The past three years have been extraordinarily difficult for us, on many levels. I do not have to go into the details, the reader will be more than aware, whatever their standpoint.
Astrologically, 2023 promises change after a difficult start. Right now (early January), with Mercury and Mars retrograde in particular, it might feel that nothing is happening and than 2023 is continuing pretty much like 2022, in a kind of frustrating stalemate politically and economically, nevertheless with wild, hard to believe news stories dominating the headlines.
Retrograde Mercurys are notorious for making any kind of communication and travel difficult. With Mars retrograde in Mercury’s sign of Gemini until January 12, this only compounds the situation, creating a sense of inaction.
But once these two planets turn direct shortly, much of the underlying frustration will begin to clear, especially when the Sun moves into Aquarius around January 20 and Uranus turns direct in Taurus on January 22. A fundamental change of atmosphere will occur and we will see things more as they truly are; the deceptions we have had to live with for far too long.
And with Jupiter already beginning a new 12 year cycle by entering Aries, now is the time for opportunity in new beginnings of any kind. From May Jupiter enters Taurus to join revolutionary Uranus; there will be big financial opportunites and news from the late spring, which should see us finally begin to leave this planetary state of depression.
Add to this Pluto’s initial stint in Aquarius from March for a few months, before finally settling into the Waterbearer in early 2024, and we are going to witness a fundamental shift, as important as we saw in 2008 when Pluto entered Capricorn, which brought the so-called Credit Crunch and all the chaos thereof. This time however, in Aquarius, the changes are going to be more societal, among groups and in humanity in general. The people are not to stand for certain situations any longer; Pluto is a malefic, it undermines, trawls deep, and bring detritus to the surface in a major cleansing which is never easy, nor straightforward. At times its going to be pretty ugly.
Pluto is in Aquarius for around 20 years, and always marks a major shift for humanity. The last time this occurred there was the French Revolution (was that positive???) and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, for example.
What I have noticed is that in the 1530s to 1550s (when Pluto was in Aquarius the time before last) and towards the mid 1040s (when it was also in the Waterbearer), at the beginning of each of these phases Neptune was in watery Pisces. Now Pisces has strong associations with religion and Christianity in particular. I suggest that Pluto and Neptune are working in tandem.
During both of these periods there were major shifts in religion and belief and consequent changes in society. The 1050s brought the Great Schism, the split between the Churches of Rome and Byzantium, which also ushered in major societal and military actions, such as the Norman Conquest, blessed by the then Pope to bring England truly back into the re-energised Catholic fold. In the 1530s to 1550s, the Reformation brought huge chaos and change to the Church and society, plus major political and military conflict. The Dissolution of the Monasteries in England, for example, brought major societal upheaval.
So once again, in 2023/4, as Pluto enters Aquarius, Neptune is found in Pisces. The difference this time, I suggest, is that that all three of these so-called outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) are now known to humanity, and we are conscious of them. This may make it more positive than it might have been, but I predict that major, groundbreaking changes are about to occur to the Church in general, changing it forever. Will it even survive in its present form?
Are we, for instance, living in the times of the last ever Pope, as predicted by Saint Malachy? It could easily be. And if so, what comes afterwards?
Just as importantly, I predict that the way we see the world, the ‘universe’ and our accepted narratives of history, are all about to fundamentally alter as a result of changes in belief and perception; the blindfolds are about to be ripped away, perhaps quickly, but certainly over the next two decades. Seatbelts are advisable. Hold on tight.
Frida Kahlo is one of the most iconic and celebrated symbolic-realist artists of the 20th century, but her short life was painful and ultimately tragic, yet nevertheless full. Is there such a thing as a trade off between genius and pain?
Such was her fame that even during her lifetime, in 1942, one of her paintings sold for over $3 million at Sotheby’s.
When I first looked at her chart I noted that the three so-called outer planets (which are invisible to the naked eye and therefore not luminaries) are in key sensitive points.
I have long thought that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and their supposed influences are something to be avoided, or overcome, even though they might put the individual in touch which certain deeper, darker and ultimately dangerous forces of our universe. Uranus may bring originality but can disrupt suddenly; Neptune may inspire but confuses and befuddles; and Pluto might provide intensity but undermines darkly.
At the age of 6 Frida contracted polio which left her with one leg shorter than the other. Later, through sports, she built up her body strength with characteristic resolve and went to one of Mexico‘s best schools.
A Life Changing Accident
Then fate intervened again when she was severely injured in a horrific road traffic accident in Mexico City in 1925. It was a life changing experience which she never truly overcame, but such was her intense lust for life and experience, she got through it, despite numerous operations, including a leg amputation later on.
During this early period following the accident, she began to paint and this was the beginning of her career which saw her later exhibiting as far a field as New York and Paris.
Due to the intense pain and the resulting depression she also developed a drinking habit but always lived life to its fullest.
‘The Heroine of Pain’ What Does the Astrology Say?
There is little wonder that in her native Mexico she is referred to as ‘the heroine of pain‘ – ‘la heroina del dolor’. She certainly seems to have had that air of greatness about her which only few achieve during their lifetime – but at what price?
She has Leo rising with Mercury in the 1st house. Here is the lust for life and creativity and to express it.
However, her ruler the Sun is immersed in the ocean of a 12th house Cancer conjunct Neptune, forming the most difficult and trying figure in the chart.
This subconsciously embedded conjunction is opposed by a practical Mars conjunct Uranus in the 6th house of health and efficiency. This activation of the 6th/12th house axis might well have been behind the motivation to seek a career in medicine in her early teens.
A Potential Career in Medicine
She would appear to have been as much interested in mental as well as physical health, especially so as an exalted Jupiter is also in the 12th house quite close to her north node; she might well have become a doctor of psychology or psychiatry if things had been different, yet other medical paths could have suited. But it wasn’t to be. Any aptitude toward practical medicine was firmly rebuked by fate, steering her toward creative art with a symbolic edge.
Whilst Neptune close to the Cancerian Sun might at best be inspirational, its major influence is to subconsciously confound and upset, affecting her psychologically. This may suggest the subconscious symbolism of her art. Sun Cancerians are family orientated but happiness in this area of her life was to prove elusive.
Opposing the Sun/Neptune conjunction, Mars/Uranus only antagonise and disrupt, the martian strength being exalted in Capricorn, yet is physically embattled and irritated by revolutionary Uranus. The exact opposition between the Sun and Mars illustrates the intense attraction to men she had but also the difficulty in maintaining steady relationships, even though she only married one man – twice.
This opposition of conjunctions effectively energises the whole chart, mimicking the explosive drama of her life.
A Ribbon Around a Bomb?
Psychologically Frida was deep, intensely emotional but had an exacting attitude too. Her Venus, ruler of the MC and 10th house of career, is closely conjuct the undermining influence of Pluto in the 11th house, challenged by Saturn from the 8th. This also reflects her intense relationships and friendships, her difficulty with them, as well as her interest in feminine identity. Venus Pluto and a Taurean MC suggest the intense realism and symbolism of her art.
Her Moon exalted in Taurus in the 10th house is also void of course in the last degree of the Bull. Whilst this might add a certain steadiness to her emotional responses, she might also have felt as if she was always fighting against time. Void of course Moons are difficult to assess in natal charts, but this is my take.
She was once described as being a ribbon around a bomb. Whether that is accurate or not, she was certainly one of the most naturally gifted, intensively creative female artists of any period. Iconic indeed.
The date of February 20 2022 marks the exact point of Pluto’s return to the place it was when the Declaration of Independence was signed at Philadelphia on July 4 1776, in late Capricorn.
Back then, the United States, primarily because of punitive British tax laws, was trying to wrestle free from the straitjacket of imperial control.
Some might suggest that right now the USA is fighting a similar battle for independence from an even more insidious controlling power, where even money, the creation of it – in fact the very nature of it – is in dispute.
Certainly, few would argue that the country is not divided, culturally and economically in a way it hasn’t been since the Civil War in the 1860s. Can a lot of this really be seen symbolised by Pluto’s return?
First of all, I do not believe that Pluto is a bringer of anything good. Many try to sanitise it as ‘transformative’, a force for necessarily destruction and renewal. That these are some of the symptoms of Pluto’s influence is undeniable.
However, in reality Pluto is a bad star, it can bring disaster, which is a word literally meaning ‘bad star’ in Latin. Pluto, a bit like its mythology, undermines, distorts and usually in secrecy, behind the scenes – and in a mask.
Unfortunately for the US, Pluto’s presence in the second house of finance and security, has always been and will always be, problematic. The very security of the nation has undergone many economic disasters and is experiencing another right now, along with the rest of the world, where inflation and debt are spiralling.
And in Capricorn, which is about similarly practical, material, business and political concerns, the drastic distortions and divisions of our time have reached absurd levels, where there is seemingly no common ground left between liberals and conservatives. This is true worldwide too because Pluto’s transit through the highly political Goat has been common to all.
What is more, because Pluto represents hidden enemies and fifth columnists, it is not easy to see who you are up against. The one benefit of Pluto’s return may just be that, however; in the current exreme distortions being faced, the enemy could be revealing himself in a way not seen previously, or at least not since Independence.
There are some conditions in the US’s favour. Firstly, in the 1776 chart, Sagittarius is rising. Freedom is a word very much traditionally associated with America, and the country is going to have to reappraise what that word actually means.
Sagittarius is the sign of freedom, ruled by the Greater Benefic, Jupiter, which in the July 4 chart is in Cancer, conjunct Venus in the 8th house of inheritance and investments. Here is the love of home, family, of being in love with the homeland and investing a lot of effort in it. It is this traditional national trait which is now being reinvigorated and will need to be, to essentially save what America is – or was?
The Sun (identity) is also nearby to Jupiter in the 1776 chart, with the fixed star Sirius in between. Sirius has a guardian-like nature and Americans are going to have to resort to this approach, this love of home, with pride, honour and committment if they are to save the traditional essence of their country in the long run.
So Pluto’s return, is in fact a window in a long process of drastic, traumatic financial and economic change, which began way back in 2008 when Pluto entered Capricorn.
Pluto enters Aquarius in 2023, when we should begin to see, with some perspective, just what has been happening in recent years, and especially from 2020 to 2022, when Pluto was so close to that point of return.
And right now, there is a conjunction between Venus and Mars in Capricorn in the second house of the US chart. If ever there was a time to begin again, financially, it is now.
But the north node of the Moon in late Taurus, close to Algol the demon star, also warns us of the dangers of this time. Always proceed with caution, but we will have to wait until the spring to see true signs of those green shoots.
When we talk about classical music today, 19th and early 20th century French romantic composer, pianist and organist, Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, may not figure in the highest echelons in terms of outright popularity.
Ok, so he isn’t Bach, Mozart or Beethoven, nor Schubert, Schuman or Wagner, but in astrological terms, much deeper than the mere superfluous realm of ‘star signs’, he makes a most interesting study indeed.
This fellow Saint-Saëns was certainly a remarkable child prodigy and composer, whose musical abilities did appear to come rather easily to him. Anyone who could produce works of the quality of, for example, ‘Danse Macabre’, ‘Carneval Des Animaux’ and ‘Samson & Delilah’, must certainly qualify as being near to the pinnacle of their profession.
He went on to be a very well travelled international figure, as well as being highly honoured, receiving the French Grand Cross of Legion d’Honneur in 1913. He was also inspirational; Faure and Ravel were both strongly influenced by him, for example.
By the age of 6 this prodigy was already composing, performing as a pianist by the time he was 10. He entered the Paris Conservatoire aged 13 and composed his first symphony when he was 18.
Saint-Saëns became quite a scholar of musical history, too, developing a more conservative, traditional approach to compositional structure, something which set him against the more modern trends of the early 20th century, which evidently wanted to turn everything on its head, as in other artistic fields such as painting.
Controversy and tragedy affected him too at times. Marrying later in life, to a much younger woman (to the surprise of those who knew him) the relationship would appear to have always been difficult, or strained. Nevertheless, the couple had two sons. However, in 1878 an appalling tragedy struck when the 2 year old Andre fell to his death from their Parisian flat window.
Tragedy & Disappearance
Only six weeks later, young Jean Francois died of pneumonia. This effectively ended their marriage. In 1881 whilst on holiday with his wife, he suddenly disappeared, later writing her a letter of explanation — that we would not be coming back. Even so, the couple never divorced. Speculation has remained as to Saint-Saëns’ sexuality.
Overall, however, this remarkable man led a very successful and productive life. I was intrigued to come across his birth data, so that I could assess him astrologically.
One of the most remarkable features of his chart is the positive placement of most planets. In traditional astrology, a planet is said to be exalted, or function at its best, in certain signs. In Saint-Saëns’ case, he has Saturn exalted in Libra, the Moon exalted in Taurus and Jupiter exalted in Cancer. Would might this mean in terms of interpretation?
Let’s begin with Saturn in Libra. Saturn, often still called the Greater Malefic, signifies limitation, boundaries, structure; in Libra, the Cardinal Air sign, this function is well reasoned, balanced in the most positive way. I will return to Saturn shortly.
Then we have the Moon exalted in Taurus. The Moon represents our responses, emotions, feelings; in Taurus (also ruled by Venus like Libra), these qualities are at their most grounded and fruitful.
We now turn to Jupiter, the Greater Benefic, exalted in Cancer. Jupiter is expansion, optimism; in Cancer, ruled by the Moon, expansion is given a nourishing, homely expression, like a blessing upon the base of our lives, quite often our mainspring for success in life.
A Charming, though Dignified Bearing
What is more, Saint-Saëns had other planets which were ‘dignified’. What do I mean? Dignity in astrological terms refers to a planet being in the sign of its rulership.
Firstly, he has Venus in Libra, the principal of unity given a highly balanced and considered expression; an ideal of beauty, balance and peace.
Then he also has Mars in Scorpio, which it traditionally rules. I personally do not subscribe to the ‘modern’ notion that outer planet Pluto rules Scorpio. Mars is energy, activity; in Scorpio, the Martian energy is concentrated, somewhat emotive, and also secretive — yet even so, well placed if one wishes to achieve something deeper, meaningful.
So what are we to make of all this ‘positivity’, the level of which I haven’t come across too many times before? Overall, it may represent the positive gifts he was born with, Saint-Saëns’ ability to create, seemingly with ease and with the blessings of his local universe.
Let us now return to Saturn, which was rising conjunct the ascending degree in Libra, closely followed by his Sun and Venus in the same sign of the Scales. A Libran ascendant is courteous, diplomatic, often charming, yet with Saturn so close to this degree, one would expect a certain amount of caution too, perhaps manifesting as a kind of dignity in the manner and appearance, which might seem at times like a little shyness, reticence, even haughtiness.
Conservatism, Good Fortune& Fixed Stars
As said above, limiting and conservative Saturn is indeed ‘exalted’ in Libra, so it is not surprising that later in life he grew to be noted for his conservative outlook, plus the deliberately structured nature of most of his works. He tended to favour the more traditional compositional styles in the long run, even though as a younger composer, he accepted the then ‘modern’ trends of such men as Wagner, without truly embracing what they stood for.
At this point I would like to introduce the fixed star, Spica, which is also conjunct the ascendant and close to Saturn. I have only recently begun to reintroduce certain fixed stars (the 15 Behenian Fixed Stars) into my method of interpretation — I think they can be highly significant.
Spica, traditionally, is said to be of the nature of Venus and Mars, a star of good fortune. This is thought to confer general happiness, honour and preferment. If we take out his short lived marriage and the major life changing tragedy of his young sons, Saint-Saëns’ life in general was very fortunate.
Keen Student of Musical History
This fixed star is also close to Saturn, conferring interests in the occult and history too. It is known that he was a keen student of musical history, which had a strong influence upon his compositional style.
Saint-Saëns’ Sun conjunct Venus in the Libra ascendant, would only underline the charm, diplomacy and overall affability of his personage. There would also be a certain amount of sophistication about his presence too, attention to his appearance, probably a liking for traditional fashion (Saturn in Libra conjunct ascendant) and being ‘just so’.
With all this Libra in his chart, he would certainly have craved company too; he might not have felt whole without a ‘partner’ in life. So it is perhaps a surprise that he did not marry until he was around 40. Some have speculated about his sexuality, although it could simply be that he was rather fussy; Librans often have trouble making up their minds, being seekers of perfection with high ideals.
Humour & Magnanimity
His exalted Moon in Taurus would provide relatively stable emotions, pleasant responses to stimuli, perhaps underlining the conservative streak. However, his Moon is also in good sextile aspect to the equally exalted Jupiter in Cancer.
I think there would have been a distinctly good humoured and magnanimous quality about him too, that would have been highly beneficial to him in his career, for Jupiter is housed in his career house and his exalted Moon is ruler of that 10th house. He was fortunate.
Jupiter is also the planet of expansion and projection, physically and mentally. Saint-Saëns became highly travelled through his lifetime, making 179 trips to 27 countries, an astonishing tally.
Much Travel & A Well Developed Mentality
This Jupiter is also close to the fixed star Sirius, generally considered another positive indication. This infers much travel in the career, usually by sea (Jupiter in Cancer), plus a generally caring nature.
His dignified Mars in Scorpio is conjunct communicative Mercury in the 2nd house, ruler of the 9th house of philosophy, the higher mind and travel. This gave him a highly powerful, penetrating, determined and energetic mentality, probably an endless curiosity too, which drove him on in his practical working life. Mars is also the ruler of this house: This was no day dreamer — he wanted practical results. As a young student he was highly proficient in many profound subjects and had a particular love of astronomy throughout his life.
That Trying T-Square
If I may turn to the less positive aspects of his known life, namely the failed late marriage and his sons’ untimely demises, it may be symbolised in what is known as a T-square formation, involving his first house Sun and Venus in Libra, opposite Pluto in the 7th house, both squaring (90 degrees) Jupiter in the 10th house. This is certainly an indication that all would not be plain sailing in personal relationships, which would certainly impinge upon his career and aims.
As I have stated before, these days I do not see the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as at all positive influences. They are not ‘higher octaves’, as they were once deemed: if anything they are lower, baser influences. They have to be overcome, indicating areas of our life where there could be potential pit falls, or worse.
Potential Disruption in Troubled Relationships
Pluto in the 7th house certainly forewarns one of marriage and/or partnership disruption, especially so as the same planet is opposite (challenging aspect) the harmony seeking Sun and Venus in Libra in his first house; Pluto is directly threatening potential termination, if one is not careful.
I would also imagine that personal relationship issues, such as those indicated by this Sun and Venus opposite Pluto, would have also threatened his career, and also the stability of home and family life: Exalted Jupiter in Cancer is in itself an overall indication of good fortune in family concerns, but maybe serious relationships, such as marriage, constituted a threat.
To Marry, or not to Marry
It is easy to say in retrospect, of course, but would it have been advisable for him not to have married? Did the conventions of the day ‘force’ him into doing what every one else did? He was, after all, quite a conservative in many ways.
Equally, we have the presence of the other two outer planets, Uranus and Neptune in the 5th house of children, speculation and creativity. The potential to have ‘problems’ with offspring are indicated here; Uranus can turn things upside down with sudden, unexpected events; Neptune confuses issues, although no one could have envisaged the tragedy that befell his young family. And whilst controlling Saturn forms a loose positive trine aspect with Uranus, which might have lessened the impact of the rebellious planet, the potential negativity of Uranus would still be there.
I found Saint-Saëns the most fascinating character to study. I have to say that I really like him; I am sure he would have been most agreeable to meet, to talk to, to be simply be around.
Most of all, we can all still enjoy the quality of his compositions.
This is the final installment in the series about the Traditional Model of the Cosmos in which I discuss my ideas about the Outer Planets. For more information about my thoughts on the Outer Planets, see: The Outer Planets – A Theory The Outer Planets: the Pseudomythos of “Higher Octaves” and “Transcendence” Pluto: Its Discovery, […]