Lionel Shriver – feet first into controversies



Author and journalist Lionel Shriver – We Need to Talk about Kevin – has stirred up a storm by criticising Penguin Random House’s intention to diversify the authors that it published. She argued it would prioritise diversity over quality and mean that a manuscript “written by a gay transgender Caribbean who dropped out of school at seven” would be published “whether or not said manuscript is an incoherent, tedious, meandering and insensible pile of mixed-paper recycling”.

She has form for stepping into controversies arguing recently that cultural appropriation was a passing fad, losing a Swedish publisher because of what they saw as a negative view of immigration, and saying the #metoo campaign would constrain fiction writers from portraying sexually predatory characters. She says she doesn’t like bandwagons but seems adept at starting them rolling.

Born 18 May 1957 in North Carolina, she has a stubborn and enduring Taurus Sun probably in an Earth Grand Trine to Jupiter in Virgo trine a Capricorn Moon, formed into a Kite by Sun opposition a Scorpio North Node which squares onto Pluto in Leo. A focal point Fixed Pluto will make her determined to the nth degree, controlling, disliking interference, with formidable stamina; and as with any heavily aspected Pluto will tend to arouse resistance and bitterness.

Her Mercury in Taurus is opposition Neptune and square Uranus so she has all of Mercury Uranus’s outspoken tendencies plus a marginally fanatical Uranus Neptune; and a focal point Uranus tends to be self-willed, a law unto herself.

She has Germaine Greer’s leaden-footedness when it comes to getting opinions across, which contain a nugget of truth but are put in a way designed to ruffle feathers. Greer also has a Fixed Sun (Aquarius) in hard aspect to Pluto and in hard aspect to a Fixed focal point Uranus as well; and both have North Node in Scorpio, which yearns for respect but finds old behaviour patterns and attitudes difficult to let go. They’re not a million miles apart in temperament.

Lionel Shriver will be battling on through some losses and disappointments at the moment into next year, some exuberantly confident phases and more upsets in 2019. She’s unlikely to be staying quiet.

Pic: Tony Sarowitz.


Glasgow treasured Art School under assault again



An utterly tragic second fire has almost completely destroyed the rebuilding work on the Glasgow School of Art which was gutted four years ago. Sitting in the heart of the city it’s a celebration of Charles Rennie Macintosh, who designed the building with its iconic ornamental ironwork, soaring windows and distinctive wood-panelled interior.

The foundation stone was laid on 25 May 1898, with the Sun in Gemini as it was for McIntosh’s birth and oddly enough the 2014 fire as well.  On the foundation chart tr Pluto is square the Mars in Aries exactly now for a brutal destruction. When the previous fire occurred, tr Neptune was square the Sun/Pluto midpoint and tr Pluto square the Solar Arc Neptune. Tr Neptune has now moved in to a similarly undermining square to Pluto this year. There is a ‘lucky break’ Solar Arc Sun conjunct the Jupiter over the coming year so perhaps it will start another rebuild.

There are various start charts for Glasgow though the 20 April 1450 JC probably works best. It has a Taurus Sun square Pluto and trine Saturn in Virgo, which fits a tough, industrial, heavy engineering and shipbuilding city. It also has an explosive, violent Mars in Capricorn opposition Uranus in Cancer, which also makes sense of No Mean City, at one point overrun by gangs. When the first fire occurred in 2014 the tr Pluto square tr Uranus was hitting on the Glasgow Uranus; and exactly now tr Pluto is conjunct the Glasgow Mars, so virtually the same as the Foundation Stone chart. There have been two other major fires in the city already this year.   That Pluto transit to the Glasgow Mars runs on till late 2019; with a disruptive tr Uranus square Pluto from this July onwards for a year. 2019 also sees an uncertain, panicky tr Neptune opposition Saturn followed by a disruptive tr Uranus conjunct the Sun in 2020. Sometimes when there are major disasters in a city/country it is a harbinger of extensive changes to come.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 7 June 1868 11.15am Glasgow, was an architect and water colourist, whose work was influential, along with his wife fellow artist Margaret MacDonald, in the European Art Nouveau movement. He left behind several buildings of singular design and many plans, but he abandoned architecture for painting, lived for some years in Port Vendres in France and died aged 60 of cancer. He was largely ignored except by Glaswegians until 30 years ago when his work was rediscovered.

He had an ambitious 10th house Gemini Sun, but his chart is marked largely by a frustrated Mars Pluto in Taurus, and a visionary T square of Uranus opposition a Capricorn Moon square Neptune Jupiter in Aries. His leadership North Node in Leo is hidden in his creative 12th house.

At the moment his (posthumous) chart has tr Neptune square Sun, as the monument to his talent is undermined yet again; with Solar Arc Sun in a ‘shocking collision’ opposition his Mars. His Solar Arc Pluto is also exactly square his Uranus opposition Moon for a major emotional upset. His chart is less optimistic about a speedy conclusion to this series of disasters, with a blocked road ahead for the next four years.

Trump, the love hate chasm widening – VP and family showing alarm



Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is at 87 per cent, beating most former presidents (with their own party) bar GWB after 9/11, who notched 96 per cent. Though most Americans disapprove of Trump, by 53 per cent to 42 per cent. So the polarisation is extreme.

Where the US really starts to get bitterly hostile to the President is from early 2019 till late 2020 with tr Pluto opposition the composite Mars (maybe conjunct the composite Moon); with tr Saturn adding its own chill. And a major turnaround and disruption from Uranus in 2019 as well.

The two Republican charts, 22 Feb 1856 and 28 Feb 1854, are both in thrall to Trump though for different reasons. The 1856 relationship chart has a heavily aspected head-in-the-clouds Jupiter Neptune; and the 1854 has a chained-together Saturn Pluto making them feel their fortunes are inextricably mixed. On both there are undercurrents of real anger and bitterness but whether that surfaces or not is a moot point. There are upsets showing on both relationship charts through this year into 2019, especially the 1856 one.  (I’ve never found Party charts too useful but the USA relationship one will make sense.)

With yet another financial scandal surfacing as the New York AG sues the Trump Foundation and family for misuse of tax-exempt charity funds for personal and political purposes, and a couple of dodgy associates also up on charges, the question is at what point will the right and religious lobby be forced to remove their rose-colored glasses and face the truth about their sinner hero.

VP Mike Pence and wife Karen are becoming increasingly devastated and confused by the whole charade with tr Pluto square the composite Neptune on both their relationship charts in 2018/2019.  KarenP, who wears the trousers in that marriage, a quadruple Scorpio, seriously dislikes Trump and is getting more aggravated through this year and next. She looks teeth-gritted and on edge in 2019.

Mike Pence has the debilitating tr Neptune square his Gemini Sun in 2018/2019 with jolts, jangles and disastrous patches in mid-July/August and November. Sept/Oct and January also look littered with losses. 2019 is insecure, frenzied and anxious. He’ll recover by 2020.

The Trump tribe appear to all be entangled in the Trust lawsuit.

Ivanka’s relationship chart with her father was always odd with a composite Sun, Mars, Saturn, Uranus – and that’s a deal of anger about unfairness and unkindness, no matter what a sweet smile she puts on. It was always going to get kicked onto a different track with tr Uranus trine the composite Sun from last month, now trine the composite Mars and those run on into 2019 when tr Uranus trines the Saturn.

She’s made double figure millions since 2016 in her business enterprises which hardly fits the rules of ethics but is in a sticky phase of losses of one variety or another with tr Pluto square her Jupiter/Saturn midpoint exactly now on and off till late 2019. 2019 looks unsettled with tr Uranus opposition her Scorpio Sun; but she’ll be bulldozing confidently ahead by 2020 as tr Pluto squares her Jupiter Pluto conjunction – though that latter can bring conflict with authorities for rule transgressions.

Jared is under enormous pressure with tr Pluto conjunct his Capricorn Sun in 2018/19 and then square his Pluto in 2020/2021; is in a sinking panic at the moment and that runs on till late 2019 as well.

Donald Trump Jnr is in a discouraging year with tr Saturn conjunct his Capricorn Sun and Venus, with accidents and setbacks various, running into 2019 when he looks under a black cloud of anxiety; with 2020 worse.

Eric Trump, is also disheartened this year with tr Saturn hitting various midpoints and making a separating square to the composite Sun with his father; with catastrophes and disasters around at points into early 2019; and more throughout 2019.

Trump’s (I was only joking) comments on how much he admired Kim Jong Un’s ability to get his people to pay attention to him might give the family pause for thought. Kim’s uncle as I recollect was executed by a scud missile or some such; his half-brother despatched by nerve agent.

Leslie Grantham – talented but reckless and self-destructive


Leslie Grantham, best known as Dirty Den in EastEnders has died. Born 30 April 1947, 9 days after Iggy Pop, at 4am London, he had a controversial and scandal-strewn life. He joined the army at 18, and aged 19 tried to rob a taxi driver in West Germany, who ended up shot dead. He claimed it was accidental but served 10 years inside where he acquired an interest in acting. His character was killed off in EastEnders though later resurrected but an online sex scandal put paid to that gig for good and sent him suicidal. Latterly he appeared to have been living in Bulgaria.

His Taurus Sun was in the quick-witted 3rd in a heavy-duty square to Saturn, Pluto, Descendant in Leo and trine a Virgo Moon – he would be tough and fairly self-destructive. He also had an impulsive Mars in Aries conjunct Mercury which would put his temper on a chart fuse; with Mars in a showbizzy opposition to an 8th house Neptune.

His actor’s 15th Harmonic was heavily aspected – lucky, determined and aggressive. Even more so his rise-and-fall 10th Harmonic.

Priyanka Chopra & Nick Jonas – a Cancer Virgo match



Actress Priyanka Chopra has been stepping out with singer, songwriter Nick Jonas and attending family weddings together which has been getting the celeb mags in a tizz.

She’s one of India’s highest-paid and most popular celebrities, is best known in the US for playing the lead in Quantico, also acts as a producer and is a UNICEF ambassadress for children’s rights.

Born 18 July 1982 at 1.05am Jamshedpur, India, (astrotheme) with two army physician parents, she has a quick-witted 3rd house Cancer Sun square a formidably determined Pluto Mars Saturn in Libra. Her Moon and Venus in Gemini give her a lighter-hearted side; and with a quirky Uranus in her 7th she’s her own person. A film-star Neptune in the 8th gives her quite an aura as it opposes her Venus and is inconjunct her Sun.

Nick Jonas, 16 September 1992 3.39am Dallas, Texas, formerly of the teen band the Jonas Brothers, is an enthusiastic and hard-working Sun, Mercury, Jupiter in Virgo in the financial 2nd; with a 10th house Taurus Moon widely opposition Pluto in the 4th square a 7th house Saturn in Aquarius. He has a 6th house Uranus Neptune in Capricorn and suffers from diabetes.

Both of their Moon aspects are tough – hers Moon are in an overly-disciplined and angry trine to Saturn Mars, and his  tied into bleak Saturn Pluto. To some extent they’ll understand each other’s backgrounds and emotional glitches but it won’t be all sunshine and roses. She has a needs-independence Uranus in her 7th house of close relationships; while he has Saturn in his 7th, maybe why he’s opted for an older partner but partnerships will mean hard work for him. His Venus in Libra is conjunct her Saturn, Mars, Pluto which looks fairly downtrodden.

Their relationship chart, however has a wonderfully exuberant and affectionate composite Sun, Venus, Mercury, Mars conjunction trine Uranus; with a happy-home Jupiter in the 4th.  Admittedly the composite Moon is hidden and squaring Mars which will make for some heated moments, but overall it could be fun.

Ariana Grande & Pete – a high speed romance



Ariana Grande, super-successful singer and  actress, appears to have slid out of two-year relationship last month straight into an engagement to actor and comedian Pete Davidson with a major sparkler on her finger to mark the moment. Her music videos have been viewed more than 10 billion times.

Ariana, born 26 June 1993 9.25pm Boca Raton, Florida, has a 6th house, hard-working Cancer Sun trine Saturn in Pisces and square Moon Jupiter in Libra so she’ll be constantly dancing between her heart and her head, one moment enthusiastic, the next moment sombre. She has a controlling and influential 10th house Pluto, a deeply buried Mars in her 8th and a highly-strung Uranus Neptune in Capricorn on her Ascendant. A complicated lady who walks her own road and likes her own way.

Pete Davidson, 16 November 1993 New York, has a Sun Pluto conjunction in Scorpio square Saturn in Aquarius; with Venus Mercury Jupiter also conjunct in Scorpio, so he is very intense, tough-minded but probably prone to depression. His Moon is late Sagittarius or early Capricorn. He suffers from Crohn’s disease which in the past he treated with medical marijuana as a pain reliever and has recently also admitted to borderline personality disorder. He’s had a rough road to walk and isn’t exactly a lightweight personality either.

His charming Jupiter, Mercury, Venus in Scorpio are conjunct her midheaven, so career and status will be priorities. But his Sun Pluto is also conjunct her Pluto which could end up in a tussle for control.

Their relationship chart has a composite, highly-changeable Sun Mercury trine Neptune Uranus; with Neptune Uranus square an adventurous Mars Jupiter. Mars Jupiter often appears in the seemed-a-good-idea-at-the-time kind of relationships. There may be a possessive and emotionally intense composite Moon Pluto square Venus for a sparkle of passion; and with Pluto square Saturn it will be fairly chained-together for a while.  It’ll have a rocky rise ahead with tr Neptune opposing the composite Sun this year and Mercury next; with a disruptive and confusing tr Pluto conjunct Neptune Uranus till late 2019.

Kim & Don – a Neptunian love fest



The much-trumpeted Trump-Kim Jong Un deal was signed at 2.45 pm Singapore, on June 12th. The puts the Gemini Sun square Neptune which suggests a lack of clarity and indeed will to make it stick. There’s a good PR 10th house Venus opposition a mutinous 4th house Pluto; and an explosive, uncompromising North Node opposition an irritable 4th house Mars in Aquarius square a 7th house Uranus – which sounds divisive, rather than the basis for ongoing co-operation. Plus an over hopeful Jupiter trine Neptune trine the MC.

There’ll be highs and lows this year, but it’s 2019 where the real trouble will kick in with tr Pluto conjunct the Mars/Saturn midpoint which is usually fairly catastrophic, running till late 2020; plus a confidence undermining tr Neptune square Jupiter/Pluto.

There are various theories afoot, one of which is that John Bolton who was against any such deal capitulated because he reckoned it was a faster way to start a destroy-NK campaign when Kim reneges, than go through years of tactical negotiation.

Rick Wilson in the Daily Beast has his usual colorful response. ‘Ever wonder what the consequences of legitimizing a nuclear-armed madman who has used chemical weapons on his own family, starved his people, and engaged in systematic mass murder to retain power might be? Congratulations! You’re about to find out. Us too.’

PS: Any more accurate time of signing gratefully received.

PSX2: There’s a faint thought that fixer Michael Cohen might be about to flip and turn state’s evidence for Mueller – and that would certainly be a Mars Uranus jolt for Trump.

Iggy Pop – from wild man to meditator



Iggy Pop, Godfather of Punk – singer, songwriter, musician, producer and actor, is still going strong aged 70. Vocalist with the Stooges, he was known for his outrageous and unpredictable stage antics; and did his fair share of drugs.  His advice now: ‘Don’t lose yourself. If you take enough dope, you lose your body, your mind or your life. Conversely, if you do everything everybody else tells you to do, you’ll be miserable and lose your self-identity. At some point you gotta figure out the balance.’ He has even given up smoking and now practises quigong, a holistic moving meditation.

Born 21 April 1947 11.34 am Muskegon, MI, he grew up in a trailer park with parents who nurtured his interests in music. He’s an earthy Sun Moon in Taurus square Saturn and Pluto in Leo – so he’s got endurance and sticking power. His upfront Mercury Mars in Aries is in a showbizzy opposition to Neptune; his Venus in musical Pisces is in a frivolous trine to Jupiter in money-magnet Scorpio with Venus also square Uranus – he’s been married three times.

His chart doesn’t reflect his wild man stage image but he’s definitely designed for a public career. His creative 5th Harmonic does have a strongly aspected Mars Uranus which would bring out his high-voltage maverick streak.

Tr Uranus is conjunct his Sun and square his Saturn this year into 2019, so rocking on his axis somewhat.

NATO – western military alliance at risk



Trump isn’t wrong about everything. His attack on allies for not pitching in with fair costs for NATO is sound. After the fractious G7 meeting he tweeted: “The US pays close to the entire cost of Nato — protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on trade.’ Starting a trade war is manifestly self-defeating, but he’s right to complain about western defence costs. Only Greece, UK and Estonia fork out the mandatory 2% of GDP. France is down at 1.79%, Canada 1.29% and Germany with Europe’s largest economy and a whopping trade surplus with the USA only contributes a miserable 1.24%.  The USA contributes nearly 4% of a much larger GDP. All of which is going to make the July 10 NATO summit in Brussels even more heated than the G7. Merkel has said she is more worried about Nato and the future of the western alliance than about the prospect of American tariffs though they will threaten the German automotive industry.

NATO, 24 August 1949 11.42am Washington, is being backed into a corner this year and next with tr Pluto opposition the Mars and feeling decidedly scared and frustrated. Exactly over the July summit, tr Saturn is opposition the Nato Uranus and square Venus, so it’ll be high-tension and discouraging. At that point Trump has tr Uranus square his Mercury/Mars midpoint which Ebertin describes as ‘loss of self-control (frenzy, delirium or insanity), emotional upset, making reckless decisions. Even allowing for Ebertin’s somewhat over-melodramatic interpretations he’ll certainly be in bad mood and in verbal combat-kit.

The Nato chart then continues to a blocked Solar Arc Saturn square Pluto, exact in six months, followed by Solar Arc Saturn square Moon by late 2019 – so not in forward gear.

Trump harbours a peculiar dislike of Nato with a composite Mars, Saturn, Pluto Mercury conjunction in the relationship chart. He’ll continue to exert maximum pressure, escalating in 2020 and if (heaven forfend) he makes a second term worse in 2021/22.

The EU/Nato chart which ironically enough has an emphasised North Node in Capricorn (= looking for a father figure) is in turmoil in 2019 with tr Pluto opposition Uranus and tr Uranus opposition the composite Sun; then tr Pluto wades on to a confusing and devastating square to Neptune and a depressing square to Saturn from 2019 to 2024. Another problem for them to worry about which might even make them more amiably inclined towards the UK, whose military expertise they are shunning at present.

The Germany/Nato relationship chart is on tenterhooks this year; and even more disrupted in 2019 to mid 2020 with tr Uranus opposition the composite Sun Saturn.

The times they are a-changin’.