hera, the ultimate tiger mother, intent on producing perfect children, ultimately damages them. The nightmare Medea becomes a family annihilator, killing her children because her lover/their father rejected her.

  And then there is Gaia, the ancestral mother of earth. The second hexagram of the I Ching talks of the earth ‘in its devotion carries all things good and evil without exception’. Strength and swiftness combined with gentleness, straight, square, great and enduring. The archetypal mother who stands behind the often imperfect human variants which followed.

  Which house the Moon falls in a chart, at a simplistic level, is what gives comfort because it feels either protective or carries familiar echoes of childhood. An afflicted Moon will tend to bring the negative end of the effects.

Moon in the 1st house – can project a soft aura of helpfulness and be sensitive to atmosphere, often shape-shifting to fit in with the prevailing influences and dominant people around. Keen to be well thought of. Changeable and moody, with a fondness for food. It does carry a hint of Moon in Aries which can be emotionally over-reactive.

Moon in the 2nd house of money – need their finances to be secure before they will be happy. Money and possessions bring comfort and they can be fickle, both savers and spenders.  Emotionally fixed so dislike compromise and prefer a steady lifestyle without too much change, Can be stubborn and jealous.

Moon in the 3rd house of siblings, everyday routines, communication and thinking patterns – brothers, sisters, even cousins can stand in for mother in terms of providing emotional support. Emotional patterns from childhood may affect attitudes and thinking clearly not always easy since they tend to be easily influenced by those close. Prone to daydreaming. Curious and restless.

Moon in the 4th house of family, roots, childhood, the earth – a happy home life is a necessity, comfort gained from knowledge of the family lineage. Theoretically it should indicate as Moon in Cancer does a special connection to mother but I have known cases where the father was the one providing the stability and security. Moody, a tendency to brood rather than be upfront. Possessive of family members.

Moon in the 5th house of children, romance, entertainment and speculation – emotional connection to and fondness for children, in certain cases children are used as comforters, changeable in romantic relationships, attention-seeking and can be dependent. Impulsive where financial speculation is concerned.

Moon in the 6th house of work/service and health – physical energy is often affected by emotional state which can interfere with work. Fondness for small pets. Interest in food, diet and hygiene. A worrier and a perfectionist.

Moon in 7th house of close relationships (and enemies) – need the security of a one-to-one relationship. Can marry less for love and more for the offer of enduring support. Sensitive to others’ needs, dependent. Good at dealing with the public.

Moon in the 8th house of transformation, death and rebirth, confidential matters, sex and joint finances – intensely emotional, passionate, secretive, never admit being hurt, in touch with unseen forces that lie beyond reality, interest in the paranormal and spiritualism. Finances connected to family or close relationships for good or ill.  A grandmother will be important childhood influence, an emotional support.

Moon in 9th house of travel, knowledge, belief systems, social customs – comfort in childhood often comes through books and in adult life through travel. Interest in foreign cultures, often lives abroad for a portion of life. Sustained by intellectual interests with a curiosity about spiritual and religious belief systems.

Moon in the 10th house of career and reputation – often aim for a public career where their ‘Lunar’ nose for social trends helps their ambitions. Politicians who interact with the general public and others are influenced by their mother. Women can be helpful in career.

Moon in 11th house of friends, group and social/community interests and long term plans –  comfort comes from friendships rather than family. A knack of excelling in group activities. Dislike of being isolated or alone. Friendships may be superficial and not constant.

Moon in the 12th house of secrets, the unconscious and creativity  –  felt under-mothered early on with a tendency to compensate in adult life by staying emotionally introverted. Need peace and a protective space. Easily hurt. Hyper-sensitive, can be psychic.

  That is a skimming of Moon in the houses – I am sure there will be lots of examples which may widen the meanings so do pitch in.