As we all know Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on the evening of September 18, 2020 surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer. That evening the sun set at 7:15 p.m. marking the beginning of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year which is celebrated on the first day of the seventh month of Elul in the Hebrew calendar. Just after sunset, Jews around the world gather to pray, reflect and commemorate the creation of the world and mark the beginning of the Days of Awe, a ten-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement. The ten days between the two holidays are meant as a time of introspection and reflection, focusing on how to make the world a better place, starting with our own actions and relationships. This year Rosh Hashana fell on the Jewish Sabbath as well, another holy day. According to the Jewish midrash, a commentary on the bible, any person who dies on the High Holidays is considered a “Tzadik,” the highest form of a righteous person. Clearly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was such a person.
Ten days later, Yom Kippur began on September 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm with Chiron in Aries conjunct the Ascendant opposing Mars. The beginning chart for the Day of Atonement shows an Aquarius Moon opposing Venus in Leo making a trine to Mars in Aries and the South Node in Sagittarius creating a Kite pattern in the heavens. Kite patterns are times of great creativity and this one offers some balance and hope to the other chart pattern of Mars squaring Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn.
Not sure about the Yom Kippur paragraph…
In this article I want to discuss the Death Chart for Ginsberg, a chart drawn for the final breath, whenever that information is possible. The horoscope for the moment of death brings a type of significance for the end of a life, and can bring meaning to people who are grieving.
In 2005 I lost my identical twin to cancer and my world was thrown into chaos. Most twins have a primary relationship with each other as well as a blended or interdependent identity. The severing of this primary, deeply emotional, and frequently psychic bond most twins possess, makes recovering from the loss exceedingly difficult. In my case being an astrologer was crucial to my healing. Being present at my sisters’ death I was able to note her time of death and construct a horoscope for that moment. Over the next ten years it became a focal point for my healing. Through my understanding of transits and more importantly eclipses I came to understand how this loss was an important step on my soul’s path. In 2015 I began reading death charts for my clients, looking at their transits and eclipses surrounding the death of a loved one as a path forward toward their own healing. Through that practice I have created a technique for interpreting death charts as a path forward to those on a healing journey.
Having a time of death is essential to reading a death chart, much like a birth chart, since in this case the Ascendant represents the moment the breath, or soul, leaves the body. In Hebrew, the word “nefesh” means both breath and soul. Based on an article from AP News a longtime friend Nina Appel got a call from Ginsburg’s son James telling her that his mother had died just before sundown. Using a chart cast for 7:00 p.m. on September 18, 2020, we see Pisces rising and Neptune on the ascendant and the moon’s nodes conjunct the MC and IC. Also, rising Neptune opposes the Sun, emphasizing the Pisces, Neptune theme. As the last sign of the zodiac Pisces signifies ending and beginnings, as well the journey of the individual’s dissolution of the ego as a way to connect to the collective. Neptune transcends the body and the earthly plane and makes possible a connection with universal oneness and the divine creator. As much as we can never know what happens in death, it appears that Ginsburg left her life through connection with something transcendent and transpersonal. In the death chart Neptune is made more important by it’s square to the nodes and the MC and IC. The North Node, the soul’s path forward, is conjunct the IC showing her family’s support. The South node, symbolizing completion, in Sagittarius on the MC is a fitting symbol for the end of a cycle for a public servant. Months before her death, in June of 2020 she helped pass a very progressive ruling that the 1964 Civil Rights Act will protect gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. Because Sagittarius is associated with law, education, philosophy, politics, and the “higher mind”, all facets of Ginsburg’s long and successful career, it seems fitting that her final breath aligns with an angular South node in Sagittarius.
Using Solar Eclipses both before and after an individual’s death, astrologers can bring a different, more Karmic, element of understanding to their death. Solar Eclipses are new moons that happen within 18 degrees of the moon’s nodes and correspond to Karma, destiny or fate in the lives of individuals and nations, bringing for the most part events that are out of their control. Unlike transits, where we can learn to manage planetary energy skillfully over time, solar eclipses bring unforeseen and often difficult events that push us to progress on our soul’s path. The lunar nodes have long been associated with the souls’ evolution in the birth chart. The transiting nodes are highlighted through the eclipse cycle and act as markers of potential growth for each person. Through the symbolism of a luminary being covered in shadow and then brightening again, eclipses act as agents to illuminate what has been hidden in the shadows. In Ginsburg’s natal chart, the upcoming December 14, 2020 eclipse at 23 degrees Sagittarius makes an exact square to her natal Sun, the symbol for vitality. (March 15, 1933, no time, Brooklyn, NY). Eclipses in hard aspect to the Sun, particularly within a one-degree orb, will often correspond to a health issue, up to three months in advance of the actual eclipse.
The eclipse preceding Ginsburg’s death fell on the summer solstice, June 21, 2020 at 0 degrees of Cancer, conjunct Venus in the US 7th house. This specific eclipse occurred only one other time, on June 21, 2001, again on the summer solstice. That spring and summer Ginsburg was still discussing her “dissent” in the ruling of George W. Bush’s election. Additionally, at that time Saturn and Pluto were opposed, while now they are conjunct, bringing closure to a planetary pair representing of deep seated conflict over political power. This eclipse was triggered on September 11, 2001 corresponding to another time in our country associated with great collective fear, insecurity, grief, and loss. Much like 2001, a major event of the June 2020 eclipse fell in September with the loss of Ginsburg and the potential for a new conservative Justice being seated before the end of the year. That, along with a global pandemic, an economic and social justice crises, is creating upheaval, enormous losses, and great uncertainty as a nation. (This article can be further enhanced after the Election Day, so you can add on a piece about that at the end of the article and include it before the journal is published!)
Looking ahead, the Solar eclipse will become active in Ginsburg’s death chart on December 14, 2020, at 23 Sagittarius opposing the U.S. Mars in Gemini and square Neptune in Virgo. (see the biwheel chart for this) This Mars, Neptune square not only symbolizes the inherent idealism and deception of our democracy at its inception, but I believe it shows an upswing of all forms of communication being challenged, along with the potential for secrets and deceptions coming out into the open through the end of 2020.
Solar eclipses can activate as early as three months before their actual date, creating crises, initiating new beginnings, and illuminating what has been hidden in the shadow. Falling in the first house of the US chart, our identity as a nation is certainly in crises. That has been true for years, but since the current administration has appointed another ultraconservative judge to the supreme court, the ACA, Roe vs Wade, and protections for LGBTQA people may well be overturned, fundamentally changing this country. The negative side of Sagittarius is religious extremism, and we’re seeing a religious point of view forced onto the majority of a population that does not agree or support this point of view. The South Node, so prominent in Ginsburg’s death chart, is triggered by this upcoming eclipse and could devolve into a true challenge of this country’s religious freedom.
As of this writing, Trump’s tax returns have been made public, exposing more possible deceptions on his part. This eclipse will fall in the first house of the US chart, indicating our identity as a nation is in crises. Eclipses opposing Mars suggest anger, protests and conflict, and square Neptune illusion, confusion, and disillusionment. With the eclipse falling in Sagittarius which is associated with religion and elements of religious extremism, we may see battles about a woman’s right to choose as early as the end of this year.
It is impossible to separate Ginsburg’s death chart, from our current situation in this country. Currently the U.S. is in a Pluto return and Neptune opposition which points to the precarious state of our democracy. As I have developed death charts to be a healing tool for the bereaved, in this case applying the chart to chart of the U.S. does not bring solace or peace, rather it shows a nation in crises.
I would love to think that the loss of a great progressive thinker might bear some positive fruit, but the final aspect, that of transiting Mars of Aries square both Mercury in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn in the U.S. chart suggests that Ginsburg’s death will heighten the conflict in our country about who has access to power and resources. Right around winter solstice, as Jupiter and Saturn make their much anticipated move into Aquarius, the Mars square will perfect. By Inauguration day, January 20, 2021 four planets will be in Aquarius, with the Sun conjunct Saturn, indicating a change in thinking, as well as the beginning of some stability.