reclaiming the apocalypse

Antoni Tapies, Grey and Green Painting 1957 © Foundation Antoni Tapies, Barcelona/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2002

The meaning of the word apocalypse has been unfairly disfigured. It has been hijacked by monotheistic religions, with their linear constructs and notions of time. Most people have come to think of End Times when they hear the term. This is quite unfortunate, because I think much of what is in the news right now is incredibly apocalyptic, and that is not a bad thing, but (from my perspective) quite a good thing in many ways. Certainly it is worth observing. 

From wikipedia:  "An apocalypse (ἀποκάλυψις, meaning 'un-covering'), translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation..."

However, if you look up apocalypse in most dictionaries you will find: 


  • 1 (often the Apocalypse) the complete final destruction of the world, especially as described in the biblical book of Revelation. See also Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
  • (the Apocalypse) (especially in the Vulgate Bible) the book of Revelation.
  • an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale: a stock market apocalypsean era of ecological apocalypse


        Old English, via Old French and ecclesiastical Latin from Greek apokalupsis
         from apokaluptein 'uncover, reveal', from apo- 'un-' + kaluptein 'to cover'

Noteworthy BBC radio program:  In Our Time, The Apocalypse. Melvyn Bragg examines how a powerful narrative of judgement and retribution evolved.

I don't think many would disagree, given the original meaning of the word, that we are swimming in apocalyptic revelations this season. My friend and fellow astrologer Frederick Woodruff teases me with the phrase Apocalyptic Chic, to describe this time and I a bit of an obsession noting all of its seemingly related unfoldments. If you're interested in the astrology of it, I have a few observations to share below. Last month, I wrote a brief piece when I was feeling the deep rumblings, or rather this thing emerging with a striking yet essential quality about it, via current affairs. The post was titled Truth

Everywhere I turn, every morning I wake, it seems there's another big, strange announcement in the news. This morning the radio woke me with the FDA finally taking seriously the disease producing reality of trans-fats, declaring these partially hydrogenated oils to be no longer 'generally recognized as safe.' Did it need to take this long? I guess so. You can't rush the unfolding I suppose. (I have always avoided these and had a very bad feeling about how much more harmful they are than was admitted.) Fukushima, another obviously hot topic (literally) - and likely still hotter than many will admit, seems to be taken a bit more seriously now. Emerging on BBC, CNN, and the other main news sources, it is at least accepted that this "disaster remains a giant, unresolved mess." Still, some want to minimize it. On Tuesday, I-522, a bill for labeling GMOs, was not passed here in my home state. But as a friend and nutritionist Stephanie Gailing points out, the fact that it didn't pass may bring even greater attention to it at this time. And then there is the Comet ISON; Meteors falling from the sky; jellyfish taking over the oceans; major solar flares and threat of a blackout; and now a super typhoon. What next? 

With news like this, I can't help but think of my friend and teacher, Gary Christen, who is quite fond of the quote: 

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
    --Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (1788 - 1860) 

The astrology certainly speaks to the time; as does the astronomy, for that matter (as you can see in heliocentric maps, from the sun's perspective, below). We are living in a very interesting cycle or transitional time. I think more than anything I find some comfort in the fact that much can be observed through the language of the stars. Whether we can make an absolutely accurate prediction about some matter is less important to me. What is important is context, and we're being given a lot of context right now. From here we can work out or imagine potential interpretations and scenarios, or we can simply observe. 

So now I'll barrage you with technical info. For those as nerdy as me, I've included many charts, beginning with the next lunation chart, followed by the chart for the original Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. On another page, you can find charts for the recent eclipse, as well as antiscia for November which includes Mars Uranus, and Saturn arriving on the cardinal axis (15 fixed/Scorpio is the midpoint of the start of two cardinal signs). I welcome others' comments and reflections below!

Note the degree of Algol (25/26 Taurus) emphasized in the upcoming lunation: a Full Moon on November 17th at 25°26 Taurus. Neptune sets with Chiron in both Japan's lunation chart and the 2011 disaster chart, interesting given the subject matter and the lack of transparency around it. 

     Full Moon runs with Algol - Saturn on cardinal axis 





Full Moon in Washington DC - Uranus Pluto emphasized again as it was at eclipse  +  as is Mercury Node (more revealed)

Mars Saturn antiscia + Uranus on Aries point

Note the degree of the Midheaven. By secondary progression it has moved to 24'06 Taurus.

Polar Azimuthal map of world at time of incident. 

Mars Saturn antiscia and Uranus came to zero Aries on the day of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
(The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami occurred the day before; Uranus was at 29°58 Pisces.)

The Polar Azimuthal map on the right shows the world from a pole view at the time of the incident. It also allows us to see what planets will be in paran for the day. This map is a dynamic feature of Nova Chartwheels, and can't be properly conveyed through a snapshot. The blue arrow points to the star Algol (shown by the second little black dot), and it indicates Algol was pretty much directly overhead at the time of the disaster. The declination for Algol is +40.57' which is the latitude for northern parts of Japan (as well as many other countries). Importantly however, Uranus, which was sitting directly on the Aries point that day (world axis point), was in paran with Algol; when Algol set, Uranus was angular on the Nadir. I find this interesting given the upcoming lunation occurs at the projected ecliptic degree of Algol. Maybe it simply underscores that this event and situation has come to light in a powerful way, and is of huge concern globally. I do find it interesting that the planned start for the decommissioning process is mid-November around the time of the Full Moon. 

Another thing brought to my attention via Gary Christen and Arch Crawford is the heliocentric perspective of planetary confluences for the month. Astrologers have been quite focused on the Uranus Pluto squares (we've just passed the 4th of 7), and yes ! they are a very big deal for everyone. When we observe astrological phenomena we are taking it in through the earth's perspective (geocentrically). We look at the transits, noting events and mundane affairs, and interpret planetary compositions in personal ways or on a psychological level through our own charts. The Mercury retrograde cycle joining Saturn and the Node, and the Sun and Moon at the eclipse, for instance has been quite profound. It speaks to these themes of knowledge revealed, uncovering, and revelations in undeniable ways. 

The heliocentric perspective offers another layer maybe. One that is off planet; possibly, and probably, at least it feels this way, totally out of our control. In Christen's words, helio "becomes important for large scale changes on the earth, kind of like the cardinal axis in so far as larger events that go on. . . it will reflect large scale changes in and dispositions of the markets." Because from the sun's point of view planets are always moving forward, never turning retrograde, when an aspect perfects, it only does so once. The upcoming one heliocentric Uranus Pluto square (on November 23) then seems something exceptional to note.  

At nearly the same time (within a week+) Jupiter joins the picture (Nov 12/13), making an opposition to Pluto and square to Uranus - and so creates a T-square - which occurs when UR PL are within only 03 minutes (not degrees!) of exactitude.  Jupiter Pluto = Uranus  
Meanwhile, on the same day Mars perfects in square with Saturn.

Christen emphasizes the rarity of this alignment, saying "there is no precedent for this in history. . .You cannot find anything heliocentrically that has a T-square within 5 minutes of arc of perfection. . ." Crawford says the same in a video post. Both think it has to do with solar flares: "a mammoth disturbance in the solar system," potentially frying our electric grid, leading to big big problems that would not be quick to fix. Or, as Christen suggests, because on the 13th the Earth (brown globe) is not involved, it could be "a mammoth flare that may graze the earth, but probably will do other damage in the solar system that will be observable. . . we'll see." I think the timing given other factors I've been examining is mind-boggling.

Track solar flares in real time @ NOAA here.  

HELIO Jupiter Pluto opposition + Uranus square -- at the same time: Mars Saturn perfect in square

On 90 degree dial - emphasis on exactitude of aspectual connection 


Whatever might happen I recommend being prepared as you would for an earthquake, just in case: extra water, food, warmth, and cash in your home.



Venus comes to Uranus, Nov 9, around 10pm est 
(Ve joins the t-square before Ju Ur Pl perfects) 

NOV 12/13
Jupiter comes to Uranus, Nov 12, 10:30pm est
(Mars is applying by 27 min to Saturn) 
Jupiter comes to Pluto, Nov 13, 3:20pm est
(Ma app 09 min to Sa) 
Mars comes to Saturn, Nov 13, 11:59pm est
(Ju+Ur=Pl picture: 02/03 min exact) 

NOV 23
Uranus perfects square to Pluto, Nov 23, 7am est
(Ju is less than 1 deg (45min arc) out of T-square)
Also, per Arch Crawford, Mars/Earth = Pl [Ur]


Be well. 
And be in touch! 


'Critical degree'

'Critical degree'

R I P . Lou Reed

Some charts; little commentary.

Exact birth time unknown.

Chart for noon

Current solar arc directions below.   

Sun directs to Saturn, and Saturn directs to Pluto.  

Directions outer wheel - Birth chart inner wheel


Above solar arc directions are important as Reed has the natal midpoint: Sun | Pluto = Saturn

When the Sun comes to Saturn, Saturn arrives at Pluto; this is symmetry in motion. 

Disregard the zodiac signs on the 360 degree dial (signs move around with the pointer, but the midpoints are easier to see). 


Reed has the current Uranus Pluto square 'symbolism' in his natal chart by antiscion - the square which was seeded with the UR PL conjunction in the 1960's. Its connection is occurring again now, it is exact later this week (Nov. 1, 2013).

He also has a natal Venus Saturn contra-antiscia (no surprise, given his aesthetic). 

Mars|Uranus Pluto antiscia - Venus Saturn contra-antiscia 


Current transits below.

Transits outer wheel - Birth chart inner wheel




Today it has been nineteen years since Kurt Cobain's death. To commemorate him, his life's work, his bittersweet poetic and musical contribution to the world (which I personally think was of tremendous importance), I will delineate a few elements of his natal chart that I believe speak a great deal to his style and character and maybe also to his destiny.  

As you probably already know, much about astrology is finding recurring or reiterating themes (i.e. confluence). Usually one does not make a judgement or assessment about a chart based on a single factor alone. This is especially true when examining a natal chart (a person's birth chart). When an astrologer sees repeating or similar factors emerging from different aspects of the chart, they can be near to certain that the expression of those themes will be present and active in the native's life. With Kurt Cobain we see this.

First, some basics. You can see in his chart the Sun is under the horizon in the sign of Pisces, Venus' exaltation. He was born after sunset. The rising sign is Virgo, and in the hour and minutes of Cobain's birth the long-standing conjunction of Uranus and Pluto were rising right on the horizon at his Ascendant. His character was greatly defined by these two radical outer planets.

Mercury is the lord of, and is exalted at, the Ascendant and is another major definer of character. It is in Pisces, which is the sign of its fall, and it sees the Ascendant from the seventh place. A planet in its fall frequently must do things outside the box -- in some way outside what society deems is acceptable or normal or appropriate. This somewhat androgynous Mercury, guiding souls to and from the underworld, is a powerfully descriptive planet for him. In earlier times, when we would not have had Uranus and Pluto to help us see immediately the revolutionary or rebellious qualities inherent in his chart, we would associate much of these things to Mercury in Pisces (along with the position and aspect of Saturn, more on that in a minute). 

Cobain's powerful Moon in Cancer (the Moon rules Cancer) is positioned in the eleventh sign from the Ascendant, the place of friends, gain, and Good Spirit. The Moon is the sect light (the 'luminary of the sect in favor' - due to it being a night chart) and is of supreme importance. It is configured with Jupiter which is also in Cancer (Jupiter is in its exaltation). Jupiter is a great benefic and can bring great success, and Jupiter is positioned here in its own house of Joy strengthening the association. There can however be a tendency toward indulgence and extravagance with Jupiter and that possibility is increased here due to its being a night chart. Because Jupiter is a planet belonging to the day sect, and is therefore out of sect in this chart, its potential for boundlessness, knowing no limits, is increased. This can be good and bad, and in Cobain's case I believe we see both. The good and bad is reiterated again by aspects the Moon and Jupiter receive: superior trines from both Venus, the benefic that is of the sect in favor (for a night birth), also in its sign of exaltation, and Saturn, the most difficult malefic being out of sect at night. Venus Saturn being dark art, torment and love. (As an aside, you see the Moon configured with Jupiter in Whitney Houston's chart too, though in the second sign from the Ascendant; Saturn also is in a superior aspect. She too was a night birth. I'm not implying that you will always see problems associated like the ones shared by these two artists, but wanted to mention this similarity in expression.)

Returning to Pisces, the seventh sign from the Ascendant -- classically a place of marriage, enemies, the later part of life, and death -- we see the Sun configured with Mercury, Venus, and Saturn. Saturn being contrary to sect is a very important player here, it colors Cobain's character in a very strong and distinct way -- a way of decay, darkness, and heaviness, like lead. (Another aside, these are a lot of planets dispositing to a very dignified (by sign and place) benefic, Jupiter. We see something similar in Jimi Hendrix's chart: the Sun, Mercury, and Venus all in Sagittarius disposing to Jupiter also exalted in Cancer and configured with the Moon.)
*See charts for both Houston and Hendrix at bottom of article. 

Next we note Cobain's Mars, the "better" of the hard-working malefics, is dignified in its own sign Scorpio, which favors meaningful conflict and struggle and a preference for experiences that are passionate and devotional. This is the third sign from the Ascendant, one might say a place of oracles, and as it's Mars (in Scorpio) its expression is intense. Configured here with Mars is the south node of the Moon (a.k.a. Ketu, a mystical, otherworldly figure) and Neptune. This leads us to an importantly precise grand trine between Neptune, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. Flowing, and again, knowing no bounds, for better and worse . . . inspiration, devotion, manifestation of melancholic beauty, fantasy, slipping into escape, overwhelm . . . a dream that's gotten out of control.

The Lot of Fortune (an alternate Ascendant) is in Taurus and its ruler Venus is located in the eleventh sign from fortune, a place of acquisition. Again: the place of friends, gains, and Good Spirit, a place associated with Jupiter; a theme is reiterated. 

Much of what we associate with Neptune was originally expressed through Jupiter and Saturn. Something to think about....



Cobain was born just a couple of days before both Mercury and Neptune stationed retrograde. Because stations occur over time, meaning the planet from our perspective doesn't just stop on the day of its station, but slows down and stalls out, literally standing still for days at a time, any planetary station which occurs within a week of one's birthday (on either side of the date) is of huge importance. 

Indian astrologers hold the opinion that retrograde planets are actually at their strongest -- this usually differs from traditional or modern Western thought. 

Mercury, along with Venus, is very much associated with music and musicians.
Neptune, the imagination. 




Being the huge nerd that I am, I also love to examine declination +and+ antiscia.

With Cobain we see parallel conjunctions of Mercury, Venus, and Saturn. We already know that the planets are conjunct by zodiacal degree (longitude), but by declination (sharing the same latitude) they are even more closely aligned. This further strengthens their conjunction and because they all rest near the celestial equator (by 2.5 degrees of Southern declination), they are very much tied to the earthly plane.

Note too that the Moon is way Out Of Bounds. Another signature for a bit of a radical character and unrestrained energy; and ruling the eleventh, extremes apply to fortune and friends, and, as astrologer Austin Coppock points out, fans.



Planets and angles connected by antiscia (symmetry around the zero degree cardinal points) have been recognized as important and potent for at least two thousand years.

A more modern perspective sees connections across the axis as illuminating 1) that a person will connect to the world, and 2) how that person will connect with the world (whether it be intentional or not).

With Cobain we see a strong connection between the powerful and dignified luminary of sect the Moon and his Midheaven. The Moon is emotion, it rules the public, also women and the feminine. And this ties the lord of the eleventh (again), the place of Good Spirit, fortune, and friends, to the MC (Midheaven) - the point of profession, one's mission or path, and culmination in the life, and for Uranian astrologers: the soul. In fact, in Reinhold Ebertin's classic book, The Combination of Stellar Influences, the principle delineation given for Moon|MC is =

"One's own soul." 


To me, Kurt Cobain expressed, exposed, and shared with us his soul. He certainly touched other souls. Like the Moon, his work and nature was not, or seemed not to be, rational. And his music, his lyrics, prose and poems, uncomfortable at times (Saturn), sometimes desperately sad, touched and spoke to others on what I can only think of as an emotional (Moon) soul level. 


Leave a comment if you like. 

androgynous mercurial chart ruler 

androgynous mercurial chart ruler 

Planetary Parans

Planets in paran are important indicators of combined planetary energy.

All astrologers will agree that when planets are on angles they are "strong." And when you have two (or more) planets on two angles simultaneously, then, not only are the energies considered very strong, but they are also relating to one another. This can lead to either a synthesis of energy or a frustration of energies, depending on the two planets involved. Just think about the two planets. Do they work well together? Or is there dissonance? What might a more difficult combination be good for? (Maybe relentlessly pursuing tedious and difficult tasks...)

Let's look at some examples. (Note: for consistency, I'm using the same point in time for all locations. The time shown on the charts is local time for the place named. All times are 15:00 GMT.)

Today's paran chart for the West Coast of the United States: 

qqq us.jpg

First, notice where there are overlapping lines. Those lines combining with other lines, that each indicate a different angle, are the most important. For example, an 'E' (East, or rising) with a 'M' (Midheaven, or culminating point). You can see in the chart above that there are a few times today when two planets are on different angles simultaneously. This is important for understanding the energy of the day. And is also potentially very important for knowing when that energy will be making its greatest impact in the locale being considered. 

Notice Jupiter (E) rising, while Pluto (M) is culminating at around 8AM in the paran chart above. (I realize it is hard to see the lines clearly when they are bunched up. Sorry.) What I wan't to point out is how easy it can be to overlook important indicators of the day (or combined planetary energies) when looking only at a regular "pie wheel" chart (below). 

pie mar 17.jpg

Yes, Pluto and Jupiter are close to the angles in this chart, but it misses the emphasis placed on their true paran relationship.

In fact, by typical astrological standards, they are in a wide aspect---a four degree separating square (well, wide for Uranians).

By paran however, they are in a very strong relationship for the time of day.

Another use for the paran chart, or paran clock, is to see quickly when certain relationships are forming on the angles. And you'll see that the time of day doesn't actually vary that much worldwide---but how precise the paran relationship is, can vary largely---and this is quite important.

Take for example the Moon rising (E) while Neptune is setting (W) at about 4:45PM in the paran chart. In Seattle, at that time (chart below), the Moon Neptune combo is in a fairly close opposition near those angles. 

pie mar 17 mo ne.jpg

And as you can see in the chart below for London, Moon Neptune is strong as well. However in other places in the world (charts at the bottom of the article) you'll find the Moon Neptune combo happening at a roughly similar time, but its true paran relationship breaks down completely. And this is important.

This is the paran chart for today in London: 

qqq uk.jpg

With regards to Moon Neptune, what might this speak to for the day? Increased sensitivity, possibly compassion. Maybe a time of marked receptivity or dreaminess. A need for relaxation, or escapism---did somebody say Happy Hour?

There is another important paran taking place in both charts and that is between Mercury and Saturn. (This accentuates the currently building Mercury Saturn opposition. But it is important to note that planets in paran relationship are not always in aspect.) So this evening while Mercury sets (W) Saturn rises (E) a little before 9PM. And, as you can see, this paran holds up, it remains strong.

Think about what this combination can indicate. Gloominess, a somber mood, serious or even depressed thinking. Likely it reflects the collective sadness we feel with what has happened this past week. Maybe it is indicative of worry, or even fearful thinking; with what's up globally and nationally right now, that's not surprising. Rigorous study is another way to think of Mercury Saturn. Its effect late this evening could assist or prod us in thinking carefully about what measures or steps we may need to take in order to ensure our own safety locally and/or globally. Or maybe it is simply descriptive of a time when many of us are thinking more realistically about our future, and our limited stay here on the planet. What can we do to responsibly contribute to the health of our planet, or to our communities?

To get a better picture of how things can look quite different by paran in other parts of the world on the same day, I've included the charts of Mumbai, India and Singapore:

qqq ind.jpg

There are several things of interest here, but we'll just touch on a few.

Notice first that Moon Neptune is happening at a similar time of day, but are not closely aligned in paran anymore. Meaning, at the time the Moon and Neptune crossed over their respective angles they were not in a strong aspect (opposition). This may indicate that these particular energies won't be felt quite as strongly as they are by those of us in the U.S. and U.K. today.

Also notice the Mercury Saturn we were referring to before. It loses strength, as does the Jupiter Pluto combination in the morning. One eye catching thing that stands out in the chart for India is Uranus culminating (M) while Pluto is setting (W) at 1:15PM. These two planets are not even close to being in paran in all of the other charts! The same goes for the combination of Saturn and Pluto at 2:15AM. Consider these energies. Pluto is indicative of development and transformation; with Uranus, expect things to be sudden or revolutionary; with Saturn, it could be hindered or difficult. These are just examples, not predictions.

qqq sing.jpg

In Singapore, by contrast, as far as planetary parans go, well... things look pretty mellow.

To conclude, obviously there are many, many ways to interpret planetary energies. And I encourage you to play with this a bit. Apply it to some of the combinations mentioned, find some others. Think about what is going on where. If you'd like to share, leave a comment. 

One final important thing to note---parans can be applied to the natal chart! They offer undeniably powerful descriptors for character and activity.