A Pivotal Week for Theresa May and English Football as Jupiter Stations Direct Ahead of Eclipse Season

 British Prime Minister Theresa May.  Image courtesy of Forbes.

British Prime Minister Theresa May.  Image courtesy of Forbes.

Today is the eve of Jupiter’s direct station so the timing of ministerial resignations by Boris Johnson and David Davis is no surprise.  Jupiter’s arrival in Scorpio last October marked the breaking of the Harvey Weinstein story, pretty much to the day.  Jupiter’s moves in Scorpio demand attention.

Theresa May’s moderate Libra Sun cloaks a ruthless, unyielding core.  Her chart features Saturn at 29º Scorpio square Pluto 29º Leo: a severe aspect in the degrees of mastery.  It's exactly what you need to navigate a country through Brexit.  To say she’s tough doesn’t even begin to cover it.  As I write, transiting Venus, her Sun's dispositor, conjuncts her natal Pluto at 29º Leo as if to highlight what she’s really made of.

Incidentally, Margaret Thatcher was a Libran with Saturn at 13º Scorpio rising trine Pluto in Cancer, in contrast to May's square.  David Cameron is a Libran with a Saturn-Pluto opposition.

 Chart by Astro Gold

Chart by Astro Gold

Cameron, May's predecessor, sent her to the Home Office to ‘kill her off’.  She survived as Home Secretary for 6 years before taking his job.  Her Saturn square Pluto is a signature of immense resilience - and revenge. 

Jupiter resuming forward motion intensifies the crisis scenario.  BBC assistant political editor, Norman Smith says, "I just don't think one should underestimate Mrs. May's sheer durability - you look around her cabinet table and there are bodies littered all over the place… and she is still there.  Yes, her position is extraordinarily fragile and vulnerable, but it is far from game over".

Whatever your views on May, her party or Brexit, it would be unwise to underestimate a Prime Minister with an indomitable Saturnian-Plutonian character.  The more dire the situation gets, the more she thrives.  As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “a woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water”.  In this case, with steel bells on.  

Jupiter direct is well placed to send protective Scorpionic vibes to May’s extra-strength natal square, and can galvanise her efforts to secure a so-called ‘soft’ Brexit.  Libra is the sign of the negotiator.  May is aiming to secure a workable compromise.  Jupiter’s course correction could enable her to come up with something that can be stomached.  Scorpio rules the guts.

Stationing direct at 13º Scorpio, disposing Jupiter helpfully and precisely trines May’s natally weak retrograde Mars at 13º Pisces.  A friendly Jupiter hand is a blessing to ensure that May's moves are beneficial for her and her country.  

Later this week, eclipse season officially opens.  Friday's partial solar eclipse carries extra weight for the U.K. as it occurs at 20º Cancer, right next to the U.K.’s Moon at 19º Cancer in the 1801 chart.  Both Moons also oppose transiting Pluto at 19º Capricorn.  The life-changing Scorpio motif persists.  Over the coming month, there’s likely to be a distinct and powerful shift in the country’s mood as the Moon represents the people in a country's chart.  Which brings us to the football.

Will this solar eclipse - a far-reaching cosmic renewal - mark the start of a new chapter in the nation’s footballing history?  England’s semi-final match against Croatia on Wednesday is scheduled close to the eclipse date, as is the World Cup final itself on Sunday.  How fitting it would be for 'football to come home’ under an eclipse right on our Moon, and in Cancer, the zodiac’s home and roots zone! 

 Chart by Astro Gold

Chart by Astro Gold

The Virgo emphasis in England Football Manager Gareth Southgate's chart seems to be key to his growing success.  It's a polite, understated energy at odds with the macho world of football.

As a young player with Crystal Palace Youth Team, Southgate was told to 'man up or get out'.  His manager was exasperated to find the teenager shaking hands with his victorious British army team opponents, thanking them for their decency, and proposing they all meet up for a pint.  Southgate has a Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Libra/Scorpio.  He was also mocked for his perfect diction; Mercury conjunct Pluto in Virgo.  

 Chart by Astro Gold

Chart by Astro Gold

Prior to this tournament, Southgate was known for having his own penalty against Germany saved at UEFA Euro 1996.  No-one expected much of him as England manager.  Now, his sensible approach with our current World Cup team is being lauded because it's working.

Southgate has grown into a clever, caring and effective leader.  Virgo at its best.  He helped Danny Rose to cope with and to speak out about his injury-related depression.  He encouraged Fabian Delph to return home for the birth of his child even though that meant missing England's winning match against Columbia.  After that game, having congratulated his own players, Southgate sought out the Columbian player whose missed penalty set up the English team's victory, and gave him a consoling hug.    

Southgate has Mars at 0º of unpretentious Virgo, conjunct the fixed royal star Regulus.  As one Guardian headline states, Southgate is 'more nice-dad-at-a-wedding-disco than David Beckham'.  His thoughtful,  emotionally intelligent leadership is garnering praise and admiration - and the results that have eluded English football for years.  

The very best of luck to Southgate and his team for 'Waistcoat Wednesday'.  During that game, transiting Venus, newly arrived in Virgo, will conjoin his natal Mars.  While he's focused on the game, Southgate and his waistcoat's swoon factor will escalate.

 England Football Manager Gareth Southgate.  Image courtesy of The New Yorker.

England Football Manager Gareth Southgate.  Image courtesy of The New Yorker.

The England Manager’s leadership is in marked contrast to Donald Trump’s egocentric attention-seeking.  He was elected President of the U.S.A. when Regulus was on his Ascendant at 29º of flashy Leo.  His upcoming visit to the U.K. later this week also coincides with July's first eclipse.    

While this Friday’s eclipse doesn’t impact the Prime Minister's chart directly, July's second, and total lunar, eclipse on 27th July does.  It’s on the Leo–Aquarius axis at 5º and aligns with May's Uranus in Leo–Chiron in Aquarius opposition at 6º. Transiting Mars retrograde at 3º Aquarius square transiting Uranus at 2º Taurus are in the mix too.  It smells like fireworks. Mars' presence maintains the Scorpio theme.  As this one is a lunar eclipse (not a begin again solar one), something is culminating here.  

By the end of this month, Theresa May and English football will be somewhere very different to where they are now as the eclipses switch things up, prompted by Jupiter’s change of direction.  Keep watching as the political and football games unfold over the coming weeks.

Today’s Full Moon in Capricorn: Have You Accepted Saturn’s Invitation To Grow Up?

 Image 9114 courtesy of Pixaby

Image 9114 courtesy of Pixaby

A Full Moon is the culmination of a cycle.  The Moon’s light reflects what you’ve fed and watered since the seed moment.  

Today’s Full Moon at 6° Capricorn is disposed by and conjunct Saturn, the adult of the solar system.  Saturn's job is to make us grow up and to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives.  

Here’s where you’ll be feeling Saturn’s presence in your life based on your sun sign, and your rising sign if you know it.

Aries  Your work, career, public image and reputation
Taurus  Your learning, start up or other horizon-expanding venture
Gemini  Your most trusted connections, wealth and investments
Cancer  Your committed partnerships, significant others and collaborators
Leo  Your daily routines, diet and exercise habits, lifestyle
Virgo  Your romantic and creative life, pleasure and recreation, children
Libra  Your home, family and roots, property, origins
Scorpio  Your local community, social life, friends, siblings
Sagittarius Your income, finances, products, output, sense of self-worth
Capricorn Your priorities, appearance, vitality, approach to life
Aquarius  Your self-care, time out, inner life, privacy
Pisces  Your group endeavours, teams, network, causes

This current lunar cycle began with the New Moon in Capricorn on 17th January 2018.  Today’s lunation illuminates how far you’ve come since then, and how you feel about it.  

If in January you made a plan and followed through on it, satisfaction is one of your rewards.  Overcoming obstacles, coping with delays and accepting limits requires maturity.  Saturn cultivates resilience.  He obliges us to take a long term view.  Instant gratification is for babies.

If you didn’t quite get yourself together, or somehow got diverted from your plan, life might not feel so great right now.  It's ok.  Don’t waste precious energy beating yourself up.  Start from wherever you are and with whatever you have.  Hold yourself to account with kindness.

As Mars, the planet of ‘doing’, is newly retrograde in Aquarius, the other Saturn-ruled sign, moving fast isn’t possible anyway.  Analyse more carefully what your best course of action is.  With Uranus in Taurus, progress is slow and steady, not fast and flashy.  Take your time.

The Capricorn Full Moon reveals where we can all be a bit wiser, demonstrate a little more commitment, and set healthier boundaries.  It’s not meant to be easy.  Just necessary.  If you find yourself in a downward spiral, pause and imagine how a wise old woman might guide you.

Saturn is in Capricorn until December 2020 so there’s still time to engineer and work on your long-game.  Be patient and persist.  Especially when it feels boring, hard or impossible.  Which is nearly all of the time – until you begin to reap what you’ve sown and nurtured.

Clock The Good Stuff: Venus Conjuncts the Leo North Node Before Facing Off Mars

IMG_1683.jpg

Tomorrow, Venus gets cosy with the North Node at 7 Leo.  

She'll be inviting you to notice what makes you feel good.  Whatever Venus suggests will bring you fulfilment (North Node).  Take note, and engage (Venus) in that direction.

The Leo feel-good factor will be both muted and underlined as Venus and the Node are quincunx serious, dutiful Saturn at 6 Capricorn.  It's awkward - but essential - to follow your heart (Leo).

Venus' uplifting vibe is also challenged by opposing Mars in Aquarius.  In a fixed Air sign, fiery Mars operates with cooler detachment.  And he's still charged by free spirit Uranus' square from Taurus.

The Venus-Mars opposition is exact in two days.  It's a pretty rare astronomical phenomenon.  These two last stood face to face in May 2016 and won't do so again until November 2020.  

Thursday's transit's origins are in the Venus-Mars conjunction of 5th October 2017 at 18 Virgo.  Whatever started then got tested at the opening square of that cycle on 25th February with Venus-Mars at 17 Pisces/ Sagittarius. 

Things comes to a head on 21st June when the transiting opposition perfects.  The tension climaxes.  

How do you balance a desire for harmony (Venus) and some respectability (quincunx Saturn) with what really turns you on (Mars), and threatens to turn your life upside-down (square Uranus)?  That's the conflict. 

How honest are you about your own - and others' - need for romance and attention (Leo)?  What do you do to make space for freer, social bonds - and time out from everyone (Aquarius)?  That's also part of the picture.

Given the rarity of this Venus-Mars match, everyone is likely to experience it in some way.  Your astrological chart will speak to which side of the Venus-Mars and Leo-Aquarius axes you align with more comfortably.  

It's a fine balancing act when planets meet head-to-head.  Will you handle this situation as drama or negotiate a way through?  You do have a choice as to how you respond.        

This opposition comes with extra spice as Venus and Mars confront each other at 9 degrees: the same degree at which Mars turns retrograde next Tuesday, until 27th August.  Time to reevaluate your actions.  

If you end up in a battle (or embrace - it's Venus and Mars, after all) at least you'll have a good few months to work it all out.  Venus also retraces her steps between 5th October and 17th November.  Revisit your values.

If you're already clear about where you stand on these matters then this transit is more likely to manifest as the result of how you've balanced differing requirements, and the retrograde phases are more a period of consolidation.  

Since Neptune turned retrograde in Pisces yesterday (for around 5 months), you might not care either way about any of this.  Still, now you've got a heads up, you can't say you weren't warned.

 Chart by Astro Gold

Chart by Astro Gold

Uranus Triggers a New Chapter for Kamila Shamsie, Winner of The Women's Prize for Fiction 2018 for 'Home Fire'

 Kamila Shamsie.  Image courtesy of the BBC.

Kamila Shamsie.  Image courtesy of the BBC.

Big congratulations to Kamila Shamsie on winning this year's Women's Prize for Fiction, announced just a few hours ago.  

This British-Pakistani Leo author has transiting Uranus conjunct natal Mars at 0 Taurus and square her natal Mercury at 2 Leo: her writing is literally 'on fire'.  Indeed, her prize-winning book is titled 'Home Fire'.  Transiting 'hot' Mars is conjunct her natal Jupiter at 5 Aquarius, a cool Air sign.  

She's got a fixed T-square.  A Mercury-Jupiter opposition with Mars at the apex.  This suggests Kamila's voice is expressive, bold (Mercury in Leo) and inspired - yet challenged - by her ideals (Jupiter in Aquarius).  Mars in Taurus steadies the tension between the heartfelt emotion of her pen (Mercury in Leo) and a more detached, analytical and philosophical side (Jupiter in Aquarius). 

 Chart by Astro Gold

Chart by Astro Gold

In the BBC report announcing the prize winner, Sarah Sands, chair of judges, said the panel had chosen "the book which we felt spoke for our times (transiting Uranus square Mercury)".  She said: "Home Fire is about identity (Leo), conflicting loyalties (Leo-Aquarius opposition), love (Leo) and politics (Aquarius). And it sustains mastery of its themes and its form (transiting Uranus also sextiles masterful Saturn at 1 Cancer)". 

Uranus' entry into Taurus, and the square to it from transiting Mars, are shaking up Kamila's writing as they impact the early fixed degrees of her T-square.  Transiting Pluto at 20 Capricorn also squares Kamila's natal Chiron at 20 Aries.  She has no choice but to be more daring and assertive, especially as Chiron's dispositor, natal Mars, is getting made over by 'do something completely different' Uranus.    

Wishing Kamila continuing success in the coming months and years as her creative output is set to evolve in trailblazing directions.

Howard Schulz Moves On After Three Jupiter Cycles of Caffeine-fuelled Growth at Starbucks

 Image by Free-Photos/ 9114 courtesy of Pixaby

Image by Free-Photos/ 9114 courtesy of Pixaby

Starbucks has grown immensely during Howard Schulz’s time with them.  From 11 to over 28,000 stores and a share price that has escalated by 21,000%.  Jupiter is more.  His big feet are all over this success story.  In his own chart, Howard Schulz has Venus (money) conjunct Jupiter (opportunity) in Gemini (trade).  He’s a natural businessman.

Now, after 36 years - or three full Jupiter cycles of 12 years each - Mr. Schulz is done with coffee.

Jupiter is also the big picture, a global perspective.  Last January, Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz pledged to hire 10,000 refugees globally.  Still, when Uranus entered Taurus last month on 15th May it met Howard Schulz in his solar chart 11th house (calculated by placing his Cancer Sun in the 1st house).  His hopes for society,  and any political aspirations he harbours, have been shaken not merely stirred.  

Based on an estimated noon birth time, transiting Uranus is opposing his Moon at 1 Scorpio, the ruler of his Cancer Sun, which in turn conjoins Mars in Cancer.  If this is accurate, is it any wonder Mr. Schulz wants to spend the Summer with his family (Cancer, the Moon) and to write?  Symbolically, the Moon is the recorder and container of our memories: and vital to a Moon-ruled Cancerian. 

Uranus demands nothing less than breaking through the boundaries that hold the current iteration of your life.  Even if you’re a wildly successful CEO.  Until Uranus slips back into Aries late Autumn, Howard Schulz has breathing space to figure out what moving well beyond (Uranus) his comfort zone (Moon) constitutes for him. 

 Chart by Astro Gold

Chart by Astro Gold

Uranus at 19 Cancer natally completes Howard Schulz's Cancer stellium, with the Sun and Mars at 26 and 23 Cancer respectively.  The 'live' Mars in Aquarius-Uranus in Taurus transiting square is therefore something he is likely to experience quite acutely.  It's a tense rearrangement of a sharp natal connection.  It also creates a Fixed T-square with his Moon (if indeed it is at 1 Scoprio).  The pressure (square) is not just to refresh his vision of progress (as Uranus changes sign) but to do something about it (squared by Mars).  What that is is not yet clear.   

Howard Schulz's last day on the Starbucks board is 26 June 2018: the day that Mars stations retrograde and begins to tighten the screws of the challenging Mars-Uranus square.  This timing just underlines how plugged in he is to current events.  Trump was elected on Mars' ingress into Aquarius.  Schulz is clearly not a fan of the President.  Will there be a change of plan about Schulz's departure from Starbucks?  Retrograde stations often signify reversed decisions.  

Or, it could just mark the start of Howard Schulz's reflections on what he wants to do next, until Mars resumes direct motion on 27th August 2018 (although Mars doesn't exit his retrograde shadow until 9th October 2018.  It would be best to hold of any decisive action until then).  Natally, Mr. Schulz's Mars is weak in its sign of fall (Cancer) and combust (very close to) the Sun.  Mars probably isn't his favourite planet.  

Schulz’s Venus is much more accommodating, and blessed by its conjunction to lucky Jupiter.  On the day of the announcement of his departure from Starbucks, transiting Venus was conjunct his natal Uranus.  A pleasant moment of respite for him in an otherwise tough Mars-Uranus time.  

Observe Howard Schulz over the coming months to see what he might get up to over the next 8 years while Uranus travels through Taurus.  The movie trailer phase of Uranus in Taurus runs from 15th May to 5th November 2018.  In his own words, "I want to be of service to our country, but that doesn't mean I need to run for public office to accomplish that."  This statement clearly reflects the kind of desire that Uranus in the 11th house stimulates.

Uranus-driven behaviour (at least the unconscious version) is rarely what we expect.  We’re in for a surprise – or a shock.  Uranus can oblige either way.  

The Revolution Was Televised - Uranus and Pluto in Royal British Style

 Harry and Meghan Kiss image by US Weekly

Harry and Meghan Kiss image by US Weekly

Harry and Meghan are hitched.  In the midst of a crumbling, uncertain world, romance stole the day, and the headlines yesterday.  Many congratulations to the happy couple, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

The royal wedding was a masterclass in how to deal with challenging transits.  A tough planetary line-up at the official noon start of the wedding applied very acute pressure to the Queen’s chart, and thereby the monarchy as a whole.

Transiting Pluto was firmly planted on the Queen’s Capricorn Ascendant.  Inexorable, profound change was staring her, and the institution she has devoted her life to, hard in the face.  Sensitivity to this demand was heightened as the transiting Moon in Cancer, had just past an opposition to transiting Pluto.

The humdinger was transiting Uranus.  It was partile by conjunction - or smack bang on top of - her 0° Taurus Sun within the prior hour.  A booming siren call to wake up to a whole new way of being. 

Uranus’ push to break with the past to make way for something totally different was made very clear to the Queen and the immediate line of succession.  Prince Charles’ Moon is also at 0° Taurus.  Prince William has Jupiter at 0° Scorpio, by opposition.  Even Harry, much further down the line of succession, has Pluto at 0° Scorpio. 

 Bi-wheel courtesy of Solar Fire

Bi-wheel courtesy of Solar Fire

The Queen and her family rose to the planetary challenge. 

Harry and Meghan's nuptials were a radically different kind of British royal wedding, just as Uranus ordained.  The royal family could have ignored, resisted or fought the need to change.  More often then not, we struggle to accept outer planet demands.  The solar system's 'big guns', Uranus, Neptune and Pluto always insist on breaking down the essential structure of our life.  It's an inevitable part of the process of creating a new future.  Outer planet transits are typically a scary, unsettling time lasting several months.     

The royal family have not only accepted but publicly embraced Harry and Meghan's marriage.

The gospel Kingdom Choir was requested to attend by the monarch in waiting, Prince Charles. Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason enchanted guests and the wider audience with his beautiful music.  Both performances ensured #BlackRoyalWedding and #BlackExcellence trended on Twitter. 

Still, it was the fifteen minute sermon on the power of love, referencing slavery and Martin Luther King, by Episcopalian preacher, the Most Reverand Michael Curry, that really woke the audience up.  He was invited to speak at the wedding by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverand and Right Honourable Justin Welby.  Uranus' arrival in Taurus ignited the Archbishop's chart by squaring his natal Uranus 0° Leo.  No wonder he initiated the invitation, and subsequently described the sermon as 'raw (Taurus) god (Leo)'.  Prince Charles walking Megan down the aisle and offering a helping hand to her mother Doria Ragland for the signing of the registry were also notable moments of understated revolution. 

This all started with Harry’s choice of bride: a bi-racial, American, feminist, celebrity, divorcee who is older than him.  

Meghan was born with Uranus stationary direct and co-ruling her 8th house, in both Placidus and Equal House systems.  She is a super-strength, concentrated dose of revolutionary energy (Uranus SD).  Her livewire spirit is most strongly expressed through her most intimate bonds: her marriage, and her charitable joint ventures (8th house).  Meghan has already made it known that she is keen to help the royal family to evolve, and to 'do good' with Harry, especially in the commonwealth countries.

Uranian Meghan’s official arrival in the royal family - timed within the same week Uranus changed sign -  heralds a new chapter for a very resilient British institution.  The wedding time positions of Uranus and Pluto in the Queen’s chart show that the monarchy has to innovate (Uraunus) or face extinction (Pluto).  The royal family have understood this.  As one royal commentator noted, the role of monarchy is to bridge the past with the present.  

Meghan’s marriage to Harry envisions a world in which people connect – and fall in love – beyond racial, social, cultural and geographical boundaries.  The monarchy has to evolve to represent a new world order, as Pluto transitions from Capricorn (hierarchy) to Aquarius (community) in the coming years if it is to remain viable and relevant.

The royal wedding illustrates that ‘bad’ transits do not inevitably spell doom.  Outer planets are very hard to handle on an individual level because they trace huge impersonal, generational cycles.  They typically feel scary and overwhelming, as if your options are extremely limited.  Understanding what the planets want from you and responding accordingly is the best you can do.  Yesterday’s celebrations - all of which will have been approved by the Queen - demonstrated that beautifully.  

A new vision (Uranus) of the royal family was televised to almost two billion live viewers around the world.  It was a very pleasant affair because Taurus energy is calm, serene and sensual.  But make no mistake, it was the start of a revolution.  That is what Uranus at 0° of a new sign means.  Much more will unfold in unexpected directions during the next 8 years of Uranus' time in Taurus.  The British monarchy will be one of its main beneficiaries, and it won't be to every one's taste.  Uranus has an avant-garde flavour; it brings you the future before you're ready for it.  Life moves on.

Long live the queen.  

Boring is the New Black - Uranus in Taurus 15th May 2018, until 2026

 Image by Comfreak/ 400 courtesy of Pixaby

Image by Comfreak/ 400 courtesy of Pixaby

This week is the ‘big one’ in the astrological diary for 2018.

Yesterday Mercury entered chilled Taurus and on Saturday Venus enters homely Cancer.  The week is top and tailed by two low key moves.  The main event is anything but. 

Tomorrow, Uranus bursts into Taurus at 16.24 London time for the first time in 84 years.  A New Moon in Taurus a few hours prior heralds this major shift.  

Uranus’ job is to shake things up.  Taurus embodies stillness and steadiness.  The planet of innovation is moving into a sign where things stay put.  It’s like a bolt of lightning through a tree.  Or an exploding rock.  

While he’s spent the last 7 years in Aries, Uranus has symbolised a vision of progress shaped by excitement, adventure and instant impact.  The elevated status of running your own start up and selfie mania are just two examples.  Aries is about beating the odds and ensuring all eyes are on you. 

For the next 8 years, Uranus is planting his feet on steadier Taurean terrain.  Dependability will count for much more than dynamism.

Boring is the new black. 

This shift in emphasis may not be evident overnight: Earth signs can take a while to get going, and Taurus is the slowest of them all.  Championing the willingness to ‘go for it’ will gradually be replaced by a sense that a sensible, measured approach backed by solid numbers is the way forward.

Or will it?  Uranus is the most unpredictable of all the planets. 

Exactly how our relationship to wealth and self-worth – Taurus governs both through money and values planet Venus – will change is unclear.  Still, all things Taurean will be turned upside down one way or another over the next 8 years.

The banking system, the main custodian of our wealth, is already grappling with open banking and challengers.  Fintech players and investors who can break the rules to reimagine a system (Uranus) which delivers enduring stability and reliability in a practical, fuss-free way (Taurus) will be handsomely rewarded when Uranus reaches the end of Taurus in 2026. 

Meanwhile, Pluto, the planet of root and branch restructuring, continues to pace through Capricorn until 2024.  The banking crisis began when Pluto entered Capricorn in January 2008.  Now with Uranus in the sign of banking, the banks will have to demonstrate real accountability.  The time for radical change in our financial institutions is finally here.

As the first of three Earth signs (Virgo and Capricorn follow), Taurus lays the foundation of the tangible realm.  Our physical bodies, our senses and our environment.  

Is the growing momentum behind veganism a sign that we're embarking on a healthier relationship with our food, how it is produced and what it really costs us as a society?  Uranus in Taurus favours prudent, creative use of limited, precious resources.  Then again, how realistic (Taurus) is it that most people can give up meat and dairy products?

The shock of Uranus changing sign ratchets up on Wednesday when action planet Mars squares Uranus upon entering Aquarius.  The tension of this aspect is heightened by the fixed signs: “this is how it is (Aquarius) and I’m not budging one inch (Taurus)”.  It’s a clash between ideals of progress (Aquarius, Fixed Air) and unchanging reality (Taurus, Fixed Earth).  

The pent-up frustration of this square is already expressing itself in the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip following President Trump's decision to open a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.

More global news stories will reflect the rearranged sky.  The royal family are likely to hit the headlines for reasons besides the imminent royal wedding.  The Queen's Sun is at 0 degree Taurus, the very spot Uranus will soon be occupying.  Several members of her family also have charts sensitive to 0 degree Taurus.    

Uranus meets the Queen’s Sun exactly, at precisely 44 minutes before the start of Harry and Meghan’s wedding at noon on Saturday.  Anytime between Uranus changing sign on Tuesday and 11.16am London time on Saturday, the Queen and the royal family will experience a momentous change.  

Here’s a guide to where you will experience a blast of Uranian fresh air over the next 8 years based on your sun sign chart.  The area of life governed by your Ascendant or rising sign, if you know it, also counts.

Aries             Your financial situation and self-worth
Taurus           Your whole life and identity
Gemini          Your place of retreat and spiritual life
Cancer          Your social circle and group associations
Leo                Your professional life and public reputation
Virgo             Your adventures and belief system
Libra              Your intimate relationships and joint investments
Scorpio          Your significant others and opponents
Sagittarius     Your daily routines and wellbeing  
Capricorn      Your romantic life and recreational activities
Aquarius        Your family and property
Pisces            Your siblings and neighbours

Rest in Peace Sunshine George and Everyone Else on The Other Side

 Image by susanlu4esm / 431 courtesy of Pixaby

Image by susanlu4esm / 431 courtesy of Pixaby

It’s a gorgeous sunny day in London so I don’t want to spoil the mood but I’ve learned of three deaths today.    

A young man was shot and killed in my neighbourhood last night and a distant uncle whom I rarely saw, but whose brother and wife I know well, passed on Friday after 15 years of serious health problems.  The third person was the very lovely George who died just short of his 75th birthday on Monday morning.  

George and I met one Summer day a few years ago when he crossed my path totally randomly as I was leaving my then office near tourist hotspot Piccadilly Circus.  George was visiting London with his son-in-law Marc and they’d somehow got separated.  He was totally lost.  George had no phone on him and couldn’t remember where he was staying.

As I was trying to figure out what to do, I learned about George’s life story.  He was a very chatty, genuine and warm man so I felt like I’d known him for years even though we’d only just met. 

As a younger man, he worked in a fancy bank in New York.  George was a true banker, quite unlike the persona we’ve got used to hearing about since our financial institutions began crumbling.  When customers died, George was the only one trusted to physically return people’s valuables back to their families.  He knew how to sensitively and properly handle people when difficulties arose (as they nearly always do) in inheritance matters. 

George mentioned meeting Jackie Kennedy when she came in with items to deposit.  He was sweetly star struck rather than showing off.  It was evident he treated all his customers with care and respect, whoever they were.  He was a very down-to-earth kind of guy. 

Is this the kind of banking we’ll begin to return to once Uranus enters earth sign Taurus in just over a week on 15th May?  Game-changing Uranus’ imminent arrival in the sign of tangible wealth promises to shake up our relationship to money and possessions over the next seven years.  I can’t imagine a better role model than George for any bankers looking to restore their reputation.

Master storyteller George loved his job.  Still, the story he most wanted to tell me was the one about his beloved Mary.  He spoke very proudly of his wife, a feisty, splendid, red-haired Irish woman.  Since she had recently died, George said he didn’t know what to do with himself.  I got the clear impression that Mary wore the trousers and he really missed the direction she gave him.  It was very moving to witness how much he loved her and so sad that they were no longer together.  After London, George and Marc were due to visit one of Mary’s relatives in Scotland. 

To cut a long story short, I called George’s daughter back home in New York to find out where he was staying and then took him to his hotel.  Marc was very relieved to be reunited with his father-in law (and he was spared having to tell his wife that he’d lost her father). 

That evening, we all went out for a lovely Italian meal.  The next day we went on a boat trip on the Thames to Greenwich.  The weather was just like it is today and we had a lovely time.  London in the sunshine is fabulous! 

Just earlier today I was thinking about visiting Greenwich by boat again.  Only a few hours later I heard the sad news of George’s passing. 

George shone brightly like the sun, even when he was sad and lost.  He was delightful, hilarious company and a true gem of a gentleman.  I hope he’s together again with the magnificent Mary, and being bossed about by her, just as he wanted.

Rest in peace dear George, Uncle Kishore, the young man whose life was tragically cut short - and everyone else who is no longer here to enjoy the glorious sunshine.

Saturn and Pluto Change Direction with a Dog’s Tale and Death Cafés

 Image by jplenio/ 287/ courtesy of Pixaby

Image by jplenio/ 287/ courtesy of Pixaby

Maisy the dog’s cancer diagnosis turns out to be four toy teddies she’d consumed, after stealing them from the Chihuahuas she shares a home with.  It's a funny story with a happy ending after a life-threatening, naughty start.  Also, death is something that happens to other people’s dogs.  And to other people.

Earlier today, I went to a three-hour talk: ‘Planning a Funeral (everything you wanted to know about a funeral but were afraid to ask)’ by an independent funeral director from Compassionate Funerals.  I like to do fun things on a sunny Saturday afternoon. 

The talk started with a demonstration of how a dead body is wrapped in preparation for death, with the help of a (still alive) assistant, a bamboo couch and some white sheets.  As a caring organisation, Compassionate Funerals prefer not to embalm bodies because it’s invasive.  Embalming requires making an incision in the neck, armpit or groin to extract a vein through which the blood which remains in the body after the heart has stopped is drained out and replaced with preservative formaldehyde.

The speaker explained how the embalming process continues and lots more besides on the specifics of what can happen when you die, how and when coroners get involved, death rates in the UK (they’re rising for the post-war generation; the numbers were much lower for those prematurely taken in WW2), the UK funeral landscape, and so much more.  I cannot choose which other bits to highlight as it was all so incredibly informative and fascinating. 

I’m surprised to say I now feel quite excited about planning my own funeral (we’ll be going through this at the next meeting) now that I’ve heard some examples of how others have made plans well ahead of time.

At this meeting, I also discovered the existence of Death Cafés.  In their own words, it’s a place where ‘people drink tea, eat cake and discuss death.  Our aim is to increase awareness of death and to help people make the most of their (finite) lives.  A Death Café is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session’.

Now that the two main astrological significators for death are retrograde, Saturn (since Wednesday and until 6th September 2018) and Pluto (currently stationed to turn retrograde tomorrow until 1st October 2018), a Death Café would be a good place to have a cup of tea at some point in the coming months.  It’s a time to reflect on being mortal.

As one lady in the group put it ‘if only we could choose when and how we go!’.  While that's tricky, we can organise practically and financially for what happens when our time is up.  Both Saturn and Pluto are in Capricorn, a sign that appreciates a long-term plan with a delineated path to the desired goal.  For starters, make sure you have a will.  If you already have one in place, make sure it includes a detailed funeral plan and circulate the plan to the people you trust most.

This is not just about preparing for the end.  What about right now?  When you arrive at death’s door, everything is stripped away and only the raw truth remains.  The funeral director and his colleagues regularly witness this with the deceased and the loved ones they care for. 

How real (Capricorn) can you get about who you are, and how you live now - with help from Saturn and Pluto’s wise, firm hands - instead of waiting until the end?  The clock is ticking.   

Today's Air Strikes in Syria

There is still hope in this sad situation

 Image by quimono/434 courtesy of Pixaby

Image by quimono/434 courtesy of Pixaby

I woke up to news of today’s airstrikes in Syria by the US and its allies.  My heart sank.  Then I remembered that today Jupiter in Scorpio sextiles Pluto in Capricorn.  Did Trump see an astrologer before he choose today to exercise what he called ‘righteous (Jupiter) power (Pluto)’?

This post is not about the complexity of the Syrian situation, the merits of the decision to send missiles, or what the true motives behind firing them might be.  I just want to flag that while the consequences of today’s strike are yet to unfold, their timing means things are not as bad as they seem.

Jupiter sextile pluto: danger with benefits  

Today is not a day for any old gamble (Jupiter), but one that takes it to the wire (Pluto).  It’s a very good idea (sextile) to go that little bit further than you normally would (Scorpio sextile Capricorn).  Jupiter, the good guy, is in Scorpio: good fortune is in the darkness.  With Scorpio’s co-ruler Pluto as his partner in in Capricorn, a primitive urge overrides respect for society's institutions.  The feeling that one's survival is at stake fuels the 'give it a go' move that results from Jupiter and Pluto's connection. 

If ever there is a time for a British Prime Minister to act without Parliamentary approval -  a hot topic in itself - it’s today.  As a Libran, Theresa May’s whole life is about the struggle to make the ‘right’ decision.  'Prime ministers don't choose the decisions that face them. But they have to judge which way to jump', says BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg.  What others make of May's decision is another matter entirely.  

In a year in which there are no major encounters between the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, Jupiter’s beneficial hook up with Pluto is more significant than usual.  The planet of lucky breaks has got Pluto’s back.  A sextile is the best aspect: a balance of flow and effort.  It’s got legs.

Believe it or not - Jupiter sextile Pluto goes to the core of what you believe - there is hope hidden in this situation.  The positive side is hard to see right now as the drive to survive (Pluto) is stronger than the impulse for optimism (Jupiter).  Jupiter is in the dark (Scorpio), and retrograde, or appearing to move backwards through the sky. 

today is the best day in 2018 to take a BIG, scary risk

Today is the second of three meetings between favourable Jupiter and uncompromising Pluto.  The middle contact is often the most potent in three-stage transits.  The two planets met already on 16th January 2018; the roots of today’s strike link to that date.  The better side of this situation might only become more apparent after Jupiter goes direct later this year on 10th July, not too long after Jupiter and Pluto make contact for a third and last time on 12th September 2018.  Jupiter does not leave his retrograde shadow until a month later on 11th October, so something on this theme is still playing out until then, even after Jupiter resumes forward motion, albeit in a more muted way.

There is a new Moon in Aries on Monday, conjunct unpredictable Uranus.  Aries is the astrological home of the military, machismo and guns.  There is likely to be much more heated exchange (Mercury is also in Aries) on these themes in the month ahead, and of a nature we cannot yet fully anticipate (Uranus). 

Right now Mercury is stationing to turn direct tomorrow.  While he was retrograde, the inclination was to be less direct and more reflective.  As Mercury resumes forward motion, 'telling it straight' becomes the norm.   Whatever happens next is supposed to be informed by whatever came to light during the research period of this latest Mercury retrograde phase, which began last month on 23rd March.    

On 16th May 2018, Mars in Aquarius squares, and will be disposed by, Uranus.  That is the day after Uranus enters Taurus for the first time since 1934.  It’s a fever pitch day.  Perhaps the most dangerous one this year.  If the missiles had been fired on that day instead of today, that would be a lot more troublesome.  Having Jupiter in the mix today ensures a beneficial dimension.  Exactly how, is not yet obvious.  Today's strikes are too late to stop Assad's regime - but it might wake up the world to how close to the edge we are.  Much less ideally, Jupiter's luck could provide the political leaders of the U.S.A, the U. K. and France with a much-needed distraction from their challenging domestic situations.    

what risk will take you to the edge?

So, what do we do in all of this?  The planetary set up applies to each of us as much as it applies to Trump and May.  Today, the sky says 'take a big risk'.  Not a few small footsteps out of your comfort zone but something that really scares the sh*t out of you.  Does the risk terrify (Scorpio) you?  If not, it's not big enough to count (Jupiter).  Try something more spine-chilling (Pluto in Capricorn). 

Where specifically in your life you need to flirt with danger depends on where Scorpio and Capricorn fall in your chart.  The intensity of the push is determined by whether Jupiter and Pluto’s positions correlate to planets and/or other sensitive points in your own chart.  If there is no contact between their placements and your chart, you may barely notice the pressure.  If the ‘go for it’ message resonates for you, or has done so in the last day or so: do it.  Jupiter is watching over you.  Your story’s timeline is outlined above.

Mars is the principle of assertion.  This can manifest as aggression or violence.  When Mars comes into conflict with ‘do something completely different – it’s the only way’ Uranus, as he will on 16th May, it would be wise to accept that you do indeed have to do something you’ve not done before, or at least, do it in a very different way.  Aim to do so assertively from a place of confidence rather than aggressively from fear to minimise the risk of 'group think' extreme actions, and outcomes you might later regret. 

fight the good fight 

Another astrological factor to add to the mix: early next week, Chiron enters Aries on 17th April for the first time since 1961.  It's a time to revisit how we do and fight for things, even if it's painful.  How can we act in a way that heals rather than harms?  It's all about using the best of Aries’ competitive spirit to tackle all battles with honour.  Healing (Chiron) is now found in engaging directly (Aries) with the hurt (Chiron).  

On Wednesday, the day after, Saturn turns retrograde until 6th September.  The rules (Saturn) of engagement are also up for review (retrograde) over the coming months.  

Jupiter's January-September dance with Pluto this year enables us all to get closer to the underbelly of what 'doing the right thing' really means, and not just for our politicians.