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Saturn’s Ingress into Scorpio, October 2012

Saturn has been traveling through Libra since essentially late 2009 until it enters Scorpio on October 5, 2012. It will deep dive through Scorpio until December 23, 2014, with a brief dip back in June of 2015 for three months.

RulesSaturn represents all things structural and  defining, such as buildings, bones, laws and rules (cultural and literal), and limits. It also represents the natural laws in life, what we might call ‘reality’, such as the march of time, in/action and consequence, and the inevitability of change. Up until Uranus was discovered, Saturn was the last of the 7 planets used in astrology and represented the finality of death and judgment (and still does, as the remainder of three planets are about transcending death and limits in various ways).

Scorpio is all things deep, raw, frightening, passionate, death, sex, fears, psychology, the underworld, our subconscious, and breaking through taboo.

I’m sure we’re all giddy with excitement at the thought of this upcoming shift!


Saturn in Scorpio on the Collective Level

Saturn pushes us toward maturity, and one meaning for maturity is simply ripening. The time will naturally ripen for the issues that Scorpio represents: sex, death, bringing taboos to light, and facing fears.
It would not be surprising to find the Saturn in Scorpio period highlighting the need for humanity to take responsibility for their sexual abilities, problems, and consequences. The gay marriage issue will probably continue to escalate and concrete attempts at lawmaking around the issue will continue to cascade, as Scorpio rules sexual union and merging. This will be carrying forward the Saturn in Libra work of pushing the issue of equality on all fronts, including but not limited to gay marriage.

The abortion battleground (Scorpio rules our reproductive system) will likely be heightened even more than it already is, coming to a point where decisions and laws must be made (although it’s doubtful that these issues will be thoroughly solved and humming along in order in this one Saturn in Scorpio passage!).

The realities of handling the practicalities (Saturn) of death and dying will likely reach a new peak, as more baby boomers are entering the range of elder.

Pluto, the ruling sign of Scorpio, is traveling through Saturn’s sign of Capricorn, so this mutual reception (when two planets are in each other’s home sign) means that Pluto’s already been at work on this for a while, and will continue to be breaking these things down and opening them up, but it looks like Saturn will probably have to push us against the wall of reality and force us to adapt, grow, and build new structures to accommodating our changing realities.

Pointing at each otherDuring Saturn in Libra, the stalemate of polarization and lack of compromise became evident. Sides will still continue to be chosen and defended, but with an even greater amount of ferocity, if that’s possible, as Scorpio brings a life or death, black or white, all or nothing energy with it. It is usually this extreme force that is required to provoke the Scorpionic level of transformation (destruction followed by rebirth/renewal) in the first place since Scorpio is a fixed sign—it doesn’t gradually change and it’s not flexible. It holds on until it’s time to die, and then it races toward the experience and bursts from the flame—hence the symbol of the Phoenix being so representative of Scorpio. 

I am no mundane astrologer (astrology of places and events). It’s the world within an individual rather than the world at large that I am drawn to and for which I have more insight. There are countless ways that I have not yet imagined which Saturn in Scorpio will manifest, obviously, but I think these topics will be the biggies.


Saturn in Scorpio on the Individual Level

On an individual level, we’ll be learning to manage our own intensity. Saturn encourages taking responsibility for ourselves and our lives, and acting responsibly as well. We will be working with both ends of the Scorpio spectrum: power and powerlessness. On one hand we are needing to recognize that we have to control and manage our fear, rage, power hunger, obsession, jealousy, or any other number of extreme emotions because we are responsible for the actions we take or don’t take as a result, and/or needing to recognize that we must face our own power (or powerlessness) and recognize the consequences of hiding from it or trying to stifle it out of fear, only to have it blow up in our faces in displaced, rage-filled rants or internally crystallized as pain and illness. We all have some kind of power, and we all have the ability to misuse it. Some of us may find that we need to be mindful of the ways we can hurt others, sometimes with serious consequences, when we misuse it. 

Rope cutSaturn work often begins with unsticking what’s stuck, but while Saturn may be more about the gradual work and daily maintenance approach, in Scorpio we may all be looking at confronting the ‘grow or die’ energy of this configuration in the area of our chart where Scorpio rules, having to face what’s not working in our lives, and what hasn’t been working for a long time, especially where fear is the culprit for stopping growth (and isn’t it always!?). We must be willing to find the courage to push it over in order to reb uild it, which means we have to be without it, or anything like it, for a time before we create something new. It’s the fear of having nothing that often leads us to holding onto the broken something we have, but letting it go is the only way forward. We have to go into the dark before it gets light again, sometimes simply because all the subtle or easy fixes either haven’t worked or we’re just past the point of no return. “It’s not going to go away” Saturn will say, as it sits on your shoulder, following you to work, to bed, to school.

Wherever Saturn travels through your chart during this 2-1/2 year period will be where you simply can’t ignore what you know in your gut is true, even if you don’t want to know it and wish it weren’t true and have been trying to fool yourself and want to just hang on a little longer. Just like we tell our children to summon the courage to open the closet door and prove to themselves that no monster is there, we must do the same.

"A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them." – Carl Jung

Woman blackwhite confidentThe reward of Saturn in Scorpio is as bounteous as the work. Saturn doesn’t promise rewards – that is up to you. But if you do the work, and peel away the mirage, the ‘window dressing’ as a friend calls it, and look at what’s really there (the monster that you think just might eat you), you will almost certainly live through it, and when you do, you will liberate yourself in a way that was not possible otherwise.

Scorpio demands we pass through the flame, not around it. Through Saturn in Scorpio, it is hard experience that makes us wiser, no matter how much our mother lectured us about the exact same thing!
Scorpio is about power and powerlessness, not in a worldly sense, but in the sense that we are all human and all are vulnerable to annihilation. Living with the knowledge of life and death in a visceral way is fri ghtening, but it need to not be depressing; this knowledge can fill us with “liveliness, not deathliness” as my mentor, Steven Forrest, has said to me. Stripped away of all a decaying, frail structure that we have tried to trap our fears under, we are able to create new, lasting things in our lives that fulfill our deepest priorities as only a knowledge that we have one life to live can.

Scorpio fills us with a hunger, a yearning to know, to experience, and to pass through, not around, the force of live and living it, even while our ego works to avoid that which might render us powerless or vulnerable. Where do you need to stop putting the fake smile on? Where do you need to settle for nothing less than the truth? What has fear prevented you from doing that is now reaching a critical point? Saturn in Libra had us learning each other’s dance and trying not to step on each other’s feet, but while negotiation is a useful and needed skill, a side effect can be inauthenticity, which Scorpio will not tolerate. The gloves are off. True colors will be seen. Say what you need to say, not out of cruelty or an attempt to prove your power to yourself and others – that will only take you back down the road of misusing power and having consequences slap you in the face – but out of a willingness to be honest and free, even if you feel vulnerable and scared when you strip off that (false) protection.

Where Scorpio resides in your chart represents the area of life where you will be asked to peel off the bandaid (or it may just be ripped off for you), to face fears and acknowledge truths (even if you fear being undone) and accept responsibility for the consequences of doing so.

Constance McMillen: Uranus and the Art of Being Yourself

Constance mcmillen photo Constance McMillen is the 18 year old Mississippi girl that wanted to bring her girlfriend to the prom and sparked nationwide interest when her request was denied, her prom cancelled, and a 'decoy' prom created as an attempt to satisfy and thus silence her.
Perhaps some may
say it's old news by this time, but Constance McMillen caught my
attention again today and I decided to have a look at her chart.

Constance was born January 5th, 1992,1 during the Uranus Neptune conjunction in Capricorn. She's also a Capricorn Sun, so she's carrying quite a bit of Capricorn energy, as are many kids around her age.2

Without a birth time, only the planet in sign placements can be determined, which is unfortunate, but still so revealing. Constance has 4 planets in Capricorn, the Sun, Moon, Uranus, and Neptune, as well as her north node, all lined up in one big stellium cluster.3

Constance-mcmillen-natal-ch Her Sun and Uranus in a tight conjunction so the very core character traits and principles that make up
her identity (Sun) are fused to the process of individuation (Uranus): sifting through what one's been conditioned to be by society, family, the media, etc. and discarding what doesn't ring authentically true about who you really are.

A strong Uranus is a classic signature for rebellion, yet Constance has said sincerely in interviews that she did not intend to do it to be rebellious or cause an uproar, she simply wanted to be herself and go to her own school's prom, as she felt should be her right. "I'm not going to go to prom and pretend I'm not gay. There's no point"–she said in an interview on Ellen. With Uranus principles being such a core component of her identity, Constance's challenge isn't to rebel against societal pressure as much as it is to be independent of it, to be able to know what is right for who she is and assert that, live that truth. Rebellion happens on the frequent occasion that what we want isn't in alignment with what others want us to be, and we have to break from convention and disappoint and annoy others. But Uranus itself is pursuing your own Truth and your inherent human right to do so.

Neptune is conjunct her Sun on the other side, also rather closely, aligning her identity with a strong sense of idealism, and a consciousness pointed toward the highest and purest ideals. Neptune can also represent a place in our lives where our personal boundaries are low. Neptune is where we are open, spiritually, empathetically, and intuitively. Yet Uranus often represents where we have strong boundaries, even when we don't necessarily intend to, because our apparent and inherent differences from the mainstream become most obvious with Uranus' location in our chart (and the area of life that it's location represents). So we naturally feel a boundary, a distance from others, in this area of our lives.

With Neptune close to her Sun as well, and her relative youth and inexperience, there is a vulnerability to overidentifying with the ideal, what she's representing on a larger scale overpowering her own sense of self. She could get swept up into others' well-meaning plan for her by using her to push an agenda, which would be just as problematic for her, in a way, as it would be for her to have compromised her rights and personal truth in the first place by allowing authorities to tell her who she can and can't accompany to prom.

Aclu It's a good thing she's got
experienced advocates on her side, such as her mother's friends (elders=Capricorn) who encouraged her to go to the ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union)  and the ACLU itself, an organization (organizations & institutions = Capricorn) dedicated to equal human rights on many fronts. With all her Capricorn in her chart, she will benefit from experienced elders showing her the way to achieve her goals, but she is inherently developing self-sufficiency and the ability to self-govern. Building a strong sense of identity over her life will incorporate her becoming stronger and more committed to living according to her own integrity and ability to stay clear about her personal goals and agenda.

She comes from the small part of a generation that had Uranus and Neptune actually conjunct in Capricorn, a mini generation that seems like it will be the new lawmakers, who will not only revolutionize (Uranus) the law-making process but also create new rules based on an ideal (Neptune) of individual rights (Uranus). It's appropriate that she's utilizing an organization (the ACLU) to change the rules themselves, rather than just rebelling outside of the system, which would not bring about the system changes that represent the actual changes needed. Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn is about a vision of making people outside of conventional definitions have a place within the system. That's a tall order!

She's also part of the Pluto in Scorpio generation which is carrying the work begun by the Pluto in Libra generation of marriage equality into the sexual freedom component of the marriage issue, pushing the taboo of "alternative" sexual preferences into the light, perhaps even making them less 'alternative' than ever before.

But back to Constance herself. She's not an attention getter. Her south node is in Cancer, which is typically a more introverted and cautious energy, and her wealth of Capricorn tends to present a more conservative style of self-expression. Her Mercury and Mars are conjunct each other in Sagittarius, another indication of a girl with passion for her ideas and ideals. Saturn lies in Aquarius, indicating it's difficult for her to do the work of allowing herself to be truly herself. It will take discipline to step out of the Capricornian desire for others to view her as respectable without catering to rules that are not appropriate for her. She's probably a good, down to earth student (3.86 gpa!) who happens to have been thrust into the spotlight for doing the difficult but ultimately self-affirming work of just being herself. Applause!

1: Birth Data Source: Constance's MySpace Blog
2: The Uranus Neptune conjunction in Capricorn was in effect from 1990 to 1994, with the strongest periods in 1992 & 1993.
3: Since no birth time is known, the moon's position is potentially false. However, it was in the sign of Capricorn all day, so her Moon must be in the sign of Capricorn, although if she were born in the evening, it will be further separated from the stellium.

Photo credit: AP Photo via McMillen's family

Ricky Martin’s Reveal: Why Now is the Time for him to Come out of the Closet

Ricky Martin 'came out of the closet' today by revealing that he was gay in a blog entry on his website.

Ricky-martin-natal-prog-tra The chart has so many indicators about the timing of his reveal.

Progressed Mercury is closing in on a conjunction of his Venus in Aquarius in the 8th house. This is 2 years away or so from becoming exact, but it's warming up. Progressed Mercury: one's evolving voice and truth, coming to Venus, the way we relate and connect to others. In Aquarius, 8th house, there's a desire to be true to oneself, even if it's difficult, vulnerable, or raw truth.

Venus is part of a grand trine to Saturn in Gemini and Pluto in Libra. Transiting Mars in Leo has just stationed direct this month, which would have shaken this entire configuration, triggering each planet in the matrix: Venus in Aquarius in the 8th: one's personal relationship & sexual truth; Pluto in Libra in the 4th house: facing one's fears about the core of oneself; and Saturn in Gemini in the 12th: the 'hard work' of speaking one's spiritual truth but also confronting one's fixed beliefs and having the courage to challenge and rework them. All these planets are in the hidden water houses, which triggers inner work, but Mars in Leo pushes them forward to express as it forms the top of a kite configuration.

One of my favorites, because I'm such a fan of the progressed moon, is the fact that his progressed moon just moved into Virgo last month. The progressed moon is where our emotional attention is, what our heart needs and is ready for. It usually is where a lot of the activity in our lives can be traced back to, since what we put our attention on is what we notice manifesting and what we bring about. In the third house of communication, information, and perception, just entering Virgo, it's about being tired of the B.S., tired of game playing or worrying about what others think of you, and just wanting to cut to the chase and consider the facts. It's also squaring Saturn in Gemini, another trigger for that grand trine to activate.

A few other notables:

  • His progressed Venus is within orb of a square to his Ascendant/Descendant – self and other.
  • Transiting Uranus is conjuncting his Moon & Mars in the 10th house in Pisces – visible (10th) truth (Pisces)
  • Saturn just ran over his Pluto in the 4th house, also part of that grand trine

What do you see?

The Astrology of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook

Facebook celebrated it's 6th birthday on February 4th and it got me curious about its chart and the chart of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. I still get a huge thrill when the astrology chart of a person, event, or company so compellingly represents the essence of its owner, especially at first glance. Facebook's chart is seems to be no exception.

Facebook's mission statFacebookement is: "Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." While it's evolved over time, it's always seemed to include the idea of connectivity and people coming together, over the Internet, of course. How perfect, then, that its birth happened under a Sun Neptune conjunction in Aquarius. The Sun in a person's chart represents their core identity, and the sign, house, and planets involved with the Sun show how to keep that core warm and able to sustain the person's life. The Sun in a company's chart is no different.

The core identity of Facebook's natal Sun is about Individuals (Aquarius) uniting (Neptune). Individuals are sharing the things that make them individuals: photos, thoughts, experiences, in a seamless way, with no apparent boundary (Neptune) between them and everyone else in the collective community. The Internet itself is an Aquarian dream, technology enabling community, so it's a perfect medium for this kind of mission. Neptune also adds a fluidity to the identity: constantly evolving and morphing, although Neptune's presence on the Sun can indicate a vulnerability to shifting and adapting to its environment so much that it's hard to tell what it really IS. Neptune can add a nebulous quality that can make it difficult for even Facebook to know itself clearly.

I always look at the chart not as a manufacturer of what is, but a guide to what can be. Like a car's user manual gives tips for best performance and has  a recommended maintenance schedule, a natal chart holds the clues for how a person, or even a company, can live its life to the fullest, by remaining true to itself. Facebook's Aquarius Sun reveals that not only does it need to continue to serve the needs of the individual rather than the status quo, but it also needs to remain true to walking its own path – which will often be off the beaten trail, as is sometimes typical and needful with Aquarius. A great example of this is when Facebook got big enough to start collecting serious offers to purchase it, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's creator, turned down the offers. In a 2007 interview with Time Magazine, Zuckerberg said: 

 "We're not really
looking to sell the company. We're not looking to IPO anytime soon. It's
just not the core focus of the company."

Why didn't he sell? Ideals? Or did he sense he could get more money? Who can say what the motivation was, but if it had anything to do with the reason he gave in the Time interview, it can certainly make that Aquarian Sun happy. Unfortunately,
without a time of birth to narrow it down (a common problem with
business and mundane charts) we cannot pin down the moon sign, nor the
rising sign, and obviously no house placements are available. So my eye wanders next to the Jupiter, Venus, Pluto configuration.

Jupiter in Virgo illustrates that their best method for growth is a steady, humble, and accountable one, where it does not rely on anything but it's own willingness to work hard. Opposite Venus in Pisces, they will have to choose partners carefully, and would do well with an even balance of the visionaries (Pisces) and the pencil pushers (Virgo sorry Virgo, but I love ya!) Oppositions, especially with Venus, are where we often find people outside of us to help us manage an imbalance inside of us. There is a need for balance between practical growth and the vision. This sounds pretty obvious; one could argue that its something every company needs, but its of particular importance in Facebook's chart, not to mention there's Pluto up there, one's potential unconscious agenda, having the potential to drive a wedge in the balance when not managed with integrity (and sometimes even then).

A house placement for Pluto would be greatly helpful, but it looks like difficulties involving the issue of partnership can reveal (and/or create) skeletons in the Facebook closet. The management of existing and potential partners then becomes a more significant issue (and potential source of landmines) than it already would be for any company. In the absence of house placements such as planets in the first house (the face of the company) or the 10th house (the reputation of the company) as well as the very important moon sign which would represent its customers, I would look to Venus primarily for insight on how best to manage public relations. Venus rules connections and Facebook, as a company and a product, is very much invested in connections, so it can be quite relevant here.

When interfacing with the public, again in the absence of other public relation chart clues, Venus in Pisces would indicate the necessity of maintaining the appearance of openness, non-aggression, and always a sense that it's not about a hierarchy of power as much as a collective, participatory effort. As all businesses tend to want to do, painting an optimistic picture of itself will be a good thing in some ways, but tricky. 'Less is more' might be a useful adage here, since overwhelming the public with 'hard core realism' can send a wave of paranoia and backlash, and with 400 million users,1 that's a wave big enough to drown anything. There's that tricky Neptunian/Piscean influence again; while there is such a thing as vision, optimism, and one's best intention, Venus in Pisces here has a vulnerability to going down the dark road of white-washing and manipulation of the 'spin' it puts on its activities when communicating with the public. Whether it's right, wrong, or simply the best means to an end, Pluto and Jupiter in this configuration say to me that there's huge potential for something to go boom if those skeletons come out of that closet. If they do have any (um, yeah) they'll be very big (Jupiter), very scary (Pluto), and very devious although they may try to appear innocent and have been created out of naivete (Pisces).

Another important issue to manage will be the 'truth-lite' public relations need  (Venus in Pisces) and the fact that Mercury is in Capricorn and conjunct Chiron. Mercury in Capricorn is about direct, down to business type of communication, although it can lean to the side of information being delivered on a "need-to-know" basis in order to get one's message across with the most effective outcome. Chiron feels like an Achilles' heel to me here, where it's vulnerable to shooting itself in the foot (forgive me for the hopefully amusing and playful reference to the Chiron myth). So, communicating as clearly and efficiently as possible, but not without strategy, is needful. Giving the appearance of connecting in an open way (Venus in Pisces) and doing so by communicating matter-of-factly (Mercury in Capricorn) might be a good balance.

Back to the idea of Jupiter and sustainable growth, Mars in Taurus supports the Jupiter agenda of sustainable growth (which so far has not exactly been the case as it's growth is so rapid its head is probably spinning!). However, Mars at 0 degrees Taurus is a double-edged sword: on one hand, it's direct and in stable Taurus, so there's a sense of the possibility of staying power. However, it's in what some consider a critical degree,2 which can be an indicator of instability. Again, because I see the chart as a prescription, not a promise of glory or doom, the key would be for Facebook to govern itself with slow, steady growth. It will also need to be especially humble, careful, and vigilant when it reaches the inevitable breaking point that any company does, where the skeletal structure that has supported it is now becoming brittle and needs to be repaired or cave in entirely, usually due to rigid and eventually outdated processes and policies.3

Congratulations, you made it to the end of this very long entry. There is no way this would fit into a Facebook status update!


2 Critical degrees vary for different signs. In Taurus, it's said to be 9 and 21 degrees, but many astrologers consider 0 and 29 of any sign to be critical because it is on the threshold of the change from one sign to the other and can often indicate instability.

3 The Tower card in the Tarot always comes to mind for me in these cases. It does not necessarily have to be that the tower was flawed and therefore could not stand, but that everything inevitably decays, especially if it is not continually renewed and reinvented. Sustainability has nothing to do with stasis, but with measured growth.

Actress and Singer Brittany Murphy Dies at 32: The Astrology of her Death

Brittany murphy Most of us were shocked to hear that Brittany Murphy was pronounced dead this morning at the young age of 32 and I was very saddened to hear  it. Her ability to play intense roles and yet light her whole aura up when she smiled was remarkable. While I am no expert on the astrology of death, I took at look at the aspects hitting her chart right now and did find some things that make me speculate about its cause (cardiac arrest – but why?).


This is Brittany's natal chart (alas, without a birth time) in the center, and the transit and progressed wheels have been set for around 8 am pacific time, when the 911 call was made. Several things stand out in this chart immediately: The moon in Aquarius was approaching a sextile to her natal Neptune and was nearly exact, as well as having just passed a square to Uranus. Transiting Mars is about a degree away from a square to her Sun, something that is made more profound by the fact that Mars stations to go retrograde today and its exact time of stand still was around 5:30 am today, not long before the 911 call. Saturn is also approaching a square to her Jupiter in Cancer and Pluto opposing it, but both have been happening for more than a few weeks now. An additional fascinating thing about this chart that is not readily apparent from the image is that her progressed Mars also stationed retrograde, just 10 days ago. This is a rare event, and may not signify anything much on its own, but coupled with transiting Mars doing the same thing makes one wonder. It is unfortunate that we do not know her time of birth, because I wouldn't be surprised to see stressful aspects to her ascendant.

Mars has a great deal to say about how one defends their boundaries, processes anger, and acts on their motivations, but it's significance in the physical realm can have a lot to do with our physical energy and our robustness. According to Eileen Nauman, an astrologer who is an expert at medical astrology, squares between Mars and the Sun can signify issues with the heart, such as heart palpitations, high blood pressure, or anything that causes stress (Mars) to the heart (Sun).* Brittany does not have this aspect natally, so it is less likely that heart trouble was a chronic condition but something that was triggered as transiting Mars' strength squared the Sun, and was then amplified by it standing still (stationing). Was something started 10 days ago (or earlier in the build up) as her progressed Mars also stationed to go retrograde, while squaring her own Moon?

EDIT: Today reported an interview with Brittany's husband Simon and he did indicate that she had a heart condition:

"He added that his wife of three years did suffer from a heart murmur (mitral valve prolapse), which can cause
fatigue, dizziness and irregular heartbeats – but is generally not life
threatening. Murphy didn't require medication to treat it, says Monjack."

So perhaps the square from Chiron to her natal Mars in Leo is another factor here. I'm not too sure what to make of the sextile from the Moon to Neptune, but I mention it because of the timing of the aspect and Brittany's death, as well as the fact that Neptune is the most basic rulership of drugs and since it's not common for a 32 year old to be vulnerable to going into cardiac arrest, one can speculate if drugs were involved, prescription or otherwise. I wonder if this speaks merely (or additionally) to the mystery surrounding her death, so it will be interesting to note what they find that caused her to enter cardiac arrest.

So sorry to hear the passing of this actress.

*From Eileen Nauman's book Medical Astrology, third edition.

And Then There Were Three: the Astrology of the Season 6 Top Chef Finalists; Third, Michael Voltaggio

of you watching Bravo's Season 6 of Top Chef were no doubt holding your
breath like I was when the final three were revealed. Now that we know
one of these chefs will be

crowned the latest 'Top Chef' and we know who we love and who we love
to hate, I'll take a look at the astrology of each. Who will win? Who
should win? You decide; I just work here! Although I have no time of
birth for any of the contestants, a look at their dates of birth still
reveals a great deal astrologically. I'm devoting an entire entry to
each of them since a paragraph never does any chart justice! Third finalist: Michael Voltaggio.

Michael Voltaggio

Top-chef-michael-voltaggioLibra is a sign that is most stereotyped as the 'peacekeeping, nice and tactful one,' so it may be quite surprisingly, initially, to find that Michael's Sun and Mercury are in Libra. But Libra is not strictly about niceness, it's really about balance. Libra is Venus-ruled, which gives it an entire creative component, and a Libra's skill in creating it's own art, whatever medium it chooses to use, will be utilizing it's natural understanding of balance and harmony to put components together in a way that is pleasing. Michael clearly has chosen to express his art with food, which emphasizes balance not only in presentation of the food (color, shape, style) but also tastes. Libra is a sign of partnership, which means that it understands that nothing exists in isolation – everything is relative to each other. A dish paired with wine, a spice paired with the right meat, elements from all the food groups, you name it; Michael innately understands how everything fits together and is deepening that understanding as he works with Libra energy.

Michael also has three planets in Scorpio, a sign that is also about extremes, just as Libra is. But while Libra is a sign of learning how to bring extremes into balance and getting them to cooperative harmoniously or at least agree to co-exist, Scorpio is a sign of extremes in the sense that it takes something down to its core and pushes it even further. Michael's Venus and Uranus are conjunct (in the same place as each other) in Scorpio, which means that Venus, the creative extension of his Libra Sun, and his Uranus, the way he expresses his individuality, function together. In Scorpio, he will always wanting to be pushing that creative envelope past it's edges, not only taking risks but working with intense flavors or innovative combinations.

As a side note about Michael's bedside manner (and it's seeming absence on the show): he may have the Sun and Mercury in Libra, but his Venus and Uranus conjunct in Scorpio shows that his relating style (Venus) is less about going the extra mile to fit in or feel understood and more about asserting his independence and being his authentic self in relationships. His personal authenticity demands that he not compromise his individuality for another, but the side effect of that instinct can often be a tendency to push others away. As we'll see below, other factors in his chart have a tendency to make him very single-minded when working, which means that when he's working, don't get in his way! If we knew his birth time, his rising sign, or Ascendant, would be revealed, giving us more insight into the style of social interface that is most comfortable for him to present to the world.

Michael's chart also shows an interesting relationship between Mars in Scorpio, Saturn in Virgo, and Jupiter in Leo, all in a sextile relationship with each other, with Mars and Jupiter on the edges forming a trine to each other. Both sextiles and trines between planets help those components of him to work well with each other. Mars in Scorpio shows his strong desire to take something to its edges. Jupiter in Leo, and its connection to Mars, reveals an innate belief and confidence in himself. Not that he won't ever have a down day, but there is something inside of him that knows if he just pushes it all the way and is willing to go after what he wants (Mars in Scorpio), success is all the more likely (Jupiter in Leo). Confidence, when turned on its side, can look a lot like arrogance, which may be the astrological fingerprint of Michael's cockiness (as some would say he has), but it's likely that a birth time would reveal more fingerprints that add to that story.

Finally, Saturn in Virgo between the two (Mars and Jupiter) is really where he can take anything he does to the next level. If it were just Mars and Jupiter, he may have all the confidence in the world, and a lot of competitiveness, but perhaps no commitment to see things through. Working successfully with Saturn in Virgo means that if he doesn't skip the details, if he follows through with painstaking care, and will accept nothing less than himself than excellence (and take care not to berate himself too much when he doesn't achieve it), then that Mars and Jupiter can take anything he does all the way to the top.

Good luck, Michael!


If you are an astrologer and would like to work with these charts and make your own observations (please share!), the available birth data of all three contestants is as follows (no birth times available, which is why no houses or rising signs are revealed):

Michael Voltaggio: Sept 29 1978

Bryan Voltaggio: April 15 1976

Kevin Gillespie: Sept 30 1982


Want to find your inner gifts and learn how to maximize them? Contact me for a personal reading at!

And Then There Were Three: the Astrology of the Season 6 Top Chef Finalists; Second, Bryan Voltaggio

of you watching Bravo's Season 6 of Top Chef were no doubt holding your
breath like I was when the final three were revealed. Now that we know
one of these chefs will be

crowned the latest 'Top Chef' and we know who we love and who we love
to hate, I'll take a look at the astrology of each. Who will win? Who
should win? You decide; I just work here! Although I have no time of
birth for any of the contestants, a look at their dates of birth still
reveals a great deal astrologically. I'm devoting an entire entry to
each of them since a paragraph never does any chart justice! Next up, Bryan.

Bryan Voltaggio

Top-chef-bryan-voltaggioIn Bryan's video biography on the Top Chef website, he speaks about some of his earliest memories of his grandfather tugging at his apron and helping him at the stove, real family dinners and "not picking from a refrigerator," and the family's  garden which were worked into the family meals. He started as a busboy in a restaurant in his teens and essentially worked his way up at a steady pace, getting training and experience. He now owns his own restaurant, Volt, in which he is committed to using "ingredients that are local, stable, and organic."

In Bryan's chart, we're limited without a birth time to fill in some of the information a chart can give, just as in Kevin's and Michael's, which will follow shortly. But right away I'm drawn to his Mars and Saturn in the sign of Cancer as well as his south node in Taurus. Cancer and Taurus are the two primary signs that are often linked with a love of food – Taurus because it classically loves to feed it's senses, and Cancer because it loves to nurture (or shall we say nourish, in this case?). Bryan's upbringing, with that sense of stability and nurturing which took on the form of food and family meals, gave him a foundation, but his desire (Mars) to nourish (Cancer) as well as build and continue traditions (Saturn) around that Cancer principle is a continuing motivator in his adult life. I wouldn't be surprised if the full birth chart revealed planets in his 4th house, which would amplify the sense of tradition from his childhood.

His Sun in Aries is squaring Saturn in Cancer pretty tightly however, as well as Mars widely squaring Uranus, which may be a perfect reflection of the way he defines his food, which is "modern American," combining classical techniques with modern ones, which seems like a great way, at least professionally and creatively, to take the tradition one's grown up with (Cancer) and make it their own (Uranus, Sun). Along those same lines, Bryan has this to say (from his bio at his restaurant's website):

"Driven by the love and support of his family, wife Jennifer and son
Thacher, Chef Voltaggio seeks to bring historic Frederick a piece of
his culinary upbringing to a place that built his foundation."

His restaurant is in his home town and he wants to contribute back to that town, carrying on the traditions forward from his rich past.

But what about his Aries Sun and Scorpio Moon, two very important components of any chart? Leadership and a willingness to take risks are key elements of his personality that he will benefit from developing. The south node reveals an underlying foundation to one's personality, the energy, attitude, and expectations we entered this life with and what we need to take the best from and move forward with, as well as what habits and 'comfort zones' we need to grow beyond to have a satisfying life. The vulnerabilities of a Taurus south node lie in trying to keep things from changing, the love of something timeless becoming simply stagnant and dead, like an anchor around one's neck. His Aries Sun gives him a hunger to identify with someone who is forward thinking, who doesn't rest on his successes and is not afraid to stretch to one's edges. While his brother, Michael, seems to be the competitive one, Bryan's definitely got the streak as well.

His Scorpio Moon reveals a need to nurture himself by learning how to trust and develop his intensity, calling forward the phoenix's strength to recognize cycles – to let go of what's ready to fade and step into what's ready to be born, whether it's in himself or in his life situations. Again, this emphasizes the bridge he must build between the warmth of past traditions and the foundation they provide for him, while stretching beyond it into his own territory.

Good luck, Bryan!

And Then There Were Three: the Astrology of the Season 6 Top Chef Finalists; First, Kevin Gillespie

Those of you watching Bravo's Season 6 of Top Chef were no doubt holding your breath like I was when the final three were revealed. Now that we know one of these chefs will be crowned the latest 'Top Chef' and we know who we love and who we love to hate, I'll take a look at the astrology of each. Who will win? Who should win? You decide; I just work here! Although I have no time of birth for any of the contestants, a look at their dates of birth still reveals a great deal astrologically. I'm devoting an entire entry to each of them since a paragraph never does any chart justice! First up, Kevin.

Kevin Gillespie

Top-chef-kevin-gillespie Kevin seems to be the sweetest and mildest one of the bunch, and that almost made him seem to come out of nowhere when he started climbing up the ranks of Top Chef's best quickly and steadily. His Jupiter/Moon trine and Mars in Sagittarius emphasizes the easy going quality of his Libra Sun, but there are underlying strengths that show Kevin's definitely a competitor. His Mars in Sagittarius is conjunct Uranus, which reveals a desire to stand apart. Mars in anyone's chart shows how and why we handle our natural competitive natures (even if it's to roll over peacefully), but this configuration is less about a competitive urge to beat out others and more an urge to feel that he has got something special, that he can surprise others as well as himself by utilizing qualities that are uniquely his.

Another way he shows he's not only a big teddy bear is his Capricorn South Node. The South Node reveals an underlying foundation, the energy, attitude, and expectations we entered this life with. It represents what we're trying to take the best from and move forward with as we have the new experiences and develop the new tools the chart reveals for us, while leaving behind some of the growth-stunting patterns that each sign contains. The South Node often reveals itself more strongly in early life, as we reenact our karmic habits and before we've been around the edges of ourselves and life enough to realize we don't want the same old, same old anymore.

Kevin's South Node lies in Capricorn, a sign that emphasizes hard work, integrity, duty, diligence, strategy, tenacity, and ambition. The pitfalls of a Capricorn South Node can make one vulnerable to focusing too much only on what makes logical sense, what is most profitable, and what must be done, sometimes going so overboard on a sense of duty and restraint that the heart is constricted because desire can be seen as irrelevant to what IS and what MUST BE. Listen to what Kevin had to say in his video bio on the Top Chef website: 

"And then as I got older, in school I did really well and so people assumed that I would go to an Ivy League school and in fact that was sort of my route, I was supposed to be an engineer, and at the very end of my high school career I just decided that wasn't where my heart lies."

Kudos to Kevin for recognizing that the best strategy isn't always in alignment with who you are. Kevin's Sun is squaring his nodes, which means embracing the lesson that his Sun reflects in his chart is an important stepping stone in getting from the karmic habit (South Node) to the present and future purpose (North Node). To embrace our Sun means to develop our sense of identity, to take it seriously, to not only have an ego but celebrate it – not to outshine others, but not to hide ourselves out of some pious, misguided attempt to be nice. Simply knowing and accepting who you are and then not being afraid to let it shine out is what Sun work is all about, and Kevin's recognition of who he was no doubt helped him move toward the goal he truly desired. He takes the best of his Capricorn qualities of ambition and hard work, and devotes it to a goal that he loves, which nourishes him (Cancer). Well done! And when he is in alignment with what his heart wants (Moon), that trine from Jupiter (success, luck) can sure have him creating opportunities for himself left and right.

He also revealed that his family was very big on the large family
gathering with cooking and sharing, which is such a blessed example for
him to learn some of the fundamentals of a Cancer North Node, that which is he is moving toward in this life: love, shelter, and nourishment, both figuratively and literally! He also speaks about using local and seasonal foods which speaks to the integrity of the best of Capricorn as well as the urge to shelter and protect the best sources of nourishment and one's local 'family' that Cancer stands for.

Good luck, Kevin!

Stay tuned all week to my blog; before the Top Chef Season 6 finale, I'll take a look at the Voltaggio brothers' charts as well.

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.

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