Heavenly Truth

depth astrology


November 2009

Irina Shabayeva: the Astrology of the Winner of Project Runway

Irina Shabayeva won season 6 of Project Runway with her intense and intricately crafted collection.


Irina is an Aquarius Sun with Mercury not too far behind, so it's important for her to build her identity around a sense of her own individuality, that she's not who she is because she's trying to please someone or trying to imitate someone. All through season 6 it was clear that the thing that frustrated her the most was feeling like she was being imitated by Althea, which to an Aquarius can feel like what makes you you is being stolen and cheapened when copied. Whether or not Althea had any intention to copy her, she was clearly very protective of what makes her unique, something Aquarius values greatly. With Mercury close to her Sun in Aquarius it's especially her opinions and ideas that she is likely to be the most protective about.

Among a few other things, Venus says a lot about a person's aesthetic style, what one finds beautiful and how we translate what inspires us into our creative efforts. Irina's Venus lies in Capricorn, in a tight and tense relationship (square) to Pluto and Saturn in Libra. Capricorn reflects a creative style that's refined, elegant, tailored, and in many ways understated, without so many extras and flash that it takes away from the sophistication of something. Tim always admonishes the designers to bring an editing eye to things and Irina is likely to have the least issue with overdoing it.

Venus in Capricorn with Saturn squaring it might lead to a tendency to hold back too much, to take that understated sophistication and take it to far into simply flat and boring. However, with Pluto in a very tight square to Venus, the darker undercurrents rise to the surface, creating that sort of sophisticated, gothic, almost dominatrix style.

Because I do not know her time of birth, I'm unable to determine Irina's moon sign. It will either be Pisces or Aries, but if I had to guess, I would choose Aries.  Her competitive nature would make a lot of sense for an Aries moon, who simply needs to push through to be the best and doesn't tend to reveal a lot of softness (although every sign has some, especially when we're talking about the moon which is your emotional nature, in a nutshell). The
moon represents our most private self and so is not likely to be
revealed on television or in a room full of competitors, but it can be revealed when we are stressed and our defenses are low, something I think all the designers went through as the competition got stiffer and they became more tired and their sense of security more challenged. When stress peaked, some of the designers let it show through tears, but when Irina let her stress out it usually more closely resembled anger rather than tears and she stepped more into The Boss role, especially in the finale where she was putting Gordana through her paces with the orders. If her designs are where her heart is, though, her very telling phrase "shielding yourself and just going at it" as the inspiration for her final collection is very Arien.

Irina appeared to be the one who grew to be the 'odd man out', not appearing as friendly with everyone as some were. With her Aquarius Sun and Mars trine to it, and then her Saturn and Pluto square her Venus, these combinations reflect someone who is more used to taking care of themselves and not having a lot of trust for others. To allow someone to support you, you have to allow them to see what might be perceived as weakness. Even if you are not weak, to accept help can make one feel vulnerable, something Irina is not likely to relish. Aquarians are known for their detachment, but it's not out of cruelty or disinterest in others as much as it is a useful defense mechanism to be able to pull away from the kind of obligations that can form when we get enmeshed in relationship with others and forget ourselves. Aquarius is about the pursuit of individuality, so detachment can come in very handy.

With Venus in Capricorn, squaring Pluto and Saturn, she may struggle with letting her defenses down enough to reveal her softness to another even though it's there. Venus is, besides our creativity and sense of beauty, also how we relate to others and reach out to others. Capricorn is often more reserved when it comes to connecting with others and can be much more comfortable running on its own self-sufficiency (they don't call it the sign of the hermit for nothing!) Capricorn also has a vulnerability to looking at any situation as a means to and end rather than seeing the emotional component, so Irina may possibly defend herself from feeling vulnerable to another by relating to others in a 'strictly business' kind of tone, which is not a bad thing, but she can be her own worst enemy if that gets too extreme and she doesn't allow herself to be supported or loved or give that in return. Capricorn gets the undeserved reputation of being cold, however, and it's not. It just knows that sometimes you have to get the job done and you don't have time to whine! It's probably a contributor to her win on Project Runway.

Congrats, Irina!


I look for the evolutionary potential in an astrology chart, not the empty keywords. For more of my work, visit me at or on Facebook at Heavenly.Truth.

The Boat that Rocked: an astrological look at the (loose) inspiration behind the film, Pirate Radio

Ronan orahilly Pirate Radio is a film out November 13th in the U.S., also known under the British title The Boat That Rocked. The film is very loosely based on the boat known as MV Caroline which was the location for the pirate radio station Radio Caroline. In response to the dead ends he kept hitting when trying to get his sponsored artists some radio air time, Ronan O'Rahilly, began a series of events that led to the creation of the first Radio Caroline, a radio station that operated from a ship and is still on the air today (although it has gone through several incarnations).


Ronan O'Rahilly was born May 21st, 1940. No birth time is given so this chart is without house cusps.

I don't know much about Ronan's life other than his involvement with Radio Caroline and the bands he managed but one of the acts he's most famous for is his defiance in starting his own radio station specifically because he was unable to do so through regular channels. I expected I might see a strong streak of Aquarius energy when I pulled up his chart, but as you can see that is not the case (although an unknown Ascendant leaves that door open). As an evolutionary astrologer, I am fascinated with the south node and its representation of a personality's 'comfort zone', what one enters this life as and falls back on frequently in life. An Aries south node tells me that Ronan came into this life with a strong inclination toward typical Arien qualities: a tendency to act directly from one's desire, a tendency toward competitiveness and/or combativeness, and a passion for overcoming obstacles, especially their own fears. Coming from that perspective, we can see that telling Ronan it can't be done may be the best way to get him to start something.

Following one's passion is something that Aries can be very good at. Mars, the ruler of his south node, is in Cancer, indicating he's likely to be very loyal to and protective of the things he is passionate about. We know that he seems to be passionate about radio because of his history with starting Radio Caroline, but clearly he's passionate about information, communication, and the right to know as reflected in his very tight conjunction of Mercury and the Sun in Gemini, and his Moon in Sagittarius. The Aries south node is channeled through the lens of asking questions, finding meaning, and communicating, and the freedom to do so.

This statement he gave in a 1977 interview seems to sum up much of his beliefs:

I believe very strongly in the individual. I believe in the freedom of the individual. I mean there are so many arguments that I like to put my case for the lack of control. I believe in the individual completely. I have complete faith in the individual. I have no faith in the State, any State. The State is a power and not an individual.

Obviously a birth time would be exceptionally useful to finding out
more and given the statements he's made in various interviews about the
rights of the individual, I would be shocked to find he didn't have any
Uranus or Aquarius emphasis when the house positions, Ascendant and
Midheaven especially, were revealed. But the willingness to engage in conflict, even 'war' for what one believes in is definitively Arien, as it his response to an interview question: "If you had known what was the risk of adventure with Radio Caroline, would you have gone ahead?" He said:

Without a question I would not have deferred from it … I am very wild anyway and I was always … For somebody who has a wild kind of streak in them and who likes to live dangerously, I couldn't have had a better life.

References and info:

Radio Caroline's first broadcast: March 29 1964

Ronan O'Rahilly birth data: May 21 1940

Changing of the Guard: Saturn enters Libra

Scales Saturn entered Libra Thursday, October 29th, and will remain there until October of 2012.

Saturn represents the process of establishing structures that last, through diligence, practice, and maintenance. When we work with Saturn, we are working with what IS, not what we wish it was or what it used to be or what it could be 'if only.' We look at what we realistically have in front of us and what we can do about it.

Sometimes Saturn works through the mechanism of limitation to help us make choices and make something real. Limitations can be very useful (says the Virgo with Capricorn Rising). What's easier? Making a choice out of 18 different options or two? When we know what something is and is not, we know what we're working with and can begin to make plans and progress.

Saturn is about rules and structure but the lamenting about limitation generally comes when we've been putting off the work of maintenance or change when we outgrow a structure. Saturn work is the process of building
structure that can support us
, not just limit us for it's own twisted
amusement. Saturnian structures can either be a cage that holds us or the skeleton that holds us up. Traditions can warm our hearts with their timelessness or prevent our growth out of a desperate fear to cling to what we know, even if we are being invited to know something new now. When structures stop supporting us, they sometimes need to be torn down and rebuilt, re-evaluated.

The Saturn/Pluto square around mid-November (exact on the 15th) is about exactly that. Saturn builds and maintains, and Pluto tears down to REbuild. Where this occurs in your own chart, depending on how dramatically it contacts your chart, will be the area of your life where this dynamic is playing out, and where courage to change the right things might be in order. With Pluto in Libra, the collective will be facing fears about what equality might really mean, and if we share and compromise, what will we lose? Saturn will show us the consequences we've created for ourselves because of that fear, so Saturn's journey through Libra will start off with a bang.

Libra is known as the sign of relationships, but this isn't just relationships between people. It's about the fact that everything is connected, that what's done on one hand affects the other, and this is the heart of the idea of relationship: understanding one thing in relation to another thing. Not only in how they connect, support, and validate each other, but how they balance each other, sometimes through opposition and conflict (need I say that Libra is the sign of the scales?). Saturn will bring into focus the work that must be done to practice and create balance (for it is not a static state), as well as the reality that must be faced to do that work.

The work begins with the sometimes difficult acknowledgment that the other side just might have a valid point. Even if we don't agree with it, Saturn will remind us that we can no longer afford the luxury of simply demonizing the other point of view to justify our own. An opinion that only has the self-righteous conviction of the wrongness of another is simply a luxury that Saturn in Libra will not stand for. "Right side" and "wrong side" are just not going to get the job done.
It cannot be the freaks and the normal ones, the conservatives or the
democrats, the women and the men, the picked on people and the big bad

The scales want to balance in several senses: in the sense of both sides being represented 2 half truths=whole truth, so it'll be about recognizing that each extreme, each side, balances the other. In the sense of balance between people where we are invited to see anothers' perspective and honor it. We're invited to build bridges by trying to find common ground even if we agree to disagree. Respect, grace, and fairness without name calling or dirty behavior are the tools for our work. The scales also want to balance in the sense of justice and fairness, so 'traditional' laws must be evaluated during this time. Equality in all senses between people, of race, gender, sexual preferences, and the like must be evaluated, and the laws, written or just socially assumed must reflect what we learn about that equality so that we can create the structure to support it. The scales don't automatically balance; it is the process of weighing that enlightens.

The classic trouble with Libra is that if it does achieve it's goal in understanding both perspectives, making a choice to walk through one door and close another can be difficult. Saturn requires commitment and follow through, otherwise the natural consequences of not doing so build up down the road as the brick wall we'll eventually smack into. At the same time, Saturn work involves facing the brick wall we've made from our past actions that will now be invited to use Libran tools to correct.

Let's practice playing nice, but fair.

(Saturn and Pluto will square three times due to retrograde motion: November 15 2009, Jan 31 2010 and Aug 21 2010).

Here are a few other great blogs about Saturn's entry into Libra:

Note: This article is
featured in Saturn
in Libra and Relationships
, published on Sasstrology as part of the
2010 International Astrology Day Blogathon. The purpose of this web-based event
is to create a permanent library of articles about how to deal with the stresses
of the Cardinal T-Square of Pluto, Saturn and Uranus. The main page for the
Blogathon collections is at The
Cardinal T-Square of 2010: Saturn, Uranus, Pluto

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