Do You Have “Joyful” Planets In Your Chart?


This has nothing to do with how joyful you are as a person, but brownie points to you if you automatically replied “yes!” before you even read beyond the post title!


“Planetary joy” is something of an older, traditional thing that’s not used as often anymore. It designates each of the seven traditional visible celestial bodies a house that they are/were purported to really express their inherent qualities the best in. A planet in a house it “rejoices” in gives that planet a type of dignity. A lot of people know what essential dignity is: a planet in its domicile, for instance. (Mercury in Gemini -the sign it rules- would have essential dignity.) Planets can also have dignity if they are in a house of their jollies. These things did not come about by guesswork or accidents; there was good reason underlying the matchmaking or it wouldn’t have stuck around for long.


So, what houses do the traditional planets find “joy” in?

[Read more…]

Synastry Vs. Composite Charts: The Destiny Of Your Relationship


“Hi Clarissa, I noticed on your astrology readings page that you prefer composite charts for relationships more than synastry charts. Can you explain why?” ~ Heidi 


This was a recent email question posed to me after someone read that on my consultation page that I think synastry charts between two people are a bit overrated, and that I prefer looking at composite charts for relationships. Sometimes these things are dependent on the astrologer and their unique experience; no two astrologers will see eye to eye on everything. I do think synastry is overrated. Reason being: we have synastry with everyone. Synastry just describes how something in your chart fits in with another person’s chart. You have synastry with your boss, your coworkers, your hair stylist, the wait staff at restaurants. If you read my blog and love me, you’ve got great synastry with me. If you hate me and feel compelled to write me a long email telling me so, you’ve got synastry there too. (Also, too much time on your hands.)


A composite chart, in my opinion and from my experience, better describes the dynamics that brought two people into a relationship. You have synastry with everyone, and a good portion of them will have similar synastry charts as the person you’re in love with. So, what drew you two together specifically? Synastry can describe chemistry, composite can take it one step further and describe destiny, or the deeper feeling of fate that brings a relationship together.


A 9th house emphasis in a composite chart can show two people brought together by shared beliefs, and show a relationship that falls apart if people do not know exactly what the other person believes in or if beliefs change. A 10th house emphasis in a composite can show a couple that can turn the relationship into a business, or help each others’ status. It can also show they think of each other as status symbols that raise their individual profile first, and think of them as a person second. An 11th house emphasis can show the couple remains friends when the romance has faded, which is a benefit in any romantic partnership. It can also show they think of each other as “just friends” and it never goes to a deeper level. A 4th house composite emphasis can show a couple brought together or destroyed by views on heritage, family, and residence. An 8th house emphasis can show that the couple is brought together for the common purpose of emotional and psychological exploration; how that ends depends on how well equipped each partner is for such an intense journey.


The ascendant of the composite chart is a good indicator of how other people view the two people in a relationship. It can explain why some people are very happy despite public fighting and arguments, or why two people who appear perfect in the eyes of loved ones have nothing but struggles behind closed doors.


Do you prefer synastry or composite charts for relationships? Which one and why? What has been your personal experience of the houses in composite charts? Let us know in the comments below!


Stop What You’re Doing Immediately And Find Where Freddie Mercury Is In Your Chart!

Freddie Mercury astrology asteroid

Good old fashioned lover boy.


Just when Mercury retrograde was starting to get me down, the real star powered Mercury made everything right again!


There’s been a dizzying amount of astronomical discoveries so far in 2016 (the non-discovery of Planet 9 or Planet X or whatever notwithstanding) that I’ve been meaning to write about but haven’t got around to yet (with Mercury retrograde, I’ve been doing battle with people plagiarizing my writing, for real). But today, September 5th, 2016, the most important moment in astrology and astronomy history (maybe ever) was announced. Today, to commemorate what would’ve been Freddie Mercury’s 70th birthday, asteroid #17473 was renamed Freddiemercury. Asteroid #17473 was discovered in 1991, the same year Mercury left this world, providing proof he really was from another dimension. As I’ve written about before, any celestial body worth its salt will have a synchronistic connection and backstory to its name; the synch of Freddiemercury is all the proof I need that this virtuoso cosmic body should be used in every astrology reading henceforth!


No, seriously, find Freddiemercury in your chart. Now. Go to and put in your birth data to make a free chart. Once you’ve saved it, at the top of the screen click “Free Horoscopes” and click on “Extended Chart Selection”. Once there, scroll to the bottom of the screen. You’ll see an empty bar that allows you to enter asteroid numbers. Put in 17473 and click “Click Here To Show The Chart”. Boom! You now know where Freddie Mercury lives on in each of us!


Since it’s Mercury’s birthday today, let’s have a look at his chart:


Freddie Mercury asteroid astrology


(You’ll notice he had his own namesake asteroid Freddiemercury in very tight conjunction to his planet Mercury. Tee hee.)


No surprise he was a Leo rising, is it? Sun in the 1st house, beautifully artistic Sagittarius Moon in the 5th, Venus raunchy in the via combusta. Jupiter in Libra. And, like many celebrities, he was a 12th house person as well; for him it was Pluto and Saturn behind the scenes. Underneath the flashy exterior, a world of pain and dreams and beauty and lonesome yearning for something this world never offers. Saturn in hard aspect to Jupiter lead to his overbite caused from having four extra teeth, which he wouldn’t remove because he believed it created the beautiful sound of his voice, and who’d ever want to lose this:



The piano playing, though? That’s all Mercury (no pun intended). Venus and Leo and the 5th house and Jupiter in Libra, etc.: these are things in astrology that show creative artistic appreciation and potential but the manual dexterity performers run on is, more often than not, their Mercury and/or Mars. (Which is why I’m currently writing about a musician and not playing music myself…) Freddie Mercury was a Virgo and Virgo runs on proper skills. Those people who go on and on about what a flamboyant “showman” he was are doing his memory a disservice; he was a proper songwriter, producer, and multi-instrument musician as much as, or more, than anything else. He did it so well he made it look easy.


So, happy birthday Freddie Mercury and thank you for even glamming up something like astrology.




R.I.P Muhammad Ali – Still The Greatest



Yet again a hero to many has passed away this year. Death seems to have made a pact with 2016 to only take those who meant so much to us, those who stood for something. Yesterday, June 3rd, it was announced that Muhammad Ali died. The fact that he had [Read more…]

R.I.P Dearly Beloved Prince



Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life…


2016 continues to prove it is the year that won’t stop taking all the good ones from us. We added Prince to that list today. Music once again just got a little less sassy, sexy, smart, otherworldly. Reading over Prince’s life and learning things about him I never knew, that lyric from “Let’s Go Crazy” is only one of many things Prince said that seemed to be channeled from somewhere beyond. At his final concert last week, Prince told the crowd “wait a few days before you waste your prayers on me”. Apparently he was an epileptic in his youth (interesting to me as I was also epileptic in my youth and teens) and told his mom at age 7 that an angel had appeared to him, saying the seizures would stop. And they did. I knew he was the quintessential Gemini (ahem, turning his name into a symbol…), but knew nothing else of his chart until today. The Gemini expressiveness was indeed a fount for something much deeper in him:


Prince natal chart + transits at time of death

Prince natal chart + transits at time of death


Scorpio rising; Scorpio’s modern ruling planet Pluto (thus the chart ruler) in exact conjunction to Midheaven aka public image at the anaretic 29th degree of Leo; Scorpio’s traditional ruling planet Mars at 0 degrees of the sign it still rules, Aries, and in the 5th house of arts and creativity. Raw, visceral energy doesn’t even begin to describe it. His sexual energy manifesting through his art is easy enough to explain, and with Scorpio rising and the chart’s ruler in exact conjunction to his career/image angle it wasn’t hard to grab attention that way.


Pluto conjunct Midheaven: the public image connected to death and secrets. As I said I had never looked at his chart before, and was surprised at the connections -both by natal positions and by transits- that Prince shared with Robin Williams.




Williams was also a Scorpio rising with Pluto in Leo conjunct the Midheaven; while he wasn’t a Gemini, the ruling planet of Gemini -Mercury- was in the Pluto-MC conjunction as well. Both Robin Williams and Prince were Pisces Moons. The Scorpio rising will project a certain exterior to the world at large to protect itself; for both Prince and Robin Williams their exteriors masked an inner life that was far more sensitive, susceptible, and easily lost and overwhelmed than most would immediately think. And very, very intuitive. Prince’s Pisces Moon was conjunct his IC, in tight opposition to that Pluto-MC conjunction. Home was his refuge, but I wonder how healthy of an escape it was. Adding to the heavy Plutonic nature of his birth chart is the Sun in the 8th house. These people are never strangers to psychological pain. Pisces’ ruling planet is nebulous, mythological ocean god Neptune and it is in the house it rules, the intangible and impossible to pin down 12th house. Here too is his North Node; while he often projected the image of being fully devoted to exploring the realm of the physical senses, his higher calling was always pulling him to explore the world far beyond this one. Music wasn’t just a passion, it was his direct connection to the divine. How he seen the divine within himself.


Both Prince and Robin Williams had Neptune transiting their 4th houses at the times of their death. With Scorpio rising, Mars and Pluto were co-rulers of Prince’s chart, and Mars and Pluto both just stationed retrograde one day apart. At 57 1/2 years old, Prince had also just entered the beginning of his second Saturn Return. All that’s a strong energy for someone who reportedly wasn’t healthy at the time. The cause of death isn’t known yet, but he had a nasty bout of flu that put him in the hospital just a few days previous and perhaps the weakening of his constitution facilitated whatever the cause of death was. Given the Neptunian nature, fluid buildup in the lungs would fit. Neptune rules fluids and a lot of people associate Neptunian death as drowning or poisoning or alcohol overdose; often, pneumonia or encephalitis or similar are the culprits.


(David Bowie did not have Pluto on the MC, so he wasn’t remembered for his actual death as much as he was/will be for the art he created about the transition from one stage of life to the next.)


It probably doesn’t matter in the court of public opinion what the actual cause was, though. Pluto is on the MC and, just like Williams, there will forever be mystery as to the actual cause and reports of fighting over the estate. The tangibles of such considerable personal investments of one’s soul energy. It was a small joke I seen around the Internet today that Prince is probably laughing at anyone trying to find and share his music on YouTube. But, it was no joke to him while alive. Power and control are Scorpio themes, and with Pluto conjunct Midheaven those power struggles played out in public. Remember Prince writing “SLAVE” on his face during a struggle with his record company? Not mere attention seeking on his part; the Scorpio/Pluto mantra of “energy in must equal energy out” was a deeply serious thing. Add to that Venus in Taurus, the money planet in the sign it rules and that doesn’t think twice about valuing its own self worth, and you ended up with the artist who was acutely aware of the ways his creative output would be used at his expense for the profits of others if he didn’t exert complete control.


So, no, even though I tried I could not find my favorite Prince songs for free on YouTube to share here (this link is the only one I could find of my very favorite Prince song), but while searching I did find a funny video of him kicking Kim Kardashian off his stage and taunting her with “oh what’s Kanye saying?”:



which isn’t exactly something to pay tribute to him for, but he was a Gemini after all (like Ian Dury, had Mercury in Gemini and Chiron in the 3rd house, a way with words that cannot be copied) and a funny, witty dude, and laughing at it temporarily interrupted my sadder thoughts. And illustrates again what I described in the David Bowie post is happening in music: the more we lose original brilliance, the more it contrasts with the dead eyed, soulless “entertainment” of the Pluto in Capricorn years.


UPDATE 4/24: Just yesterday someone uploaded to YouTube a live version of Prince covering a Jimi Hendrix song, “Red House”. I want to hug that person to death for doing it. The best artist of my time covering the greatest artist before him?! Do your heart and soul a world of good and watch it, share it. Also, show it to those uninformed people who think Prince was a “pop singer”. He should be remembered as much for being a producer, multitalented instrumentalist and particularly a kickass guitarist. Damn it this video made me cry but so, so worth it.




Seeing Attraction, Repulsion And Growth In Synastry

Rose embers by Ars Thanea

Smoldering romance still burning. Rose embers by Ars Thanea.



Why don’t you make posts about north node meanings? – Alessandra


Hi Clarissa, I was wondering about synastry and hoping you might say something on it. I know we shouldn’t discriminate based on a person’s chart but realistically we just get on better with some signs while others infuriate us. – Alex



These were two questions I received in response to this post asking what readers would like to see covered here. The first came through the comments section, the second in email. I’m not a fan of synastry in general, not that it doesn’t work but I find it overrated. Synastry that looks perfect on paper does not necessarily translate to a perfect relationship in real life. People are free to use the potential in their charts any way they please and in ways not to their partners liking, synastry chart be damned. I am more partial to using composite charts for couples but again a person is free to use the potential of a relationship however they choose, so there’s limitations to what partnership charts can do.


I also am absolutely not a fan of using astrology as a method of discrimination against people. Generally this comes from people who, when first starting to learn about astrology, look at the charts of people they don’t like or have difficulty getting along with and find a common denominator, a certain Sun sign or rising sign for example. So, they assume all people with that common denominator in their charts are such-and-such and begin to stereotype and/or avoid them. There’s problems with this, besides the obvious one of writing off large amounts of people; for one thing, a person may be encountering those who are exhibiting the worst of a particular astrological infuence. That’s something that happens to every planet, sign and house. People being free to use potential as they want means not everyone wants to embrace their better potential. How a person uses what is at their disposal is more a matter of their character, and character is not shown in a chart.


It’s common to have certain negative experiences one after another with a certain astrological denominator, make assumptions based on negative experiences, and then find someone with the same thing in their chart who changes your opinion for the better. Writing people off or painting them with a broad brush based on their charts is a great way to alienate potential friends and lovers.


That’s not to say that certain astrological influences don’t provoke significant responses in people, though. It’s worth investigating why people of a particular astrological makeup provoke such responses in you if you find this happens often. Stop and consider that there’s nothing wrong with them, that instead this reaction is saying something about you.


People can make a relationship last, and be a happy one based on so many other factors, that seemingly hard or doom-and-gloom synastry or composite aspects shouldn’t be a deciding factor. It is information worth knowing, for sure, but ultimately it’s up to the owners of the charts to make a relationship work and what looks bad on paper can make it interesting and even fun in real life. Having said all that, there are some things I look at in synastry that are worth considering, and that I find can create trouble spots if they are not actively worked with and worked out.


– Partners who trigger each others North or South Nodes The Nodes are sensitive points in our charts, full of information about who we are, where we’re going and where we’ve been and no longer need to be. As I wrote previously in The North Node in Virgo Manifesto:


“The North Node is everyone’s manifesto. It is the point astrologers look to in a chart for greatest realization of potential and fulfillment. It is always opposite the South Node, that area of life that we are old pros at and do not need to further develop; in fact lingering too long around the South Node is always to our detriment. We are not static; we are meant to move and grow. The North Node is our mission statement, our declaration of intention; the path not yet travelled but a journey we need to undertake anyway. Think of it as a tree or vine: the South Node forms the roots, the soil and terrain we are confortable in, yet if the plant never leaves its roots it dies. It is meant to grow, push forward; even when lacking all the needed energy and nutrients to pull it off easily does not alter the intended purpose. Growth is necessary to sustain life itself, and the North Node is the manifesto outlining the steps.”


It is common, then, to run into people over the course of our lifetimes who have their natal planets or angles in the sign of ether our North or South Nodes, or people who embody the essence of the houses of our Nodes (i.e. a person with one of their Nodes in the 9th house is prone to having meaningful and/or difficult interaction with Sagittarius or Jupiterian types). Our exchanges with these people will be heavily colored by this influence and often there is a “karmic” feeling involved; whether or not we perceive the interaction to be beneficial or detrimental, relationships that trigger the Nodes often have an underlying feeling of a learning and growth experience.


With the South Node being more instinctively familiar to us, it is those people who share our South Node signs or embody our South Node houses that we seem to encounter more frequently and that is more prone to being problematic. The other person finds common ground with you and thus their attraction. On your end, you’re an old pro and a natural at what they’re in the lifelong process of honing and refining. There’s instant familiarity but often there’s also the feeling that these people triggering our South Nodes are draining. It’s important to realize that it’s not because their sign or their chart is that of someone who necessarily does this to you for fun, but that it is how you are experiencing it. Your South Node is boring and does not need to be dwelled on and people who trigger your South Node do dwell there, because that’s just part of who they are and they do not find these themes tiring or draining.


One would think, then, that people who trigger our North Node would automatically be better for us. Three problems with this: 1. People are often nervous about their North Nodes, as it is uncharted territory, which tends to make them dislike or shy away from or feel inadequate around people who embody or trigger their North Node; 2. Everyone everywhere has that funny human trait of running away from what’s healthy for us; and 3. You have to actually actively cultivate and invest yourself in your North Node path before you’ll find people also on that path.


Where it gets interesting is when you find someone with whom you both touch off each others North and South Nodes. There’s elements of both attraction and repulsion here, frustrations and soothing comfort. It can show a relationship that has a strong binding glue that helps keep the relationship together as one or both experiences growing pains in finding themselves. I often say that soul mates aren’t necessarily our marriage partners (though they can be!) as much as they are those people who come into our lives for mutual soul growth that neither person could do on their own. A relationship involving triggers of both the North and South Nodes often does this.


Honorable mention to asteroid Juno, which is often referred to as the soul mate asteroid and good synastry between two people’s Juno placements often shows a deep connection and even commitment.


– The partner’s ascendant is in your 12th house This happens with people who’s rising is in the sign that precedes your rising sign (they are a Libra rising and you are a Scorpio rising, so on and so forth…).


The ascendant is the starting angle of the chart and can be seen as the front door to the house, i.e. the initial appearance we give, how we let people in, how we enter other people’s lives. The 12th house has an unnecessarily bad reputation in astrology, and having synastry aspects involving the 12th house should not be seen as doom-and-gloom. Having a partners ascendant in your 12th house is often problematic, though, at least until both parties recognize what is going on. The 12th house hides things and points to what can’t be seen easily, if at all; having a partners ascendant in your 12th usually means there is an initial misunderstanding in how your partner comes across. It is easy to see them as being one way and then be completely shocked when they do something that you would’ve thought to be out of character for them.


This difficulty is compounded by the fact that the person with the rising in your 12th does not understand your reactions to them and their behavior oftentimes, as they’re just being themselves and probably feel they’ve been quite open and honest with you. They have no problem seeing you for who you are, the way you have problems seeing and understanding them. This is not an unhealthy or impossible synastry aspect to have, but it is important to know that one person does not see the other person as well as they should and so will need to be addressed and handled through other means.


– Your Moon and your partner’s Moon are not on the same page Attraction and seduction come from our Venus and Mars, but maintaining that connection comes down to the Moon. The Moon shows our emotional needs and expectations, which are often more primal and therefore dominating than we realize. The Moon also shows our home life. It’s a little simplistic to say happy Moons = happy home life, but there’s truth to it. The initial attraction that fizzles out after moving in together can point to one or both partners Moons not feeling heard or nurtured at home.


A nice flow between two partners Moons does not guarantee a happy or long lasting relationship by itself, but if there’s other supporting factors a nice mutual Moon flow does show emotional needs can be heard and met, and that the living arrangement can be to both parties liking. Having Moons that make stressful aspects to each other can create friction in the home and either suppression or high demands of the emotional needs. This too should not be seen as impossible to live with but it definitely needs to be recognized so adjustments and allowances can be made when ones emotional needs are running counter to the others and disruption in the living arrangement will not come as a shock.



Chiron And The D.I.Y. Punk Ethos

1977 Ramones mail out for fans

1977 Ramones mail out for fans

Hi Clarissa, I would like to hear more of your take on Art and Astrology as I found your David Bowie music article very inspiring. – Adrian


In February, I wrote this post asking readers to submit ideas for articles they’d like to see covered on my site. This article is of course in response to the above suggestion, but also an idea that sprang out of my previous Q & A article The Times That Try Our Souls. That previous article covered the shape of global astrology transits to come, and how to work with them rather than be worked over by them. While writing that article, it occurred to me that many solutions in the short-to-medium term will be of the DIY (“Do It Yourself”) variety. DIY was a major component of the punk music scene in the 1970s which was when Chiron was discovered. Most folks who are interested in astrology know Chiron as the “Wounded Healer” but its discovery in 1977 has interesting ties to alternative health, alternative music and the Do It Yourself ethic, which I’ll attempt to tie together here.


First off, the astronomy and mythology. Chiron was discovered either October 18 or November 1, 1977. (There are conflicting dates.) A minor planet, it was originally thought to be an asteroid but recently has been viewed as a comet and likely has rings around it, a feature it of course shares with Saturn. Chiron is a centaur (bodies orbiting between the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt) and erratically orbits between Saturn and Uranus. It is not believed to have been in orbit for very long.


The name Chiron derives from one of the Greek mythological centaurs. In the mythology, Chiron’s appearance was very different from the other centaurs, making him stand out and easily identifiable. Chiron was a great healer; the root of the word chiropractic derives from the same Greek word for Chiron (which loosely means “hand”; chiropractic literally means “done by hand”.) Chiron the centaur was revered and respected for his knowledge and skills of not only medicine but also music and, oddly enough, astrology as well. One of the ironies of the Chiron myth was that even though he was known as a healer, he was unable to heal himself and endured a lot of suffering.


Hence, “wounded healer”. It is commonly accepted in modern astrology that wherever Chiron is in a chart it represents a thorn in the flesh, a dull aching pain that can be masked but never really goes away. It represents past hurts, old injuries, whether to body, mind, or spirit. With time and effort we can learn to work with it and turn pain into an inimitable badge of pride, but given the right weather the injury can feel just as raw and belittling as the day it happened.


The Chiron astrology connection to medicine and healing is also well established. Saturn rules the bones and the bone structure; Uranus rules the brain and the electrical responses in the body. As Chiron travels a highly erratic path between the two planets, Chiron rules the spine and the other parts of the body where bone intersects with nerves. (A Uranus transit to my natal Chiron resulted in a slightly bulging disc in my neck, the discovery of spinal narrowing aka spinal stenosis and carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists.) Chiron has more to do with chiropractic than the origin of their names; Chiron literally rules chiropractic care and more loosely other “alternative” medicine practices. The transition of chiropractic care from being seen as snake oil nonsense to legitimately healing practice reached its zenith in the mid to late 1970’s, coinciding with the discovery of Chiron.


What isn’t talked about quite as often in astrology is Chiron’s connection to music, although it really should be. Zane Stein was one of the pioneers in understanding the astrology processes of Chiron (and was a long time member of the astrology forum, where I was also a member) and Stein wrote this of Chiron in his book Essence And Application: A View From Chiron:


“One of the most potent uses of music is to help you to enter into alternate realities by making meditation easier. With music, one can leave the realm of Saturnian time and enter Chiros [‘God Time’].”


If you’ve ever listened to a really sad song while feeling down and depressed, and wondered why it ended up making you feel better, it is because the song helped you identify the source of your pain and brought it to the surface for healing. It also reminds us than pain is a feeling shared by everyone. (All together now: “everybody huuurts…”)


When trying to determine the astrological processes and associations of any given body, astrologers look to the time frame of the “birth” or discovery of the body for clues. The major astrological bodies that required discovery often revealed themselves at moments in history that coincided with their own themes. One such planet was Uranus, which has an appropriate and sufficiently weird discovery story. Chiron has already established it’s connection to physical health and alternative therapy. It is its connection to music and in particular the music at the time it was discovered that is interesting.


Chiron entered Taurus in 1976 and of course was still in Taurus at the time of its discovery in 1977. (Chiron did not leave Taurus until 1983.) Taurus, as we know, is the earthy Venus ruled sign of money, materialism, valuables, personal values, leisure, and has also very much been associated with music since ancient times. 1977 was of course the year punk rock officially took over the music scene and tried to kill off the heavy corporate influenced sounds of disco, cheesy pop and soft rock. It was also the year Elvis Presley died. Though punks generally like early rockabilly Elvis, his ridiculous persona in 1977 and subsequent death can be seen as a symbolic passing of one era of music, allowing a new, more visceral one in synch with the struggles and politics of the times to have its day in the sun.


Chiron is punk. You might think with all the talk of hurt and healing that Chirotic music would be sappy mushy emo crap. Not so. In daily practice, Chiron deals with being a misunderstood outcast, a loser and a reject in the eyes of others. The thorn in the side can stem from being poor or ugly or a weirdo or a strongly individualistic person. Since Chirotic pain never goes away, the challenge is to turn the liability into an asset. Pain becomes character which becomes inimitable charisma; not charisma in the movie star glamour sense, but in that je ne sais quoi way. The ugliness won’t ever become mainstream-definition beauty, so it instead becomes art. If you’ll never be accepted, why not just say “fuck it” and do your own damn thing? Punk was and is music for people who can wear their insults as a badge of honor.


Chiron’s discovery while in Taurus and coinciding with punk becoming visible and a lasting influence is a literal example of Chiron behavior in Taurus. Subversion is another thing not as frequently associated with Chiron as it should be, but remember Chiron travels between Saturn and Uranus and so picks up influences from both but uses it in its own distinct manner (this is why Chiron is sometimes called “the maverick”.) Chiron simultaneously and uniquely bucks structures and authority (Saturn) while building its own eclectic structures supportive of individual quirks (Uranus). In the chart, the subversion can manifest as self sabotage if not actively worked with, such as trying to find acceptance from people you know you will never truly get accepted by, or latent masochism wherein you allow others to steal your talents and do not try to get recognized for the talents as you deserve. On the broader scale, subversion during the punk era can be seen manifesting through Taurean things such as the somewhat sick and warped clothes and styles, rejection of corrupt jobs and money systems, valuing music made by people who genuinely loved music rather than boasting pretentiously of skills and a wealthy lifestyle.


The DIY ethic was part and parcel to punk, as well. The idea that the only music worth listening to would have to be done on their own whether or not it found mainstream acceptance is highly Chirotic; remember that Chiron is the root of chiropractic which translates to doing it by hand. Chiropractic healing and musical healing are DIY things. Part of turning pain into beauty is recognizing that no one can do you quite like you do you, and the creative process fosters the authenticity that is the signature of Chiron when done right.


Again, though, the pain can never be completely healed, and as people with Chiron strong in their charts know all too well part of the Chiron pain is either not being taken seriously at all or seeing your hard earned originality stolen by others who do not give you credit. Punk was as famous for plagiarism and ripping each other off as it was for anything else. One small example is Ian Dury –


Ian Dury wore it first and wore it better.

Ian Dury wore it first and wore it better.


Ian Dury natal chart

Ian Dury natal chart


– seen above wearing the recognizable safety pin and razor blade earring first, long before Johnny Rotten stole the look and passed it off as his own. Dury’s story has always interested me. It’s probably the most simultaneously punk and Chirotic story of that whole scene (in my opinion.) Having a Saturn-Uranus conjunction and probably his Sun as well (the time of birth looks suspiciously “rounded off”) in the 12th house, he contracted polio at age 7 which crippled him. He spent most of his remaining childhood in a home for disabled children, where he was regularly abused. He went to an art college figuring he’d be accepted as an artist and illustrator more than in any other “respectable” profession. He actually didn’t even start a music career until nearly 30 years old (his first Saturn Return), which even today (maybe especially today?) he’d be considered past his prime for starting on such a path. His most famous song is “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”, a phrase he coined, which I personally see less as a song glorifying them as much as his thumbing his nose at society which told people like him that they’d never achieve those things, particularly rock and roll which is usually seen as being for young and beautiful geniuses only. (One of his albums was also called “Do It Yourself”.) The safety pins and razor blades sold at bourgie malls to suburban kids still today was his creation, an “arts and crafts” aesthetic he came up with in college that made use of mundane items and second hand clothes.


Unless a person knows the musical history, though, one would associate punk as being The Sex Pistols or The Clash or The Ramones and not see the vibrant characters that weren’t as famous but contributed as much or more to the music and the DIY sensibilities.


(Speaking of The Clash, oddly enough their original drummer actually became a chiropractor…)


The lifetime chore of healing a pain that won’t heal and turning it into a strong character trait ultimately means Chiron energy is a living thing, one that dies when its originality is stolen by others and reproduced as if formulaic. This too can be seen in the contrast between the creative output of the original punk scene and the increasingly watered down versions of modern times. (Anything that the younguns of today would refer to as “try hard” or “basic bitch” is the antithesis of Chiron.) Chiron itself is set to expire in a million years or so, ironically. Chiron needs to subvert and organically grow based on the unique individual at that time and place. When I wrote my last article These Are The Times That Try Our Souls I sort of understood during the writing process that the times we’re going into will require a new subversion and organic approach that is done ourselves; the current structure and system as it is will not do for us what needs done. This extends to just about any area of life at this juncture on planet Earth.


As this unintentionally funny anti-punk poster (distributed around Tulsa in anticipation of The Sex Pistols playing at Cain’s Ballroom) points out: “there’s a Johnny Rotten inside each of us…”






What Does Astrology Know About Death And The Afterlife?

Pic by Paul Koudounaris

Bejeweled catacomb remains. Pic by Paul Koudounaris.


I haven’t been able to find much astrological information (over the years) on the subject of death (yes, that taboo subject)… I would like to have a better understanding. The subject is simply a very interesting one for me… We all will face this territory one day, so the indications must be in all charts, and I would like to shine some light on the subject. – Crystal


Is there any way to incorporate past life aspects into the readings even though they are not person specific? – dweezer19


When I wrote this post asking readers to submit ideas for articles they’d like to see on Viva Combusta! pertaining to astrological perspectives they wonder about, these were among the first ones submitted. Death is the inevitable conclusion for all of our lives and yet curiosity on the subject tends to be shunned, and the existence or non-existence of life after death is something we all wonder and speculate about. I’m far from an expert on either subject, but I’ve obviously myself asked and continue to ask the same questions as everyone else and through the years I’ve picked up some interesting astrological perspectives on both subjects that I can leave here for anyone to use if its their thing.


So, here’s some stuff I’ve come across so far and my two cents worth thrown in…


In traditional/medieval astrology, they definitely tried to find issues of life and death in a birth chart. Life span and medical breakthroughs were not what they are now; thousands of years ago fifty was considered old age and people were dropping like flies from simple infections, tetanus, etc. Not to mention wars, crusades, pillaging and plundering, assassinations of leaders… Given the times, attempting to gain insight into a person’s life span was crucial.


The traditional method of determination involved identifying planets in the chart to fulfill certain roles: the hyleg, or “giver of life”; the alcoccoden, or “giver of years”; and the anareta or killing planet. The hyleg was the planet fulfilling the role of life in the chart, generally the Sun or Moon, sometimes the Part of Fortune. Some astrologers used other planets for the hyleg, some didn’t. The alcoccoden was the planet that would indicate the years a person had. Generally speaking, if there was no hyleg pinpointed in the chart, then no alcoccoden, either.


Over the years I have seen some ancient astrologers who would use other planets for the hyleg, and some who said no hyleg was needed for an alcoccoden at all. A lot of other factors were considered too, such as whether the chart was nocturnal or diurnal; dignities and debilities; whether the planets involved were malefic or benefic, and so on. (The ancients really considered this technique to be a literal life-and-death thing and didn’t shy from using malefic or benefic to describe things, like the don’t-worry-be-happy, New Age-y, politically correct modern astrologers do.) Determining when the alcoccoden would expire or bump up against the anareta was complicated, too, and again I’ve seen various techniques of determining this, usually involving progressions or primary directions.


Somewhere along the way, using the hyleg/alcoccoden/anareta fell by the wayside, like a lot of other traditional techniques. Certain houses started being associated with death: the 4th house became associated with conditions surrounding a person at the hour of their death; the 8th was both seen as showing how the person died and if anyone was involved; the 12th was associated with death in more ethereal terms. There was never total consensus on using the houses, either, and less consensus on what had to be happening in the house for death to occur, rather than the usual activity of those houses. A lot was being attributed to the planets, too, particularly after the discovery of certain outer planets. Mars became known as violent death, and Pluto too after its discovery in 1930. Saturn was thought to bring death from illness of old age; Uranus was unusual death; Neptune involved poisons, drowning, and shady unknowable circumstances. Interestingly, in more modern times Jupiter -traditionally the greater benefic, jolly big giant of good times- is being more and more frequently associated with death, as Jupiter brings “expansion” to whatever it does and in some astrologers eyes this plays a part in one’s passing.


I’ve also seen some fairly modern astrologers using complicated techniques to predict death using the lunar cycle and eclipses in particular. There may be other techniques that I haven’t come across yet.


I wouldn’t have a moral or ethical problem with these -or any other- predictive death techniques if they really worked, but therein lies the problem for me and why my initial morbid curiosity led me to abandon the idea of finding death in a chart altogether. They just don’t work very well. True, there are examples online of certain deaths that match a certain technique quite well, any person curious could find these. What they’re not showing, of course, are the bigger majority of deaths that do not fit any criteria at all. People regurlarly outlive these doom-and-gloom transits, and they do not die the awful death allegedly promised by their chart. Some things are easier to catch in hindsight, and I think these online examples of fitting a death to the astrology are doing just that. Retrofitting the outcome to the alleged cause. Meaning: not a prediction. That was my personal experience with looking at post mortem charts in examples where I knew or knew of the person; nothing at the time of their death was obvious or fit any criteria.


Now, astrology does have many, many quite accurate ways of looking at a person’s health throughout their life and pinpointing what in a person’s body is most likely to cause major issues. And indeed there are a number of things -transits, solar returns, progressions and so on- that can and do act as the “trigger” for health issues to pop up. It is possible, given the person’s age, overall health, lifestyle factors etc. to be concerned about the possibility of death by looking at a chart at a particular moment in time. Sometimes, as in the case of David Bowie, death is the conclusion to an organic process that was started with no other outcome. In his case, there was one astrologer whe predicted his death beforehand. Still, people can and do come back from the brink and recover from quite dire circumstances, so while I think it’s very important to look for and point out health issues and potential triggers, I call bullshit on anyone using those things as predictors of death.


Depression and anxiety are also things that can show easily in a birth chart. And depression and anxiety can lead to death via suicide, alcoholism, or careless and reckless behavior. Again, while the tendency to depression can show in a chart, death from it cannot, and even people who fight their whole lives with mental health issues can live very long lives, learn coping techniques, and pass away on natural and unrelated terms.


At least the ancient astrologers would acknowledge that their predictions weren’t foolproof, generally looking for a somewhat natural death, and allowed for any number of variables to interfere. I’ve talked to people who have had astrologers tell them their chart showed early death or that they would commit suicide or be murdered or some other outlandish bullshit claim. Modern astrologers claiming to know the hour of death or cause of death is fundamentally stupid at best and incredibly irresponsible most of the time. For one, if the time and cause is known, theoretically it can be avoided or cheated somehow. “Cheating death” can and does happen, such as a person miraculously surviving an accident they logically shouldn’t have, and to some extent astrology can help with this when it is able to warn of such a thing in advance and therefore preparing a person for that possibility.


However, so many of those flukes cannot be seen at all. Think of the number of people who pass away as a result of mass shootings, terrorist attacks, natural disasters… those people could not have had such a thing ever written in their chart and also shared it with so many others, nor could so many people with different and complex charts be experiencing transits to indicate such events. So many people die as a result of being in the wrong time at the wrong place, and by definition that cannot be predicted!


And as for suicide… as someone pointed out in the comments on the David Bowie post, suicide statistics dramatically increase in correlation to economic downturns, so if anything astrologers should be looking at the much larger view of what’s going on in the world rather than individual natal charts when dealing with this topic.


After looking at such things through the years, not only did I find that looking for death indicators in a chart (but separate from health indicators, which are far more accurate) is hit-and-miss in its results, I feel it’s a far better use of time to use astrology as a tool for living rather than dying. As the saying goes, “Men plan, God laughs”.


On that note, the experience of death as felt by the living can be shown by both the natal chart and by transits. A person experiencing a heavy Saturn transit may come face to face with their own mortality. A person who loses someone during a meaningful Neptune transit may see the loss of someone close to them as a very spiritual passage. People who lose a loved one in a Jupiterian way may experience the death as a “laughing through the tears” sort of thing, even throwing a party. Uranus can see a loss of someone quite suddenly and unexpectedly. Pluto transits are more renowned for bringing a person experiencing the transit into contact with death and loss in profoundly transformative and potentially scarring ways.


Since starting this blog, people have let me know of their loss of loved ones that took place at New and Full Moons. It’s not been possible as of yet for me to discern if the loss was due to the New/Full Moon making a particular aspect to the deceased ones chart, or if it mattered more to the survivor.


I personally nearly lost my mother during a Pluto transit to my Moon (mother/women). She survived. I did lose a coworker who had become a sort of surrogate father figure  (as I grew up without my own father) during an otherwise exciting Uranus transit; the last thing he told me was how he still felt like a “young son of a bitch” who could do more in a day than most men half his age do in a year. He died only a few hours later of a heart attack. The first time I had to face the reality of my own death was at my Saturn Return, when a health issue cropped up that potentially could have been bad but thankfully wasn’t. Celestial timekeeper Saturn just slapping me upside the head, letting me know I’ll reach that place too.


As a result of my own Pluto-Moon transit and my experiences with my mother (I won’t elaborate, so don’t ask), one area of astrological research I haven’t seen a lot of but that I feel is needed is in regards to near death experiences. That’s a fairly recent development, since before the middle of the last century if you were near death or clinically dead you, er, well you just died… The ability to resuscitate and directly stop the death process in its tracks is a very interesting recent achievement, very Aquarian Age as a matter of fact, and I’m not sure why astrologers haven’t jumped on it.



If you’ve been through a near death experience or witnessed it in someone else firsthand and know the astrology behind it, I’d be interested in hearing it, either in the comments for others to learn from or via my email


People with heavy Pluto/Scorpio/8th house signatures or Saturn/Capricorn in their charts do seem to experience the realities of death more frequently than others; again, this says less about their own ending and more about lessons they’re here to learn and eventually share with others. People with emphasized 4th, 8th, and/or 12th houses are also going to be more strongly impacted than others by death in their family. These houses are houses that are concerned in different ways with family legacies, heritage, ancestors.


Pertaining to the question about past lives… sorry if this disappoints but I don’t believe in past lives, at least not any of the ways I’ve seen it explained. I don’t believe I have ever been anything or anyone other than me, and I don’t believe if I don’t “get it right” in this go around I’ll get a second chance or be punished in a next life, or rewarded for doing the opposite. I’m not completely against the idea, I just find most explanations insufficient for me. There’s something like more than seven billion people on Earth alive at the moment; that’s got to be more than the population has ever been, too many people alive now to be vessels for the much smaller ancestor pool. I do somewhat believe in the concept of “soul age” or the maturity and wisdom level inherent in a person at the soul level, and I’ve contemplated the possibility that the reason for so many “young souls” on Earth now could indeed correlate to the booming population that is rapidly outpacing any previous reproduction rates; not enough “old soul” wisdom to go around.


Here’s a crap quality but very interesting clip on soul age:



Now, I do believe we go somewhere when we die; pretty much every culture and civilization throughout history had an understanding of an afterlife. Lots of those understandings intersect in ways they possibly couldn’t have done through direct communication of such ideas. My personal feeling is that we somehow merge into the larger ocean of human experience in the afterlife and serve as a resource to be drawn upon like water from a deep well by the living. In that sense, the 4th, 8th, and 12th houses is where I would look for that in a chart. Firstly by drawing directly on our direct family lineage and history/heritage, their legacy, then in ever widening concentric circles in the larger ocean of community, cultural history, country, then humanity as experienced through our intuition and psychic “knowing”.


(That’s a shoddy attempt at articulating a big concept, sorry if it isn’t clear but the best I could do…)


A lot of astrologers use the North and South Nodes of the Moon as past life indicators; I explained in The North Node in Virgo Manifesto that the nodes are extremely useful in our lives but I personally do not look to them for past life explanation.