If you do not have the time or money to enrol yourself in an astrology course, here’s another suggestion: have a newspaper delivered directly to your door. Astrology does not happen in a vacuum. Everything that takes place at any given time and place will in one way or another reflect whatever is going on in the Cosmos. The same force that moves the planets, moves people. The smallest thing in the universe undergoes the same processes as the largest. The same rules apply to both, and indeed, an action in one sphere reflects an action in another.

Newspaper Trivia It is therefore certain that whatever is depicted in newspapers will reflect planetary movement. The trick is to be able to identify what news corresponds to which planets. Working through your daily newspaper in this way has several consequences. First of all the trivia which is often reported in newspapers acquires a new meaningful dimension, and secondly you truly learn about the planets and their effects. Furthermore, new levels of meaning are added, as seemingly unconnected events reflect the same astrological symbolism. This symbolism can then be applied to other areas, for example in prediction and in particular in consultation work.

The Big Bank and Saturn/Jupiter

For example, as Jupiter approached Saturn in Taurus, Barclays bank was in the news because it launched a major drive to market itself as a new big bank, with its finger on the Internet pulse. This highlighted the new economic cycle of the Jupiter/Saturn synod. The practising astrologer will have found clients in this period also planning ambitious new projects, and the fact that Barclays was also doing it confirms that the clients too, generally speaking, were on the right track. There is a correlation between what is happening in the life of the client, and what is happening in society, and if you know which planets are involved, which signs they are in, and which aspects they will make, then you can make an educated guess not only about what is going to happen in the life of the client, but also what is going to happen in society. A really “expert” newspaper reader might be able to dispense with the horoscope completely, and, finding correlations between the news and the client, engage in any number of accurate predictions about one or the other! Until we acquire these advanced skills, though, it’s better to check out the horoscope…

Planets and Metals

I have never had any problem with the correlation between gold and the Sun, silver and the Moon, mercury and, well, Mercury, iron and Mars, lead and Saturn. I can even go for the correlation between copper and Venus. But tin and Jupiter? To assign such an apparently marginal metal with the greatest planet in the solar system seemed wrong to me. I finally accepted the truth of this rulership when I read the Daily Mail (March 10, 1998): “The Tin Age ends after 4000 years”. It turned out that tin had been extracted for over 4000 years in the tin mines of Cornwall, on the south western tip of England. But on March 10th 1998 the last tin mine in Cornwall finally closed, ending an era. Checking the ephemeris for this date, Pluto was stationary retrograde at 8° Sagittarius, and in exact square to Jupiter at 8° Pisces. The death of tin.

Tin and Horses

On the same page as this epitaph for tin, there was another interesting headline: “The underground threat to horses”. Apparently horses are being killed in fields by leaking underground power cables. It seems that horses are far more sensitive to electric current than humans, and for years people had been mystified by unexplained equine deaths. The astrologer will immediately note the parallel between the closing of the tin mine, and the death of horses from underground power sources. But try explaining that to a scientist! The wonder and mystery of astrology is the connection of meaning through lateral correlations, where the only common factor is planetary symbolism, and nothing else.

Fishes experience bad times

If the parallel between Jupiterian tin and horses seems too far out, consider the extraordinary period in early 2000, when Mercury in Pisces went retrograde. Traditionally Mercury is in “fall” in Pisces, perhaps because the mute and dissolving nature of this sign jars so much with the mental clarity and agility of Mercury. Anyway, to compound Mercury’s suffering, it went retrograde on February 21st at 17° Pisces, and this meant that it had to square Pluto at 12° Sagittarius three times: on February 13, February 29 and March 30. So, whilst Mercury will often go through a sign in the space of 16 days, this time it had to spend 68 days in the sign in which it was most uncomfortable. This was bad news for fish. Reading the Independent in early March, I learned that the mayor of the town of Geraardsberen in Belgium, was being sued by the animals rights group Gaia, because of a tradition – dating back to the dark ages – whereby very small fish are tossed into a ceremonial cup of red wine and quaffed by the town’s dignitaries. This naturally killed the fish, which was not the actual problem; the question was, “did the fish suffer when they were dropped into the acidic wine”, because cruelty to a vertebrate can lead to a prison sentence of up to three months and a £3000 fine.

Strange Parallels

This might seem to be a single quirky incident, but no… at the very same time, in Denmark, and equally extraordinary drama was being played out involving fish. A Danish artist – obviously of astonishing brilliance – had placed six goldfish swimming in six separate blenders as an art exhibit in Randers Art Museum. The idea was that visitors to the gallery could choose – or not choose – to activate a blender and make fish soup, so to speak. There was uproar, and the government stepped in, insisting that the blender should be unplugged at the mains, and that a visitor could not simply activate the blender by pressing the switch, no, the art-lover had to get down onto hands and knees, plug the blender in, and then activate the blender. Unfortunately for the fish, this did not deter several very murderous art-lovers.

See chart for the event

Looking at an approximate horoscope for this event, we can see that retrograde Mercury was conjoining the Sun and squaring Pluto at this time. The connection with the Sun, of course, is why they were goldfish. (Note 1) Both these unhappy fish events have a greater significance than they seem to at first glance. Both issues galvanised public opinion and made people think deeply about the nature of cruelty and suffering, which perhaps is the deeper purpose of Mercury in Pisces. In both cases, the fish died, highlighting the fact that whilst many people have compassion, many people are also very cruel.

More Fish, more poison

If the reader feels that it is overdoing astrological symbolism to point out that goldfish were in the news because of the connection of Mercury with the Sun, consider this: at the same time there was a serious leak from reservoirs in Rumania where the poisonous metal arsenic was being used to mine gold. Contaminated water leaked into the Danube, and the ensuing ecological disaster killed vast quantities of fish all the way along the river as far as Serbia. The whole theme of poisoning filled newspapers at this time. One man took his wife to the Nile, thinking that this might be a good place to do away with his wife, so that he could pick up her money. He successfully poisoned his wife whilst on holiday, but Egyptian police were not fooled, and he has now been put away for life.

Pluto’s long sea journey

Mercury in Pisces square Pluto speaks of cover ups and lies. It was at this time that specially designed uranium/plutonium oxide pellets manufactured by British Nuclear Fuels and shipped to Japan, were discovered by the Japanese buyers to have false specifications. This crisis came to a head on February 19th when Mercury was still direct but squaring Pluto. The Japanese insisted that the pellets should take the long sea journey all the way back to England. The British managers tried to brazen it out and convince the Japanese that there was nothing wrong. How foolish! Any astrologer could have told them that with Mercury turning retrograde, the plutonium would have to be returned. In the end the Japanese cancelled their order completely, and the pellets had to come back anyway.

From newsroom to consultation room

Coming back to the consultation room, Mercury’s sojourn in Pisces represented trouble for clients. The newspapers point the spotlight at important themes: any fears about health would have to be taken seriously at this time, with the focus on hidden sources of poisoning. If clients felt that they were the victim of lies or deceit, then every indication is that this is so. Bringing the same astrological symbolism into your own life, then this period would have been disastrous for signing contracts, and for important communication, though it would have been fine for investigating hidden issues. And, if you owned an aquarium, you would have been well-advised to take extra special care! With newspapers, and the media in general, it is especially Mercury and its aspects which is reflected most strongly. Often things happen, and days go by before they are reported. Or, as with the British Nuclear Fuels scandal, it is those Mercury-ruled beings – journalists – who latch on to issues at the appropriate time.

Spotting Trends

What constitutes the news for us are events that rise to consciousness as planets weave their patterns, and are brought to the fore by those most attuned to harvesting and presenting information. Newspapers bring up both long and short term trends. As Jupiter went to square Neptune on March 13, it was the last frenzy of the Dot Com boom, with the illusion of riches beyond the wildest dreams of avarice. On this date lastminute.com was launched. As Jupiter went on to reach Saturn two months later, many internet ventures – like boo.com – crashed. Following these trends does not mean that they simply can be applied without discrimination to clients and predictive activities, but they often help in making judgements. The crash of lastminute.com shares only two weeks after launch naturally would have relevance to any client considering the launch of similar ventures.

Dates you’d like to patent

Occasionally as the enthusiastic astrologer peruses the ephemeris, a date sticks out which seems so attractive that one just has to do something special to celebrate it. It makes you feel like patenting specific dates! An example of this was the memorable date of June 11, when Venus in Gemini caught up with the Sun at 20°59 Gemini, trining Uranus at 20°42 Aquarius and with the Moon arriving at 20°59 Libra at about 14.50 GMT… a magnificent grand trine in Air.

See chart for the event

Such a moment has true rarity value. I had previously been a bit worried about this Venus/Sun conjunction, because technically Venus is combust. That’s not good for Venus, and it’s not good for the Sun. A couple of evenings before the conjunction I was walking through my London neighbourhood, when I heard a violent argument taking place. Framed in a window a Pakistani woman (the trine to Uranus, I guess) was shouting violently at the top of her voice to a male figure, “I know who I am, and I know who I love” … here I didn’t need a newspaper to sum up the essence of a combust Sun/Venus. (Identity and Love in crisis.)


On this memorable day two bridges opened… but only to pedestrians! One was the Øresund bridge, which for the first time in their history joined the countries of Denmark and Sweden, and the other was the Millennium bridge over the Thames, a pedestrian bridge which joined the North and South Bank of the Thames. In Denmark and Sweden, cyclists, skaters and pedestrian swarmed over the 7 km long bridge in historic meeting. (It opens to traffic on July 1st, 2000). In London, thousands of people crossed the bridge – to such an extent that it had to be closed because of alarming swaying. With this bridge, which leads from St Paul’s Cathedral to the new Tate Modern gallery, the cultural divide between North and South London was changed forever, as indeed it will be between the Danish and Swedish people. The grand trine in Air reflected structures that sailed through the skies bridging cultures together. Thus it was that only two days later, the leaders of North and South Korea met for the first time in 52 years to settle their differences in a new spirit of friendship. So they patented the Sun/Venus trine Uranus by making a revolutionary agreement. That’s the way to practise electional astrology.

Events as Teachers

This then, is a recommended method for learning astrology. For what is astrology but the realisation that man and cosmos move in harmony? In this way events are teachers, so it’s good to have eyes, ears and mind open to extract the astrological lessons. When Venus changes signs, can you witness new female archetypes entering the stage? When Mercury conjoins the Sun, is it really combust, and can this be measured in stress levels in the media, in yourself, in clients or in the people around you? When planets go retrograde, do the areas they rule suddenly come in stronger focus, as the territory is traversed not once, but three times? What you will find is that most of the cherished astrological rules passed down through generations are vindicated. When Mars at 18° Aries sextiled Uranus at 18° Aquarius on March 7th 2000, a passenger jet skidded off the runway in California, into a built up area, and finally came to rest after colliding with several cars. Miraculously no one was hurt… sextiles are benefic. Using these methods, you will also be able to discover some principles of your own and incorporate them into your practice. In this way, long after you have read your last astrology book or participated in your last course, you will still be learning and improving your astrology.

Note 1. Many thanks to astrologer Joachim Kirsebom, for pointing this out to me.

Adrian Ross Duncan