An astrological remedy to life’s ills

Astrology as a Therapeutic Art is the latest offering from Greg Bogart on a mission to prove how valuable a tool astrology can be in solving life and relationship problems in therapy and counselling.

  Lucidly written it has helpful explanations of psychological terms as well as astrological explorations of printed charts.  There are a stream of vignettes explaining the problems thrown up by charts and how the astrologer/therapist and client was able to resolve them. Being a fan of agony aunt columns I found them fascinating though their brevity gave a slightly misleading sense of the ease with which solutions were reached.

 Two points struck me. He refers to derivative houses which was a method first used by the old Greek astrologers. For example taking the 7th house as referring to a spouse of partner. The 10th house is the 4th house from the 7th and therefore refers to the spouse or partner’s family.  The 12th house is the 6th house from the 7th representing partner’s health and workplace. It takes a while to get used to but might have its uses.

  The other is a general ambivalence. When I first started in this field, I saw astrological clients for therapy and the problem as I found it was they tended to regard me as the Delphic Oracle who had all the answers and in some instances as Merlin who could magic up a solution. So it created an imbalance which was not helpful.  I became the all-knowing one and they were the passive listener. Traditional psychotherapy on the other hand sees the process as a journey of unknowing, helping the client to reach out for their own answers.

   Having said that, classical psychoanalysis has its limitations, being lengthy and expensive and not always producing results. Which is why Tony Ryle set up his CAT (Cognitive Analytic Therapy) programme for time-limited therapy of sixteen sessions with a more pro-active approach from the therapist.

  In my experience astrology can be enormously helpful as a catalyst especially for those who are in therapy elsewhere and may be stuck. It can deliver a considerable (almost electrical) jolt of enlightenment which helps the process along.  

  Liz Greene describes the birth chart as a map which is different from walking the road. I’m just not entirely convinced that astrology will be the magic cure which solves all problems.  

  But for all that the book is well worth reading for its clear descriptions of difficult chart aspects and how to approach them.

Sarah Janet Maas – turning disaster into success

 A career triggered by calamities has proved super-successful for “romantasy” author Sarah Janet Maas. Her interest in  fantasy took off after the 9/11 attacks as she leant on her fascination for magical fairy tales and folklore to provide her with an escape from real life. Her first book, Throne of Glass, written when she was sixteen in 2002 is an alternate Cinderella in which the heroine is an assassin not a maid — attending the ball not to meet the prince, but to kill him.

  Her books span themes of authoritarianism, loss and grief, trauma, friendship and happily-ever-after epic romance and her teenage escapism has spawned a juggernaut literary empire in which she created her own JRR Tolkien-esque universe populated by sexually charged fairies. She has released more than a dozen books in the past 12 years giving a further boost to Bloomsbury, JK Rowling’s publisher.

  Where her sales exploded recently was with the pandemic as women readers were looking for escapist fiction and were introduced to her on Tik Tok and Instagram. Her recent release — House of Flame and Shadow — sold more than 360,000 copies in the US in its first week. To date Bloomsbury has sold more than 40mn copies of her books.

  She was born 5 March 1986 in New York and is a Sun in Pisces with Jupiter and Venus also in Pisces. With her Saturn, Mars, Uranus in Sagittarius in a variety of squares to her Pisces planets; plus a confident and successful Jupiter trine Pluto sextile Neptune.

  She sounds a notch above E.L. James with her sensationalist sleazy Fifty Shades of Grey though they both have Sun and Jupiter in creative, imaginative Pisces and have Venus Mars hard aspects which can create a robustly sexual approach. More blatant with EL James since she has Mars in Leo opposition Venus in Aquarius.  

  When 9/11 happened the transiting Saturn opposition Pluto was square Sarah Maas’s Pisces Sun and hitting on her Sagittarius planets giving her life an almighty jolt; with her Solar Arc Uranus Mars in a panicky, highly strung conjunction to her Neptune sending her off into fantasy land.

  When the pandemic struck in 2020 the transiting Saturn Pluto conjunction in Capricorn was conjunct her SA Mars Uranus; her SA Pluto was conjunct her Saturn and tr Uranus was opposition her Pluto.

  Difficult influences don’t always spell disaster.

Samantha Morton – Fire & Jupiter gave her hope

‘I dedicate this award to every child in care, or who has been in care and who didn’t survive’ was the heart-wrenching declaration of actress Samantha Morton as she was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship at the weekend.  After unlikely beginnings she has had an award-strewn career with recent credits for The Walking Dead, Harlots, Rillington Place and Fantastic Beasts.

  Born 13 May 1977, no birth time, Nottingham, England, she had eight siblings and after her parents split up when she was two, she lived with her violent alcoholic father. Aged eight, she was placed with several foster families, then in a children’s home, where she was abused. She has managed to rise above it all, explaining ‘I had the most magical, feral childhood as well as some of the horrible stuff happening. When I was little… I would do anything for a laugh. The world is tough enough. We have got to smile and invite the light in.’

  She is a Sun Taurus with a Fire Grand Trine of an enthusiastic Mars Venus in Aries trine Saturn in Leo trine Neptune, formed into a talented Kite by Neptune opposition Jupiter in Gemini – making ever-optimistic and lucky Jupiter the leading planet. Her Jupiter sextile Mars Venus also forms a yod inconjunct Uranus in Scorpio – such a Uranian yod suits her for an unconventional path in life allowing her independent-minded high spirits free rein with at times defiant, wilful acting out.  When she first had her epiphany at 13 that acting was her destiny tr Pluto was conjunct her Solar Arc Uranus triggering her yod into gear.

  Clearly life has not been as easy as she makes it sound with her Venus Mars opposition Pluto hinting at brushes with violence. But her confidence and optimism saw her through.

 Skipping down the Times obituaries today I noticed a Burma Road survivor from World War Two, who stayed alive through four gruelling years of torture and starvation as a Japanese POW, coming home weighing six stone. He died at 104 and it always amazes me how people such as him who suffered such health-damaging experiences manage to hang on to a ripe old age. Jack Jennings, 10 March 1919, was a Sun Pisces but he had Mars and Venus in Aries like Samantha Moreton trine Neptune in Leo with Saturn also in Leo; and a Jupiter Pluto conjunction in Pisces square his Aries planets.  Fire plus Jupiter definitely helps.

Years ago giving an astrology lecture on child abuse while the aftermath of the Fred West horrors were still fresh, one astrologer in the audience pointed out that the West children who survived had strong Jupiters and the one who ended up under the patio didn’t. Jupiter can be a life saver.

  I was touched by Samantha Morton’s dedication to those in care who did not survive. It reminded me of a boy I saw during training on a psychiatric emergency intake ward. He looked 12 but was 17, had been in the care system since birth, bounced around several times with the only foster mother he was attached to committing suicide, and ended up at 14 as a child prostitute in Piccadilly. He was mentally retarded (as known then) and had AIDs. Since this was the 1980s he was going to die. Over the years it has stuck in my mind as the worst thing I ever saw – no choices, no chances, a life of misery, disappointment and abuse and dead before he left his teens. Astrology has no real answers to these kinds of stories and certainly neither does religion.

  But all power to Samantha Morton for reminding the world of those who lacked a safety net either internal or external.

Yulia Navalnaya – bold in the face of fear

Yulia Navalnaya, known as the “first lady” of the Russian opposition, widow of the almost certainly murdered Alexi Navalny, has vowed to take on his struggle. Although avoiding the spotlight for years she was always there. She said in a video address this week “I was by Alexei’s side all these years: elections, protests, house arrest, searches, detention, prison, poisoning, protests again, arrest again and prison again.”

 Born 24 July 1976, no birth time, Moscow, she is a trained economist and mother of two. “She isn’t just married to the man, she’s married to the cause,” said Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian MEP and former prime minister.

 Hours after learning of the sudden death of her husband, she spoke to world leaders at the Munich Security Conference last Friday and urged them to redouble their efforts against Putin. On Monday, she toured Brussels like a visiting foreign leader, meeting European Council president Charles Michel and Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief. In a speech she asked Russians to “share her fury” and not give up the fight to overthrow President Vladimir Putin, who she accused of ordering her husband’s murder.

  She has her Sun, Saturn, Mercury, Venus in Leo square Uranus in Scorpio conjunct North Node opposition Chiron SN in Taurus. Her Leo stellium is also trine Neptune and sextile Pluto. A formidable lady, highly motivated, enduring, driven to push through reforms with persistence. Her Mars in hard working Virgo is in a courageous sextile to Uranus and an attention-seeking square to Neptune. Her Jupiter in late Taurus is sextile her Sun.

 Her Sun is conjunct her confident/lucky Jupiter/Pluto midpoint and her Uranus squares it. But she also has her Pluto conjunct her Saturn/Neptune midpoint leading to depression and a difficult struggle in life. Her Pluto is also conjunct her  Mars/North Node midpoint which is associated with violent separations.

  She is having a tough struggle ahead with tr Pluto opposition her Sun and then Saturn over the next four years. With one lucky blip of triumph and relief from tension in July, October 2024 and May 2025 when tr Uranus will conjunct her Jupiter. Her Progressed Mars, Prog Venus and Prog Pluto are all conjunct now and have been seen Alexei was sent to Siberia last year – passionate in the face of danger and destruction.

    I am always amazed at the courage of people like her and Alexei and other dissidents.   We complain endlessly about our woes in the politically broken west but it is paradise compared to what they face.

The Trump Tribe forced to face reality

Donald Trump has brushed aside a judge’s seering comments about his company’s fraud in inflating the worth of his properties as he was landed with a fine of $350m plus interest. The frauds the judge said “leap off the page and shock the conscience”. “Their (Trumps) complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological.” His two sons face fines of $4m each as well.

  The Trump Organization LLC 27 July 1999 is certainly showing a meltdown over the next two or three years with tr Pluto conjunct the Neptune, opposition the Mercury and then the Sun. With a complete meltdown later in the decade. The chart has an evasive Sun Neptune with a square to Jupiter which perfectly describes the over-hopeful (?), deceptive exaggerations involved – leading to a scandal caused by their own flakiness.

  As Sydney Blumenthal points out the giant fortune Trump was handed by his father Fred still ended up on the rocks due to his hubris.

  Fred Trump’s posthumous chart, 11 October 1905, is showing signs of extreme anxiety over the next three years, so wherever he is he’ll be cursing at his son. Fred’s controlling Pluto is conjunct his son Donald Snr’s Sun – and down the line it goes as Donald Snr’s Pluto is conjunct his son Donald Jnr’s Mars. Fear-based parenting.

  One complication of Trump’s chart which to some extent is a phenomenon that was shared with Maggie Thatcher is the astrology reflects the individual’s experience of the event rather than describing the event itself. Trump is so wrapped up in his pathological arrogance and derealization (= divorced from reality) that he does not react in a normal/sane way. Maggie’s chart on occasion did not record much when she was in danger since she in her own way protected herself against reality by not recognizing she was at risk.

  However Trump at the moment has tr Pluto opposition his Saturn/Pluto midpoint late this month and through March which can refer to loss of fortune and deprivation.  And his SA Pluto is square his Venus/Saturn midpoint this year hitting him where he is most wounded – only loved because successful. Take away the money and he’s nothing.  That rolls on through 2025.  He does have some blips of luck through mid March to early April, but is foully bad tempered through April/May.

 Oldest son Donald, 31 December 1977 5.20 pm West Plam Beach, Florida, has tr Saturn, bringer of chickens coming home to roost, sitting on his Midheaven, so maybe karma is working.  He looks shocked at what has happened exactly now and while he will have some cheer mid March to early April and in May and early 2025, he’s also facing a raft of downers and disappointments in 2025. He won’t be out of the financial woods until well into the 2030s.

  Eric Trump, 6 January 1984 7pm New York, like his brother has a few ups and many more downs and setbacks with a grinding run through till 2027.

  Ivanka appears to have charmed the judge and her fortunes are feather-bedded anyway via Jared’s sweetheart $2 billion deal with MBS of Saudi Arabia. But even she looks aggravated this year and more so with confusion on top through 2027/28.

Gaza charts – 1917 best on test

Gaza – I have waded through various possible dates for Gaza matching them against subsequent events – the 2008 Gaza War (Operation Cast Lead, also known as the Gaza Massacre) and the Hamas attack last October.

 The 9 November 2017 9am chart. The ceasefire after the Six Day War of 11 June 1967 when Israel took over Gaza amongst other territories. The Oslo Accords 13 September 1993 which had it not collapsed due to Arafat would have given the Palestinians some autonomy. Gaza given to the Palestinian Authority 15 August 2005. Hamas Government Gaza 14 June 2007. [Anyone has different dates do pitch in.]

  The chart which works best is the Gaza 1917 one – with 2008 showing up with disruptive, destructive influences (tr Mars Pluto in Capricorn).  The October 2023 attack had a peculiarly unpleasant yod of SA Mars sextile SA Pluto inconjunct tr Uranus.

 The Gaza 1967 chart shows up the 2008 massacre war clearly with tr Mars Pluto conjunct the SA Neptune and the tr Saturn opposition tr Uranus hitting the Sun square Uranus. But only a tr Uranus opposition Neptune for 2023.

 The 1993 Oslo Accords oddly, in despite of it never holding, does show up both clearly with ominous portents for 2027.

  The 2005 and 2007 charts are not showing much apart from a few tremors.

 Given that this recent debacle has virtually destroyed Gaza I would have expected to see more obvious astrology – but on this basis the 1917 chart is the best that is available so far.

Edward Said & Barenboim – music bridging the gap

Celebrated as a moderate Palestinian twenty years after his death, Edward Said, the American academic, literary critic and political activist who co-founded with Daniel Barenboim the West-Eastern Orchestra composed of young Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab musicians, has been extensively quoted recently.  ‘His ability to articulate a moral position with a sophisticated historical sensibility’ according to Moustafa Bayoumi, has been a moderating influence on the heated rhetoric since the Hamas attack and throughout the tortuous diplomatic negotiations during his lifetime.

  Said described the Palestinian people as “the victims of the victims”, showing how Palestinians have become inexorably part of Europe’s Jewish history, even if Palestinian “life, culture, and politics have their own dynamic and ultimately their own authenticity”. “I do … understand as profoundly as I can, the fear felt by most Jews that Israel’s security is a genuine protection against future genocidal attempts on the Jewish people.”

 “For Zionism, the Palestinians have now become the equivalent of a past experience reincarnated in the form of a present threat. The result is that the Palestinians’ future as a people is mortgaged to that fear, which is a disaster for them and for Jews.”

  Edward Wadie Said born 1 November 1935 5pm Jerusalem, was a US citizen through his father, who had served in the American Army in World War I. After the 1948 Palestine war, he relocated to Egypt and then to the USA. After Princeton and Harvard he became a professor at Columbia University. He initially supported a two state solution but eventually came to believe that sustainable peace was only possible with one Israeli–Palestinian state.

  He had a Scorpio Sun opposition Uranus in a Half Grand Sextile linking Mars Moon in Capricorn to Saturn in Pisces,  with his Uranus square Pluto on his IC and his Pluto trine Jupiter in Scorpio – a talented outsider, original thinker, adept at balancing complexities. He had a compassionate and creative Neptune Venus in Virgo with his Venus falling midway between Jupiter and Pluto. His 9th house Moon would send him to live abroad in a country not of his birth and also stimulate his love of books, learning and communication.  His Pluto on the IC hinted at his attachment to his roots and his fear of being trapped.

  An interesting man.

Daniel Barenboim, the pianist conductor, who shared Said’s hopes for the Palestinians and brought music to Gaza and the West Bank, was born to Jewish parents in Buenos Aires on 15 November 1942 11.35am. He is a Sun Scorpio conjunct Venus square an Aquarius Moon and trine Jupiter; with Mars Mercury in Scorpio square Pluto.

 Relocating his chart to Gaza puts his formidably charming Sun Venus on his Descendant his Moon in the 10th and his Pluto in the 4th giving him a sensitivity to the occupation.

Torvill & Dean – a fiery Leo calming Libra mix

Ice dance skating duo Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean have announced their swansong tour in 2025 which will be the fiftieth anniversary of their partnership.  They got together as teenagers in 1975 and rose to become British, European, Olympic, and World champions. Their sizzling Bolero routine which won them a gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics was watched by over 24 million people.

 Despite their sultry numbers on ice they are both in committed relationships to other partners. Jayne, 66, has been in the same marriage for over thirty years and Christopher, married twice is now in an established relationship for over a decade. Since turning professional they have been involved in a variety of ice shows and coaching activities.

  Christopher Dean, 27 July 1958, no birth time, Nottingham, England, is the more volatile of the pair with an excitable  Leo Sun conjunct Uranus on the point of a Fixed T square to  Mars in Taurus in a showbuizzy opposition to Neptune. His stubborn Mars is trine an intense Mercury Pluto in Virgo though marginally softened by having Venus in Cancer sitting on the midpoint. He does have a steadying Saturn in Sagittarius sextile his upbeat Jupiter in Libra. Oddly enough his North Node is in Libra hinting that partnerships and cooperation don’t come easily to him.

  Jayne Torvill, 7 October 1957, n birth time, Nottingham, is an equable Sun Libra in a lucky, successful conjunction to Jupiter and high-energy Mars with her Mercury also in Libra. Her diplomatic skills will come in handy when he gets out of order. Her Moon is Pisces/Aries and her Venus is in seductive Scorpio.

  Their relationship chart has a tight, controlling composite Sun Pluto conjunction with a helpful Jupiter which is on the focal point of a mini Grand trine of Saturn to Uranus, and square Mars. A strong Jupiter in a relationship chart can smooth out rough edges, lends mutual support and act as a morale booster to each partner. Equally a strong Saturn can be a steadying factor giving endurance and practicality – here it is square Venus, sextile Jupiter and trine Uranus.

Alexei Navalny – dying for Russia ++ Putin’s presidency chart ++ Saros cycle ++ Vladimir Kara-Murza

Alexei Navalny, Putin’s most prominent political opponent has died in a Siberian prison colony to which he was sent on what are described as trumped up charges. For many years he has been a lawyer and an anti-corruption activist, with six million YouTube subscribers in 2021. He has described Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, as a “party of crooks and thieves. He was poisoned a few years ago by it is thought Russian security agents and went to Germany for treatment. Unbelievably he returned and was imprisoned for breaking his parole and recently sent to an Arctic penal colony nicknamed “Polar Wolf”, where the temperature at the moment is minus 22C.

  Born 4 June 1976 1.30 pm Moscow, Russia,  he has a 9th house (legal affairs) Gemini Sun Venus opposition Neptune and trine Pluto – a communicator and supremely ambitious. He has his Mars in flamboyant Leo in an uncompromising and excitement-seeking square to Uranus. His Mars is also square an 8th house Jupiter in Taurus and South Node. No one could doubt his courage but in these circumstances one wonders about his recklessness.

  His Chiron in the 8th and his Scorpio North Node both point to an urge towards and an obsession with transformation even if it means the ultimate sacrifice. Losing everything to gain?? –  martyrdom perhaps.  He certainly has a strongly marked 17th harmonic – leaving a legacy behind – which links  Saturn to Mars, Neptune and Pluto indicating extreme hardship and brutality as his way through to immortality.

  He certainly represented an inspiring example for Russia with his Sun Venus conjunct the Jupiter in the 10th in the Russia 8 November 1917 chart 2.12am Leningrad; and his Jupiter in Taurus in the Russia 9th house square the Uranus opposition Saturn. On the Russia 8 December 1991 7.45pm chart his Pluto and Uranus falls in the Russia 4th as he posed a mutinous threat to the new regime’s stability.

  As he dies his Solar Arc Sun is exactly conjunct his Saturn, both at 29 degrees Cancer with tr Pluto opposition both which is a massive amount of pressure. Whether he was poisoned again or succumbed to the brutal Siberian conditions will probably never be known. His last poisoning was only confirmed by the German medical authorities.

“The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.” Soren Kierkegaard.

ADD ON: Another prominent Putin critic in prison in Siberia is Vladimir Kara-Murza, 7 September 1981, a political activist, journalist, author, filmmaker, and political prisoner. He was a protégé of Boris Nemtsov who was assassinated in 2015. Kara-Murza suffers permanent nerve damage as a result of two poisoning attempts which left him in a coma in 2015 and 2017. Late last month it was revealed he had gone missing from the prison in the Omsk region where he was being held in solitary confinement.

 Despite the risk his wife Evgenia, 2 November 1980, has been outspoken in her reaction to Navalny’s death. She said she was ‘horrified, but not surprised’. ‘The use of political assassination as a method of dealing with opponents has been there for the entire rule of Vladimir Putin. ‘[Navalny’s death] was a murder for which Vladimir Putin is responsible.’

  Vladimir Kara-Murza is a Sun Virgo in an idealistic square to Neptune; with a leadership Leo North Node conjunct Mars. Tr Pluto is opposition his North Node now and will be opposing his Node/Mars midpoint and then Mars till late 2026, none of which looks good. If he survives his does have a chink of luck and relief come 2026 with his SA Jupiter conjunct his Uranus. But in the circumstances that is probably over hopeful and he has a good deal of jeopardy and confusion between now and then.

  He has Jupiter and Saturn conjunct in Libra as does his wife = fair-minded, idealistic.  She is a stalwart Sun Scorpio and her two years ahead also look fraught.

  Their relationship chart has a composite Sun, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter conjunction which describes a relationship in which love, affection and mutual support also involve sacrifice in high risk situations. There is also a yod of composite Pluto sextile Neptune inconjunct Chiron – binding them together in a mission to right wrongs and injustice.

ADD ON: Putin came to power as president on the Uranus return of the Russia 8 November 1917 chart. Stalin died on the Uranus Return of the Russia 20 September 862 JC chart.  Nothing similar at present.  But all three Russia charts including the 8 December 1991 one are showing tremors of disquiet through this April and on into 2025/26 as Pluto moves through the early degrees of Aquarius and Uranus moves into Gemini. The 1991 chart indicates 2027 as a year of cataclysmic change with a major setback at the moment and increasing gloom and hardship in 2025/26.

 Putin’s initially Presidency chart from 31 December 1999 might be an indicator. It will receive a shocking jolt leading to over reactions come this August and on and off into early 2026 with tr Uranus square the Mars.  It already has a panicky-failure SA Neptune conjunct Mars at the moment and is facing devastation/confusion and worse judgement calls through 2025/26 with tr Pluto conjunct the Neptune.  

  The mess he will leave behind when he goes will be considerable.   

Add On (from comments):

You may have a point about Saros cycle 128 being particularly pertinent to the rulers of Russia.

1881, 1899, 1917, 1935, 1953, 1971, 1989, 2007, 2025

1881 – Assassination of Alexander II and accession of Alexander III
1917 – No intro or explanation needed
1936 – Great Purge by Stalin
1953 – Death of Stalin (movie definitely worth watching)
1971 – This may not be relevant. While Khrushchev was removed from power in 1964, he died in 1971
1989 – Fall of the Berlin Wall, as you mentioned. And also a turning point in the life of a KGB officer based in Dresden, who went on to greater power in modern-day Russia.
2007 – Death of former Russian president Yeltsin (he had resigned in 1999/2000).

Every alternate occurrence seems to be either a (violet and chaotic) change of government (1881, 1917, 1953, 1989t, 2025?) or the death of a former head of state/government (1936-given how many people Stalin had executed, not impossible-, 1971, 2007, etc). Based on the trend, I would guess that somebody formerly in power died in 1899, but can’t find anything on Wikipedia.