Peregrination Files: A Zodiacal Sampler

Peregrination of the Sun gives a beautiful insight into the archetypal vibration of the zodiacal spectrum; there is no more perfect attunement to the fundamental quality of any sign that is possible, except perhaps a Cazimi Peregrine Island of a sympathetic planetary typology in its domicile (such as a Cazimi Venus in Libra or Mercury in Gemini).

Therefore, due in part to the fact that I don’t have the time today to write an extensive article, I have decided to post a meditational for the astrologer who wishes to acquire these key zodiacal attunements; simply consider each of the persons listed here and allow yourself to acquire their essential quality, and in that way you’ll gain a real insight into the male and female manifestations of the undiluted essence of each.

Taurean males are hard to find cases for, and moreso for Cancerian females, but with the powerful family and mothering qualities of that sign, it is small wonder indeed. In truth, all of the water signs appear to have very few good examples of solar peregrination. I was fairly struck by just how much Amelia Earhart looks like a lioness!

Libra and Gemini fared the best with plenty of examples of iconic celebrities and Aquarius wasn’t so bad either. Scorpio males were especially hard to find, but it is interesting that both Prince Charles and his mother, the Queen have Peregrine Sun. No surprise in Flo-Jo’s case that Sagittarius rules the thighs and sports in general; no woman has ever run faster!

Again, Pisceans were thin on the ground, but in water, the ego is to some extent dissolved and nowhere more so than in the 12th sign. Annie Lennox, with peregrine Cazimi Sun/Mercury and peregrine Moon too, is possibly the most pure-bred Capricorn that has ever lived!

Tales from the Peregrine Moon: The Isolation of Nick Drake

Nick DrakeThose persons who tell you that the study of astrology requires an exhaustive understanding of every imaginable facet of cosmic knowledge are really telling only half the story. My own approach was once similarly flavoured, but then I noticed a peculiar phenomenon; I just felt the astrology. I began to get a strange sensation of empathic quality from looking at a nativity; often the sensation is faint, sometimes there is no sensation at all, but on occasion I can open up a chart and I am nearly moved to tears at some apprehension of the most delicate anxiety and angst before my brain has even had the remotest possibility of processing the actual astrology; I have come to the point whereby then, I do not read the astrology as a series of factors, like lines of computer code, but in fact I read the astrology as a glyph. Of course, as an afterthought, I can break it down to understand how that sense came about, but it is uncanny that even after reverse-engineering the delineations in this way, the conclusion is just the same. I am equally sensitive to the charts of murderers in this manner, Myra Hindley’s chart filled me with a sense of abysmal blackness so that I could not even look at it for more than a few moments.

I find those cases where the astrology is urgent in this way far more compelling, in fact, I understand how much a client requires help from exactly this phenomenon. It goes without saying then, that I am intrigued in my own astrology by whatever quality therein might offer a clue to the nature of this faculty. Now technically I consider the fact of my peregrine Mercury in mutual reception with Pluto below rising to be a possibility, but even more than this, I consider my Moon, also peregrine at the Eagle Point of Scorpio to be a good candidate.

Peregrine Moon in Scorpio is extremely uncommon in the literature, the actor Will Smith is one of the very rare individuals who has managed to express it at all. This rather cuts to the chase with the theme of peregrination, because actually there is an isolation, and with the Moon that can be very tricky, because you are emotionally cut off; you do not feel part of the world, you feel disconnected, separate and depending on the nature of the Moon sign, that might have some very difficult repercussions. Peregrine Moon in Scorpio is so rare in the charts of celebrities because their emotional security has no connection with anything else, they are thus forced to be emotionally self-sufficient, and in the sign of Scorpio: the most self-reliant and Spartan of all the zodiac, it becomes a life-and-death struggle against a sense of profound abandonment. If the Moon is peregrine in the sign of Cancer or Taurus, there may be clinginess or a tendency to eat for comfort and oscillate between that (and via the polarity) to be emotionally distant and to go off your food at times as well, but at least in these lunar-compatible signs, there is a real possibility of finding a sense of inner security. You may dissociate, but at least you can feel secure in your separateness. The native then with peregrine Moon in Taurus or in Cancer will give lie to the homily “no man is an island” because they are probably capable of being so.

Moon in Scorpio and peregrine then creates profound isolation too, but one that is deeply uncomfortable to the one experiencing it. This is key, because where Moon in the opposite sign of Taurus dissociates because he just feels so good about being “in his own world” because it is so comfortable a place to reside, in the Eagle sign it is akin to the eagle’s domain, lofty, distant and very, very lonely. The key to this position then is that the native can feel very different, very alone and very un-nurtured.

The text-book case is – in my view – that of the musician Nick Drake. His profound sensitivity of expression tells the story of the deeply private compassion of Moon in Scorpio, and his voice is the perfect delineation of the fragile, difficult quality of Neptune squared to Mercury conjunct Venus in the sad, hurting 12th. I looked at Drake’s chart this morning and felt a profound wave of sorrow wash through me, and I do not need to tell you that I listen to Nick Drake’s music all the time and it always has this effect on me. Of course, esoterically, his music is an expression of his astrology, which is itself an emanation of his soul, what Alan Watts so aptly described as an aperture through which the Universe shines.

There is no question though that the peregrine Moon in Scorpio aperture is profoundly difficult. Let us place that into the context of the whole of Drake’s chart:

Nick Drake Nativity

Even the minor aspects that Drake’s moon makes are not the easiest, the quincunxes to Sun/Uranus speak to an ever present dissatisfaction about expressing his feelings, and the quindecile to North Node implies an obsession with finding his destined vocation. The tee-square to “old hard-labour” Saturn – Pluto in Leo tells us that he was born to serve his sentence in this life in the creative sphere. In the second that creates a real need for warmth and prosperity, but Moon in Scorpio overrides everything, creating an intense sense of isolation.

Let us consider a few of the astonishing facets of this over-expressed Scorpio Moon in his life:

  • He lived a frugal existence, his only source of income being a £20 a week retainer he received from Island Records. At one point he was so poor he was unable to afford to buy a new pair of shoes.
  • He would often disappear for days, sometimes turning up unannounced at friends’ houses, uncommunicative and withdrawn. Robert Kirby described a typical visit: “He would arrive and not talk, sit down, listen to music, have a smoke, have a drink, sleep there the night, and two or three days later he wasn’t there, he’d gone. And three months later he’d be back.”
  • Drake ended his studies at Cambridge just nine months before graduation, and in autumn 1969 moved to London to concentrate on a career in music. His father remembered “writing him long letters, pointing out the disadvantages of going away from Cambridge…a degree was a safety net, if you manage to get a degree, at least you have something to fall back on; his reply to that was that a safety net was the one thing he did not want.”
  • By the winter of 1970, he had isolated himself in London. Disappointed by the reaction to Bryter Layter, he turned his thoughts inwards, and withdrew from family and friends. He rarely left his flat, and then only to play an occasional concert or to buy drugs.
  • Upon completion of his third album (Pink Moon), Drake delivered the master tapes to the front desk of Island Records’ office building. He placed them on a receptionist’s desk, and left without speaking to anyone.
  • In the only Drake interview ever published, the “shy and introverted folk singer” spoke of his dislike of live appearances, and very little else. “There wasn’t any connection whatsoever“, the interviewer said. “I don’t think he made eye contact with me once.”
  • In his 2006 autobiography, Drake’s producer recalled being taken aback at Drake’s anger and bitterness: ” I had told him he was a genius, and others had concurred. Why wasn’t he famous and rich. This rage must have festered beneath that inexpressive exterior for years.”
  • Throughout his body of work, Drake writes with detachment, more as an observer than participant, a point of view described by Rolling Stone “as if he were viewing his life from a great, unbridgeable distance.”

This perceived inability to connect has led to much speculation about Drake’s sexuality. Joe Boyd (Drakes’ and Fairport Convention’s producer) has said he detects a virginal quality in his lyrics and music, and notes that he never observed or heard of the singer behaving in a sexual way with anyone, male or female. Shall we point out then Drake’s peregrine (disconnected) Mars (sexuality) in the sign of Virgo (the virgin)?

I really fail to understand just why astrology isn’t taken so much more seriously than it is!

Nick Drake died aged just 26 of an overdose after having failed to connect with his life.

The Lion and the Cobra and the Leo-Scorpio Square

Lion and Cobra

There are often profound insights to be found in scripture. This has nothing to do with religious belief either, it merely states a clear fact, because it states in the bible that you really don’t want to be stepping on the Lion and the Cobra if you can possibly avoid it. (Actually it says that you can tread on the Lion and the Cobra, providing you trust in the Lord thus: “No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.” From Psalm 91). Clearly though the wisdom contained therein suggests that unless you have the Lord’s protection, then the last things you should step upon in all creation are the Lion or the Cobra. They’ll mess you up. The aphorism derived from this is astrologically apt, the Cobra will leave you alone providing you don’t provoke it, and a happy well-fed lion will happily ignore you too, providing you show it proper respect and this is no more or no less than we understand about the nature of Leo and Scorpio.

In my experience Leo speaks to two key principles; leadership and creativity and all Leos and Leo placements will have at their essence one of these Manuscript Headerconcerns (and often both). The reason that Leo speaks to leadership concerns is because of its innate expectation of respect, because like any lion, Leo wants to be admired. Thus Saturn in Leo creates a test of leadership, the pull of the Leonine fire is toward exaltation, like the fixed flame of his genesis, it is a wondrous sight to behold (think “the eternal flame!”) but with Saturn the desire for that divine state is turned into a life-challenge; people will not admire the Leo configured with Saturn even though the native will demand it, this creates (often) arrogance and pomposity – which is merely a state of demanding respect which has not been earned. That is Saturn in Leo. Similarly, Leo is the creative principle; ruled by the Sun, creator of all life, which is exactly why Jupiter in Leo so loves children and Saturn in Leo struggles to love them. Moon in Leo is instinctively commanding, when put under pressure the Moon in Leo native will try to take charge. All of these insights are underpinned though by the fixed nature of the sign. Yes fire is warm, fire draws people to itself, but the fixity of Leo proclaims itself as a fire that cannot be put out, thus it cannot be extinguished, managed, controlled or argued with, Leo is an ‘always on’ type of energy that like the Lion will not stand down.

And then there is the cobra. Here is an entirely different animal. Cold-blooded, deadly, hard to properly see and generally feared, but not feared out of respect for its magnificence like the lion, feared because it will leave you for dead as soon as look at you. The cobra is not mighty in that divine and kingly way that the lion conjures, but just as deadly, just as implacable. Now if you think about the cobra (or the Scorpion: another facsimile for the Scorpio energy) you will understand right away that they are small, almost insignificant, but they can kill an animal many times their own size and what this really underlines is the key power of the sign of Scorpio: survival.

There are sub-plots with Scorpio of course, but they all boil down to the essential foundation of the sign’s nature, which is the survival instinct. The major sub-plot is the idea of penetration; that is a sexual imperative (via the penetration involved in coitus) as well as a mortal one (since penetration of the flesh by sword, sting or venomous fang will destroy the life), but essentially, this penetration is always at its core a survival issue; sexual penetration ensures genetic survival while combative penetration ensures physical survival; thus the essence of Scorpio is always survival. I have written about this in the past in context of Moon in Scorpio, but consider Mars in Scorpio; here is a placement that is ideal for the warrior type. It is not the chivalric, noble warrior code of Mars in Leo for whom honour and glory on the field of battle are possibly held in higher regard even than survival, but it is instead the kill-or-be-killed mentality of the pit-fighter, it is the secret, stealthy mentality of the assassin, it is the merciless and ruthless killer who, without hesitation strikes down his foe and doesn’t look back. There is no consideration of honour, but neither is there any attempt to bathe in the glory of an act of violence, it is merely expeditious; it is a doing what must be done, without a great fuss, in order that life can go on.

This understanding gives a powerful insight into the Leo-Scorpio square. Both signs are in their way implacable, both are fixed, both will not give way and a head-to-head between the lion and the cobra is going to make an uncomfortable contest. The lion cannot give way because he would be dishonoured to do so and his dream of respect and leadership would lie in tatters if he were seen to ignobly baulk at the offer of battle. By the same token, the cobra will not turn his back on the fight because his survival instinct is too strong, turning his back would leave it open to attack and so a stand-off ensues.

There is therefore an inability to compromise in any square between the signs of Leo and Scorpio, both want to go their own way and neither is prepared to back down. The result of any square is tension and ultimately inertia, but with these signs the tension is multiplied and magnified both; neither sign too understands the other, inextinguishable flame and stagnant water have little enough common quality, it is an irresistible force and an immovable object combination that simply creates a peculiar form of paralysis. Actually, as we are beginning to understand it is actually very much a stand-off; neither can feel it is able to win the fight, but neither – for entirely different reasons – feels comfortable with the idea of backing down.

Let us consider a few informative examples.

How about Ted Bundy, the American serial killer, estimated to have murdered between 29 and 100 young women between 1974 and 1978?

Ted Bundy Nativity

Here the square aspect connects a conjunction of Saturn with Pluto in Leo on the 12th with Jupiter in Scorpio riding the Imum Coeli; this is significant especially. Saturn combined with Pluto is known for its brutality; it was known bt Ebertin as “hard labour” and indeed wherever it is found it makes life very, very difficult; it is for this reason that esoteric astrologers consider it to be a deeply karmic aspect, and whether or not you choose to believe that, the reality is, it makes something of a prison sentence of the life. With the ruler of the 8th – Neptune – itself being the ruler of the 12th, then it is little surprise that Bundy’s life ended in prison at the hands of the legal system (Neptune in Libra!). This aside though, consider the ruler of Leo, the Sun and place that brutality in context; the Sun is in the fourth, so the brutality implied by the Saturn Pluto conjunction is enacted through increasingly sadistic sexual tendencies (Jupiter in Scorpio negated) in private (the 4th). The majority of his attacks were carried out in his car or in the homes of his victims, (3rd/4th houses). Jupiter configured with Saturn creates an enormous oscillation; it is a stop-start, hot-cold aspect that generates debilitating tension; Jupiter and Pluto bring leadership and dominance issues to the fore; especially across these signs; here there is tremendous potential for abuse. Consider the near-peregrine island of Mercury and Venus in Scorpio; here is somebody who thinks about sexual or power issues, who possibly confuses love and sex and who is sexually dissatisfied (implied by the Venus quincunx deviant Uranian thinking in Gemini). The mix is difficult and dangerous.

The key however is Jupiter in almost partile square to Pluto; which itself combined with Saturn in the suppressed 12th gives near-fanatic sexual dominance issues that conjunct the IC, are carried on in secret. Anyone born in the years 1946 and 1947 with this particular square (and more generally the Sa/Pl conjunction) will probably display some measure of fanaticism in their outlook; I have seen it time and again in this subset of the Pluto in Leo generation and it nearly always combines power and money issues in some way (and how else explain how that generation ushered in the most debilitating era of pointless and soulless capitalism since the days of European feudalism?) Here is a further example:

Arnold Schwarzenegger Nativity

Consider this identical aspect in the chart of the well-known actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here the fanatic impulse is found in the Sa/Pl conjunct in Leo too, but now in the earthy 2nd, there is therefore a financial connotation, and Arnold is truly wealthy, but the house (and the sign of Leo too) is now dominated by the Sun, partile to the cusp in its domicile; creating an enormous ego and huge personal and physical power. The square to Jupiter in Scorpio creates a leadership issue too, but the Ascendant is trine Jupiter giving an easy outlet for the tension into the body itself. Arnold’s physique becomes a channel for all that power, leadership and dominance; he can quite literally manifest the tension into his muscles. In the 5th as well, Jupiter introduces an element of joy into proceedings, Arnold enjoys flexing his biceps and showing off his great power. But let us not forget too that Arnold has a peregrine Venus, he really wants to be beautiful and admired for his physical perfection (Venus rising) and in the sign of Cancer and with Moon quindecile to Mars in the 12th, he probably feels compelled to do that because his mother didn’t nurture him very well.

But despite all of this, there is a combination of Leo and Scorpio that is respectful to both. It is the Spartan. Here is a warrior that retains honour and respect, but fights for survival. The key to transforming the Leo-Pluto square then is to fight, not like Richard, Coerr de Lion, but to stand your ground, like Leonidas at Thermopylae. That is the archetypal compromise for these two difficult energies. It is not so much a winner and loser scenario, but instead it speaks of finding the very narrow common-ground, the perfect balance between the two, where their energies can be combined in the person of the Scorpion-King (who bears more than a passing resemblance to Conan the Barbarian, the role which first catapulted Arnold Schwarzenegger to the A list. Another example of just how succinctly life imitates art!)

Pluto on the 10th, Thomas Hardy, Tragedian

Thomas HardyThere is, in this astrologer’s humble opinion, no finer novel written in the English language, than Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native. It surpasses in its sublime blend of Neptunian sensitivity, Plutonic tragedy and Uranian brilliance his better known later works, such as Jude the Obscure (or Jude the Obscene as it was known contemporarily for its frank sexual themes: some book dealers would sell copies in a brown paper bag) and it (again in my own opinion only) dwarfs the comparatively staid literary proficiencies of Dickens and the like. Hardy wrote Victorian England’s Iliads, Dickens its Daily Mail editorial, there is simply no reasonable common-ground.

Jude was so badly received for its lascivious undercurrents, its flippant treatment of lax virtue and its brutal commentary on social deprivation (which is shocking still to this day), that Hardy gave up novel writing for good; but he had a peculiar penchant for testing the boundaries of acceptable content in his work, and then seemed to become especially offended at the reaction he provoked when he successfully crossed it! His greatest works were always accompanied by themes of such Hadean darkness and despair that they make poignant and harrowing reading to this day, and the vivacity and power of the Arcadian landscapes he painted with his words are quite haunting in their potency; certainly when compared with the infernal, hellish visions of the slums and tenements of the city that he conjured; here is a writer who I believe was using his gift as a form of advocacy; Thomas Hardy was not only a master storyteller, a keen psychologist and a passionate celebrant of human love who rebelled against the cloying strictures of a repressed societal tradition; he was also our country’s first ecological activist.

Thomas Hardy Nativity

His astrology is a treasure trove of delights, a mine of insights, that when viewed in context with his writing style, gives an excellent insight into the practical application of astrologic craft. Here are my main delineations:

  1. For a writer there is not a great deal of 3rd house emphasis, but the chart ruler – the Sun – is in Mercury ruled Gemini and the 3rd house ruler is Venus in nature-loving Taurus. This explains then his ability to write about natural, earthy themes with such charming eloquence.
  2. Moon, Mercury and Venus are all placed in their domiciles, giving power to the emotions and memory, the intellect and writing ability and the aesthetic sense and the love nature.
  3. Similarly there is a delightful mutual reception between Uranus and Neptune, giving a genius for appreciating the divine.
  4. Look to the Quindecile from Venus to Jupiter, which always concerns the joy of love; here then is an obsession about the joy of love.
  5. Then note that Jupiter in Scorpio in the 5th house is at the focal point of a Yod from the Sun and Midheaven. Thus the products of his creativity (thus his novels) were never truly satisfactory to him in his career aspirations, or in his self-assessment of his true ability. Here is a ‘could do better’ aspect pattern that with Scorpio involved seeks to be more penetrating, more insightful, more piercing. Note just how stressed Jupiter is here in the 5th house of creativity; he needed to express his power (Scorpio) with words (5th).
  6. Then see the Quindeciles from Saturn to Mercury and Mars. Here there is a conjunction of Mars with Mercury, which creates a rather devilish mindset, a quarrelsome tendency that in the 11th rather speaks of a wish to pick a fight with society at large. Then consider the quindecile in that context: Saturn speaks to the mores and formalities of novels (in the 5th), thus he rebels against the conventions of novel-writing and uses his words to pick a fight with the world.
  7. Chiron conjunct Moon in the 12th speaks of some secret sensitivity to situations concerning the women in his own life; it suggests that the tragedy he wrote of so skilfully was more than a professional affectation.
  8. Now consider the Midheaven and the career: ruled by Mars, which conjunct Mercury in its own sign will be somewhat overshadowed by the Mercurial; Mars in Gemini too gives an energy of ideas and a passion for communication, and in the 11th a dream or aspiration of writing.
  9. The closest aspect is always telling; in this case Sun sextile Midheaven at a mere minute from true partile. This blends the self-image of a writer (Sun in Gemini) with the Career path, Sun too rules the chart, so it is doubly powerful.
  10. And finally, consider Pluto, menacingly ensconced firmly in the heart of the 10th. This speaks to the ability to involve tragedy in the career and too it rather underlines some of the highly Plutonic and charged transformations that Hardy himself was required to undergo as a writer. His first wife died suddenly and he stopped writing novels altogether; both Jude and Tess were greeted with public outrage and denigration and the themes of death and inevitability were so fundamentally woven into his works that his style became synonymous with Pluto; Hardy was the master of tragedy.

Black Moon Rising

The execution of Lady Jane Grey

Of Adam’s first wife, Lilith, it is told
(The witch he loved before the gift of Eve,)
That, ere the snake’s, her sweet tongue could deceive,
And her enchanted hair was the first gold.

And still she sits, young while the earth is old,
And, subtly of herself contemplative,
Draws men to watch the bright web she can weave,
Till heart and body and life are in its hold.

The rose and poppy are her flower; for where
Is he not found, O Lilith, whom shed scent
And soft-shed kisses and soft sleep shall snare?
Lo! as that youth’s eyes burned at thine, so went
Thy spell through him, and left his straight neck bent
And round his heart one strangling golden hair.

The Black Moon, as Lilith is called is little used and little known in astrology, and even where she is known she is little understood. This poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, more famed for his collaboration with Holman-Hunt and the pre-Raphaelite movement than his poetry, but undoubtedly a true Renaissance Man, hints at Lilith’s narcotic power. Evidently, according to Rosetti, Lilith has a primal allure, an ability to mesmerise, to enthral and ultimately to enslave. There is more than a hint of self-deception in the dark wiles of Lilith, a beckoning to deluded oblivion. She appears to take away men’s mind’s, their rational, objective selves, and lead them upon a journey to self-destruction and despair. A true black sorceress then, Lilith, we infer, has echoes of narcissism and compulsion in her drowsy refrain, and she might be safely discarded as a colourful – if bewitching – footnote in the astrology, if it were not for the very frightening frequency with which Lilith is found to be significant in the configurations of murderers, psychopaths and those who commit heinous acts quite beyond the ken of humanity at large.

Lilith, painting by John Collier (1892)Take the cases of Lyle and Eric Menendez, brothers who gunned down their parents and proceeded to spend $1 million of their inheritance within weeks of the killings; both brothers, despite having very few similarities in their charts, one with Taurus and the other Virgo rising, have the Black Moon rising within 4 degrees of the Ascendant. Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper who killed 13 prostitutes in the late 1970s; or Jimmy Hoffa; all had Black Moon rising conjunct the Ascendant. Mark Chapman Jones, the man who gunned down John Lennon in the autumn of 1980 also had Lilith rising.

In women’s nativities, it provokes an entirely different sense. Heidi Fleiss, the Hollywood madam, undone by sex-scandals and imprisoned has Lilith rising; as did Christine Keeler, the spy and prostitute who brought down the British government in 1963 after the “Profumo affair” was exposed. Women who switch on, or give way to the bewitching powers of Lilith are certainly playing with fire, whilst those who remain resistant to her call to deviltry are arguably less well-treated; as in the case of the tragic, short life of Jane Grey, Protestant queen of England for 9 days who was beheaded in the Tower of London as a result of political intrigue and power-mongering by those entrusted with her care. Her death, one of the most despicable and horrific acts of regicide ever to have occurred in human history, is by and large a footnote in our history books, but such is Lilith’s power, she obscures, creates confusion and tragedy and bewitches men’s minds with deluded dreams of lust and power. There is not much of good to report on poor Jane’s life, even her mother sought to “harden the child with regular beatings”. Jane said of her childhood: “For when I am in the presence of either Father or Mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand or go, eat, drink, be merry or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing anything else, I must do it as it were in such weight, measure and number, even so perfectly as God made the world; or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea presently sometimes with pinches, nips and bobs and other ways … that I think myself in hell.” At her death, aged just 16, the executioner asked her forgiveness, and she gave it.

This does not mean that Lilith cannot be profitably employed. Consider the master of horror, Vincent Price, with Lilith tightly conjunct his Sagittarius Midheaven and peregrine! Any unaspected energy point in the astrology can be given enormous power, it may run away with the whole chart under certain conditions; perhaps by transit or progression, and the conjunction for price, in an otherwise untenanted 10th, was too good an opportunity to miss. He built a formidable career playing sorcerers warlocks, murderers and monsters of various dimensions and motivations and he demonstrated perhaps the only manner in which it might be considered safe to listen to Lilith’s entreaties: for the improvement of the dramatis personæ.

Tales of Fallen Reception: Sun in Libra, Saturn in Aries

Carole LombardThe astrology of Carole Lombard has a raft of fascinating factors; born in 1908, she was arguably the template for comedy acting; despite her deliriously dreamy good looks she was never much enamoured of the screen-siren mantle that could have been hers for the taking; she was a fast-talking, strong willed dynamo who swore like a trooper and knew her own mind. Her nickname on the studio circuit was “the Profane Angel” and Howard Hawks said of her: “Marvellous girl. Crazy as a bedbug.” She died in 1942 aged only 33, when the aircraft she was travelling home in crashed into the summit of Mount Potosoi, south west of Las Vegas.

No surprise then that her forté was Screwball Comedy, nor that Hawk considered her to be “crazy”, her astrology is as screwball and crazy at it gets. Far from evincing a single pointed focus, her astrology is a dizzying, confusing maze of indications and contraindications. But let us consider a few of the extant themes:

  1. Chiron rises in Aquarius, crazy but sensitive.
  2. Moon also rises, but in dreamy Pisces.
  3. Moon opposes Venus conjunct Jupiter, giving (according to Ebertin) “Film Star mannerisms”, this on Regulus too, and forming the basis for a tee-square to her Midheaven.
  4. A grand trine: across the 1st/5th and 8th/9th houses that includes Pallas! Why am I not surprised!?

And finally, consider the debilitated mutual reception in opposition of Sun in Libra with Saturn in Aries. Both these planets are in fall and thus considered weak, but by mutual reception they are placed in the signs of each-others exaltation, in opposition they are difficult to balance, but how else explain Carole’s enormous determination to succeed in comedy? Saturn in Aries is a strange placement, it ought to in theory be more or less the most debiltated of positions for Saturn, but somehow the stubborn, wilful nature of Aries seems to suit Saturn in a manner that the other fire-signs simply do not. There is no smooth sense of persistence with it, rather, like the Ram the Saturnine Arian will butt against a problem out of sheer bloody-mindedness for a while and then give up, but importantly, it rankles, so he or she will be back eventually and butt away some more, and again, and again. The truth is that Saturn in Aries gives astonishing, if intermittent persistence.

Carole Lombard Nativity

Traditionally the placement gives a high level of entitlement without the necessary humility; Saturn in Aries wants your respect but doesn’t want to serve his apprenticeship to earn it, but when he does eventually learn that he’s not getting your respect he’ll persist.

Sun in Libra is equally indifferent to solar qualities which demand a sense of entitlement too, the Libran is always expending effort on ensuring the other person feels at ease, only to realise that he or she is the only person that feels dissatisfied with things; all the energy has been spent on everyone else!

So then, consider the reversal; Sun in Aries gives a real power to focus exclusively on one’s own needs; subjectively it is a great position for the Sun – even though the downside is that you can appear to be very selfish – but by its very nature Aries doesn’t actually care all that much about what the other person thinks, so where’s the crime? Similarly, Saturn is very comfortable in the sign of Libra, which rules the serious business of justice and gives a weighty consideration and an element of gravitas in the demeanour that usually commands the respect that Saturn in Aries feels is his divine right.

The mutual reception then, especially one where the planets see each other in aspect (thus by quincunx, quindecile or most powerfully, by opposition) gives the potential to realise the very best potentials of the interchange of energies by mutual reception, but only after the lesson of Saturn has been learned. Now Carole Lombard may have been considered ditzy, but she certainly displayed a great quality of persistence and other factors in her chart allowed her to experience great success even before Saturn had transformed. Intriguingly she married Clark Gable at the time of her Saturn return, just as the mutual reception would have been raised a notch or two in her psyche.

Another notable actor with the same debilitated mutual reception is Guy Pearce, who although ostensibly Australian, was actually born in Cambridgeshire, England. The release of his most critically acclaimed movieGuy Pearce The Proposition Memento in 2000 saw Pluto transiting his tenth house whilst Solar Arc Sun applied to conjunction with radix Neptune, the actor’s high-point therefore; although no doubt the sense of confused, continually dissolving real-world conditions that were at the heart of that movie’s plot were reflective of some genuine sense of dissolution in Pearce’s life at that time. As above, so below and life imitates art, as any good astrologer understands. Similarly the movie dealt with the difficult aftermath of a head-injury, Carole Lombard suffered a serious scar to her face during an auto-accident early in her short career, and due to the polarity of Saturn with skin, the opposition to blemishless Libra and Aries of the head, Saturn in Aries very frequently gives scars, skin eruptions and injuries to the face.

Alan Leo said of the Sun opposition to Saturn (and he applied the same sentiment to the conjunction as well) that by it, “the native is frequently confronted with obstacles and delay, and unless in mutual reception, it is very unfortunate for all things signified by the two planets, bringing misfortunes in business, loss of public favour, likelihood of the father’s death, loss of father’s money or separation from or disagreement with him.” (from “How to Judge a Nativity” p249. LN Fowler & Co. 1928).

Sun in Libra, Saturn in Aries

Rarely do the natives with this particular configuration manage to shine in early life, theirs is the task of having to learn to combine the best qualities of Sun and Saturn, Aries and Libra, and usually the work has to be done – as is Saturn’s timeless directive – the hard way.

Rhona Cameron: A Thumbnail Portrait

Rhona Cameron Comedienne

Rhona Cameron is a relatively little known comedienne, certainly beyond Britain’s shores; I must confess that I am not especially familiar with her work, although I have seen a few snippets of her on television from time to time and I must say that I like her style. That’s about as much as I can reliably report about Rhona Cameron as an observer. As an astrologer, I find her to be a very interesting case, with many fascinating facets to her nativity that bear examination, and her astrology is doubly informative since it combines a case of Cazimi Mercury in Libra – by a mere 1 minute and 47 seconds – configured in a grand trine with Pallas rising in Aquarius. Notably her chart evinces a second grand-trine upon inclusion of Vesta and a near-peregrine Mars in its traditional rulership of Scorpio.

Rhona Cameron Nativity

If you listen to a few of the key themes discussed in her autobiography, you get a very clear idea of somebody who feels a need to discuss eighth house issues; unquestionably, the trine from her Cazimi Mercury in the 8th to Pallas rising gives her a great ability to express herself, she is quirky, offbeat and with Pallas rising, no doubt feisty too, but that need to express her comfortable self-awareness of forthright Aquarian difference is moderated by her powerful intellect and Libran impetus to harmony; so she will always mask her confusion and anguish, not for her own sake, but for everyone else’s. Intriguingly, with Sun in LIbra and Moon in Scorpio, there is a distinct lack of power in her luminaries and it is ever a difficult combination (I know, because I share it) not least because at heart she is incisive, self-reliant and deeply passionate, but this must be suppressed under a graceful, near-indifferent persona. Moon in Scorpio is intensely emotional, while Sun in Libra dictates that we must appear anything but.

The Cazimi Mercury is remarkable because it is so very tight, while her Pallas rising gives her truly Palladian looks and a confident almost Martial and competent demeanour, and with both of these trining her North Node there is an easy ability to catch the Zeitgeist, to be in the way of things, to tap along comfortably with the tunes of the moment. Here then is a grand trine that combines dazzling intellect, harmonious selfhood, a pleasing and able self-expression and a real insight into the mood of society at large, that in the air triplicity and with Pallas in wacky Aquarius gives a real comedic competence (Robin Williams too has Pallas in Aquarius). The grand trine is always informative; it represents a pattern of behaviour that flows so easily that we become self-sufficient, in that triplicity and energy structure we no longer require external validation or approval; this is why a grand trine is both a blessing and a curse. It allows us to capitalise on the positive benefits subjectively although from the point of view of personal evolution there is not much incentive to progress in those areas. With Rhona’s grand air trine falling across the first, fourth and eighth houses there is clearly an emphasis on intensely personal experience, on deep and often uncomfortable areas of one’s innermost being, but Rhona finds it so natural and easy to make these issues light, airy and mentally endearing that she may therefore avoid the more serious implications of such a configuration. This dark-side is neatly encapsulated in the partile conjunction of Uranus – Pluto in Virgo riding on the cusp of the 8th; an aspect that speaks to transformative revolution, the science, if you like, of self-realisation. This opposes the Saturn conjunction to Chiron, thus she “farms out” the pain that has wounded her when her father died of Cancer (circa 1979), with this configuration stressing the 2nd and 8th axis I don’t doubt that her father’s death made a serious financial impact on her formative years too and this speaks fundamentally to values, about money, about a Spartan attitude to life but she will probably not fully address the fallout from that scenario until she learns to go past the easygoing, flighty allure of her grand air trine; something that she is probably doing right about now, with Uranus transiting her radix Chiron and Pluto grinding menacingly through the 12th. No need to mention that the death of her father, when Saturn opposed itself and tipped over into her 8th house as she approached 14 years of age, is the key theme of her nativity in my view.

With all the 9th house placements lending a bubbly, fun-loving and deceptively philosophical slant to her outlook on the world, Rhona’s positivity is not an act, and her Mars, peregrine – although configured to Chiron – is significant so close to the Midheaven. She may well switch on to her power, providing she can integrate the painful lesson of her father’s tragic death, and discover a real determined power in her career as a result.

Evidently, Rhona’s career is in something of a hiatus, and with Pluto still 5 years from her Ascendant I don’t expect her to be making much headway until it surfaces in the first and starts to make its way to her Pallas placement sometime thereafter.

One last point of interest; Jupiter in Cancer in the 6th falls on the (Cardinal) Aries Point. This I believe to be the source of her modest fame; it falls in the 6th house of occupation and she has achieved a measure of success as a comedienne, and with the sign of Cancer being so prominent, it is small wonder that one her best known routines, concerns her breasts and her “home-baking” accent. And very funny it is too.