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Passing of a Challenger 01/08/2012

Posted by zoidion in Hellenistic.
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The recent early passing of former astronaut Sally Ride provides an opportunity to test the usefulness of several Hellenistic techniques of astrological delineation and timing. And though the American space program has passed into obscurity, this particular milestone serves as a reminder of one of a great many instances of women’s integration into the world’s public life.

Using the whole-sign house system that is standard Hellenistic practice, the symbolism of Jupiter in relation to the character and timing of her rise to prominence comes into sharper focus. True, Jupiter is the ruling planet of her Piscean Midheaven, linking a pioneering (Jupiter in Aries) situation with the nature of her renown. But Aries occupying all of the tenth house (or place)—with none of Pisces included—puts the emphasis on her own initiative and drive in seeking and keeping a place in what had been a men-only club, eventually leading to the public spotlight. (All the more so when noting that Mars, which disposes of Jupiter, is natally in tight conjunction with the Sun in the background twelfth place.)

Jupiter, symbol of elevation of status, honors and long-distance travel, is emphasized by being the time lord of the profected year of her triumph, 1983.

Profection is the sequence of houses related to age, with the ruling planet of the sign associated with a given house being accorded the role of “time lord.” The sequence, naturally enough, begins at birth with the first house—the body—and proceeds in numerical order, so that the first house is again activated at ages 12, 24, 36 and so on.

Sally Ride was just past her 32nd birthday when the space shuttle Challenger was launched June 18, 1983, so she was in a ninth house year, time lord Jupiter. What could be more appropriate? She quickly came into much greater prominence—Jupiter in the natal tenth place—as a result of an incidence of long-distance travel—over two-and-a-half-million miles in six days—in the kind of adventure accessible to a very few. She was the first (Aries) American woman in space.

Sally Ride: natal chart (center), secondary progression (middle) and transits (outer) for date and time of Challenger launch

One of the rules of profections is that the location (sign and house) and condition (dignity or debility by sign) of the time lord in the natal chart, and the transits of the time lord, are especially. However, the location and condition of the planet in the natal chart is more important than by transit.

The natal location has already been mentioned, though it must be added that Jupiter natally has neither dignity nor debility in Aries; this could be an indication of the relative brevity of Ride’s fame and prominence, even though Jupiter in the natal chart is in sect (above the horizon with the Sun), thus relatively strong. (Also, her natal Sun-Mars in the twelfth place, along with Moon in the eighth, would not symbolically contribute to life in the public eye—her subsequent appearance on “Sesame Street” notwithstanding.) Certainly competent, her role was to open the door for others.

The transit of Jupiter on launch day was quite dramatic: in tight opposition to natal Sun-Mars from Jupiter’s other sign of domicile, Sagittarius. There could be no more potent indication that the gods (and goddesses) had opened a path for her, saying, in effect: This is your time. It didn’t hurt, either, that transiting Jupiter was trine to natal Jupiter.

While the in-sect benefic (in Ride’s case, Jupiter) is a prominent indicator of periods of success and recognition, the out-of-sect malefic (here, Mars), when activated by profection, shows when major trouble arrives. That took place early in 2011, when she was 59 and was diagnosed as having pancreatic cancer, one of those types with a low rate of survival. While bestowing drive, through conjunction with the Sun, Mars in the twelfth place can also be seen as attacking the vitality of the native. The general meaning of the twelfth place is that of suffering, weakness and dangers: a difficult place for Mars, especially in a diurnal (daytime) chart.

The profection of the Ascendant to the twelfth place in 2010-11 brought Mars, and the Sun, into a play: a fight for life. The time lord, however, was Mercury—in neither dignity nor debility in Taurus, thus peregrine and unable to “assist” in the struggle. In fact, posited in Taurus, adjacent to where it rules in Gemini, Mercury when activated was  “averse”: disconnected somehow from what was developing. Perhaps her understanding of her medical condition and/or the medical advice she received compromised her prospects for recovery.

With her birthday 2011, Sally Ride turned 60, beginning a first place (life and body) profected year: Cancer, ruled by the Moon in the natal eighth house (death). Then too the time lord was averse—the condition of a ruling planet in the second, sixth, eighth or twelfth place from its “home.” That was likely a year punctuated by multiple chemotherapy treatments and living more than ever in the moment, knowing that her days were probably numbered low.

She lasted two months past her 61st birthday, into a second place / Leo profection. The time lord Sun, as it turned out, was highlighted: on the day she died, July 23, the Sun at two degrees Leo was one degree away from the progressed Sun and closely “seeing”—the opposite of averse—the natal Sun.

Jupiter was at nine degrees Gemini and also closely “seeing” natal Jupiter. The nation, and anyone whose imagination was ever intrigued by space travel, took notice and remembered the bright, modest woman who brought feminine beauty (and big hair) to the American space program.

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