The Power Degrees of the Zodiac (2024)

© Frank C. Clifford-first published by The Astrological Journal, 2016 / The Astrological Association of Great Britain / 01.08.2019

The first, middle and final degrees in each of the signscarry specific and potent messages, whether in the natal horoscope ordirected/progressed charts. Here, a range of horoscopes of famous peopleand events is analysed to demonstrate the spectrum of meanings acrossthese highly-charged degrees

The Power Degrees of the Zodiac (1)Inhonour of Charles Carter (who famously researched the degrees of thezodiac), I prepared this lecture to offer some of my own insights andobservations into the first, final (and middle) degrees of the signs. Iwon’t dare suggest that these are the most powerful, determining factors in a chart – they’re simply important ones.It’s an on-going research project and tonight I’ll be usingsome interesting modern day examples –both natal charts and solararc (SA) directions.

I’ll be paying close attention to the final degree of Scorpio–we astrologers know that it’s fatal to ignore anydegree of Scorpio. And, as we know, Mars is at this degree tonight(Friday 12 September 2014).

The mundane picture

On a mundane level, we know that when outer planets transit thefinal few degrees of a sign, we say goodbye to certain aspects (andiconic figures) that have been at the heart of that ingress; it’sthe end of an era. As these planets ingress into a new sign, we can spotsignposts of events to come – the mood of the new transit. And the sceneis set for the years ahead.

Films and music released at this time can be prophetic. Remember, forinstance, the voyeuristic theme of The Truman Show, which was released as Neptune moved into Aquarius – and heralded the start of our fascination with (and loathing of) reality TV?

Laws passed at ingresses can herald the new planetary season. Someweeks after Uranus made its ingress into Aries, France became the firstEuropean country to prohibit the niqab and burka. The planet Uranus islinked to bans and censorship, while Aries rules the face and isconcerned with being the first to do things. Accordingly it was acontroversial move that had both sides arguing equality – and freedom of expression. ‘Bans in the name of freedom’ seem to be the orderof Uranus in Aries!

Neptune’s move into the first degree of Pisces brought morethan a whiff of scandal. There were stories about invasions. Notinvasions of little green men from outer space abducting farmers inMiddle America and performing surgery on cows. But the invasions ofprivacy and the abduction of personal data. We read of leaks and infiltrations, cyber warfare and phone-hacking. Who can forget TheNews of the World scandal? Perhaps some of the biggest battles ofthis transit will revolve around the processing and containment ofinformation, and the collection, sale and distribution of personal data.And by the end of this transit, there will be little left of personalprivacy.

A few years ago, in The Astrological Journal, I wrote that Neptune in Pisces might be seen in:

• The increasing numbers of migrations of nomadic communitieswithout a fixed abode;
• Telepathic forms of everyday communication;
• The erosion of drugs laws and acceptance of certain drugs formedical purposes, and a greater tolerance for euthanasia.

The transit might also link to areas ruled by its opposite sign ofVirgo: from the disappearance of a retirement age, to diseases, virusesand plagues, and to the evaporation of pensions and health careprovisions.

0° in the natal chart

So, let’s take a closer look at the first degree – zerodegrees – of a sign. When a planet is at 0° in the natal chart:

• There is new territory to explore. As it takes its initial stepsinto its new surroundings, the planet delights in discovering itself. Itanticipates the new journey ahead.
• There is a new language to learn and much work to be done; a planetat the beginning of a sign is keen to grasp that sign’s essence.Embarking on this voyage, the planet appears highly eager to encounterand get a sense of that which it will become.
• It revels in the pure, undiluted nature of the sign. There’sa fresh, unstudied quality to a planet at this degree. There may also bea pioneering feel – those of us who have a planet (especially a personalplanet) at 0° have something original to bring forth to the world aroundus.
• There is a tendency to exhibit the sign’s most familiar,obvious, prima facie, ‘textbook’ traits. The planet at 0° indulges in a spectrum of sign connotations and associations, but as yet there’s little deftness or experience in how to master the sign. Theplanet has grasped the initial spirit without the awareness that comesfrom journeying through the sign and mastering its essence.

Let’s consider a few pop culture and newsworthy examples.

There’s little subtlety when the Sun is at 0°Aries. Overt, playful sexuality is one theme of 0° Aries. The independentfilm-maker Russ Meyer was obsessed with low-budgetsexploitation films. He directed cult X-rated ‘classics’ suchas Vixen! and Faster, puss*cat! Kill! Kill! featuring Amazonian starlets, with gargantuan, pneumatic, gravity-defying breasts,who ran around beating up men who dared to restrict their freedom. (Wecan see that his chart also contains Venus in Aries opposite Jupiter,Moon–Jupiter, and Mars in Sagittarius on the Descendant.)

Meyer made comedies and ‘cartoons’ and mocked moralstereotypes, using sex to satirise American society, but many feministshated his adolescent Arien fantasies. He was known for his quick wit, andonce he was confronted by a woman who accused him of being ‘nothingbut a breast man’. He responded, ‘That’s only the halfof it.’

On a deeper level (if there is one!), the first degree of Aries isabout a truthful performance, creating something stark and raw.There’s a focus on making an impact, and a self-obsession withone’s arrival onto the scene. And we sense immediacy (entering thefray without a plan of attack) and the need for instant arousal andspeed, as in Ayrton Senna (Sun at 0° Aries), the FormulaOne race car legend who died from massive head injuries while racing at280km/h (155 mph). Sports enthusiasts still argue whether he was areckless renegade or the number one racer of all time.

Aries is a sign associated with physicality and violence (giving orreceiving), and also (somewhat paradoxically) associated with blindfaith, naïve trust and innocence.

I have a client with the Sun at 0° Aries whose father once describedboth her childlike innocence and her fearlessness. That’s the keyto the first degree of Aries. He said she could have singlehandedly takenon those in the Brixton Riots, but could also be found out in the fieldstalking to the magical fairies and angels she believed in. She is astartling redhead who was at the forefront of many social protests andpolitical rallies in the 1980s; someone who has fought for the underdogbut is constantly too trusting and gullible in business. She gives awayher time and money – and struggles to keep financially afloat. This placement defines her.

The first degree of Aries needs a clear-cut cause – now! – and seesthe world in black and white terms. Not through the lens of cynicism, butthrough the simple polarities of good and evil, right and wrong: to 0°Aries, you’re either the noble knight or the immoral charlatan.

Gemini at 0° has perhaps the lowest boredom threshold of all timeand constantly needs to be ‘in process’ –juggling,scanning, choosing. A planet at this degree immediately sees thepolarities, the contradictions, the alternatives and divisions in theworld –and it’s not surprising that indecision can be a majorfactor. Its enthusiasm lies in getting other people to share information, to break the ice, speak out and communicate. The urge to be heard,understood and in dialogue is strongest here, as is the flicker ofboredom in the eyes when something newer or more tantalizing comes along.

Picture Henry VIII with Venus at 0° Gemini (suggesting fickleness and a non-committal stance in the area of women and attraction). With Venus on the MC, he was known for his numerous wives andhis search for one who could deliver – literally and quickly.

The Power Degrees of the Zodiac (3)A natural reporter, fact-finder and journalist, 0° Gemini is hungry fordata in order to find patterns and make links. For instance, datacollector Lois Rodden was born with the Sun at 0° Gemini.It wasn’t just a desire to collect data and rate its accuracy; shehad an interest in ‘doubting’ the official word – what hadcome before. We can see this with 0° Gemini: a rejection of what has beenembedded by the previous sign (Taurus) or accepted as tradition, and aneed to clarify before information-overload (later in the sign ofGemini). Or, simply put, to separate the bull – Taurus – from the bullsh*t – Gemini!

But wait, all of the above are Gemini traits and themes, whateverthe degree of Gemini. But the nature of the sign is undiluted,simplified, most obvious and raring to go when a planet is at 0°.

What of 0° Virgo? As astrologer Kim Farley often says, ‘Afterthe party of Leo, someone’s got to clean up.’ Someone’sgot to dip their toe in and check the temperature – and look for hairs inthe bath. And that’s Virgo.

At this degree, there’s a determination to learn a craft andembark upon the simple life. The understanding here is that to achieve,one must sign up to an apprenticeship, to be of service to a greatergood, to have pure intentions, and to attend to the body and its needs.If 0° Leo is the degree of helping oneself to something, then 0°Virgo is the degree of ‘self-help’, a solo journey towardsmaking a difference in the world. There’s a belief that one’ssingular efforts can make a difference – if one works hard enough – andthat the simple things in life are the most profound. These are thingsthat truly touch the soul. Bob Geldof (with Mars at 0°Virgo) saw the clarity of one man making a difference –he respondedto the plight of the starving in Ethiopia. Famine relief, health,(mal)nutrition and the overlooked are all of great concern to the earnestplanet positioned at 0° Virgo.

0° in forecasting

When a planet reaches 0° by transit, progression or solar arc (takeyour pick), there’s a major shift and a new script. The planet haschanged sign, element and mode. In forecasting, I use solar arcdirections, where everything in the chart (the planets, angles,house cusps, even retrograde planets) moves forward a degree a year.

With solar arc, each planet, angle or point stays at 0° for twelvemonths, and this sets the mood for the longer period to come. It’sa portent, a signpost of what we can expect for the next thirty years. Asort of ‘operatic overture’ – a condensed, intenselyheightened period during which we are swamped by images of this new signand we experience issues around it. It’s a year of getting to know,and beginning to work out, the essence of that sign.

An important point to remember is that when a planet ingresses intoa sign, it ‘speaks to’ and begins to activate everyplanet/angle natally in that sign, regardless of the actual degree. Thisis the ‘natal memory’ – what the person knows of the sign from birth. So that initial year at 0° will have a flavour of the new signand will be tinged by any natal positions in that sign.

The Power Degrees of the Zodiac (4)A favourite example of mine that I often use is thechart of Pamela Anderson. She posed for Playboywhen her Sun directed to 0° Leo, a sign that natally contained theover-the-top glamour combo of Venus and Jupiter in Leo. Now, we’renot all going to pose for Playboy when our Sun’s directedinto Leo, but Anderson was ambitious and beautiful, and at the right timeand place. Leo is linked to the centrefold and big blonde hair, and beinga Sun in Cancer in the 1st house, Pamela Anderson was ready to show offher weapons of mass distraction.

Whether the transition to a new sign is easy or fraught depends onnumerous things, including the planets waiting in the new sign. The weekafter singer Diana Ross’s Sun directed into Gemini, her husband announced the end of their marriage – on live TV! Her Sun(already in the 7th house) had left the safety and stability of Taurus –the sign of her Moon and Descendant – and moved into somewhatuncomfortable, unstable ground in Gemini (where Mars, Saturn and Uranussit). Her MC had also reached the final degree of Libra – and apparentlythere had been a last attempt at relationship mediation but therelationship had come to an end, as did the public’s perception ofher fairy tale romance (natal Neptune in Libra).

The middle degrees in natal charts and forecasting

When a planet is placed in the middle degrees of a sign, from 14° to16°, the planet appears to be truly ensconced in that sign’sraison d’être. It’s caught up in the midst of livingin that sign and dealing with its key issues; there’s a strongfeeling that things won’t change for some time. Sometimes it canfeel like a mid-way (mid-life) crisis where there’s a demand tounderstand the core challenges of a sign, knowing you have to keep ploughing on with no reprieve or change of scenery for a while. A solararc planet in mid-Virgo, for instance, will be in the centre of chaos orbedlam for that year – snowed under with work, or perhaps dealing withhealth issues throw the person off kilter.

When in a cardinal sign, the planet/point is fully engaged in theprocess of moving forward, getting things done and encountering challengeand conflict. It’s often a decisive period in a battle. Many peoplewho engage in the cut and thrust of politics have personal planets atcardinal middle degrees. There’s always a warning around full Moonsin cardinal middle degrees – an existing conflict is triggered andthere’s no immediate solution. There was a lunar eclipse in mid-Capricorn weeks before 9/11 and there’s a lunar eclipse at 15°Aries on 8 October 2014, bringing in so many of the charts of currentpoliticians (including Putin, who has the Sun in Libra opposite theeclipse).

On a less serious note, let’s lookat the preposterous former Junior Health Minister EdwinaCurrie. Her solar arc Moon reached mid Cancer when she put herfoot in her mouth and announced that most eggs were contaminated bysalmonella. This caused a sudden and massive drop in egg sales and led toher resignation. The Moon and Cancer are, of course, linked to eggs andchickens and what people buy to eat daily. Note, too, how solar arcMercury in Sagittarius (foot-in-mouth disease!) reached an opposition toUranus at the time.

Currie wasn’t a stranger to outrageous comments, once sayingthat ‘good Christian people don’t get AIDS’ and‘northerners die of ignorance and chips’.

In fixed middle degrees, the planet is at its most permanent, solidand durable but sometimes feels stagnant or stuck in the areas linked tothat planet and sign. By solar arc, it can be a year of feeling stable ortrapped.

In mutable middle degrees, the planet is at its most flexible anddiverse, but it’s also precarious, scattered and prone tofluctuation. It can be a year of changeability, vacillation andinstability.

Here’s the chart for the opening of World TradeCenter: the Sun is at 14°55’ Aries, at the heart ofaction, dynamic conflict and aggression. We know of the various terroristand bomb threats over the years. At 9/11, transiting Saturn was at14°45’ Gemini, a ‘testing’ Saturn Return time for thebuilding. The Twin Towers have Saturn in Gemini at the most precarious ofdegrees – not a safe bet for a construction of that size and importance.

And what about the Zeebrugge ferrydisaster (in which 193 people died)? This is the chart for themoment the ship capsized – note 15° Virgo on the Ascendant and the 15°Pisces Sun (both square Chiron). There’s also Mars opposite Pluto,and Jupiter is at 0° Aries (its name was The Herald of FreeEnterprise). Dennis Elwell, who predicted a disaster and tried towarn the company, has Jupiter at 6° Gemini and his solar arc Pluto haddirected to 14°33’ Virgo at the time of the tragedy. We’realso reminded that the Titanic set sail when Jupiter wasretrograde at 15° Sagittarius (and there was a whole range of otherdisastrous aspects that day).

The final degree in the natal chart: poised for change

The final degree of a sign (29°, the thirtieth degree) in the natalchart is the end of an era. Known as the anaretic degree (or‘degree of fate’), it’s often given a negative spin.Traditional astrologers awarded the malefics rulership over the final degrees of the signs. Some horary practitioners observe that the querentcan do nothing to affect the outcome. It’s too late to have controlover the situation; it’s a fait accompli.

Whereas the 0° planet is taking initial steps on the road ahead and isin the process of envisioning, discovering and creating its journey, theplanet at 29° senses the end of a familiar path.

• There’s a feeling of inevitability and ‘fatedness’. There’s no going back; situations areirreversible or irretrievable. There may also be a fascination withthat which happened before we were born that cannot be undone –a lifelong mission to come to terms with what we’ve beensaddled with at birth.
• There’s a knowingness about the dynamics of the sign. By nowthe planet is a seasoned player.It’s earned its stripes andis skilled in that sign; and equipped to deal with issues linked to it.With a natal planet or angle at 29°, we were born to finish the job ofthat sign; to display (eventual) mastery over its issues.
• We shall encounter some of the most challenging facets of thatmeaning.

Here are some examples. The need to take risks defines 29° Aries –to put oneself on the line. This might mean tap-dancing on a window ledgeor walking the high-wire with no net. At 29° Aries, the person may reachcrisis point and make a decision without much forethought. Having beenthrough Aries, a planet now revels in its devil-may-care spontaneity –before it has to slow down in Taurus. (What do they say about Taurus?Taurus starts slow … and then peters out.) The degree of 29° Aries hasjoy from continuing to be childlike regardless of the perils, mishaps oraccusations of selfishness. It can also employ force and is no longerafraid of (or deterred by) violence. There’s a skill in promoting a cause and getting people enthused with one’s adventures and battles.

Australian astrologer Anne Button ( hasdone much work on what she calls the ‘potent and insatiableanaretic degree’ – a degree that demands closure and has aninsatiable/craving feeling to it. She refers to that planet being in a‘liminal’ space. This is a disorientating place of transition, waiting and not knowing – when you have left the tried and true (thecomfort zone) but have not yet been able to replace it with anythingelse. It’s about learning to navigate and live with theambiguity/haziness of being in an in-between place.

I promised you 29° Scorpio … lots of it.The judge in the Oscar Pistorius case delayed the verdictyesterday (11 September 2014) –and left everyone in total Scorpiosuspense. She was waiting for Mars to reach the final degree this morning(!) where it conjoins Pistorius’s Sun. This is the chart of ado-or-die man who knows nothing but full-on intensity and extremebehaviour in his fight against all odds.

Another master of the game, Billie Jean King, the tennis legend, has the Sun at the final degree of Scorpio. Let’stake a look at her chart.

Firstly, though, the Moon is at 0° Libra– she was an early advocate for equal prize money for women athletes, andin the 1970s she became an American figurehead of the struggle for femaleequality. Yet, King is someone who hates confrontation and, with herMoon-Neptune conjunction, was never quite comfortable with the feministideology of the time, which she felt could be intolerant and doctrinaire.

Scorpio is a politically savvy sign that experiences (and is adeptat handling) crises and extremes. With King’s Sun at the finaldegree of Scorpio, she knows that the buck stops with her. She was born(Sun) to take control (Scorpio) and complete (29°) a Scorpio theme.

At the final degree, in Scorpio, there may be: lifelong compulsions;a steely will, tunnel vision and total intensity one-on-one; anunflinching focus on the final, ultimate goal (be that victory or anobsession with death and endings); an ability to execute under pressure;an all-or-nothing, fight-to-the-death, winner-take-all philosophy;authenticity; emotional inscrutability; and an innate understanding ofthe relationship between power, money, sex, politics and gender. (I always think Scorpio should go into one of the 3 Ps: politics, psychology or prostitution.)

The Sun at 29° Scorpio reveals Billie Jean’s impact on genderpolitics, as well as the influence she has had on sponsorship (Scorpio –other people’s money) and prize money in the women’s game.

This Sun placement was not without heavy personal consequences: shehad to keep her (hom*o)sexuality hidden – the newly founded women’stennis tour and her own livelihood depended on this being kept secret.

The Power Degrees of the Zodiac (9)The final degree of Scorpio knows how to play the game –how to suss out the competition and devise a strategy. When King agreedto participate in a Battle of the Sexes tennis match, she needed nervesof steel to beat hustler Bobby Riggs, who had just defeated thewomen’s number one player, Margaret Court. The match had 30,000spectators and 40 million at home in front of their televisions. It divided America into men for Bobby and women for Billie Jean. On thatnight, Venus and Mars were in opposition and in mutual reception: what aperfect planetary set-up for a ‘battle of the sexes’! Venuswas in powerful, premeditated and poker-faced Scorpio. It stood less thanone degree opposite Mars in solid but slow Taurus, which had turnedretrograde the day before. King stayed focused and made Riggs look oldand slow. She won in straight sets!

Not surprisingly, at the time of this sports circus extravaganza,King’s Sun had directed to 29° Sagittarius (natally the Sun issquare Jupiter in Leo). It was an over-the-top, surreal spectaclebefitting Sagittarius: one loud night of high drama, hyperbole andpublicity on the world stage. It would overshadow the lifelong sportingachievements of both athletes. The win over Riggs would give King and hercause the professional credibility she craved (the Sun directed from Sagittarius to Capricorn soon after).

Speaking of 29° Sagittarius – it can be larger than life, with agift for seeing the big picture. Think of JudyGarland’s emotional, histrionic performances that packed apunch in your gut – designed to capture an audience’s love. She hadthe Moon at the final degree of Sagittarius.

But 29° Sagittarius can also be the breadth and height ofindiscretion. If you want something to go out with a whimper or passunnoticed, please don’t do it when a planet has directed to thisdegree of Sagittarius!

When Sarah Ferguson offered an undercover journalist ‘cash for access’ to her former husband in April2012, SA Mercury had reached the final degree of Sagittarius. What agaffe that action proved to be! Hopefully, a final one. And the solar arcwas all the more potent since natal Mercury rules her Midheaven (herreputation) and comes from a conjunction with Neptune in Scorpio in the12th house. This is not a woman who can hold on to her many secrets.

With her natal MC at 29° Scorpio, Heidi Fleiss wasthe reigning million-dollar madam of Hollywood and the keeper of thetown’s most intimate secrets in her infamous ‘blackbook’. (We can speculate that Charlie Sheen’s name was onhalf the pages – with his MC on her Ascendant/Venus conjunction inAquarius. Interestingly, documentary-maker Nick Broomfield made afascinating film about Fleiss and his Sun is also on this conjunction. She sure knows how to bring them in.)

With a 29° Scorpio MC and the Sun in Capricorn, Heidi’s storyis about control – her need for absolute control. Although she neverwanted to be famous or exposed (Scorpio prefers to keep control in theboardroom, not on the stage), she was one of the most influential madamsin the US – and all before her Saturn Return. Her power extended toplaying matchmaker to the richest men in the world, pairing them withwomen tailored for their every fantasy. She was a Capricorn –she took a 40 per cent cut of their earnings. On her slowest night, Heidi made $10,000.

Her arrogant and co*cky persona proved her downfall. With Mercury inSagittarius square Pluto–Uranus in the 8th, she once boasted, ‘Itook the oldest profession on earth and I did it better than anyone onearth.’ When her MC was at the end of Sagittarius, her high-profilecase ended when her conviction for pandering was overturned – she gotlucky temporarily. But she later served 20 months inside for tax evasionwhen the MC moved into Capricorn. And then it was over. She said,‘I had the party, did the party, threw the party, was the party.I’m partied out.’

Gender, sex and secrets are all on the agenda in Scorpio,particularly the final degree, where there’s a mastery of anythingcovert, underground, clandestine. As Quentin Crisp wrote, ‘The warbetween the sexes is the only one in which both sides regularly sleepwith the enemy.’ Another expert in the battle of the sexes isGermaine Greer, with Mars at 29° Scorpio in the 10thhouse and co-ruling the MC. Mars closely trines Pluto.

Billy Tipton was a jazz musician who married fourtimes. Not until his post-mortem was it revealed that Billy was really awoman – who had lived life as a man so as to be accepted as a musician inthe 1930s and 1940s. This revelation left his wives and three adoptedsons bewildered –they hadn’t had the slightest suspicion thattheir dad was female. Note Tipton’s Ascendant ruler is Venus, andit’s at 29° of inscrutable Scorpio. It’s also closely trine Neptune on the MC, which in itself is a placement of speculation andmystery. ‘Is he or isn’t she?’

Here’s the chart for whenMartin Bashir secretly interviewed Diana,Princess of Wales, in what was to become the mostastonishing, shattering and indiscreet royal interview of all time.Transiting Pluto was at 29° Scorpio when they taped the interview. Whenit aired two weeks later, Pluto had moved into less-than-cautiousSagittarius. The ploy backfired and set the scene for the dismantling ofDiana’s life, her reputation as a loose cannon and the tragediesahead. (Diana died when her solar arc Moon reached 29° Pisces: it was theend of domestic drama, the warped fairy tale, and the start of some major speculation surrounding her demise. She also became the Lady of the Lake.The Queen’s solar arc Ascendant was at 29° Pisces, too.)

To get a final feel for the last degree of Scorpio as a ‘hotlypolitical’ degree, consider the horoscope for MargaretThatcher’s resignation. Facing the humiliation of defeatin a leadership contest and a lack of support from colleagues, thethree-time Prime Minister signed her resignation statement at 7:35 a.m.on 22 November 1990. The Sun was rising on the Ascendant at 29° Scorpio–it was the end of a leader who had been in total command. Thatchernever recovered from her party’s betrayal, branding it ‘treachery with a smile on its face’. The degree of 29°Scorpio was fitting: it was the end of her ‘acid reign’ -eleven ruthless, controversial years in power. (John F. Kennedy’sassassination on the same date in Dallas in 1963 also occurred when theSun was 29° Scorpio.)

With 0° Leo there’s an interest in (and desire for) celebrityor in revelling in one’s own world of creative adventures, andrelishing the discovery/realization that Leo can create.Sometimes the desperation for recognition, the spotlight and personalglory is palpable (think of Madonna – Venus at 0° Leo –and her blonde ambition).

But, by the final degree of Leo a planet or angle has developedstyle, star presence and élan, and demonstrates a natural ability to deal(and mix) with celebrity. There’s authority and respect – the finalword on advice, on knowing what’s best for us – but a warning ofegomania and excessive pride. While 0° Leo has an instinct todemand attention, 29° Leo has a natural ability tocommand it.

And what of 29° Pisces, the final degree of the zodiac? Pisces isoccasionally branded the dustbin of the zodiac. The final degree ofPisces is about ‘rest cures, religion and pills’, as theSondheim song goes. Pisces is the true survivor, and 29° Pisces has seenit all. The first client I ever had with the Sun at 29° Pisces had comethrough addictions, gurus, religions, self-help quick-fixes and 101 otherways to escape the mundane world and connect to something higher. He’d tried everything.

Pisces at 29° recognises that we are all made of the same magic(although Virgos might call it ‘dirt’). It’s the talentto save, rescue and pour energy into addressing the needs of theforgotten and disenfranchised. Think of singer-turned-saintBono, who has his MC ruler Mars at 29° Pisces. Savingpeople in crisis situations.

That final degree is not always a blessing –it’s alsothe degree of those who feel duped by people or have experienced majorbetrayal. One woman (a Pisces with Pisces MC) discovered her recordcompany had siphoned off her royalties when her MC moved to 29° Pisces.She launched an attack and filed a lawsuit when the MC moved into 0°Aries. It was a dirty fight and took eight years of her life and reputation. She finally won the lawsuit and rights to her royalties whenher Sun moved to 0° Taurus, suggesting she was now beginning to be on afirmer financial foundation.

The Power Degrees of the Zodiac (11)Evangelists (‘messengers of good news’) usually havestrongly Jupiterian and Neptunian charts(or their signs prominent).They are missionaries who sell and promote their vision of God, rescuingand offering redemption. With Mars at 29° Pisces, evangelist JimBakker saw himself as the ultimate visionary: he had a Jesuscomplex and felt crucified and betrayed by those who sought to curtailhis brand of selling God on TV. His was ‘prosperitytheology’: make money, give it to us and then you’ll be happy and go to Heaven. In short, the donation box got bigger than the Messageand the Gospel.

In March 1987, Bakker fell from grace as his solar arc Sun reached29° Aquarius. Soon after, the Sun entered Pisces and he was trulycrucified (most famously bound in chains and humiliated in front of theworld’s media). He was handed a 45-year prison sentence for mailfraud.

At the final degree of Virgo, there’s consideration for theunderprivileged (knowing what it’s like to feel small, degraded oroverlooked), and an ability to deal with crisis issues around health andsafety. There may also be health emergencies that pop up during thistime. Along with 29° Capricorn, here we have the control freak who hasalready considered every angle, whether it’s the diet, schedule,route or other people’s habits. There’s a finicky attentionto detail, to getting it right, being faithful to one’s word,ensuring that contracts and agreements are drawn up with every‘t’ crossed, etc. There’s an obsession with precisionand sculpting (e.g. creating the body beautiful); perfecting a craft;finishing the apprenticeship. Often there’s a need for anunpretentious, understated (sometimes solitary) life – feeling content inthe rhythms of regular life.

Remember Jack Nicholson (with the Moon at the finaldegree of Virgo) in As Good As It Gets as theobsessive-compulsive novelist who avoids the cracks in the road and eatsat the same table in the same restaurant every day? That phrase ‘as good as it gets’ should be a mantra for all those final-degreeVirgos to enjoy life now.

Remember Labour’s Red Queen, Barbara Castle?As a Libran, her Venus placement at 29° Virgo assumes greater importance:her concern was Libran and Virgoan – a concern for care, safety andaddressing the ills and injustices of society.

She was put in charge of the Department of Employment andProductivity (Virgo), radically reformed pensions (pensions are, aptly,what you get at the end – 29° – of your working life),higher pay for nurses and increased benefits for old and disabled people.She brought in seat belts for cars and the breathalyser law, and ensuredChild Benefit was paid to mothers rather than through the father’spay packet. Castle was chief architect of the Equal Pay Act (following the famous Dagenham women’s strike at the Ford plant, as transitingUranus crossed over her Mercury and later Venus). When the film Madein Dagenham was released, Jupiter was conjunct Uranus at 29° Pisces.It recently transpired that Castle drew up a dossier on VIP paedophiles but the document was confiscated for ‘national securityreasons’.

George W Bush’s solar arcAscendant was at 29°59’ Virgo (the sign of his Mars) at the time of9/11. It was the crisis of his life and the moment he’d beenwaiting for. The Ascendant would then move in to Libra (where the Moon,Jupiter and Neptune are placed), giving rise to a new script on a wave of nationalistic fervour and patriotism (Moon–Jupiter); an attempt to put the wrongs to rights and bring the terrorists to justice (Libra). Who knowshow much Neptune played in clouding the real issues? With Neptune, Iguess he chose the wrong week to give up drinking …

29° in forecasting

What of the final degree in forecasting? Here are some observations:

• It’s the end of a chapter. We’re poised for change,but before we jump into a new field of experience (and perhaps an unknownscenario) we must deal with a crisis of sorts.
• It’s a year when some of the most challenging aspects of thesign demand to be seen and resolved. It’s the end of the line – canwe meet the demands before moving on? It’s the end of a 30-year eraand often coincides with an intense twelve months (the final degree) that ‘packs a punch’ – a time when exaggerated manifestations ofthat sign appear as life events.
• We can truly make our mark by wrapping up long-term endeavours.

Positively, that which has been mastered – skills that have beenacquired – can be put to good use in these twelve months. This is wherethe last degree can truly come into its own. It can be a year ofdistinction or conclusion of a long period of endeavour.

In 1997, intrepid British politician Mo Mowlamworked to restore an IRA ceasefire in Northern Ireland and persuadedvarious sides to participate in the peace process – all during a timewhen she was fighting a brain tumour.

Mowlam was instrumental in the signing of the Good Friday PeaceAgreement on 10 April 1998, when her SA Saturn had reached 29° Libra. Sheretired from Parliament two years later. In hindsight, it’s clearthat her historic work had been completed at this time. It proved to beher legacy.

Woody Allen’s Ascendant reached 29° Librawhen he began a relationship with his partner Mia Farrow’s adopteddaughter. It was still at 29° Libra when Farrow split up with him. Thedegree of 29° Libra is linked to the last-chance attempts to keep arelationship in balance before war breaks out; the final attempt at adiplomatic solution. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The final degree of Scorpio is the crisis degree of the crisis sign– a tough, profound period, ‘a dark night of the soul’ beforewe see the light of day in Sagittarius. A student of mine had herMidheaven solar arc to 29° Scorpio when her niece was bullied on Facebookinto committing suicide. The same degree was on PrinceHarry’s Midheaven when Diana was killed, and onMarlon Brando’s Midheaven when his troubleddaughter killed herself.

No turning back: when scripts change

Finally, here are a few examples of events when planets and anglesdirected to 0° or 29°.

Superman Christopher Reeve: his natal Moon–Mars inSagittarius suggests his love of horse-riding and competitivehorsemanship. When he was thrown from his horse, at an event on 27 May1995, he was left paralysed:a quadriplegic and unable to breathe onhis own. Note the tight natal quincunx from Mars to Uranus. By solar arc,Mars had reached 0° Aquarius, and Uranus 0° Virgo, starting a very newscript in his life.

By transit, Mars was at 0° Virgo and Uranus at 0° Aquarius – aremarkable repetition of planetary aspects. (Chiron, so often associatedwith horses and motorcycles, had directed to the Descendant and anotherlink to horses, Jupiter, had directed to square Mercury.)

Gordon Brown waited a long timeto see his dream of premiership come true. When he became Prime Minister,solar arc MC had finally reached his Sun, a classic leadershipmeasurement and a solar arc year of a memorable change in status. At 0°Pisces, perhaps he was destined to play out the role of patsy. Three years later, Brown called an election. I’m assuming he did this without an astrologer: transiting Pluto was on his MC and his Sun had directed to 29° Aries and his MC ruler Saturn to 29° Scorpio –it was time for a big script change. I guess he chose the wrong week to call an election!

Political defeats and resignations are fascinating astrologically.Americans won’t have forgotten Gary Hart’sresignation due to the rumours of an extra-marital affair (famously on aboat called Monkey Business) on 8 May 1987, just 26 daysinto his presidential campaign. Only days before, he’d dared thepress, ‘Follow me around … If anybody wants to put a tail on me, goahead. They’ll be very bored.’ They weren’t!

Natally, Hart has a tight square from Mars in Libra to his MC inCapricorn (warning of sexual pursuits damaging his civic reputation). Bysolar arc, his MC had reached 29° Aquarius and his Mars 29° Scorpio –both crisis degrees. The Moon had entered Leo, bringing much attention tohis emotional and daily life. I guess he chose the wrong week to give upadultery!

And whatever happened to labour union leader Jimmy Hoffa? Well, I don’t know, but his chart at the time of hisdisappearance (30 July 1975) certainly describes the end of a chapter:solar arc Ascendant at 29° Aries, and the Moon–Saturn at 29° Cancer (plusPluto at 0° Virgo). Perhaps he met a violent, Aries end and probably adeadweight Moon–Saturn home/coffin at the bottom of the sea.

Can they talk!

Let’s end with the degree that likes to have the final word:29° Gemini. Here we have the multitasker, adept at technology or languageor making connections. The difficulty lies in finishing things off – theytry to juggle too much and are weighed down by chronic indecision – andthen they drop the ball.

The final degree of Gemini disperses the information (or says theirpiece) and then leaves others to handle the aftermath, just as Ed Snowden did (Sun at 29° Gemini), avoiding the conflict andconsequences (characteristic of the mutable signs). Interestingly, hisSun had solar arc directed to the degree of the US’s natal Plutowhen he released the classified documents.

Someone else more than able to drop a Gemini bombwas age-obsessed Joan Rivers, born with Mercury and Venusat the final degree of Gemini. Whether she was talking about her body,what the famous are wearing or quipping that Michelle Obama was atransgender, Joan Rivers was the wisecracking witch who spelled it with a‘b’. In fact, one person roasted her with the line,‘Joan, you’ve been called “bitch” more often thana white guy serving a life sentence.’ Rivers died just last week (4September 2014) without having the final word, so I’m giving it toher now. Well, sort of.

Picture it, The Tonight Show, the mid-80s. Joan is guesthost. She’s interviewing actress Joan Collins, herself a Gemini(possibly with Aries rising, too) and both are monuments to malice.Suddenly she turns to Joan Collins and says, ‘OK, Joan, of all thehusbands you’ve had, who was the best lover?’ Joan Collinsreplied, ‘Yours, darling.’ It was the only time Joan Riverswas struck dumb and lost for words.

'The Power Degrees of the Zodiac' was first presented at the AstrologicalAssociation of Great Britain's annual conferenceon 12 September 2014. Atranscript was later published in The Astrological Journal, The AstrologyQuarterly and The International Astrologer. It was the winner of theInternational Astrologer's Award for Best Article 2014–2016, presented atthe ISAR Conference in Los Angeles, October 2016.

Data and sources:
Woody Allen, 1 December 1935, 22:55 EST, Bronx, NY(40N51, 73W54). Source: birth certificate; copy on file. RR: AA.
Pamela Anderson, 1 July 1967, 04:08 PDT, Ladysmith,Canada (48N58, 123W49). Source: birth announcement in The Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle, as quoted by Nicholas Campion,printed in The Sunday Telegraph, copy on file. RR: A.
Jim Bakker, 2 January 1940, 11:00 EST, MuskegonHeights, MI, USA (43N12, 86W15). Source: birth certificate obtained byGenevieve Edwards; copy on file. RR: AA.
Bono, 10 May 1960, 02:00 GDT, Dublin, Ireland (53N20,6W15). Source: Edwin Steinbrecher quotes a mutual friend, from Bono,‘two on the dot’. RR: A.
Marlon Brando, 3 April 1924, 23:00 CST, Omaha, NE,USA (41N15, 95W56). Source: birth certificate quoted in The GauquelinBook of American Charts by Michel and Françoise Gauquelin (ACS,1982). RR: AA.
Nick Broomfield, 30 January 1948, London, England(51N30, 0W10). Source: various online sites. RR: X.
Gordon Brown, 20 February 1951, 08:40 GMT, Giffnock,Scotland, 55N48, 4W18. Source: birth certificate quoted by CarolineGerard and Paul Wright. RR: AA.
George W Bush, 6 July 1946, 07:26 EDT, New Haven,CT, USA (41N18, 72W55). Source: Karen Castilla quotes hospital records;same on birth certificate. RR: AA.
Barbara Castle, 6 October 1910, 14:30 GMT,Chesterfield, England (53N15, 1W25). Source: from her to the AstrologicalAssociation. RR: A.
Joan Collins, 23 May 1933, morning, Paddington,London, England (51N32, 0W12). Source: online sources. Her secondautobiography Second Act (1996) states ‘morning’,Frederick Davies quotes her for 3 a.m., while Hollywood Sisters(1989) by Susan Crimp and Patricia Burstein gives 7 a.m. RR: DD.
Edwina Currie, 13 October 1946, 23:30 GMT,Liverpool, England (53N25, 2W55). Source: from Currie’s secretaryto David Fisher in January 1988. RR: A.
Dennis Elwell, 16 February 1930, 23:44 GMT,Stourbridge, England (52N27, 2W09). Source: from him to Garry Phillipsonin Astrology in the Year Zero (Flare, 2000), rectified by himfrom his parents’ recollection that he was born ‘late atnight’. RR: C.
Sarah Ferguson, 15 October 1959, 09:03 GMT (+0),London, England (51N30, 0W10). Source: Buckingham Palace records; samefrom her to her astrologer Penny Thornton. RR: A.
Heidi Fleiss, 30 December 1965, 09:05, Los Angeles,CA, USA (34N03, 118W15). Source: from her birth certificate, obtained byFrank Clifford; copy on file. RR: AA.
Judy Garland, 10 June 1922, 06:00 CST (+6), GrandRapids, Minnesota, USA (47N14, 93W31). Source: note from birth registryobtained by Edwin Steinbrecher; copy on file. Same on birth certificatequoted in Contemporary American Horoscopes. ScottSchechter’s thorough biography Judy Garland (Cooper SquarePress, 2002) gives ‘5:30 a.m’; copy on file. RR: AA.
Bob Geldof, 5 October 1951, 14:20 GDT, Dublin,Ireland (53N20, 06W15). Source: David Fisher quotes Jo Logan’sletter, who obtained the data from Geldof. RR: A.
Germaine Greer, 29 January 1939, 06:00 AEST,Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (37S49, 144E58). Source: from her toTiffany Holmes. RR: A.
Prince Harry, 15 September 1984, 16:20 GDT, Paddington, London, England (51N32, 0W12). Source: BuckinghamPalace’s announcement, quoted in newspapers on date; copy on file.RR: A.
Gary Hart, 28 November 1936, 14:25 CST, Ottawa, KS,USA (38N37, 95W16). Source: from his birth certificate; Marion Marchquotes his office. RR: AA.
Henry VIII, 28 June 1491 (7 July 1491 Gregoriancalendar), 08:45 LMT, Greenwich, England (51N29, 0E00). Source: from hisbirth record, obtained by Martin Harvey. RR: AA.
Jimmy Hoffa, 14 February 1913, 06:52 CST, Brazil,IN, USA (39N31, 87W08). Source: birth note from registry, obtained by EdSteinbrecher; copy on file. RR: AA.
Billie Jean King, 22 November 1943, 11:45 PWT, LongBeach, CA, USA (33N46, 118W11). Source: from her birth certificate,obtained by Doris Chase Doane. RR: AA.
Madonna, 16 August 1958, 07:05 EST, Bay City, MI, USA (43N36, 83W53). Tashi Grady quotes Madonna’s father, who originallygave 7:00 a.m. and then telephoned the hospital of Madonna’s birth.(Madonna has been quoted as saying she is Aquarius rising and, morerecently, has said she does not know her Ascendant or birth time.) RR:AA.
Russ Meyer, 21 March 1922, 09:35 PST (+8), Oakland,California, USA (37N48, 122W16). Source: from his birth certificateobtained by Frank Clifford; copy on file. RR: AA.
Mo Mowlam, 18 September 1949, Watford, England(51N40, 0W25). From various online sources. RR: X.
Jack Nicholson, 22 April 1937, 11:00 EST, Neptune,NJ, USA (40N13, 74W01). Source: from him to Mark Johnson. Fredrick Daviesin Signs of the Stars quotes Nicholson for 11:20 a.m. His birthcertificate, obtained by Frank Clifford, was filed in May 1954 and has notime of birth; copy on file. RR: A.
Panorama (BBC TV series) interviewwith Princess Diana, 5 November 1995, 19:00 GMT, KensingtonPalace, London, England (51N30, 0W08). Source: from the BBC documentaryPrincess Diana: Behind the Panorama Interview, which stated thatBashir arrived at Kensington Palace at 7pm. RR: A.
Panorama (BBC TV series) broadcastwith Princess Diana, 20 November 1995, 21:40 GMT, London,England (51N30, 0W10). Source: Sy Scholfield quotes The Times,20 November 1995, p.43. RR: B.
Oscar Pistorius, 22 November 1986, 10:30 EET,Pretoria, South Africa (25S45, 28E12). Source: from Pistorius’saunt to Philippe Lepoivre, ‘between 10h30 and 11h30’ and‘most correct estimate would be 10h30 – morning’.
Christopher Reeve, 25 September 1952, 03:12 EDT,Manhattan, NY, USA (40N46, 73W59). Source: from Reeve to Linda Clark byletter; he gave Penny Thornton 3:14 a.m., and his birth certificate (copyon file) has no time.
Joan Rivers, 8 June 1933, 02:00 EDT, Brooklyn,Kings, NY, USA (40N38, 73W56). Source: from Rivers to Shelley Ackerman inMarch 1997. RR: A.
Lois Rodden, 22 May 1928, 00:27 MST, Lang, Canada(49N56, 104W23). Source: from Rodden, rectified from mother’srecollection of ‘after midnight’. RR: C.
Diana Ross, 26 March 1944, 23:46 EWT, Detroit, MI,USA (42N20, 83W03). Source: birth certificate quoted in Contemporary American Horoscopes by Janice McKay and Jessica Saunders (Astrolabe,1990), and The Gauquelin Book of American Charts by Michel andFrançoise Gauquelin (ACS, 1982). RR: AA.
Ayrton Senna, 21 March 1960, 02:35 BZT, Sao Paulo,Brazil (23S32, 46W37). Source: from birth certificate, obtained byMarcello Borges. RR: AA.
Charlie Sheen, 3 September 1965, 22:48 EDT, NewYork, NY, USA (40N43, 74W00). Source: from him to Linda Clark, quotinghis birth certificate. Sy Scholfield quotes Sheen’s interviewstating he was born at 22:58. RR: AA.
Ed Snowden, 21 June 1983, 04:42 EDT, Elizabeth City,NC, USA (36N18, 76W13). Source: from birth certificate obtained by EricFrancis Coppolino; copy on file. RR: AA.
Margaret Thatcher’s resignation, 22 November1990, 07:35 GMT, Downing Street, Westminster, London, England (51N30,0W09). Source:
Billy Tipton, 29 December 1914, 02:00 CST, OklahomaCity, OK, USA (35N28, 97W31). Source: from news clippings obtained byJoan McEvers. RR: A.
World Trade Center, 4 April 1973, 15:00 EST,Manhattan, NY, USA (40N46, 73W59). Source: from The New YorkTimes, 28 March 1973, p. 93, quoted by Sy Scholfield. RR: A.
Zeebrugge Ferry Disaster, 6 Match 1987, 18:28 CET,Zeebrugge, Belgium (51N20, 3E12). Source: from online sources, includingWikipedia. RR: A.

Image sources:
All charts provided by the author and AA Journal
Sun halo: Image by Carsten Bornhöft from Pixabay
Letters: Image by Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay
Pamela Anderson: Mercy For Animals MFA from Los Angeles, USA [CC BY 2.0(]
Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs: Public Domain via wikimedia commons
Jim Bakker: Public Domain via wikimedia commons

Published by: The Astrological Journal, Jul/Aug 2019

The Power Degrees of the Zodiac (15)Frank Clifford is the author of The Solar Arc Handbook, thetextbookGetting to the Heart of YourChart,andThe Book of Music Horoscopes,a fundraiser to help astrologers attend conferences worldwide. Frank is aregular writer for The Mountain Astrologer and TheAstrological Journal and his website can be found at school, The LondonSchool of Astrology, begins online courses in astrology and palmistry inautumn 2019. To receive details, subscribe at

© Frank Clifford 2014/2019

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