Category Archives: declination

Alexandria Shooter

When I found the birth data for the Alexandria, Virginia shooter on Ancestry.com (December 12, 1950), I couldn’t be certain if it was correct.  The James T. Hodgkinson I found was the same age as the man in the news, with the same name and middle initial, the only one listed in the town of Belleville, Illinois.  But one look at the chart convinced me this was the person who had opened fire on Congressman Steve Scalise and other Republicans at an early morning baseball practice. 

Was this someone who could conceive a grandiose scheme?  He had the Sun and Venus in Sagittarius along with Jupiter in Pisces, all of which suggest seeing the big picture.

Is this the kind of person who’d think outside the norm and take an extreme stance?  He had Mercury Out of Bounds in declination and opposite Uranus, along with the Moon in Aquarius, all of which may incline toward a radical agenda.

Could this person think ahead to plan a crime?  Hodgkinson had Mercury in Capricorn and Saturn exalted in Libra, both signifiers of the ability to take things one step at a time and follow through on plans.

Could he carry out a violent act?  Mars in Capricorn and the Sun trine Pluto are both indicators of someone who can exercise control, take a calculated risk, and is not afraid of pursuing violence.

The timing of the shooting was also clear.  Sudden events and extreme acts come under the rulership of Uranus, and violence is associated with Mars.  On the day of the shooting, transiting Uranus squared Hodgkinson’s Mars and trined his Venus (within a half a degree of exact for both).

Transiting Saturn was near the midpoint of Hodgkinson’s Sun and Venus.  He may have been feeling down and depressed, unhappy with the status quo, leading him to take his fatal actions.

Of course, we don’t have a time of birth for Hodgkinson, and not everyone born on this day will express the chart with such negativity.  For example, the popular Indian actor Rajinikanth was born on the same day.  He has gone on hunger strikes to draw attention to issues that were important to him, and has supported anti-corruption and campaigned for eye donations.  In June of 2017, the month of the Alexandria shooting, Rajinikanth met with leaders and appears to be considering entering politics.  He leans conservative.

The FBI’s wanted list confirms Hodgkinson’s birth data.

NY’s Second Avenue Subway

What’s the horoscope of a subway look like? Manhattan’s Second Avenue subway left 57th Street and 7th Avenue for the first time at 12:01 PM on New Year’s Day, 2017, according to AM New York. The train extends service in the Upper East Side to 96th Street.2nd-ave-subway

Mercury retrograde in the 9th house already provided a broken elevator at 86th Street, a locked women’s room, and a recording announcing delays from “train traffic ahead.” But as Mercury also sextiles Mars and Neptune, the ride was completed successfully.

The Moon conjoins and exactly parallel’s Venus in Aquarius in the 11th house, with both trining Jupiter in Libra. Jupiter indicates large-scale transit, and conjoins the 7th house cusp, insuring popularity. Real estate commentators expect prices in the surrounding neighborhoods to rise. As Venus rules the 2nd house of money and the Moon rules the 4th of property, their trine to Jupiter confirms this obvious assessment. The Sun in Capricorn at the Midheaven and conjoining Pluto also suggests an important business transformation.2nd-ave-subway

The most dynamic configuration in the chart is a close angular T-square of Uranus rising opposite Jupiter on the Descendant, with both squaring Pluto in the 10th house. Astrologically it appears that this extension is both notable and innovative. Pluto in Capricorn’s influence echoes the fact that it’s taken over 70 years to replace the Second Avenue elevated train that was demolished in the 1940s. The MTA promises more efficient travel times for many, but it appears that there may be some significant issues to resolve before that becomes a reality.

The next planned phase will extend the line to Harlem.

What is it About Jackie?

The Kennedy saga continues as we now have a major motion picture focusing on Jackie. Why is her legacy so enduring?jackie-natalie-portman

Jackie had the Sun in Leo, the sign of royalty, high in the sky in the 9th house. The Sun closely trines Uranus and both sextile Jupiter in the 7th house of the public and partnerships. This is a dynamic combination that easily attracts attention, and she was best known for her two prominent marriages.

jacqueline-kennedy-onassisLeo also falls on the Midheaven, which closely conjoins Neptune in Virgo, inspiring fantasies. Jackie is remembered for her glamorous image, fashion consciousness and breathy uber-feminine voice – all part of the allure of Neptune and its placement in the 10th house of reputation and status. These characteristics came naturally, since Neptune forms a grand trine with Saturn in Sagittarius and the Moon in Aries. Saturn’s trines also give her staying power.

Jackie’s Scorpio Ascendant increased her mystique, particularly since it closely trines Pluto on the 9th house cusp. Known for her dignity and fortitude in times of misfortune, she would have found it difficult to express any weakness in public.

The country’s obsession with Jackie is illuminated by declination. Her Sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Pluto are all parallel within about 3 degrees, and most are also parallel the U.S. Uranus, planet of fascination. And her Moon progresses Out of Bounds in declination, which can reveal high points in prominence (Donald Trump was experiencing this progression during his presidential campaign and the election; Hillary Clinton had it during her first presidential run and her first years as Secretary of State).

Jackie’s Moon had progressed OOB in the north for much of her time as First Lady. It was once again well OOB (27 North) when her biopic premiered. Her Moon continues OOB through 2018, so we should be hearing more about her. She’ll also experience her third Saturn return in 2017, further consolidating her renown.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis was born on July 28, 1929 at 2:30 PM in Southampton, New York, rated A on Astrodatabank.

Saturn and the Ancestors

With Saturn closely parallel my Midheaven and trine my Ascendant, I’ve always felt drawn toward my family’s past.  Saturn represents both yesteryear and authority figures.  It also rules old structures as well as the grave.  So it’s obvious why Saturn also rules our ancestors and the study of genealogy.grandparents-nypl

My grandfather died when I was a little girl, but he had a tremendous influence on me (his Moon conjoins my Ascendant).  He was a pianist who played by ear.  When he passed, his piano came to me and became my focus.  I learned how to play step-by-step though, in a more typical Saturn manner.  (Once I began studying astrology in earnest, my musical studies faded out.)

When I moved back to Brooklyn it felt like coming home, as it brought back memories of my childhood visits to my grandparents.  And I now live within a few miles of their homes, as well as the cemetery and family lots where many of my ancestors, including my dad, are all buried.

My office is within walking distance of where my grandfather lived with his family as a young man, after they crossed the Manhattan Bridge from Little Italy into Brooklyn over 100 years ago.

In studying any family genealogy, you’ll find unusual astrological correspondences.  One of my Italian great-grandfathers, who I first discovered through his Will filed at the Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court in 1932, has his Jupiter closely conjunct my Sun; he led me on a journey into my family’s past.  My great-grandmother’s Sun is closely conjunct my Moon.  These people have resonance for me, although I’ve never met them.  My grandfather’s Venus closely conjoins my Jupiter, showing our musical connection.  His Jupiter in Virgo exactly conjoins my Pluto, which might suggest why his influence on me deepened and played out for  many years after his death.

I share numerous close aspects with all of my parents and grandparents; so many planets are involved.  But I think it’s ultimately the bones of Saturn that continue to draw them to me and keep them all nearby.

(Photo courtesy of NYPL.)

Election 2016 – Progressed Declination II

Like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton’s Moon also progresses Out of Bounds in declination.  The peaks and troughs of her cycle are very telling as well.

Clinton’s most recent peak, from about ages 61 to 64, included her first presidential run and the much of her term as Secretary of State.  These life changing events represent a peak in terms of public exposure and career developments.  In keeping with the nature of the Moon, both her presidential campaign as well as her role as Secretary involved much travel and therefore an unsettled domestic situation.  In addition, while she was focused on public service throughout the Moon’s OOB phase, her goals and position certainly changed during this time.

On the Moon’s previous progression OOB in the north, (at about ages 34 to 37 or 1981 to 1984), Hillary was in the middle of her first term as First Lady of Arkansas and had just given birth to her daughter Chelsea.  Once again, the changeability of the Moon is clear:  her husband lost the Governor’s office for the subsequent term and was re-elected while Hillary’s Moon was still OOB.

The trough in Hillary’s progressed Moon cycle found her in the White House with her National Health Reform program abandoned in 1994 (around age 47).  Her husband was also having an affair with Monica Lewinsky at that time.

As Hillary again runs for President, her progressed Moon is on the downslope (heading south).  This is not as strong a position as Donald Trump – she’s spent much more on advertising than Trump, for example, having to work harder for the publicity that Trump is naturally attracting in his OOB Moon phase.

Election 2016: Progressed Declination

I’ve studied declination quite a bit, and find that it adds an extra dimension to astrology. It can also be used in forecasting, and I particularly like to look at the progressed Moon’s cycle in declination.  This cycle is especially telling when it reaches its peaks and troughs, which are apt to be significant in terms of career, domestic events and public exposure.

See this article for a basic description of the progressed Moon in declination and how it works.

For certain individuals, the Moon may also progress Out of Bounds in declination (OOB or beyond most planets’ usual limits on the ecliptic), at regular intervals.  When the Moon progresses OOB, we can expect an even greater period of change in the home life, career and public exposure.  I’ve come to think of it as a time that maximizes publicity.  In addition, it can also create a turning point in life.  A writer, for example, may secure a reputation with a great review, or a professional might join a prestigious firm when the progressed Moon goes OOB.  This can set the stage for a successful career, and they may be able to coast on that high point for quite a number of years.

Interestingly enough, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have Moons that progress OOB in declination!  Let’s look at the progressed Moon in both of their charts to see how it might influence the Presidential election.

We don’t need astrology to tell us that Donald Trump is getting a tremendous amount of publicity – he’s on the evening news every night.  His Moon progresses OOB in the north from approximately ages 68-70 and he recently turned 70, so he’s just past the maximum in his progressed declination cycle.  Trump is a terrific example of this cycle at work – he’s getting even more than his usual publicity and his career is going in a new direction.  In addition to his presidential hopes, after 15 years with “The Apprentice,” he parted ways with NBC last year (2015).

In looking toward the future, it always pays to look back.  The last time Donald’s progressed Moon reached OOB and maximum north declination was from about ages 41-43 (1987-1989).  At that time he bought the the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City.  At over $1 billion, after a very public take-over battle with Merv Griffin, the Taj claimed to be the largest casino in the world.  It opened in 1990 but went through a bankruptcy soon after.  The NY Times recently called the casino a “protracted failure,” despite making money for Trump.

It was also in 1988, near the peak of his declination cycle, that Donald Trump first explored the idea of running for president.

But since the Moon by its nature is changeable and the cycle itself represents a period of change, it can also be characterized as an unstable period to a certain extent.  Perhaps there was more drama than substance surrounding Trump’s activities at this time.

So what about the Presidential election?  We can say that the progressed Moon in declination represents a high point in Trump’s career and will continue to give him a great amount of publicity through early 2017.  His natal Sun-Moon opposition (not only a full Moon but a total lunar eclipse at his birth)  also ensures drama and some ups and downs in life, especially since they’re in mutable signs.  But as of this writing his exposure is also shining a light on his lack of experience in the world of national and international politics.  Does publicity + career development = the presidency?

I’ll look at Hillary Clinton’s progressed Moon in declination in the next post.

Joan Rivers – Astro Obvious

Celebrity horoscopes are often complicated, hard to analyze and understand. Joan Rivers’ chart is not one of them! It’s refreshing to consider a horoscope that almost interprets itself.

Aries rising: candid, courageous, vital, endless energy.

Uranus in Aries rising: vivacious, outrageous, frenetic, irrepressible, strong personal identity, original, trailblazer, remained relevant for over 50 years.

Sun in Gemini in 3rd house: fast-talker, ideas and communications central to her self-expression, youthful.

Uranus sextile Mercury and Venus in Gemini conjunct IC: ease of expression, attractive, quirky interest in home and family, beauty and fashion.

Uranus square Pluto in the 5th: unusual, intense personality, broke from conventions of her generation; extremes of comedy vs. tragedy in life, associated with daughter.

Moon in Sagittarius in the 9th house: funny, spirited, brash, generous, adventuresome, world-traveler, potty-mouth, top college grad.

Full Moon: dramatic events in life.

Mars conjunct Jupiter in Virgo in 6th house: outspoken critic, edgy, self-deprecating, workaholic, excessive plastic surgery (Jupiter also conjoins Neptune in Virgo in 6).

T-square in mutable signs (Sun-Moon-Mars-Jupiter): constantly active, keeps up with people and the times; extremely motivated.

Saturn in Aquarius in 11th closely trine Sun and sextile Moon (dignified by sign and outlet for T-square’s energies): consistent pursuit of goals, long career, hard-worker, overcomes adversity.

Capricorn on the Midheaven: consistent pursuit of goals, long career, hard-worker.

Moon Out of Bounds in Declination: anomalous female, unusual lifestyle, focus on women’s issues, vacillating/intense connection with daughter; pushes the limits of acceptability.

Mercury exactly conjunct Venus with both Out of Bounds: goes beyond the norm in use of mind, personal relationships; successful author of many books.

At Death:
Transiting Uranus returns to the 1st house and sextiles natal Sun and Saturn; trines the Moon: abrupt flight, did not suffer.

Transiting Pluto through the 10th trine Jupiter-Neptune midpoint in the 6th: change in health status, career celebrated.

Transiting Saturn in Scorpio in the 8th trine natal Pluto: transcending physical plane.

Transiting Mars in Scorpio through the 8th inconjunct 1st house Uranus (trigger): sudden change.

Joan Rivers was born on June 8, 1933 at 2:00 AM a.m. in Brooklyn, New York, rated “A” by Astrodatabank.

Robin Williams, Uranus and Pluto

Robin Williams’ tight Mars-Uranus conjunction exactly trined his ascendant – making his manic, unpredictable energy his most prominent characteristic. Mars was Out of Bounds in declination in his birth chart and nearly exactly parallel Uranus as well, reinforcing the role these two planets played in his life.

Mars and Uranus were also closely parallel intense and complicated Pluto, and so Williams actually had a triple parallel of Mars, Uranus and Pluto – with the Uranus-Pluto parallel the closest aspect in declination in his birth chart. He was very much an expression of these planets’ energies.

When we think of the characteristics of Uranus-Pluto that have been described in many recent astrology articles, they include upheavals, extreme conditions and sometimes radical or revolutionary change. Robin Williams’ career and personal life also reflected these characteristics, ranging from happy marriages, beautiful homes, loving family and an Academy Award, to lawsuits, divorce, box-office flops and substance abuse. While the public often saw the manic side of his personality, he was reported to suffer from deep depression.

The transiting Uranus-Pluto square of course played a role in Robin Williams’ death. Transiting Uranus squared Mars and Uranus in his birth chart earlier this year. And transiting Pluto was beginning a long station exactly opposed to both natal Mars and Uranus at the time of his death. True to these planets, he was unpredictable to the end.

Robin Williams was born on July 21, 1951 at 1:34 PM in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to his birth certificate and Astrodatabank.

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Horoscope

He had a fabulous career, fame, wealth, beautiful kids and a long-time partner. What more could anyone want? Still, Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a drug overdose. Does his horoscope show his enormous talent as well as drug dependence?

Hoffman was born on July 23, 1967 and unfortunately we don’t have his time of birth. We don’t know his Ascendant sign, if he had the Sun in Leo or Cancer or the Moon in Aquarius or Pisces. The Sun conjunct Jupiter could point toward both success and excess, but that aspect is a little wide to be so definitive. The Sun closely square Mars in Scorpio shows his ambition and drive and perhaps unchecked compulsions, since Mars also conjoins the South Node. Mercury in Cancer exactly squares Saturn in Aries, suggesting someone willing to work for success but also the possibility of anxiety and insecurity.

Hoffman’s horoscope does not have many aspects and the “easy” ones predominate over the challenges. But even without a time of birth, I would expect more dynamic patterns from the unusual events in the actor’s life, particularly from the outer planets.

If we consider declination, the horoscope leaps out at us. The Sun parallels Mercury, Jupiter and Pluto, which seems a more appropriate pattern for the kind of intensity and extremes of experience that Hoffman encountered. In addition, Neptune and perhaps the Moon also contraparallel the Sun, Mercury, Jupiter and Pluto. Success, facility, luck, obsession and the desire to transcend reality are all here. The Jupiter-Pluto-Neptune pattern is very tight (less than a degree and a half all around) and accentuates this combination.

It’s also worth noting that like many of his generation, Philip Seymour Hoffman has Uranus conjunct Pluto in his birth chart. With Uranus square Pluto at the time of his death on February 2, 2014, he becomes a symbol of the possibilities of this pattern – both its highs and lows.

The Astrology of a Derailment

Whenever a horoscope in longitude doesn’t reveal the obvious, I turn to declination, our alternate measurement in astrology. Declination can help us better understand the tragic train derailment in the Bronx on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 7:20 AM.

The regular horoscope for the crash has the Moon, Mercury and Saturn in Scorpio conjunct the 12th house (an intense experience), Sun rising in Sagittarius trine Uranus (unexpected events in travel) and Mars opposite Neptune (engineer dozing at the controls?). But it doesn’t really have the most obvious things we expect from an accident of this magnitude. Four were killed and over 60 injured, many critically.

Turn on the declination grid and everything stands out more clearly. The Sun in Sagittarius is parallel Pluto and closely parallel the Ascendant. Then powerful Jupiter in Cancer contraparallels Pluto and tightly contraparallels both the Ascendant and the Sun. This pattern more clearly presents a situation where destruction (Pluto) from excessive speed (Jupiter) is possible. In addition, there’s an exact Mars parallel Uranus as well, the two planets most often associated with accidents and sudden crises.

Venus in Capricorn had been Out of Bounds in declination (beyond the planets’ usual path on the ecliptic) for a number of weeks at the time of the accident. The odd coincidence is that the train’s engineer has this placement in his birth chart as well! Venus OOB generally represents one with an artistic temperament or the tendency to “love not wisely but too well,” as Kt Boehrer put it. Extraordinary relationships are possible. Certainly the engineer is now unfortunately in the midst of unusually challenging relationship issues involving the passengers, his employers and government authorities (transiting Venus OOB in Capricorn). Venus goes Out of Bounds only once every 8 years or so for a few months.

Perhaps the prominence of the benefics Venus and Jupiter in this disaster accounts for the fact that not many lives were lost. At the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, there were fewer passengers to the City than usual at such an early hour.

Declination measures planets north and south of the equator and their aspects in parallel and contraparallel. This may at first appear a bit simplistic, but as we can see, declination can provide information that we may not find in longitude. It truly adds another dimension to astrology.