A joint publication of: Astro Logos and Zyntara Publications



February 2009

   VAN Archive - www.Zyntara.com


In this issue:

When Planets Gather - a exploration of when planets gather before the rising sun.
Chesley Sullenberger: Miracle on the Hudson.

Notes: Many readers have asked us about the second swearing in of Barack Obama (January 2009, Washington 7.35 pm and without a bible) and how this would change his stars.

The Helical rising and setting stars for Washington would not had changed but some fixed star parans to faster moving planets, like Mercury, would alter. However, according to the US constitution, Obama become the president at 12 noon on 20 January, 2009, so this new swearing-in chart or stars would not override those of  20 January.

Nevertheless, it does give a tantalizing concept of a presidency which has been given two fates. Traditionally in mythology one of these fates is for glory and immortality and the other is for a boring or quiet life where nothing is achieved. Two other president were also sworn in twice: Chester A. Arthur (1881- 85)  and Calvin Coolidge (1923- 29). In those instances both men were vice-presidents and needed to be sworn in quickly on the death of the then president. So Obama's double swearing in is unique, and therefore according to mythology, he has a choice.   

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 When Planets Gather
 Bernadette Brady M.A.


Any gathering of planets is a significant astrological event. However, in visual astrology there are different types of gatherings and different ways of understanding them. One of the most noteworthy planetary gatherings are those that occur in the sign ahead of the sun, for these planets will rise in the predawn light like a string of jewels in the night sky which act as heralds for the rising sun.  Hephaistio of Thebes, in the Apotelesmatics Book I, saw such planets as “spear bearers” for the sun [1] while Ptolemy thought that they formed part of what he called a doryphory of the sun [2].

Both authors considered that planets which rose before the sun greatly enhanced the sun in the natal chart as they acted as heralds and advisors for the king (sun). In Hellenistic astrology one of the markers of great success or fame in an individual’s life was if natal charts contained a cluster of planets rising before the sun. It is possible that this Hellenistic astrological technique is, in fact, a fragment of visual astrology, for the experience of seeing planets slowly drawing together, then finally meeting at a place in the sky such that they rise just before the dawn is still a wonder to behold.


Ptolemy delineated a doryphory in the natal chart by considering not only the nature of the planets but also the order in which they rose before the sun. We can take a similar approach with visual astrology and observe not only the planets themselves but also their sequence of events,  which planet reached the other and whether they crossed above or below the other planet. For in visual astrology the planets are involved in a narrative, a storyline, and this storyline can potentially be reflected in the events in the world.  

       Mercury  Attic Red Figure ca 500 - 450 BC

Later this month (February 2009) such a gathering will occur. Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and the Moon will align in the stars of Capricorn and the zodiac sign of Aquarius, while the sun is in the stars of Pisces.  This event will be a sign of empowerment in the natal chart for any children born at this time. However, it will also be a sky story seeking reflection in the everyday world.  


Such groupings of planets which rise before the sun are not rare but it is interesting to look back on the last time that such a gathering occurred in the stars of Capricorn .



1962, the battle between Mars and Saturn and the Cuban Missile Crisis

In February 1962 all seven visible planets were in the sign of Aquarius (stars of Capricorn) but initially Saturn and Mars were the only two planets which rose before the Sun (see figure below).


Mars appeared to travel slowly towards Saturn during January 1962, finally joining with it in early February.

In visual astrology Mars is Nergal and in this position is close to the sun. However, if you were watching a succession of sunrises in late January and early February 1962 you would have seen Nergal (Mars) rising before the sun, gaining a little higher in its position in the sky each successive dawn before being lost in the daylight.

As Nergal was climbing in the sky the king (Saturn) then appeared ahead of  the sun. You would have also noticed Saturn, (the king) beginning to rise before the dawn light and as he emerged before the sun, Mars moved to join him.  Then on 4 February 1962, as these two characters met in the sky, the Moon god, Sin, joined them giving power to their union. 

If we look at this horoscopically in the chart to the left, we see only a static picture. However, if we had looked at the sky over the course of a few weeks, we would have seen the moving narrative of a rising Mars racing ahead of the dawn light and then moving steadily to join with Saturn.




According to Nabu-ahhe-eriba, the Assyrian astronomy-astrologer priest of around 660 B.C.E. such a combination meant:

Mars will reach Saturn.

If a planet and Mars confront each other
and stand there: attack of the enemy.

1962 was a difficult year for the world. In the winter of 1961-62 snow had fallen in San Francisco and the then President, John F Kennedy, has completed his first year in office.  By 18 January, 1962m nuclear testing had commenced in the Nevada desert, the nuclear arms race was moving towards its height and the Cold War was heating up. Feeling uneasy about the revolutionary Cuban government under Fidel Castro, Kennedy ordered that Eisenhower's plan to invade Cuba go ahead. This invasion is now known as the Bay of Pigs, where the invading force of US-trained Cuban anti-Castro troops were captured by the Cubans in just 48 hours. Within six months of this failed invasion the US spy planes photographed a Soviet intermediate-range ballistic missile site under construction in Cuba. Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of Cuba and the world held its breath as , in November 1962, it moved into what is known as the Cuban Missile Crisis when the world hovered on the edge of nuclear war.


This, according to visual astrology, was the unfolding of the joining of the King to the warrior lord, Nergal amongst the stars of Capricorn. These stars are always associated with a powerful civilising god Ea, wanting to organize and educated his people – the establishment. This was not a stand-off between two small nations. This joining of two planets was symbolic of a stand-off between the the world's super powers, USA and the USSR.


2009, the Messenger saves the day


This February, with another alignment in this part of the sky, the players are different, enacting a different sky story. Figures 1, 2 and 3 below show the unfolding story between Mars, Jupiter, Mercury and the Moon. Mars, travelling rapidly, is seen to rise before the Sun but then, over the period of a week, is seen to rush towards the newly-emerging Jupiter, the Crown Prince. As Mars (Nergal) appears to urge the newly-emergent prince to take action, the messenger and scribe Mercury arrives. The scribe who is also the counsellor will whisper in the Crown Prince's ear, advising against the hostilities of Nergal. As all three parties confer, the Moon god Sin glides through, empowering them to take action.  However, whilst  the Moon moves through the conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and Mercury, it moves across Jupiter and Mercury but over the top of Mars (for the northern hemisphere).


 Figure1 - Dawn 12 February 2009 - Jupiter and Mars rise before the sun, while Mercury is well in front of them.

Figure 2 - Dawn 17 February 2009 - Jupiter and Mars are now higher in the sky at dawn, and they have come together while Mercury draws closer to them both. 

Figure 3- Dawn 23 February 2009 - Jupiter and Mars are now meet by Mercury and the balsamic Moon. 



This suggests that the warrior-like advice from Mars to Jupiter is over-ridden by the wisdom or message from Mercury. This is a very different sky narrative to the one of 1962. Then it was the dogs of war being given free reign with the king. Now these dogs of war, which seek to persuade the new Crown Prince, are not left to their own devices but rather are over-ruled by wisdom, by talking or by a revealing piece of news.  


In this period of history the tension is no longer between the USA and USSR with Cuba acting as the stage. It is between the Middle East and the West with the stage being the tension between Israel and Palestine. 


It would seem that this sky narrative is suggesting a possible escalation of this tension between Israel and the Palestinians but, and the but is most important, the aggression of Nergal is over-ruled. Cool heads do eventually prevail and the Crown Prince - whether this is the new Israeli Prime Minster (to be elected this week) or possibly even the new US President Obama - steps in and steers the parties onto a path that eventually leads to resolution. This planetary gathering does not show us an end to the tensions but it strongly suggests of the beginning of the end. 


As always with these newsletters, as we observe the sky to learn more about visual astrology, it is a case of watch, wait and see - but I do believe that if the powers involved do actually decide to have a summit over the next few months, then there is a very real chance that some good will come of it. 

[1] Hephaistio of Thebes, Apotelesmatics Book I. Trans Robert Schmidt, Ed Robert Hand. Golden Hind Press, Berkeley Springs, 1994. pg. 35.
[2] Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, Trans J.M. Ashmand, Foulsham, London. 1917 pg 114.
[3] Hunger, Herman. (1992). Astrological Reports to Assyrian Kings. Helsinki, Finland: Helsinki University Press. pg. 29.

Chesley Sullenberger: Miracle on the Hudson

Darrelyn Gunzburg


With the world in a distressed state amidst the economic downturn, it is always pleasant to consider events that are heart-warming and uplifting. So in this issue of the Visual Astrology Newsletter I am going to look at the sky narrative and fixed stars that are connected with Chesley Sullenberger, the captain and pilot of US Airways Flight 1549, who ditched a plane in the Hudson River offshore from Manhattan, New York City on 15th January 2009 after it hit a large flock of birds which disabled both engines. His successful emergency water landing at about 3:31 pm prevented any significant property damage and, more importantly, saved the lives of the 155 people on board. 


Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger

Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger’s birth data is 23 January, 1951, 5:06  am [1], Denison, Texas, USA. His chart contains a cardinal T-square: Mercury in Capricorn in the 1st house opposite Uranus in the 7th and both square to Saturn in the 9th house in Libra (exalted).
 Saturn also trines the Sun in Aquarius (in detriment) in the 2nd house, and a Mars-Jupiter conjunction in Pisces sextiles Mercury and trines Uranus, forming an ‘easy opposition’. This problem-solving pattern describes someone who actively seeks (cardinal) or is confronted by (opposition) intellectual challenges (Mercury-Uranus). The resolution is found through structure and discipline (Saturn as the apex planet of the T-square, Saturn square Mercury, Mercury in Capricorn) which allows him to re-organise or change old systems in some way (Saturn square Uranus). As he engages with and solves these problems, so he finds he has a talent (trine) for clear judgement and natural leadership (Sun-Saturn), along with an intuitive gift (Mars-Jupiter in Pisces) for knowing when and how to take risks (Mars-Jupiter trine Uranus). Indeed the more effort he puts into solving problems in this way (Saturn in exaltation), the more he gains in stature and respect.


Sullenberger is an American commercial airline pilot, but he is more than just a pilot. Since 2007 he has run his own safety consulting business Safety Reliability Methods Inc., which provides emergency management, safety strategies and performance monitoring to the aviation industry, and has worked as an accident investigator for the USAF, NTSB, and FAA. He is also an international speaker on airline safety and has helped develop new protocols for airline safety. It is easy to see how the T-square and its connected trines and sextile reflect this active, responsible, problem-solving energy.

Transits of 15th January 2009
However, as it so happened, on the day of the
emergency landing transiting Saturn was making a partile conjunction to Sullenberger’s natal (mean) South Node, implying increased responsibility to do with family or ‘tribe’, and transiting Jupiter was making a partile conjunction to Sullenberger’s natal Sun, suggesting that his ego, his identity and his vitality were being expanded in some way.[2]

We can see this articulated in Sullenberger’s quick-witted actions as the pilot, the responsibility that was thrust upon him to save the lives of his ‘tribe’, the passengers (Saturn-South Node), and the benefit of recognizing that, in the bigger picture, the river was his best option as a runway (Jupiter-Sun).


Passengers from US Airways Flight 1549, ditched in the Hudson River offshore from Manhattan, New York City on 15th January 2009,
wait on the wing to be rescued.

Now, using the perspective of the sky narrative, and by looking at what fixed stars sit underneath Sullenberger’s natal Saturn, Sun and Jupiter, we can gain an even greater understanding of what this extraordinary feat entailed.


Saturn visually. Visually he was born as Saturn was culminating and was sitting in the wing of Virgo, the ancient goddess in the sky. Virgo offers fruitfulness, and this placement in the wing suggests that such fruitfulness comes from exile. Whilst Sullenberger’s father was a descendant of Swiss immigrants named Sollenberger, he himself experiences this as one who flies to or works in foreign ports. Sullenberger served as a fighter pilot for the United States Air Force, piloting McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II's from 1973 to 1980. He advanced to become a flight leader and a training officer, and attained the rank of captain, with experience in Europe, the Pacific and at Nellis Air Force Base.

Chesley Sullenberger was born with Saturn
culminating and sitting in the wing of Virgo.

The fixed star parans to his natal Saturn.

As well, Sullenberger has one fixed star in paran with his 9th house Saturn:


Saturn in paran with Betelgeuse
(The bright red star in the right shoulder of Orion)

Success in an arduous or a proletarian field.
To undertake projects that are demanding, tedious and even physically arduous.[3]


Orion is the great warrior in the sky and symbolizes power and strength. So this Saturn-Betelgeuse combination suggests success which comes from physically arduous and demanding projects. This is also the energy into which Sullenberger can tap every time he has a Saturn transit. In this case, when transiting Saturn encounters his South Node, the most likely expression of this transits is that he meets the challenge of increased responsibility to do with family or ‘tribe’ with success.


Jupiter visually. When Sullenberger was born Jupiter was sitting in the flow of the life-giving waters of Aquarius the Water Bearer, and thus describes fertility and abundance connected with his education and learning (Jupiter in rulership in the 3rd house).


His qualifications include a bachelor of science degree from the United States Air Force Academy, a master's degree in industrial psychology from Purdue University and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado. He holds an Airline Transport Pilot License for single and multi-engine airplanes, and a Commercial Pilot License rating in gliders, as well as an expired flight instructor certificate for airplanes (single, multi-engine, and instrument), and gliders. This is also the knowledge and experience which Sullenberger can tap into every time he has a Jupiter transit. In this case when transiting Jupiter reached the Sun, the most likely expression of this transit is that the life-giving waters of abundance, fertility, and success (Aquarius the Water Bearer) flow into what he values or holds dear (Sun in the 2nd house).

Chesley Sullenberger was born as Jupiter, sat in the  most abundant place of the sky - 
the flow of water from the urn of Aquarius. 

Parans to Jupiter. Sullenberger has no fixed stars in paran with his Jupiter

The Sun visually. We can gain even further information by considering the placement of the Sun in the sky narrative. Visually Sullenberger’s Sun sits in the face of Capricornus, the Sea Goat. This Babylonian god Ea was the protector of his people and he, too, lived amongst the great flow of life-giving waters. From time to time Ea would emerge from these waters to teach and bring civilization to his people. We could say that the essence of Sullenberger and how he identifies himself (the Sun) and what he values about himself (2nd house) is as someone who teaches and civilizes (Sun in the face of Capricornus). Sullenberger is a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, Centre for Catastrophic Risk Management, and  has been studying the psychology behind keeping an airline crew functioning during a crisis.

Parans to the Sun. Sullenberger has six fixed stars in paran with his 2nd house Sun:


Sun in paran with Zuben Eschamali
(The bright star at the end of the northern claw of Libra)

The ability to influence society through one’s work.

Sun in paran with Castor
(The star in the head of Castor, one of the twins of Gemini)
Skilled with language, a profession linked with writing and communication.


Sun in paran with Capella
(The star in the left shoulder of Auriga, The Charioteer)
An individual who wants to act as a free agent; the athlete. The need to balance the desire for independence with matters of personal responsibility.

Sun in paran with Procyon
(The bright star in the hind parts of the little dog, Canis Minor)
Exceptionally skilled, but needing to diversify this talent.

Sun in paran with Spica
(The star in the left hand of Virgo)

A talented person, to have a gift.

Sun in paran with Canopus
(The bright star in the oar of Carina, the Keel of Argo)

Leadership which can be inspirational or dictatorial.

Blended with his Sun, sitting underneath it and helping it in its development, these parans reinforce the message of the visual sky narrative, suggesting that in his work as a pilot Sullenberger has been able to utilize a desire for freedom with personal responsibility (Sun-Capella) and hence to influence others (Sun-Zuben Eschamali) through his teaching and lecturing and his ideas (Sun-Castor). Now his handling of Flight 1549 has shown the world his inspirational skills as a leader (Sun-Canopus) as well as the gift of his particular brilliance (Sun-Procyon): The Independent (Saturday 7th February, 2009) reports how Sullenberger’s first response, given in an interview with Katie Couric on CBS’s 60 Minutes, was ‘this can’t be happening’ and that as the plane angled towards the water, he was overtaken by ‘the worst sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling’ he had ever had. Yet the audio tapes released by the Federal Aviation Authority confirm that on the outside he maintained absolute calm (Sun-Canopus). The Independent goes on to note that

this water landing… on a particularly frigid winter’s day, has already become one of the most important – and miraculous – incidents in aviation history.[4] (Sun-Spica).

The definition of ‘miracle’ is ‘an event inexplicable by the laws of nature that evokes great surprise and admiration’. [5] This was one of those extraordinary times when a man fully met the moment and was found fit for the purpose. Sullenberger’s sky narrative and his parans, married to the life he lived, were already working well for him. On 15th January, 2009, he took this to another level and hooked his brilliance to a peg in history.




1.      1. Time from the birth and deaths records office in Denison, Texas, given in NCGR E-News.  Accessed        6 February, 2009.

2.      2. Brady, Bernadette (1998). Predictive Astrology, York Beach: Samuel Weiser, Inc.

3.      3. All fixed star parans meanings from:
      Brady, Bernadette (2007).
Star and Planet Combinations, Bournemouth: The Wessex Astrologer.

The   4. Independent, Saturday 7th February, 2009, p.39.

4.      5. http://www.answers.com/topic/miracle - accessed 7th February 2009





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