Friday, November 06, 2020

Inaugurations and Solar Returns: A Subtle Distinction

 ©2020 J. Lee Lehman

The US Constitution is clear:  the term of office of President and Vice President of the United States begins at noon on 20 January following a presidential election. This has been true since the 20th amendment was adopted 23 January 1933: before that, inauguration occurred on 4 March.
When a chart is run for noon on 20 January, the Ascendant given is 13 or 14 Taurus, leading one to the observation that the nation (Ascendant) is now always given by Venus, while the President is given by Saturn (MC). Thus, astrologers have often observed since 1933 about the aging effect of being president, which astrologically makes a lot of sense.
What is almost always ignored is that the precise minute of the zero degrees Aquarius Sun varies slightly from election cycle to election cycle. For most purposes, this is just not relevant - but it is if you wish to study consecutive solar returns. And this in turn has one very important impact.
In the astrological discussion leading up to the 2016 and 2020 elections, Deborah Houlding has highlighted the impact of the ascension charts as discussed by Masha'allah. (See, for example, her article in the October 2020 issue of the Career Astrologer). The idea behind this technique is pretty simple. In attempting to create a chart for the reign of a particular king, Masha'allah proposed the use of a mundane chart that would represent the birth of the reign. This is an older technique than doing a chart for the precise time of death of the old monarch, which would be equivalent to the inauguration time in the USA. Deborah has discussed the use of the Aries Ingress chart which occurs in election years as the appropriate chart. She has discussed this not so much as a predictive technique for who wins (although that may be at least implicit in the chart), as for describing the nature of the reign. Put into the specifics of the election we have the following:
Donald Trump's "reign" or ascensional chart began with the Aries Ingress chart of 2016. There is only one "beginning of reign" chart, so the 2020 Aries Ingress chart does not change his reign if he is reelected.
Joe Biden's reign (ascensional chart) would begin with the 2020 Aries Ingress chart - again, showing the nature of his "reign," not an explicit prediction of whether he would win.
If this seems a little confusing, there is a good reason. We are actually dealing with two different charts:
  • The ascensional chart (Aries Ingress) is calculated from a traditional mundane chart of the year. 
  • An actual timed event (inauguration) marks the legal beginning of a new reign.
The ascensional chart shows the mundane conditions under which a reign develops. And in a world in which the precise time of death of the old monarch - the traditional event marking the new reign of the next monarch - might not have been known, the ascensional chart has the advantage of always being available.

Once a reign starts, there is no future chart of the magnitude of the start of reign. Continuing to rule is not a rooted time, so to speak, whereas beginning a rule is such an event.
What this means is the the 2021 inaugural event chart is much more significant for Joe Biden because it would be an inception for him, while in Trump's case, the 2017 inaugural chart would still be in operation.
So what is the 2021 inauguration chart for Donald Trump, should he prevail? The answer is: very little. But what will be useful is another solar return of the 2017 chart - and this is where it gets interesting. Now, the couple of minutes different on the Sun position produces the following result.

Let's review: the upper left-hand chart is the inauguration from the 2020 election. The upper right-hand chart is for the 2016 election. The lower chart is the solar return of the 2016 election. The lower chart is completely irrelevant if Biden wins.

But let's compare the 2020 chart and the 2016 solar return. The 2016 chart solar return for 2021 shows a much more belligerent populace with the Moon in Aries partile conjunct the Ascendant. By contrast, the 2021 chart shows that Moon lurking in the 12th: private enemies of this administration go underground but don't go away. But with Venus ruling Ascendant and trine it, the temperature level of the nation drops.

In 2017, because there was no chance that the sitting President could continue a prior inauguration "reign," the 2017 inaugural chart applied to either competitor. 2020 is different, and it is interesting that the two charts - inauguration and solar return of prior inauguration - both seem to describe the men very well.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

2020 in Context: Mars-Saturn

©2020 J. Lee Lehman

I am indebted to Kyle Pierce, for pointing out an error in the computation of the 2020 series of Mars-Saturn conjunctions. This error has been corrected, and information about the charts of Spain has been inserted, since their high death toll came up just after this article was written.

The astrology world was pretty unanimous in declaring that 2020 looked like a challenging year. But as we are all pausing to reflect on just how to think about the rest of 2020, I'd like to illustrate one component of that puzzle. Consider the superior planet conjunctions, specifically here the Mars-Saturn one.

In the classical period, the only conjunctions delineated were the Jupiter-Saturn, Mars-Jupiter, and Mars-Saturn. Later, there would be more possibilities, as additional outer planets were discovered. Of the three, the Jupiter-Saturn commanded almost all the attention. The twenty year duration of this cycle represented a significant period of time within an individual's lifetime, a lifespan that often only extended for only one or two of these conjunctions. But beyond the twenty year beat, the longer cycle of mutations - where the conjunction repeated in the same element for longer periods of time before the entire sequence of four elements would repeat - gave still longer periods of historical time which were long enough to encompass whole dynasties, religions, and longer term patterns.

There was, however, one work specifically on the two shorter Mars series with Jupiter and Saturn written by the 17th century astrologer Richard Edlyn.(Edlyn, Richard. Observationes Astrologicae, or, An Astrological Discourse of the Effects of a Notable Conjunction of Saturn and Mars by Richard Edlyn ... London: Printed by J.W. for B. Billingsley, and O. Blagrave..., 1668.) That said, there are references to its use scattered through mundane discussions at least back to al-Qabisi (Burnett, Charles, Keiji Yamamoto and Michio Yano. Al-Qabisi (Alcabitious): The Introduction to Astrology. London: Warburg Institute, 2004, p. 109.)

The Mars-Saturn cycle was a roughly two year cycle which allowed the determination of which malefic would be dominant for that period. To be simplistic: would a period be marked by fires and fevers, or by famine and pestilence? However, this short period was also seen as part of a larger pattern of Mars-Saturn conjunctions which was a thirty year pattern beginning with the conjunction in Cancer, according to al-Qabisi. Our current Mars-Saturn series by this reckoning began in 2004. We will examine that conjunction in three different locations in order to see whether or how this cycle initiation chart impacts later conjunctions in the series.

This chart set for Rome, Italy is actually quite stunning for what is going on now with covid-19. The conjunction itself is at 11 Cancer in the 1st house: its angularity means that the effect will be visible to all. Mars rules the 6th house of illness: it is teamed with Saturn, the ruler of death. With Uranus at the MC one suspects a sudden cause. Jupiter in Detriment, which is the second ruler of the 6th, is partile conjunct the Part of Fortune at the IC, which among other things, rules the grave. If this is not enough argument of an Italian effect, the Sun for the 1871 Italy kingdom chart is at 10 Cancer, one degree away.

But now let's consider this 2004 cycle beginning in Wuhan.

Notice: exactly the same planetary degrees: we are looking at the same chart, but in a different location. Now the conjunction is again in an angular house, with Saturn now the ruler of the 6th (disease), and Mars the ruler of the 8th (death), and Pluto conjunct the IC. Uranus in the 6th could represent the sudden appearance of the illness in this location

Now add the United States.

Here the Mars-Saturn conjunction is succedent, so not as dramatic as the other charts. And remember: we are talking about a thirty year cycle.  Mars rules the 2nd, and between 2008 and 2020, the effect seems clear enough. Apparently, the effect shown is primarily financial, although we would wonder what Mars-Saturn is doing in the 5th house.

Obviously, there's way more to these charts than the present pandemic, but for the most part, we will ignore these other indicators. So if these charts are the beginning of the cycle, we can now skip forward to 2020, with the Mars-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius for 2020.

The 2004 Mars-Saturn conjunction in the 1st house identified Italy as a probable site of whatever trends this cycle represents. But in 2020, we see the Mars-Saturn conjunction at the 4th house cusp, which includes the image of the grave, balanced at the IC by the closely approaching Jupiter-Pluto. This combination is completely explosive. Venus, the chart ruler, is in the 8th house of death. The Sun is conjunct the Kingdom Fortuna, while this Mars-Saturn is virtually a nodal return for the kingdom. The Ascendant of the 2020 Mars-Saturn activates the kingdom Neptune: not a good combination!

We already noted that the ascension chart for King Juan Carlos (22 November 1975 12:45 pm CET Madrid) has the Moon at 11 Cancer in the 6th house of illness. The Sun at the Descendant for Madrid for the 2020 conjunction is literally a sunset motif, richly symbolic of the sad parade of death in Spain. Mercury and Neptune embracing the 6th house shows the lungs, with the other lung-related planet, Jupiter, ruling it. The ruler of the Ascendant is in the house of death. The image is stark and terrible.

 Now we can repeat the exercise for Wuhan.

Notice the angular similarity of the 2020 charts for Rome and Wuhan: the IC for Italy is the Ascendant for Wuhan. Unlike the other locations, by the time the 2020 Mars-Saturn occurred, the infection in Wuhan had raged, and was receding. Whatever one thinks about the total number of cases, it’s clear that the bulk of China’s experience of this epidemic fell under the 2018 Mars-Saturn, so we present it here.
The Capricorn Mars-Saturn is the phase shift of the cycle, being opposite the opening Cancer conjunction. One therefore expects that this halfway point would have a certain greater level of importance in the series. The Mars-Saturn 2018 conjunction occurred in the 1st house in Wuhan, with the Sun-Mercury in a partile square to the 2004 conjunction itself. Venus rules the 6th house in the 2018 chart, while the Fallen Moon in Scorpio separates from that Venus, while squaring China’s Mars in the 8th house.
Notice that the Sun in the 2018 and 2020 charts was almost identical: one day off, and both squaring the Mars-Saturn from 2004. These charts do not all lock precisely, but there is a lot of overlap.

 What about Washington? Now things look more grim.

 In the 2004 conjunction, which also conjoined the USA Sun, Mars ruled the 2nd house, while Saturn ruled the 1st, showing both malefics active in important places. The 2004 Mars-Saturn cycle also ruled the 2008 recession. The 2004 Mars-Saturn had no planets at all in strong essential dignity, demonstrating a world stretched, and operating from a position of fundamental weakness: With both malefics active in their most negative manifestation, one could easily envision this combination as the rot from within.

The 29 degree fixed Ascendant for Washington shows a nation reluctant to change, while the 1st house Uranus shows that change will happen, especially as the cadent Sun comes to square it. But this is the key: the Sun was cadent, and so the awareness or illumination of the Sun is diminished, probably because the news wasn’t so good. The Moon in the 6th showed problems with labor as well as with health, and this opposition took place at the Bendings (points square the Nodes). What is fascinationg about this pattern for Washington is that it was taking place in succedent and cadent houses, thus out of public view or emphasis. What was it? A large piece of it was the loss of 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000 which were replaced by generally lower paying service jobs, including in the health care industry, which continued to grow. The USA continues to spend more on health care than other nations, not because it is better, but because health care costs have risen much higher than in other countries. A country with no price controls on health care while patting itself on the back even as quantitative measurements show health care quality dropping looks a lot to me like Moon in Leo opposite Neptune in the 6th and 12th houses!

So into this chart showing major financial realignment and a broken health system rides a 2020 pandemic. The mess of malefics shows in the 6th house of disease, and the ruler of the 8th is in the 6th, showing the danger of chronic infections. But into this mess, now the angular Uranus is in the 10th, not the 1st, showing erratic leadership from the top opposing the fortune of the country.
And yet – the Sun rules the country and the Sun is exalted. Or at the very least, the Sun shines the light on what is going on. In this context, I think the 9th house would represent science, a word seldom mentioned in the current West Wing. But that cadent Sun is partile square the 2004 Mars-Saturn series to which it belongs. Can it prevail? We shall see.

The Aries Ingress for 2020, shown in the upper left, certainly shows the economic impact of the virus (2nd house). Mercury in Pisces in Mars-Saturn conjunction (lower right) shows the economy as depressed over the longer period represented by the 2020 Mars-Saturn. Uranus in the 6th for the Aries Ingress certainly shows the suddenness of the disease spike: but this chart lacks the severity of the Mars-Saturn conjunction on potential mortality. 
The 2021 Aries Ingress shows both of these themes still present. Mars in Gemini at the IC shows the state of the economy, and being mutable, it's mixed. The same Mercury in Pisces that denoted death in the 2020 chart here shows one segment of the people (1st) still debilitated, applying to square Mars, the ruler of the 2nd. These people still need financial help because they are weak, and this could also be showing a higher population of people with chronic disease related to the aftermath of covid-19 The ruler of the 6th (Moon) applying to the 8th (Venus) can indicate chronic disease, not death.

But one feature is very different between the charts. In the 2020 Ingress, the president is ruled by Mercury, in detriment, and applying to Uranus in the 6th: being over his head and making erratic decisions. In 2021 the president is Jupiter: out of Fall, and conjunct the 1st, thus being completely aware of what is going on with the country. The preponderance of double-bodied signs associated with the 4th shows the land to be a mosaic of pockets: some areas good, some areas not to good. Recovery does not look like a proportional improvement for all segments of the population.

We have used the Mars-Saturn sequence here to develop the idea that this little-used cycle can in fact provide intriguing information if we use it according to its classically stated purpose: the examination of short-term dangers to communities and nations that extend beyond the seasonal effects of the Aries Ingress series.

We shall examine additional mundane factors in a future post.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Coronavirus Notes

©2020 J. Lee Lehman

Over the last few weeks, I have been putting together notes for my STA Medical Astrology Masters Course related to epidemics. Naturally, this addresses the current Covid-19 coronavirus. A number of people have been asking me how we can view these outbreaks, and whether the natal chart can be used, or a horary. For an individual, both of these methods are fine for seeing whether the Native will be infected, or at least severely enough to be of concern. But for the epidemic itself, mundane methods must be used. The below is an exceprt from that material, addressing the charts relating to China for the next few years. This is not to condemn China, but since this virus first infected humans in China, the early course of the disease tells us much about how it will continue to thrive - or not. Most of the viral attacks of the past couple of decades have lasted only a year: but several have become regular. So the first question we must address is: will Covid-19 die down in the summer as is typical of virusues that mainly effect the respiratory system, and will it start up again in atse autumn or early winter 2020?


As this is on-going as I write, the facts I am presenting may not turn out to be entirely accurate. As far as we currently know, the first cases of this infection occurred in early December 2019 in Wuhan, China. They were not initially identified as a new strain of coronavirus, so detection and acknowledgment of the new virus were slowed by the reluctance of Communist Party officials to admit anything had occurred.

We do not have a patient zero, nor do we have a specific event to mark the start of this disease.

Going back to the Cancer Ingress 2019 in Wuhan, we see Neptune conjunct the Ascendant. This is suggestive that something hidden, mysterious, or deceptive was happening in Wuhan at the time, but it is impossible to conclude that this had anything to do with the virus. The Sun was ruling the 6th, which could mean a focus on disease: but this is too vague to constitute a warning. The Libra Ingress shows a focus on disease, the Moon-North Node conjunction in the 6th and ruling the 6th, with that conjunction opposite Saturn-Pluto in the 12th. While in the 12th, dignified Saturn rules the Ascendant. The Sun in the 8th begins to highlight the possibility of death. Note the Moon was trine Neptune, which was not such a good ruler for the 6th, especially with the likelihood expressed with the Node blowing things out of proportion.

It was under the Capricorn Ingress that cases began to accumulate, and people began to die. The Sun was right on the MC, bringing to light matters, and focusing attention on Wuhan. The Sun rules the 6th house cusp. In the list of the pains of the planets, the Sun in Capricorn equates to the diaphragm, which of course is the muscle which is at the base of the lungs. Perhaps this is one general indicator for all the lung disease which tends to occur in the winter. The conjunction to Jupiter in the sign of his Fall aggravates and aggrandizes the disease which is brought to light. No longer would Wuhan’s claim to international fame be based on their tennis tournament! The Moon was in Fall in Scorpio, at the 8th house cusp and disposed by Mars in the 8th. Now we see an unequivocal connection with death. The Ascendant at 29 degrees and so close to Scheat is no argument of positive outcome. All angles at 29 represent a crisis and a rapidly changing circumstance.

Does the Aries Ingress for 2020 bring hope? Sadly, no. Neptune conjunct the MC looks like infection is in the news, so to speak; and it speaks to continued difficulty of the higher-ups in developing a coherent policy, just as the position of the Sun in the 10th house mandates it. Using the system of the pains of the planets, Jupiter in Capricorn represents the neck, and Jupiter itself rules the lungs – and Jupiter is in Detriment until December, not to mention partile conjunct Mars, the planet of acute disease. And let’s not forget that Jupiter is applying to Pluto.

The Moon in Aquarius, peregrine in the 8th house, shows that eyes are likely to be focused on mortality. Enough said.

The cardinal Ascendant to the Aries Ingress indicates that all four ingresses will be necessary to interpret events for this year: and undoubtedly, events will be fast-moving, reflecting this situation. Neptune conjunct the 10th in the Cancer ingress continues to plague, with Mars joining in as well. Historically, most viruses which affect the lungs as a primary site tend to abate or even almost disappear over the summer months. Do we see evidence of that?

Because of the angular similarity between Spring and Summer, we again see the signature of Jupiter ruling the 6th – public sickness and working conditions – only here, Jupiter has passed Pluto, and is retrograding back to meet it again. Add to this the loaded 12th house, and I would be doubtful that the virus will disappear, although we may see the typical summer reduction. Also, since the 6th rules work, and since General Chairman Xi is unlikely to wish to see China endure any more economic decline than necessary, I would surmise that a decrease in obvious disease would mean a significant upturn in work: which itself could stress the people even more. With the Moon ruling the Ascendant in a partile square with Mars at the 10th, I think that scenario is hugely likely.

Without going into detail on the rest of the charts, what we see is actually a fairly common theme when sequential ingresses are studied: a recurring theme. In this case, it’s the angularity of Neptune. That by itself may be a marker for infectious disease, as well as mystery, deceit, cover-up, and confusion. But of perhaps more concern is that Wuhan is not the capital of China, and its continued prominence is symbolically significant. So if we want to see the effects for China, we should shift to running the charts for Beijing.

In this figure I have added the chart for the beginning of Communist Party rule in China. But as far as the ingress charts are concerned, the MC/IC angles are a few degrees different between Beijing and Wuhan, and the Ascendant/Descendant are a little further off, reflecting the longitude and latitude differences. Notice that the angle hits are generally closer at Wuhan: except for the current Capricorn Ingress. I think this is basically showing the delay in the truth coming to light (Sun conjunct MC) was coming from Beijing. This also tells us that we can basically pick either site to use for our prognostications.

The addition of the chart for the Communist Party rule also points to one additional point: that chart is about to have a Jupiter return. Historically, the Chinese people used the Jupiter cycle in their calendar, going so far as to attempt to make it precisely twelve years in length. So I don’t find it surprising that Jupiter rules two of the angles of this chart. Pluto fell upon the Chinese Jupiter for the December 2019 Ingress, showing that Pluto concept of being whacked by something bigger than the usual planning of “business as usual.” The penchant for economic planning ran into something entirely different and seemingly out of control. The actual Jupiter return will occur very close to the Aries Ingress 2020. Clearly, this is not a trivial time for China. The ruler of the 2nd in the 10th may be said to indicate that Management is still seeing this primarily as an economic matter rather than a public health issue.

If we follow these charts through into 2021 and 2022, the Ascendant in each Aries Ingress is mutable, thereby indicating the need to interpret both the Aries and the Libra Ingresses. The Aries Ingress continues the angular Neptune pattern. With Saturn now in Aquarius and ruling the 6th from its 12th (i.e., the radical 5th), we are starting to see that the epidemic pattern has not broken down. In addition to having Neptune conjunct the Portals of Death, Jupiter, ruling that 7th house cusp, is conjunct the Jupiter-Saturn position for the Black Plague. Mercury, ruling the king is in the 6th, and strongly debilitated, showing that either disease is rampant, or alternately, working conditions are suspect.

And yet – the ruler of the 2nd house is exalted – but combust. The mixed signals may in part be explained by suggesting that the economy is improving: and honestly, after 2020 and the current situation, if the health status allows work to occur, one would expect a considerable up-turn, as often happens after a disaster which requires rebuilding. The combustion of Venus says to me that there is still exhaustion and debris left in China’s financial state at this time. It’s like the Dementors sucked almost all the life out – but an exalted Venus still has a ray of hope.

Now, if we are seeing a possible disease configuration, what we absolutely cannot say is that it is the same virus. It is not uncommon for viruses to mutate, as the flu virus does just about every year. So if we presume that there will be a vaccine for Covid-19 in 2020, that’s no guarantee that this work wouldn’t have to be repeated in 2021. The September Ingress shows Jupiter conjunct the 7th cusp, but not so strongly, but that Jupiter does rule the 8th. The Moon is square Jupiter in the Communist Party chart, but the Ascendant ruler Sun is in the 2nd, showing that the country’s finances are a big focus at this time, while the 10th house ruler is in the 3rd – focusing on domestic transport, or other third house matters. While this may not be as bad as 2020, I cannot say that this looks like a chart that breaks the pattern. There is at least the residual of disease showing (and possibly more active than that), and at least an attempt to alleviate economic damage.

If there is a viral disease beyond flu at this time, the March 2022 Aries Ingress could be showing a radical change in pattern, with Uranus conjunct the 6th house cusp and Venus, the 6th house ruler, besieged between Mars and Saturn, although perhaps we might alternately say that Venus is contained! This besiegement may be reduced in malignity by the fact that Saturn receives Venus, but it will still represent difficulty. Jupiter, ruling the Ascendant and 7th is now highly dignified in Pisces, showing that the economy is bouncing back. This would be a hard thing if the country were in a disease lock-down. Here, we also see that Mercury ruling the 10th, with such debility, is being received by that Saturn: these two receptions with dignified superiors are to planets with high essential dignity, and the Mercury-Jupiter one has the added strength of angularity. The only problem here: Mercury is ruling the 8th, and applying to the ruler of the 1st: Death is asking Life for a favor – something which seldom works out well for Life. And this conjunction is taking place in the 4th – the land, but also the grave.

So unfortunately while the economy seems to be rebounding the Lord of Death is still very active.

The Libra Ingress for 2022 had Mars, ruler of the 1st and 6th in the 8th. The emphasis on Mars would suggest fevers as the primary health issue, but in cold damp Cancer, there’s still a damp influence going into the winter infection season.

This pattern finally breaks up starting in 2023. Here, you see much more of a focus around the 1st and 2nd: looking like China had really gotten back to work at this time. The Moon, ruler of the 6th, is in the 1st applying to Neptune, which suggests to me that things are not quite back to normal. Death (Venus, ruler of the 8th house) is not applying to Life (Jupiter, ruler of the 1st), but there may be some 6th house issues here of residual weakness. By 2024, the 2nd and the 10th show that the health theme is completely gone.

So this is a summary of some of the mundane effects relating to China. To see the effects in other arts of the world, it would be necessary to examine these same charts relocated to other world capitals.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

The Reagan Mutation

©2019 J. Lee Lehman, Ph.D.

In the next year, I hope to publish a series of articles about the mutation cycle of Jupiter-Saturn: arguably, the most important astrological trend of our time. In this blog post, I will not be providing the historical justification for the ideas I present, but I want to begin with the immediate astrology which is affecting us now. So we will begin in 1980, the year of the first conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in air since 1405.

The Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions occur about every twenty years, but from the Arabic Middle Ages onward, astrologers recognized that these conjunctions were part of a greater elemental cycle. The conjunctions cluster together in one element before proceeding to the next, following the same sequence as we observe in the zodiac: from fire, to earth, to air, and then finally to water. Each change of element is called a mutation - the change into fire is called the great mutation. This process takes about 830 years, and the number of actual conjunctions within an element varies. Our current mutational cycle began in 1603 with the conjunction at 8 Sagittarius. The following mutation occurred in 1802 with a conjunction at 5 Virgo. For reasons we will explore in a future article, the advent of the conjunction into a new element is almost always followed by a subsequent conjunction or two in the previous element. This process was dubbed the retrogression of the conjunction by 17th century astrologers, and we will discuss a few of the consequences here, focusing on this theme in a later article - and also at my talk at the 2020 ISAR conference.

But let's begin. The first air conjunction occurred in 1980. Contemporary American astrologers were most struck by the fact that President Reagan, while attacked, was the first president not to die in office when associated with the years of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction. The breaking of the so-called Tecumseh's Curse was the first indication that circumstances had changed. But other facets of Reagan’s tenure were far more important for defining the change into air - and many of these were barely noticed at the time.

1980 Jupiter-Saturn conjunction for Washington, DC, USA.

First, let's consider how he won the presidency, apart from the astrological help of Joan Quigley. Reagan was the beneficiary of the shift in the Republican Party to a realignment based upon combining racism, conservative (Christian) religious values, and the more traditionally Republican business support. Reagan used the slogan “family values,” which was code for “traditional family values,” which meant white heterosexual married with children, with the wife in a subordinate position to the husband. As detailed in The long southern strategy : how chasing white voters in the South changed American politics, Maxwell and Shields demonstrate the parallel priorities of the American Republican Party in mixing racism and sexism in an attempt to create a new majority for the Party – a strategy that culminated in the election of Donald Trump. I do not believe that the air mutation is necessarily conservative by nature: air is as changeable as the wind. Nor do I believe it is necessarily religious, because secularism continued to jostle with religious fervor throughout this period, and,in the USA at least, the biggest religious trend was the growth of the religiously unaffiliated Nones. 

The evolution of the Southern Strategy was earth-based in that it occurred in the waning phase of the earth element conjunctions. As such, it was a practical assessment of what components of the American electorate could be combined to produce a consistently winning majority. In the 1950s, the bulk of the segregationists/racists were in the Democratic Party, because the Republicans were still being blamed in the South for the Civil War, and what they perceived of as the invasion of the South as its aftermath.It was the recognition that a white patriarchal religious mythos would produce an invincible voting bloc that moved the Republican Party out of its doldrums - but it also began the process of creating a polarized party rather than an inclusive umbrella.

The approximate chart for the conjunction shows the conjunction in the 4th house - a clear reference to the land of the USA, as well as for endings. But consider also that no region of the USA was more emotionally wedded to the land than the South:witness the rhetoric of Gone With the Wind if you doubt this point.

The Southern Strategy may have begun with pragmatism, but can it survive in an element as unstable as air? Before Reagan, Goldwater (unsuccessful) and Nixon (successful at first) provided the anchors, but it was Reagan who experienced the full benefit of the paradigm shift. Yet Reagan, who exemplified the shift through his 1980 election, was himself a child of the earth element - as were all those politicians on both sides of the divide. The new paradigm by definition is created by denizens of the old element. We could argue that Reagan had his feet firmly in both camps, with natal Sun in Aquarius and Moon in Taurus.

The positioning of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in the 4th house in 1980 may show that the appeal to family values would work. Beginnings and endings in the 4th house can be marked literally by family matters. Saturn is in exaltation in Libra: "traditional" (i.e., Saturn) are literally being exalted. But it's worth remembering that an exaltation is by nature a rise above one's place - and most of the time, an exaltation is followed by a fall! The wheel of fortune will truly turn. The patriarchs of the sky (and Jupiter has exaltation in the sir signs) make their marks in a cardinal sign and an angular house: more power to the patriarchs.

Our forebears, however,  knew they could not calculate this conjunction accurately enough to run a chart - so they relied on the lunation before it. In 1980, that lunation occurred on the day of the winter solstice - also a nice symbol for beginning// ending as implied by the mutational shift. 

Full Moon Prior and Jupiter-Saturn 1980

That this lunation was also at an ingress completely fortifies the conclusion of its importance. And here, the forming conjunction is in the 6th house of workers and health care. What Reagan and his group realized, far better than the Democrats of the time, is that many union members were quite conservative on social issues: a fact that meant that they were only natural allies with the Democrats because of the politics of unions.

This is a good example of the kind of beginning and end process so characteristic of a mutation. A substantial block of union members in such states as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania was Catholic: a group which, at the time, was not substantially aligned with the Republican Party. By breaking the unions, Reagan severed the strongest connection to the Democrats. Then by talking about family/moral values, the Republicans appealed to the social conservatism of these same voters. Substantial numbers of Catholics switched parties over the flash-point moral issues like abortion and family planning, rather than the more pedestrian traditional concepts of Christian charity and support for the downtrodden. While today there still is a majority of Catholics who lean Democratic, the number who voted for Trump in 2016 was 52%.

Reagan’s position as a pivotal figure was firmly cemented by such political scientists as Stephen Skowronek, who named his presidency as representing a paradigm shift, the first since Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s own paradigm-shifting presidency followed the major catastrophe of the Great Depression: the conditions in the USA in 1980 were comparatively mild exceptthat it was a mutation. Forces that had been coalescing since the 1950s attempting to push the USA to the right “suddenly” gained traction at the first appearance of the Jupiter-Saturn in air.

Another concept that appeared around 1980 was Reagan’s remark that the USA would be shifting to a service economy. What this meant at the time was not entirely clear, although perhaps it should have been. In 1980, the United States was a manufacturing country. The growth in the service sector would change the distribution away from the higher paying manufacturing jobs toward lower paying service jobs. This was one of many shifts which were part of the massive transfer of wealth to the 1% that began around 1970, in the waning years of the earth period. At the 1980 conjunction, we also see the approaching Saturn-Pluto conjunction (concentration of wealth) that is again forming now, at the beginning of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction which will cement the air mutation after its brief dalliance back in earth.

But where did the shift to the service economy occur? Among the biggest growth industries since the 1960s is the health care industry - yet another 6th house player. It was Nixon's favor to Edgar Kaiser that resulted in the HMO Act of 1973- which made health care the for-profit juggernaut it became, resulting in the health care industry becoming the leading employer in many communities.

Earth views the purpose of life through work. Whether in the form of contrast between humans and other species through the use of tools, or as a moniker for craftsmanship, earth views the measure of who we are through the lens of our work. On one end, materialism is king,but also the process of manipulating matter. Work may produce the food we need, or the everything things that we use. When we consume, we consume things, whether clothes, shoes, food, or cell phones. Work itself is an honored state.

By contrast, air is almost non-material. It’s hard to envision the attraction of money as cryptocurrency in an earth era, but easy to see the concept in an air era. Air moves things around through the wind. Air circulates. It can be calm or stormy, but it suggests motion.

Air includes speech and language, which is how we communicate. Earth is cold, and thus not so eager to talk about nonfunctional things; air is hot, and so ready to talk about nearly everything. Earth is dry, and thus wanting clear criteria and definitions; air is wet, and thus open to sliding scales, and evolving goals. The fact that both of the Aristotelian qualities of cold and dry going to hot and wet change in this mutation means that this is one of the two mutational shifts which are truly major in scope: the other is the transition from water (cold and wet) to fire (hot and dry).

However, consider the primary rulership of the air element: Mercury and Saturn, who not only rule two of the three signs, but also the day and night Triplicities. Mercury is the planet of youth, while Saturn is the planet of age. Reagan was, at the time, the oldest president the USA had experienced. And he managed to inspire two generations of conservative youths and younger politicians, so much so that he wrested the paradigm for American society from the post-depression ideals of Democrat Franklin Roosevelt to a new hegemony of the Republican Party.

Conservatism, progressivism, and moderation are not the only way to split an electorate, even if they are markers for the current era. This shift to air will speed up the changes. In Astrology of Sustainability, in speaking of Pluto sign ingresses, I talked about how roughly the first third of Pluto's appearance in a sign is about cleaning up the excesses of Pluto in the last sign. Now, as we re-enter Jupiter-Saturn in Aquarius, we have all the detritus of the conjunction in earth lined up before us: the environmental damage, the accumulation of wealth, the death of diversity and species. Sludge has truly happened. And we also have the sludge of decisions: one of them being the deliberate choice to deify white heterosexual maleness to the detriment of all others. The tide has turned, and this group, which was never an absolute majority, but merely a convenient basis for fear-mongering, is still the target of manipulation, which creates the rage of the falsely entitled, and sets up so much chaos for the future.

Air will change. New coalitions will form. In the aftermath of the retrogression of the conjunction back into earth, two generations have been born into the air mutation, which will now take over the full transition to an air-based body politic. 

Weather has always been seen as a phenomenon of air. Climate is weather expressed over time. It is not surprising that an earth-bound society could not fix, let alone fully grasp, the effect of climate change. These changes are coming, and they are likely to be startlingly fast - like the wind. Fox News has peaked. The king is dead! Long live the king!


Abū Ma’šar, Keiji Yamamoto, and Charles Burnett. On Historical Astrology : The Book of Religions and Dynasties (on the Great Conjunctions). 2 vols. Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Science, 33–34. Leiden ; Boston: Brill, 2000.

Lehman, J. Lee. Astrology of Sustainability: The Challenge of Pluto in Capricorn. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Press, 2011. Maxwell, Angie, and Todd. G Shields. The Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics, 2019.

Skowronek, Stephen. The Politics Presidents Make : Leadership from John Adams to Bill Clinton. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1997.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

A Bad Time to do It

©2018 J. Lee Lehman, PhD

After a bruising confirmation process, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the US Senate as the next US Supreme Court Justice. This is an issue over which, seemingly, every American has a strong opinion. The hard part, as an astrologer, is to attempt to be objective: a skill which is vital to our consulting skills, and often minimized in the rush to encourage astrologers to act like psychologists. In fact, there is a huge value to objectivity during a session. The delineation of horaries and electionals for clients would be impossible without it. I am certainly not throwing compassion, empathy, and imagination out the window, but facts are also facts.

I too have an opinion on Justice Kavanaigh. But my role in this blog entry is to examine his term of office. And ion the mundane/electional work that I do, my first question is simple: when did he become a Supreme? Approval by the Senate is mandatory, but the Justice does not take office until s/he takes the oath of office. In Kavanaugh's case, this was a private ceremony, and no official time has been forthcoming. In fact, it was difficult to find the time of the ceremony at all, and only USA Today gave the time of 6:00 pm as the time of the private ceremony.  Unless one of the participants shares the exact time that Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath, we can only guess. But we may also presume that it probably wasn't too much after 6 pm, since this was a private meeting, and hence not subject to the inevitable delays that cameras, reporters, and multiple witnesses can create. So while I present a chart for 6 pm, my assumption is that it was perhaps a few minutes late.

If this is accurate, then indeed this is an interesting chart. First of all, the late degree rising is interesting, because that is the reverse of what we would expect. Justice Kavanaugh, being relatively young for a Supreme Court Justice, would be expected to occupy the bench for decades: this was part of the rationale for the intensity of the fight: that this man would be in place for a long time. But a late Ascendant means exactly that: that this is late in the process. If the oath was really administered after 6:06 pm, then we have instead an early Aries rising chart - and so I am going to delineate this chart both ways, because now we should be able to pick the more correct chart, once events unfold.

 Pisces Rising Chart

If the time is correct, or even a few minutes late, then Jupiter rules the Ascendant. For a judicial swearing in, the choice of planet would be highly appropriate: the "problem" is that Jupiter is peregrine, and in the 8th house.  By this reckoning, Justice Kavanaugh truly becomes a hidden enemy of the Court (judicial matters are 9th, and his significator is in the 8th, which would be the 12th house from the 9th). One might also note that Jupiter is a generic marker for the nobility, so this also would describe his privileged upbringing. However, the fact that Jupiter is peregrine would show that while he came from privilege, he himself doesn't actually have it - meaning, he's got the background, but not the monetary resources.

The late Ascendant suggests his time on the Court would be short, no more than a few years. The proximity of the Ascendant to the fixed star Sheat would make this appointment a shipwreck.

One more point: the 10th house in this swearing in is now Chief Justice Roberts. In most national charts, we would take the President as the 10th, but by the action of this chart, President and Congress have already dropped out of the picture. Justice Roberts is initially shown as being ruled by the same peregrine planet Jupiter.

Here we may surmise several interpretations. Being ruled by the same planet, we might presume that they have similar judicial philosophies and outlooks - and this is probably largely true. However, the bulk of the degrees of the 10th house are ruled by a very dignified Saturn, and so we may allow for this to represent Chief Justice Roberts when he and Justice Kavanaugh are acting independently. In this guise, Chief Justice Roberts is the older man (Saturn), with great dignity, which means he comes across as very jealous of his office and duties as Chief Justice (Saturn, protecting his own authority), and generally believing in the idea of seniority. Now, we see the two men not acting precisely in concert, with Chief Justice Roberts willing to assert himself.

In summary, with a Pisces rising chart, Justice Kavanaugh probably does not last very long in his post until he is shipwrecked, and his tenancy may well be negative for the reputation of the Court.

Aries Rising

An Aries Rising chart means different significators for both Kavanaugh and Roberts. Kavanaugh's significator is now Mars, and Roberts is now unequivocally Saturn. Mars is also peregrine, so either significator challenges the notion that Kavanaugh will have a big influence on the court. Both potential significators are succedent, suggesting mean or moderate influence. Not being angular, his presence does not stand out.

There is a big difference in tone, however. If Jupiter, Justice Kavanaugh will attempt to appear judicial, whereas if he is Mars, he will continue to appear as a fighter.  In either case, he will find it difficult to lead.

If Mars rules the Ascendant, then Chief Justice Roberts will appear even more powerful, and will move forcefully to assert the legitimacy of the Court.

Whether Mars or Jupiter rules the Ascendant, Venus in Detriment retrograde rules the 2nd. If Mr. Justice Kavanaugh had any expectations that joining the Court would improve his finances, this chart argues against it. I would suspect that the savagery of the resistance will mean that his finances are severely scrutinized, and he may well discover that his expenses are increased. If the chart is Aries rising, then the double applying square of Mars and Venus truly speaks to financial problems, whereas this would be considerable reduced with Jupiter ruling the Ascendant.

So which will it be: short term, or financial problems? Either way, this does not look like a happy chart.

Note: subsequent examination of the photos from the private event by Christopher LaFond show a time for the swearing in by Chief Justice Roberts of 5:58 pm.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Toady Position

©2018 J. Lee Lehman, PhD

Mundane astrologers generally have two choices for house placement of lawyers: the 9th, or 2nd. The use of the 2nd is relatively uncommon, but specific: this refers to the old idea that the 2nd house includes your second in a duel. Thinking in the terms of the British legal system, your lawyer is the 9th when she is acting as your solicitor, or legal advisor. A lawyer become the 2nd when she is acting as your barrister - the person defending you in a court of law.

Both of these roles are perfectly legitimate, traditional job descriptions for lawyers. However, as an editorial in the Washington Post pointed out, a lawyer takes an oath to abide by the law. A lawyer is responsible for upholding the law and to interpret it to her client.

Events in Washington, DC have thrown some of these ideas into question - or at least, challenge these assumptions. The trial, conviction and pleas bargain of Michael Cohen puts us in the position of looking for a model for how to evaluate this situation astrologically.

But first, let's be clear. Cohen was convicted of eight counts of bank fraud, tax fraud, and a campaign finance violation. As such, in the chart for his trial, he is the defendant, and he pleaded guilty. My question is: can we characterize the services he performed for Trump as being 2nd or 9th in nature? Perhaps not.

Below is the chart for the beginning of his trial, at which he pleaded guilty.

The time for the trial was confirmed by Stephen Brown, of the NY Daily News. I mention this because there were news reports about the announcement of the plea bargain, before the trial ever started. While the rumors were true, they don't mark the moment where the trial became official.

Born 25 August 1966, the trial date fell in his apoklima: the period of a month preceding the solar return, when the new solar return takes effect from the old one. His natal Moon is in Capricorn (perhaps the natal Sun in Virgo and Moon in Capricorn begins to explain his rather morose appearance).

But in examining the chart itself, I was struck by several things. The two parties to this trial, Jupiter and Mercury, will perfect by square. Cohen has placed himself in the hands of his enemies, so to speak: he will now be unable to avoid answering questions, and he will have to cooperate. But the square suggests that this may be anything but easy.

But in terms of symbolism, the chart has one other factor which may be instructive: the Ascendant itself. The sign Sagittarius is already suggestive as one of the signs of Jupiter. Ptolemy gave law makers to Jupiter, but ever since, there's been a debate about whether to assign lawyers to Mercury or to Jupiter. Lilly conveniently gave both. However, Jupiter's placement in the 11th seems highly suggestive to me. The reason being that one of the archaic meanings of the 11th, one which Lilly would certainly have recognized, is the king's man.

The reason that legislatures ended up being 11th house matters was that they started out as vassals of the king. This may not be their current function, but in days gone by nobles became such because they did favors for the king - and then the king rewarded them with lands and other favors.

There was one who became the infamous specimen of the  type: Richard Rich (1496-1567), who was the "fixer" for Henry VIII. Rich appears as the villain in the play about Sir Thomas More, "A Man for All Seasons." The truth seems to match the play. Rich used all means fair and especially foul to solve some of Henry's more difficult problems - for which we was immensely rewarded. So here we have our prototype: the amoral type who accumulates wealth, power, and prestige by doing the dirty jobs for an alpha male.

What seems clear in the story is that Cohen went beyond the job of lawyer in his dealings for Trump. We don't normally have a job description or a house assignment for "fixer." But this chart at least suggests the house rulership.

Lee's STA Medical Practitioner's Course will be in New York City in October.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The Accuracy of Historical Solar Returns

©2017 J. Lee Lehman, PhD

In Classical Solar Returns, I discussed accuracy issues with respect to the accuracy of the calculation of solar returns, even as recently as several hundred years ago.1 This critique was based on wok that has been done on the accuracy issues facing ancient astronomy and its attempts to create accurate orbital equations within the geocentric system of circular orbits that were how these orbits were computed prior to Johannes Kepler.2 The conclusion of Morelon was that there was a genuine question of the accuracy of such returns.

Recently I began perusing Abraham ibn Ezra’s work on solar returns, and was stunned to discover that the very first paragraph in the work gives the method for computation which, examined carefully, gives a method for computation which turns out to not be as inaccurate as I had been led to believe.3 The method was simple, but definitely not what I learned myself when doing by-hand computations, lo! So many decades ago. In ibn Ezra’s method, the calculation was done by adding 365 days, plus 5 hours and 49 minutes to the time of birth for the next year after birth, and then repeating the computation as many times as necessary to arrive at the desired age of solar return. By contrast, our modern method was to interpolate between the time (noon or midnight) in the ephemeris for the day before the solar return to the day after, to arrive at the precise degree of the Sun, preferably expressed to complete minutes and seconds.

The figure 365 days plus 5 hours and 49 minutes is ibn Ezra’s figure for the length of the mean solar day. In other words, the solar return calculation is by definition, the time between the occurrence of the Sun at a particular degree and minutes, and the next time the Sun returns to that point is the solar day. My question was: how accurate is this? Ah, the internet is our friend, and so I found a very helpful page detailing modern ideas about this.4 It turns out the modern figure is 365 days + 5 hours plus 48.75 minutes: just 0.25 minutes less than ibn Ezra’s! This told me immediately that, while ancient figures would nt completely agree with modern ones, they would be fairly close.

To assess this concept in practices, I did the first few solar returns for Julie Andrews, whose chart I just so happened to have up in Sirius at the time. Here are the results.

Solar Return Year
Time computed in Sirius
Ascendant degree
Time computed by ibn Ezra method
Equivalent Ascendant degree
27 Sc 43
26 Sc 52
02 Pi 51
02 Pi 40
14 Cn 27
15 Cn 23
18 Vi 16
17 Vi 43
19 Sc 40
19 Sc 08

Natal data (B): 1 October 1935, 6:00 am, Walton-on-Thames, England.

As you can see, these are not huge differences: all amounting to less than a degree on the Ascendant.

1 Lehman, J. Lee. Classical Solar Returns. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Press, 2012, p. 19.
2 Morelon, Régis, “Eastern Arabic Astronomy between the eighth and eleventh centuries,” pp 20-57 in Rashid, Roshdi, and Régis Morelon, Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science. London ; New York: Routledge, 1996.
3 Ibn Ezra, Abraham, and Shlomo Sela. Abraham Ibn Ezra on Nativities and Continuous Horoscopy : A Parallel Hebrew-English Critical Edition of the Book of Nativities and the Book of Revolution. 2013, p. 373.