Tim Lyons (AKA: Your Present Correspondent (YPC).

                YPC concluded his previous installment with a discussion of the United States’ various deceptions before or as it engages in conflicts that it blames on others – on the “open enemies” (7th house) that serve as hooks for the US projection of Mars. A pervasive and deceptive national ideology (Neptune in the 9th) clearly plays a role here. For the record, some of those deceptions: the deceptions leading up to the 1991 bombing of Iraq; the lies about Iraq’s WMDs leading up to the full-scale invasion; the obfuscations regarding the US invasion of Afghanistan (e.g. telling whoever would listen that the US wanted to hunt down Osama bin Laden, when any thinking person would have realized that if you wanted to hunt down bin Laden, former US friend and ally, you wouldn’t send in a slow-moving army but a fast moving special-ops type group that could move quickly through the mountains in which bin Laden had secreted himself); the lies about the Gulf of Tonkin; the lies leading up to the Mexican War; plus the ongoing misdirection and propaganda related to Ukraine – and now, it seems, China. Add to those the run-ups to both world-wars.

Mars rules the 12th house of secrets, after all, and Neptune rules Pisces, intercepted in the 3rd house of communication and the press, the interception suggesting that deceptions and over-idealizations don’t appear clearly though they remain potent. Having said all of that, let’s move on to the US Mercury-Pluto opposition, an aspect YPC has spoken about before in other contexts. For example, in the chapter on projections and US foreign policy in his Your Hidden Face: Projection in the Horoscope, he wrote:

…a person with an opposition generally plays the role of the planet closest to the Sun and projects onto others the planet farthest from the Sun. (Though gender-related factors will often give a different message, those don’t into play in the activities of nations.) We would therefore expect the United States to play the role of Mercury in Cancer and to project Pluto in Capricorn onto other nations or groups. The historical record certainly suggests that this occurs…

The pattern appeared even before the United States declared itself as a nation, as the invading Europeans saw the native people as dark, savage, primitive, and cruel, despite the sophistication of many native civilizations and the marked primitive savagery – characterized by historical Michael Rogin as a drive for “primitive accumulation” – of the Europeans. Later, with the institution of the slave trade, African slaves served nicely as a hook for the United States’ projection. Later still, the Soviet Union did yeoman service in that role, and once the Soviet Union fell apart, various Middle Eastern groups and leaders served equally well…

Meanwhile, the people of the United States by and large have seen themselves as merely seeking security. Mercury in a nation’s horoscope symbolizes not only the popular press, but also the way the people think about themselves. Mercury in Cancer suggests that millions of people in this country tend to see themselves as home-oriented folk seeking security and safety, tendencies reiterated by the Cancer Sun.[1]

I have emphasized this pattern in various publications and podcasts over the years. Mercury in Cancer in the 8th suggests the ways this country’s security depends on the resources of others (originally, the indigenous people of this continent; later, the various countries that the US brought under its military or economic hegemony. The 8th house Cancer Sun again reiterates, as does the Venus-Jupiter conjunction, also in Cancer, rulers of the midheaven and ascendant respectively, at the cusp of the 8th.  The Mercury-Pluto opposition again suggests projection: seeing other countries or groups and dark, primitive, problematic, and in need of punishment or chastisement. In the modern era, the US accuses other countries or groups of harboring dark or hidden power, yet the US Pluto rules the US 12th, suggesting the often-left-unmentioned piles of plutonium under US control. Clearly, the US controls more plutonic power than the rest of the world combined. With Pluto in the 2nd, this has held true for economic (plutocratic) power as well, though this may change with the rise of China. (China’s increased economic power and worldwide influence may reflect the ongoing US Pluto Return: a demand for a transformation of values, appearing now at least partly as a projection onto China, seen by Biden and his cronies as a threat, with its different approach to economic influence and power.) But the dark and primitive qualities have appeared in the US public mind – always promulgated by the MSM, owned and operated by plutocrats – another reflection of the Mercury-Pluto opposition, with the projection laid at the feet of people who invariably become victims of US power.

If you run a solar-arc scan,[2] you will find that when SA Pluto reached the US descendant, WWI started, with Pluto appearing, via projection, in the purportedly savage and aggressive Germans, the “open enemies” associated with the 7th house[3]; by 2003, SA Pluto had moved into a square with the ASC, now from the 9th house, and the US invaded Iraq, its actions aptly suggested by the “long journeys over water” designation traditionally associated with the 9th. The first square of SA Pluto to the N. Asc took place in February 1824, just two months after the Monroe Doctrine (December 2, 1823) from the 3rd house (neighbors, among other meanings); thus a power play regarding neighbors, banning other nations from North and South America, the US self-designated sphere of influence.[4]

TR Pluto, the USA, and Ukraine Background

The recent movements of TR Pluto show the propaganda machine kicking into full gear – and they show the vigorous projection of Pluto onto (among others) Russia. During the runup to the 2016 election, Pluto stationed at 14Cap55, closely square the US 10th house Saturn at 14Libra48 and more loosely opposed the US Cancer Sun at 13Cancer19. The projection of Pluto appeared in the largely-groundless paranoia about Russian influence on US elections coinciding with the precise opposition of Pluto to the US Sun.[5] That opposition also coincided with the more-obvious US interference in Ukrainian affairs, particularly the overthrow of Yanukovych, who, though probably qualifying as an SOB (to put the matter mildly) aroused the US ire by aligning himself with Russia. (The US had, after all, aligned itself with many vicious leaders in the past, so YPC doesn’t see Yanukovych’s viciousness and the US reason for opposing him – propaganda aside, of course.) Thus the US took aggressive actions against Russia, clearly seeking control of Ukraine via NATO, a highly aggressive international consortium. We might also ask whether, considering these developments, we should see Ukraine as an independent nation.

And, of course, Vladimir Putin, with his Pluto elevated at the midheaven, serves as a perfect hook for the projection of the US Pluto in Capricorn.


[1] Tim Lyons, Your Hidden Face: Projection in the Horoscope.

[2] Solar arc directions: each year, move each planet forward by the “solar arc,” approximately one degree.

[3]  Some might say, regarding WWI, that the projection of Pluto onto Germany made perfect sense, assuming Germany as the primary aggressor instigating WWI. But not all historians agree. In general, the histories get written by the victors. Harry Elmer Barnes’ Who Started World War One? presents a rather different picture of the run-up to that conflict.

[4] One might think that the US did this to promote freedom, but Monroe specifically said that the US would support no revolutionary movements until those movements morphed into the accepted authority – a approach hardly resonant with the claim that the US promotes freedom and democracy. This historical record suggests what the horoscope symbolizes: that the US experiences Uranus, symbol of freedom and rebellion and opposed the US ascendant, as a projection: other nations carry that energy, and the US constantly stands against revolutionary groups and movements unless CIA instigates them in the service of US control, and then the shift goes to the right, not the left. Examples abound.

[5] Pluto stationed at 13+ Capricorn in April 2014, closely opposed the US Cancer Sun and squaring its Saturn, the US Sun-Saturn square symbolizing the US desire to control all manner of worldly goings-on. The US, disliking the direction things were going in Ukraine, had the CIA help foment a civil war.  



Some Pre-Ambling

In this short blog, the first in a series, YPC (Your Present Correspondent) will try to sort out some of the dangerous confusion related to the current situation in Ukraine. In particular, he will focus, in this installment, on projection, with a touch of propaganda for spice. He will look into goings-on related to Mars in the United States horoscope: its effects (so to speak), both presently and throughout US history. In subsequent podcasts, he will deal with Pluto , Eris, and other matters, including but not limited to the astrological factors related to Putin, Biden, Zelenskyy, Russia, and Ukraine. He will  place a heavy emphasis on psychological projection, which nations engage in (so to speak) at least as often as do individual humans (including but limited to so-called “world leaders”).

The US finds itself (but doesn’t really see itself) in the midst of a national psychosis revealing long-ignored psychological complexes surging to the surface in problematic and highly dangerous ways. He will put aside, for now, the interesting discussion of how nations can have such complexes. It seems, that they can, even though, strictly speaking, nations do not have minds and so cannot, some will say, have such psychological complexes. The evidence suggests otherwise.

YPC uses the Rudhyar horoscope for the US. He has tested it horoscope extensively and it always seems to ring true, particularly as regards the US’s relations with other nations or groups. Also this: nations generally manifest the most problematic facets of any astrological situation, particularly those involving projection. This occurs because unlike individuals, nations do not have a central seat of conscious awareness that through which they can work to withdraw projections or effect positive change.

Projection: Mars in the US horoscope

The US has Mars in Gemini in the 7th house in a close square to Neptune. On the most obvious level, that position suggests assertiveness or aggression in one-to-one relationships or with “open enemies” (a traditional designation of the 7th house). Anyone with that position, or even a Mars-influenced 7th house (e.g. Aries on the cusp), will have a tendency to project Mars onto others. Individuals can work with this tendency and transform it into a strength, asserting themselves cleanly in relationships and developing a keen eye for projection, as the Mars-influence generally appears in the open. Nations, on other hand, generally remain blind to such potentials.

Even a cursory examination of US history will reveal that this country habitually projects Mars onto other nations or groups and either ignores its own aggression or casts that aggression in a favorable light, that favorable light often manifesting as delusory statements about defending freedom (e.g. militaristic boilerplate). An obvious example: the centuries-long mistreatment of the indigenous people of this continent (and elsewhere), who have so often found themselves treated as either savage aggressors or aggressive obstacles to the expansion of the American Empire. (The treatment came not only from the military (Mars), but also from the media, now corporate-dominated, a matter explored in upcoming podcasts, symbolized by the Mercury-Pluto opposition in the US horoscope and Mercury ruling Gemini. Thus the “propaganda” in the title of this podcast. But the initial aggression clearly came from the Empire, with military and media arms playing their roles. After all, the invaders wanted the land on which the indigenous people lived.

Other examples of the Mars-projection abound: Saddam Hussein and Iraq were seen as a threat to the US, as is Iran these days; similarly with Putin and Russia, as with the USSR some years earlier. In 1846, Mexico was portrayed similarly. The Vietnamese and Ho Chi Minh purportedly constituting a threat to democracy despite Ho’s professed admiration for the Declaration of Independence. . 

BTW: saying that the US natal (N) Mars often appears via projection does not mean that YPC absolves the projected-upon country (in this case Russia) of responsibility. As Jung said decades ago, we hang projections on hooks just as we do coats, and the projected-upon party must have some of the projected energy or the projection won’t hold up. Thus Marie Louise von Franz:
Seldom, if ever, is nothing of what is projected present in the object. Jung speaks therefore of a “hook” in the object on which one hangs a projection as one hangs a coat on a coat hook.[1]

In this case, Putin decided (along with other Russian oligarchs, one assumes) to invade Ukraine, violating international law – all very Mars-like. But the projection exaggerates the energy and ignores the participation of the projecting party (in this case the USA), often blinding that party (in this case the US) to its own participation and habitual tendencies. Many people in the US (millions, it seems) seem to see Putin only as an aggressor – and as the only aggressor – though many in Russia apparently see his actions as self-defense – and not unreasonably, considering US/NATO actions and broken promises over the past several years and more, not to mention previous destructive invasions of Russia from the west. From a strictly geo-political perspective, Putin, had and has good reason to fear a US invasion or attack, certainly better reason than the US had for invading Iraq. The missiles at the Russia/Ukraine border have constituted a clear and present danger for some time.

In general, when dealing with projections, it seems  wise to move beyond two-valued thinking. In this case, we shouldn’t think that “either Russia or the US must be to blame,” but that both have participated. Certainly one must take responsibility for one’s actions.

From the US Empire’s perspective, other nations always seem to threaten US security (US Cancer Sun). Yet polls taken outside this country reveal that a significant majority of people living outside the US see the US as the major threat to world peace. Certainly no other country has involved itself in more international aggression, with the wars in Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq as primary examples. Add to those the ongoing US aggression in Central and South America (a central factor, surely, in the number of refugees gathered at our southern border, people often portrayed as dangerous).

The US generally enters international conflicts – conflicts with “open enemies” (7th house) – after ongoing campaigns designed to obfuscate and deceive. This pattern reflects the US Mars-Neptune square, with N Neptune in Virgo and the 9th of national ideology. (The Virgo placement tells us that, like N Mars, N Neptune is ruled by Mercury.) Neptune’s discovery ushered in the so-called Mexican War, more accurately called the Invasion of Mexico, which garnered for the US what became the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. I won’t go into the details here, as I’ve done so elsewhere, but we might remember how Mexico found itself portrayed as the aggressor even though President Polk, surely one of the greatest scoundrels ever to occupy the White House — a favorite hangout for such people, it seems – clearly instigated the conflict.

Why would Polk do such a thing? His remarks tell us a lot about the pattern of obfuscation and deception described here: he said, apparently with a straight face, that he wanted to ‘expand the area of freedom,’ by which he meant expand the number of slave states in the US, an important matter to him when it came to winning congressional votes involving slavery.

The pattern has continued: the USA cited as a defense of freedom its involvement in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. Just the other day, Biden, another of the above-mentioned scoundrels, cited ‘the defense of democracy’ to justify US support of Ukraine (i.e. supplying billions of dollars of lethal military aid), remarks that only the myopic can take seriously, considering the way a US-inspired-and-supported coup overthrew a democratically-elected leader in that country just a few years ago. Does Biden mean that he wants to support situations in which the US has interfered with democracy? Apparently. Time and again, the US has intervened in other countries’ domestic affairs, often leaving behind piles of corpses (Chile in 1973; Iraq for a number of years, culminating in the full-scale invasion; Vietnam for decades; Venezuela more recently; and even, in Russia, the “support,” euphemistically so-called, of both Yeltsin and Putin not so long ago).[2]

The Past Invades the Present

                TR Mars’ March 6, 2023 conjunction with N Mars in early March ups the ante, making increased US aggression more likely. The March transit completes the triple transit that began with the October 3 2022 conjunction with TR Mars in direct motion and continued with the conjunction, with Mars retrograde, in late November. The third transit of a triple-transit series often brings the final denouement of a process in which one receives the lesson plan (phase one), internalizes one’s understanding of it (second phase), and manifests one’s conclusion via action.[3] Receiving a triple transit often indicates that the natal factor in question needs more-than-usual work, which certainly seems true of the US N Mars. The astrological symbolism seems to suggest what the historical record confirms: that this country remains prone to aggression, generally (as now) preferring military solutions to diplomatic ones. Certainly the US has attacked and invaded more nations – more “open enemies” – than any other nation on the planet, usually while blaming that “enemy” and repeating that the US seeks peace while promoting war. Thus the extreme danger of the current situation. Quite possibly, we will see some aggression from Russia, but any inquiry into the causes of Russia’s actions will surely reveal the tragic importance of US actions both recent and not so.


[1] Marie Louise von Franz: Projection and Recollection in Jungian Psychology, p.3.

[2] One can discern another pattern here: the US often allies itself with leaders and countries it will later abandon and attack: Hussein in Iraq; Noriega in Panama; bin Laden in Afghanistan.

[3] Sometimes, though, the transit-energy appears largely in one of the three phases, with the other two remaining largely uneventful.






Another Photography-Assisted

Given the rapaciousness of the forest-fires here in Colorado, with today’s air thick with soot, these may be the last photos of the Moon taken for quite some time.

You can see these planets in the sky these days. If youdon’t live in smoke-infested Colorado (or, I assume, vast tracts of California), you can see Mars in the eastern sky around midnight, with Jupiter and Saturn farther to the west– along with the far-more-distant Pluto that you can’t see with the naked eye – all quite bright. As I write, Jupiter and Saturn remain in retrograde motion; Mars will turn retrograde in a few days. Thus you can see them. Why? During their retrograde periods, the planets from Mars on out go through opposition to the Sun – as seen from Earth, of course. Thus those planets get, as seen from Earth, increased light from the Sun. Thus you can see ‘em.

These facts seem to me astrologically suggestive. Consider these reasons:

  1. We can see the planets as part of the cosmos that seems separate from us (i.e. up in the night sky). This seems to suggest that though many astrologers describe retrograde planets as “unconscious,” they appear, as do many (maybe most, maybe even all) projections, in the world around us. We can see them clearly there; the planets in the night sky shine more brightly then than at any other point in their orbit.
  2. Yet we see ‘em in the night sky: we see them visibly as projections precisely because they remain unconscious (symbolized by the night sky). I find this delightfully paradoxical, like many other  things I encounter in life.
  3. People often experience more conflict with others during Mars’ retrograde period. Why? Probably at such times because we project Mars into the world more consistently — or more brightly. The Sun-Mars opposition (during the retrograde period) suggests projection, as do most oppositions in astrology. We generally play the role of the planet closest to the Sun – in this case, the Sun itself! We project out the planet further from the Sun: Mars, obviously. Thus we run into conflict with a Mars that seems external to ourselves.
  4. But #2 suggests that we can have greater awareness of the factors involved – the delightful paradox.
  5. Oppositions symbolize objective awareness – interesting phrase! It suggests, among other things, that we can develop greater awareness by dealing with the objects of the world. We can get feedback from the objects (with people, here, considered as objects) of the world. Thus the world arises as a teacher.
  6. But we have to delve into the unconscious to find the roots of the problem – if we want to call it a “problem.”
  7. Then there’s this matter of the enjoyment we can get by seeing planets in the night sky. Air pollution – or fire smoke – may make this difficult. In my grandiose moments, I announce, to anyone who’ll listen, “See, when we get too civilized, we lose sight of unconscious forces!”
    7a. We apparently enjoy engaging with the world. This often — maybe always? — means working with our projections.
    7a. Yours truly considers Pluto — out there and invisible to the naked eye — as closely connected to what Jung called “the projection-making factor per se.” We can discuss that at another time — though I discuss it in my book on projection (Your Hidden Face: Projection in the Horoscope).
  8. Finally, as I said in an earlier installment, the upcoming retrogradation of Mars will take it through squares to the US Mercury-Pluto opposition, the aspect I’ve talked about in several previous installments and that has a clear connection to the effect of the pandemic on the United States.
    8a. Remember that the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of last January tells us about the world-wide pandemic per se, while the transits of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto to planets in the US horoscope tell us about how that pandemic will play itself out in the United States.
    8b. The omens do not seem propitious, to put the matter mildly. But more on this later.

That will do for now.

September 6, 2020. Boulder, CO



Alert readers have probably noticed that I began this blog-installment with a photo. Note the Moon, resplendent in the Colorado sky about a week ago, when it (the Moon, that is) made its passage through late Aries. Because of the not-exactly-high-quality of my android phone-camera, and perhaps also because of the #$%^&* streetlights of Boulder CO (and perhaps, let’s be honest, because your vision, gentle reader, is not what it used to be), you can’t see Mars, right up there beside the waning lunar crescent. You’ll have to take my word for it that Mars appeared to the naked eye, at least In Colorado.[1]

Why see any of the above as important? With the Sun in Leo and Mars in Aries, we found ourselves, at the time of the photo, approaching the Sun-Mars trine. That trine preceded Mars’ retrograde station, which will occur on September 9 at 28Aries09. Are you with me so far? Are you asking what such developments have to do with the purported subject of this blog-series (astrology, politics, and history, for those of you with short memories)? Cool. Let’s look.

As he moves through Aries, ever more slowly as he approaches the retrograde station, transiting (TR) Mars makes challenging aspects to the planetary positions I have discussed on previous installments: the Mercury-Pluto opposition, from 24 Cancer (Mercury) to 27 Capricorn (Pluto) in the US natal horoscope, the opposition currently besieged (so to speak) by TR Saturn and TR Pluto. Because of the retrograde, TR Mars will make three contacts (in direct motion, retrograde, and direct again) with both natal (N) Mercury and N Pluto – and, of course, with TR Saturn and TR Pluto. Earlier, TR Mars squared (from Aries) the US Venus, Jupiter, and Sun. (See the dates below.)

These developments – TR Mars in Aries squaring so many important planets in the US horoscope – seem connected to the unwise (symbolized by the afflictive aspects) impulsiveness (Aries) on the part of the USA (the natal planets) in connection with COVID19. When we recall that the US N Mars squares N Neptune – an aspect suggesting deceptive and ill-considered actions related to a deceptive national ideology (N Neptune in the 9th) related to projection (Mars in 7th, the house of ‘open enemies’) and phobias regarding things-foreign (9th house again) – we probably shouldn’t feel surprised.

Also this: TR Mar, in Aries and in the US 11th house, forms a t-cross (t-square) composed of natal and transiting planets. Mars becomes the focal planet of that t-square. Thus, among other developments, the anger (Mars) emerging from group-enterprises (US 11th house): think of Black Lives Matter (a group enterprise) and its (or their) reactions (Mars) against long-standing government-imposed restrictions and national projections (e.g. the projection of Pluto onto black people, among others, matters discussed in previous installments[2]).

I took the photo late on August 8th, not long before the Sun-Mars trine (on 8/16). Unlike the planets outside his orbit, Mars makes his trine with the Sun before his retrograde (not during, as is the case with the others). This suggests what many people experience with Mars’ retrograde: that things seem, when left unexamined, to go forward swimmingly and wonderfully in the period leading up to the retrograde (unless other, longer-lasting, transits bring a different message), but that once Mars turns retrograde, we often feel as if we’ve gotten clocked upside the cranium by events. Apply these remarks to the country as a whole. Do not expect wonderful results.

Note, though, that, because of matters discussed briefly below, we can expect worse results for nations than for individuals.

Note #1: Individuals can use the retrograde period to get more objective understanding of initiatives taken in the weeks or months leading up to the retrograde. The “objective understanding” part comes from the Sun-Mars opposition that takes place midway through the retrograde period, as oppositions arise, often enough, through splitting, with one end arising in the extensional world – in other words, as a projection. Once we understand how objects can represent elements of mind, we develop awareness. The Sun-Mars opposition offers opportunities for us to investigate such developments. We can make best use of the period not by plunging blindly forward, but by looking within, by finding the motives that led us into certain patterns of actions. Individuals can reflect, of course, in ways that nations cannot seem to do. Thus we can expect worse results on a national scale than will necessarily occur for individuals. However, individuals can expect some restrictions on action (Mars), as the retrograde suggests that Mars turns inward, bringing challenges to the externalization of impulse.

Note #2. The USA presently has secondary progressed Mars retrograde. This began formally on July 19, 2006, but as Mars slowed toward the retrograde station in the years leading up to that date, frustrations increased (e.g. the US had less and less success in its attacks on other nations). I and many other astrologers (I can’t remember who, though) suggested – or, if you prefer, predicted – that we would see Mars turned inward, with aggression directed increasingly against US citizens, with many problems projected onto citizen groups instead of, as has been the national custom, apparently-external enemies (Mars in the 7th). Thus the militarization of police, among other developments.


Transits from Mars to positions in the US natal horoscope:

Series 1 (from a bit earlier): TR Mars to N Venus, Jupiter, and Sun:

Mars square Venus              7/3/2020
Mars square Jupiter             7/7
Mars square Sun                 7/21
Mars opposite Saturn          7/24

The transits from Mars to the Sun and Saturn gave another t-cross, this time with the N Sun in Cancer as the focal planet.

Series 2: TR Mars to the N (US) Mercury-Pluto opposition:

Mars square Mercury          8/16
Mars square Pluto               8/31 
Mars square Pluto               9/18 (with Mars now retrograde)
Mars square Mercury          10/3
Mars square Mercury          12/24 (with Mars now in direct motion again)
Mars square Pluto               1/1/2021

Mars’ transits to transiting (TR) Saturn and Pluto:

TR Mars square Pluto          8/13
TR Mars square Saturn        8/24
TR Mars square Saturn        9/29 (with Mars now retrograde)
TR Mars square Pluto          10/9
TR Mars square Pluto          12/23 (with Mars again in direct motion)
TR Mars square Saturn        1/13/2021

[1] Your correspondent cannot speak to its visibility in, say, Los Angeles, NYC, or cloudy Seattle, hard by the sea. He has heard, though, that, due to the Covid19 quarantines, semi-quarantines, and so forth, the air-pollution in places like LA and NYC has markedly reduced. Also note: the author took the photo before wildfire-related smoke drifted over Boulder.

[2] And in my Your Hidden Face: Projection in the Horoscope.





Transiting (TR) Pluto, now moving very slowly retrograde at 24+ Capricorn, precisely opposite the US Mercury, symbolizes, among other possibilities, not only the ongoing national obsessions and projections about COVID19, but about other matters as well, race included, as well as the economy, related subjects (discussed below). The natal (N) Mercury-Pluto opposition (as distinguished from the present transit) symbolizes the projection of “dark” qualities onto people of color, starting with Native Americans and extending to the current situation. The present transit, reiterating the natal Mercury-Pluto aspect, brings the natal material into full view; we can see once again that Americans for the most part like to think of themselves (Mercury) as homeowners and family-folk seeking security above all (Cancer), tendencies reiterated by the other three N planets in Cancer.[1] Playing the role of Mercury throughout the nation’s history, the people have tended to project Pluto onto others – or, at least, people considered as “other,” even if they qualify as American citizens (e.g. millions of people of color), attributing to those people qualities or tendencies that they either don’t have or don’t have to the extent often imagined, qualities and tendencies that rightly belong to the projector.[2]

By referring to obsessions and projections, I don’t mean that the country doesn’t face real problems, whether about viruses, race, or other matters, but only that those problems arise as projections of something unregenerate in the national psyche. We might recall the words of James Baldwin about the “negro problem” as intimately connected with a sickness – perhaps we could even say a virus – in the soul of the country.[3] The natal (N) Mercury-Pluto opposition suggests that Americans will too often ignore the problem, thus ensuring that it gets projected out, for oppositions often split, with one end experienced as part of the self and the other experienced via projected energies. Thus, for many decades, arose the “negro problem,” as if the problem arose in black people, not in the nation’s (so to speak) soul.

The N opposition appears continuously in our history via the rhetoric (Mercury) emerging from a press (Mercury) under plutocratic (Pluto) control. Thus the similarity in the descriptions of, say, Native Americans, African-Americans, Cubans, Middle-Easterners of all sorts, and even Russians – and, these days, the Chinese.

Because Pluto made a station (on April 25) precisely opposite the US natal (N) Mercury at 24+ Cancer, things seem pretty much stuck – as do economic matters, for the TR opposition takes place in the “money houses” of the nation’s horoscope: from N Mercury in the 8th to TR Pluto in the 2nd. And, of course, the US N Pluto also falls in the N 2nd house, so the present situation mirrors and reiterates a set of economic questions, the answers to which seem vital to the nation’s health, both literally and figuratively. It’s almost as if Baldwin had studied the US horoscope.[4] (See the attached two-wheeler.)

The astrological information goes a long way to explaining why the United States has made such a mess of the “race problem,” not to mention the current situation with the virus.

The house positions related to the present transit and natal position of the relevant planets (Mercury and Pluto) point to the importance of economic factors and other matters swept under whatever rugs seem at the ready: the 2nd, 8th and 12th. The 2nd and 8th both deal with money, symbolizing the nation’s finances (2nd) and its financial or value-oriented relations with other nations or groups (8th). The US Sun and Mercury in the 8th, with Venus and Jupiter on the cusp (rulers of the midheaven and ascendant respectively) suggest the way this country has established its security (Cancer) by taking the resources, including the people, from other people and places. The nation began by stealing land from the indigenous people of this continent, largely for economic reasons; not much later began the stealing of people from Africa in a process that had clear economic motivations, for slavery generally proves a good business practice – as does “wage slavery.”

The present transits of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto through the US 2nd house point, obviously enough, to the present economic upheaval, and the transit of Pluto to N Pluto, already somewhat in effect but not exact until 2022, marks the end of an economic cycle that began with the birth of the nation in 1776. The 2022 transit may bring the economy to its knees (Capricorn)[5] – or worse. The present transit (TR Pluto opposite N Mercury) points to the obvious obsessions and projections mentioned above, obsessions and projections encouraged by the Plutonic (plutocratic, if you prefer) press (N Mercury opposing N Pluto) and including the Black Lives Matter movement. It also tells us (via the houses involved) that economic problems play at least as important a role as racially-motivated ones. After all, even as some (not all, obviously) overt racism has dissipated, economic disparities remain and, according to some sources, keep getting worse. Some studies offer the following figures regarding average family wealth: $139,300 for non-Hispanic whites; $12, 920 for blacks – a more-than ten-to-one disparity even after decades of desegregation and over a century and a half after the end of slavery.

              The 12th house enters the picture because the racial and financial problems too often remain hidden, even if in plain sight. The 12th symbolizes that which the nation prefers to ignore; with Pluto as the ruler of its 12th, this country prefers to ignore the Pluto-related matters discussed above, but the current transit has brought all manner of 12th house matters to the surface (including, for example, problems related to hospitals and confinement). Thus we have seen, in recent years, not only Black Lives Matter, but also Occupy Wall Street (related to plutocratic finances), plus #MeToo (Pluto as the mythological rapist and abductor) and other problems related to sex and power.

              The plutocratic hierarchy (Pluto in Capricorn) finds itself under threat, but we should remember that the press plays a major role in fomenting upheaval and in controlling thought (the natal Mercury-Pluto aspect). Furthermore, Pluto can induce an obsessive and compulsive state of mind (Mercury) throughout the nation, driven by long-inheld (12th) rage that, however justified, may not think strategically, but only in terms of destroying the old, with Pluto symbolizing, as Dane Rudhyar said many decades ago, death and the possibility – not the guarantee – of rebirth. The plutonium bomb destroys, and its main creation is harmful radiation. We must all, therefore include in our thinking a reference to fundamental values, considering not only what must die, but also what new life might arise from that death, what values will endure, and how we will all relate to earth – phrases that might remind us of problems related to climate change, an ongoing process that will likely bring death to many people and institutions, even if we solve the problems discussed above.[6]

ERRATA: A few months back, I claimed, erroneously, that the previous Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn took place in 549 CE and coincided with the Plague of Justinian, a bubonic epidemic that did so much to speed the final collapse of the Roman Empire. I hold to most of what I said, but I would say “a previous” instead of “the previous.” There have been a few other such conjunctions in Capricorn, with perhaps the most notable taking place in 1518 at 4+ Capricorn and connected to the first transmission of smallpox to the New World mainland in 1820 (i.e. according to one source; another source mentions a 1516 smallpox epidemic in the Yucatan). Though the disease had appeared as early as 1509 in the Caribbean Islands, it apparently did not get to the mainland until almost a decade later. According to some sources, the disease eventually wiped out at least half of the population and obviously facilitated the Spanish conquest. (The Aztec’s repulsed Cortez’ first attack, but the second (1821) took place after the disease had ravaged the army and the general population, the people having contracted the condition from Cortez’ army.) The Aztec empire collapsed quickly.

ADDENDA: I feel indebted to my old friend Antero Alli for spurring me into an investigation of Eris and pointing out that that very distant planet (or, if you prefer, celestial object, or perhaps” dwarf planet”) presently hovers at 24+ Aries, precisely square the US Mercury even as TR Pluto opposes it, making Eris the focal planet of a t-square formed by transit. Though I have been studying Eris via Henry Seltzer’s excellent book on the subject (The Tenth Planet: Revelations from the Astrological Eris) I don’t feel ready to make specific statements (partly because of Eris’ astronomical and, it seems, behavioral similarities with Pluto) about how it manifests, beyond the following, which comes from Mr. Seltzer but which accords with my observations so far: “The astrology of Eris seems to be related to the no-holds-barred fight for continued existence that is fundamental to all natural processes, and for making a stand for what one believes, even if violence is involved.” That plus a strong connection to women’s warriorship, as Mr. Seltzer notes.

[1] The Sun, Jupiter, and Venus. Jupiter rules the Sagittarius Ascendant; Venus rules the Libra Midheaven. The N Moon in Aquarius in the 3rd adds to the Cancer emphasis that of Aquarius: the people, even as they seek security, prefer to see themselves as progressives, reflecting Uranus (one of Aquarius’ rulers), though with a hidden affinity with authority (Saturn, the other ruler). And this: N Uranus lies near the Descendant, suggesting the projection of Uranus’ progressive rebelliousness onto other nations and peoples so that they appear as enemies, another pattern traceable in the nation’s history.

[2] For recent projections of Pluto, consider the ongoing relations of the United States with all sorts of Middle Eastern people. The situation with Iraq seems particularly noteworthy, as the US kept claiming that Iraq had stashes of “weapons of mass destruction” even as our military sat atop piles and piles of such weapons. Michael Paul Rogin’s Fathers and Children: Andrew Jackson and the Subjugation of the American Indian gives extensive treatment of the national projection onto native peoples, though Rogin uses different terminology (and doesn’t use astrology). See also my Your Hidden Face: Projection in the Horoscope (AFA, 2014).

[3] Do not consider this an exact quote. I offer it from memory. I don’t remember whether it comes from one of Mr. Baldwin’s books, from his essays, or from his speeches.

[4] As I have said before, I use the “Rudhyar Chart” for the country.

[5] The transit takes place in Capricorn, ruler of the knees.

[6] The symbolism of Taurus, the polar opposite of Scorpio. As Marc Edmund Jones pointed out many decades ago, and as Antero Ali did more recently, we can work more effectively with outer planet transits by emphasizing the energies of the sign opposite the one ruled by the planet-in-question.




In previous installments, I have discussed the recent Saturn-Pluto conjunction in itself; in other words, astrologically speaking, I discussed it largely in reference to the whole planet, for planet-to-planet transits – in this case, transiting (TR) Saturn to TR Pluto – carry a symbolism relevant to everyone. By contrast, transit-to-natal situations have relevance only to the entity with the birth-horoscope under examination. In a person-to-person natal reading, the astrologer looks largely at transit-to-natal symbolism (in addition to progressed-to-natal and directions-to-natal indications), which would include looking at how any transit-to-transit aspects connect to the natal horoscope. In this installment, I will look at TR Saturn and TR Pluto in reference to the United States natal horoscope.[1]

Perhaps most obviously, the Saturn-Pluto conjunction took place closely opposite the US Mercury in Cancer; as I write, Pluto is precisely opposite that Mercury, having recently turned retrograde. The US N Mercury opposes the US N Pluto, and the US will have its Pluto return within the next few years, a matter for discussion in a future installment related to the U.S. economy. Finally, the US has N Mercury in the 8th house and N Pluto in the 2nd – the so-called “money houses” of a horoscope, with Mercury in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn.

The natal Mercury-Pluto aspect depicts both the control of the nation’s press by plutocratic interests and, at least as importantly, the tendency of the US to project Pluto onto others. This latter tendency has characterized myriad developments in this country’s history, as we see the projected Pluto in Capricorn arising through people attempting to live in their traditional ways (Capricorn) getting depicted, in the nation’s press and in the minds of millions of citizens (Mercury) as brutal savages (Pluto). In my book on projection (Your Hidden Face: Projection in the Horoscope), I put it this way:

The pattern appeared even before the United States declared itself a nation, as the invading Europeans saw the native people as dark, savage primitive, and cruel, despite the sophistication of many native civilizations and the marked primitive savagery – characterized by historian Michael Rogin as a drive for “primitive accumulation” – of the Europeans. Later, with the institution of the slave trade, African slaves served nicely as a [further] hook for the United States’ projection. Later still, the Soviet Union did yeoman service in that role…. (278)

Thus we see that the “descriptions” in the national press (including many so-called reputable history books) of the indigenous people of this continent look a lot like the “descriptions” of, say, imported black slaves, Iraqis, Vietnamese, Russians, Iranians – and now the Chinese – any group or nation that US leaders, often with millions of citizens following suit, choose as a period’s designated enemy.[2] Because Pluto also has much to do with the nation’s capacity for change and transformation, these projections seem to hinder possibly-fruitful change.

The current viral pandemic seems, on the one hand, like a very serious external matter – and oppositions indicate, above all, a relationship with an internal factor with an apparently external one – and, on the other, a projection of the nation’s need, at this point in its history, for fundamental change and realignment, not merely a change in presidential regime, but a transformation of the                         basic economic “realities” that so often seem to afflict milliions even as they hold the capacity for creatively envisioned transformation.

We see, too, a nationwide control (Pluto) and limitation (Saturn) initiated by the hierarchy (Capricorn) on the Mercury-related movements of citizens, Mercury here having to do with the various ways we weave ourselves into our neighborhoods and families, the most ordinary and habitual set of communications (with that term broadly understood) through which we come to terms with our lives and with ourselves. That TR Saturn and TR Pluto make their transits from the 2nd house of the US horoscope tells us that the restrictions and necessary transformations in communication have a close connection to financial matters; Capricorn on the 2nd house cusp suggests – particularly with Saturn, ruler of Capricorn, in the 10th – an unusually close relationship between a plutocratic financial system and governmental hierarchies. Pluto’s movement toward N Pluto – this country’s “Pluto Return,” a transit that nations can have but that individual people other than Methuselah cannot – suggests a transformation of the nation’s economic system, a transformation that will also involve the various ways the US’s security (Cancer) depends on the US tendency to take the money and resources of other nations or groups (8th), a tendency evident throughout the nation’s history but perhaps most evident in the slaughter of this continent’s indigenous people and the stealing of their land, the importing of slaves from Africa, and ongoing crises in the Middle East, etc.
As I write, Saturn has moved into Aquarius but will return to Capricorn on 7/1 and will make a station on 9/29 about 1.5 degrees from another precise opposition to the US N Mercury (i.e. well within orb) and then through a second and third conjunctions with N Pluto. TR Pluto remains precisely (within a degree) opposed to the same Mercury through early July. The aspect suggests control (Pluto) over people’s movements (Mercury), among other possibilities. As Pluto retrogrades away from that opposition, we will perhaps see less restriction and control, particularly as Saturn will leave Aquarius, a sign closely connected to group interactions and one-to-many relations, with TR Saturn bringing restriction to such relations. However, both astrological factors will return (i.e. Pluto will oppose Mercury again; Saturn will return to Aquarius), so we should not assume that we have gotten ourselves out of the virus-infested woods quite yet. The TR Pluto-N Mercury opposition will occur three times: now; December 2020 into January 2021; August through September 2020, when Pluto will again make a station precisely opposed to N Mercury. Admittedly, sometimes the energy of a triple transit expends itself (so to speak) in one of the three phrases, and, admittedly, too, sometimes that one phase will see an outer planet stationing precisely at the trigger point, as in Pluto’s present station in April and May 2020. On the other hand, sometimes we see a three-phase sequence of thesis-antithesis-synthesis coinciding with the three phases of the triple-transit – and, of course, the August-September 2021 period will see Pluto again stationing opposite that N Mercury.[3]

TR Pluto opposing Mercury also implicates the media of the country, ruled in part by Mercury. The N Mercury- N Pluto opposition points to the control (Pluto) of media (Mercury) by plutocrats (Pluto) in ways connected to “national security,” a phrase which might induce us to remember Mr. Chomsky’s remarks about how governments often consider the people as the major entity in need of government control. We can probably agree with Donald Trump on at least one thing: many media outlets promulgate “false news,” Trump himself, along with his minions, serving as Purveyor in Chief, though other organizations differ in degree and not kind. In theory, TR Pluto can transform the citizens’ connection to the media, but nation states generally make the worst possible use of transits!

Astrologers generally “read a transit back to the natal chart,” a phrase meaning that the interpretation of any transiting planet depends to a great degree on that planet’s signification in the natal horoscope. The US N Pluto falls in the 2nd house, suggesting money; thus, I have said here that N Mercury-N Pluto suggests control of media by moneyed interests – and Pluto, no matter where located, often points in a nation’s chart to plutocratic and/or other hidden control-measures. The US N Saturn lies at the US midheaven, suggesting a government bent on preserving order, both at home and abroad.

In the present situation, the astrological material suggests that we must distinguish clearly between arbitrary government control ,on the one hand, and restrictions demanded (so to speak) by the virus, on the other. In other words, to prevent complete catastrophe, we probably do need to restrict our movements – and even our breathing (e.g. via masks), which Mercury also has significant rulership over.[4] Notably, millions of Americans have participated in this without having the government enforce its authority. However, Saturn rules restrictive authority and Pluto has a lot to do with totalitarian initiatives; historically, the conjunctions between TR Saturn and TR Pluto have coincided with right-wing turns, sometimes severe, in government policy.[5] The danger – for everyone on earth, though more acutely in the USA because of the horoscope factors under discussion – has to do with the development of restrictive authority (Saturn moving through his two dignities[6]) developing out of the viral pandemic (Pluto) resulting in the increasing influence of plutonic elements with clear connections to totalitarian tendencies.[7] Consider this a warning.

On the other hand, Saturn-Pluto suggests highly organized and powerful movements arising from what seem initially as small sources but that, through a chain-reaction, result in enormous organizational changes. Though we do well to keep on the lookout for plutonic-government shenanigans, we should also realize that Pluto arises in each person as the potential to bring about change and that Saturn arises through personal discipline.

Charts: Triple-wheeler: Inner wheel: USA natal horoscope (Rudhyar chart); middle wheel: the Saturn-Pluto conjunction; outer wheel: transits for May 8, 2020.

Note: readers seeking a more complete interpretation of the projection-tendencies suggested by the U.S. horoscope can consult my Your Hidden Face: Projection in the Horoscope, available from the publisher (American Federation of Astrologers), me (, or (probably) Amazon.

[1] I use the so-called Rudhyar horoscope for the United States: July 4, 1776 at 5.13 pm LMT in Philadelphia. I use this one because a) its symbolism seems to me appropriate to the major characteristics of this nation seems to fit in with US history, and b) it responds very precisely to transits, directions, and progressions.

[2] Other natal configurations suggest other projection-patterns, but the Mercury-Pluto opposition always plays a major role, not only in the natal horoscope, but as measured by solar arc directions and other factors.

[3] Notes: 1. I have stolen “trigger point” from, I think, Steven Forrest. 2. The triple transits have a direct phrase, a retrograde phase, and another direct phase. They occur because of the retrogradation of the planets, an earth-based phenomenon resulting from the relative movements of the Earth, the planet, and the more distant fixed stars. 3. Saturn will return to Aquarius in 12/2020 and remain there until 3/2023.

[4] Traditionally, Mercury has, through its dignity in Gemini, had a connection to the lungs. We “breathe” socially via social interaction; we interact with the external world primarily through our breathing, for it makes possible all other interactions and involves constant exchange.

[5] I am drawing, here, on Richard Tarnas’ research. See Cosmos and Psyche.

[6] Capricorn and Aquarius.

[7] Pluto’s discovery closely coincided with Hitler’s rise to power, among other developments.