Aretha Franklin – Young, Gifted and Black



Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul”, one of the best selling artists of all time, appears to be getting hospice care at home having been ill for a number of years, though she was still performing late last year.

She was born 25 March 1942 10.30pm Memphis Tennessee to a well-known itinerant preacher father who was known for his “ million-dollar voice” and a musical mother. Her parents separated and her mother died when she was 10 at which point she started singing gospel and accompanied her father on his gospel-caravan tours, having many musical performers either caring for her, like Mahalia Jackson, or visiting their home. She had her first child at 12 by a school friend, her second at fourteen and had two more in her 20s, and has been married twice.

She has a go-ahead Aries Sun in her performing 5th house trine Pluto; with her Venus in Aquarius square Uranus Saturn in Taurus in her 7th – so not an easy emotional life, with an abusive first marriage. Her Cancer Moon in the religious 9th is trine Mercury in musical Pisces. And she has a T Square of Mercury opposition North Node square an 8th house Jupiter Mars in Gemini – she wouldn’t ever be short of enthusiasm and good luck. Her Uranus is in a creative trine to Neptune.

Tr Neptune has been moving round her T square over the past two years which would lower her energy; and her Solar Arc Mars was square her Saturn last year and now moving towards the square to her Uranus, which would bring considerable stress.

Her musical, artistic 7th Harmonic is particularly strongly aspected with a New Moon in Taurus, a lucky Earth Grand Trine and a life-of-pain-and-anger Mars Pluto.

A lovely lady who has lived a full life and then some.


Italy Bridge Collapse – a Neptune Pluto horror



Over 20 have been killed and dozens more are feared dead when a motorway bridge collapsed at 11.30am this morning in Genoa, Italy during a fierce thunderstorm, with cars and trucks falling 300 feet onto rail tracks below.

It happened when Pluto and Mars in Capricorn were straddling the IC which is brutal enough. And the weekend’s Solar Eclipse at 18 Leo was opposition the Eclipse Neptune/Pluto midpoint, aspected also by Venus and Saturn, which is often around during major disasters.

This recent Eclipse also had Pluto and Mars straddling the IC set for Genoa; the late July Lunar eclipse had Neptune on the Ascendant and Venus on the Descendant; the mid July Solar Eclipse had Neptune on the MC and Saturn on the Descendant.  So it was a significant location with planets on the angles.

The Italy 17 March 1861 chart does look shaken at the moment with tr Neptune square the Sun/Saturn midpoint, which Ebertin connects to unexpected events to do with flying and water; and disintegration. Which isn’t, tragically, too far off the mark.

Apart from that all that’s showing on the Italy chart is an overdose of Jupiter which oddly enough often does accompany disasters. The weekend Leo Solar Eclipse was conjunct the Italy Jupiter; and tr Pluto is conjunct the Solar Arc Jupiter and both conjunct the Italy North Node. The Italy Neptune/Pluto midpoint is also being sparked up this year by tr Pluto square, back to the exact aspect in September and October. There must have been sub-standard building materials used which is a scary thought.

What with bridge collapses, burning-car rioters in Sweden and another terrorist car attack in London, the Mars opposition North Node square Uranus is making its explosive and disruptive presence felt.

New York – unease in the US financial centre ** Updated



New York could be creeping towards a mood redolent in some respects of 1929/30 as transiting Saturn conjuncts the New York Inc Capricorn Sun and squares the NY Jupiter; and the Solar Arc Saturn squares the Sun and opposes the NY Jupiter.  Saturn tends to have a discouraging effect and hitting on Jupiter usually has negative effects on finances and enthusiasm.

The Saturn transits come exact this December; and the Solar Arc Saturn hard aspects pick up from late 2019 through to 2020.

In 1929 for the Wall Street Crash the NY Solar Arc Saturn was square the NY Jupiter and conjunct the NY Sun in 1930. With the additional jolt of Solar Arc Uranus hitting on both the Sun and Jupiter in 1930; and the devastation of tr Pluto conjunct the Solar Arc Neptune – neither of which are around this time. So not quite as bad.

The NY Inc chart, 1 January 1898 has, in addition to four Cardinal planets (Sun, Mercury, Jupiter and perhaps Moon) providing a wealth of initiative and ambition, also six highly-strung, changeable Mutable planets. The generational Neptune Pluto in Gemini with Pluto in a tough-minded opposition to Saturn in Sagittarius (conjunct Uranus) and Neptune widely opposition Mars Venus in last degree Sagittarius/

At 9/11 the war-like transiting Saturn in Gemini opposition tr Pluto in Sagittarius hit the NY Pluto, so pulling out its formidable resilience. When the Lehman Brothers collapse of 15 September 2008 occurred tr Pluto was conjunct the NY Mars Venus; with the economically-unstable tr Uranus in Pisces opposition tr Saturn in Virgo hitting on the NY Neptune and Pluto – a considerable whammy. Plus the Solar Arc Saturn was square the NY Mars Venus in the aftermath.

Whatever is coming up is a natural progression from the Lehman collapse and aftermath as the Solar Arc Saturn has moved off the NY Mars Venus and is near the exact square to the NY Sun.

Stock Exchange charts are not always reliable but for what it’s worth – NY SE 17 May 1792 11.30am. This has slightly similar influences to 1929 with tr Pluto in aspect to the Mars, exact this September/October and the Solar Arc Sun in both 1929 and late this year has outer planet hard aspects. Though 1929 has additional negative influences as well.

Doesn’t mean there will be exactly the same but it does look downbeat that’s for sure.

Add on: The Wall Street crash occurred with Pluto at 19 degrees Cancer with tr Uranus in first decan Aries and tr Saturn in late Sagittarius. That would pull together in 1930 and on into a Pluto opposition Saturn square Uranus for the start of the Great Depression which followed. Saturn Pluto is bleak, accompanies hardship and deprivation. Saturn square Uranus is usually economically unstable. Uranus Pluto is disruptive.

There are some similarities in so far as the Saturn Pluto conjunction in Capricorn drawing close from spring 2019 running till early 2020 will most likely accompany a recession and perhaps a more significant war globally. But the Saturn Uranus is missing as is the Uranus Pluto (which we’ve had 2012 to 2016.)

There is a repeat of the 3 South Saros cycle Eclipse in late 2019 which was around late 1929 and late 2001 as well. That cycle also occurred in late 1947 when the Cold War was hotting up and the House Un-American Activities Committee (commies under the bed) got under way. It was there also in late 1965 when the Vietnam War and anti-demos were escalating. And in late 1983. On all of those times there were contributory pressures from e.g. Saturn opposition Uranus Pluto in Virgo in the mid 1960s; and the Saturn Pluto in Leo conjunction in 1947; and Saturn Pluto in Scorpio in 1983.

All of the 2019 Eclipses in Capricorn (beginning and end of the year) and Cancer midway will hit on the USA chart with its Sun, Jupiter and Venus in Cancer. Ditto the UK and the EU and Germany all with Capricorn Suns.

All looks like a bumpy ride though nothing like as poleaxing as 1929 and the early 1930s.


VS Naipaul – a talent for being different



VS Naipaul, one of the giants of 20th Century writing, a Booker and Nobel Literature Prize winner, has died. He was born to descendants of indentured Indians in colonial Trinidad on 17 August 1932 with a journalist father, won a scholarship to Oxford and went on to write 30 books from comic novels set in his homeland to memoir and travel writing.

He was known as ‘independent, cussed, contrary’; ‘paying no attention to what was considered fashionable.’ His descriptions of life in the colonial world wasn’t always popular with those he left behind, especially his depictions of disintegration and hypocrisy of the third world. His private life was complicated with a mistress of 24 years he kept during his first marriage and when his wife died he moved relationships to marry someone else.

He was born with the generational bleak, tough-minded Pluto opposition Saturn in Capricorn square Uranus in place making him a trail-blazer but also disruptive, defiant and impatient.  His Leo Sun Mercury were trine Uranus so he’d enjoy the attention he received by being an outsider and idiosyncratic. He also had a passionately enthusiastic Venus Mars in Cancer sextile a head-in-the-clouds Neptune Jupiter in Virgo. His Moon was in Pisces.

He had  strong creative 5th and especially 7th harmonics chart and a hard-edged writers 21H.

Monsanto – rounded down with a ruinous result ** Add On



Monsanto, the agrochemical corporation which is a major producer of genetically modified crops, has lost their case against a claim that their weedkiller Roundup caused cancer. A San Francisco jury awarded $289 million to a terminally ill groundsman. They found that Monsanto failed to warn him of the health hazards from exposure and “acted with malice or oppression”. During the lengthy trial, the plaintiff’s attorneys brought forward internal emails from Monsanto executives they said demonstrated how the corporation repeatedly ignored experts’ warnings, sought favourable scientific analyses and helped to “ghost-write” research that encouraged continued usage. This is the first Roundup case with another 4,000 similar expected to follow.

Monsanto was founded on 29 November 1901 when Uranus in Sagittarius was in an innovative, experimental opposition to Pluto – both of which are being undermined by tr Neptune square exactly now and through till 2020. There’s also a materially-ambitious collection of Mars, a Saturn Jupiter conjunction and Venus in Capricorn. Tr Saturn is conjunct the Mars this year for a major setback, once more in the fall; and then moves onto the Saturn Return and tr Saturn conjunct Jupiter in 2019 which looks sobering and belt-tightening financially. This year there’s also a shock/collision Solar Arc Sun square Mars as their first trial started. The early 2020s don’t look too progressive either with tr Neptune again dissolving and panicking several of the Sun midpoints.

Monsanto executives are still denying Roundup is carcinogenic.

Monsanto is owned by Bayer, founded 1 August 1853, who will have to foot the bills. Their Pluto in Taurus square a Leo Sun is being upended exactly at the moment by tr Uranus in hard aspect and that will run on to 2020/21 so shaking the company considerably. Tr Neptune is in a sinking square to their Jupiter and conjunct Neptune (for a Return) until early 2019. And there’s a panicky-failure Solar Arc Mars square Neptune around 2021 – so not in the most illustrious times of their existence.

Astrid Holleeder – a lawyer sister v a crime boss brother



Astrid Holleeder’s memoir, Judas: How a Sister’s Testimony Brought Down a Criminal Mastermind, has just been released in the US and UK with Steven Spielberg creating a TV series on her life.  Her book tells of her life as an unwilling confidante to her brother, Willem Holleeder, a notorious Dutch crime boss, both children of an alcoholic and abusive father. She turned against her brother after the attempted murder of his best childhood friend and brother-in-law, shot multiple times while their sister, Sonja and 2-year-old son were beside him in the car. They all survived, but he was later gunned down in the street.

In 2013 she decided to testify against her brother having secretly recorded hundreds of hours of conversations with him, including confessions about various killings.  She has been in hiding since 2017, when she discovered that her brother had put a contract out on her life, and wears a bulletproof helmet, neck guard and vest when she leaves her secret apartment. The trial is ongoing in the Netherlands with Astrid the key witness for the Justice Department, which hopes to convict him on six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

She was born 4 December 1965 and Willem 29 May 1958.

She’s a Sun Mercury in Sagittarius square Saturn in Pisces and Uranus Pluto in Virgo; with her Mars in Capricorn trine Uranus Pluto – all the hallmarks of an aggressive and unpredictable father are there.  She’s highly-strung, outspoken, perhaps drawn to a more respectable profession by her Mars and Venus in socially-ambitious Capricorn.

Her brother Willem is a more obvious toughie with a bleak and entrepreneurial Fire Grand Trine of Saturn trine Pluto trine Venus with his Mars in a can-be cruel square to Saturn and inconjunct Jupiter; and a can-be-fanatical Neptune square Uranus.

Her Saturn squares his Gemini Sun; and his Mars opposes her Uranus Pluto for an explosive and hostile interface.

Their relationship chart echoes what she describes in her book of the conflicting emotions of both hating and loving, wanting to protect and then turning against, her brother. There is an affectionate composite Sun Venus conjunction in a power-struggling opposition to Pluto; with an adventurous Jupiter Uranus; and a suspicious/doubting Neptune square Saturn and an undermining Neptune square Mars. She’s looking understandably nerve-wracked this year and next; more upbeat in 2020; then decidedly depressed in 2021/2022. That latter period is when her brother looks very upbeat and successful which doesn’t bode well.

It’s the classic example of how criminal lawyers and criminals can share similar charts – both operate in the same arena, just on different sides of the fence.

Saudi Arabia v Canada – a sandstorm of a message



A bizarre spat has brewed up between Canada and Saudi Arabia after Canada’s foreign ministry expressed its concern over the arrest of Saudi civil society and women’s rights activists, which echoed what had already been said by the UN.

Saudi Arabia then threw a tantrum, expelling Canada’s ambassador, suspending new trade and investment with Ottawa, making plans to remove thousands of Saudi students and medical patients from Canada, and suspending the state airline’s flights to and from Canada. Analysts said the spat had little to do with Canada, but was a broader warning to western governments that any criticism of Saudi domestic policies is unacceptable.

While it may be true that Canada has been the fall guy set up as the example, there are obvious fault lines between the two country and both leaders’ charts.

Canada’s stalwart Saturn in Scorpio opposition Pluto falls across the Saudi 1902 10th/4th houses and squares the Saudi Mars – indicating that CA’s criticism of the Saudi government would bite. The Saudi chart also has a grandstanding 5th house Pluto which Canada’s Uranus opposes, which would also elbow their pride.

Justin Trudeau’s liberally-inclined Saturn opposition Neptune squares the Crown Prince MbS’s Virgo Sun, so the latter would feel put down. MbS’s Neptune is square JT’s Capricorn Sun and squares JT’s 2nd house Pluto, so MbS will be slippery in regard to Trudeau and attempt to undermine him financially.

Their relationship chart has a power-struggling-for-the-upper-hand composite Jupiter square Pluto; and an only-one-can-win Mars opposition Neptune. As does the Canada/Saudi relationship chart. Basically an ego-spat.

MbS does have the start of tr Uranus moving in hard aspect round his Fixed and pushily confident T Square of Pluto, Venus, Jupiter, which started a few weeks back and runs into 2020, so he’s likely to be over reacting and charging ahead regardless in several directions.

Neither side is suffering significant costs in the dispute so it may drag on. The USA typically has said nothing to help Canada, and even more typically neither has the UK, no doubt mindful of the money its defence contracts bring in.

It’s all the odder since MbS is supposed to be opening up Saudi Arabia and releasing women from their black laundry bags.

Robert Redford riding off into the sunset



Robert Redford has decided to hang up his spurs with his final movie The Old Man & The Gun playing career criminal and escape artist Forrest Tucker, due out late September. He said “I’ve been doing it (acting) since I was 21. I thought why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive?”

He made his mark in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men and Out of Africa; as well as with his Sundance Film Festival and his advocacy of environmental causes.

Born 18 August 1936 8.02 pm Santa Monica, CA, he didn’t excel in school, fell out of college and ended up in New York, starting to act on Broadway and in television before moving into films.

He has a hard-working 6th house Leo Sun with Venus, Neptune, Mercury, Moon in Virgo also in his 6th; and his Moon, Mercury, Neptune opposition Saturn in Pisces and square Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 9th.

The Virgo planets plus Saturn plus 6th house would make him fairly understated and he was known as “the cool guy”, with one director remarking “The young Redford’s ambition was as hot as his personality was chilly.”

Jupiter in the 9th has an idealistic and philosophical slant  as well as being a luck-bringer as the focal planet on a T Square. His entertainment 5th house has a mega-ton Pluto in late Cancer conjunct Mars in Leo, so when he performed he made a powerful impact. His Uranus in Taurus is in a creative trine to Neptune and trine his Capricorn North Node for an Earth Grand Trine hence his interests in the natural world.

Why now for retirement? He’s on a Progressed Moon Return which is a staging post in life; has had Jupiter moving through his 8th recently which often accompanies a transition. Plus his Solar Arc MC is almost exactly conjunct his Saturn  drawing a line; and his Solar Arc Mars is moving to square his Pluto which will block his 5th house activities.

Although never say never. Actors often retire until tempted by another juicy project. And with tr Saturn now moving through his upper quadrant for a few years he’s unlikely to put his feet up altogether.

Angelina & Brad – an agonising Plutonic split



Angelina Jolie has been scrapping with her not-quite-ex Brad Pitt over child support, which she insists hasn’t been paid. He retorted he’d handed over $1.3 million plus an $8 million loan for a house. So back to court it goes.

Their relationship chart does have a composite Sun opposition Pluto which will be part of the problem. Plutonic relationships are transformational for both, so superglues them together when they are together. Which makes separation a gruelling process when the time comes. It ends up in bitterness, hostility and long-dragged out fights, with money often being a proxy for other resentments.

It hardly seems likely that either are short of a buck though superstars do have stratospherically expensive lifestyles with a multitude of agents, managers, staff, multiple houses, private tutors and private jets eating into income.

Angelina Jolie does have an over-reactive chart with a Mars Moon opposition Pluto widely square Saturn in Cancer – and won’t let go of perceived humiliations easily. Her Saturn does fall in his 8th house of finances and intimacy and opposes his batch of 2nd house Capricorn planets – Mars, Mercury, Moon and Venus – so money would always be a bone of contention, which would deflect attention away from deeper issues of emotional dysfunction in the relationship. Her Pluto falls in his 10th so she’d want to be in control. His chaotic and unpredictable Uranus Pluto falls in her 2nd which is probably what’s riling her at the moment.

He does have tr Saturn moving through his 2nd at the moment, so not at his peak earning power or success – and will undoubtedly be facing a few setbacks which will hit him in the wallet from later this year and through 2019.

Their relationship chart hints this may run and run one way and another until the mid 2020s. There is a composite Mars square Neptune in their relationship chart as well as Sun Pluto, which suggests neither can bear for the other to win.

Not just a first world problem but a Hollywood-style tizzy beyond most ordinary comprehension.