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.