Davina McCall – a wild child for a mother



Davina McCall, the UK television presenter, has published a semi-memoir called Lessons I’ve Learned. In it she tells of her wild child mother, who had her as a teenager, had a drug and drink problem, left her with her paternal grandparents when Davina was four and died in South Africa, when they were estranged despite a reconciliation years before. Her mother sold stories and photographs of Davina, who had her own adult drug problem, at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting which caused the final split. The mother always liked to play the victim and insisted she didn’t know what she had done wrong.

Davina McCall was born on 16 Oct 1967 and is a Sun Libra – which in women tends anyway to gravitate towards the father. But her Moon influences are dreadful. Either in late Pisces in which case her Moon opposes Uranus, squares Mars and trines Neptune; or in Aries where it would be conjunct Saturn, probably square Mars and opposition Uranus. Either way it is a picture of a chaotic, angry, abandoning, delusional mother.

Mercifully Davina seems to have pulled herself away from her mother’s patterns. An upbringing by steady grandparents would certainly help with that, and has had a good marriage for 16 years with three children.


Mars – step aside for the Road Runner

mars          aries



Anger and aggression get a bad press but if you think of them as stored-up assertion they sound less off-putting. Mars is the planet of the individual life-force which says ‘I am’. In order to be myself I have to voice and act on my wants and needs, which is not negative, merely an expression of who I am. If my need to assert myself is thwarted by other people or life being difficult, then the ‘I am’ urge doubles, trebles, quadruples until it erupts as impatience or explodes into a tantrum.

A good many relationship problems would be pre-empted if both partners were assertive in small ways from the start, rather than one side being overly nice and placatory, until the unlived Mars resentment builds up and it all turns destructive.

Although having said that Mars is competitive. It loves a good fight or challenge, and may the best one win. In early adult life Martian types can be brash, tactless, insensitive to others’ needs. Telling it like it is – is a definite trait because Mars tends to be straightforward and usually has no agenda. Only as experience crashes in does it get through Mars’ head that a show of empathy and co-operation, however forced and insincere, will make for faster progress and more workable relationships.

Mars is speedy, operates on a high-adrenaline flow, is brave, at times foolhardy, tending to leap before it looks and speak before it thinks. Action is its first response to any trigger without thought of consequences.

In mythology, Mars and Aries, whom it rules, were gods of war (Ares). But in Roman times, Mars was the military power who brought and enforced peace, so he was regarded as essential and only destructive to good purpose.

Mars also represents virility, perhaps why he is always thought of as a masculine energy. Konrad Lorenz’s study of ducks indicated that the ones who were not aggressive couldn’t mate. The impetus to coupling comes from Mars but the aggression has to be diverted or toned down at the point of mating. So sexuality and aggression are intimately connected. Not in the sense of rape – for that Mars needs to be merged with Pluto’s drive for power and control, to produce an overpowering, inhumane and ruthless action. Or in sadism where Mars joins with cold Saturn to inflict pain.

The woodpecker was sacred to Mars for his ability to tap with a sharp beak, strong enough to feel an oak tree; also the wolf and bear. The horned ram in the Aries symbol presumably came about because of rams’ behaviour at rutting, clashing skulls to identify the stronger male to produce better progeny.

It tends to be at its best in kick-starting new projects, but has a low boredom threshold and attention span, unless in Fixed signs. A better sprinter than marathon runner.

However irritating it is to be on the receiving end of a Mars blast, it is an essential part of the life force.


Edward Albee – dissecting the bourgeoisie with surgical precision



Edward Albee, one of the US’s greatest playwrights has died. A three time Pulitzer Prize winner, he was best known for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – a portrayal of vicious in-fighting in a failing marriage, portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on stage and film. He leant towards dark themes, of what lay on the underside of conventional living.

Born 12 March 1928 in Virginia, he was adopted shortly after birth by wealthy parents he described as unfit to be parents, and became estranged from them as a teenager.

He was a Sun Pisces trine Pluto and his Sun was also on the point of a Mutable T Square to Saturn in Sagittarius opposition North Node in Gemini. Sun in aspect to Saturn and Pluto is bleak. His Moon was Scorpio or Sagittarius, probably Scorpio given his temperament. His Mercury Venus in Aquarius was in a fantasy-prone opposition to Neptune in Leo.

What is interesting is that his creative 7th Harmonic (septiles) was not only strong marked, it brought together a ferocious collection of Mars Saturn Pluto Uranus tied into Venus and possibly the Moon – so he drew on his dysfunctional childhood emotional relationships for inspiration. He also had a noteworthy actors/orators 15H and writers’ 21H – a talented man.

Tibet & Dalai Lama – faced with an unbeatable dragon



The Dalai Lama has been urging the EU to voice constructive criticism of China for its continued suppression of the Tibetan people. How much effect he thinks that would have is questionable, since China has always acted belligerently to any adverse comments or indeed contact with the Dalai Lama. Tibet sadly always was a lost cause as indigenous Chinese have been transported in great numbers to live there, with strenuous efforts to obliterate the local culture.

The Dalai Lama, 6 July 1935 4.19am Takster, Tibet, has a very Watery chart with a Cancer Sun trine Jupiter in Scorpio trine Saturn in Pisces, formed into a Kite with Saturn opposition Neptune Moon in Virgo. Undoubtedly talented and a healing presence for many,  he could never achieve his life’s dream. His compassionate Saturn opposition Neptune Moon is being affected this year by tr Saturn in square and tr Neptune conjunct and opposition – so he must be feeling less than upbeat. He’s also got tr Pluto square his 4th house Mars in 2017/18 which is acutely frustrating and stuck. He does have health issues, unsurprisingly given his age, and with tr Saturn now moving into his 6th house should be taking it easier in the time ahead.

There’s no real chart for Tibet though an early one of 23 Oct 127 BC JC (OS) seems to work not badly; and there is one for the Tibet National Uprising of 10 March 1959 6.45am Lhasa.

Both would indicate tough times ahead, especially when tr Saturn moves into Capricorn in 2018/2019. There may be more internal unrest but no real sense of liberation.

Great Bake Off – not an uplifting move



The Great Bake Off, the UK’s most watched television show, syndicated to 196 countries, will move after its seventh season from the BBC in a three year deal to Channel 4. Though minus its two main presenters who were not consulted about the move.

It first aired on 17 Aug 2010 producing a very strong chart with a lucky Uranus Jupiter opposition Saturn Venus Mars in Libra square Pluto in Capricorn – high-enthusiasm, charm, grit and an enduring quality.

Moves to a different channel often fizzle out and this one will plough through myriad frustrations in 2017/18, before grinding to a halt in 2019 when Solar Arc Pluto squares the Mars and is conjunct the North Node; with Solar Arc Saturn conjunct Mars and square Node.

Guy Verhofstadt – the EU sending a weighty message



The unwieldy juggernaut that is the EU has now fished out another arch-federalist to be a Brexit chief negotiator. The appointment of Guy Verhofstadt, ex Belgian PM, is sending shudders down UK spines, being shoehorned in for the European Parliament, to add to the woes of having Michel Barnier, the hardline French chief negotiator for the European Commission. [Don’t ask me what the difference is.]

Verhofstadt described the Leavers as rats leaving the ship – sinking? Titanic? David Davis, chief UK batsman for Brexit, referred to him cheerily as Satan. Senior sources in the EU say the policy is to be so tough on the Brits that it will make Brexit less likely to happen. The EU, with such an incredibly Fixed chart (Moon Taurus square Uranus opposition Venus in Aquarius square Node and Neptune in Scorpio), always acts as if the world was going to adapt to them, rather, heaven forfend, than that they might bend or be pliable themselves, let alone realistic.

Verhofstadt, 11 Apr 1953, is a Sun Venus in Aries trine Pluto and opposition Neptune Saturn in Libra square Uranus – so tough, a touch of the megalomania, a fanatical idealist; with a pushily confident and ruthless Jupiter Mars in Taurus square Pluto. He’s facing an extremely bumpy ride ahead with tr Uranus conjunct in his Sun Venus and opposition Neptune Saturn in 2017; and a stuck-stuck Solar Arc Pluto conjunct Saturn and opposition Venus in 2018.

David Davis, 23 Dec 1948, has his Mars in Capricorn square GV’s Sun Venus and Saturn Neptune and opposition GV’s Uranus – so sparks will fly.

Davis’s relationship charts with both Verhofstadt and Barnier look swamped in confusion (and scandal) in 2017/18. And Davis’s natal Mars is completely deadlocked in 2018/19 with tr Pluto conjunct Mars.

I can’t see what Theresa May’s strategy is at all – since the three Brexiteers she thrust into key negotiating positions are none of them serious players. Fox and Davis appear to be living in never never land – and Boris is just bumbling Boris. She is supposedly micro-managing the exit and certainly dislikes both Barnier and Verhofstadt, and there’s a fair amount of huffing and puffing on those two relationship charts, especially from mid 2017 onwards.


Uranus – bright mind, pity about the split from the body

uranusaquarius                       water-carrier



Uranus is the awkward squad, the outsider, the troublemaker, the flag-waver for freedom at all costs, even if the price is chaos and anarchy. It doesn’t care what others think, isn’t one of the crowd, so it can think out of the box and lead the way into the future. Known as the torch-bearer it can be enlightened, a reformer and activist. Certainly rebellious, its instinct is always to upset the status quo which it finds suffocating and stagnant, overly restrictive. Uranus hates barriers, boundaries, cages of any variety and will rattle the bars until they collapse.

Co-operation and compromise don’t come easily since they mean giving up a chunk of individuality for the sake of others’ needs. Strongly Uranian types can come across as selfish and obstinate. They demand partners be just as independent as themselves, so relationships can drift apart since there is no real engagement. Often underlying the detachment or the ‘I’ll jump back and leave first’ is a fear of abandonment. They pre-empt what they see as the inevitable by baling out in advance. Uranus in hard aspect to Sun or Moon suggests parents who were erratic, unpredictable, didn’t relate well and fostered a forced independence on the child, which is not a great model for adult relationships.

There’s always an ambivalence or paradox about Uranus – it is deemed to be the epitome of tolerance and applauds difference, yet can be quite dictatorial. Aquarius ruled by Uranus (and Saturn) is supposedly humanitarian yet also has a considerable number of fascists and extreme right-wingers amongst its number. Maybe that’s a Fixed Air sign trait – ideology is prioritised over empathy.

It is renowned not just for an interest in pushing back boundaries into the future, but is also fascinated by the distant past.

In mythology Uranus was half of the first divine couple, the sky god married to Gaia, the earth mother. In time she came to dislike him so demanded his children despatch him. Only Saturn (Cronus) took up the challenge and castrated him. The blood that was spilled turned into the Furies, and the genitals thrown into the sea reputedly created Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who arose out of the foam. The other myth associated with Uranus was Prometheus who gave mankind the divine secret of fire and thence knowledge, for which he was punished by Zeus, by being chained to a rock and having his liver torn out nightly. He is the symbol for Aquarius, the water carrier  who is not pouring out feelings but handing on the water of knowledge.

So the Uranian/Aquarian inclination towards ideas, scientific knowledge, and all matters up-in-the-head (in the sky) comes at a significant cost in terms of the physical body. There is something against-the-biology about Uranus, in contrast to his earthy, prolific wife. Which, if the myths hold true, causes great anger (the Furies) and suffering (liver also = anger). Consciousness, which is almost certainly ruled by Uranus, was a splitting away from the animal kingdom, the key thing which separates human beings from nature. In becoming ‘intelligent’ beings we lost the sense of being comfortably in our bodies.

What is intriguing is that many of the ‘sexperts’, who studied and wrote about human sexuality were Aquarius – Havelock Ellis, Alex Comfort, Germaine Greer, Betty Friedan, Helen Gurley Brown and Rabelaisian writers like Rabelais, Lord Byron, William Burroughs, Robert Burns. Some plunged happily into the experience but the impression left is that a detached interest in what their temperament couldn’t fully engage with was also part of the equation.

Detachment is a key word for Uranus/Aquarius, which has a dislike of jealousy or possessiveness, since it brings with it a fear of being corralled and tied down.

Uranus rules television (as opposed to Neptune ruling film) and IT/computers/the internet. Television, although it is thought of as domestic, was an early form of digitalisation which seems to strike a chord with Uranus, as does the here-today-gone-tomorrow feel of much television. The social networking world suits Uranus admirably since it gives a sense of connection with a wide circle of friends without the hassle of messy, face-to-face engagements.

Rock musicians often have Uranus in the performing 5th house, so it promotes a quirky, anti-authoritarian, highly individualistic creativity which is not great art, but appeals to the young at heart. Where high artistic ability comes is when Uranus is tied into visionary Neptune. Historically religious art was connected to Uranus Neptune, which is an inspirational mix.

The house that Uranus falls in is always where the individual wants to go against the grain. Uranus in the 6th dislikes the corporate team world, so prefers to go freelance. Uranus in the 9th veers towards alternative philosophies or ideas. In the 7th dislikes conventional relationships, opts for open marriages or constant travelling; in the 8th has a leaning towards experimenting in sex; in the 4th rarely stays living in the same house for long. Whatever everyone else wants, Uranus wants something different.

Uranus in strong aspect to Pluto leads to revolutions and constant churning change, as the Uranus fights for freedom against Pluto’s repressive control. Uranus Pluto’s drive is to collapse old structures precipitately which can lead to chaos if there is no impetus for re-asserting stability once the necessary reforms have been put in place. Getting rid of bad is only part of the process, as we’ve seen only too clearly with Iraq and Libya. If Uranus gets the upper hand for too long it can be very destructive.

Uranus Saturn in the right balance can bring about golden ages where the best of the old is married to the best of the new.

Jean-Claude Juncker – in a political snake pit



Hardliner Jean Claude Juncker has given his state of the union address to the EU, saying it faces an existential threat and battle for survival against nationalism and populism; and aiming a few spears at the UK along the way.

[Juncker is the most powerful office holder in the EU as President of the European Commission, till 2019, similar to a Prime Minister but not making foreign policy or tax decisions. Donald Tusk is President of the European Council, until May 2017 if not extended, which is similar to a head of state. There are also three other EU Presidents for the Eurogroup, EU Parliament and ECB.]

His next eighteen months looks like a mix of bullish confidence, bitter arguments, high insecurity, rising tension and a fair few banana skins. Insiders say he is increasingly unpopular within the EU because of his dictatorial attitude and he is even marginalised in his own Commission since he prefers to work from Luxembourg and seems to be in frail health, which may or may not be alcohol related.

His Term chart, 1 Nov 2014 12am has more than a wobble coming with Solar Arc Pluto square Uranus, exact in 3 months time. It has an aggressive Pluto Mars in Capricorn in the grandstanding 5th house square Uranus opposition Mercury – so it was always going to be a crises-ridden term.

His relationship chart with the EU looks excessively fraught and bad-tempered from March 2017 onwards for two years with tr Pluto conjunct the composite Mars and a disappointing tr Neptune opposition Jupiter from April onwards; plus a separating tr Saturn conjunct the composite Sun. So he may not make his full term.

He has bad chemistry with almost all the main players. His connections with Angela Merkel, in place as German Chancellor till at least autumn 2017, will wobble precipitously from mid 2017. He and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, are an ongoing power struggle with a composite Sun Mercury opposition Jupiter Pluto square Saturn; and an un-mutually supportive Mars opposition Neptune in an explosive square to Uranus. Tusk may have his term extended beyond May 2017, in which case watch out for ructions from June 2017 onwards. With Theresa May, Juncker’s interface is no better with a game-playing-for-the-upper-hand composite Jupiter Pluto square Saturn and an argumentative composite Mercury trine Mars and square Uranus.

The EU’s real crunch point comes in three years by 2019 with Solar Arc MC conjunct Pluto and Solar Arc Pluto conjunct the 2nd house Neptune – a dead halt and financial meltdown.

One thing is for sure, Juncker won’t go easily, unless nature takes over and forces his hand.

Saturn – laughter as well as tears



Saturn in contrast to the other outer planets has an undeservedly malefic reputation. Death, disaster, failure, depression, delays, lack of self-worth. All gloom, doom and misery.

I’ve always been very grateful for my Saturn – it induces a strong work ethic, instils a sense of discipline over time, is practical, realistic and provides a backbone when the mush threatens to take over. Even better, where Saturn is marked in a chart, it gets easier the older you get. The negative side reigns over the first third of life; it mellows through the middle third; and the final third becomes everything that wasn’t there at the start – warmer, more supportive, consolidated.

Saturn is essentially about structure in earthly terms. It plans, prepares, thinks long term to a feasible goal, then gets foundations laid, builds slowly and securely so its achievements stand the test of time. The end result of its endeavours is not necessarily aesthetic, since it isn’t concerned with cosmetic fripperies, but it is enduring.

Ruling Capricorn, it has the same steady ambition, which is willing to forego instant gratification for long term goals. Like the symbolic mountain goat, it starts in the foothills and works its way up to the peak, along a winding path if necessary.

Saturn restricts, so oversees limits and boundaries which may not feel like fun but are essential, psychologically as well as practically, in life. Neptune dissolves boundaries, Pluto invades across them to grab all the territory, Uranus blows them up, but Saturn stands firm for order, delineation, marked borders. In action, it is like a gardener who prunes plants back, lopping off overgrown branches, to stimulate fresh growth and produce a more manageable shape.

Often called a money-grubbing scrooge, Saturn is concerned with material security and can be less than generous and open-hearted. Again that’s down to its earthly nature and liking for boundaries. ‘Me and mine’ come first.

Not that Saturn is a delight at close quarters in intimate relationships. It can be cold, putting up a defensive wall against any encroachment, tending to put things above feelings, and is better at ‘doing’ than ‘being’.

The myth of Saturn eating his children depicted in a horrific Goya painting is apt, since it ties into his obsessions with time and mortality. Saturn was scared of being overthrown by his sons so he ate them at birth. Deep down he knows he is going to die and his children represent a future that he can never possess, since his is limited by his mortal span. He both loves and loathes the boundaries of his life, so he tries to over-ride them and stop time.

Having Saturnine parents means facing two things – their envy and their ability to induce misplaced guilt on their child. The Saturnine father pushes and pushes his children to be a success, being excessively critical of any failures, making them feel they never achieve enough to satisfy him, so damaging the child’s self-esteem though it can helpfully induce a driving need to be a success. But deep down the father’s fear is that they might outdo him, become more successful and outlive him. It’s difficult to cope with since if the child grown to adult became stratospherically successful, the father would shrivel, feel worthless himself and be consumed with envy. So it’s a no win situation, until the child/adult separates enough to understand it’s the father’s issue, not theirs.

The Saturnine mother on the other hand insinuates into the child a sense that they are responsible for her depression; and their role in life is to look after her and make her happy. She makes a bad, under-nurturing mother but expects her offspring to give her the caring she never gave them.

The mythological Saturn showed his other face at the autumn festivals of the harvest, when the agricultural bounty of the year was brought in and drunken celebrations ensued after the hard work was done. Earthly delights are also his preserve and his reign was seen as one of peace and plenty. Despite the devouring father, he’s associated with the flow of the seasons, especially winter when everything dies back to be reborn in spring.

Capricorn as a sign is unfairly dubbed as the cold, materialistic workaholic, but in fact has a highly creative and (indulgent) side. The old Capricorn symbol was half goat half fish. He operates in two realms – in the watery realm of ideas and visions and then makes them real on dry land. He is the stander on the threshold between the unconscious and the conscious; just as Capricorn stands on the cusp of the year that has past and the year that is about to come. He both mourns and celebrates.

Successful people tend to operate in a Saturnine way. Maggie Thatcher’s career moved to the transits of Saturn – into the Cabinet when tr Saturn moved up across her Descendant into her third quadrant, became PM when tr Saturn moved across her midheaven. Then she ignored its hints in the latter years of her tenure as it moved into her lower-profile first quadrant, when she should have been winding down, but given her temperament couldn’t do it. She was summarily ejected when her Solar Arc Saturn was exactly square her focal point Sun. Saturn can raise to great heights through excessively hard work, but it is a hard taskmaster when lessons are not learned.

Richard Nixon on the other hand was forced to resign facing impeachment charges when tr Saturn was moving through his 10th (supposedly the peak). That was when Saturn’s iron rule ‘you reap what you sow’ came into play, and Nixon’s chickens came home to roost. The god of the harvest knows that only careful preparation at the right time, clearing the ground, sowing seeds, tending to the growing crops, sticking to the rules, will provide the cornucopia. If you don’t put in the sweat and planning and try to bend the rules, it brings retribution.

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