In this issue:
The Symplegades - when the world changes. A look at one of the
sky markers of change in our own lives, as well as in the emerging story
of the world.
Barack Obama's Outer Planet Parans
In this issue we are focusing on the markers of the world when
it turns, and also the outer planet star and planet combinations of the
man of the moment, Barack Obama.
Comments: For those of you who may
have missed the
September Visual Astrology Newsletter focused on the US
elections, we talked of how the sky was reflecting the struggle for the
"throne" and not only how the young "crown prince" would be victorious but
that this victory had long legs.
have to stand back to see something a little more clearly and if we forget
the actual candidates, the natal charts, the nation's chart, the election
chart, the swearing-in chart or any other such charts, then we can see a
more straightforward picture. The sky narrative at the time scheduled for
the US elections showed the Moon passing underneath Jupiter, a
symbol that power is being given to Jupiter. Indeed we could think of
Jupiter as being "over the Moon" and thus in a joyful position. This
empowered Jupiter was also being radiated by a brilliant Venus, another
uncomplicated statement that Jupiter (symbolic of the Crown Prince) was
being strongly endorsed.
It is also
using this same straightforward sky logic that we can look forward to
future US elections, right now without needing to know who will be running
and what are their charts, or even what chart to use for the USA. When we
look at November 2012, it is just as straightforward to see that the
ruling party does not lose the throne, so the Democrats win the 2012
election (hopefully still with Obama in the driving seat). More
importantly, we can see that the Democrats also win the election in
November 2016. Indeed it is not until Tuesday 3rd November 2020 that the
Republicans regain the "throne". So if you want the big picture,
look up to the sky!
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The Symplegades - when the world
by Bernadette Brady MA
The Bosporus, a narrow strait that separates the
Europe and Asia.
changes. Indeed that is one thing we can predict with certainty. There
are many markers in astrology which indicate times of change and outer
planetary cycles and combinations are astrology's major tool for
understanding such times. Currently we have the Saturn/Uranus
combination but this is only one of many that we watch. Within
these times heralded by the larger markers there are also places in
the sky which are liminal spaces, zones which mark the place of
bifurcation, a time of change where something can go one way or
I have been reminded of this lately not only by the
current world events of a new era in USA, and thus world politics but also
by a boat trip. The continents of Europe and Asia are separated by a long
thin strip of sea known as the Bosporus which, at its narrowest point, is
only 700 yards wide. This narrow stretch of water has been guarded since
ancient times and is currently flanked by two ancient castles which once
watched over this still-busy shipping lane.
This is a part of the world which is the
stage for many myths. The city of Troy is only 100 kilometres from this
narrow strait and mythology tells us that Jason and his Argonauts in their
quest for the Golden Fleece, sailed through these narrow waters. Indeed it
is believed that this narrow point in the Bosporus may be the fabled
Symplegades, the Cyanean Rocks
or Crashing Rocks that threatened to destroy the Argo. For the
Symplegades, guarding this narrow sea passage, are in fact symbolic of a
gateway, a fearful "crossing", a place where there is the need for
sacrifice, a place of fear or anxiety. Sailing through the
Symplegades was a test which one had to pass through, physically or
spiritually, in order to move forward into a new world.
Thus as I sailed through this narrow
point my thoughts turned to the death of Obama's grandmother,
that had just occurred on that day, the day before the election, and it
seemed to me that he to was facing the Symplegades and was mythologically
paying the price demanded by these rocks.
Jason in the Argo sailing through the
Bernard Picart, 1733
Like all myths there were also "other
world laws" at play. By casting her ballot before her death,
was able to speak from the underworld.
The sky also holds the Symplegades. In the
constellation of Libra there are two stars, known as the gate keepers.
They are equidistance from the ecliptic and used to mark the beginning of
the Sun's journey into the underworld. The one that guards the northern
side of the passage is named Zuben Eschamali (the northern claw) and
the other which guards the southern side of this narrow passage is named
(the upper part of the arm of the scales), also known as Zuben al akrab.
On Tuesday 5th November, it just so happened that Mars
was riding through these Symplegades in the sky, and although this sky
narrative alone would not be enough to reflect world events, as Mars
travels this journey every two and a half years, for me this sky picture
at the time of the elections held some wonder, as it was yet another
confirmation of the union between the world of humans and the sky, that
same reflection articulated by the the Stoics as the Cosmos of Humankind
mirroring the cosmos without.
Adding to this power of the Symplegades
is the observation that the orbit of Pluto always moves to the north of
the constellation of Libra. Thus Pluto, the guardian of the underworld,
has no need to cross through them but alone of all the planets, avoids
In this current era, any planet in a
natal chart or transiting through it around 20o Scorpio will be
passing through these "Crashing Gates". The person or situation is being
asked to sacrifice something and hence will be living in a liminal place,
a place between two worlds, a place that offers the opportunity for and
hope of a new beginning, a new or different expression.
Pluto always passes well to the north
Wallace Simpson (born 19th
June 1895 or some say 1896), the divorcee whom Edward VIII married and
whose action then required him to abdicate the throne of England, had
her Uranus in the Symplegades, regardless of her year of birth. Since
Uranus is a planet of the collective, on a collective level this
heralded great change to the entire dynasties of the UK monarchy.
Mohandas Gandhi (born 2nd October, 1869),
a major political and spiritual leader of India and the
Indian independence movement, had his Mars-Venus
conjunction in the mouth of the Symplegades.
pioneer of Satyagraha, resistance to tyranny through mass civil
disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non-violence, he
led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and
freedom across the world.
Neptune last passed through these Gates in the mid-1960s.
This was a time of social upheaval, race issues, New Age thinking, the
rise of personal freedom and the landing on the Moon.
Uranus last passed through these gates in 1978-1980. This was the period
when the first international packet switched network was created. This is
a network communications method that splits data traffic into
chunks, called packets, that are then routed over a shared network, and
was a major step forward in the birth of the internet.
change has come to the world, heralded by the Saturn-Uranus opposition
and highlighted by Mars in the Symplegades. In this change,
President-elect Obama has not only redrawn the political map of the
USA but through his background of being the child of a black Kenyan
man and a white America woman and of being raised by a single parent,
he has redefined the idea that being disadvantaged need no longer be a
barrier to achievement.
has made personal sacrifices and no doubt there will be more to come.
However, we are all, in effect, in the Argonaut with him and all of us
are passing through the Symplegades. Therefore all of us may have to
make sacrifices to bring into effect this dreamed-of and hoped-for new
The world has changed just a little but in what appears to be the right
direction and once again, as I have often been since we started this
newsletter four years ago, I am awed by the reflections of sky and state,
sky and personal life and the continuing, never-ending dialogue that
exists between the sky narrative and life on earth.
Outer Planets and Stars - a look at Barack Obama's parans
by Darrelyn Gunzburg
There is much that can and will be written about the chart of
Obama (born 4 August, 1961 at 19.24 in Honolulu, Hawaii)
and prior to the election, in the September issue of this
newsletter I looked at
pairing of images on his eastern and western horizons as a way of
astrology, what he brings to his relationships with others and therefore
how he is seen by the world.
issue I want to look in detail at his natal outer planet
star parans as a way of contributing our unique
perspective on this man of the
moment. I am specifically looking only at parans
to his outer planets. In a natal chart we will not generally delineate the
outer planets in the sign since, as this applies to so many people, it
becomes a generational statement. However, when an outer planet forms a
paran with a star, it does so along a thin band of latitude and is
applicable only for about twelve months, so we can gain a more personal
meaning to these outer planet star and planet combinations.
parans are always deeply revealing about
our drives and desires
and for most of us they will not play out on a world stage
but stay confined to our own lives.
However, for someone prominent in the public eye,
particularly at the head of an organization, or the representative voice
of a people, a nation, state or country, the outer planets as planets of
the collective take on a symbolic meaning. All of the
following delineations are taken from
Bernadette Brady's Star and Planet Combinations  and use an orb of only 2 minutes of time.
All three planets describe ways the collective seeks to
Uranus seeks change through the voice of the common person rising up to be
heard in rebellion,
thus causing revolution.
Obama has three stars in paran
with his 7th house Uranus in Leo:
Setting when Deneb Algedi
is Rising (the tail of the sea goat Capricorn)
To have a social conscience,
seeking justice for the common folk. To listen to and work for minority
Setting when Scheat is
Rising (In the chest of Pegasus the flying horse)
The journalist or reporter; to collect information on behalf of a group
or the community. To be interested in bringing "truth" to a particular
Setting when Schedar
is Rising (The alpha star of Cassiopeia, the Queen)
A person who is a natural leader in their community or family; the one
in a group who is respected for maintaining the dignity of others.
it is easy to see how these parans have already matured through his legal
and administrative work. Here are a few instances from his biography :
of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), Chicago, where he helped set
up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a
tenants' rights organization
(June 1985 to May 1988).
* President of the Law Review,
Harvard Law School (1990),
functioning as editor-in-chief and supervising the staff of eighty
* Director Illinois' Project Vote (April to October 1992), registering
150,000 of 400,000 unregistered African Americans.
, Lawyer (1993-2004) for
Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland,
a twelve-attorney law firm
specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic
* Served on the board of directors of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for
Civil Rights Under Law, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the
Lugenia Burns Hope Center.
All of this experience helped shape the way
Obama approached the 2008 election.
We are told that after college,
Obama's social conscience steered him to become
a community organizer
where he learned to listen to people and recognized where social change
was acutely needed
Mixed in with this
is the skill to collect information on behalf of a group or the
community in order to bring in social change ("truth")
for that particular
However, what takes him
into prominence is the final
ingredient of Uranus in paran with Schedar, gifting him with "queenly
dignity" and natural leadership ability, a trait that emerged in primary
Neptune seeks change by taking someone into an
enchanted space and showing them an ideal.
Obama has three stars in paran
with his 9th house Neptune in Scorpio:
Rising when Alphecca
A person who can have successful endeavours in the virtual world, or
one's who success prove to be ephemeral. Good fortune which seems to
emerge with little effort, but can also disappear with little cause.
Culminating when Castor
A strong intuition, a
spiritual approach to life. Sensitive to colour and design.
On Nadir when Canopus
To dare to dream; unrealistic thinking or a desire to pursue futuristic
ideas. A lover of science fiction.
hindsight shows us the Obama 2008 Presidential campaign's mastery of the
use of the virtual world (Neptune-Alphecca). Mobilizing
the electorate through the technological tools of
and MySpace and his own beautifully-designed
website to gain widespread web presence and its
organizational and money-making power (Neptune-Alphecca) were
used with devastating effect. "Barack Obama"
the BBC website notes, "has become the commander-in-chief by being
the social networker-in-chief."  However, networking
can only take a person so far. Unless there is substance underneath
the network, the network falls apart.
Obama also embodies the "dare
to dream" American spirit (Neptune-Canopus)
building on the philosophy of
Lincoln and Martin Luther-King Jr.
The title of his book Dreams From My Father
However, in my opinion, what makes these parans to Neptune most
interesting is Neptune-Castor. Castor is one of
a twin, its brother being Pollux. These two stars are the classic twins of
the heavens and in being twins they represent the essence of the universal
struggle with polarity. Obama contains this polarity of
black father-white mother, in his own DNA, so he is already sensitive to
the blending and recognition of opposites,
thus the ability to build
bridges between the two. With
Castor as the active star in
paran with Neptune, he seeks the bright side of the story or
situation and uses a strong intuition
and a spiritual approach to life.
He is also "sensitive to colour", and he literally wears that on his skin
for all to see.
Pluto seeks change through intensity and irrevocable alteration.
Obama has two stars in paran with
his 7th house Virgo, Pluto:
Culminating when Agena
To influence the opinion of a large number of people, to want to help to
change society's attitude to a subject through politics or
Culminating when Fomalhaut
is On Nadir
To be able to make money from illusions or the virtual world. To
understand that the virtual world is just as important as the physical
world. To work in the media.
Agena, in the foot of Chiron,
the Centaur, is concerned with the sacrifices required for growth.
As a healer and a teacher Chiron
carries a wound and
with this star in paran to Obama's Pluto, he is
always going to be concerned with some cause or issue that needs to
be corrected or healed, either privately or collectively.
By winning the presidential campaign Obama has already begun the healing
of America's face to the world. This paran tells us there will be a great
deal more healing during his presidency but that it will entail sacrifice
in some way.
Fomalhaut is one of the Royal Stars of Persia
November 2006) and as such
represents a trial or a temptation through which the individual must work
before true success can be achieved. Being one of the Royal Stars,
he is gifted with charisma,
a touch of the mystic, a sense of magic
based on high ideals or lofty visions. He has already
shown himself to be a master of the virtual world in raising campaign
money via the internet. Now he must be extremely clear and honest
with himself about his motives
in order to make sure that personal glory does
not become the main driving force as President of the
USA. If he can do that, he may just become one of the most loved
presidents the USA has ever seen.
Finally, Obama has one star in paran with
his 7th house North Node (mean) in Leo:
Rising when Alphard is
To be interested in all things to do with life and the environment, to
be concerned with balance and order, to seek the overall picture.
The Great Serpent and its
red heart, Alphard, is only just re-emerging in the human psyche
as conscious passion. So here we see passionate
strength and determination to bring in change (Alphard-North
Node). However, Alphard suggests that as he
begins to implement change for the American people, he will be working
with extremely strong feelings and must always
refuse to give in to anger.
The presidential debates showed that when bated, Obama remained calm and
resisted the temptation to name-call or bait. Howard Jacobson in The
Independent  writes that "Obama has the kind of cool that can
translate into political substance", that by remaining centred he allows
the word "respect" to re-enter the vocabulary by example.
Paul Simon sang about "the
days of miracle
and wonder" in the latter years of the last century.
Maybe they are just about to come to pass.
1. Brady, Bernadette (2008). Star and
Planet Combinations. Bournemouth, UK: Wessex Astrologer.
- accessed 9th November 2008.
3. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7717578.stm - accessed 9th
Independent, UK, Saturday 8th November 2008, p.43.