Habitat Yin Yang
On February 26, 2015, the skies looked beautiful, like nothing could go wrong. Mars and Venus were conjunct in Aries and that’s strong passion; Saturn trined their union and sextiled Mercury, asking us to write about love.
The Sun and Neptune were conjunct in Pisces bringing artistic inspiration, and Saturn squared the conjunction and pressured us to make use of it.
Uranus in Aries squared Pluto in Capricorn, encouraging the revival of old forms; make new what’s old.
Chart for February 26, 2015, Ottawa
Then ISIS posted a video online of their destruction of the Lamassu of Nineveh and other ancient Mesopotamian structures. That was the art ISIS made that day, their Jupiter in Leo. They accused the ancients of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia of polytheism and idolatry and they destroyed history.
Lamassu of Nineveh (ancient Assyrian city lying on the outskirts of Mosul, Iraq) ca. 700 BCE
People around the world mourned the loss; irreparable. They shed tears with Mars and Venus and wrote about what had been lost; they revived the stories of Mesopotamia and the people who unearthed her. They used the Saturn square to denounce the destruction of a history that belongs to all of us; Mesopotamia gave us writing, knowledge of the fixed stars and so much more; they gave us Mars and Venus; their ancestors.
The Greeks called Mars, Ares, and before the Greeks, the Mesopotamians called him Nergal, god of war and guardian of the gates. To honour Nergal and invoke his protection, statues of winged and human headed bulls or lions stood at the entrance gates of the ancient cities; they were called lamassu.
Even today we refer to Mars as the guardian of our habitat. We get to know our Mars when we feel threatened, when we are angered. We learn to develop a conscious relationship with him because he can be ruthless.
We constantly tame him and channel his energy to develop arete, excellence in our craft, and we take breaks and we play; like the soldiers doing sentry duty alongside the lamassu; they scratched the base of the statues and entertained themselves with ancient board games.
Graffito on the plinth of a lamassu in the British Museum
The Greeks called Venus, Aphrodite, and before the Greeks, the Mesopotamians called her Inanna-Ishtar, goddess of love and goddess of war.
She was the goddess of love when her legs were hidden beneath her robes, her lions caged and water poured.
Inanna-Ishtar, goddess of love, ca. 2200 BCE
She was the goddess of war when she drew her weapons and rested a leg on a lion, and instead of the coolness of water, there was heat.
Inanna-Ishtar goddess of war, ca. 2200 BCE
Gilgamesh witnessed her transformation from love to war when he refused to be her consort and she unleashed the Bull of Heaven on him.
The Greeks were more inclined to portray her as a woman of sensual beauty, and with Eros, as the goddess of love; but they knew she had a fierce side, they knew about the lion.
Medallion with Aphrodite sitting on a lion and Eros by her side, Greek, third century BCE
They said that Mars energizes us and makes us stronger; he likes to win. He will make peace after he’s won.
They said that Venus can tame Mars; she can hold him back. But Mars cannot tame Venus, he cannot master her. Whatever Venus loves and wars against has to be suffered until the feeling subsides. Mercury tries to reason with her, but even Mercury knows that it’s best to allow a Venusian experience to take us until it completes.
Two soldiers in a recruiting centre looking at applicants’ birth charts
Chart for Salman Rushdie, born June 19, 1947, 2:30 am, Mumbai, India (astrotheme.com)
Soldier 1 I think I found one; comes with his own personal armour; Mars in Taurus in the first house; he’s at the ready.
Soldier 2 Let me take a look. (takes a look) It opposes Jupiter; he seems to have a problem with religion.
Soldier 1 So what; it’s not like he’s joining the priesthood.
Soldier 2 Religion is a sensitive topic; we can’t have soldiers antagonizing the religious establishment.
Soldiers 1 Come to think of it, Mars in Taurus heightens sexuality, and Jupiter brings plenty, and in the seventh, that’s plenty of marriages. We could hear about his private life with this opposition.
Soldier 2 Not good. We need soldiers with stable homes; commitment’s a priority.
Soldier 1 He may end up in captivity.
Soldier 2 What! You’re over analyzing!
Soldier 1 No I’m not. Mars rules Aries, right?
Soldier 2 Right.
Soldier 1 And Aries is in the twelfth, right?
Soldier 2 Right.
Soldier 1 One major transit can pull Mars back into Aries and bring his body along. Come to think of it, Mars is guarding the body and it can take it into hiding for protection.
Soldier 2 (shaking his head) This is awful. We should really go back to interviewing applicants.
Soldier 1 Oops; there’s more. (points at Venus in Gemini in the second house) He’s got delicate hands.
Soldier 2 (runs a finger over Rahu, Venus and Uranus, and strokes his chin) This guy’s irreverent; he likes to push limits; he may start a war.
Soldier 1 A religious war?
Soldier 2 You never know.
Soldier 1 Venus never backs down, not when she’s with Rahu.
Soldier 2 No, she doesn’t. (studies the chart again) Look, Mars sextiles Mercury and Mercury trines Jupiter; he should channel his energy there. Tell this guy he’s better off becoming a writer.
Soldier 1 That should keep him safe.
Chart for Bono (U2), May 10, 1960, 2 am, Dublin, Ireland (astrotheme.com)
Soldier 1 (handing a birth chart to Soldier 2) Check this one out.
Soldier 2 What do we have? (examines the chart) A romantic.
Soldier 1 Venus, Mercury and the Sun in the same house and across from Neptune and the Moon. That’s like, a burst of song.
Soldier 2 In Taurus and Scorpio; that’s a lot of Eros.
Soldier 1 Good for bonding with people.
Soldier 2 Venus in the sign she rules in the third house; she’s bonding with a lot of people.
Soldier 1 She trines Jupiter, and he’s on the cusp of the twelfth and rules the eleventh; she’s bonding with a crowd.
Soldier 2 Can’t have that in the army.
Soldier 1 No, we can’t.
Soldier 2 Let’s have a look at Mars; what’s he guarding?
Soldier 1 Second house of talents.
Soldier 2 Hmm. If Mars moved over one degree and landed in Aries, I’d say it’s a go. But with all that’s going on with Venus, Mars in Pisces strums a guitar and sings.
Soldier 1 Puts him on stage too, and makes him lead singer; Mars rules the midheaven.
Soldier 2 (traces the red line between Mars and Jupiter) This Mars Jupiter square worries me. This could be a confrontation with a secret or unofficial group; perhaps with religion. Whatever it is, it informs his beliefs.
Soldier 1 He could also be persuaded to channel his energy into a humanitarian cause. With Saturn in Capricorn, there’s commitment.
Soldier 2 True. Advice him to join a peacekeeping force.
Chart for Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, born January 9, 1982, 7 pm, Reading, Berkshire (astrotheme.com)
Soldier 1 I say, this one looks promising, except-
Soldier 2 (grabs the birth chart impatiently) Let me see. (studies it) What’s all this stuff with the nodes?
Soldier 1 Her Sun’s conjunct Ketu and her Moon’s conjunct Rahu in Cancer; she was born on a lunar eclipse. She’s willing to give up Ego to serve her homeland.
Soldier 2 Excellent!
Soldier 1 Saturn’s at the bending of the nodes; she’s serious about her commitments. But Pluto’s conjunct Saturn, so she may bring some structural changes.
Soldier 2 Not to the army she won’t! (circles the third house) What’s Mars guarding over here?
Soldier 1 Her village; Mars in Libra is territorial.
Soldier 2 Not bad for sentry duty.
Soldier 1 He energizes her daily life; activities, engagements, the skills she acquires.
Soldier 2 She’s driven; we can use that kind of energy.
Soldier 1 Mars trines Venus and Mercury in the sixth house of service.
Soldier 2 This is too good to be true-
Soldier 1 Except Venus is retrograde and she’s in Aquarius.
Soldier 2 (pressing his hand to his forehead) Oh no.
Soldier 1 Venus in Aquarius likes to distinguish herself from the crowd; she’s of the people but preserves her separateness and individuality. Venus Retrograde marches to the beat of her own drum.
Soldier 2 We can’t have soldiers marching out of line!
Soldier 1 She would, and she’d have a following; Venus rules her midheaven at 5 degrees Taurus. This woman’s a trendsetter, but she’s unaware of it; Ketu dissolves her Ego.
Soldier 2 What’s Jupiter doing in her fourth house? Jupiter in the fourth is a palace! Who serves her homeland and lives in a palace?
Soldier 1 The Queen.
Chart for Las Vegas, May 15, 1905, 10:09 am, Las Vegas, Nevada (astrotheme.com)
Soldier 1 Looks like a yin yang angel wants to join the army; Uranus in Capricorn in the fifth house; she likes bending rules; no way. (walks over to the shredder) Discipline above all!
Soldier 2 (stops Soldier 1 from shredding the chart) Wait! I want to see it.
Soldier 1 hands the chart to Soldier 2
Soldier 2 Scorpio’s a maternal sign and Mars is retrograde in Scorpio in the fourth. Her family’s protective of her; fighting to keep her out of trouble; above board, as they say.
Soldier 1 Yeah; Mars is opposing Jupiter in the tenth. What’s she been up to?
Soldier 2 (studying the chart) She’s been making mathematical contributions to game theory; specifically to zero sum games, where participants’ gains equal the total sum of their losses. Like they say in Vegas, the house never loses.
Soldier 1 Wow; she’s a gambler! Isn’t Mercury in Aries supposed to be a wizard? He’s conjunct her midheaven and rules her talents and resources; she’s a winner!
Soldier 2 Saturn protects her house of debt and Venus is retrograde in Aries. Venus in Aries spends money; Venus retrograde can make ‘off the rack’ and vintage look classy.
Soldier 1 I’d like to meet her.
Soldier 2 (hands the chart back to Soldier 1) Shred it; can’t have disciplined soldiers emptying out the coffers.
Chart for Andre de Grasse, born November 10, 1994, time unknown, Scarborough, ON
Soldier 1 (studies a chart and whistles) Wow.
Soldier 2 (leans over to look at the chart and whistles) Wow. Mars in Leo in the tenth; he competes in an open field.
Soldier 1 Mars is at the bending of the nodes.
Soldier 2 May the best man win.
Soldier 1 He’s traveling from a bucolic life in Taurus to an intense life in Scorpio; working on his psychology, physical strength, strategy, and he’s learning to take care of his body.
Soldier 2 It’s a gift from the gods and it brings him good money. Mercury, Venus, the Sun and Jupiter in the same house is wealth.
Soldier 1 In the first house, it’s self made wealth.
Soldier 2 Sign him up.
Soldier 1 I can’t; he’s not an applicant; he’s an athlete.
Soldier 2 Oh. (circles Venus retrograde) A morning star and retrograde; I wonder what she’s like.
Soldier 1 She clears hurdles.
Chart for Nia Ali, born October 23, 1988, time unknown, Norristown, PA
Soldier 1 She literally does. (pulls up Nia’s chart) Look at this; Saturn’s conjunct Uranus in Sag. If Saturn puts a barrier, Uranus jumps over it, especially in mutable fire.
Soldier 2 In the army, that could be a bomb.
Soldier 1 Come on! She’s tempered by Venus in Virgo; she’d be a great soldier; she tends to her community.
Soldier 2 (compares both charts) They’re both Scorpio Suns. When she’s with Andre, he lights up her first house with all his planets in Scorpio.
Soldier 1 Yeah, but her Sun sits on his Mercury and enlightens him.
Soldier 2 Mars guards two houses in Nia’s chart; he’s retrograding from Aries into Pisces, from her house of work to her house of children; mother instincts.
Soldier 1 But there’s a tug of war between Mars and the Moon; the Moon keeps pulling Mars back to work.
Soldier 2 Andre’s playing that role.
Two soldiers in a recruiting centre looking at applicants’ birth charts
Soldier 1 There’s something about Mars energizing the seventh; he defines people by one distinct relationship, a relationship that the holder of the chart guards carefully. Barack Obama has Mars in the seventh and he guards his relationship with his wife carefully; he kisses her hand whenever he misbehaves.
Soldier 2 Monika Lewinsky has Mars in Aries in the seventh and she didn’t exactly guard her relationship carefully.
Solider 1 No, but it defines her. Monika Lewinsky?
Soldier 2 Bill Clinton!
Soldier 1 You see?
Soldier 2 I see what you mean.
Chart for Monica Lewinsky (astrotheme.com)
Soldier 1 She has Venus conjunct Regulus in Leo, and Venus in that position asks for fame. Venus is the ruler of the ascendant and Uranus is conjunct the ascendant.
Soldier 2 A scandal that sent ripples-
Soldier 1 And she’s exploited it with Martian aggression; the relationship defines her. So when I look at a chart like this- (holds up a chart) I analyze it carefully.
Soldier 2 I’d say he’s a lawyer; Mars in the seventh knows how to negotiate a deal, and Mercury is in Gemini in the eighth; a bankruptcy lawyer or a criminal lawyer. He’s a good actor too; Neptune in Scorpio is creative, and Neptune sextiles Pluto; he transforms himself when he’s up on stage; the midheaven is in Leo.
Soldier 1 Yes; there’s a secular nature to the chart, but it’s also a religious chart. Neptune in Scorpio is spiritual, and Neptune trines Jupiter in Pisces, and that’s faith; spirituality and faith transform him. It’s a watery chart; the Sun in Cancer completes a grand trine in water.
Soldier 2 How would Mars and Mercury fit into his religiosity?
Soldier 1 Like you said, he’s a good negotiator; he’s dominant in his relationships; but I would add that he guards a relationship he has with a religious or an occult sect first and foremost. Mercury in Gemini points to an interest in the occult; Mercury in Gemini thinks about transformative experiences, about death and the afterlife. I don’t think the holder of the chart fears death; I think he’s a risk taker.
Soldier 2 Who is he?
Soldier 1 Tom cruise. He’s going to be spending some time with us, studying us for a movie. I thought I’d study him first.
Soldier 2 The tabloids say that scientology has been the cause of his marital breakdowns.
Soldier 1 His romantic relationships seem to work as long as they’re in agreement with his beliefs. Venus sextiles Mercury, and Venus rules the seventh house; he’s interested in women who are accomplished and at ease in the limelight, and who respect his beliefs.
Soldier 2 Neptune’s at the bending of the nodes, and Saturn is conjunct ketu. Ketu dissolves the structures he grew up with.
Soldier 1 He’s following his heart.
Two soldiers in a recruiting centre taking a lunch break
Soldier 1 Guess who this is.
Soldier 1 hands a birth chart to Soldier 2
Soldier 2 (takes a bite of a sandwich and looks at the chart) Mercury rules the chart; he’s the ruler of the solar sign, the ascendant and the midheaven; a trickster on stage who surprises his audience. (takes another bite and looks some more) He’s not just any trickster, not with Pluto conjunct Regulus; he’s a master of transformation; the phoenix rising from the ashes.
Soldier 1 He’s a master of illusion; David Copperfield.
Soldier 2 (circles the Sun and Jupiter and traces the lines that lead to Mars) When he rehearses his craft behind the scenes, Mars in the sixth house gets activated and protects him. Mars is retrograde, working twice as hard to protect him. Copperfield’s a risk taker.
Soldier 1 To keep the bond with his audience alive, he has to take some risks.
Solider 2 Eros that depends on risk.
Solider 1 He’s had a few close calls.
Soldier 2 Mars rules the eighth. He experiences the eighth house through his line of work. (pause) Now guess who this is.
Soldier 2 hands a birth chart to Soldier 1
Soldier 1 Jupiter, ruler of the ascendant and the twelfth house, sits on the throne of Venus in Aquarius; a wealthy person by birth and a charitable person.
Soldier 2 She was Venusian through and through. Venus is in Taurus in her fifth house and Venus rules the midheaven. There’s love everywhere in this chart and the need to feel loved.
Soldier 1 (points at Aries on the cusp of the fourth house) Mars, ruler of the fourth, is in the eighth; there was trauma of some sort in early childhood; something she experienced as trauma. Perhaps a separation from a parent or an illness-
Soldier 2 (nods a yes) Mars energizes the house that was her destiny and Pluto plunges her in-
Soldier 1 Did she rise back up again?
Soldier 2 She did; whatever happened in childhood allowed her to understand and care for people going through eighth house experiences. It was part of her charity work.
Soldier 1 With Uranus in Leo, she was daring when she entered the eighth- More than that; the Sun, ruler of Leo, is in the seventh. She dared her husband when she entered the eighth house.
Soldier 2 She first dared him by shaking hands with HIV patients without wearing gloves. She then dared him with a divorce.
Soldier 1 The late Princess Diana.
Soldier 2 nods a yes
Soldier 1 What’s Mars like without all this complication in the eighth?
Soldier 2 Burt Lancaster had Mars and Neptune in the eighth. Mind you, Mars ruled his fifth house.
Soldier 1 Isn’t that when he’s a sergeant having an affair with the wife of his commanding officer?
Soldier 2 nods a yes
Soldier 1 Can’t have that in the army.
Soldier 2 We should recruit people with Mars in the ninth house; they’re probably more tame in terms of their libido.
Soldier 1 Mars in the ninth gives a thirst for knowledge.
Soldier 2 That’s what I mean.
Soldier 1 Helen Keller’s chart has Mars in Leo in the ninth and she was a voracious student. You know how they say planets in our chart draw people to us-
Soldier 2 nods a yes
Soldier 1 Her chart drew a teacher who transformed her from of a person lost in blindness and deafness, to a person able to communicate despite her blindness and deafness. The rulers of her rising sign are in the seventh house and in the ninth, a partnership in education.
Solider 2 Mars rules her house of joy and pulls Jupiter and Saturn into Leo; she became a worldwide phenomenon.
Soldier 1 She showed the world that beauty, elegance and intelligence can come from the depths of the eighth; Venus is conjunct her Sun in Cancer. She charmed the world.
Soldier 2 She shattered the idea that a person like her could not be reached, could not contribute to society.
Soldier 1 (circles Mars) With the ruler of the first house in the ninth, Helen’s whole body was involved in the learning process. She rested her fingers on the neck, mouth and nose of her teacher and felt the vibrations of the spoken word; that’s how she learned to speak.
Soldier 2 (shows soldier 1 another chart) Prince William has the ruler of his rising sign in the ninth as well; Jupiter is conjunct the midheaven; and the two rulers of his tenth house, Mars and Pluto, are also in the ninth.
Soldier 1 A powerful chart; Mars conjunct Saturn in Libra likes to be seen in perfect formation, and he pulls the third house of skills into the ninth. This is the chart of a military leader.
Soldier 2 Pluto conjunct the star Arcturus won’t allow it. The prince is destined to be a leader with soft power.
Solider 1 But he’s a pilot.
Soldier 2 He flew on rescue missions. (traces the green lines that lead to Venus) Venus rules the ninth; she quincunxes Neptune on the ascendant and she quincunxes Jupiter and Pluto; she guides the experiences he has. His mother cared for people and he’s going to do what his mother did in his own way. Venus is the planet that links him to his mom; she had Venus in her house of children just like he does.
Synastry chart for Prince William and the late Princess Diana, with Prince William’s chart in the inner wheel (astrotheme.com)
Soldier 1 She’s opposing Uranus; I’d say she’s protecting his children from unauthorized media attention.
Soldier 2 (traces the degrees that separate the Sun and the Moon from rahu) He was born on a partial solar eclipse and his wife was born on a lunar eclipse. They both have Saturn at the bending of the nodes; there’s strong commitment.
Soldier 1 The Moon’s in her own sign in the seventh, and the Sun, ruler of the eighth, is conjunct the Moon; he’s a faithful man.
Soldier 1 (circles Mercury) A wealthy man; Mercury sits on the throne of Venus in Gemini. He has many sources of income and the intelligence to manage them. (pause) Mercury trines Mars and says-
Soldier 2 Mine.
Soldier 1 You’re right. If there’s one word that describes this chart, it’s territorial.
The Lion, symbol of Innana-Ishtar, from the Ishtar Gate, city of Babylon, 575 BCE
Soldier 1 training Soldier 2 to work at the recruiting centre
Soldier 1 Mars in the tenth energizes the career house; he makes us want to excel and compete and be the best; he turns us into workaholics. He can also attract demanding bosses, but when we’ve got Mars on our side, we should be able to handle the situation.
Soldier 2 So if I see a chart with Mars in the tenth, I sign the person up.
Soldier 1 Study it first. If Mars is conjunct Uranus, make sure he’s not a revolutionary. And be careful with Neptune; Mars conjunct Neptune can believe in utopias.
Soldier 2 Got it. How about Mars in the eleventh?
Soldier 1 He’s energizing the social house; the house of social groups and social movements; he’s an influencer in the eleventh. Mao Zedong had Mars on the cusp of the eleventh and Uranus in the tenth.
Solider 2 Oh my goodness.
Solider 1 Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela also had Mars in the eleventh.
Solider 2 Ah, okay.
Solider 1 Mars in the eleventh can have a following; Oprah Winfrey has Mars in the eleventh.
Soldier 2 Do we want that in the army?
Solider 1 Good question. Let’s look at this chart.
Soldier 2 gasps
Soldier 1 (ignores the gasp) Mars, ruler of the house of communications, skills and getting things done is in the eleventh. This man knows how to bring people together-
Soldier 2 (points at Uranus) He’s the life of the party.
Soldier 1 He used to get into trouble when he was younger, but when he grew older, he became a patron of the Endeavour Fund; it’s a fund that supports athletic opportunities for armed forces personnel and veterans who’ve been injured.
Soldier 2 Prince Harry.
Soldier 1 With Jupiter, planet of faith, and Neptune, planet of spiritual love, in the twelfth house, he’s at ease behind the scenes; he finds comfort being with people who have suffered.
Soldier 2 Uranus is conjunct the star Antares; he’s a leader who uses strategy and thinks outside the box.
Soldier 1 They say that the third house in the chart represents the younger sibling, and the eleventh house represents the older sibling. If this is true, then the eleventh house is what William feels like to Harry.
Soldier 2 What does Harry feel like to William?
Soldier 1 The third house for William is Aries; Harry feels like a ball of fire.
Soldier 1 He has a powerful eighth house; it’s his solar house, with Mercury in his own sign of Virgo, and Venus in her own sign of Libra. He’d be an excellent emergency worker; he keeps a cool head and takes action when others panic.
Soldier 2 The Moon, ruler of his seventh house, is in the fourth. He looks for a partner who reminds him of home, of his mom.
Soldier 1 He found her, and he’s taken her to a safer place. When her privacy was being violated and she asked him for help, she activated his Mars conjunct Uranus conjunct Antares on the throne of Venus in Sagittarius. Venus loves and wars, and with Uranian lightning speed and the brashness of Mars in Sagittarius, he megxited.
Soldier 2 She has Mars guarding her twelfth house of privacy.
Soldier 1 It brought her Harry.
Two soldiers in a recruiting centre looking at applicants’ birth charts
Chart for Megyn Kelly (astrotheme.com)
Soldier 1 Mars is in the twelfth guarding secrets. You think he’ll do a good job?
Soldier 2 I don’t think so. Venus is beside him; she’s in his sign and in the light of day, and she’s conjunct Jupiter. She may open the door for him in the name of justice to reveal secrets.
Soldier 1 There’s strategy in this chart; she’s careful not to upset her partnerships; she waits until the time is right-
Soldier 2 to sting. She’s in Scorpio and she’s retrograde; she likes to provoke and she enjoys the spotlight. Venus is conjunct Gemma, the star of fame.
Soldier 1 With Mars conjunct Uranus, the secrets he brings to her door are likely to attract media attention.
Soldier 2 Can’t have that in the army.
Chart for Donald Trump (astrotheme.com)
Soldier 1 How about here?
Soldier 2 He’s in Leo and he’ll guard his personal stuff with his body and soul.
Solider 1 What about our stuff?
Soldier 2 Could go either way. The Sun invites him into the house of career, and the Sun is conjunct rahu and Uranus in Gemini.
Soldier 1 An impulsive Sun that doesn’t always distinguish what’s appropriate or inappropriate; he could give away our top secrets.
Soldier 2 He wouldn’t give them away; he’d trade them. There’s brilliance in this conjunction.
Soldier 1 Bar him from the army.
Chart for Joe Biden (astrotheme.com)
Soldier 1 Mars is borderline in this chart; a degree away from the cusp of the twelfth.
Soldier 2 Like a sentry.
Soldier 1 Now that is a word I like.
Soldier 2 He guards what is most sacred to the holder of the chart; time spent with his family.
Soldier 1 There’s healing and regeneration in the twelfth, and Mars energizes it with the will to live. The holder of the chart is admired by many for his perseverance despite loss and grief.
Soldier 2 He has Jupiter’s protection. Jupiter in the eighth helps him find meaning in the crises that have transformed his life. He’s now offering his insights to the nation.
Soldier 1 I’d sign him up, but I hear he’s running for president.
Soldier 2 We know him well enough not to give him too much information. He’s a Sag rising and Sagis don’t hold back; they’re driven by Jupiter to tell the truth.
Soldier 1 Is Taurus in the workplace still giving him trouble? You know how Taurus likes to touch a shoulder, rub a back, smell the perfume you wear.
Soldier 2 I wouldn’t worry about it; Mars has his back, and Mars in Scorpio acts with stealth. He’s the lamassu of the zodiac; he appears not to move, but come close and see how quickly he bites.
Soldier 1 (resting a finger on the midheaven in Virgo) If he were to become president, he’ll be known for nursing the land back to health.
Soldier 2 (circles the planets at the bending of the nodes) He’ll do it with fatherly love and innovation, and he’ll do away with fear.
Soldier 1 An eighth house president.
Born to be alive
Some people work a lifetime before the midheaven lights up and they savour success. Not Patrick; his midheaven lit up with his first song, and he’s lived off it ever since. The song continues to touch a cord with people of all ages.
He has the star Alpheratz and a stellium conjunct the midheaven; like fireworks waiting to be lit, and they were lit by transiting planets in 1978.
Chart for Patrick Hernandez, born April 6 1949, 12:49 pm, Le Blanc-Mesnil (astrotheme.com)
If he’s lived off his first song all his life, it’s because he’s paid attention to his astrology; he’s paid attention to the natural rulers of the midheaven.
Jupiter and Saturn are the natural rulers of the midheaven, the place where the ninth and the tenth house meet. Jupiter brings us opportunities for higher knowledge in the ninth, and Saturn helps us get a job in the tenth, so if we want to succeed, it’s best to follow their guidance.
In Patrick’s chart, Saturn is conjunct the star Regulus in the house of resources; Saturn’s making sure Patrick manages his money well. Hold on to it tight, he says, cause we’re only lighting up your midheaven once.
Jupiter gives him a talent in the house of work, and Patrick uses it well. When he recorded the one and only song that brought him fame, he went about the task of registering it in each and every country to protect his copyright.
That’s how he succeeded; that’s how he honoured a gift from the gods. He must have known that the words for the song came from the heavens; words that took him twenty minutes to write must have come from above.
Synastry chart with Patrick’s chart in the inner wheel and the chart for May 20, 1978 in the outer wheel. The chart shows inter-aspects between Patrick’s natal planets and the transiting planets.
On the day he released Born to be alive, transiting Neptune in Sagittarius completed a triangle of fire in his chart that powered the midheaven. Transiting Pluto in Libra added fuel to his natal Neptune, and the force of the opposition triggered the midheaven.
Something happens when Neptune, planet of inspiration, and Pluto, shaman of the zodiac, come together or trigger each other; a need is met, and the person responsible for meeting that need gets instant fame.
When a song meets a need, and the man who wrote it is a good man, it’s a beautiful thing. There’s innocence.
When a speech meets the need of some and wounds others, and the man giving the speech isn’t a good man, it’s a terrible thing. It wakes up the shadows.
Hitler’s chart (astrotheme.com)
He had a talent with words; Jupiter is conjunct the Moon in his house of communication. He moved people; his speeches touched people’s need to transcend Self and be a part of the collective, part of the nation. He fed people the romantic notion that having something to die for made life worth living, and under his leadership, every child, mother, worker, athlete, became a soldier; everyone with the ‘right’ genetics and the ‘right’ religion.
Jupiter quincunxes Saturn in the tenth and Pluto and Neptune in the eighth house. As their leader, he promised to transform lives, make the nation grander and purer, free of deformities; a nation with the perfect race.
He gave himself the authority to choose who would live and who would die and dishonoured Saturn.
He used his talent to hurt people and dishonoured Jupiter.
He woke up the shadows and ate his children.
Saturn devouring his son by Francisco Goya, 1819-23
He forgot that if we’re born to be alive, we’re not gods.
Kronos ate all his children except Jupiter. When Jupiter was born, his wife Rhea gave him a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes to eat, and she saved Jupiter. Jupiter was the son who came back and made Saturn regurgitate his children.
Alan Turing has Saturn in the twelfth house across from Jupiter in the seventh.
Saturn holds secrets tightly in the twelfth, and in Taurus, he hides them in a cave. Jupiter comes with many offers in exchange for the secrets Saturn holds. Reveal your secrets to us and we’ll pay you well, says Jupiter.
But Saturn did not regurgitate his secrets to others; he remained faithful to his country. When Jupiter is retrograde in his own sign, he works hard to remain a faithful man.
Chart for Alan Turing, born June 23, 1912, 2:15 am, London (astrotheme.com)
The problem is Uranus conjunct the midheaven, attracting people who try to break into Saturn’s cave and get a hold of his secrets.
To protect the war effort, Uranus reveals a personal secret instead; he reveals Alan’s ability to be both sides in a relationship, male and female. In this way, he brings Alan the fame he deserves for helping Britain win the war; posthumous fame that keeps Alan alive forever.
Chart for Anne Frank, born June 12, 1929, 7:30 am, Frankfurt (astrotheme.com)
We look at three houses to help us find the right vocation; the second, the sixth and the tenth.
We would have told Anne that with Mars in Leo, it was better for her to be her own boss; Mars in Leo doesn’t like to be told what to do; Mars in Leo makes his own decisions.
The Moon conjunct Neptune gives her a talent for the creative arts, and Saturn in Sag helps her with discipline. Uranus in Aries makes her an innovator or an awakener; perhaps she’ll invent a new medium of expression; perhaps she’ll reveal unspoken truths through her art. Whatever it is, it’s sure to bring her fame.
Her Sun, ruler of the second, is conjunct Mercury and the star Bellatrix in Gemini; she has a quicksilver mind and she should try her hand at writing. Gemini’s in the eleventh, and we’d encourage her to write about her community.
We’d ask her if she enjoys socializing a lot, because Jupiter in the eleventh house gives her the gift of bringing people together for a cause.
We’d end saying that in order for her to succeed, she has to apply herself to her craft and avoid distractions; Saturn lies across from her Sun making sure she gets back to work.
One last thing; Saturn quincunxes Jupiter, and a quincunx is like a finger of god, helping her find strength in her faith.
After Anne and her family were arrested, Anne’s diary papers were found in the secret annex by people close to them. They kept them and gave them to Anne’s dad after the war. Anne’s dad was the sole survivor of the family.
Chart for Otto Frank, born May 12, 1889, time unknown, Frankfurt (astrotheme.com)
In her diary, Anne writes of her wish to become a writer. She meant to use her diary as reference for the book she would one day write about her years in hiding.
When her dad read this, he knew what to do.
His Saturn falls on Anne’s Mars and he edited and gave structure to her diary.
His Sun falls on her rahu and he granted her wish, completed her destiny; he published her diary. He kept the memory of his daughter alive.
The mutilation of Uranus by Giorgio Vasari, 16th century
With Kronos came the golden age, the age of abundance for humanity. But before this happened, Kronos overthrew his father, Uranus. He castrated Uranus and threw the severed genitals into the sea. Foam rose from the genitals and spread all around, and from this foam, Venus-Aphrodite was born.
Considering the ancient Greek stories, we would have told the holder of this chart to work with caution. There’s Jupiter who overthrew Saturn who overthrew Uranus crowning the midheaven; a war waiting to happen.
Mercury If he goes wayward, my pigeons will spread the word and he’ll be eaten alive, or worse, he’ll be-
Sun Maybe we should wait until Jupiter’s below the horizon before he’s born.
Mercury Can’t; he’s already full term.
Sun Excessive talent isn’t always such a good idea; the fellow could end up identifying with one of us.
Mercury My uncles are pulling a lot of people to keep him disciplined and tempered; people from the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, the seventh and- oh, oh, people from the eighth.
Sun Let’s hope they’re colleagues. With all those planets in Taurus, he could be a banker.
Many years later
Sun How’s the fellow with the excessive talent doing.
Mercury Accused of sexual harassment. He resigned from his job.
Sun Who toppled him?
Synastry chart for Megyn Kelly and Roger Ailes, born May 15, 1940, 12:05pm, Warren, OH; with Roger Ailes’ chart in the inner wheel
Mercury Her Saturn sits exact on his midheaven.
Sun Something new will rise from the foam.
Venus rising from the sea by Sean Yoro aka Hula, Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy, 2017
Memories of childhood
Even if we have fire, earth or air in the water houses, we call them the water houses; they’re the fourth, the eighth and the twelfth. Water houses hold memories, different levels of memory.
The fourth holds memories of childhood, and I was born in 1989. It was the year Uranus, Neptune and Saturn were in Capricorn, re forming the world, or at least trying to. My mother breastfed me images of Tiananmen Square and the Berlin Wall, and she began weaning me with the negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa.
Uranus, Neptune and Saturn are in my social house, and I find myself questioning the scaffolds offered to me by society, and preferring my own.
I’m a water muralist and I stand on my surfboard when I paint; my own moveable structure that flows on the water that upturns it.
Chart for Hula Imagined, born May 26, 1989, 12:21 am, Honolulu, Hawaii
I paint surfaces submerged in water, surfaces that disappear and reappear with the tides. I paint Uranus and Saturn working together, bringing down structures and bringing them up again, changed.
I paint murals that dissolve in water. I paint Neptune and Saturn working together to materialize an idea, and to erode it.
In my house of childhood memories is the goddess Venus, and a memory of her perfection rises up in my mind from time to time, and a memory of her destruction always follows. I paint her being born again, over and over again, but I can never get her right. They say that to rival Venus-Aphrodite is asking for trouble, so it’s best that I don’t get her right, that my images be flawed.
Photograph of the original Goddess of Democracy statue in Tiananmen Square, destroyed on June 4, 1989
Mercury conjunct my Sun in Gemini, and Jupiter beside them make me agile; they give me the agility I need to keep moving; they won’t let me settle down. So I take home with me, memories of childhood inside of me, wherever I go.
Shared memories of intimacy
It started in high school, when anyone going through a crisis would seek me out and confide in me. I’m the kind of guy people trust; women, especially, trust me with their troubles and their secrets. But just like after sex, after the intensity of the moment is over, they walk away from me. I become a reminder of who they are when they are naked, and I don’t hear from them again, until I paint them.
My eighth house is filled with shared memories; Monica’s fight; Erica’s breakup; Rita’s problems.
When I get ready to work on a mural, when I start mixing my paints, Venus in the eighth brings a shared memory to mind; she turns my goodness into inspiration, fodder for my work. I paint Monica and release the memory of her fight; I paint Erica and release the memory of her breakup; I paint Rita and release the memory of her problems. I paint them rising from the water anew, and when I do, I hear from them again.
When I hear from them again, I send them pictures of the mural I just completed. They hesitate before they ask me if it’s them, and when I say it is, they ask me to wait, and they make their way to me.
They make their way to me quickly, because my art is ephemeral; it’s a mixture of Saturn with Neptune and Uranus; something impermanent, something mysterious and romantic, and something surprising.
When they arrive, they’re surprised to see themselves in the water; the expansiveness of it. They ask me what I’ve called it, and I tell them that all my murals are called, vision boards. This one’s vision board #9. You see, I was born in 1989, when vision boards became popular; a tangible outcome from the Saturn Neptune conjunction, where Saturn’s the board and Neptune’s the vision on the board.
That’s when they take my hand, and after that, there’s sweetness. They leave me with shared memories of sweetness.
Chart for Hula Imagined, born May 26, 1989, 5:41 pm, Honolulu, Hawaii
The eighth house holds memories of our remembered dead; it is here where we mourn them and perform rituals to remember them.
The twelfth house holds memories of our unremembered dead, our ancestors of long ago, impossible to remember; because our bodies come from bodies that come from bodies all the way back to the beginning of our kind.
Déjà vu moments come from this house; things remembered but inaccessible to us. We think that perhaps they happened in another lifetime, or perhaps they’re memories that don’t belong to us; they rise up in us but belong to ancestors long forgotten.
The more planets we have in the twelfth, the more ancestral interference there is in our lives; it’s a life that takes us, rather than a life we lead.
With planets in the twelfth, we may say things and do things, and not know why; it’s as if we’re serving a purpose that’s beyond our reach, beyond our understanding. That’s how I experience it and I have four planets in the twelfth.
Chart for Hula Imagined, born May 28, 1989, 7 am, Honolulu, Hawaii
My name’s Hula and I’m an artist. I started off as an illegal artist, painting ice in the arctic of Iqaluit. I called myself a glacier muralist.
Like ancestral memories, my arctic art was inaccessible. I painted glimpses of my unremembered dead on floating ice, and they got sucked by the tides and disappeared soon after I added the finishing touches. It was risky business, and some of the people who accompanied me there won’t accompany me anymore. I’m too much of a risk taker, they say.
My risk taking is my 1989 signature; I have the Mars and the Saturn Neptune Uranus opposition of Tiananmen Square; finding the courage to go after dreams despite the risks.
People born today will have a different signature; Saturn Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn. It’s a year when structures are changing from within, morphing to survive; and it’s a year when government is taking on a new role, a Jupiterian role, and Jupiter is our guardian angel.
He saved me in the arctic, right when I thought I wouldn’t make it out safely.
My Saturn return has calmed me down a bit; it sparked the need to be known and to build my assets. I’m now a water muralist who takes commissions. My one condition is that I be allowed full freedom of expression, because of all that ancestral interference.
I see it in Joe Biden; he has no control over his Mercury in the twelfth; some ancestor has usurped it. He blurts things out despite himself, but he doesn’t seem bewildered or embarrassed by it. He must trust that it’s in good hands, that it serves a higher purpose, even if he can’t quite grasp which one.
That’s how I feel when I stand on my surfboard in front of a sea wall; that I’m there to serve my ancestors. When I ready myself, they begin to argue with each other. The Sun wants me to paint a hero’s journey; Mercury suggests a battle scene; Jupiter tells me that back in the Renaissance, he painted, The Allegory of Good and Bad Government, and he shows it to me in my mind’s eye.
In the end, though, Venus always wins. She wants a self portrait. I pick up my chalk and begin to draw, and her voice guides my hand. She chides me when I get it wrong, and I wipe it off and do it again until she’s satisfied.
She never leaves me without thanking me first.
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I always choose serif. Those added strokes remind me that we’re not as independent as we think. We come with attachments; we come with ancestry.
The twelfth house attaches us to what came before us, and I have Mars in my twelfth. He’s my serif.
I’m Jason deCaires Tayor, but you can call me Serif Imagined.
Chart for Serif Imagined, born August 12, 1974, 9:05 am, Dover, UK
There’s artistry in my birth chart; Neptune’s in my house of skills, the Moon in my house of learning, and Saturn and Venus in my career house. They all combine to make a responsible artist out of me; I create eco friendly underwater sculptures where corals can thrive. My Sun Mercury conjunction sees me working closely with engineers; it’s no easy feat anchoring sculptures underwater.
Mars in my twelfth keeps me active behind the scenes; I’m a bit of a workaholic. But there’s more than that to Mars; you could say that he’s the one who led me underwater.
I got on a bus after school one day, when out of nowhere, I felt a sudden surge of anger. One moment, I was peacefully reading poetry, and the next, I wanted to punch someone. As soon as I got home, I went for a swim in the ocean to shake it off, and it was in the water that I remembered a kid having a fit on the bus. That must have been the cause of my anger, although noise hadn’t bothered me before.
When I told my mom about it, she said, it’s started. What’s started, I wanted to know. Your Mars in the twelfth has been triggered; your ancestors are rising, is what she said. I said something back to her and she told me to watch my language.
But she was right, unexpected anger became part of my daily life; there were just too many things my ancestors didn’t like. There were also things they really liked, and something else surged inside me. Water was always the cure; it cooled me and my serif, and I became a strong swimmer and learned how to dive.
When I finished school, I studied art and found that I had a talent for sculpting. I put my diving and my sculpting together and created my first artificial reef.
I called him Man on Fire.
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People can do such ugly things, and if people can do ugly things, so could I. What I mean to say is that I wouldn’t do them, but I carry the potential to do them. Somewhere in the back of my mind are memories of ugly, and even monstrous things done by my ancestors. I’m of British and Guyanese origin, a mixture of both, and the slave trade is part of my story, both the slave and the slave trader; I could have been both.
I thought of these things when one of my underwater sculptures was considered to be a tribute to slaves thrown overboard during the Middle Passage. What I had intended to represent was simply a group of children standing together in a circle, united and strong.
But my sculpture lies off the coast of Grenada, and people who saw it thought it was something else. It took a life of its own and triggered Pluto in my twelfth house.
Pluto’s my serif, and with Pluto, we can’t avoid knowing about the darker side of humanity.
Chart for Serif Imagined, born August 12, 1974, 11:23 am, Dover, UK
Now that he’s awake in my chart, I can’t point a finger without feeling the weight of my own ancestry. So I keep my fingers busy making sculptures; my sculptures are of service. They seem to take on unintended meanings that are helpful to people. They transform into coral reefs that fill the waters with new life, and they make scuba diving an interesting experience.
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Serif! I’ve got Uranus hanging by my tail coat.
He keeps surprising me with big animals. In fact, there was a moose in my pool just yesterday. You know how they say that the sixth is the house of small animals and the twelfth is the house of big animals.
I grew up loving elephants and watching them on TV. I once made one out of papier-mâché; made him in three pieces to get him to be as big as possible. When I put the pieces together, my mom said it wasn’t beautiful; more on the beau-laid side, but it was ingenious.
Chart for Serif Imagined, August 12, 1974, 1:23 pm, Dover, UK
Because of Uranus, I grew up waiting for the next big animal to surprise me. I would imagine an ancestor chasing an elephant my way. I’d trace their journey in my mind’s eyes, from Africa all the way to my back yard.
Then I saw a whale, and my eyes began to scan the coast, and when I learned how to dive, my eyes would scan the ocean. The desire to see something that took my breath away in the water led me to do what I’m doing today, my Ocean Atlas.
They say that with Uranus in the twelfth, you do something for the future, and my sculpture will help the ocean in the future. It’s not just art; it’s art and engineering, and it will gradually turn into a reef. I’ve designed it in pieces, like I did my papier-mâché elephant, and I’ve devised a way of putting the pieces together in the water. I’m driven by a force, by some ancestor’s wish to see this project through, from beginning to end. I often wonder who it could be. A thought springs to mind.
Could it be Leonardo?
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Serif, of course; who isn’t?
I remember my parents telling me how I’d run to the ocean when I was small, and how they’d run after me and hold me tight to save me from the waves. I’d throw a fit in their arms, screaming, Water! I want water! They’d give me water to drink, but that wasn’t the water I wanted; I wanted ocean water.
My mother asked an astrologer to read my chart; she wanted to understand what drew me to the ocean. The astrologer pointed at Neptune in Sag in my twelfth house; she said that a seafaring adventurous ancestor had probably taken possession of my Neptune, and was using me to feel the ocean again. She taught my mom a ritual that would cut the ties that bound me to the ancestor.
Every day after that, my mother would make me hold one end of a string, and she’d hold the other end in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other. She’d say something like, With these scissors, I cut the ties that bind my son to a sailor of long ago. She’d cut the string and tell the sailor to let go of my Neptune, or else- She’d then give the sailor a piece of her mind. As you can see in my chart, Aries is on the cusp of my fourth house; my mother’s words could set the house on fire.
Chart for Serif Imagined, born August 12, 1974, 5:07 pm, Dover, UK
The ritual didn’t work, so she signed me up for swimming lessons until I was good enough to be a life guard. My dad then signed me up for diving lessons until I was good enough to be a diving instructor. They could now set me free when we went to the ocean.
I became interested in marine conservation, and before beginning a program of study, we took a family trip to Italy.
We went to visit Pompeii, and when we got there, a sadness came over me, and my parents felt it too. We went to see the plaster casts of the bodies that perished when Vesuvius erupted, and one in particular, I will never forget. I wanted to rescue her; bring her back to life.
Back home, when I began my program of study, her image would appear in my mind from time to time. We’d be discussing the use of pH neutral cement to make artificial reefs, and I’d see her. We’d give texture to the reefs to allow coral polyps to attach, and I’d see her. We’d dive to study corals beginning to form, and I’d see her. One day, I broke the surface and knew what I was going to do.
I brought her back to life.
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I used to love entering a church; the beauty and the silence of it. I’d imagine myself a monk, living in one of those big old monasteries of the middle ages.
Then came puberty, and I have Jupiter in Pisces right where the eighth house meets the ninth. I wavered between religious ecstasy and the real thing, and the real thing won. Mars in Virgo introduced her to me. She had a passion for saving the earth, and the oceans of the earth, and with her, I discovered the beauty and the silence that lie underwater.
Chart for Serif Imagined, born August 12, 1974, 4:37 am, Dover, UK
The day I took my first dive without her, is the day she left me for someone else. Like the poem says, Some people come into your life for a season, and some people come into your life for a lifetime. She came for a season, for the time it took me to fall in love with the sacred waters of the earth.
Beauty underwater is hard to capture; you see it briefly, and then rise up to the surface.
Silence underwater is hard to capture; you experience it briefly, and then rise up to the surface.
I create the kind of beauty and silence that you’ll remember long after you’ve risen to the surface.
I create them with the help of Venus and Saturn; my serifs.
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Jacques Cousteau’s documentary, The Silent World, showed us for the first time what lay beneath the ocean. He opened up the ocean so that we could see it and care about it; we cannot care about the things we cannot see. His Moon in Leo drew crowds of people to stop radioactive waste from being dumped into the Mediterranean Sea.
Chart for Jacques-Yves Cousteau (astrotheme.com)
He’s sans serif, but when we’re sans serif, the people in our lives and the people who come into our lives are serif. We fulfill wishes of other people’s unremembered dead, and so they say that the twelfth house joins us as a collective.
I’m serif and I’m continuing Cousteau’s work on conservation; I make underwater sculptures that transform into reefs.
I’ll make a sculpture of a couple in an amorous embrace, and when I finish it, I feel it’s incomplete.
Something will compel me to make another, and another, and another. I arrange them in a circle, and when I finish, I still feel it’s incomplete. I add people curled up inside the circle, and hope that I’m done. I begin to feel satisfied, and I give the work a name; I call it, The Nest. The moment I name it, a new idea comes to mind, and I begin working again.
I’ve been told that my sculptures distract people; they engage people, and draw them away from delicate ecosystems and fragile corals in existing reefs.
My conservation is based on distraction, and now I know why one amorous couple is not enough.
My Moon in Gemini is my serif. She asks me to multiply.
Chart for Serif Imagined, born August 12, 1974, 1:14 am, Dover, UK
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Jacques Cousteau has Jupiter in the first house conjunct the ascendant; it’s a visible Jupiter, and he became an influential figure, recognized around the world. He not only uncovered the oceans for us to take a look inside, he improved diving technology and made it easier for us to go inside. With Cousteau, scuba diving became a sport.
Unlike his Jupiter, mine is tucked away in the twelfth house; he’s my serif. He has turned me into a guardian of the oceans, protector of its secrets. There are secrets in the oceans too fragile to be revealed.
Chart for Serif Imagined, born August 12, 1974, 9:43 pm, Dover, UK
I make underwater sculptures that turn into reefs and replenish the oceans with new life. If I ever choose a location for my sculptures that is too close to a secret, my serif will let me know.
My team will be floating the sculptures with lift bags, and before they reach the intended location, lift bags will rip and sculptures rain down. They land in an unintended location, about a foot away from where I’m standing on the ocean floor.
My team will tell me how lucky I am; the sculptures missed me by a foot; I must have a guardian angel.
I always hear my serif chuckle when they say that.
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In the art world, I’m known for making casts of ordinary people and everyday objects, and turning them into reef-sculptures.
In my home town, I’m known as a therapist. I once overheard myself described in this way.
He unlocks your brain with a key question, and while you pour your troubles and frustrations, he covers you in vaseline and plaster. You stop talking when he starts covering your face. Don’t worry; he leaves your nostrils uncovered. What follows is a half hour of meditation; you clear your mind while the plaster sets. Then he cuts the plaster open and you’re born again. Best therapy session I’ve had. I recommend it.
Mercury and the Sun are my serifs.
Chart for Serif Imagined, born August 12, 1974, 6:40 am, Dover, UK
I ask her to lie down like she lies down on the car, and she positions herself that way. She keeps telling me about her dad while I make a cast of her. I don’t cover her face because she’s too young and I may scare her. It’ll be hidden in the reef-sculpture anyway. She keeps talking while the plaster dries, and when I cut it off, she asks if she can come see it when it’s done.
I invite her and her parents to come see me put it underwater.
They told me that it was like watching a hero’s journey, a private one that involved them personally. They held their breaths and prayed as I floated a precious moment of their lives and placed it on the ocean floor.
Not long ago it seems, I sold my house to begin my career as a reef artist. I thought it was all about the ocean, saving the oceans, but really, it’s moments like these that make it all worthwhile.
They say that the Sun is where we’re generous, and I’m generous in ways that are unplanned, that simply happen. One thing leads to another, and the next thing I know, I’m floating a Beetle.
They say that Saturn is where we’re humbled, and the works of my fellow artists keep me humble. I’m not a great sculptor; I don’t have the talent or the training to make a Michelangelo. So I focus on what I’m good at; I improve the method I use to do my castings, the technology I use to submerge by reef-sculptures, and the sturdiness of my lift bags.
They say that the Moon is where we can feel strong emotions, and strong emotions can land us in the eighth house.
My Moon’s in Gemini in my tenth house and I love talking about my work. I give talks all over about how my reef sculptures bring the oceans back to life.
I have apprentices learning my craft. My Moon in Gemini attracts people who want to do what I do, but she also attracts copycats.
I’m aware that I’m not the first person to install artificial reefs, and I’m aware that my sculptures are inspired by the plaster casts of Pompeii. But I’m the first one who put the two things together; I created Reef Art. So I’m touchy when people copy me without mentioning me.
At the Venice Biennale and right next to where I was showing my work, Damien Hirst opened his exhibit Treasures from the wreck of the unbelievable. He pretended to have rescued treasures from a shipwreck, and his treasures happened to look exactly like the work that I do for real.
From Damien Hirst’s Treasures from the wreck of the unbelievable, 2017
People dragged me to see the copycat’s work, and when I walked in, I felt anger rise in me. It wasn’t just anger; it was the kind of anger that breaks things and gets us in trouble with the law.
The Moon showed me handcuffs with one hand, and with the other, she pointed at the people who had brought me to see the exhibit. They were people from my community who respect me, and I tried not to show how affected I was by the plagiarism.
Mercury read my mind, and he whispered the word prison in one ear and the word play in the other, and I played.
Serif Imagined looking at a work by Damien Hirst at the Venice Biennale
Jupiter who is my legal advisor stepped in and said, We’ll take him to court. Jupiter conveniently rules my seventh and eighth house. He oversees the contracts I sign, and when something goes wrong, he takes me into the eighth house legally, with a lawsuit.
Exhibit #1 A Hirst on the left and a Serif Imagined on the right
Crime and legal action take us into the eighth, but that’s not all that belongs there.
Thanchvil Tarnai Imagined
Sarcophagus of Thanchvil Tarnai and Larth Tetnies, 350 BCE, Etruscan
There are many sarcophagi made for two, with a relief sculpture on the lid depicting husband and wife. Mine’s not the only one, but I think mine’s the most exquisite.
You know how they call sex, the little death. Well, Larth and I were united in many little deaths, and here we are now, united in the big one.
We began our relationship in the seventh house. He saw deity in me and I saw deity in him; we were perfect in each other’s eyes. It’s always like that in the beginning, isn’t it.
But if a relationship is to become binding, if it is to change us, there has to be intimacy, and intimacy takes us into the eighth house. It isn’t always sexual; two friends who share secrets behind closed door are in the eighth house. There’s an erotic quality to their intimacy, but it isn’t necessarily sexual.
Ours was. We lost our innocence in the eighth house. We’re in the eighth every time we go from one stage of life to another; it’s the house of initiations. The eighth tells us the resources we have when we take a new step into the unknown, and we were both taking a step into the unknown.
When we got into bed, the doors to our remembered dead opened, and the creak of the doors awakened Mars and Pluto, natural rulers of the eighth house. Mars stood on one side of the bed giving us courage, and Pluto stood on the other side chanting a rite of passage.
It felt crowded and awkward the first time, but it became what we imagined it to be over time, and the doors to our remembered dead remained closed. They only opened when we were in trouble.
When we’re intimate, we risk betrayal. If one of those two friends sharing secrets were to speak badly of the other outside those doors, it would be betrayal. Intimacy invites betrayal and when there’s betrayal, there’s trouble.
The guidance we get depends on the stories that our remembered dead have to offer us. We can take them or not or we can modify them; whatever we do, they’re there to help us.
Betrayal and the strong emotions that come with it are eighth house territory. That’s why the Moon is associated with the eighth house; strong emotions can pull us there; hatred, rage, resentment, envy, jealousy. We confront ourselves in the eighth; it strips us of pretenses. Here’s where we see ourselves naked, and find the source of why we rage and what it is that we envy. There’s transformation when we see ourselves clearly, when we acknowledge the part we play.
There’s also forgiveness in the eighth house, and after that, the house of wisdom. Larth and I made it to the house of wisdom. The ninth always follows the eighth.
Ain Sakhri Lovers, ca. 9000 BCE, Judea
Neil Armstrong did not have delicate hands. With Mars in Gemini in the first house, he had a strong body and he probably became ambidextrous.
The Moon in Sag gives an adventurous spirit, and he has the Moon in Sag on the cusp of the eighth house. He had an adventurous spirit and he must have given the impression of being a risk taker, but he wasn’t. Once he stepped into the eighth, he left the Moon at the entrance, and held on to Saturn in Capricorn and to life. Wherever Saturn is, we are humbled and we work on what we’re good at and we master fear. Neil mastered fear to step into the unknown. He relied on his rational, engineering mind to take us into space, but when he described his experience, he turned poetic.
Saturn trines his planets in the fourth house. He has the Sun in Leo and Mercury conjunct Neptune in Virgo in the fourth. He brought into our awareness that our home is planet earth, the only habitable planet in our solar system. When he stepped on the moon, he said those words that are so memorable. His mission in life was an Aquarian mission, one giant leap for mankind.
Chart for Neil Armstrong, born August 5, 1930, 12:31 am, Washington, OH (astrotheme.com)
Rupert Sheldrake is a scientist who challenges science. He challenges science because it teaches the physical properties of the eye and the mechanics of how we see, but leaves out consciousness.
He says that when we look at someone, our mind extends beyond the brain to touch the person we’re looking at, and the person looks up or turns around because they felt our mind touch them.
He says that when we think of calling someone, our intentions reach out and affect the person we’re thinking about, and the person picks up our intentions and calls us.
Scientists bash him up but people of all ages love him. He has the Sun, Jupiter and Mercury in the eighth house, and he’s not afraid to investigate and talk about matters of consciousness and spirit. He broadens science with lived experience, and he steps into the unknown with faith and optimism.
Rupert Sheldrake, born June 28, 1942, 6 pm, Newark-on-Trent, UK (astrotheme.com)
Louis Malle dove underwater with Jacques Cousteau and filmed, The Silent World. He went on to make independent films, and his topics were challenging and not always considered acceptable. The Fire Within is about suicide; Murmur of the Heart is about a child’s infatuation with his mother; Pretty Baby is about child prostitution, and Au revoir les enfants is something he witnessed in boarding school.
He has Uranus in Aries in the eighth house, and the ruler of Aries is in the twelfth. He dared people to step into the unknown with him.
Chart for Louis Malle, born October 30, 1932, 1 am, Thumeries, France (astrotheme.com)
When there’s an Inquisition, Mercury in the eighth house is a heretic who can get us into trouble. Copernicus has Mercury on the cusp of the eighth house, a more or less guarded Mercury that didn’t get him into trouble.
He suggested that the Earth wasn’t the centre of the universe; the Sun was the centre and the Earth revolved around it. He wrote his book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, but it wasn’t published until he died, and he wanted it that way. His views, however, became popular during his lifetime through word of mouth.
Word of mouth also got around that his live-in-housekeeper was his mistress. He never married; he was content with the secrets he discovered about the universe and with his Venus in Aries, tucked away in the eighth house, with Mercury guarding the door.
Nicolas Copernicus, born February 19, 1473, 5:13 pm, Torun (astrotheme.com)
Pluto in the eighth house cultivates danger, and he can initiate us into dangerous territory.
Galileo Galilei has the Sun, Pluto conjunct Mercury and Venus in Pisces in the eighth house. He said out loud that Copernicus was right, and he got out his telescope to prove it. He observed the phases of Venus and fell in love with her. He saw Jupiter’s largest moons and Saturn’s rings and the Sun’s sunspots and fell in love with them all.
He was tried by the Inquisition and spent the last ten years of his life under house arrest. During this time, he wrote The Two Sciences with the guidance of all the scholars, popes and heretics among his unremembered dead.
Galileo Galilei, born February 15, 1564, 3:31 pm, Pisa (astrotheme.com)
Even today, the cast and crew of The Accused say that filming the rape scene has been the most difficult experience of their careers.
It took a certain personality to play the role of the rape victim.
Jodi Foster plays it, and she is a Venus Retrograde. She took up the challenge after she was stalked by the man who shot at Ronald Reagan and his entourage to impress her.
Her Sun is conjunct Mercury in Scorpio, and her destiny is to explore the psychology of eighth house matters. Her Moon, ruler of the eighth, draws her there through personal experiences and by offering her eighth house roles. The Moon is conjunct Uranus in Virgo, and it can attract roles that shock the nervous system.
When she steps into the eighth and into the unknown, she has Mars in Leo to give her courage. When she stepped into the unknown to film The Accused, she had her own courage and the protection of everyone on the set.
Chart for Jodie Foster, born November 19, 1962, Los Angeles, CA (astrotheme.com)
Henry VIII wanted a son.
When he stepped into the eighth, he aimed for a son to continue his line. Jupiter and Neptune rule his eighth house, and Neptune’s in the fourth and Jupiter’s in the tenth. He wanted a male heir who would rule England after him.
So when he stepped into the eighth, he was passionate as only the Moon in Aries can be.
When he didn’t get the heir he wanted, strong emotions pulled him back into the eighth, and waiting for him was the Moon in Aries.
Chart for Henry VIII, born June 28, 1491, 8:45 am, Greenwich (astrotheme.com)
When we’re in the Valley of Nep, we’re in the valley of ideals, where we worship perfection.
Wherever we have Neptune in the birth chart, we can be disappointed when things aren’t the way we imagine them to be, wish them to be. But once in a blue moon, they’re perfect.
Anthony Hopkins has Neptune on the cusp of his eighth house. He’s older now and having his Uranus return this year. He’s married to a woman with whom he has soul intimacy. She encourages his painting and his music.
Chart for Anthony Hopkins, born December 31, 1937, 9:15 am, Port Talbot (astrotheme.com)
He composed a waltz, and without him knowing, she sent the composition to André Rieu. Out of the blue, Rieu called Anthony up and told him he was rehearsing his composition; would he like to come hear it live.
Here is Anthony Hopkins with his wife and the audience, listening to his waltz, having a moment of rapture.
Earlier in his career, he became addicted to alcohol. When he knew he was reaching a point of no return, he re aligned himself and stopped drinking. He says that when he needs help, when he asks for it, something out there responds; he says this running the side of his hand up and down his chest. Neptune in Virgo is earthy; earthy addictions, earthy spirituality.
Chart for Richard Gere (astrotheme.com)
Some say that Neptune in the fourth house carries the feeling of having been born in the wrong place. We don’t necessarily leave the place that feels wrong, but at some point in our lives, we search for the place that is familiar and we find it.
Richard Gere has the two rulers of the fourth house in the fourth house. His roots in the place he was born are deep; his parents were Mayflower descendants, and his dad wanted to be a minister. His unremembered dead were probably daredevil seafarers who opened the roads of the sea, and his remembered dead brought the word of their god to the new world that became his world.
He broke away from his religious background and found his path in Buddhism. His spiritual practice led him to Tibet and to India and to the Dalai Lama, and he brought the Dalai Lama to the new world.
Chart for Joseph Stalin (astrotheme.com)
When his father turned to drink and became abusive, his mother picked him up and left their home. They became wanderers, moving from place to place until she found a job as a clergyman’s housekeeper.
He grew up in a clergyman’s home, and when he finished school, he was enrolled in a spiritual seminary to become a priest. His father had been a shoemaker and he was to become a priest.
But Stalin didn’t complete his priestly studies. He was attracted to secret book clubs and secret workers’ meetings and talk of revolution. He found his spiritual roots in marxism and became a bolshevik. He was arrested multiple times, sent into internal exile multiple time, escaped multiple times, and enjoyed his dangerous life. A dangerous life brought him to power, and when he came to power, he held on to it until he died.
Pluto can do that; he can separate us from home, pluck us from our roots, take us on journey, and when we return, we’ve changed completely.
Chart for Edward VIII (astrotheme.com)
Jupiter in the fourth house gives us a very active home life, very social, very busy, even chaotic. And in the middle of the chaos that was his life, he abdicated the throne to marry the woman he loved.
At first, he fought for money, fought for a position with the royal family, fought for a title for his wife, but after the war, he stopped fighting and settled down with his wife away from home.
He continued to be a socialite, visible and photographed, but he now had time for reflection. He had time to manage his accounts, write his memoirs, play with his dogs, do some gardening.
They say that when Jupiter is in the fourth, we need to consciously take time off to digest all that is happening in our lives.
When he died, his body was brought back home to be buried. He came home to be remembered.
Chart for Édouard Manet, born January 23, 1832, 7 pm, Paris (astrotheme.com)
Personal planets in the fourth can tie us to our tribe, and Manet was tied. He came from a prominent family with strong political connections. His father was a judge who wanted him to follow in his footsteps, and Manet had a hard time convincing him to let him try a career in painting.
He grew up with Venus and Mars at home, love and war. There’s challenge, competition and the need for approval when Venus and Mars are together.
There can also be an underlying sexual tension at home with Venus and Mars. His father who was married to his mother had affairs, and Manet was aware of this.
There was beauty and there were arguments, and he was sometimes at ease and sometimes on edge.
When he fell in love with Titian’s work, he thought he’d try his hand painting an alluring Venus, a Venus at ease.
Venus d’Urbino by Titian, 1534
But the edge showed up and Venus turned into Olympia.
He made the subtlety of Titian’s work explicit.
Olympia by Manet, 1863
Chart for Alberto Giacometti, born October 10, 1901, 1 am, Borgonovo, Switzerland (astrotheme.com)
When my brothers and I get together at home and remember things from the past, I’m always surprised at how differently we remember them. We all seem to have picked up a different atmosphere from the home we grew up in. What I recall is constant activity, constant stimulation, constant discussions. There were four of us competing for our parents’ attention, and how much of it I got depended on my mental acuity.
I’m known as a cerebral artist. My subjects are always the same; one of my family members will do. I’m not interested in capturing personality, but in capturing what we see. When I look at someone from the front, the face is an elongated oval. When I look at them in profile, the face is sharp and flat. We can never capture the whole truth; truth changes with one’s point of view.
I couldn’t sleep last night, so I walked around the house thinking of what my next sculpture will be. I’d like to make a sculpture of a walking man, a sculpture every walking man can identify with, a sculpture stripped to the essence of what it is to stride forward.
Walking Man II by Alberto Giacometti, 1960
Chart for Simone Veil, born July 13, 1927, 8:15 am, Nice (astrotheme.com)
Saturn in the fourth makes me revisit my childhood memories over and over again; he weaves me back to the place where I was born.
Whenever I’m interviewed, I start from the beginning. Like an archaeologist, I reconstruct my home life and the memories come back.
They are memories of a loving home that centre me. I’m then able to leave testimony of what happened in the concentration camps, the horrors that we lived and the horrors that we witnessed. I talk about the incredible capacity of the human spirit to survive.
I never ask, why me.
When I became a magistrate after the war, I used my knowledge and experience to improve the conditions of prisons and prisoners in France and Algeria. When I became the health minister, I used my knowledge and experience to fight for a woman’s right to have a legal abortion.
My parents’ secular beliefs inform me. The free thinkers among my remembered dead inform me. The spiritual warriors among my unremembered dead inform me.
Chart for Marcel Proust, born July 10, 1871, 11:30 pm, Paris (astrotheme.com)
I’ve never left home. The Sun in Cancer in the fourth keeps me close to my parents, to my mom especially.
I woke up one day and found that she had left a cup of tea and some madeleines on my bedside table. I leaned up in bed, dipped a madeleine in my tea, brought it to my mouth, and a shudder ran through me. The taste of it awakened a childhood memory. I reached for my notebook and wrote it down, and it led to another memory and another.
I haven’t stopped writing since. I feel as if all the members of my family, remembered and forgotten, have congregated in my room to fill me in with the details of their lives. Their memories have become my memories.
It’s going to be a monumental book.
Chart for David Bowie, born January 8, 1947, 9 am, London (astrotheme.com)
When Uranus is in the fourth house, we can reinvent ourselves, and in Gemini, we reinvent ourselves multiple times.
We feel the spirit of the times in the air, and we let it guide our music.
Neptune in Libra whispers the fashion and the makeup that will suit our new image.
The Sun and Mars conjunction in Capricorn gives us the bravery we need to love the alien in us.
Jupiter in Scorpio tries to steer us away from music and into becoming monks. But Venus in Sag says, no; she likes the idea of being reinvented; Buddhist monks only get to wear orange.
Chart for Shakira, born February 2, 1977, 10:08 am, Barranquilla, Colombia (astrotheme.com)
Uranus in the fourth can set us free to choose who we want to be, regardless of the atmosphere we grew up in.
With Saturn, there’s something unresolved that we need to go back to, even if just through conversation.
The Sun can keep us physically tied to the fourth.
The Moon isn’t like that; the Moon in the fourth binds us emotionally to family and to ancestry.
Shakira has the Moon in Cancer in the fourth. She says that her world has solid roots; that her family is the most important part of her life; they are there to contain her and bring sanity in her life.
Her parents were the ones who unlocked her talents. Her father brought to her attention that she had a powerful voice, and her mother asked her if she wanted to take part in a musical competition. She won the competition and that’s how she decided to become a professional singer.
When she made that decision, Neptune in Sag and Venus in Aries offered her the music and the dance of her ancestors.
Thanks to her parents.