Gwyneth Paltrow – a rocky road to happiness



The omnipresent Gwyneth Paltrow, actress, singer, health blogger and red carpet regular, appears to be heading for yet another attempt at romantic commitment. She had two early three years liaisons with Brad Pitt and then Ben Affleck, before marrying Chris Martin and producing two children in their fifteen years together. Since their split she’s been dating Brad Falchuk, a television writer/producer (Glee, American Horror Story, Scream Queens, Nip/Tuck).

She doesn’t have the easiest chart for harmonious relationships with an intense, controlling and defensive Libra Sun conjunct Pluto Mars in her 7th house of marriage. She’ll tend to attract difficult rather dominating partners and bring out the worst in them. She’s also got a changeable Uranus in the 8th trine a restless Gemini Moon which is also in a vague, evasive opposition to Neptune. Plus Saturn in her 4th house which rules her domestic life which will tend to mean too little time to relax and indulge even at home. And her Saturn is square Mars, so she’ll be passive-aggressive, overly pliable at times and irritable at others.

Her partner Brad Falchuk, 1 March 1971, is a Sun, Mercury in Pisces in an upbeat square to Jupiter Venus in Sagittarius with Venus in Capricorn and Moon Saturn in Taurus. They are a mix of opposites though Pisces and Libra do often match together. She’s got an Air Sun and Moon, so quite detached emotionally, while he has a Water Sun and Earth Moon, so will be emotionally sensitive and also sensible. His Sun Mercury are conjunct her Ascendant which is a good relationship placing, his Mars in her 10th will spur her ambitions on and his Venus in her 11th will make for a friendly connection and a wide social circle.

Their relationship chart has a composite Sun Jupiter Mercury which is definitely good news, making them mutually supportive; with a mega-ton of passion from a composite Venus Mars in Scorpio. Though there’ll always be an undercurrent of doubt and concern from Saturn opposition Neptune.

She’s no doubt mellowed through her middle years but it won’t ever be straightforward for her. It does look a touch bumpy over the next year with tr Saturn square her 7th house Mars in December and then squaring all the rest of her 7th house planets in 2018. Looks like work, work, work, which will always be her escape route. And with Jupiter in her 10th she’s destined to become more successful the older she gets.

Ratko Mladic – the wheels of justice grind slow



The ‘Butcher of Bosnia’, former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic has been jailed for life for genocide and crimes against humanity in the 1990s Bosnian war by The Hague War Crimes tribunal. He led forces during the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 and siege of Sarajevo during which nearly 20,000 died. He was ferocious in pursuit of what he saw as the destiny of the Serb nation and saw the war as an opportunity to avenge five centuries of occupation by Muslim Turks. After the war he went into hiding until captured in 2012.

Born 12 March 1943, maybe 4.30am Backi Petrovazc (astrotheme), he is a Sun Pisces (like Mugabe) with his Sun in a confident trine to Jupiter in patriotic Cancer. What marks his chart out as brutal is an Air Grand Trine of Mars in contrary, uncompromising Aquarius trine Neptune trine Saturn Uranus (Moon) in Gemini, formed into a Kite by a ruthless Mars opposition Pluto.

The old historical blood feuds roll on.

Zimbabwe – from jubilation to concern * updated



Zimbabwe is in joyous mood after Robert Mugabe’s resignation. Though why the return of the former vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa whose ousting led to the coup, to take over the presidency should be taken as an encouraging sign isn’t remotely clear. Nicknamed the Crocodile, he has been a Mugabe’s ally for many years, so is hardly untainted. He has been accused of leading brutal waves of repression against political opponents. One veteran of Zimbabwe’s war of independence, who worked with him for many years, said: “He’s a very cruel man, very cruel.” Another official asked: “You think Mugabe is bad, but have you thought that whoever comes after him could be even worse?”

There’s doubt over his birth year, given as 15 September 1942 or 1946. He received military training in China and Egypt, was tortured by Rhodesian forces after his “crocodile gang” staged attacks; became the country’s spymaster during the 1980s civil conflict, in which thousands of civilians were killed, is close to the army and is accused of masterminding attacks on opposition supporters after 2008 election.

The Zimbabwe independence chart, 18 April 1980 12 am Harare, does indicate a fair few challenges and upsets moving ahead. Tr Uranus is moving into the Zim 4th house from April 2018, criss crossing in conjunction to the Zim Sun and IC and square the Ascendant, so next year into 2019 will see upheavals, disruptions and radical changes to the country’s image in the world. With unrest in the years following as tr Uranus moves through the Zim 4th.  Around 2020 tr Pluto will sextile the 10th house Uranus which is revolutionary-prone and could be violent since it will trigger the Zim Uranus square Mars. And the pressures won’t ease as tr Pluto moves in square to the Zim Sun opposition Pluto up to 2023.

As ever part of the problem – apart from kleptocratic, corrupt rulers who live obscenely indulgent lives while the people starve – is that Zimbabwe is composed of two tribes. The largely agrarian Mashona are seen to be favoured by the Mugabe government and the more (historically) warlike Matabeles who suffered systemic massacres in the 1980s by armed militia and many fled to South Africa.

Mnangagwa, 15 September 1942, would make him a Sun Virgo sextile Jupiter in Cancer with his Sun conjunct Mars Neptune in Virgo. 15 September 1946 would make him a Sun Virgo, with Mars Jupiter in Libra trine Uranus and a Taurus Moon square Saturn Pluto in Leo. It’s hopeless making any sense out of these until a definite birth year is established. Though the 1946 birth date (which the BBC has settled on) does look the harder chart and would put his Mars Jupiter on Zimbabwe’s midheaven, which might suggest an exuberant ruler, who might do some good for the country. Though in both cases his Sun is conjunct the Zim 8th house Saturn and square the Zim Neptune, so he’d always be distrusted.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the Opposition leader whose MDC party could have won the past two elections had the votes been counted fairly, said he was not holding his breath about the change being a new direction for the country. He said: “This is an internal Zanu-PF conflict or implosion. It is a factional war of succession.”

Born 10 March 1952, he’s a Sun Pisces on the focal point of a Yod to Pluto sextile Neptune; with Jupiter in Aries opposition Neptune Saturn; and Mars in Scorpio square Pluto so a complicated, determined individual. Seven out of the 9 planetary aspects he has over the next three years are negative with only two constructive ones, this December and Sept/Oct 2018 with a lucky break opening new opportunities from mid 2018 onwards till early 2020. But on the whole he looks disillusioned and not making much headway.

David Cassidy – sweet face, wrecked life



The clean-cut teenybop idol of the 1970s, David Cassidy, has died suffering from alcoholism and dementia. He found fame as a child actor in The Partridge Family before going on to sell more than 30 million records, from which he earned very little having signed away the rights. Off screen and stage, he was a voracious consumer of women, drink, drugs and fast cars, an echo of his father, a philandering sex addict, manic depressive and alcoholic, who routinely beat him as a child. He hated the pressures of fame and really wanted a career as a serious actor – which never happened.

The gap between the public celebrity image and the private reality, as ever, being a Grand Canyon wide.

David Cassidy, born 12 April 1950 at 9.55am New York, was a Sun Aries in the public-career 10th house opposition Neptune in the 4th, which often occurs with individuals who sacrifice their own identity for their family; with the Sun in a trine to a compulsive-spending Pluto in the 2nd – he spent his life largely mired in debt. It’s a very untogether chart, not overly descriptive, so it’s tricky to see why he hit such heights, only to sizzle out in a wasted life. Mars in the 4th certainly suggests an angry father; and a 10th house Sun type often feels they don’t deserve their success. His Aquarius Moon conjunct Jupiter and Venus in Pisces would give him a sugary sweet appeal for women; but with his Venus opposition Saturn he’d never feel loved.

His Venus was opposition his Mars/Pluto midpoint, giving him considerable emotional turmoil; and his Moon (Jupiter) were opposition his bleak, deprived Saturn/Pluto midpoint. Neither of which would make for a happy, harmonious relationship life.

His can-be-humanitarian or can-be-super-indulgent 9th harmonic was very strong; as was his victim 12H.

His father also died in tragically ironic circumstances being burned alive after falling asleep drunk with a cigarette in his hand. What a depressing family.

Michael Hutchence – a tortured soul



Michael Hutchence, the hugely successful Australian singer/musician, frontman for INXS frontman, died 20 years ago tomorrow in lurid circumstances in a hotel bedroom. He was found hanged which could have been suicide or an auto-asphyxiation sex game gone wrong. Caught up in an escalating tabloid drama over his relationship with Paula Yates, he was sinking in a sea of drink, drugs and depression. The autopsy found alcohol, cocaine, Prozac and prescription drugs in his system,

He was born 22 January 1960 at 5am Sydney, Australia and had a maverick, exuberant Aquarius Sun conjunct his Capricorn Ascendant squaring onto a musical Neptune and intensely emotional Moon in Scorpio in his 10th house. According to a rock-music historian “he was the archetypal rock showman. He exuded an overtly sexual, macho cool with his flowing locks, and lithe and exuberant stage movements.” He also had Uranus in his 7th house suggesting he was not cut out for long-term committed relationships.

What struck me as odd at the time about his chart, was his 8th house Pluto trine a 12th house Mars Saturn in Capricorn. Kevin Spacey has similar with Saturn trine Mars Pluto trine Moon; as does Mel Gibson with Saturn Mars square Pluto. Both Spacey and Gibson have hair-raising fathers which is what you’d expect from these aspects. Yet nothing much is ever spoken about Hutchence upbringing apart from the bare details of years spent in Hong Kong with his businessman father and a separation of his parents at one point in his teens.

The blame for his downward spiral in the last year of his life is always pointed at Paula Yates, who was certainly chaotic, an addict herself and obsessed with publicity, and Bob Geldof who sensibly refused to allow his two children to accompany Yates out of the country. But I would hazard a guess that the reasons behind his depression and escapist addictions were bound up in his difficult relationship with his father and family.

Kelland Hutchence, 20 July 1924, a Sun Cancer square Saturn in Libra, was not an easy mix with his son. K’s Saturn squared Michael’s Sun, Ascendant, Mercury making M feel inadequate. Worse K’s Pluto opposed M’s Saturn Mars in Capricorn, so there would be a deep reservoir of anger issues. The relationship chart has a hostile composite Mars opposition Pluto square Mercury opposition Sun with an evasive, disappointed composite Sun square Neptune. The Mars Pluto opposition was being triggered when Hutchence died with tr Uranus conjunct the composite Mars.

The relationship between the Hutchence parents would have been very volatile. His mother, Patricia, 6 July 1926, was a Sun Pluto in Cancer square Mars in Aries, so had a dominating, angry father herself and seems to have married the same. The Kelland/Patricia relationship chart had an extremely volatile composite Mars Uranus square Venus and trine the Sun; with a power-struggling Jupiter opposition Pluto.

Michael’s Pluto in his 8th points both to the unconscious ability to project a powerful image, like many superstars, onto the public; but it also points to an all-powerful grandparent. His Mars Saturn in the 12th points to a difficult pregnancy for his mother when she was carrying him, leaving him with a residue of fear and anger.

The pressures from the Yates/Geldof involvement may have been a symptom but not the cause. What drive him to a tragic end was probably two generations in the making.

Justice League – flailing in all directions



Justice League, the super-super hero movie is making feeble headway at the box office. With an assembled team of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, it is one of the most expensive movies every made and will have to retrieve $600 million to break even. Starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill it has been trashed by many critics, getting only two out of five stars from Rotten Tomatoes and being described as “an embarrassment.” Even the fans have stayed away. Part of the problem appears to have been a chaotic production with frantic rewrites and re-shoots along the way and the loss of the director Zack Snyder after his 20-year-old daughter committed suicide in March.

Principal Photography started on 11 April 2016 when there was a usually successful Jupiter trine Pluto. But clearly it couldn’t outweigh the muddle, guddle and setbacks of a Mutable T Square (windmill in a storm) of Mars Saturn opposition Moon square Jupiter opposition Neptune. Plus an over-revved, crisis-prone  Sun Uranus in Aries square Pluto – which hinted at disruptions and upheavals ahead.

Ben Affleck, 15 August 1972 2.53 am Berkeley, CA, is a confident Sun Leo trine Jupiter in Sagittarius. But his Jupiter opposes Saturn making him hate failure and that Jupiter is being damped down by tr Saturn at the moment. So not a happy camper. What’s ahead for him in the immediate future looks awash with questions marks, domestic woes, and a couple of years of career inertia in 2019/20 with tr Neptune conjunct his midheaven. But he’s got a sterling career behind him in acting and directing as well as his charity work so the odd blip won’t derail him.

Henry Cavill, 5 May 1983, is a determined Sun Mars in Taurus with a hard-edged Pluto Saturn conjunction. His starry Venus opposition Neptune in Sagittarius is getting rained on at the moment again by tr Saturn; and he’s also facing a tough slog in 2018/19 with tr Pluto trine his Mars and tr Uranus opposing his Pluto Saturn, which will shake him up and stick him at the same time. By 2020 he’ll be wreathed in smiles again.

Northern Ireland – uncertainty and political inertia



Paralysis has gripped Northern Ireland as the impasse in restoring power-sharing government continues and there is anxiety close to horror about the prospect of a hard border with the Republic returning post-Brexit.

The Northern Ireland 7 December 1922 3.28pm Belfast chart looks discouraged now with little sign of improvement over the next three years. The Solar Arc Uranus was opposing the NI Mercury Sun in the run-up to Brexit for an almighty shock; and this year there’s a depressed Solar Arc Saturn opposition the NI Moon, as the population grows steadily more disenchanted with politicians of all stripes. And as if that wasn’t gloomy and stuck enough there’s a Solar Arc Pluto conjunct Saturn, exact within weeks. Ahead in 2018/19 tr Uranus squares the MC in April 2018 and February 2019 for a forced change of direction. During which there’s a downhill slide as tr Neptune squares the NI Sun Mercury, undermining security and trust further.

Only by 2020 is there a sign of relief and a lucky break as tr Uranus opposes the NI Jupiter and tr Saturn moves out of NI’s financial 8th after a couple of years of shortages. By 2021 Solar Arc Mars crosses the NI Ascendant which will produce a roar of determination and high energy.

Not a good phase but into the 2020s there’ll be more bounce and enthusiasm.

Queen and Prince Philip – one fixed, the other adaptable



Royal romance fans are enraptured by tales of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s ‘perfect love affair’ as they celebrate their 70th anniversary. But this was no easy marriage.

The Queen is a Taurus and Philip a Gemini, which isn’t an intuitively good match, yet in Gunther Sachs’ astrological study this was the most long lasting of all unions. Taurus is enduring, loves ploughing the same furrow for ever, is possessive, stubborn and a Fixed sign. Gemini has a reputation for wandering especially in the male of the species, but is flexible. That is mirrored into the rest of their charts. The Queen is incredibly fixed with Mars Jupiter in Aquarius opposition Moon Neptune in Leo squaring onto an obsessively dutiful Saturn on her midheaven. Philip has Sun Mars in Gemini, Saturn Jupiter in Virgo and Uranus in Pisces so is essentially Mutable, which means adaptable. She stands like an oak tree while he bends round her, though almost certainly keeping his escape routes open to suit himself.

He does have three Fixed planets for some staying power  – a Moon Neptune in Leo like her, giving them both a liking for pomp and flamboyance, as well as tendency to gloss over unpleasantness in their emotional lives. And he has Venus in Taurus which is conjunct her 3rd house Sun, bringing affection and also an ability to communicate well. His Sun Mars fall in the Queen’s 5th house of fun, romance, playfulness and children, which is what he brings to the match. Her Taurus Sun is conjunct his IC (on a 9.46pm birth time) bringing a settled and sumptuous home life, important to him because of his erratic, largely penniless childhood. He would feel shut out by her conscientious need to carry out her responsibilities since her Saturn squares his Moon but was clearly able  over time to build his own life and interests while staying within the Royal Family. His North Node is in Libra so close relationships would not come naturally to him. Oddly enough a relationship that had to withstand separations of career and travel would not always be a hardship.

Their relationship chart does have an easy-going composite Sun Mercury opposition Jupiter, which would help enormously to smooth round the inevitable rough edges in a goldfish bowl existence. But there is also a starkly difficult composite Mars opposition Saturn, which usually occurs where there is unkindness within a relationship or where one partner has to supress their needs to please the other. Philip certainly had to grit his teeth as he lost his career and his name when she acceded to the throne unexpectedly early, only five years into their marriage. That Mars Saturn would give rise to great aggravation and resentment at times, especially around the time of Prince Charles’ marriage to Diana, when tr Pluto was in Libra building up the pressure between them considerably.

Circumstances would also help to glue them together through the bumpy patches since divorce was unthinkable in those circles until relatively recently. Prince Margaret’s divorce in 1978 was the first royal divorce since Henry V111. By that time the Queen and Philip had been married for over 30 years and had no doubt found an equilibrium, which has mellowed in old age into a redoubtable partnership.

Angela Merkel – should have listened to her instincts



Angela Merkel is facing her biggest challenge in 12 years as chancellor as talks on forming a coalition government collapse. For Germany it is an unprecedented political crisis which could spell the end of the Merkel era; and as she is distracted by a domestic struggle for political survival, her role as chief stabiliser for the EU will be seriously undermined. It isn’t even clear if a fresh election is called whether she will be her party’s choice as leader.

She should have followed her earlier instincts and resigned after her third term when still on a high. Tr Saturn has been moving below her Ascendant since late 2016 for several years ahead, which for politicians and ambitious types usually leads to failures, misjudgements as well as decreasing energy and enthusiasm. Exactly now tr Saturn is conjunct her Mars for a setback; and the more powerful block of Solar Arc Pluto square her Cancer Sun is also in place, not disappearing for several months. Tr Pluto is also square her Libra midheaven now which suggests damage to reputation and another roadblock.

December this year and January 2018 see tr Uranus square her Sun for jolts, changes of direction and high-tension over restrictions. Though tr Pluto opposition her Sun/Jupiter midpoint also in December will see her in bullish mood. There won’t be much improvement ahead for her with a disastrous February 2018 ahead; and more serious upsets after mid year.

Her relationship chart with Germany is moving into a time of confusion and dissolution with tr Pluto pounding down on the composite Sun opposition Mercury square Neptune. And even the successful-together composite Jupiter Pluto conjunction is being damaged by tr Saturn in opposition from late in December and on and off through 2018.

Germany is facing troubled times domestically with tr Pluto already moving through its 4th house, to be joined in 2019 by tr Saturn. Before then from late this December tr Saturn will square the Germany Mars and conjunct Saturn, bringing high irritation over setbacks. With uncertainty over close relationships with neighbouring countries from February 2018 onwards as the country makes a radical change of direction as tr Uranus squares the 10th house Uranus.

There will be increasing unrest between Germany and the EU, building up from mid 2018 and worsening dramatically in 2019 with both tr Saturn and tr Uranus knocking away the props that held the alliance together in its present form.