by Bernadette Brady and Darrelyn Gunzburg
January 2012

One of the ways a visual astrologer becomes aware of the potential of future times is to watch the heavenly patterns. These patterns long in their cycles and ancient in their expression, seem to hold a privileged position over our own charts, or the charts of cities, nations or global systems. As such our charts become a sensitive vessel through which the heavenly patterns gain entry within the realm of earthly matters.

Thus we could say that it is not our personal charts that dictate events but rather our personal charts dictate how we react to the events.

These ancient patterns consist of how the planets, the players on the heavenly stage, move in and out of visibility and how they dance amongst the unmoving stars as they form liaisons with other planets. Such patterns were the major focus of the letters of the Assyrian astrologer-priests to their kings in the middle of the 7th century BCE and were thus the genesis of astrology. Now as we commence our 8th year of investigation into this ancient view of astrology, we have decided to focus this issue of the newsletter on an overview of these patterns for the coming year of 2012. We are going to endeavour to be the voice of the Assyrian astrologer-priest and, using a few modern tools, see if we can place these forthcoming patterns into our world.

Reading the phase graphs

A planet’s periods of visibility are dependant on its angular relationship to the sun and this phenomena is known as the planetary phases. For this coming year we have created a phase graph for each planet. Figure 1 is the phase graph for Mercury: the calendar dates are listed along the bottom of the graph, and the 24 hours of the day – from midnight to midnight – are listed along the side. The graphs are set for a latitude of 51 North (London) and the times are GMT, with no daylight saving being taken into account.[1] The dark blue area of each graph represents the times when the planet is below the horizon and the white area is for when the planet is above the horizon but with the sun, and thus not visible. The coloured areas on the graphs represent periods when the planet is visible, either in the evening or in the morning. On the Mercury graph this is coloured yellow.

Mercury and his phases for 2012

To the Assyrian astrologer priest Mercury was Nabu, the Scribe, the one who gathered information and relayed it to the King, the sun. His role as messenger was and still is one that shifts between moving ahead of the sun and ascertaining the lie of the land to following the sun and processing the information that has been gathered.

Figure 1 – Mercury’s visible periods coloured in yellow for the year 2012

2012 begins with Nabu just visible before sunrise but he quickly moves to being visible before sunset in February in the Urn of Aquarius. This suggests that in February there is abundance in the community in terms of information or even fiscal policy, if we take the more medieval meaning of Mercury being trade. This could refer to the implementation of  fruitful fiscal policies emerging from talks in Europe, and as the Moon rides above Mercury, there could be more adequate safeguards put into place around the Euro, with the monetary situation appearing to benefit from some of the measures that have been implemented.

In April Nabu meets Uranus in the Western Fish as a Morning Star implying that the community is reaching for new ideas, or seeking new horizons. Throughout May Nabu travels back to the king, the sun, carrying these these ideas and as he reaches the king on the shoulders of the Bull, having safely navigated his way through the Stare of Cetus, he is greeted by the crown prince, Jupiter, who walks with Nabu to the king to hold a three way discussion. Since this occurs in the Bull, it suggests that utilising these new and radical ideas, there is a reformation of trade and/or communication. At the same time Venus radiates this area of the sky, offering her blessing.

In June Nabu leaves the king and works in the background, following him, creating manifestos or simply keeping an eye on how things are working out. He continues this cogitation and processing until mid-June when he reaches the stars of Cancer, the area in the sky where new ideas are born and nurtured. Thus it would appear that after all the seeking and planning that it is in mid-June when the idea is born. Nabu returns to the king, moving out ahead of him yet continues to tread water in this area of the sky until the end of August, when the sun reaches Regulus and calls Nabu back. This suggests that there may be a moment when the king could take revenge on those who whom he considered were against him but if he can maintain his dignity, then he gains honours. In the UK this may of course refer to the Olympic Games in London with its huge amount of planning, security and financial outlay, and suggests that it works out well in the end, as long as the Prime Minister maintains grace.

In September the king sends Nabu to meet with Saturn and the meeting occurs in early October next to Spica, the star in the wheat sheaf of the constellation Virgo. This meeting has serious intent but occurs in a blessed place in the sky (Spica) and suggests that someone appears to have authority in the media and is blessed with brilliance in oratory or the shaping of ideas. As this is the run-up to the Presidential elections in the USA we may see a front-runner emerging. Saturn takes news of the meeting to the sun while in late-October Nabu journeys through the Symplegades in the constellation of Libra and on 1 November encounters the jaws of the Scorpion suggesting a growing intensity in the media, with fervent processing and speculation. The presidential elections this year take place on 6 November when Nabu is close to Antares, the heart of the Scorpion. Thus Nabu is stating that whoever can maintain their passion without letting obsession overwhelm them will win the vote. Nabu dances in the jaws of the Scorpion throughout the first two weeks of November before being pulled back and welcomed by both the sun and the moon on 14 November, so it may take until then to work out the final vote count. Nabu is suggesting a cliff-hanger election in the USA.

In late-November Nabu moves back to the entrance of the Symplegades, the ‘clashing rocks’ of the stars of Libra. There may be bills put through parliament or congress that settle disputes or a media campaign that is controversial. However, since Venus radiates to this area of the sky and Nabu, the difficulties are blessed and resolve. Venus continues to ‘guard’ and radiate Nabu as he crosses the foot of Ophiuchus in December as he travels back to the sun, suggesting that the year ends with healing and blessing.

Venus and her phases for 2012

What is this love by which Istar loves the king my lord
and has [sent] the very best to the king my lord. [2]

The chant of the astrologer priest Issar-sumu-eres in 650 BCE is the earliest known association of Venus with love. At the origins of astrology Venus was associated with the goddess Istar, and was the only feminine planet in the Assyrian cosmology. Her power lay in her ability to radiate and shine on stars, constellations and planets. Whatever star or planet received her light received her blessing.

Figure 2 – Venus’ visible periods coloured in grey for the year 2012

Venus begins the year as the Evening Star and on 10 February she forms a conjunction to Uranus in the stars of Pisces, radiating both Uranus and the Western Fish, although to the naked eye Uranus will not be visible.  In the Assyrian text such a radiation of the Western Fish, which they knew as the ‘Swallows’, indicated a time of wet weather – a blessing in the desert. Whether this will still bring floods or unseasonable weather to different parts of the world is something that we can watch for but on a personal level it can also herald a time of fruitfulness, a blessing. This blessing will look for a suitable emerging pattern within life on earth and tilt the balance towards a positive outcome. This could be as mundane as a better than expected budget or growth forecast for the economy or on a personal level a small blessing comes into your life.

In March Venus leaves the stars of Pisces and moves forward to join with Jupiter – the crown prince or the hero – and spends March riding with him through the most difficult part of the sky, the Stare of Cetus. This will be an intriguing time. Historically such an event occurred in April 1905 when a bright Venus Evening Star conjuncted Jupiter and protected him as he slide through the Stare of Cetus. In that month there were letters to the London newspaper, The Times, reporting on the positive effects of draining swamps in order to defeat the devastating infection of malaria affecting the imperial British forces in the tropics. It was reported with great joy, for now the British forces in the topics could be safe. What is it now that threatens our ‘noble heroes’ of the western world?  Finances, warring forces, disease? This will be one to watch.

By June Venus disappears from view only to re-emerge a few weeks later as the Morning Star, growing bright until mid-August and early-September (see Figure 2). As she emerges she will be sitting in the face of the Great Cosmic Bull – the stars of Taurus. This radiation of the Cosmic Bull implies that something will be destroyed or ruined but will then be re-cosmogised, reborn or remade afresh. The Assyrian priest Nergal-etir wrote that this implied a loss of the harvest [3] while Bel-le’i added that if Venus is bright it will be worse, particularly if, ‘Ishta wears a silver crown!’ [4]  Translating this into a modern concept it could well mean yet again another crises in Europe over currency or another global stock market crisis – a harvest being destroyed in this period. This is a time when the heavenly patterns are indicating cosmogising – destroying to remake afresh.

By November the world will be watching the USA Presidential elections and in Assyrian eyes the ‘king’ is going to be challenged by a rival. We have looked at this before in the September 2008 newsletter. It seems clear, at least in terms of heavenly patterns, that the outcome of these four-yearly battles lies in whether Venus bestows her favours on the rival or the king.

Four years ago in the September 2008 we talked of Obama’s forthcoming victory in November 2008. In that same newsletter we talked of his victory in November 2012, pointing out:

Venus as Morning Star favours the one who holds the crown

Venus as a Morning Star was considered more independent, desiring to function alone or give favours which are powered with rashness, haste and or free-thinking. Generally this does not favour the political networking and back-room deals needed for any rival to rise to power. For this reason it is rare for the ‘king’ or the king’s chosen heir to lose power at a Morning Star election. Indeed there have only been two occurrences in USA elections since 1900 when they did, that of the first election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 when he took the White House from the Republicans, and Ronald Reagan in 1981 when he took the White House from the Democrats. Every other election since 1900 which has Venus as a Morning Star has resulted in no change to the ‘party’ that is ruling the White House.

Thus Venus indicates Obama’s return to the White House. After his second term we also believe another Democrat will be elected for one single term in November 2016 with the Republican party not gaining the White House till November 2020.

These long-range predictions are all based on the phases of Venus, not on the individual candidates’ charts, nor on any chart for the USA. This type of astrology suggests that there are larger patterns at work than is reflected in the charts of individuals or nations. There is a hierarchy with the heavenly patterns overlaying the vacillations of transits or progressions to personal or national horoscopes.

At the end of the year Venus as the Morning Star radiates Saturn which gives support to the establishment: the ‘king’ receives the blessing of a bright Venus.

Mars and his phases for 2012

To the Assyrian astrologer priest Mars was Nergal, the warrior who fought and protected his king in the world of common day and who would then meet with his lover Ereshkigal, goddess of the underworld, for a few days of passion in a life-long, monogamous, committed relationship.

Figure 3 – Mars’ visible periods coloured in red for the year 2012

As 2012 opens, Nergal (Mars) is in the over-world, working within the establishment, well-separated from Venus, thus ‘civilised’, and in the wing tip of Virgo, suggesting the military in an overseas campaign. Through February and March Nergal travels back into the belly of the constellation of Leo and in April-May hovers next to Regulus. If this pertains to a military campaign then it is successful as long as it shows not a trace of revenge. If instead this Mars refers to the elite athletes preparing for the Olympic Games, then there is honour and glory in the lead-up to it.

In May Nergal leaves this place in the sky and heads back towards the constellation Virgo. The opening of the Olympic Games on 27 July 2012 sees Nergal and Saturn straddling Spica, in the wheat sheaf of Virgo, suggesting that opening of the Games is going to be as spectacular and invigorating as it has been in the recent past when other cities hosted the Games. They draw tightly together on Spica as the Games end on 12 August, suggesting great battles will be fought and great ‘victories’ won amongst the athletes. This ‘friendly warfare’ is a wonderful expression of such vigorous energy.

Nergal leaves Saturn and travels towards and through the Symplegades in late September, implying an endeavour of courage. On 9 October Nergal encounters the jaws of Scorpius, reaching Antares, the heart of the Scorpion on 22 October. On the day of the US presidential elections Nergal sits on the foot of Ophiuchus, the constellation that mythologically contains wisdom and rejuvenation and the only part that touches the ecliptic. We could say a great endeavour rejuvenates the people.

By 16 November Nergal sits in the bow of the Archer, drawing close to Pluto in its head. The moon travels over the top of Nergal, so if there was to be an eruption of aggression then it is harnessed aggression. However, these are days to watch when aggression and anger may be high. By the end of December Nergal has moved into the face of the Sea-Goat Capricornus, suggesting that the strong and energetic energy of Nergal is now seen as being contained within the wise law-giver.

Jupiter and his phases for 2012

To the Assyrian astrologer priest Jupiter was the ‘Crown Prince’ or the contender to the throne, a powerful person. Additionally the phases of Jupiter were given different names. For most of the time when Jupiter was visible in the night sky he was known as Sagmegar, and any activity around him and his movement into different constellations heralded events for powerful people other than the king. This could be seen as positive or negative depending on the stars involved.

As we start the year Jupiter is Sagmegar, visible in the night sky in the stars of Pisces.  In March Jupiter moves through the Stare of Cetus (discussed under the Venus phase graph) and normally we would expect a global story of the ‘loss of a hero’ in some manner. For example, in April 1917 Jupiter moved through this part of the sky and this became known as ‘Bloody April’ with the British Royal Flying Corps being decimated by the German forces. In July 1940 Jupiter, the hero, was also in this part of the sky and by the 10 July the Battle of Britain had commenced. This was another time of the battle and death of heroes in flying machines. In 1964 there was a different hero as Jupiter moved into this space. This sky pattern heralded the first major student demonstrations against the Vietnam War in Times Square in New York.

This time, however, as Jupiter moves into this difficult part of the sky Venus, Istar, joins him and radiates him with her protection. This time period will be fascinating to watch to see how this will be expressed in the world. Will a hero or heroes be saved from harm in some way?

Figure 4 – Jupiter’s’ visible periods coloured in blue for the year 2012

The London Olympic – an expression of a Sulpa’e Jupiter.

In a remarkable coincidence Jupiter moves into its Sulpa’e phase at the time of the London Olympics. This phase is when Jupiter returns to visibility and rises just before the sun and is associated with a time of the glorification of the young hero. Normally this would imply global stories about such a young hero. However, it is not too hard to predict that most of our newspapers will have front page images of young elite athletes wearing gold medals and joyfully waving to the crowds. The Gold-winning Olympian is a classic Sulpa’eJupiter image and with the Olympic Games coinciding with this Jupiter phase, we can expect a greater number than normal of world records being broken.

In mid-September Jupiter spends a week in its Nibiru phase. This date will vary a little for different latitudes, as the Nibiru phase is when in the dawn light Jupiter fails to be seen to reach culmination – the place of the ‘splitting of the sky’. This is a period in our clients’ lives as well as our own where we will struggle to meet our own expectations.  Publicly an achievement will not eventuate.

Saturn and his phases for 2012

Saturn represents the king, the ruler or the establishment.

In late May and early June Saturn, the king, moves close to Spica, the brilliant star in the wheat sheaf of the stars of Virgo. Spica was known as the Field Star and if afflicted by a Lunar halo then it suggested a loss of harvest, a loss of wealth and prosperity for the kingdom. But with Saturn beside the Field Star it heralds a king who brings prosperity to the land. This year of 2012, by coincidence, is when the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will be celebrated in the UK. The Queen came to the throne in February 1952.

Figure 5 – Saturn’s’ visible periods coloured in green for the year 2012

This will undoubtedly become the vessel through which this heavenly pattern will be expressed in the earthly realm and it signifies an blessed time for these celebrations. Like the Olympic Games later in this year, if the Assyrian priests had been consulted, these are the dates they would have chosen: early June for the celebration of a successful monarch, and late July and August for the celebration of young heroes.

By August Saturn is joined by Mars, the king and his warrior, Nergal. Both are within the stars of Virgo thus the heavenly pattern talks more of aggressive planning rather than aggressive action. By late November Saturn will be visible in the predawn light and the Morning Star Venus will join him and give ‘love’ to the king. Thus the ‘king’ is blessed and rivals are quickly dismissed. Hence the end of the year is filled with the potential strength of leadership covering not just your personal life but also the life of the community.

The 2012 Heavenly Patterns are already visible in our earthly realm with the known events of Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic Games and USA Presidential elections. They show us the quality of these times, what the Greeks named kairos time, time that was not just a measurement but also contained a nature, bestowed an attribute. Astrology works with kairos time and one of the ways a visual astrologer becomes aware of the potential of future times is to watch the heavenly patterns.


1 – These graphs are based on the free phase software from, We have modified them for this newsletter.

2 – Hunger, Herman. (1992). Astrological Reports to Assyrian Kings. Helsinki, Finland: Helsinki University Press.p.16, text number 27.

3- Hunger, . (1992). p.155, text number 282.

4- Hunger, . (1992). p.259, text number 461.