Thursday, May 9, 2024

New Guide to Planetary Cycles, Vol. 1 now released!

Today, I am gratefully celebrating the release (finally!) of the first volume of a longer work I've been plugging away at for years now--with the ever-patient help of friends and family. The cover of this volume is pictured at right. 

This initial release is for the Kindle e-book version of the book, but a paperback version should be forthcoming in short order. For now, please click here for more information.

This work:
  • addresses the basics of outer planetary cycles, using visuals to illustrate wherever possible
  • breaks down the individual qualities of each of the traditional five outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) and digs into what happens when any two of these five are paired up and their movements are taken together as the influential dynamic entities--or cycles--they are. 
  • picks apart quandaries like how do traditional aspects and cycles overlap and/or work together?  What impact do retrograde periods have on the unfolding of planetary cycles and why should we care?
  • digs into the key roles that Jupiter and Saturn play as the so-called "Great Chronocrators" of our solar system
  • includes highly relevant chart examples taken from accessible history and/or well-documented news items and trends
  • provides important reference materials (found in several appendices), including outer planetary cycles timelines from the past 250+ years, the complete chart data used in the course of each volume and detailed notes and references.

Please note that this first volume covers the first four of ten possible outer planetary cycles--the Jupiter cycles (Jup-Sat, Jup-Ura, Jup-Nep and Jup-Plu). The three Saturn cycles (Sat-Ura, Sat-Nep, Sat-Plu) will be covered in the second volume, and the remaining three cycles (Ura-Nep, Ura-Plu, Nep-Plu) will be covered in the third and final volume, along with a detailed exploration of the Cyclical Index, an important interpretation technique that comes to us from classical mundane astrology.

At the end of the day, my hope with this series is that it will--in my small way--build upon that precious legacy and will provide a bit of guidance
for future practitioners. Again, for further information, please click here
Godspeed to you all!  

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. Her articles on these topics have appeared in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. She is the author of multiple works published by Amazon Kindle--please see here for her latest. For information about individual chart readings, contact:

© Raye Robertson 2024. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Where the personal meets the collective: looking back at a critical cyclical turning point


“The world is always bigger than one’s own focus…”—M.C. Richard, Centering

A woman astronaut looked back at her first voyage into space: “Up there,” she says, “looking down on our beautiful blue planet, with no borders anywhere to be seen, I felt so at one with humanity…and, I have to tell you, I was especially happy to be away from my neighbor’s annoying dog for a few days.”

To my astrologer’s ear, this anecdote evokes Neptune, which operates—as every planet does—on different dimensions of existence. The feeling of being “at one with humanity” is a profound, spiritual perk of Neptune, while avoiding the neighbor’s dog is a nice bit of personal, Neptunian escapism.

That perhaps silly example provided my opening for an article that was published in The Mountain Astrologer in Feb/Mar 2018, entitled “The Disappearing Personal/Collective Divide: Helping Clients to Navigate Insecure Times.” As I recall, it was inspired at the time by not only the lingering impact of the 2008-10 “great” recession here in the U.S., but also by a rush of news about technological developments that seemed sure to cause dislocations in the job market and more havoc of the sort from which people were still trying to recover.

From today’s perspective, those times almost seem innocent compared with what we’ve experienced since as a nation, but it all makes sense, looking back: in the midst of a 7-year mutual reception between Uranus and Neptune (2003-2010, from Pisces to Aquarius), a fiery new late Sagittarius Jupiter-Pluto cycle clicked into place in December, 2007, followed by a new late Aquarius Jupiter-Neptune cycle that conjoined our national Moon in May, 2009, perhaps enabling the Opioid crisis and a host of mental health dysfunctions we are experiencing as a nation yet today.

Then, on June 8, 2010, Jupiter and Uranus convened at 00°+Aries, with Uranus disposing a late Aquarius Neptune conjunct 00°+Pisces Chiron a semi-sextile away—all keen to weaponize deep national divisions and wounds that we might have forgotten existed. Could there be a more blatant erasure of the collective/personal divide than our tortured history with race and the caste system it has sustained all these years? Some benefit; some suffer; the shadow boxing goes on. 



Clearly the post mutual reception period acted like a key turning point.

So, my goal in writing that 2018 piece was to explore how astrologers can tease out the sometimes subtle personal/collective connections that their clients are faced with every day in trying to plan for the future. As I put it then, it’s healthy to recognize that these domains can’t help but overlap (and often collide) in every realm of life: Employment, career, relationships, family and community life, not to mention our relationship with the environment and geopolitics, are all at stake in these overlaps.

Underlying these concerns, of course, is the universal human need for security, so while we might like to tune out from the broader concerns of our times, as the astronaut did with that annoying “dog,” there’s no real escaping that collective concerns do impact us very directly.

We’ve all endured a recent prime example of this, of course—the 2020-22 COVID-19 pandemic that we were all forced to navigate and survive the best we could. On some level, we all have scars from that period: just hearing the latest death tolls on the news every night became traumatic, even if those tolls were describing others’ grief and not our own.  


Nurses linked patients with families during the worst COVID times.

We all carry with us at least one searing experience from that time: my dearest friend’s 96-year-old mother died alone in a hospital bed, forced to say goodbye to her family by phone; globally, Humanity lost millions of loved ones who died alone in hospital beds, comforted only by the heroic nurses who allowed their hearts to be ravaged every day they reported for duty—some, at the cost of their own lives. The virulent contagion of this virus confronted us with just how deeply and completely we are “in this together,” for better or worse.

This is how Neptune rolls as the ruler of communicable viral diseases, of course, and the sooner we individually accepted our vulnerability during the COVID crisis, the better we were able to navigate its waves and resist the denialism that followed in its wake. Unfortunately, too many individuals emerged from the pandemic traumatized and dealing with new addictions, coping with their grief and dysfunction by trading one Neptunian malady for another.

And the list of such maladies goes on, haunting our times with gang- and drug-related crises at home and abroad (Haiti and Ecuador come to mind, but they’re not alone) and, critically, with climate change and its known tendency to unleash rising sea levels and destructive weather patterns. How could these collective challenges—all tightly entwined with the thorny (also Neptunian) issue of immigration—not have personal ramifications? Do we pursue Neptunian escapism and dismiss the seriousness of these problems, hoping they will fix themselves? Or do we accept personal and collective responsibility for doing our part, whatever that might be?

Bottom line, individual and collective wellbeing only seem separate; in fact, they are as enmeshed as our individual minds, bodies and spirits are. Or as entangled as our current geopolitical realities are. I would argue here that mundane astrology can help us better grasp these realities and their implications for our personal lives.

For instance, during the worst of COVID, epidemiologists often reminded us that “the virus is in charge,” and that a massive public effort was needed to halt its spread. Instead, too many, from then-president Trump on down to ordinary citizens, turned to conspiracy theories that spun masking, social distancing and vaccination recommendations into a tyrannical plot against us all. Talk about self-sabotage…and for what?

Neptune’s transit through home sign Pisces (ongoing since 2011) has proven to be adept at spawning misinformation and conspiracy theorizing, a type of mental “virus” in its own right and one that seems to undermine the ability of many to think rationally and to approach issues like vaccinations without irrational fears taking over. Of course, rationality and science are the province of Saturn, which can counter Neptunian fog and delusions, but as we’ll see, since reaching their 3Q waning square in 2015, Saturn and Neptune have been ill-at-ease with each other—a situation that came to head during the COVID years. 

What was so difficult about accepting the CDC's well-meaning guidance?

Saturnian institutions like the CDC and the WHO have been undermined over the course of this Saturn-Neptune passage, which weakens all our public health defense mechanisms. Unfortunately for our overall COVID death toll and current public health in the U.S., Saturn is in a particularly weakened relationship relative to Neptune today, transiting in Pisces in the deep balsamic phase of their 1989 cycle (first launched at 12°+Capricorn that March). It will remain in this phase until it reaches a new conjunction in February, 2026.  

If there was any silver lining at all in the COVID crisis, it was that the worst of it was behind us before Saturn entered Neptune-ruled Pisces in March 2023.

To examine this Saturn-Neptune dynamic a bit more closely, let’s briefly consider a chart for the inception of the disease in the U.S. In case it’s not burned into your memory, consider the following bit of history from the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 timeline:

“January 20, 2020—CDC reports the first laboratory-confirmed case of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the U.S. from samples taken on January 18 (added emphasis) in Washington state and on the same day activates its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to respond to the emerging outbreak.”

Displayed below is a noon chart for that infamous January 18th day, set for Washington, D.C. because the emergency declaration implicated the entire U.S. Before we focus on Saturn and Neptune and the influences they brought to bear in this chart, however, we’ll consider the “big picture” of the chart’s cyclical index numbers.


Chart #1. First COVID-19 case found in the U.S., January 18, 2020, 12 p.m. (noon chart, no time known), Washington, D.C. All charts are cast on Kepler 8.0 with Tropical Equal Houses and True Node and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software. 



If you’ve frequented this site, you’ll know that cyclical index numbers are derived from the degrees separating each of the outer planets in their various cycle relationships, as listed in Table 1 below. It follows that the algebraic sum of all ten of these cycle numbers (adding both positive waxing ones and negative waning ones) then becomes the cyclical index number for this particular chart and its moment in time.

Table 1. Cylical index for January 18, 2020 (see Chart #1 above)


Waxing angle of separation

Waning angle of separation
















































*Figures are rounded to the nearest degree by totaling the minutes column separately from the degrees column and then dividing the total number of minutes by 60 to find any extra degrees.

With so many waning cycles in the mix in this chart, it’s not surprising that the cyclical index total in Table 1 is deeply negative. The more subtle nuances of positive and negative index numbers are a long discussion for another day: suffice to say here that the ups and downs of the index are thought in classic mundane astrology to reflect the social and political “tone” of the times for which they are calculated [1]. These numbers—especially when considered over a stretch of time—can speak to the nation’s trending “mood,” its level of dysfunction and its readiness for change.

But these numbers speak to frozen moments of time, as well: the deeply negative index total above clearly reflects the negative and dysfunctional mood of the nation at the onset of the COVID pandemic, despite the brave faces people put on to meet the challenges.

Turning our focus now to the Saturn-Neptune cycle and the additional influences each planet brought to bear during the pandemic, we see in Chart #1 that on the day of that fateful CDC discovery, the Saturn-Neptune cycle was well into its institution-debilitating 3Q phase, a phase that was being empowered and influenced at that moment by Saturn’s then-recent Capricorn conjunction with Pluto (first exact on January 12th). 


So, there were weighty, even ominous feeling forces at work, feelings that may have inspired the backlash that spiraled as COVID vaccinations (Neptune) were rolled out. Many opposing masking,  vaccination regimens and school closures (so necessary in the beginning) cited the “tyranny” of these collective mandates—looking back, it’s quite possible they were picking up on the potent new Saturn-Pluto “vibes” afloat at the time. Yes, there has been an ongoing drift towards authoritarianism in this nation since 2020, but the government’s response to COVID was the least of it.

Others unhappy with this response, however—or just sinply out to score political points—allowed conspiracy theories about evil vaccination-related plots to overtake their thinking and fill their social media feeds. Saturn and Neptune were more than implicated in all this.

Notice that Saturn and Pluto (Capricorn) tightly squared disruptive Eris (Aries) in this chart: it only took then-president Trump a hot minute to realize that he could politicize the pandemic and could tap into those aggrieved feelings by playing the contrarian—refusing to mask up or promote the vaccinations his CDC had developed. He refused to support the CDC’s recommendations, even to protect those around him (Chris Christie comes to mind!) or the American people. Most outrageously, he pushed ineffective and potentially dangerous vaccination substitutes like hydroxychloroquine and bleach instead. Forbes magazine sums up how seriously Trump was flirting with people’s lives with these actions:

“The former president, Donald Trump, repeatedly promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine in the spring of 2020, as both a preventative against and treatment for Covid-19. He did this despite the drug not having proven effectiveness or safety. According to a study published in the February 2024 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, the pharmaceutical has now been linked to approximately 17,000 deaths.

Trump also made a habit of referring to the COVID-19 virus as the “China virus”—blatantly stoking anti-Asian sentiments and behavior and using them to justify his “Zero tolerance” and “Remain in Mexico” anti-immigrant policies at the southern border. The Saturn-Neptune cycle is often significantly involved during fraught immigration-related times, and these were definitely those times.

The 3Q phase of this cycle has the potential of tearing down essential social institutions—we would hope for the sake of building them back better—but as I write this in 2024, we have little reason to hope that the mistrust and animus Trump inspired against the CDC, the World Health Organization and our National Institute of Allergies & Infectious Diseases (headed by the unfairly vilified Dr. Anthony Fauci) will do anything but further debilitate all these institutions.

As it happens, the health and welfare of the People is a major focus of Saturn and Neptune and their cycle in our everyday mundane affairs. During the 2020 crisis, we learned that these two primal “gods” represent natural, biological dynamics operating on the broad collective level (pandemic) that we simply had to come to terms with both individually and collectively if we wanted to move beyond that crisis. Even Trump–through his own hospitalization with the disease—was unable to suspend the laws of Nature, as hard as he tried to ignore and downplay them. Causes will always trigger effects (Saturn), and feedback loops (a specialty of Neptune) can, if we stubbornly accept no limits, cascade totally out of control.


Economic and cyclical index trends can have a lot in common.


Final thoughts

The good news is, as the COVID pandemic has receded into our rearview mirror as a society, we’ve also experienced some relief from those deeply negative cyclical index numbers weighing us all down in 2020. Every time a new planetary cycle launches, of course, it’s added to the waxing column and begins to elevate the overall index numbers. The day before Saturn and Pluto conjoined in January, 2020, the index total was a whoppingly low -1598; when the planets conjoined the following day (January 12th), the number rebounded to a still-negative, but upward trending -1240. Yes, we hit bottom as the new 2020 decade dawned—and with COVID it felt like it—but in retrospect, that new Saturn-Pluto cycle can be considered an important turning point.

Since that cycle launched, the index numbers have continued trending up: there’s been a new Jupiter-Pluto cycle (April, 2020), a new Jupiter-Neptune cycle in April, 2022, and most recently, a new Jupiter-Uranus cycle that kicked into gear this past April 20, 2024, bringing the index number up to a modestly negative -153. A minor “twinge” to the body politic compared to the heavy, painful situation in 2020!

Obviously, a lot has transpired since COVID swept across the U.S., and the unfolding higher index numbers have not cured all our national ills, by any stretch. But key indicators like job numbers and economic indicators have been more or less positive. Prices are high, but wages have also gotten a boost in the wake of the pandemic, so people are still traveling, enjoying Taylor Swift concerts, filling sports arenas and driving new cars. Congress is still intensely dysfunctional (the Saturn-Neptune and Saturn-Uranus cycles are still deeply waning) but dedicated (sometimes courageous) persistence on key bills has broken through obstacles and produced some progress.

The tougher news is that the two deeply waning Saturn cycles are likely to continue tearing down and potentially reinventing our national institutions—our ability to get things done as a checks-and-balances democracy, basically. Also threatened are the international institutions that support our leadership on the world stage—for years to come. As noted, the Saturn-Neptune cycle doesn’t refresh itself until February, 2026 and the Saturn-Uranus cycle won’t complete until mid-2032. We can passively or carelessly squander our democracy and succumb to its authoritarian reinvention, or we can take responsibility for safeguarding the best this nation has to offer.

As Benjamin Franklin famously characterized that best: “a Republic, if you can keep it.”






[1] for more on this discussion, see Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion and Charles Harvey, Mundane Astrology: An Introduction to the Astrology of Nations and Groups, Thorsons, London, 1984, pp. 169-174.


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. Her articles on these topics have appeared in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. For information about individual chart readings, contact:

© Raye Robertson 2024. All rights reserved.


© Raye Robertson 2020. All rights reserved.