Irene & Bob, Part 3

This is part three 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.


Before looking at the charts for Bob’s passing, let’s sojourn back to a happy event: the birth of Irene and Bob’s first child.

Bob’s chart progressed to Jan 1, 2000 offers several testimonies of a child arriving that year.  (Bob's natal chart is the first in the gallery below, 10 Gem Asc).


We can find major events in the life by looking at times when progressed Asc or Mc enter and exit different terms within their signs.  For example: in 2000 Bob’s progressed Asc, at 13.51 Cancer, has recently entered Mercury terms (which began at 13.00). This signals 'Mercury stuff' in either its natural significations or in the life areas that Mercury rules in the radix. Mercury is Bob’s natal Lord 5, signifying children.


Progressed Moon begins the year at 29 Pisces.  It will move to 13 Aries by the year's end, just passing natal Sun (12.52 Aries).  This gives us a picture of Moon, as natural significator of children, coming to Bob (the Sun in the role of "me").


Progressed Fortuna begins the year at 25 Taurus. In the process of moving to 9 Gem that year, Fortuna will cross natal Venus (28 Taurus), with Venus here in the role of the significant female in Bob’s life.


We return now to the progressions and return charts for Bob's passing.  What do we look for as testimony of death?


Saturn often shows up in a major way, as death’s natural significator. We examine what natal Lord 8 and the anareta (if different) are doing.  Jupiter testimonies are often present, as if to signal the great journey beyond our earthly realm.  We also look for shifts in dignity in the major significators of self: Lord Asc, lights, and super lights.  Often we will see these setting by primary motion.


In Bob’s final solar return (April 2, 2003, 20 Libra Asc; second chart below), we do see the latter:


  • Both Mercury and Moon are setting.
  • Natal Arc Fortuna for this SR is 21 Gemini, close to SR Saturn at 23 Gem.  I would consider this a stronger testimony if the conjunction were applying, but it seems significant nonetheless.  Note that this Saturn is transiting Irene’s natal Moon at the same position (23 Gem), marking a time of sadness, loss, and grief.
  • Neptune (as fixed star) is 12.41 Aquarius, one minute of arc from its natal antiscial position of 12.40 Aquarius, which we identified as important in the radix.


Bob’s progressions to Jan 1, 2004 show the recent birth of Irene and Bob’s second child (in late October 2003) by progressed Moon (28.14 Taurus) conjuncting natal Venus (28.26 Taurus).  This is similar to the testimony of progressed Fortuna (‘Super Moon’) conjuncting natal Venus in 2000.


The Moon is two degrees from leaving exaltation.  Such changes in dignity are always telling us something important when we see them in progressions, profections, or returns. Here, this drop in dignity is a sign of Bob's imminent passing.


Finally, here are the testimonies in Bob’s lunar return for the month of his death (March 12, 2004, 20 Scorpio Asc; third chart below):


  • Mars, lunar return Lord Asc, is setting.
  • The Sun is nearing the end of Pisces and will soon move into exaltation.  In this context, the increase in dignity is a sign of Bob's moving up from the earthly to the heavenly realm.
  • LR Neptune (14.17 Aquarius) is exactly conjunct Bob's natal MC (14.20 Aquarius).  It's as if Neptune is having its final say by taking its position at the very top of the radix.
  • As mentioned earlier, we will often see Jupiter testimonies in death charts.  Here, Jupiter is high in the sky and the LR MC picks up natal Jupiter by antiscion (2 Virgo).  It is also in mundane conjunction with natal Fortuna.  Jupiter thus takes Fortuna on the great journey.


Bob died in the early morning on March 29, 2004. Irene estimates the time of death at 4:45 a.m.  The fourth chart below (12 Pisces Asc) is the transit chart for that day and time in Milwaukee.


Note that Mercury in the sky (27.48 Aries) is transiting Bob’s natal Jupiter almost exactly (27.41 Aries).   Transiting Pluto (as fixed star) figures strongly at the MC, while the transit Dsc is conjunct natal Pluto (12.11 Virgo Rx).


The chapter in which Irene writes of Bob’s death (“Mourning March”) is one of the most moving in the book.


Dear Bob: May your spirit continue to fly freely in love and peace. We love and remember you always.


A look at Irene's charts is next in part four. This is a happier part of the story, where some sunlight begins to penetrate the clouds of Irene's grief.


PHOTO CREDIT: From my own collection. Bob, infant Henry, and Irene in late summer, 2000.  


First published Sept 26, 2012 on