The Astrology of Austerity


Here is the birth chart of British austerity, as announced by David Cameron in Cheltenham in April 2009. (26/04/09 22:00 Cheltenham, UK) The chart contains several outstanding markers for difficulty. The austerity chart evinces two tee-squares, a Grand Trine and a few other remarkable features.

The first tee-square then:

  • Venus, archetype of the good times is in detriment, precisely conjunct the Aries’ point, conjunct Mars in his sign and square Pluto. This is a Venus under maximal stress, and unable to make any headway against a supercharged Mars who:
  • Is much better able to cope with a Pluto square, because Mars is in a sympathy with Pluto, where Venus is not. Furthermore a planet exalted or otherwise strengthened is better able to endure stressful aspect.
  • Although not a mainstream marker, the transneptunian Kronos is at 3° Cancer, and represents lofty ideals, expertise and intellectual authority. Kronos opposes Pluto, and in general terms economic experts (Kronos in the 8th) argue that austerity doesn’t work. Pluto in the 2nd, the agenda characterised by the more simplistic ‘money in the hand’ narrative of the Conservative government, holds sway.

Why should this be?

  • Pluto is working for Saturn (by rulership). Saturn is in the Midheaven, so therefore it’s all anyone can “see”. Pluto also rules the chart. Note the language that presaged the advent of this new policy: “The age of irresponsibility is giving way to the age of austerity.” David Cameron has perfectly leveraged the style of Saturn (responsibility) in Virgo (accounting) in the zenith.
  • And bear in mind that the current Pluto-Kronos cycle began with the American War of Independence where Britain lost huge revenues over a tax dispute with its American colonies. Since planetary cycles – no matter how antediluvian in nature – retain a common thread, we can suggest a learning process that involves an element of hubris, and the challenging consequences thereof. Any ruling class (British or other) that seeks to impose austerity through taxation, removal of direct or indirect supporting measures, or through simple authoritarian diktat, is going to tweak this planetary cycle.
  • Saturn is also peregrine, or singleton. This has a tendency to overshadow all other considerations. Saturn squares Ixion, a Plutino in the Hadean triumvirate with Orcus and Pluto, forming a matrix of drives and compulsions that give the raw domination material of the human ego. The great challenge for the adept to overcome. Ixion is the basest of the three Hadean styles, but also the most covert. When Saturn squares Ixion there’s an uncomfortable compulsion to impose harsh, authoritarian measures and thereby get one’s own needs met. Those needs are usually quite unsophisticated too.

But wait! There’s a second tee-square:

  • At its apex we have a Moon that is strong by sign but is at the anaretic degree of Taurus. The 30th degree of any sign creates a great sense of urgency, and here the stressing nature of the critical degree is informed by the most material sign of the zodiac. Great pressure in economic matters.
  • Further the Moon is square to Neptune (also Jupiter and Chiron) This narrow stellium has the flavour of what I would call “flawed idealism” and in Aquarius has a humanitarian, universal application. So it represents quite clearly the ideals of social care, of providing support and benefits (Jupiter) for the unfortunate (Neptune) and disabled (Chiron). This is creating a stress for the Moon’s urgent concern (money). The Aquarius stellium is opposed by Orcus who has just moved into the anaretic degree of Leo. So there’s an implacable force at work, opposed to the ideals of social care, and it’s a privileged force too, Orcus is conjunct Regulus, one of the four Royal Stars, whose interests align with kings, rulers and elites.
  • Moon is also conjunct Mercury who is precisely conjunct Algol, the most unfortunate star in the heavens. Here it gives a tendency to strategisation and stealthy enactment of agendas. It gives an amoral cast to Mercury, who is already innately ambiguous.
  • Overall the Tee-Square to Moon/Mercury/Algol is quite potent. It describes a struggle between an elite and the prevailing social policy of our time.
David Cameron: tough times ahead.

David Cameron: tough times ahead.

But the gloss over all of this is a Grand Trine between Sun, Pluto and Orcus.

  • Yikes! Yes, that’s right. Yikes indeed.
  • Bear in mind that the Sun is the public face of any chart, and here we have a Sun applying to the cusp of the 6th in Taurus. And don’t hardworking people deserve to enjoy the rewards of their hard work? Well, don’t they? You’d have to be some kind of leftie lunatic to disagree with that!
  • A Grand Trine is a ‘safe place’ in the chart, a place that one can fall back into when the going gets tough – for better or worse. So here there’s a sense of being in easy control, a single-minded determination to get things done to one’s satisfaction. It’s smooth and very determined.
  • And the Grand Trine lies in the 2nd the 6th, and the 9th Money, philosophy and the working public.

Looking forward, we can say that 2016 is a critical year for austerity. Since Saturn has run away with the chart we look with interest to February 2016 as the first Saturn square for austerity. The first Saturn square is always a time of profound testing, where motives, usefulness and reliability are all under serious scrutiny. Ten days later, the Conservative Party chart experiences the first of three Pluto – Moon oppositions.

This is even more noteworthy because on 12th January, David Cameron weathers the middle pass of Pluto square Sun. A profound challenge to leadership and personal authority. Since his Sun squares Orcus natally, his integrity is also undergoing a withering examination at this time. The Conservative Party chart (18/12/1834, 00:00 Tamworth, UK) undergoes a Uranus square to natal Moon two days beforehand and then Pluto opposes the Tory Mars in April, which when viewed together, constitute one of the most fundamental challenges to Conservative politics, probably for many years. Pluto squares the UK’s lunar axis for the last time in ten days from now. The destiny of this nation is being forged as we speak.

2010, there’s going to be a reckoning…

This summer sees the culmination of a seed process; one that has been under way for a fair time, one that is already visibly manifesting into concrete reality, and which will not be fully complete until 2015; crucially however, this summer will mark a crossing over, a point of no return, and the world will never be the same again once it is done with.

A bold claim? There are bold moves afoot in the heavens and these will be felt on every level of human existence, from the deeply introspective and personal to the global, and those effects are going to influence everyone alive today; it is my view that we, as a global community, have planted a dubious seed, and now it’s harvest.

The chart you  see below is the Grand Cross which reaches a critical stage of cardinality on August 1st 2010 at 13:23 UT. This is the point at which the transneptunian Hades crosses into Cancer, thus switching the configuration into full effect. This has been a long time coming of course; the Saturn – Uranus oppositions that have so characterised recent months began in November 2008 and will complete – critically – 5 days before this event; so that impasse is a done deal: Hades crosses sign, a mistake is revealed, or the full and difficult consequences of that past error are finally appreciated and the Grand Cross starts to kick off. Bear in mind that here we have a Grand Cross containing both Mars and Uranus in opposition; thus there are hasty, impulsive actions, attempts to negotiate out of a confrontational position (Mars in Libra flatters to deceive here and is oppressed by super-strong-armed Saturn in his exaltation and ruling Pluto: this is important, as we shall see.) The quality of cardinality is to attempt to run before you can walk; this pattern has recklessness, impetuosity and lack of proper planning and preparation written all over it.

Okay, let’s slow down, because this is a complicated picture, which I shall try to describe in more detail. We have a grand cross formed from (Jupiter + Uranus + Hebe) squaring (Minerva + Hades + Kronos + Isis) squaring (Saturn + Mars + Lilith + Panacea) squaring Pluto. Trust me when I tell you that it’s not easy to decipher.

And too this is going to work at two levels. If like me (and Noel Tyl, Harrison Ford, Leonardo DiCaprio, Derek Jacobi, Sissy Spacek) you have the four angles of your chart on the four Aries’ Points of the chart then you’re probably in for a hell of ride. You can join that club too if you’re experiencing your Saturn return, Uranus half-return or Pluto square in the next few months, and too, you really ought to take serious notice if you have important planets on or near any of these Cardinal hotspots or indeed within a degree or so of 15° of the fixed signs. If any of these conditions are true, then this Grand Cross is not going to be particularly abstract for you: indeed, it’s going to get very personal. I can explain how it’s likely to affect you if you fall into this category (and I shall in a future article), and actually, you’ll already be feeling the effects, probably quite intensely.

On the other hand, even if you’re not in the target group, due to the inherent weight of energies of these major patterns in the stars and the crucial observation that the Cardinal points by their very nature have global reach, you’re still going to be affected. Rather synchronously too, this event is all about the in group and the out group as we shall see.

Now we already understand that the Cardinal Cross is about impetuosity, about precipitate action, about plans which haven’t been thought through properly, but in this particular configuration, Saturn is the real powerhouse and he is running the show; he is in his exaltation, triplicity and term, while Mars is struggling to stand up and be counted; this suggests to me that negotiation and compromise is the favoured strategy; Saturn lends caution and restraint, diplomacy is the order of the day, but really, the situation demands action; this Cross has a feeling of too little, too late about it.

Let’s break it down. Jupiter, Uranus and Hebe ruled by and opposed by a Mars that is forced into a compromise position says that the subservient group (those not in power) is pushing for action; people want something done – Hebe on the Aries Point puts the working man (and woman) in the spotlight, while Uranus is pushing for a change, it’s volatile. Jupiter wants equity and fairness but Saturn is opposed; the authorities, the law-makers are resistant.

Then we have Minerva, Hades, Kronos and Isis squaring this position. Here then we have a cacophony of contradictory expert opinions about how to fix the problem, strategies are devised, but nobody knows what to do, who to believe? Do we believe the government, our religious leaders, philosophers and legal experts or do we just look out for ourselves? Remember we have a Grand Cross, whichever direction you take, all you’ll achieve is to create an imbalance.

Now there’s Saturn, Mars, Lilith and Panacea; and here we have passive-aggressive diplomatic efforts that are tasked with trying to find compromises and solutions, but with a hidden agenda (Mars in Libra is manipulative, not necessarily dishonest, but it can’t get what it wants by asking for it outright, so it charms, it flatters, it gets you into its way of mind) and with Lilith there are choices being made about who to save and who to sacrifice. And despite the fact that Libra is involved, don’t expect it to be women and children first while the men stalwartly smoke cigars and the string quartet plays on.

And then finally we have Pluto, sitting menacingly in the shadows and pulling the strings, but crucially he is under Saturn’s influence, vying for his customary control but having to take the Capricorn perspective into consideration.

Now, consider the polarities alongside the rulerships. Pluto is in Capricorn ruled by Saturn, so the aggressive diplomacy, deal-brokering and compromise of the government is a cover for the real people who are running the show: big business. The Hadean mistake that opposes this is in Cancer, so the problem relates to property, and with Pluto, property loans, mortgages, credit obtained against the value of real-estate. We’ve seen this dynamic over the last couple of years plain as day in the so called credit (Pluto) crunch (square Saturn), but this Cardinal Cross is the crisis point because the financial experts (Kronos) made a big mistake (Hades) and now the piper has to be paid. Jupiter is retrograde and opposed by Saturn/Lilith, I’d say this means that the ordinary people are the ones that lose out; contracts get broken, confidence collapses and everyone starts to realise just how big (Jupiter) the mistake (Hades) is. I’m no financial expert (hey, I’m a full time astrologer!) but what I see here is that there is an enormous financial hullabaloo due to a property collapse (Cancer/Capricorn), and it’s going to be a deeply unchivalrous fight for survival (Aries/Libra). I see correlations everywhere. Hades conjunct Minerva squaring Lilith suggests strategies that are purposefully designed to save some at the expense of others. It’s an updated class war, a Marxist historian’s perspective writ large, where the ‘ordinary man’ is sacrificed to ensure the survival of a privileged élite.

I also think it’s significant that Pluto is in Capricorn because the Pluto in Virgo generation is switching into the easy power dynamic of the Pluto trine; the reins of power are being handed over by the Pluto in Leo generation so the agenda has changed. Pluto destroys what it values the most, often as a reaction against the preceding generation’s dynamic: Pluto in Cancer destroyed the family: refrigeration freed women from the kitchen so they could go out to work for the first time while the men fought nationalistic wars. I wrote about this in some detail in a previous article if you want to follow that logic further, but crucially the Pluto in Virgo generation are getting a big push in the direction of manifesting their agenda with this configuration. There will ultimately be a levelling: that’s the Plutonic agenda, Virgo wants us all to be equal, not because, like Libra, it values harmony, but because of inverted modesty: it’s the equality of the socialist, the trades unionist, the proletarian.

We live in a world of dwindling resources and increasing appetites. A miniscule minority live like Emperors while a desperate and precarious majority scrabble their way from one day to the next. The danger for the Virgo generation is that in wanting to fix the inequality of its forbears, it uncovers a problem which cannot be solved. There isn’t enough to go round, no matter how you cut it up, analyse it, quantify it. But better, says Pluto in Virgo, that we’re all peasants together, subsisting in a Stalinist dystopia than we have to suffer aristocrats, plutocrats and kings.

Now if you think this is off the mark, then read this BBC column and see how it’s steeped in Virgoese (it’s just two days old, and Obama has Saturn within minutes of the eclipse point of January 15th: the cogs are clicking into place and it’s happening right now. He’s not so much the leader of the free world as it’s accountant.) So yes, there will be a reckoning, but the die-hards of the old-guard are going to go down fighting, they’ll take no prisoners and ask no quarter, but when the dust finally settles, the world will look different. Will it be better?

Not for a while.

The Transneptunian Massacre…

Alfred Witte

Today I wish to examine certain of the so-called Transneptunians, those hypothetical points proposed by Alfred Witte, founder of the Hamburg School during the 1920s and 1930s. The fact that the Transneptunian points are not known to physically exist was as much a problem for astrologers back then as it is for some today; indeed, as a result of the widespread ridicule he received for these theories and his subsequent disfavour with the Nazi regime, Witte committed suicide in 1941.

I am challenged with the view that these points are meaningless often, and I reject the argument that these points are therefore ineffective. The immateriality of the TNPs is a conundrum, but I have never overvalued the concrete especially thus far in life, so I do not tend to struggle with this dilemma. Such material logic contests that cars have greater intrinsic value than love. So, I test the theory instead and try not to become too entangled in the dimensions of the real.

I find that without question, the TNPs are true, powerful and profoundly useful and in order to demonstrate this validity, I am going to look in some depth at the case of Martin Bryant, the perpetrator of the Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania in 1996, where Bryant, acting alone and with apparent premeditation, gunned down 35 bystanders in a bloody rampage at a popular Tasmanian tourist spot, just days before his 29th birthday. There is a great deal of pertinent and useful background information available in this case and if you are interested in some of the finer detail then you should read this article from Australian news source The Age; video recounting the tragedy is available from Youtube.

martin_bryant_nativity2Even without knowing Bryant’s story, we can apprehend a number of intriguing qualities that are suggested by these configurations:

  • Saturn rises, isolation is therefore a theme of this life story, and with Saturn in fall and near aspectually peregrine, the planet will struggle to express its quality.
  • Mars is in profound difficulty, in fall, within the boundary of the 8th, he is also slow, retrograde and occidental. Mars is therefore struggling and this is key, any archetype which has no route into manifestation will become uncomfortable and might threaten to overwhelm the nativity (and in the case of Mars, that would surely result in an act of violence, or a habit of episodic violence).
  • Chiron rises (not shown) and thus forms a grand water trine which includes the chart ruler Neptune in the 9th. Here is a closed circuit of emotional self-sufficiency that will only increase the isolation implicit in Saturn rising. Whereas – for the majority – a grand trine might be a refuge, in this case it would certainly be of borderline benefit, making something of a prison of the life. In the years leading up to the incident Bryant travelled extensively:

In the two years to the end of 1995, Bryant visited Europe six times and the US and South-East Asia three times, as well as New Zealand and Japan. The summary of his domestic travel over the same period would take three pages to list, travelling to Queensland and South Australia but most often to Melbourne, where he loved the zoo. But had the travel filled the void? No, he would tell Professor Mullen: “Mr Bryant stated that the best part of his international trips was the long plane journey. It transpired that the attraction of the long aeroplane journey was that he could speak to the people next to him, who presumably being strapped to their seats had no choice but to at least appear friendly. Mr Bryant became quite animated in describing some of what he regarded as the more successful interactions with fellow travellers.

  • Bryant loved animals (he travelled repeatedly to the Melbourne zoo) but also kept a fair menagerie of pets. The asteroid Diana rises, a degree into the 1st house. Keeping pets was therefore part of his identity and how he related to the world. To others though, this just made him appear strange as he would drive around with dogs, birds – even the occasional small pony – in his car. It exacerbated his isolation from normal society.
  • In the chart the asteroid Sappho falls at the midpoint of Neptune and Ascendant, the Sappho-Neptune trine is exact to less than 50 seconds of arc! He loved to talk (Asc) to fellow passengers (Sappho) while travelling to exotic (Neptune) foreign destinations (in the 9th). This is a typical trine arrangement, enjoyment is subjectively experienced when the factors are combined.
  • One of the most fascinating aspects of Bryant’s life before the Port Arthur massacre was his relationship with Helen Harvey a wealthy heiress who lived alone with her mother. Bryant befriended her after she employed him to be their handyman.

The two misfits forged a bond… The tragic consequences of their relationship, however, began early. As the friendship moved from employer-employee to friends and then constant companions, Helen’s mother, Hilza, was left increasingly alone inside what was fast becoming a filthy hell hole. She had been moved downstairs into the kitchen at some stage, and it was here that the old woman was forced to sleep, upright in a chair, writhing and wriggling in a bid to gain relief from an undiagnosed and untreated broken hip for most of the last two years of her life.

In June 1990, after someone made a report to the health authorities, medics arrived to find both Hilza and Helen in need of urgent hospital treatment with infected leg ulcers and living in squalor in the kitchen, surrounded not only by roaming animals, but unwashed dishes and saucepans and bowls with mould so high it was climbing out of the oven.

Seventy-nine-year-old Hilza Harvey was an abject horror of neglect, sitting untended with her broken hip and withering slowly in the kitchen on her chair.

Martin Bryant

This is where the Transneptunians begin to make their play: Hades is in Bryant’s nativity Cazimi, which means that it finds a pure expression; it becomes an unadulterated facet of identity, and the themes of Hades are to do with all things unpleasant, squalid, unwholesome, there are qualities of slow decay, gradual disintegration and decline, encroaching morbidity and general and pervasive unpleasantness; it is exactly the kind of squalor described which was visited upon Helen Harvey’s mother. Sun – Hades is to be involved with instances of lingering illness and wasting disease. The Cazimi conjunction applies to the 3rd and describes the gradual deterioration of those mental faculties which became apparent as he grew older in childhood. Something was ‘wrong’ with Martin Bryant, but that realisation was slowly revealed.

And then there is the astoundingly close conjunction between Mars, Cupido and Poseidon. We already understand that Mars is deeply awkward in this position and any Martian expression will inevitably be blended with the flavours and influences of Cupido and Poseidon. If we join these ideas together we have a complex impetus:

Mars/Libra/8: an inability to confront, wanting to negotiate anger (but with deteriorating mental faculties: no way out!), sudden outbursts, a need to control outcomes in partnership, ruled by Venus in the 4th, the father a pacifying influence (his father Maurice, committed suicide in 1993: Stella Sampson, his former teacher, would later tell the media: “My personal view is that his dad kept him in check, and when he died he didn’t have that restraining influence any longer.”) Mars rules Saturn rising, that anger held in check contributes, creates his isolation (“The kids were wary of him,” one neighbour would recount. “They understood instinctively that he was someone to stay away from. He was just a little scary.”)

Then Mars is conjunct Cupido: and Cupido has associations with partnership, family history, group involvements, it certainly ramps up the Libran energy in this placement, no doubt inhibiting the natural expression of Mars still further. There is an acute awareness of family conflict here, what happened in childhood that limited the natural expression of Martian energy?

By the time Martin was 16 months old, however, he was not only walking but running, climbing – and escaping – and his mother was starting to find it difficult to cope… He would disappear regularly from their house, his parents finding him in the strangest places, once on top of the chook pen next door or even further afield, playing quietly on a swing way across the other side of the railway line that ran north from Hobart along the Derwent’s western foreshore.

Martin Bryant was not the first toddler to love wandering, to show a spirit for adventure or levels of energy that could try a saint. But his mum’s response was an unusual one: “I started to leave him on the house veranda, with a harness and lead to secure him, with plenty of toys all around him. Some person made a complaint about us tying him up like a dog. But of course as his mother, I knew he was happy and safe.”

Mars is conjunct Poseidon: and this creates a very unusual blend, Poseidon attests to one’s spiritual ideal (but retrograde! A lack of spiritual ideals could result, the code is missing), and with Mars in Libra and the 8th, there is this sense that committing violence toward the other person might be in some way spiritually liberating, but remember the entire group is ruled by Venus, it is held together by the father and when he exits the picture (Venus squares Uranus (suddenly!) and Chiron in Pisces (Suicide, drugs and water, Maurice Bryant drowned himself after taking an overdose!))

And of course Cupido conjuncts Poseidon too: and the result is a philosophy or ideal based on a family history that seeks to avoid conflict, to hold violence in check, to negotiate anger rather than deal with it. Father dies, all bets are off. Can you feel these combinations? Violence held in check by the father, because of a family conditioning, because of being leashed and a lack of a spiritual or moral code.

Taurus finds its way into the life arc uncannily. He became the lifelong companion of Helen Harvey, they bought a house together and named it Taurusville! She died after the car they were both in crashed, her neck broken. He broke two vertebrae in his neck as well. She left him a millionaire, he had become enormously wealthy through the death of the only person who would give him companionship, he became further isolated. The Port Arthur massacre loomed.

The fateful day arrives.

Bryant has provided conflicting and confused accounts of what led him to kill 35 people at the Port Arthur site on 28 April 1996. It appears his desire for attention (he allegedly told a next door neighbour “I’ll do something that will make everyone remember me”), as well as mounting frustration at his social isolation (Saturn) had made him unbearably angry (Mars – ruler of Saturn!).

His first victims, David and Sally Martin, owned the B & B guest house “Seascape”. Bryant later described them as “very mean people” and as “the worse people in my life”. The Martins had bought the B & B that Bryant’s father had wanted to buy and he often complained to his son of the “double dealing” the Martins had done to secure the purchase. Bryant apparently believed the Martins had deliberately bought the property to hurt his family and blamed the Martins for the depression that led to his father’s death (Cupido – Mars, anger through family history, but held in check byt he father). He shot them in that guest house before traveling to the Port Arthur ruins. Bryant entered The Broad Arrow Café on the historical site’s grounds, carrying a large blue duffel bag. Upon sitting down to eat a meal in the front balcony area, he remarked “There’s a lot of wasps (Mars) about today” to no one in particular. Once he finished, Bryant moved towards the back of the café and set a video camera on a vacant table. He took out an AR15 semi-automatic rifle (Mars) and began shooting patrons and staff. Within a matter of seconds, he had killed 20 people and wounded 15. He then fled, shooting at people in the parking lot and from his yellow Volvo sedan as he drove away. Bryant drove three hundred metres down the road, to where a woman and her two children were walking. He stopped and fired two shots killing the woman and the child she was carrying. The older child fled, but Bryant followed her and killed her with a single shot. He then stole a gold-coloured BMW by killing the occupants. A short distance down the road he stopped beside a couple in a white Toyota and, drawing his weapon, ordered the male occupant into the trunk of the BMW. After shutting the trunk he fired two shots into the windshield of the Toyota, killing the female driver. He returned to the guest house, set the stolen car alight (Mars) and took his hostage inside with the Martins’ corpses (Hades). The police soon arrived and tried to negotiate with Martin for many hours before the battery in the phone Bryant was using died, ending communication. Bryant’s only demand was to be transported in an army helicopter to an airport. Sometime during the negotiations, Bryant killed his hostage.

The next morning, 18 hours later, Bryant set fire (Mars) to the guest house and attempted to escape in the confusion. Suffering burns (Mars) to his back and buttocks, he was captured and taken to Royal Hobart Hospital where he was treated and kept under heavy guard.

And all this seems very straightforward until you realise that the Mars/Cupido/Poseidon conjunction applied to partile opposition of the Sun/Hades conjunction by Solar Arc in 1996.

  1. Poseidon opp. Sun, SA-Na (28 January)
  2. Poseidon opposition Hades (15 March 1996)
  3. Port Arthur massacre (28th April 1996)
  4. Mars opposition Sun (5 May 1996)

Within a week of the Solar Arc oppositions completing, Bryant had murdered 35 people in cold blood.

(NB: The influence of Poseidon is especially odd in my view since it is normally associated with enlightening qualities. Is it simply a coincidence then that Fred West, the British serial killer had Poseidon Cazimi? And what does Hades look like? Here is former US Senator Gary Hart: Hades rising in Aries, exactly conj. Asc.)

The elusive astrology of yearning and the Venus Neptune halfsum

Today I would like to discuss a somewhat more subtle insight of the astrology; one which really questions the tendency to try and break down the experience of interpretation in a clearly Virgoan manner; this as much as anything else creates (for myself) a sense that Mercury cannot approach the astrologer’s craft fully, and certainly in isolation it is not enough to think it. The same can be said for Uranus, which, though subject to sudden inspirations is entirely too scientific. The astrology is a glyph; there is no sense treating it as a collection of aspects and placements any more than you can treat a forest as a collection of trees, if you understand one tree it does not tell you much about the forest really, except that one component of it has this specific quality. By standing on a high mountain though, and viewing the forest in its entirety, you can gain a sense of its place in the wider vista of the landscape: this is the profound grasp of the art, and certainly once you have that, you might wish to venture under those shady boughs and run your hands over the bark and breathe in the scent of those dappled glades. Mmmmm….

Today then I want to consider the halfsum of Venus and Neptune, because it is a profoundly important point in the astrology, and one that is rarely discussed. Halfsums (or midpoints if you prefer) are negelected on the whole, and many of them are (in my view) only incidentally intriguing, but there are a few which have especial significance. Foremost among these are the halfsums of Sun and Moon (marriage), Venus and Mars (passion) and Saturn and Uranus (the impulse to awakening compassion via tension, the Chirotic point). Perhaps more than any of these though, I find the Venus and Neptune halfsum to be profoundly insightful.

When we consider that Neptune is the higher vibration of Venus, then the marriage of the two is always going to be significant and potent in some way, whether by transit, progression or just by natal aspect. The midpoint however defines a third point in the astrology that is not one or the other, but the gateway between the two energies, thus it is the spring from which divine love, transcendent love and thus true spiritual love can flow. It is dreamy, romantic in an ideal, rather than a very personal way and too it is tempered by a certain inevitability toward disappointment, at least until the compassion is activated. Of course I know a great deal about this point because in my own astrology my Sun is placed within 4 minutes of the Venus Neptune halfsum and this is where I wish to begin, by examining specific planetary placements at the halfsum of Venus and Neptune, and importantly only those based upon a 360 degree modulus. Uranian astrologers will have it that a 90 degree, or even a 45 degree modulus is significant – and it is, but with each division the effect is weakened, thus I wish to concentrate on the full circle only.

Su=Ve/Ne (within 1 degree at 360 degree modulus)

Su=Ve/Ne (within 1 degree at 360 degree modulus)

Traditionally then the conjunction, or mundane blend of Venus with Neptune creates an inclination to mysticism, a romantic ambience and a distinctly artistic outlook; physiologically too it creates a very sensitive nervous system and the harsher realities of life are for these people often the trigger to various psychosomatic and nervous disorders. The midpoint contains all of these qualities, and if you observe transits by conjunction to the halfsum carefully you will see how these key qualities are moderated by the nature of the applied vibration. Thus:

Sun: Captain William Bligh certainly evinced a self-aware (Sun) love (Venus) of the sea (Neptune) but of course his story ended bitterly and in disappointment after the infamous mutiny on the Bounty. Derek Jacobi is an actor who evinces a rather ideal and dreamy quality despite his propensity for forthright roles and certainly Barbara Cartland is well known for exalting the theme of romantic love in her life and work. As for Guy Pearce, who is something of an astrological doppelgänger of mine having been born within a few hours and a few miles of myself) you only need watch Memento to get a real feeling for how this midpoint is expressed in his work. Sun placed here creates a romantic disposition, a difficulty with reality – which is clearly evident in Bligh’s story and which is also clearly the fuel for much of Cartland’s actual work – as well as a peculiar sense of yearning for a very refined state of divine insight. I can attest to all of that. These feelings will be evinced whenever transiting Sun conjuncts this specific point in the astrology.

Marc Edmund Jones

Marc Edmund Jones

Moon: One example only of this rather personal experiential point, because it creates a serious tendency to fluctuating emotions, in women it creates a tendency to romantic dissatisfaction, and in a man the tendency to marry such a woman. The great Marc Edmund Jones held this particular configuration, and the formulation of the Sabians is nothing short of a homage to the power of spiritualised love for the art of astrology. The specific placement for Jones was Moon in Leo in the 10th (thus a profession which brings him to the attention of the public), although most intriguingly of all Jones’ halfsum falls at the exact midpoint of Moon and Saturn also (Moon at 15, Ve/Ne at 16, and Saturn at 17 of Leo), thus it is an extremely potent point; Saturn at the halfsum (as we shall see) creates considerable shyness in love and a difficulty in expressing these more refined feelings of love, but of course Jones’ Sabian Symbols are a wonderful example of an attempt to systematise (Saturn) his love of spiritualism, and he developed them in tandem with Elsie Wheeler, who was herself a woman with a physical disability (Moon conjunct Saturn) since she was crippled as a child and confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of her natural life; she was also reckoned to be an extremely powerful psychic; all of these themes, of Venus and Neptune falling onto Moon conjunct Saturn are in evidence. In general, Moon’s transits to the Ve/Ne halfsum will evince a sense of fluctuating feelings, the possibility of being misled by others: especially women although it ought to be a significant point in the astrology for those who are comfortable living from the feminine.

Mercury: Only one example here, and fittingly, it is the author Michael Crichton, who certainly has the ability to reach a large audience with his flights of romantic imagination (and anyone who wants to claim that he doesn’t write romance novels is clearly missing one of the fundamental understandings of literature).

Mars: Here then there is ability to act upon the love nature, it expresses amorousness and also a slight tendency to sexual aberration, because it creates a peculiar yearning (Ve/Ne) for sex (Mars). Rock Hudson, Robert Kennedy, Oliver Stone, the director of Roman Holiday William Wyler and the astrologer Liz Greene all share this particular placement.

Jupiter on the halfsum makes a diva...

Jupiter on the halfsum makes a diva...

Jupiter: Here the transcendent love nature is expanded and given an element of healthy goodness, in keeping with all Jovian influences; it might also make you rich, if you can tune into the big energy on offer. Kylie has this exact configuration, as does Michael J. Fox (which might expand the disintegrative force when considered in tandem with Chiron rising is Pisces),  Susan Sarandon, Emmeline Pankhurst (a philosophy of feminine exaltation) and the respected astrological writer Stephen Arroyo.

Saturn: As already considered in the case of Marc Edmund Jones, here the higher love nature is felt to be restricted and cabined; it will still be evident, but here it becomes a burden or a responsibility or it is subjectively felt to be. Kevin Costner and Robin Williams share this placement with Jones.

Uranus: I find no instances of Uranus on the midpoint except in two of my personal clients (both of whom are related as Aunt and Nephew incidentally). My feeling though is that in keeping with Uranian energy and all things Aquarius, it is a position which defies identification. No doubt unusual ideas about divine love, peculiar yearnings and a tendency to sudden upsets in love and a longing for very unique romantic attachments ought all to be in evidence. There may be genius for expressing the joy of divinity in the life also.

Pluto: The composer Erik Satie, Ronald Isley (of the Isley Brothers) Candice Bergen and Omar Sharif all add Plutonic intensity to this very sensitive midpoint and no doubt their love nature is singularly intense and mildly overpowering. Here there is a hint of renunciation (Pluto requires transformation) which will be undoubtedly painful and difficult simply because of the breaking up, breaking apart and the rebirth that is compelled out of Plutonic compulsion. If you find Pluto here by transit then you are likely to find yourself transforming your closest attachments as a result, trying to transcend personal attachments or simply to get shot of them once and for all.

So, what does the midpoint look like?! This has to be intriguing and we can get an idea by finding Ve/Ne=Asc, and I find only two in all of my files: that of Uma Thurman and my wife. And if you want to know what it sounds like, then listen to Janis Joplin, who evinces Ve/Ne=MC, while one person who expresses the midpoint most competently is Katharine Hepburn, with Ve/Ne=Pallas.

Help and insight relating to the Venus Neptune halfsum and many other issues in the astrology can be found here.

Those Elusive Trans-Neptunians…

Uranian astrology is an interesting study. I have always been a big fan of Ebertin’s Cosmobiology ever since I read my grandfather’s copy of “The Combination of Stellar Influences”, which my decidedly odd adolescent brain found to be strangely compelling and to this day I find Ebertin’s delineations to be among the best. Of course Ebertin rejected Witte’s hypothesis of the Transneptunians, but I find them to be startlingly accurate, certainly if isolated for examination using the Cazimi method.

Take Apollon, associated with Hermes Trismegistus and thus the alchemist and the Magician card of the Tarot deck. I find one case of Cazimi Apollon in my files: that of David Copperfield, the… magician.

Or how about Cupido, named of course for that rather delightfully chubby cherub of sniping renown? Is it any suprise at all that the world’s foremost and most prolific author of bad romantic fiction, Barbara Cartland has a Cazimi Cupido?

Then there is Vulcanus, which is associated with a kind of steamy, yet decidedly “mighty force.” It creates an ‘irresistibility’ and a rather compelling quality. Marilyn Monroe had Cazimi Vulcanus in delightfully flighty Gemini on the cusp of the 11th, the house where we require the adulation of the world.

What about Hades, associated with crime and deviancy? This was found Cazimi in the chart of Martin Bryant, who indiscriminately gunned down 35 innocent bystanders with a high-powered rifle in the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania in 1996. He is currently serving 35 life sentences in Hobart’s Risdon prison. Intriguingly, his chart also evidences a partile conjunction of Poseidon with Mars, which may serve to spiritualise violence as a form of natural justice (in Libra).

There are so many cases that I am uneasy about dismissing out of hand the relevance of transneptunians. Even in general interpretation, I often find it useful to identify the placement of Vulcanus particularly by house (It moves too slowly to be very relevant otherwise) to identify in which domain of life the native may demonstrate transcendent and unmatched energy. This too can be insightful, especially where Vulcanus is in peregrine:

  • Venus Williams, Vulcanus peregrine on the Midheaven.
  • Yehudi Menuhin with Vulcanus Peregrine in the 5th house of creativity.
  • William Morris the Victorian designer, with Vulcanus Peregrine in the 4th house of the home!

I do not personally advocate using the transneptunians in everyday astrology, but if you should find a Cazimi or peregrine placement, then you may be well-advised to look more closely.