Monday, January 30, 2023

Venus at the podium: an astrological winter of discontents



A lot has been said about how violent this year of 2023 has already become in the U.S. For starters, we’ve seen a startling number of mass shootings in the short span of less than a month, 


 catalogued here by the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which characterizes itself as “an independent data collection and research group with no affiliation with any advocacy organization.” 

We’ve seen reports of 11 people shot to death and 9 others wounded in a dance studio in Monterey Park, California on the eve of Chinese New Year celebrations, with the elderly Asian gunman driving off to a second dance studio in Alhambra in search of more victims. If not for a heroic intervention by a young man there, the clearly troubled gunman would have ripped even more lives apart. Instead, he shot himself and was found in a van by police 

As if there’s been a twisted competition going on over “most heinous displays,” however, the ultimately fatal January 7th police beating of a 29-year-old black man named Tyre Nichols must be the one that grabs us by the throat and wrings our hearts out. Maybe because there was no gunshot distance between the five brutal Memphis police officers—also black—and their hapless victim, pulled over for a traffic stop; these toxic brutes chose and delivered each blow that ended this young man’s life, and they and others failed to deliver the medical aid he needed after the fact.  

They chose to use their State-sanctioned authority to brutalize a fellow citizen on video, so we might wonder if they thought their actions would be considered appropriate! Were they trying to prove that they don’t play “favorites” with black individuals they stop on the road? And why were five officers carrying out a vaguely-justified “reckless driving” traffic stop for one young man?  

Rodney Wells, holding photo of stepson Tyre Nichols after police beating.
Apparently, these cops were members of a so-called “elite” Scorpion unit within the Memphis police establishment—one of many units that are known for using excessive force across the nation. This paints quite a hideous picture of State violence in our times and is related to the larger issue of the militarization of local police forces. Or what’s being referred to as “warrior policing,” a troubling and pervasive enough development to warrant attention from the Harvard Law Review forum. An excerpt: 

“Modern policing has so thoroughly assimilated the warrior mythos that, at some law enforcement agencies, it has become a point of professional pride to refer to the ‘police warrior.’ This is more than a relatively minor change in terminology. Though adopted with the best of intentions, the warrior concept has created substantial obstacles to improving police/community relations. In short, law enforcement has developed a ‘warrior’ problem.” 

With badass titles like the “Scorpion” unit, is it any wonder that abuse-prone cops get caught up in a darkly overblown sense of their own authority and “warriorship?”  

To her credit, instead of deeming their actions as defensible and worth investigating, however, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis described the offending officers’ actions as seen in body-cam videos as “a failing of basic humanity” and immediately fired them all. As of January 26, so perhaps in record time, all five former officers have been charged with second degree manslaughter and other felony charges. By two days later, the entire Scorpion unit was shut down. Davis’s choices have been sensitive and responsible, in the face of outrageous tragedy.  

So, what is going on in the Cosmos to unleash such a troubling concentration of violence in one gruesome month, let alone one tragic life? Let’s consider a chart (Chart 1 below) for the January 7th attack on Tyre Nichols in Memphis, cast for 8:30 p.m., the approximate time published online for this event. 


Chart 1. The fatal January 7, 2023 police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, TN. 


Mercury rules this Virgo-rising chart from 5th house Capricorn, conjunct the Sun, opposite Pallas in Cancer, trine 9th house Uranus in Taurus and square 8th house Chiron in Aries. There’s a long history of Aries Chiron lurking about significantly when racially-charged domestic violence surfaces in American affairs—a story for another day; suffice to say here, our national Sibly chart’s Chiron return is looming ahead in April, 2024, so this balsamic period (of that Chiron transit) probably has something to do with the spike in violence and the growing public intolerance for such expressions of state violence against black individuals.  

This heavy, amply-connected Saturnian Mercury also disposes Mars in Gemini at the top of this chart, with Mars disposing that Aries Chiron in turn at the same time it trines Aquarius Venus—more on the role Venus is playing here soon. It’s also notable that Mars, seeking expression and release, rules the Aries 8th house here and disposes Aries Jupiter in that house, which would amplify that “expression.” Together all this captures the deadly nature of the warrior policing seen that night.  

So, there is a troubling convergence of rank-and-file (Mercury) would-be warriors (Mars) perpetuating the deeply-rooted existential wounding (Chiron) of black men in this country, men who have been systematically demonized and ill-treated throughout our history. It’s well-past time for justice (Pallas) to manifest in these matters and well past time to put this festering karmic baggage behind us 

Thankfully and to the credit of many determined families, legal and religious organizations and teams, we’ve also seen more and more prosecutions delivered in cases like the Nichols’ killing in recent years—especially since the ruthless killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May, 2020. This trend towards expanded accountability seems to have unfolded since Saturn entered Aquarius and began its latest cycle with Jupiter on that doorstep in December, 2020. On June 25, 2021 in that Minneapolis case, Derek Chauvin, the lead officer most responsible for Floyd’s death, was convicted of multiple murder and manslaughter charges and sentenced to 22+ years in prison. State-sanctioned thug power was punished that day, with Saturn Rx square Uranus (Aquarius-Taurus).  

Flipping back to this week’s heinous killing, Saturn has moved deeper into its 3Q phase with Uranus but is only square if we allow very wide orbs. Even so, in Chart 1 above, there is an almost exact waning square between the Venus/Saturn midpoint and Uranus Rx. This would be a heavy aspect between most signs, but between the fixed signs of Aquarius and Taurus (disposed by Aquarius Venus here), it packs extra punch and shock value. This Venus is no shrinking violet, clearly: in Memphis, she seems to be the Police chief, standing at her department’s official podium, fixed on responsibly directing and accounting for (Saturn co-rules Aquarius) those under her command. Let’s consider what midpoints-expert Michael Munkasey has to say about this midpoint: 

“Thesis (+): Restrictions on wealth or income; law enforcement avoiding difficult cumbersome issues; changes forced on enterprises by new social, artistic or musical values; building the value of the enterprise. 

Anti- (-): Restrictions on the way society is able to function; elderly people in the enterprise who have artistic tendencies; a law enforcement bureau which derives pleasure from restricting the movement of the people.” [1] 

There’s a lot to chew on here, but the two comments regarding law enforcement are quite relevant; it seems likely that Chief Davis expedited her department’s response to the five officers’ behavior to get ahead of more serious repercussions. Like street protests that would demand her badge, too, for instance. Police-community relations are always fragile and the heinous "failure of humanity” on the part of her officers could certainly push them over the edge.  

Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis discussing the Nichols' case
Venus brings attention to the issue of values in this context, which speaks to the cultures that animate organizations. Unfortunately, with police departments, culture and values can make the difference between life and death for those the police are supposed to be serving. Officers being trained to be toxic “warriors” who leap to judgment about who deserves protection and who deserves a beating or worse is key here.  

Munkasey’s second observation about “a law enforcement bureau which derives pleasure from restricting the movement of the people” also speaks to this culture issue, capturing the potential for abusing police power. Maybe it’s time for Law Enforcement writ-large to question what exactly draws candidates to its doors?  

Returning to the chart, the Moon-Pluto opposition between Cancer-Capricorn also suggests toxic, perhaps even corrupt instincts at work. The Moon rules the 11th house here, so if we imagine institutional policing as a figurative “body” giving “birth,” doctors would be watching it for toxemia and worse (Pluto). When the Moon falls opposite the Sun, we experience its maximum reflected Light; with this opposition to Pluto, Memphis police engaged in soul-crushing, maximum Darkness.  

The Moon moves quickly, of course: were the offending officers reacting to some workplace “survival” issue, perhaps? This will be a story to watch.   

Finally, Saturn and Uranus function as final dispositors in this chart, so it’s significant that Saturn tightly squares the Uranus/MC midpoint (Aquarius-Taurus) here, suggesting a forced focus on high-level institutional reform. What form this will take and which level of government will drive the reform all remains to be seen, of course.  Whatever the case, support seems to exist for such reforms, with Jupiter (Aries) individually sextile both Venus (Aquarius) and Pluto (Capricorn)--both disposed by Saturn, if not Uranus. It’s true that Jupiter has a love/hate relationship with authority, however, and this Mars-infused (Aries) Jupiter could also fuel attempts to evade responsibility, so time will tell. 

Final thoughts 

We are going through some very intense cosmic “weather” as I keep seeing it described, and there will no doubt be a lot to talk about  in the coming months, with Venus, Saturn and Pluto changing signs, the Jupiter-Pluto cycle reaching its waxing square (1Q) threshold at 0°+Taurus-Aquarius, the Jupiter-Uranus cycle not too far behind, launching its new cycle in 4/2024, right around the time of our U.S. Sibly Chiron return, mentioned earlier. To my eye, it’s all working together to send critical messages our way, so this is a good time to strap in for the ride!

For now, one big message seems to be that it’s simply time to start lancing the poison of systemic bias from our body politic and our institutions before we start a new Sibly Chiron cycle. This cycle serves as a wake-up call all by itself, but within the current cosmic “climate,” it’s even more critical that we recognize how interdependent we all are in society, and how much the well-being of one of us depends upon the well-being of all. We share in the woundedness of this society, so it's only right that we share in its healing. With Chiron that often feels like a never-ending struggle, but consider this: we also share in this nation's glories and possibilities, and it's all part of one grand story.  

At the moment it feels as if there’s no way to go but up.  

Light and Love to all!  







[1] Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, 1991, San Diego, CA, p. 200. 


Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and retired educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years. For information about individual chart readings, contact: 

© Raye Robertson 2023. All rights reserved.