Friday, April 29, 2016

Eclipses, Mars Retrograde & Brazil’s Zika Crisis


...the “gestation” period for the Brazil Zika outbreak was marked by two potent eclipses: the first, a total annular eclipse on 3 November 2013, 25% visible in northeastern Brazil; the second, on 29 April, 2014, a rare annular, non-central solar eclipse with a path that spanned Antarctica and parts of Australia, its upper edge clipping Indonesia, a known affected area as well. This transpired just months before the first cases were identified in Brazil in late 2014.  


Recounting a long list of challenges to Brazil’s embattled president, Dilma Rousseff, BBCNews.com ended a recent report by saying: “It would seem she wants to ride the storm rather than be drowned in it.” The “storm” includes the April 18th lower house of Congress vote to impeach her over corruption charges, an economy in serious recession and an explosive level of division among Brazilian citizens over all of the above. Perhaps the most troubling challenge of all, however—and the one I’d like to explore today—is the disastrous spread of the Zika virus among pregnant Brazilian women, resulting at last count in approximately 4,000 cases (reported numbers vary—it’s difficult to say precisely) of microcephaly and related neurological birth defects.




Rousseff’s prescient remark may be an astrological clue—for example, could Neptune, ruling the metaphorical storm waves, be involved in this perfect storm of challenges to Brazil? Neptune has a well-documented association in astrology with epidemics and contagion, so its fingerprints are all over the spread of Zika, but Neptune never unleashes its worst in a vacuum, so we must wonder what other factors have contributed.

Among those factors are two potent eclipses that preceded the outbreak and Mars' recent turn retrograde—we’ll consider those in greater detail. First, however, here’s a timeline of key steps towards the present Zika crisis. The following background facts are reported in a February 9, 2016 Bulletin of the World Health Organization:[1]

- The virus was first identified in the Zika forests of Uganda in 1947 in an afflicted rhesus monkey;
- 1948 the virus was isolated to its mosquito carrier
- It would then take until 1964 for tests to confirm a human case of the infection.
- Cases remained isolated and few until 2007, when the virus migrated from Africa to Asia and then to the Pacific Island of Yap, where the first cluster of 185 human cases surfaced. “No deaths, hospitalizations or neurological complications are reported.”

Unfortunately, the situation deteriorated rapidly: by 2013-14, cases in other Pacific Islands—where the virus had spread by this time—do turn out to be connected to “congenital malformations and severe neurological and autoimmune complications.” This same year tests demonstrate that the virus can be spread via blood (i.e., transfusions) and placental fluids (in the womb). It was a short trip for the Zika mosquito from the Pacific Islands to Brazil, where the following milestones will help us make sense of the astrological picture. Again, from the WHO report:

December 2014: Zika cases are first identified in Pernambuco, Brazil.

2 March 2015: Brazil’s national lab notified WHO of cases of a rash-producing illness that turns out to be Zika. Seven thousand mild cases are documented between February and April that year—no reported deaths. 

7 May 2015: the national lab confirms that Zika is circulating in Brazil—“the first report of locally acquired Zika disease in the Americas.”

July-1 December 2015: reported cases of neurological disorders, including microcephaly are tracked and eventually linked to prior Zika infections; on December 1st, the “Pan American Health Organization and WHO issue an alert to the association of Zika virus infection with neurological syndrome and congenital malformations in the Americas.”

1 February 2016: In response to a growing body of evidence that Zika infections are associated with “clusters of microcephaly and other neurological disorders,” the WHO declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

2 February 2016: The United States reports a case of sexual transmission of Zika infection in Texas. The infected man had traveled outside the U.S. and apparently transmitted the disease to his sexual partner after return to the U.S. The WHO considered this case a “rare event” at this time; it is no longer considered rare.

March-April 2016: The CDC now reports that male sexual partners can transmit the virus and has issued comprehensive, updated guidelines for pregnant women and travelers related to this issue.




The concerns are real—the Brazil Zika outbreak’s “pre-natal” eclipses
Unfortunately, the “international concern” part of this declaration is real: as of April 18th, the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reported that 41 countries spanning Central and South America and the Oceania/Pacific Islands are now reporting active cases of the virus. For the purposes of this exploration, however, let’s return to Brazil. While it’s not possible to examine affected women’s charts (or their babies’ charts) here, we can focus on the broad impact this public health emergency is likely to have on Brazil itself.

As mentioned earlier, the “gestation” period for the Brazil Zika outbreak was marked by two potent eclipses: the first, a total annular eclipse on 3 November 2013, 25% visible in northeastern Brazil; the second, on 29 April, 2014, a rare annular, non-central solar eclipse with a path that spanned Antarctica and parts of Australia, its upper edge clipping Indonesia, a known affected area as well. This transpired just months before the first cases were identified in Brazil in late 2014.  

This notion of a gestation period may be key: the Zika virus doesn’t cause neurological damage in the person bitten by the mosquito—that horror is reserved for the unborn babies of women who were pregnant when infected by the Zika carrying mosquito. 



To my knowledge, we don’t yet know how long such women (or their sexual partners, for that matter) remain able to transmit the virus to a fetus.

These women and their families are of course deeply impacted by the life-changing damage done to these babies. Astrologically, this tells us that the lunar cycle and Pluto (ruling fertility and gestation, respectively) are significant factors to watch for. Between the transmission of the virus and the most pernicious consequences of Zika infections, virtually the entire solar system is involved, as we’ll see in the charts below.

Let’s examine a biwheel for the first eclipse against a chart for Brazil’s first identified cases (in Pernambuco) in December 2014. No specific date for identification is mentioned, so I’ve cast the chart for mid-month. The November 2013 eclipse seems to correlate with the general timeframe scientists estimate for the virus’s arrival in Brazil, as cited here in a March 24, 2016 NYTimes.com article:

“A study published in Science, which developed a "molecular clock" based on the count of virus mutations in a relatively small sample, suggested Zika virus arrived in the Americas (most likely in Brazil) from French Polynesia between May and December 2013…”
Biwheel 1: (inner wheel) Solar eclipse, November 3, 2013, 9:50 a.m. ST, Pernambuco, Brazil; (outer wheel) Zika Cases Identified, December 15, 2014, 12:00 p.m. ST, (time unknown), Pernambuco, Brazil. Note: because the timing for Identification is imprecise, we won’t be dwelling on Moon- or house/angle-related aspects for the Identification chart.




The Eclipse point at 11°16’ Scorpio is part of 6-part stellium, including Sun-Moon, Saturn, MC, Mercury and Node; the stellium sextiles Eclipse Mars (Virgo) and trines Eclipse Chiron (Pisces); Eclipse Mars opposes Eclipse Chiron. According to eclipse expert Celeste Teal, a Scorpio eclipse is “passionate, magnetic and concerned with reproduction.”[2] This may explain the central role of reproduction in this crisis. Scorpio also rules “venereal epidemics,” which speaks to the sexual transmission issue raised in the timeline above. This amazing “wedge” sextile/trine/opposition configuration enables the wounding (Saturn-Chiron) energies of this powerful Scorpio stellium to travel (Mercury) and to manifest (10th house) vigorously (Mars) in the world.

The Mars-Chiron opposition (8th-2nd houses), especially in these signs, points to deadly health (Virgo) threats of epidemic (Pisces) proportions and the Node’s involvement suggests an evolutionary potential being carried (Mercury). The family and social ramifications of the most severe Zika infections can be seen in Saturn’s close proximity to the 10th house Eclipse point.

A “dragon’s head” eclipse (North Node near the eclipse point), puts something new out into the world; unfortunately, “new” isn’t always a positive. Already quite potent in Brazil because of its visibility, this particular eclipse point is made even more so by the Node’s proximity. A Scorpio eclipse is co-ruled by Mars and Pluto—signs naturally associated with power and influence (often expressed violently and/or covertly), but let’s consider their associations in medical astrology. Most relevant here, Mars is said to rule the immune system, white blood cells and the inflammatory response; Pluto rules tissue formation (therefore gestation), waste elimination, birth and death. What role, if any, Mars’ inflammatory response plays in damaging fetal brains would be good to know. Pluto is clearly playing a role in the Zika crisis.

Identification (ID) Neptune conjoins Eclipse Neptune; ID Neptune trines Eclipse Scorpio points and opposes Eclipse Mars (Virgo). Neptune trines tend to unleash whatever energies are in play; here, we see Neptune adding circulation and reach to Scorpio’s epidemic potentials. This also speaks to how the disease confused the medical establishment and spread undetected in its early days. Outbreaks happening before this eclipse were notable for their seemingly mild symptoms and outcomes (i.e., Zika infections were considered a lot less severe than dengue fever in many places). This subterfuge is typical of both Scorpio and Neptune and allowed the epidemic to pick up strength and momentum as it built its virulent capacity (Mars opposition).

Medically, Neptune transits tend to breach the body’s defenses, weakening immunity; we’ll just have to wonder if Neptune also breaches and undermines fetal brain development. Needless to say, Neptune’s proximity to Chiron in both charts only deepens the problem.

ID Mars (Aquarius) squares Eclipse Scorpio points; Uranus in Aries (both charts) disposes Mars, squaring 12th house Pluto (Capricorn) in both charts. Mars’ malefic influence in the Zika crisis is certainly highlighted here, especially with Zika’s shocking (Uranus) life-changing effects on babies. Mars and Pluto also play a role in the crisis through men, who we now know can transmit the infection sexually to their partners, “when the man has symptoms, before symptoms start and after symptoms end.” Power dynamics between sexual partners (another Mars-Pluto issue) will affect the outcomes of this crisis.

The Uranus-Pluto square also reflects the radical social changes an epidemic can impose, and Brazil seems to be caught up in that process already, for more than one reason. Miscarriages and still births are other ways Pluto’s 12th house influence here manifests. Eclipse Uranus’s 3rd house placement suggests that this emergency will trigger serious grass-roots change, especially in communities with high concentrations of microcephaly and other Zika-related afflictions. What transpires unseen, in the womb (12th), has very real consequences for families, neighborhoods and communities (3rd).

ID Venus (Capricorn) conjoins ID/Eclipse Pluto; Saturn disposes both and from Scorpio, falls in mutual reception with Pluto (both charts). Venus is associated with venereal disease and hormonal function, so the Zika virus has taken advantage of her usual charms (especially when combined with Pluto) to manifest. Venus may also impact the development of other organs in the infected babies, such as kidneys.

Saturn’s role here is troubling—most visibly in the smaller than normal size of infected infants’ skulls. The bony human skull normally protects the growing brain, but if the brain is impaired in the womb, the skull doesn’t grow to normal size, leaving little room for that brain to expand and restricting other developmental processes. It’s easy to see how Saturn’s mutual reception with Pluto reflects the relationship between Zika infections (transmitted by a Plutonian “vampire,” the bloodsucking mosquito) and congenital malformations (Saturn).

ID Jupiter (Leo) trines ID Sun-Mercury and Eclipse Venus (all Sagittarius); ID Sun and Jupiter are in mutual reception; ID Sun-Mercury conjoin Eclipse Venus and semi-sextile ID Saturn. Jupiter also disposes ID Mercury, and even though this whole configuration would normally seem innocuous, if not downright optimistic, there’s a sober underlying message (ID Sun-Mercury overlay Eclipse 12th house), as well. The Cosmos doesn’t pick sides or serve only human purposes, so “positive” is a relative term when one sector of Nature (i.e., the Zika virus) is competing with another (Human wellbeing). Here, Jupiter in Leo illuminates our awareness (trine Sun-Mercury) of the virus, but Mercury is also associated with the transmission of information, and viruses are essentially bundles of genetic information, so Jupiter could have also stimulated transmission. Identifying the cases in 2014 was a sign of things to come. ID Mercury’s conjunction to Eclipse Venus reinforces the potential for sexual transmission of the virus, while the semi-sextile to Eclipse Saturn brings all its troubling implications into the mix.  

Eclipse Jupiter (Cancer) widely trines Eclipse Saturn (Scorpio) and widely opposes ID Pluto (Capricorn). This dignified Jupiter may also backfire on the medical establishment’s efforts to contain the epidemic. Although the aspects are quite loose, a 6th house Jupiter is bound to impact how the epidemic manifests (10th house Eclipse Saturn) in terms of public health, perhaps, as we’ve seen, amplifying the numbers. Disposed by the Eclipse Moon in Scorpio and opposite Scorpio’s ruler Pluto, Jupiter’s usual benefits may not materialize during the Eclipse period, but they may reflect how many Zika-affected families are coping with the new challenges, drawing on their own faith and optimism.

We can also be assured that—as Pluto transits into opposition orb with Eclipse Jupiter (it’s at roughly 17°Rx today)—the medical and finance establishments are positioning themselves to capitalize on the Zika emergency. A vaccine is currently in the works; whether or not that helps to contain the epidemic will probably reflect Pluto’s mutual reception with Saturn. A point to revisit as efforts unfold.

An added note about transits to the Eclipse chart
Eclipse experts point to the importance of Mars and Saturn transits to an eclipse chart in the 2-3 year period after the event; these transits act to reactivate the potentials of the eclipse. In the case of this November 2013 eclipse, Mars transited over the Eclipse point at 11°+Scorpio towards the end of January, 2016—a critical period for assessing the challenge posed by the epidemic—in Brazil and elsewhere. This period directly preceded the WHO’s declaration that Zika’s association with microcephaly and other neurological disorders constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern.” So Mars raised its “red flag” of danger.

Mars’ retrograde station at 8°+Sagittarius on April 17 also kept the drama going, squaring this Eclipse Mars (Virgo) and trining Eclipse Uranus (Aries). The astrolocality map for the retrograde chart also hit Brazil’s national chart descendant—a volatile brew. Mars also reactivated the April 29, 2014 Eclipse point (Taurus) with an exact inconjunct aspect—more on that eclipse chart ahead.

Brazil in the crosshairs
At this point we can examine how Brazil’s national chart has been affected by the course of the Zika emergency. The biwheel below explores that issue by overlaying the second, even more volatile eclipse chart referenced earlier, with the 1822 national chart. I am indebted to astrologer Jorge Mele for confirming the preferred national chart for this purpose.

Biwheel 2: (inner wheel) Natal, Brazil Independence, September 7, 1822, 04:08 p.m. LMT, Sao Paulo, Brazil; (outer wheel) Solar Eclipse (annular non-central), April 29, 2014, 3:14:14 a.m. ST, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


First, a quick note about this rare eclipse: its duration was over 6 minutes, pointing to an unusually long period of influence. While precise timeframes are unpredictable, it’s probably safe to assume we’re looking at 4-6 years (from 2014-2020). Being a rare type of eclipse to begin with adds to its potency, as well. Finally, as a “Dragon’s Tail” eclipse (South node nearest the Eclipse point), the overall message of the eclipse is that it’s time to address and heal existing situations—as Teal puts it, it’s “time to balance the ledger.”[3] The analysis below suggests several critical areas that may need to be rebalanced.

Eclipse Point (8°+Taurus) and Eclipse Mercury (Taurus) conjoin Brazil Saturn (Rx, Taurus), opposes Brazil Mars (Scorpio) and trines Brazil Sun and Uranus-Neptune (Rx, Capricorn); Eclipse Venus (Pisces) disposes Eclipse Point. In the 3rd house, Brazil’s natal Saturn—ruling its legislative structures—depends heavily on grass-roots approval. The Eclipse point conjunct this point certainly speaks to the chaos that has built within Brazil’s government from 2014 to the present. Brazil’s legislature has been walking on shaky ground for the past few years, due to the ongoing Petrobras scandal, linking high government officials in the Dilma Rousseff administration with corrupt practices. That scandal came to a head on April 18th (just after Mars' retrograde station in Brazil's national 10th house--more about that ahead) with impeachment proceedings against Rousseff and legal proceedings against the other implicated officials.

The Eclipse point’s trine to Brazil’s Uranus-Neptune suggests that Brazil’s robust growth as an economy (probably related to Pluto’s transit over these Capricorn points between 2009 and 2015) has hit a wall. We’re seeing this in the current recession, perhaps triggered by the recent plunge in oil prices (also related to Pluto). While there may be no direct connection between economic factors and the Zika emergency, such factors seem to have created some of Brazil’s internal turmoil, and these in turn may have facilitated Zika’s spread. 




Brazilian citizens are deeply divided over these issues (Brazil Mars opposite Eclipse), threatening further instability. This is the social/political context into which the Zika virus has sprung: importantly, Eclipse Venus in Pisces disposes the Eclipse-Point (conjunct Brazil’s Saturn), highlighting this connection between Brazil’s challenges with both government and the epidemic (Pisces). Both challenges demand a tight focus of political will (Brazil Mars-opposite-Saturn) for solutions. With the Olympic Games coming up in Rio de Janeiro this summer, and a government to impeach, such focus could be difficult.

Brazil 7th house Sun (Virgo) opposes Eclipse Neptune/Chiron (midpoint in Pisces).Brazil Sun inconjoins Brazil Node (Aquarius). Significantly, the erosive force of Neptune and the wounding/healing energies of Chiron are traveling partners in Brazil’s 1st house, opposite Brazil’s pragmatic Virgo Sun. This suggests that broad systemic wounds may underlie the situation, and that solutions may remain out of reach until those dynamics are healed (Sun inconjunct Node). Only Brazilians can say what these systemic wounds might be—between their crisis in government and the spread of Zika virus, the time for radical healing seems to be ripe.

Eclipse Saturn (Rx Scorpio) conjoins Brazil MC, squares Brazil Venus (Leo). Brazil Venus is sesquiquadrate Brazil Pluto (Aries); Eclipse Saturn trines Eclipse Chiron. With Eclipse Saturn at Brazil’s 10th house cusp (Equal houses) and Chiron in Brazil’s 1st house, frustrating pressure has been applied since 2014 to Brazil’s government and image in the world, as well as its economy. Covering up debt is a contentious issue with Dilma Rousseff’s administration, implicating Venus-Pluto. The sesquiquadrate suggests that Brazil’s resource-based economy (oil is key-Pluto), doesn’t always live within its means (Venus in exuberant Leo), and the inevitable compromises depend upon a set of values (2nd house Pluto) that may or—based on the current unrest—may not be working for the people of Brazil.

Eclipse Neptune squares Brazil Jupiter-Moon (Gemini). Neither Jupiter nor the Moon is entirely comfortable in air sign Gemini, but this conjunction still speaks to the expansive emotions and ingenuity of the Brazilian people, and to the cultural diversity of the nation. These are all important qualities for overcoming an epidemic. Medically, there are reasons for concern, however: the Moon rules bodily fluids, so the square from Neptune reflects how those fluids have become pathways for transmission of the virus. Jupiter rules the brain’s cerebrum and its many functions in normal brain development, so Neptune square this point reflects the damage being done to infant brains developing in the womb (Moon).

Finally, yet another sobering thought: the Moon and Jupiter (along with Saturn) also speak to fertility and population demographics; Neptune’s square to these points highlights how the Zika virus attacks the viability and reproductive capacity of future generations. Unless contained quickly, Neptune’s erosive force could diminish those populations in alarming ways. If this epidemic is like most, it will hurt the most vulnerable to the greatest degree, so compassionate (Neptune) choices made in the near term will certainly affect how these troubling scenarios play out.

Eclipse Grand Trine: Jupiter (Cancer) trines Chiron (Pisces) trines Saturn (Scorpio). Eclipse Jupiter is dignified and fairly powerful in mid-Cancer; the unleashed quality of the grand trine here foreshadowed that a lot would happen in a short time, and between 2014 and the present (April 2016) it certainly has. Focusing just on the Zika crisis, the virus—and the associated pain (Chiron)—has spread with the ease and flow of a grand trine since that time. As noted in the introduction, more than 4,000 cases of microcephaly related to Zika infections are now acknowledged, with numbers steadily rising. Hopefully more current numbers will be published soon.

Saturn in Scorpio is disposed by a tense Mars-Pluto square (Libra-Capricorn) in this biwheel, suggesting that a power struggle in progress during this eclipse’s period of influence may be undermining efforts to focus on the Zika outbreak going forward. If the eclipse’s unusual duration of over 6 minutes is any indication, Brazil’s severe challenge with this epidemic may take at least 4 more years to overcome. Even then, the lifelong (and intergenerational) consequences of microcephaly will remain. Clearly, Brazil needs help now from the international community!

Eclipse T-Square: Mars (Libra) opposite Uranus (Aries), all square Eclipse Pluto (Capricorn). Brazil’s Chiron (Aries) conjoins Eclipse Uranus. The tense Mars-Pluto square mentioned above is actually part of an even more tense T-square, which reflects Brazil’s internal turmoil, political stand-offs and otherwise. The convergence of Brazil’s Chiron with this T-square points to the national “Achilles’ heel” that has inspired the turmoil. Resource issues, values and the economy (2nd house) appear to be the focus.

Eclipse Jupiter (Cancer) inconjoins Brazil Node (Aquarius), while Eclipse Uranus (Aries) sextiles the same point; Eclipse Jupiter squares Eclipse Uranus, trines Eclipse Saturn (Rx, Scorpio)-Brazil MC and Eclipse Chiron (Pisces). Brazil has clearly been caught up in the dynamics of social change illustrated so well by this configuration. This change has not been unfolding as a neat logical process, however—it’s been explosive and driven by both chaos and necessity—perhaps the roots of the corruption challenges being experienced as well. Clearly, the Zika virus will continue to thrive in an atmosphere of chaos (Neptune), so the sooner Brazil is able to restabilize its government and any critical institutions (Saturn-Jupiter), the better. Growth and security (Eclipse Jupiter in Cancer) going forward will depend upon addressing social and economic wounds (trine Brazil’s 2nd house Chiron).  

Final thoughts…
So, this article doesn’t address whether Dilma Rousseff “rides the storm” or is “drowned” in her impeachment dilemma after all—Mars’ retrograde transit in Brazil’s 10th house in the coming months (turning direct at the end of June conjunct the nation’s Scorpio MC)will probably tell the story. More importantly, how will the people of Brazil fare in their nation’s complicated set of crises? These are incredibly complex charts, and there is undoubtedly more to say astrologically. 

At this point, however, we might want to consider Nature’s evolutionary perspective. Are we human beings the enemy of the natural world? If so, what better way to get rid of us than to undermine our reproductive success with an epidemic that guarantees problems for generations? Panic will get us nowhere, but to reverse the course of any crisis, the answer is usually to stop enabling the conditions for the crisis. Those potentials also reside in these charts. Food for thought in Brazil and everywhere else!




Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at: robertsonraye@gmail.com. 


© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved. 





[1] Kindhauser MK, Allen T, Frank V, Santhana RS & Dye C. Zika: the origin and spread
of a mosquito-borne virus [Submitted]. Bull World Health Organ E-pub: 9 Feb 2016. PDF available at link.
[2] Celeste Teal, Eclipses: Predicting World Events & Personal Transformation, Llewelyn Publications, 2006, p. 19.
[3] Teal, p. 11.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

“Holding a Lighted Candle” – Generation Sagittarius Makes Its Mark on Autism Research

In honor of "Autism Awareness" month!

A few words of introduction to this post are in order: first, because this article is a slightly updated version of the original, published in the August/September 2015 edition of The Mountain Astrologer (and subsequently shared by TMA with Astrodienst.com). Second, because trying to make astrological sense of Autism Spectrum Disorders was inspired by raising sons challenged by ADHD, by working with students in a local Autism program, and by my frequent encounters with affected students in my university classrooms.

Importantly, I wouldn't presume to claim that astrology holds any cures for Autism, and I would never attempt to diagnose an individual case based on natal factors (which operate on many levels with many different results). Diagnosis is definitely the province of neurologists and specialized pediatricians. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, however, an astrologer can offer insights into behavioral and developmental issues, and to potentials that may escape notice (this happens a lot). In general, knowing something about autism is a gift to astrology--there's simply no better way to plumb the depths of the human body, mind and spirit connection, and that is worth the price of admission! 



This study revisits and builds upon my earlier published work regarding an astrological perspective on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and the sensory processing disorder (SPD) often associated with autism.[1] Happily, amazing progress has been made in the past decade in these distinct, but interrelated fields: public and private support organizations have mobilized a diverse army of professionals to tackle this growing public health phenomenon. This “army” includes leading neurologists, geneticists, specialized mental health and education practitioners, IT engineers and software developers, and therapists in a range of disciplines.

Autism touches nearly every walk of life, it seems—at the same time it touches ever more lives. The latest Center for Disease Control report on the issue (based on 2010 data gathered from around 5,300 8 year-olds, born in 2002) states that “about 1 in 68 [U.S.] children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder…”.[2] This prevalence number climbed steadily between 2000-2008, from 1 in 150, to 1 in 125, to 1 in 110, to 1 in 88; then, in the latest 2010 study, the numbers took that 30% leap to 1 in 68. The U.S. is not alone here—autism has been a growing global phenomenon.

My 2006 article, titled “In Synch & Out-of-Synch…,”[3]  used the Pluto-in-Sagittarius ingress (Chart 1)[4] to examine the rising phenomenon of ASD and SPD in that generation (a segment of the “Millennials,” born between early 1995 and November 2008)[5], and to offer an astrological perspective.  Now it seems important, as this Pluto generation (hereafter referred to as “Gen Sagittarius”) gradually comes of age, to revisit and update that work—happily, with the input of young adult Gen Sagittarians who have made their challenges with autism public in both book form and online, in social media.

Interestingly, these young adults—with the help of incredibly dedicated parents and professionals—have broken through the barriers of non-verbal autism to pursue much fuller, connected lives, to communicate and advocate for themselves. From their progress, we are learning that many of these individuals possess normal, even stellar intelligence, albeit trapped inside uncooperative physical/sensory systems.


But first, an important disclaimer: a Pluto ingress chart reflects global collective, evolutionary trends, but does not supersede an individual’s own nativity or represent fated inevitabilities within that generation.  The Sagittarius generation is most emphatically not defined by the climb in autism statistics. Although a comprehensive generational analysis is beyond the scope of this article (only the oldest among them have been studied by demographers at this point), Gen Sagittarius is coming of age quite publicly (especially in social media) as a generation at ease in a globalized, technology-driven world. Being digital “natives,” all signs indicate they are deeply sensitive, yet pragmatic, hands-on problem solvers—traits easily seen in their tight Capricorn Sun-Uranus-Neptune conjunction, closely opposed by a dignified Cancer Moon (Chart 1).

They are also known for taking an expansive view on cultural, personal and social values—less concerned with institutions and more concerned with networking and social justice. Coupled with their unapologetic quest for upbeat, “hip” material lives, Gen Sagittarius clearly resonates with the Pluto-Jupiter-Venus Sagittarian cluster spanning their 1st and 2nd houses. Perhaps with Pluto in their 1st house of identity, their metaphorical “mark” on the world is made with each “selfie” they snap?

It’s worth considering the core significance of the “selfie”—this generational urge to stay connected with self as a means of connecting with others.  Could the simple sensory act of recording their existence and activities serve a deeper existential purpose of staying centered, staying “in touch,” and hence, more secure—as in, “If I can see myself, I can be myself?” Of course, gaining approval on social media is key to completing the “self-other” circuit. As we’ll see, this simple communication dynamic that most Gen Sagittarians can take completely for granted is a real challenge for those with autism.  

“…on my desert island with no raft…”
Autism and sensory processing challenges have been experienced in every generation, so why focus on this particular group? Because it seems both the incidence of ASD and SPD and the public/private response to it has been reaching a critical mass that makes this generation an important evolutionary threshold. As noted, considerable progress in both autism research and resources has been made since 1995, and thankfully, children born with autism in the current Pluto in Capricorn generation can benefit from their older peers’ breakthroughs.  We might question, however, whether this would have happened without thousands of Pluto-in-Sagittarius parents and caregivers applying pressure, desperate for answers. 

In his amazing 2012 memoir, Ido in Autismland,” 20-year old Ido Kedar (born in May 1996) writes about the so-called autism “experts,” saying, “I think I can imagine their theories and how they reached their insights better than they can imagine smart, intact people trapped in a non-responsive body…I’d still be on my desert island with no raft if no one had given me communication, or exercise, or respect. I am living proof that communication is the key.”[6] At seven, with the help of a perceptive mother who sensed his intelligence and ability were simply masked by his low-functioning exterior, Ido broke through into communication via typing and pointing to letters on a board.

Amazingly, Ido had taught himself to read and spell by that time, even though his special education teachers confined his studies to pre-school level instruction. Once he began using a letter board and found a home-based teacher who took his intelligence seriously, some of these “experts” refused to believe in his progress. As his mother relates, “They rejected it as impossible. They were not open to a new possibility, or as Ido says, they were ‘blinded by their professional biases.’”  Since this time, many Gen Sagittarians with autism have made similar breakthroughs.


In Carly’s Voice,[7] we read a deeply self-aware account of challenges and breakthroughs from 21-year old Carly Fleischmann, born with her “neurotypical” twin sister just days after Pluto entered Sagittarius in January, 1995. A similar, major breakthrough in communication came for her when she learned to use voice output devices and a laptop.  The stories Carly, Ido and many others tell so vividly speak for thousands of Gen Sagittarians with so-called “low-functioning autism.” As we’ll see, their intense struggles in controlling and coordinating their sensory systems, minds and bodies, are reflected in their generational chart, which also provides helpful direction.

This analysis of the Pluto-Sagittarius ingress chart will employ the basic astrological correlations found in Table 1, which rely heavily on the work of medical astrologer, Jane Ridder-Patrick,[8] updated in 2006 and containing more about developmental and neurological issues like autism.  

Table 1. Planetary correlations used in this study (in keeping with Ridder-Patrick’s 2006 medical astrology handbook—see endnote #8).

PLANET/POINT
RULES
Sun
Being (sense of Self), consciousness, vitality (body heat), vision (integrative function), heart function, cell nuclei (DNA, hence genetic conditions and congenital disorders); right eye of man/ left eye of woman
Moon
Bodily sensations and cycles, emotional arousal, fluids and hormones, limbic system (including hypothalamus and hippocampus), fertility/reproduction, circadian rhythms, instinctive reflexes, stomach/small intestine, right eye of woman/left eye of man
Mercury
Nervous systems (central, autonomic, enteric, sensory receptors), respiration, auditory sense (nervous system component), verbal skills, fine motor dexterity/coordination, mental faculties (ability to extract info from the environment and act on it), “concrete” perception
Venus
Sense of balance (vestibular system), homeostasis, sex hormones/feedback mechanisms
Mars
Muscle systems and movement coordination through space (proprioceptive sense); impulse control; immune system, inflammatory response, adrenal function, arousal
Jupiter
Cerebrum (left hemisphere), integrative brain function, abstract and motor reasoning (hence, cognitive and motor disorders); belief/ideological system; arterial system, liver
Saturn
Skin (and tactile sense, w/Mercury), skeletal system, teeth, auditory sense (bony aspect and regulation), vestibular sense (gravity/regulation), developmental timelines
Uranus
Rhythmic pulsation, bodily systems coordination, electrical system, corpus callosum/cross-hemispheric thinking
Neptune
Intuition, mental visualization and illusion (hence, “stimming”), right-brain processing, permeability, allergies/autoimmune and fungal diseases, addictions, spiritual/psychic insight
Pluto
Waste/elimination system, toxicity, primitive “reptilian” brain/amygdala, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, “fight or flight” response
Ascendant
Interaction w/environment, “electric” inflow of vital energy
Midheaven
Highest aspirations, brain cortex (our “crown”)/consciousness of self


Pluto’s grand Sagittarian entrance
In the dead of winter, at 1:28 a.m., January 17, 1995, Pluto traded its comfortable Scorpionic swamp boat for a grand Sagittarian chariot of fire, and so crashed the royal party of its more cheerful colleague, Jupiter. Cast for Greenwich, England, the chart (Chart below) appears fit for a “royal,” or at least an individual (in this case, a whole, global generation) of great potential—and at 75+ million in the U.S. alone, great numbers. Scorpio rises—appropriate for Pluto’s welcome—at 3+ degrees. The Sabian symbol for this degree is “A youth holding a lighted candle,” fitting for a generation of youth who are seeking to reveal their inner light in the greater world.

Chart: Pluto Ingress, Sagittarius. January 17, 1995, 1:28 a.m., Greenwich, England (51°N29’ 0°00’) ST. Tropical Equal houses, True Node.




Two powerful stellia of three bodies each dominate the 1st quarter of this chart:  Pluto-Jupiter-Venus cross Sagittarian “arrows” across the 2nd house cusp, spanning 0°-9°38’ Sagittarius, and Neptune-Uranus-Sun are clustered uncomfortably close, in the 3rd house, from 23°10’-to-26°27’ Capricorn. Uranus is “cazimi” (in the heart of) the Sun, empowered by its mere 2’ separation. As impressive as these powerful 1st quarter gatherings seem at first glance, they foreshadowed both great potential and great challenges to the generation of children they welcomed. As we’ll see, the aspect dynamics formed by both groupings radiate their influence throughout the chart.

Input & Output
Let’s begin where Gen Sagittarius took its first breath, at the chart’s Scorpio ascendant. Ridder-Patrick and others she cites consider the ascendant the native’s interface with the surrounding environment, the point that shows “how patients perceive and receive their ‘diet,’…anything and everything that was taken in and included not only food and drink, but air, thoughts, emotions and atmospheres.”[9] Sensory input is a key part of that “diet,” and coping with and regulating sensory input of all types is a constant issue with both ASD and SPD.

This challenge produces many “typical” autistic behaviors, such as avoiding eye contact, withdrawal, and “stimming” (self-stimulatory behaviors like flapping hands and head-banging that we now know help manage sensory overload).  As Carly puts it, “Stims are when we focus on sensory output to block out sensory input.”[10]

Tactics for filtering all types of overwhelming sensory input—as in being able to focus on a teacher speaking while the environment is flooded with sensory distractions that demand equal attention—are also indicated by the ascendant, here the Water sign, Scorpio. Ridder-Patrick points out water signs are “self-protective,” so a Scorpio ascendant makes for guarded interaction with others and that critical “diet.” Scorpio fits autism’s intense inward focus quite well—affected children often seem “lost” or “submerged” in an inaccessible world, but given the overwhelming nature of their sensory lives, Scorpio’s protection may be welcome. 

With time, effort and therapy, the individual can develop appropriate filtering skills and gradually learn to navigate their chaotic sensory worlds. We’ll see more on this as we address individual aspects and consider actual experiences.



Given the challenges of ASD and SPD, it’s no surprise that the generational chart co-rulers, Mars (01°+Vir) and Pluto (0°Sag), fall square, and that both are amplified by their respective contacts with Jupiter (7°+Sag): Mars by square, Pluto by conjunction.  Mars also opposes Saturn (9°Pis), which turns the Mars-Pluto-Jupiter-Saturn contact into a mutable t-square. With a slightly generous orb of 9 full degrees, Venus (9°Sag) adds her fiery clout to this configuration, but even with the conventional 8° orb, the Venus-Jupiter conjunction squares Saturn.  Regardless, the t-square poses a host of complex challenges, based on the medical astrological correlations we’re using in Table 1.

A host of complex challenges
A mutable t-square is, according to Bil Tierney, “taxing to the nervous system (often due to over-stimulation) as well as disruptive to thought processes.”[11] The specific neurological players involved in this tough t-square are: the “ancient” brain structure, the amygdala (Pluto), which stimulates deep anxiety and possible panic, triggering the “fight or flight” response; the cerebrum, left-brain reasoning and integrative brain function (Jupiter); and the vestibular sense, governing our sense of balance (Venus and Saturn). These functions square the Mars-Saturn opposition, producing tension with the proprioceptive sense, impulse control (both Mars), and the tactile and auditory senses (Saturn, with input from Mercury for hearing).

With four squares and a potent opposition, this t-square is already challenging enough, but when signs and rulership networks are factored in, very complex sensory processing issues are revealed. We can also see why gut problems, celiac disease, colitis and other inflammation-based ills[12] are prevalent in those with autism, and although sensory and immune system issues do not necessarily coexist, this chart may explain why, at times, they do.

The Mars-Saturn aspect in particular, suggests how this complex neural/immune system relationship functions.  About her daughter Elizabeth’s case, Virginia Breen writes that, “Another common trait associated with autism is an overly active immune system (ruled by Mars), that never shuts down, not even when its job of fighting off a cold or flu is done. It is always hyped up in full fighting mode, so much so that the immune system begins attacking itself, causing inflammation from the intestines to the brain.”[13] The keywords for Virgo Mars opposite Pisces Saturn say it all: “Fire in the gut”, seeking a “cool down in water.” Pisces, of course, draws Neptune’s role in autoimmune diseases into the picture.

Breen also cites medical experts who think the more “odd autistic behaviors” are caused by this internal heat, and it seems Carly might agree. “You don’t know what it feels like when you can’t sit still because your legs feel like they are on fire,” she says, “or it feels like a hundred ants are crawling up your arms.”[14] Not surprisingly, many sensory-challenged individuals find being in the water soothing—the therapeutic upside of Neptune.

Ridder-Patrick points to a role for Jupiter and Neptune in these neural/immune system issues: “…damage to the left side of the cerebral cortex [Jupiter] depressed the immune system. Right brain [Neptune] damage, on the other hand, caused increased activity in the white blood cells, which play a major role in the body’s defence system.”[15]  

As the co-ruler of Pisces, Jupiter’s square with Saturn may compromise Jupiter’s protective (cerebral) role, as well as stimulating Neptunian excesses with white blood cell production. The “fiery” character of this problem could also reflect the sign placements of the “heavies” involved: Jupiter’s wide conjunction with Pluto (fight or flight) in Sagittarius and Pluto’s tight square with Mars (by nature, a hot, dry influence) can present a fiery  assault on the subject’s sensory and immune systems, producing extreme, relentless stress. Jupiter’s semi-square relationships to the Sun-Uranus-Neptune stellium further amplify these nervous/immune system complications, adding to the stress.

The Dual World
Those observing individuals with autism and sensory challenges study how these internal challenges manifest in behavior. The push-pull nature of this stressful t-square configuration is mirrored precisely by Ido when he discusses his “dual world:” “On the one hand, I have an intelligent mind and I think deeply. On the other hand, I only react to impulses, like a lizard chasing a cricket.”[16] Jupiter (intellect) and Mars (impulse) are certainly at odds here.



About his proprioceptive (a “near sense”) problems (also Mars related) Ido says, “I’m not sure where my body is if my eyes are shut. I must see my hands to know where they are. It’s sort of terrible to open my eyes and see my body somewhere in space when I thought it was somewhere else…I react in confusion because I can’t understand why my body is in the wrong place.”[17] The proprioceptive sense relies on feedback from our muscles and joints to tell us where our bodies are in space, but it seems Ido could also be experiencing an impaired vestibular sense —the “near sense” which uses feedback from the inner ear to help us perceive our movement through and position in space, as well as governing our sense of balance.

Those with such vestibular discrimination disorder rely on vision and other senses to “discover” where their bodies are. The t-square’s Venus-Saturn square (balance-inner ear) likely plays a role here. Is it any wonder with all this that survival anxiety, panic disorders and obsessive compulsive habits often accompany autism and sensory challenges?

Apraxia is a particularly frustrating motor deficiency that adds to proprioceptive and vestibular problems by undermining the mind/body connection most people take for granted. Ido says it’s like “a bad phone connection. I know my thoughts are getting lost on the way to my mouth. I think of an idea. I try to say it and the wrong thing comes out…It’s like my mouth is surprising me and I have to obey it.”[18] Based on the neurological correlations, apraxia would seem to suggest that Mars (motor) energies are undermined by the complicated Jupiter/Saturn/Neptune (mind) relationship in the t-square, but we will revisit this issue when we consider the Moon’s opposition to the chart’s powerful Capricorn stellium. 

A body-mind disconnect
First, however, we need to back up and consider Aquarius Mercury’s role in the t-square: disposed by Saturn and Uranus, Mercury in turn disposes Virgo Mars, meaning the Mars-Saturn opposition is also influenced by the energies of Mercury and Uranus (empowered by a cazimi Sun), with an extra dose of Saturn (disposing Aquarius), for good measure.  Of Mercury-Saturn aspects, Ridder-Patrick says “there can be an underfunctioning of the nervous system generally, but especially that part supplying the organs of speech and hearing.”[19] 

Perhaps the body/mind disconnect so prevalent in ASD is what makes speaking so difficult for non-verbal autistics, as well.  Tito Mudhopadhyay, a 25-year old “low-functioning” man with autism whose mother, Soma, taught him to communicate (and now teaches others), captures this issue in the title of one of his many books: “How can I talk if my lips don’t move?”[20]

Carly also describes this frustrating mind/body disconnect, revealing why she bangs her head and flops on the floor. “Most of the time I’m having a power struggle with myself. I tell myself to stop, but I can’t. Have you ever yelled at your boys to clean up their room but they don’t? It’s like my body. It does not always do what I want it to do…I act up because I feel so trapped inside myself.”[21]

Carly’s trapped feelings are certainly shared by Ido and Tito and undoubtedly others with autism, but happily, learning to communicate with the use of technology and letter boards has opened a relief valve for many. Astrology teaches us to resolve the tension and conflicts of a t-square by directing efforts towards the chart area opposite the focal planet(s), in this case opposite Pluto-Jupiter-Venus.  This point would be in the Mercury-ruled, Gemini 8th house, which makes perfect sense: Mercury rules this house from Aquarius, and thus brings its expertise in both communications and technology to bear. Mercury’s involved in the problems, so it makes “homeopathic” sense that Mercury would also provide a path forward. Through the intense efforts and resources provided by others (8th house), Gen Sagittarians with autism are finding a way out of their forced isolation.

Lady Luna holds court
The Moon in this generational chart is a dignified (28°+Cancer) Queen Mother, holding court in Jupiter’s 9th house, where the Cancer cusp suggests his energies are also potent, even “exalted.” Given the excessive tendencies of this strong Sagittarius Jupiter, the wide (128°56’) dissociate trine aspect between the two “royals” deserves note. In fact, the Moon and Jupiter are thought to co-rule the hypothalamus, a key part of the brain’s limbic system that Ridder-Patrick says “is responsible for regulating hunger, thirst, response to pain and pleasure…[and] the autonomic nervous system, which is in charge of pulse, blood pressure, breathing and arousal in response to emotions.”[22]

It’s possible this trine reflects an uneasy (dissociate) hypothalamic “overload” of sorts, which would make sense, since appetite control and emotional arousal issues often co-exist with autism. One of Carly’s early, “breakthrough” typed messages read: “Look, I will work for food,”[23] and Ido speaks for many when he says, “My emotions are like a force that takes over my entire self…I can’t stop it on my own.”[24]


Since the autonomic nerves regulating skin temperature are also hypothalamus-related, this overload could also speak to Carly’s experiences with “burning” legs, or to the hypersensitivity to touch, rough fabrics and clothing tags that many with autism display. The hypothalamus ideally helps our brains, nerves, emotions and bodies act in coordination, but sensory-challenged individuals often lack this coordination. The problem is further compounded when we consider additional lunar aspects in this chart:

Moon trine (dissociate) Pluto (0°00’Sag). A tighter aspect than the Moon-Jupiter trine discussed, Jupiter—conjunct Pluto and ruling Sagittarius—again amplifies its effects. Moon-Pluto contacts can indicate eating disorders and gut issues, and Pluto’s rulership of the so-called “reptilian brain,” or amygdala, could also explain the flood of anxiety often experienced with sensory challenges.  Ido cites a neurologist who thinks that “autism is a severe form of anxiety disorder which inhibits our ability to respond.”[25] Such anxiety can result from emotional/sensory overload, which in turn produces behaviors often considered problematic or “low functioning.”  

As mentioned earlier, many sensory-besieged individuals with autism employ “hand flapping” to relieve the uncomfortable flood of energy and anxiety they experience, but this behavior can also cause problems for them. “Mostly it’s the reaction of others to my flapping that is hard to deal with,” Ido writes. “It’s painful to see people react like I’m so strange to them. I’d stop if I had another way to release my tension.”[26]

The Moon’s “triple whammy.”  Speaking of the need to release tension, the Cancer Moon in this chart forms an amazing triple opposition with Neptune-Uranus cazimi Sun—all in Capricorn.  Surely this complex of tight contacts between outer planets (Uranus-Neptune) and both luminaries—especially during full lunation—could create enormous stress on the affected individual’s body/mind. The 3rd-9th house placement of this opposition only adds to the stress, as this axis brings mental and nervous system issues to bear. Ridder-Patrick attributes Moon-Uranus oppositions with a “lack of stability and security…intense emotional excitability…” and she herself notes a connection between this pair and autism, as well as Asperger’s syndrome. She attributes Moon-Neptune contacts with allergies and “environmental sensitivities”—as we’ve seen, a problem with many with autism.[27]

ASD individuals often need more time and effort to respond to stimuli and directions, perhaps reflecting not only these oppositions and the complicated body (Moon)/mind (Sun-Uranus-Neptune) connections they represent, but also the stressful impact of Saturn, disposing and semi-squaring the Capricorn planets. Ridder-Patrick attributes Moon-Saturn “afflictions” with “hereditary diseases…depression owing to fear and abnormal sensitivity…slowed and inhibited emotional response, as well as restrictive and controlling eating behaviours, which provide fertile ground for illness of all kinds.”[28]

Researchers now claim autism is at least partially hereditary, and the experiences reported by those with autism confirm how valid the remaining Moon-Saturn concerns are.  Speaking about the “paralysis of intentional responses” he experiences, Ido says, “I live in a world in which my brain is sort of only for thinking and my body needs guidance and can’t get the input it needs from the brain.”[29]

On the other hand, perhaps Saturn’s inhibiting influence helps temper the difficult energies of Uranus and Neptune in this chart, despite the potential stress. However, to compound the situation, Capricorn Neptune forms a mutual reception with Pisces Saturn (they inhabit each others’ home signs), deepening the ways this “triple whammy” configuration pits the highly incompatible energies of Saturn and Neptune against each other. In combination with the luminaries, “electrified” by Uranus, it’s no wonder those affected by this chart experience body/mind disconnect, motor deficits and a host of emotional frustrations. Their minds can be seen to “buzz” erratically like electrical wires, torn loose by a storm and lying in a pool of water—watch out!

Therapies help forge new connections
Typically, neurological and sensorimotor processing work seamlessly together, but it takes a lifetime of effort to forge those connections when they are missing or challenged, and many simply give up trying. As noted earlier, though, Neptune can be helpful: many sensory-challenged individuals find swimming, water exercise and sports quite therapeutic. Ido claims “In the water I feel my legs and my core and my arms…On dry land I feel like my body is unreal or not even a part of me sometimes…if my body wakes up, I’ll be on my way.”[30]

Other therapies that have proven helpful in this “awakening” are, not surprisingly, Yoga, Tai Chi, and any activity that promotes body/mind integration.  As mentioned, many with autism now communicate by typing and pointing to letter boards—also an important body/mind coordination therapy, which requires great effort.  Ido recounts working hard at exercise and studying piano to improve his hand/eye and two-sided coordination—bilaterality—a critical skill also impacted by Saturn (left brain) and Neptune (right brain).   

Stimming and sensory relief
Finally, the “triple whammy” might tell us more about the sensory phenomenon of “stimming,” one of the most amazing pieces of the autism puzzle. “Stims” are compelling internal impulses that can feel like “waves of sensory energy,” according to Ido, who says, “I am bombarded with silver lights and streams of color…They mesmerize me, but sometimes they scare me…I am lost in the sensory world that is a relief and a poisonous prison.”[31] This colorful inner, visual world certainly suggests Neptune’s involvement—especially as Ido also likens stims to an addictive, “escapist drug” or trap, akin to alcoholism.

Stims drive repetitive, tension-relieving behaviors—hand-flapping, as we’ve seen—and others, such as body rocking and repetitive vocalizing (echolalia). These behaviors serve a useful “grounding” purpose, apparently, but they can also distract and isolate sensory-challenged individuals, preventing them from participating fully in life, focusing on education, socializing, and so on—hence, the “prison.”

Stimming surely also involves Aquarius Mercury, the planet Uranus disposes in this chart. Uranus and Mercury, super-charged even further by Mercury’s opposition to the Leo Midheaven (the MC is thought to impact the brain’s motor nerve centers )—can overstimulate the body’s electric and nervous systems, producing behaviors such as non-stop restless movement, in Carly’s case, or in being “overly stimmy” in Ido’s case.

Naoki Higashida, a young Japanese adult with autism, titled his book The Reason I Jump, and when asked “why can you never stay still?” he says, “When I’m not moving, it feels as if my soul is detaching itself from my body, and this makes me so jumpy and scared that I can’t stay where I am.”[32] We can only speculate whether these “electrical” issues common in autism provide a key to the frequent coexistence of ASD, and  “electrical” disorders like epilepsy.[33]



Moon square Ascendant (3°43’Sco). This final major generational Moon aspect points to an increased tendency toward subjectivity, and with hard aspects such as this, a lack of objectivity (also square the Descendant).[34] Clearly, an intense inward focus is characteristic of autism, and as we’ve seen, Scorpio rising reinforces the need to be very self-protective, but the oft-cited notion that people with autism are incapable of empathy is overrated. Empathy is a difficult skill for even “neurotypicals,” at times, but virtually all of the young authors with autism considered here express their awareness of the needs and challenges of others around them—especially their family members and others with autism—and their desire to advocate for those who haven’t made the progress they have. None of this comes easily for them, but then, square aspects are difficult, after all.

The young people we’ve considered here—who thankfully represent a growing sub-group within the autism population—have proven that by learning to communicate and fighting hard for every bit of progress, they can pursue full, mostly “normal” educations. By doing so, they experience more connected lives than was ever thought possible with autism. Beyond writing and pursuing their educations, Carly and Ido have both become online “voices” for autism awareness and research. Carly has been interviewed repeatedly by media figures; Ido has made numerous public “speeches” (using his letterboard) about autism issues, and both maintain a social media presence that helps raise awareness.  Great strides have been made in how educators work with their students with autism, but much remains to be done.

Chiron has its say
Lastly, it’s worth considering the deeper, “Chironic” wisdom of autism’s intense inward focus. With Chiron at 26°+Virgo in the generational chart, it’s not surprising that the young authors we’ve heard from express deeply spiritual insight into their “wounded” conditions (highly recommended reading!).  In fact, Chiron trines the Capricorn stellium and sextiles the Moon and Pluto (with a wider orb), thus touching both luminaries and the outer planets most characterized as “spiritual” in nature.

Mercury also comes into play, through its rulership of Virgo—the sign of Healing. According to astrologer Martin Lass, “In general, Chiron aspects to Mercury confer a potential ability to communicate and express the messages of Chiron. However, the manifestation of this expression may tend to be more non-verbal than verbal due to Wounds to our ability to communicate verbally and intellectually with others.”[35] 

Certainly a breathtaking coincidence for those with non-verbal autism we’ve considered here, the combined Chiron aspects in this chart capture the evolutionary task of Gen Sagittarius quite well. They are both the children of Pluto’s sojourn in Sagittarius, and the children of the still new Uranus-Neptune cycle (begun just 2 years before their generation landed), and as such, they form the “leading edge” of a new type of human, challenged with incorporating intense outer planetary energies into everything personal.  Such adaptations don’t come easily for all, but with Pluto, the wheels keep on turning, inexorably. True to its Sabian symbol, this generation is bringing its light to the world.




Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at: robertsonraye@gmail.com. 


© Raye Robertson 2016. All rights reserved. 


[1]The Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Foundation claims 75% of children with autism also experience sensory processing problems; however, they emphasize that “the reverse is not true…the two conditions are distinct disorders.” http://spdfoundation.net/otherdisorders.html. Accessed 9/3/2014.
[2] Center for Disease Control, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years—Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United State, 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6302a1.htm?s_cid=ss6302a1, March 28, 2014, accessed 9/3/2014.
[3] Published in the ISAR journal, Sagittarius, 2006 issue, pp. 62-68.
[4][4] Autism is an issue of global significance, so in keeping with astrological tradition, the chart is set for Greenwich, England
[5] Mainstream demographers define the Millennials as those born between 1980-2001; astrology traditionally defines generations by their Pluto sign, so there’s some overlap with the Millennials here, but over time, not all Pluto-in-Sagittarius individuals will be considered Millennials.
[6] Ido Kedar, Ido in Autismland: Coming Out of Autism’s Silent Prison, self-published, pp. 96-7.
[7] Arthur Fleischmann w/Carly Fleischmann, Carly’s Voice, Simon & Schuster, 2012.
[8] Jane Ridder-Patrick, The Handbook of Medical Astrology, CrabApple Press, 2nd edition, 2006.
[9] Ibid, p. 68.
[10] Fleischmann, pp. 298-9.
[11] Bil Tierney, Dynamics of Aspect Analysis, CRCS, 1983, p. 100.
[12] Journal of Medical Microbiology (2005), 54, 987–991…Helena M. R. T. Parracho, Max O. Bingham,† Glenn R. Gibson and Anne L. McCartney

[13] Elizabeth M. Bonker and Virginia G. Breen, I Am In Here, Revell, 2011, p. 51.
[14] Fleischmann, p. 298-9.
[15] Ridder-Patrick, p. 29.
[16] Kedar, pp. 143-4.
[17] Ibid, p. 47.
[18] Ibid., p. 53.
[19] Ridder-Patrick, p. 79.
[20] Arcade Publishing, 2008, 2011.
[21] Fleischmann, p. 302.
[22] Ridder-Patrick, p. 48.
[23] Fleischmann, p. 117.
[24] Kedar, p. 107.
[25] Ibid., p. 59.
[26] Ibid., p. 43.
[27] Ridder-Patrick, pp.. 76-7.
[28] Ridder-Patrick, p. 76.
[29] Kedar, p. 101.
[30] Kedar, 84-5.
[31] Ibid, p. 42.
[32] Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump, Random House, 2007, p. 106.
[33] Caren Haines, RN, Silently Seizing, AAPC Publishing, 2012.
[34] Ridder-Patrick, p. 78.
[35] Martin Lass, Musings of a Rogue Comet: Chiron, Planet of Healing, Galactic Publications, 2001, p. 375.