Irene & Bob, Part 2

This is part two of a five-part series examining the charts of my late friend, Bob.  I share this material with the permission of his widow, Irene McGoldrick, MSW, author of Two Chai Day: One Widow's Story about Living beyond Grief, published 2010 by iUniverse, Inc.


The monster that we saw in Bob’s natal chart, threatening to devour him, was not just symbolic.  It took the form of the family barber, who molested Bob between the ages of seven and ten.  Bob’s dad would drop him off at the barber’s for a haircut while he left to run errands, never suspecting that the man was a predator.  Bob did not tell his dad or anyone about the abuse at the time.

That was the beginning of the silence.


At age 29--year of the Saturn Return--Bob read of his molester's death in the newspaper.  Here is an excerpt from his journal entry at that time:


Silence, silence, silence.  I am now the enforcer of my silence.  The mantle has been passed, and I have accepted it, reluctantly and with seemingly little choice. The passing, though, may have been slow and unnoticed, and I may, only now, be becoming aware of my crucial role. 


I feel as if my soul is withering and dying in this silence (p. 8)


Irene believes that Bob’s abuse contributed to his illness and early death.  She is not imagining this: a growing body of research confirms the deleterious effects of childhood trauma on health and longevity.  In her author's note, she explains why she chose to share Bob's story and incorporate his own words:


Through his journals, we are able to write our story together. I truly feel that his words are a gift he left not only for his children and me, but for anyone who might benefit from reading them.


I know he would be proud to know that his struggles could help someone in a similar situation.  Isn't that what we all want? (p. iv)


Let's now take a look at the charts.


Profections are one method used in traditional natal work to see events unfolding over time. Let’s look at 1971, the year in which the abuse begins. 


To calculate profections, we move the entire chart ahead 30 degrees for each year of life. For example: Take Bob’s Asc of 10 Gemini and count ahead seven signs, starting with 10 Cancer as year one. This brings us to 10 Capricorn for age seven.   Bob’s natal chart, for reference, is the first in the gallery below (10 Gemini Asc).


We repeat the process for all other planets and points. This puts Mars at 3 Scorpio, Sun at 12 Scorpio, Mercury at 0 Sag, etc. These are the starting points for the year, during which everything will move forward another 30 degrees. Using these positions as an overlay to the natal chart, we examine: 1) Major changes in dignity, for better or worse, and 2) Conjunctions and oppositions to natal planets and points. 


I like profections because major testimonies are fairly quick and easy to spot.


Bob’s profections for 1971 show the following evidence of something very bad taking place:


  • Saturn, newly exalted at 0 Libra, will oppose natal Mars and Sun this year, taking them into detriment and fall, respectively.  One of Saturn’s many roles is Lord 9, which could signify his abuser (as worker paid by father, sixth house from the fourth).
  • Mercury is in detriment at 0 Sagittarius, a major drop in essential dignity for Lord Asc.
  • Fortuna begins at 11 Virgo, conjunct natal Pluto, and the abductor of Persephone into the underworld (of obvious relevance here).
  • Mars and Sun are in Scorpio. Both will cross natal Neptune, important in the natal chart, as we have seen.  Mars is strong, but the contact with Neptune is harmful.


Progressions (Naibod in RA) are the main way we track events over time.  Progressions require more careful study.  It is easy to make the mistake of reading progressions as if they were a chart themselves, which they are not. We look at progressions only against the radix and focus on just a handful of major points: progressed Asc, MC, lights, and super lights.  Immediate changes in dignity are also important.  With this focus, we avoid getting lost in a sea of testimonies that could mean anything or nothing.


Bob was diagnosed with b-cell lymphoma on March 19, 2003. His progressions, however, seem to suggest that the trouble originated a few years earlier.


Progressed Mars moves into detriment (0 Taurus) by the start of 2000. Mars is natal LoG, so this drop in dignity signals a general downturn for Bob.  Mars also has many possible natural significations.  Newly debilitated, progressed Mars conjuncts natal Mercury that year; this signifies some harmful event or development.  In 2001, progressed Mercury, which is retrograde, begins to slow down as it approaches station.


Progressions to Jan 1, 2002 show Mercury in station--a terribly vulnerable condition.  It's as if Mercury is reeling and we fear it may go down for the count.  Progressed Fortuna (24 Gemini) is conjunct the fixed star Al Hecka, the Bull’s Horn, which is as nasty and lethal as it sounds.  Bob’s symptoms had emerged in full by late 2002.


When we have a progression that draws our attention, we then look at the solar and lunar returns for confirming testimonies.  Unlike progressions, we can read return charts by themselves, to some degree.  Still, we examine them primarily against the radix.  Note that we calculate Natal Arc Fortuna and Spirit rather than using the usual formulae.  (This means we put Fortuna and Spirit in the same positions relative to the Ascendant as they held in the radix.  In Bob's case, the arc is 118.47 degrees.)  


The second chart below is Bob's 2002 Solar Return (15 Leo Asc), covering his official diagnosis the next March. Key testimonies include:


  • NA Spirit (‘Super-Sun’) is 14.07 Sag, conjunct natal Moon almost to the minute.  This is like a New Moon, signaling the end of a cycle--very concerning in the context of a cancer diagnosis. 
  • The SR Moon is tightly conjunct the South Node, not a good place for one of the lights to be.
  • Saturn at 10.35 Gemini is tightly conjunct natal Asc.  As natal Lord 8 and anareta, this is ominous.
  • Neptune (which we are treating as a fixed star) is conjunct natal Fortuna and moving closer.  It is moving bodily towards the positon it held in the natal chart by antiscion.
  • The SR Asc/Dsc axis closely mirrors the natal MC/IC, with natal IC at the Asc position. This picking up of important axes from the radix is something we see happen at key times in the life.


Taken as a whole, the astrological evidence shows us that by the time Bob turns 39 in April of 2003, his situation is critical.


In part three we will examine the progressions, solar return, and lunar return for Bob’s passing.


Irene’s book is available from all major booksellers.  Please also consider a look at her wonderful blog:



Above, from Pixabay (CC0).

Below, from my own collection.  Bob reading to my daughter in 2002.


First published Sept 15, 2012 on