Saptarishis Video Interview on the Venus Cycle, Part 1

I just completed taping a two-part interview for the Saptarishis Astrology Magazine’s YouTube channel, on the subject of the synodic cycle of Venus. I’m very pleased with how it turned out, and very grateful for the chance to share some of my research with an Indian audience. Part one offers an introduction to my breakdown of the eight-year-minus-two day Venus synodic cycle into twenty equal parts: five groupings each of interior conjunctions, exterior conjunctions, morning stars, and evening stars.


Venus Retrograde and the Deaths of U.S. Presidents (Part One)

Here is the first episode in an astrology series about the Venus synodic cycled called The Repentagram.

This episode is called Venus Retrograde and the Deaths of U.S. Presidents (Part 1) Five out of thirty-eight United States Presidents died during the same Venus retrograde phase, a 100-day window in time that occurs just once every eight years.

I just launched a Patreon campaign to help fund this series, a voluntary subscription service that enables people to contribute a few bucks towards creative projects. Patrons who contribute at least $1 USD per episode get a one-day preview for new episodes, plus, exclusive access to special tutorial material one month prior to general release.

Also, patrons enjoy the monthly one-hour video Q & A session with yours truly and occasional guest astrologers.

If you like what I’m doing, and want to see me keep doing it, please consider contributing to my Patreon campaign.

URANU.S.A.: Steve Bannon and the Fourth Turning

Donald Trump and Uranus in Gemini

donald-trump-1946U.S. popular vote loser Donald Trump was born in Queens, New York at 10:54 a.m.  on June 14, 1946, with Uranus conjunct the North Node and Sun in tropical Gemini in his natal chart. Uranus, discovered in 1781, the same year the American Revolutionary War ended, takes 84-years to transit through the twelve signs of the zodiac, spending about seven years in each sign.

In 2013, I self-published an illustrated book called URANU.S.A.: Astrology Looks at the First Planet and Nation of the New World, in which I examined U.S. political history relative to the transit of Uranus in tropical Gemini.

Uranus makes its next transit through Gemini during the years 2025-2033. Historically speaking, the passage of Uranus through Gemini has always coincided with a period during which the country is involved in a major war, the outcome of which results in the United States redefining itself. These periods were 1775-1781 (Revolutionary War), 1858-1865 (Civil War), 1941-1949 (U.S. involvement in WWII, ending with the creation of NATO).

Steve Bannon and the Fourth Turning

SiriusXM's Coverage Of The Republican National Convention Goes Gavel-to-Gavel On Wednesday, July 20Trump’s Chief Strategist, Breitbart media executive Steve Bannon is an avid enthusiast of the Fourth Turning cycle theory proposed by historians Neil Howe and William Strauss, an observation of patterns in American political and social life that change about every 20-22 years, repeating thematically about every 80-90 years.

Just as with the transit of Uranus in Gemini, their theory identifies the eighty-something year gap between the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and WWII.

Because Bannon is such a Fourth Turning keener, he is reportedly candid about what he expects is the inevitability of the U.S. getting involved in war in the not-too-distant future.

I confess, too, that I have expected a U.S. war on the scale of the aforementioned conflicts to occur between the years 2025-2033, based mostly on the expectation that this upcoming Uranus transit through tropical Gemini will repeat itself in a similar fashion to the last three. 

The difference being that either Bannon is a decade too early, or I am looking ahead a decade too late. That is, presuming Trump serves two four-year terms, he would leave office in January 2025, a few months before Uranus moves from Taurus to Gemini, and therefore presumably would not be likely to be directly responsible for an outbreak of war during the Uranus transit in Gemini. Unless, of course, he somehow winds up staying in office longer than two terms.

Here is a video clip featuring some of the interesting historical and astrological work found in URANU.S.A.:

Audio recorded at Fort Mason, San Francisco on March 28, 2013.

The Astrology Podcast: Mars Retrograde and Antares

The Astrology Podcast: Mars Retrograde and Antares

Astrology Podcast Mars Retrograde BannerChris Brennan hosted me and Austin Coppock on The Astrology Podcast, to talk about the coming Mars retrograde station on April 17.

This particular station is within a degree of conjunction to the fixed star, Antares, making for a rare union of two red-coloured bodies.

We discussed the peculiar properties of the Mars cycle, and I chimed in with some national and biographical examples of past Mars transits with Antares.

Video: Mars Retrograde in Kolkata, India

Video: Mars Retrograde in Kolkata, India

Mars Retrograde Presentation Live in Kolkata

Video footage of my recent presentation at the 26th annual Krishnamurti Institute of Astrology conference in Kolkata, India has been posted online.

Taped at Carnival Cinemas, Kolkata, India on January 23, 2016.

Mars Retrograde in Uncommon Signs

I spoke on one of my standard topics, the Mars retrograde cycle. In consideration of my Indian audience, I presented my work using the sidereal zodiac, as opposed to the tropical zodiac. Since the material is a simple observation of historical trends that unambiguously correspond to a repeating planetary pattern, it does not require zodiacal symbolic interpretation in order to be recognized. It speaks for itself.

For this particular talk, I mostly discussed the fact that the Mars retrograde cycle is not distributed evenly among the signs, in either zodiac. In the tropical zodiac, Mars only has retrograde transits through Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces once every 32-47 years. Using the sidereal zodiac, we are then looking at Sagittarius, Capricorn, and Aquarius.

I began by citing biographical examples, using the lives of Paul McCartney and Hillary Clinton to demonstrate how these brief, two-to-three month intervals that occur only once every few decades can repeatedly correspond to pivotal periods in a given individual’s timeline.

I moved on to tracing the Mars retrograde cycle according to the history of Iran and India, the latter of which has a history of crisis that strongly corresponds to periods when Mars retrograde is in close proximity to Saturn, as it will be for much of 2016.


It was a tremendous honour and privilege to be included in the roster of western astrologers invited to participate in this year’s conference. Gopal Bhattacharjee, Director of the KIA, began introducing western astrologers at his conference two years ago, with South Africa’s Richard Fidler and Slovenia’s Ema Kurent serving as the initial pioneers in this, to my knowledge, unprecedented exchange between eastern and western astrological circles.

The number of western astrologers was bumped up to about a half-dozen the following year, and this time we were more than twice that number. I understand the number of western speakers will increase again in 2017.

I want to express my gratitude to Mr. Bhattacharjee for his gracious invitation and hospitality, and to all my new Indian friends who received us so warmly during our visit.

Photo credit: Robert Currey

Mars-Jupiter Cycles and Canadian History

Mars-Jupiter Cycles and Canadian History

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau Natal ChartJustin Trudeau and the Liberal Party’s election to a majority government on Monday, has inspired me to post some work I’ve done on Canadian history over the years.

Transiting Mars made a conjunction to Jupiter in tropical Virgo two days prior to the Canadian federal election on Monday, October 19, 2015.

Out of forty-two Canadian federal elections, four have occurred during Mars-Jupiter conjunctions, and two during Mars-Jupiter oppositions.

As it happens, Mars-Jupiter conjunctions and oppositions play a recurring role in Canadian history, and I wanted to take this opportunity to take you through an interesting timeline using this cycle.

The Trudeau Legacy

Justin Trudeau was born while his father, Pierre Trudeau, was Prime Minister. The elder Trudeau held the second-longest reign in Canadian history, serving all but nine months of a sixteen year span from 1968-1984.

The oldest of three sons, Trudeau first captured the public’s attention when he delivered a passionate eulogy at his father’s state funeral in October 2000. Broadcast live on national television, the speech made him an instant celebrity.

Trudeau was first elected as a Member of Parliament in Montreal’s Papineau riding, in the 40th General Election on October 14, 2008. After being re-elected as an MP in 2011, he was elected leader of the Liberal Party on April 14, 2013.

Justin Trudeau Mars JupiterTrudeau was born with Jupiter in Sagittarius square Mars in Pisces. As I already mentioned, his recent election occurred two days following a transiting Mars-Jupiter conjunction in Virgo.

Interestingly, this was the first time Mars and Jupiter had been conjunct in Virgo since the time of his father’s meteoric return to power just before the first Quebec referendum in 1980. More on that later.

The combination of Mars-Jupiter, astrologically speaking, signifies division over matters of principle and ideology. From the beginning, the Canadian political landscape has been a battleground for the legacies of competing European dynasties and their respective cultural values. Canada is where the Hundred Years’ War continues to be fought, in seeming perpetuity.

By virtue of his full name, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Montreal-born son of a francophone father and anglophone mother, was in his era a symbolic manifestation of the French-English divide that defined that city, and the federation as a whole.

Justin Trudeau, son of a Montreal-born father and Vancouver-born mother, embodies a broader, more geographically inclusive vision of the east-west factions that contribute to shaping Canada’s complex cultural mosaic.

Mars and Jupiter Synodic Cycles

The Sun-Mars synodic cycle last about twenty-six months, and the Sun-Jupiter synodic cycle lasts about thirteen months.

Consequently, Mars-Jupiter conjunctions and oppositions each occur once every twenty-six months, except in cases where the configuration occurs during a Mars retrograde phase, in which case there can be three conjunctions or oppositions over the period of a few months. There are two such examples in the following timeline, and I will discuss them further when we get there.

Samuel de Champlain Founds Place Royale

Samuel de Champlain builds a wall at Place RoyaleSamuel de Champlain, founder of what would become Quebec City, also built the first European-made construct on the Hochelaga islands, what would one day be known as the city of Montreal.

Building a square wall by the meeting of the St. Laurent and St. Pierre rivers, he founded Place Royale on May 28, 1611.

Mars was six days prior to a conjunction with Jupiter in Cancer.

De Maisonneuve Founds Ville-Marie

De Maisonneuve found Ville-MarieA few decades later, on May 18, 1642, Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve brought a small settlement to the Place Royale and established Ville-Marie, which would soon become known as Montreal.

The new community built a chapel and, under the leadership of a nurse named Jeanne Mance, a hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal.

Transiting Mars was six day prior to a conjunction with Jupiter in Pisces.

Montgomery Army Occupies Montreal

Montgomery's Army Occupies the City of MontrealJumping ahead over a century, Montreal is now part of a British colony. During the American Revolutionary War, the city was occupied without resistance by American forces led by General Richard Montgomery on November 13, 1775.

Having withstood an attempted invasion by Ethan Allen‘s forces on September 24th, the city was unprepared to defend itself against Montgomery, after his army took Fort St. Jean on November 3rd.

Transiting Mars in Sagittarius was five days following an opposition to Jupiter in Gemini.

British Soldiers Kill Three Montreal Voters

British Soldiers Kills Three Montreal VotersIn 1832, the same year the city of Montreal was incorporated, and in the midst of a growing cholera epidemic, street fights broke out over a hotly contested election for a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada, resulting in the shooting deaths of three French Canadian men.

With the ruling class represented by Stanley Bagg — a Tory merchant likely to lose the vote to Irish Catholic front runner Daniel Traceysoldiers fired into a crowd of Tracey supporters outside a polling station at 5:05 pm on May 21, 1832.

Transiting Mars was five days prior to a conjunction with Jupiter in Pisces.

Lord Russell’s Ten Resolutions on Lower Canada

Lord Russell's Ten Resolutions on Lower CanadaFollowing the turmoil of 1832, French Canadian representative Louis-Joseph Papineau and his associates on the Lower Canada Legislative Assembly drafted the Ninety-Two Resolutions in 1834. The resolutions aired grievances against abuse made by past governments, and demanded a series of political reforms.

After going ignored for three years, British parliament rejected the Legislative Assembly’s demands. Colonial Secretary Lord John Russell issued his own Ten Resolutions, allowing for the continued power of unelected parties against that of the Assembly. British parliament passed the Ten Resolutions on March 6, 1837.

News of the resolutions sparked the Rebellions of 1837-1838 in both Lower and Upper Canada. (A topic I will explore in more depth in a future article).

When parliament passed the Ten Resolutions, transiting Mars retrograde was nine days following a conjunction with Jupiter in Leo.

Dominion of Canada Established

Dominion of Canada EstablishedThe Dominion of Canada, otherwise known as the Canadian Confederation, was established at midnight on July 1, 1867, turning three British colonies into four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

The new federation was designed by the Fathers of Confederation, led by John A. MacDonald and Georges-Étienne Cartier, to break political gridlock amidst the colonies, and to protect British territory against the American Manifest Destiny doctrine by establishing a cross-country railroad.

Transiting Mars in Virgo was four days prior to opposition with Jupiter in Pisces.

First Train Leaves from Montreal for Vancouver

First Train Leaves Montreal for VancouverScandal ridden and long overdue, the first Canadian Pacific Railway passenger train left Dalhousie Station in Montreal at 8 pm on June 28, 1886, and arrived in Port Moody, British Columbia, near Vancouver, on July 4th.

Montreal mayor Honoré Beaugrand officiated at the departure ceremony.

Transiting Mars was two days following its conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo.

Wilfrid Laurier and Henri Bourassa Debate Boer War

Wilfrid Laurier & Henri Bourassa Debate Boer WarIn 1899, war broke out between Great Britain and the Boer settlers of South Africa. The question of Canadian participation in British foreign wars became, and would continue to be, a bitterly divisive matter in the country, particularly in the French Canadian community.

Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s first French Canadian leader, found himself debating members of his own party, including the outspoken Quebec nationalist, Henri Bourassa.

On October 12, 1899, the day debates began between Laurier and Bourassa, transiting Mars was three days following a conjunction with Jupiter in Scorpio, which was also Laurier’s Sun sign.

William Lyon Mackenzie King Elected Prime Minister of Canada

William Lyon Mackenzie King Elected Prime Minister of CanadaOn December 6, 1921, William Lyon Mackenzie King of the Liberal Party was elected Prime Minister of Canada in the 14th General Election. Apart from a brief interruption in 1926, and then a five-year period out of office from 1930-35, Mackenzie King would serve as the country’s leader until 1949, the longest-serving in its history.

In this instance, I have posted a bi-wheel chart, to include King’s natal chart, which occupies the inner wheel. When he was elected, transiting Mars was ten days following a conjunction with Jupiter in Libra.

In addition, King, who was born sometime in the evening on December 17, 1874, in Kitchener, Ontario, was himself born two days following a Mars-Jupiter conjunction in Libra. You can’t make this stuff up.

Duplessis Bridge Collapses in Trois-Rivières

Duplessis Bridge Collapses in Trois-RivièresAt least four people (possibly eight) plunged to their deaths in the icy waters of the St. Maurice river, when four concrete and steel spans of the Duplessis bridge between Trois-Rivières and Cap-de-la-Madeleine suddenly collapsed at 2:55 am on January 31, 1951.

The bridge, named after the father of Quebec’s incumbent, long-governing premier, Maurice Duplessis, had only opened in 1948. Although he insisted the collapse was an act of sabotage, it was more likely due to the use of poor quality materials during construction.

Transiting Mars was eight days prior to conjunction with Jupiter in Pisces.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elected Member of Parliament

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elected Member of ParliamentPrime Minister Lester Pearson was elected to a second term in the 27th General Election on November 8, 1965, bringing with him some fresh faces from Quebec.

Dubbed the “three wise men” by the English language press (and the “three doves” by the French language press), union leader Jean Marchand, journalist Gérard Pelletier, and law professor Pierre Trudeau were recruited by the federal Liberal Party to serve as a counter-weight to the growing tide of Quebec nationalism.

As the Liberal Party maintained a tradition of alternating between English and French speaking leaders, it was assumed that one of the three would replace Pearson as the party’s leader when he stepped down. Trudeau, the least well-known of the three, was first appointed Pearson’s parliamentary secretary, and then Justice Minister in 1967.

When Pearson unexpectedly announced his resignation from politics in April 1968, Trudeau was elected to replace him as acting Prime Minister. He soon called an election, and was elected to his first proper term on June 25, 1968.

Transiting Mars in Sagittarius was six days prior to an opposition with Jupiter in Cancer, when Trudeau was elected as a Member of Parliament, by the end of which term he would already be serving as Prime Minister of Canada.

Gens du Pays Song Public Debut

Gens du Pays Public DebutQuebec nationalism entered the 1970s with a literal bang, as the Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ), a loose association of separatist terrorist cells, went from their standard bombings of the 60s, to full-on kidnapping and murder in October 1970 (there is fascinating astrology in this story, involving Venus cycles, which I will also be covering in a future article).

With separatist sentiments continuing to flourish in the province, Gens du Pays, a song sung by pop singer Gilles Vigneault on June 24, 1975, before an audience gathered on Mont-Royal during a St. Jean Baptiste celebration (the Quebec national holiday) would grow to become the movement’s national anthem.

Transiting Mars was nine days following a conjunction with Jupiter in Aries.

René Lévesque and Parti Québécois Elected

René Lévesque & Parti Québécois ElectedWith Quebec nationalism now at a fever pitch, René Lévesque and his separatist party, the Parti Québécois (PQ), took Canada by surprise by winning the provincial election on November 15, 1976.

A former journalist and member of the provincial Liberal party during the early 1960s, Lévesque formed the PQ in 1968, and was first elected to a seat under their banner in 1970. With the PQ now in power, Quebec separation became a real possibility.

Transiting Mars in Scorpio was two days following an opposition to Jupiter in Taurus.

Bill 101 Language Laws Adopted

Bill 101 Language Laws AdoptedNine months after the PQ ascent to power, Quebec’s Charter of the French Language, otherwise known as Bill 101, was passed by the provincial government on August 26, 1977.

Designed to preserve and protect French in the province, the new language laws were primarily aimed at the city of Montreal, where the largest non-francophone population lived.

Ranging from the use of French on commercial signs, to restrictions on admission to English language schools, the new charter was both popular and controversial.

Transiting Mars in Gemini was ten days prior to conjunction with Jupiter in Cancer.

Pépin-Robarts Commission on Canadian Unity

Pépin-Robarts Commission on Canadian UnityThe federal government responded to the election of the PQ in 1976, by forming the Pépin-Robarts Task Force to investigate the question of Canadian unity.

Jean-Luc Pépin, a former cabinet minister in the Trudeau government, and John Robarts, former Conservative Premier of Ontario, were paired for the commission, presenting their report on the morning of January 25, 1979.

Their recommendations included granting further powers to provincial governments, abolishing the Senate, and expanding the Canadian Supreme Court to eleven members, with five members from Quebec.

Prime Minister Trudeau was defeated four months later in the 31st General Election on May 22nd, by Conservative leader Joe Clark, who won a minority government.

The report was published on the same day that transiting Mars in Aquarius was opposite Jupiter in Leo.

Bill 101 Ruled Unconstitutional by Canadian Supreme Court

Bill 101 Ruled Unconstitutional by Supreme Court

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the Quebec Charter of the French Language to be unconstitutional. The ruling added to the resolve of the PQ government to hold a referendum on Quebec separation from Canada the following spring.

Interestingly, on the same day, Prime Minister Joe Clark‘s Conservative minority government, just six months in power, was unexpectedly given a vote of no confidence due to a defeated budget, making a new election necessary.

Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who had only just announced his decision to retire, was soon coaxed into running for another term.

Transiting Mars was three days prior to a conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo. However, Mars was also thirty-three days away from its retrograde station in Virgo.

In a follow-up article, I will outline the history of Mars retrograde in Virgo in Canadian history, which is equally striking as the Mars-Jupiter cycle. For the time being, note that the Mars retrograde coinciding with its close proximity to Jupiter meant that, this time around, this was only the first of three Mars-Jupiter conjunctions that would occur in the next few months.

Pierre Trudeau Re-Elected Prime Minister of Canada

Pierre Trudeau Re-Elected Prime Minister of CanadaIn a stunning reversal, Liberal leader Pierre Trudeau was elected back to office in the 32nd General Election on February 18, 1980, after being out of office for only nine months.

With the Quebec separation referendum looming, the stakes were high, and Trudeau’s re-election pitted one Quebec leader against another.

Trudeau and Réne Lévesque, who had known each other since the 1950s, sharing many mutual friends and associates, formed the opposing columns at this crucial juncture in Canadian history.

Transiting Mars retrograde was nine days prior to its second of three conjunctions with Jupiter in Virgo.

Quebec Separatist Referendum Defeated

Quebec Separatist Referendum DefeatedA tense campaign that often divided family and friends, the Quebec referendum on sovereignty from Canada was defeated by a 60% vote on May 20, 1980.

Canada had come to the edge of being split apart. Non-francophone Montrealers had fled, and were continuing to leave the city in large numbers.

Prime Minister Trudeau, in his best conciliatory tone, indicated that he wanted to heal wounds by finally patriating Canada’s constitution, which at the time was still composed of British laws, and for which amendments required assent from British parliament.

However, the creation of a new Canadian constitution, which was passed on April 17, 1982, resulted in deepening the country’s schism with Quebec, and to this day the province has not signed it.

On the day of the referendum’s defeat, transiting Mars post-retrograde was sixteen days following its third conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo.

Bloc Québécois Federal Party Officially Created

Bloc Québécois Party Officially CreatedAdding to Quebec’s continued isolation from the patriated Canadian Constitution of 1982, was the failure of a package of proposed Quebec-approved amendments called the Meech Lake Accord in May 1990.

The Bloc Québécois (BQ), initially a loose association of disgruntled Quebec MPs from the Conservative and Liberal parties, had their first candidate in office before they were even a federally registered party. Gilles Duceppe, a union leader, was elected to a parliamentary seat as an independent on August 13, 1990.

However, the BQ was formally created and registered as a federal party the following year, on June 15, 1991. Quebec sovereigntists now had a voice on the federal platform.

Transiting Mars was two days following a conjunction with Jupiter in Leo.

Second Quebec Sovereignty Referendum Defeated

Second Quebec Sovereignty Referendum DefeatedThe failure of both the Meech Lake Accord in 1990, and the Charlottetown Accord in 1992, resulted in a second sovereignty referendum in Quebec, led by Premier Jacques Parizeau, on October 30, 1995.

The vote was much closer this time, nearly straight down the middle, with the sovereigntist side receiving 49.42% of the vote.

Transiting Mars was sixteen days prior to conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius.

Paul Martin Defeated with No Confidence Vote

Paul Martin Defeated with No Confidence Vote

Paul Martin took over as Liberal leader and Prime Minister when three-term incumbent Jean Chrétien retired in 2004. On June 28, 2004, he was elected with a minority government in the 38th General Election.

However, trouble was already brewing in the Liberal Party, due to the exposure of a sponsorship scandal, in which the federal government was found to be misusing public funds to promote its role in Quebec.

Defeated in a parliamentary vote of no confidence on November 28, 2005, the first winter election in twenty-five years was called for the following January 23rd.

Transiting Mars retrograde in Taurus was six days prior to opposition with Jupiter in Scorpio when the government was defeated.

Stephen Harper Elected Prime Minister of Canada

Stephen Harper Elected Prime Minister of CanadaWith Paul Martin‘s Liberal Party tainted by the sponsorship scandal, Stephen Harper‘s Conservative Party won, by proportion of seats, the smallest minority government in Canadian history in the 39th General Election on January 23, 2006.

Despite its size, Harper’s first term leading a minority government was the longest in Canadian history, lasting a few months shy of three years. Most minority governments last about a year and a half.

As Mars had been retrograde two months earlier, when the Liberal government fell, transiting Mars post-retrograde in Taurus was now five days following its last opposition with Jupiter in Scorpio.

Stephen Harper Re-Elected Prime Minister of Canada

Stephen Harper Re-Elected Prime Minister of CanadaHaving led two successive minority governments for over five years, Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally won a majority government in the 41st General Election on May 2, 2011.

The election had a number of unique outcomes. The Liberal Party won the fewest seats in its long history, and new party leader Michael Ignatieff lost his own seat in the election. The Bloc Québécois lost official party status due to losing 43 of its 47 seats.

Conversely, the left-leaning NDP Party, led by the charismatic Jack Layton, stole much of the Liberal and BQ thunder, coming in second place and becoming the official opposition. The Green Party’s Elizabeth May became their first candidate to win a seat.

Transiting Mars was two days following a conjunction with Jupiter in Aries.

Justin Trudeau and Saturn-Neptune

Justin Trudeau Saturn NeptuneJustin Trudeau was also born with Saturn in Gemini opposite Neptune in Sagittarius, close to the MC-IC axis.

With his election, transiting Saturn in Sagittarius is approaching a square configuration to Neptune in Pisces.

Since he has those two planets tightly configured in his natal chart, I anticipate that his impending term as Canada’s leader will resonate strongly with the transiting square.

The last time Saturn and Neptune were square, in 1998, the Trudeau family met tragedy when Justin’s youngest brother, Michel, was killed by an avalanche while skiing in the Kootenay Mountains on November 13th that year.

In Canadian politics, the Saturn-Neptune square can be equally devastating.

John A. MacDonald, Canada’s founding father and first prime minister, was forced to resign due to a scandal involving bribery for railroad construction contracts on November 5, 1873 (he was elected back to power five years later), while Saturn in Capricorn was square Neptune in Aries.

The Manitoba School Act, passed on March 31, 1890, while Saturn regressing from Virgo to Leo was square Neptune in Gemini, abolished French as an official language in that province, instigating a bitter legacy that continues to resonate in present-day francophone Canada.

Wilfrid Laurier‘s Naval Service Bill, introduced on January 12, 1910, as Saturn in Aries was square Neptune in Cancer, marked the beginning of the end of his reign, and he was voted out of office the following year.

William Lyon MacKenzie King‘s government fell to a customs scandal on June 27, 1926, while Neptune in Leo was square Saturn in Scorpio, although he was voted back to power two months later.

The FLQ began their bombing campaigns in Montreal in 1963, as Neptune in Scorpio was square Saturn in Aquarius.

Even Pierre Trudeau‘s election in 1980, occurring during a Saturn-Neptune square in Virgo-Sagittarius, coincided with an era that was fraught with political fracture.

Even if he is ultimately facing a successful and popular reign as Canada’s new leader, Justin Trudeau‘s oft-quoted phrase from his acceptance speech, “we beat fear with hope, we beat cynicism with hard work,” will likely echo with ominous tones.

Astro Summit 2.0 Online Astrology Conference

Astro Summit 2.0I am pleased to be included in’s Astro Summit 2.0, the largest online astrology conference to date.

Boasting a roster of 23 world class astrologers, the conference began on Saturday October 10, and runs until this Saturday October 17.

The Summit offers three daily presentations for free, which remain free online for the following 48 hours. So technically, one could attend the entire conference without paying a dime.

However, during the course of the Summit, the entire conference can be purchased at a discount price of $97 USD. Following the conference, the price will be raised to $197 USD.

My presentation, Astrology and the CEO Trading Strategy for Income, will be online this Saturday, October 17, the final day of the Summit. The talk offers some insight into how I work with astrology and the stock market.

Please join me and my amazing colleagues for this global event.

Under No Illusions, Electronic Music Micro Album

Under No Illusions cover artworkWhen I’m not busy studying and writing about astrology, I divert myself with creative projects. The latest is producing music using apps on my android phone.

Last week, I downloaded a bunch of different instrument
apps. Old synthesizers, drums, horns, and strings, as well as a bunch of other weird and interesting stuff.

Using a multi-track recorder app, I experimented with these “instruments”, and came up with a few short pieces of music. Then it occurred to me that I had stored up a collection of digital photos taken with the same phone, and found that each piece of music fit nicely when juxtaposed with a given image.

Although it hadn’t been my intention when I started tinkering around, I decided to assemble this work into a proper digital “album”. I chose this picture at the top right for “cover” artwork, and without thinking about it for more than a few seconds, decided to title it Under No Illusions.

Tympani Alley

Tympani Alley artwork

The first track on the album was actually recorded last March-April, and is the only one that was not done using my phone to record or play sounds. The track is called Tympani Alley, a pun reference to the legendary songwriting factory “Tin Pan Alley”, and might be recognizable to some as the theme music for the I Love Astrology podcast.

The track was recorded using my MacBook Pro laptop, my Blue Snowball microphone, and Audacity multi-track recording software. I went to my friend Andrew Sylte’s house to use his electric drums, and recorded myself playing the tympani/kettle drum setting for about twenty minutes (thanks for putting up with that, Andrew!).

When I got home, I extracted a short nine or ten second clip from that recording and looped it. Then I got really creative, and recorded myself whacking my wooden kitchen counter a few times. I added some effects to that sound, and presto, I got that sonic cracking sound that is not only used in the music, but also became my signature sound effect on the podcast.

Finally, I threw in a sample of a backward cymbal to fill out the piece. It was fun to do, and I promptly forgot all about it, until I started work on the podcast the following June, and suddenly needed theme music. The rest is history.

The photo I used for this track is the gate for this industrial overpass near New Brighton Park in Vancouver, a short walk from my place, which I shot on June 4th. The percussive crashes in the piece make me think of iron doors being slammed.


Portal artworkThe second track on the album is really where the phone concept kicks off. From here on, every sound was made using apps on my smart phone.

This track is called Portal, but was initially called “Experiment 1″, as it was in the making of this track that I figured everything out. This was my first attempt at doing a multi-track recording using an app called Audio Evolution Mobile 4.0.4.

The first sound you hear is something called a “space theremin”, although it sounds nothing like a theremin to me. It is super fun to play, though, and I regularly play it whenever I’m in the mood for a quick distraction. Better than any video game!

Next, the beeping noises you hear come from an “instrument” called a sonorox, which is a sequencer that you program by adding or subtracting little digital cubes. It’s not unlike playing Tetris, but again, more fun!

Finally, I added a cello sound from another app on my phone. I couldn’t play a real cello to save my life, but I can’t squeeze a few notes out of this app with little problem.

The accompanying photo is a shot I took of an office complex called Complexe Desjardins in downtown Montreal, my hometown, while I was visiting on May 8th. The towers have nothing to do with the track, per se, but I thought the angle and cropping makes them look like giant sentinels.

The Swarm

The Swarm artwork

Track 3 is called The Swarm, and it was actually the last thing recorded for this album. I started work on it by recording the rapid tabla drums, again from an app, which allows me to manipulate the speed and pitch of the pre-programmed rhythm.

Then I added sounds from an app called “common analog synthesizer”, one of these old school machines from the 1970s with a lot of knobs. Great fun pulling these pulsating sounds from it.

Finally, I added noise from an app cleverly titled a “noise machine”. Lots of wild sound manipulations available there, too.

I happened to have this striking photo of a mural near my place in Vancouver, which I took on July 4th. Since the music sounded like a swarm of bees, it only made sense to use this particular image.


Hastings-Sunrise artwork

Next up is a gorgeous sounding track named for my neighbourhood in Vancouver, Hastings-Sunrise. It is a duet for a pair of apps called the “etherpad” and “ethereal dialpad”.

I moved to Vancouver just a year ago, on October 17, 2014, and then into this apartment at the beginning of January 2015. I love it here, with the ocean being across the street, and lots of interesting hiking destinations in walking distance.

The music makes a perfect companion for this snapshot I took on February 22nd, while out for a morning walk to get coffee. That is indeed a picture of a sunrise.

Don’t Wanna Die at the Superhospital

Don't Wanna Die at the Superhospital artwork

The fifth and final track on the micro album, is this bizarre and ominous piece called Don’t Wanna Die at the Superhospital. An explanation is in order.

First, I recorded new tracks using the sonorox, space theremin, and tabla drums. This was actually the second thing I recorded, but I couldn’t figure out what to do with it, so I put it aside and moved on.

On returning to the piece, which at this point was called “Symmetry 1″, I arbitrarily used a photo I had taken on April 19th, of a new hospital opening in Montreal at that time. It is commonly referred to as the “superhospital”, since they are closing down a bunch of existing hospitals and consolidating them into this one, big complex.

Construction of the hospital has been disastrous, for numerous reasons that I won’t go into details about here. Suffice to say, it is poorly conceived, designed, and built, and the man in charge of the contract ran off with a huge sum of public money.

While I didn’t intend the piece to be about the hospital, as with the track “Hastings-Sunrise,” the music took on the identity of its corresponding photo.

I added the somber cello track, and bingo, I had created something that really does evoke the anxious sensation of dying in a horrible place. It is an admittedly dismal way to end the album, but hey, there will likely be more.

Under No Illusions is available for free download at Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Enjoy!

Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley: Death and Venus Retrograde

All Blues

Miles Davis dies September 28 1991Trumpet legend Miles Davis died twenty-four years ago today, fifteen days following a Venus direct station in Leo. The cause of death was pneumonia, followed by a stroke.

Earlier that summer, the usually forward-looking Davis had performed a one-off concert of his old 1950s material, using musicians from his past bands. Given that he died fairly suddenly so shortly after this rare musical look backward, in hindsight it almost seems like it is what killed him.

Venus Retrograde in Virgo

Venus stations retrograde in Virgo-to-Leo on a regular eight-year interval. With every successive eight-year passage, the retrograde and direct stations occur two-to-three calendar days earlier, and two-to-three zodiacal degrees earlier than the previous one.

The retrograde period itself lasts about 40 days, however in examining the overall retrograde phase, astrologers often include what are sometimes referred to as “shadow periods”. This refers to periods occurring thirty days prior to and following the actual retrograde period, during which Venus transits back and forth through the same zodiacal degrees.

We are talking about a total of about 100 days that occur once every eight years. Relative to total time, this is a ratio of about one-in-twenty-nine. Quite a small window of time.

Kind of Blue

Miles Davis Kind of Blue album releasedDavis’ classic LP, Kind of Blue, the biggest selling jazz album of all time by a long shot, was released on August 17, 1959, when Venus was retrograde in Virgo.

The record featured a band that included tenor saxophone player John Coltrane, alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly (on one cut), bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Evans would later describe this short-lived group as being “composed of superhumans.”

Assault at Birdland

Miles Davis assaulted August 1959Just over a week after the record’s release, Davis was involved in an incident with a New York police officer outside the Birdland club, where his band was completing a two-week headlining stint.

After seeing Davis help a white woman into a taxi cab, the officer told Davis to move along, to which Davis replied that he was performing at the club they were standing in front of, and he wasn’t going anywhere. It was then that the policeman struck Davis with his nightstick, causing a wound that required stitches.

The assault, as with the release of Kind of Blue the previous week, occurred while transiting Venus was still retrograde in Virgo.

Coltrane and Adderley

John Coltrane dies, July 1967Interestingly, Davis and his two horn players on the record, Coltrane and Adderley, all died during the Venus retrograde in Virgo-to-Leo phase.

Cannonball Adderley dies August 1975Coltrane died of liver cancer 22 days prior to Venus‘ retrograde station in Virgo, on July 17, 1967. Adderley died from a stroke on August 8, 1975, while Venus was retrograde in Virgo.

The chances of all three horn soloists dying during the same Venus retrograde phase as the release of their most memorable collective recorded work, and Davis’ subsequent headline-grabbing assault, are staggering. But then again, we are talking about superhumans.

Astrology Restored Conference, Cape Town, South Africa

Astrology Restored ConferenceI am pleased to be included in the speakers’ roster for this November’s Astrology Restored conference in lovely Cape Town, South Africa.

I will be giving two presentations over the course of the week-long conference, on a schedule that also includes fellow speakers Rob Hand, Kate Petty, Kenneth Miller, Samuel Reynolds, Michelle Gould, and numerous others. Check here for complete details.

My talk on Mars synodic cycles in history will be given on Sunday, November 8 at 4 p.m, and my talk on Uranus through the twelve signs of the zodiac will be held on Monday, November 9 at 2:30 p.m. We hope to see you there!

Hexagon Astrology Magazine Premiere Issue

Introducing a New Publication

Hexagon Astrology Magazine Nick Dagan Best AstrologerHexagon is an edgy new astrology magazine that just published its premiere issue on August 19th. It is a long overdue update of the pop astrology format, and this first edition includes contributions from some of astrology’s best writers, including Michael Lutin, Austin Coppock, Andrea Gehrz, Jason Fleming, Madame ZolongaYerevan Yacoubian, and my fellow Canadian blogger sensation, Willow. There is also a great interview with my dear friend and colleague, Samuel Reynolds. Not to be missed!

Venus Retrograde: Long Hot SummerI am grateful to be included in this fine roster, and my article on this summer’s Venus retrograde transit, titled Long Hot Summer, can be found on page 20.

Publisher/writer Matt Savinar deserves serious kudos for putting it all together. A copy can be purchased here, and why not subscribe?

I Love Astrology Podcast Episodes 2 & 3

I Love Astrology Podcast with Nick Dagan Best

I have two episodes of the I Love Astrology podcast to promote here.

My new episode, number three, is about censorship. My co-host is Leisa Schaim, and our three guests are Karen Christino, Kim Farnell, and Gary Christen. We discuss the lives and work of noted astrologers Evangeline Adams, Alan Leo, Alfred Witte, Elsbeth Ebertin, and Karl Ernst Krafft.

Episode two, which I did last month, is about Venus retrograde and consensus. My co-host is Kate Petty, and our three guests are Nina Gryphon, Christopher Renstrom, and Gary Caton. We discuss the phases of Venus, and their use in astrology.

I Love Astrology Podcast

I Love Astrology PodcastMy name is Nick Dagan Best and I love my new astrology podcast.

The podcast is about the passion of astrologers. I am planning on making this a monthly show, at least through the summer.

The topic for episode one is oil. Join me and my co-host, Patrick Watson, as we explore the astrological story of oil, including interviews with Laurence Jones, Jonathan Pearl, and Tony Dickey.

Also, I talk to Ginger, who was born the day of a Venus retrograde station, about the Venus retrograde transits of her past.

1994: Bobcat Goldthwait Sets Fire on Tonight Show

Bobcat Goldthwait white cartoon sketch set on orange stucco background.Astrology and Arson

Thirty-one year-old comedian Bobcat Goldthwait sets fire to his chair during a taping of The Tonight Show. Although host Jay Leno is furious with him for the stunt, he is not banned from appearing on the show, and is soon inviting back as a guest. However, he is tried and convicted for premeditated arson, for which he has to record PSAs for the fire marshal.

Transiting Saturn is conjunct Goldthwait’s natal Jupiter in Pisces, indicating strict repercussions for an error in judgment. Transiting Jupiter is conjunct natal Neptune in Scorpio, square natal Saturn with the South Node in Aquarius, signifying a stunt falling amiss of an artist’s exaggerated reach.

Saturn conjunct Jupiter

Bobcat Goldthwait astrology bi-wheel chart, with transits for his setting a couch fire on The Tonight Show

1969: Jack Nicholson Attends Easy Rider Cannes Premiere

Jack Nicholson white cartoon sketch on purple stucco background.Astrology and Stardom

Thirty-two year-old actor/screenplay writer Jack Nicholson attends the premiere of Easy Rider at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was shot fourteen months earlier, with Nicholson assuming the role of George Hanson at the last minute, after actor Rip Torn left the set following a scuffle with director/co-star Dennis Hopper. At the premiere, when Nicholson’s face comes on screen, the audience instantly recognizes that he has just become a star.

Transiting Saturn is conjunct Nicholson’s natal Sun in Taurus, signifying his character Hanson’s murder in the movie, a sacrifice made on the road to its Mardi Gras climax. Transiting Mars is retrograde in Sagittarius, resonating with natal Mars retrograde in Sagittarius, reflecting the emergence of a new Hollywood iconoclast.

Mars retrograde in Sagittarius

Jack Nicholson astrology bi-wheel chart, with transits for the premiere of Easy Rider at the Cannes Film Festival in 1969.

Transiting Saturn (outer wheel, top) conjunct natal Sun in Taurus (inner wheel, top). Transiting Mars retrograde in Sagittarius (outer wheel, lower right), resonating with natal Mars retrograde in Sagittarius (inner wheel, lower right).