RIP Ashes

At 11:24 AM EDT on March 21, 2023, in Nazareth, PA, my dear girl Ashes passed peacefully into eternity.  We had been together 15 years, with never a cross word between us, a wonderfully close and affectionate relationship.  I brought Ashes in off the West Philly streets in 2007, along with two of her kittens, one of the first beneficiaries of Leo’s Cat Rescue, which I ran with my friend John Mignone for over ten years.

Ashes had a close call with death in 2019, when a double whammy of infectious and bacterial viruses knocked her for a loop, but she rallied, and in the following spring we moved from Philadelphia to our home in Nazareth Pennsylvania, where we became even closer.  By then it was just the two of us, her children having passed.

ashes & daddy april 2018a
Meeting of the minds; Ashes and daddy in April 2018, just after the passing of her son Samhain gave her the solitude and exclusivity with me that she had always craved; asteroid Ash in her adoption chart conjoins my natal Sun

Last August Ashes’ annual physical revealed elevated liver values in her bloodwork.  The cause was uncertain, and we tried a supplement to assist the liver in processing toxins.  Ashes has always been a difficult patient to treat, at least for me (I understand she is more compliant with vets and techs).  Though small, she’s mighty, and I frequently describe her as “eight pounds of fluff and steely determination.”  If Ashes doesn’t want a thing to be done to her, it won’t get done.  Miraculously, though we had tried these before with no luck, Ashes readily accepted her medicine in a salmon-flavored Pill Pocket.  After a month, we returned for further bloodwork, to find that the values had remained static, neither improving nor deteriorating.

Ashes napping with her daughter Hallows, who remained semi-feral to the end of her days; Ashes was an accommodating mother, but never sought out her offspring – her heart was reserved for daddy

The plan was to continue the supplement for one more month, retest and then take a month’s break to see if anything changed.  But Ashes had other plans, and refused anymore of the Pill Pockets.  And so it was with a sense of impending doom that we proceeded for the next six months.  The most likely culprit for the liver levels was cancer, but, unwilling to put her through any of the treatments for that at her age, we opted not to pursue further diagnostics.

A cat for all seasons: Ashes was always in the thick of things as the decor rotated yearly

As the time passed, I noticed that Ashes seemed thinner, though she retained her appetite and contented demeanor (eventually she dropped to six pounds, losing a quarter of her body weight).  In late February I began to notice a change in food intake and box output.  Never regular with her bowel movements, these became downright erratic, and she began to refuse her normal food, though she still could be enticed with treats and foods she especially loved.

ashes & samhain litha nap 2015c
Napus interruptus; Ashes and Samhain are roused from a summer slumber by camera bug Pop-Pop

I took her to the vet, and fresh bloodwork confirmed that the liver values had spiked hugely.  The vet pointed out to me where the exposed skin of her ears was yellowed with jaundice, a sure sign of a failing liver.  We took steps to improve her condition in the short term, with anti-nausea meds, appetite stimulants and steroids.  Ashes responded somewhat, and began to eat better, but not enough to sustain her over the few weeks or months that might be left to her.

ashes with daddy 2012a
Ashes with daddy in 2012, after just five years together; at her passing, transit asteroids Kitty and Alexandra conjoined natal Saturn, squared transit Alex and Fellini conjunct natal Osiris

I opted to release her before her suffering became apparent, though I’ll never know how much discomfort or pain she might already have been feeling, or for how long, as cats tend to keep their pain to themselves.  I scheduled her to be euthanized a week after our initial vet visit, and we spent a few precious days together, cuddling and cooing.

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Ashes enjoyed playing Godzilla with the Yule Victorian Village, a sport that daddy wasn’t as comfortable with; remarkably, she could move through this cluttered community at speed without dislodging so much as a tree or lamppost
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Catnip-fueled high jinks always ensued when Santy Claws made his annual Solstice visit

On the Sunday before she passed, my old rescue partner John, who had first introduced us, his husband Michael, and my cousin Renee, who tended Ashes when I was away, came to say their goodbyes and give her a send-off.  She was eating very little by then, and becoming more and more inactive, but she brightened with all the attention, played the gracious hostess one final time, and took a few bites of what would be her last meal.

ashes in wrappings 2015
“Back off – I like the crinkling!” Ashes enjoys a rest atop discarded tissue paper wrappings from seasonal tchotchkes

Th next day she took another turn for the worse, began coughing and sneezing, vomiting occasionally, but with an empty stomach, just bringing up foam, and I was hoping I hadn’t waited too long for her passing.  She rallied a bit later in the day, we spent our last night together, her sleeping on my chest, as was her wont, and the next morning she didn’t resist as I bundled her into the carrier.  An hour later it was over.

ashes valentine
Always photogenic, Ashes poses with a bouquet of Valentine roses; my natal asteroid Valentine closely opposed her adoption asteroid Ash, for this feline love of my life

I had called to schedule the procedure on the Friday before, the 17th, at 10:08 AM EDT.  I formally adopted Ashes on Halloween 2007 (in cases such as this, where a birthdate is unknown, an adoption date serves well as a marker for the pet), and the 2 Gemini Ascendant for the fatal call closely aligned with that chart’s 3 Gemini placement of asteroid Lachesis, named for the mythic Greek Fate who determines the span of life.  The MC at the time was 9 Leo, conjoining both my natal Sun at 4 Leo and asteroid Ash at 3 Leo for her adoption (Ash is closest to Ashes, and a nickname I frequently called her).  The Moon at 29 Capricorn was exactly conjunct transit Pluto, modern ruler of death.

ashes scarecrow 2018b
ashes hwn2
Any lap will do! When daddy is too busy hanging seasonal decorations to pay her attention, Ashes happily commandeers any lap available

By the time her appointment arrived, that Moon has moved to 29 Pisces, just hours away from a New Moon with the Sun at 0 Aries.  In extreme balsamic phase and the critical 29th degree, the Moon indicated an ending, and was T-squared the horizontal axis for the euthanizing, with Ascendant at 26 Gemini and Descendant at 26 Sagittarius. 

ashes bag bed 2014a
ashes drawer 2017a
Bags or bins, Ashes loved napping in tight, unexpected places

The Moon conjoined asteroid Lachesis at 21 Pisces, Atropos at 22 Pisces (named for the Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death) and Neptune at 25 Pisces, ruling hospitals (including veterinary clinics), medications and euthanasia, and kicked off a cluster of points, with the Sun at 0 Aries, asteroid Vet at 2 Aries, and an exact conjunction of asteroid Miller with Mercury (ruling small animals and pets) at 4 Aries.  These opposed asteroid Osiris, named for the Egyptian god of the dead, at 0 Libra, and asteroid Ash at 25 Virgo.  It was clearly her time.

ashes bed end
Ashes’ last nap on her bed in the guest room, three days before she passed; a New Moon conjunct death indicators Atropos and Lachesis, with Neptune (euthanasia), asteroids Vet and Miller, opposed Osiris and asteroid Ash, heralded her demise

Further indications of the passing of my beloved cat abounded.  Asteroid Fellini (for “feline” at 9 Aries conjoined asteroid Alex at 14 Aries, opposed asteroid Rip at 10 Libra (which functions as a death indicator in the form of the acronym RIP, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription), with a T-Square formed by asteroids Kitty and Alexandra at 13 and 14 Capricorn, with Kitty exactly conjoined my natal Saturn, ancient ruler of death.

ashes daddy 19 march 2023 cropped
Our last photo together, taken at her send-off on March 19th; transit asteroid Asher conjoined my Sun once again reflected the closeness that was apparent from Ash conjunct my Sun in her adoption chart

Transit Saturn at 1 Pisces was exactly conjunct Damocles, the doom hanging overhead, also conjoined the 2 Pisces MC and asteroid Katz at 5 Pisces (German for “cat”, and a phonetic match).  Asteroid Asher (another variant for Ashes) at 2 Leo conjoined my natal Sun at 4 and her adoption asteroid Ash at 3 Leo, squared Venus (a loved one) with asteroid Nemesis (ruin or destruction) at 5 and 3 Taurus.  Asher is also involved in a Grand Trine Kite pattern, with trines to Sun/Miller/Mercury/Vet in early Aries and asteroid Anubis (named for the Egyptian deity governing funerary rites) at 5 Sagittarius, itself stationary (turning retrograde on the 28th).  The String of the Kite is formed with an out-of-Sign opposition from Asher to Pluto at 29 Capricorn.  Transit Anubis was also squared my natal asteroid Katz at 10 Pisces.

ashes with skulls2
Ashes amidst Halloween items waiting to be displayed; always willing to help place the tchotchke, her deplorable lack of opposable thumbs meant she had to remain in a supervisory capacity

Oddly, Anubis was also stationary at my birth; from 3 Aries (now conjunct the early Aries stellium for Ashes’ passing) Anubis turned retrograde eight days later, conjoined natal Fellini at 9 Aries, also the degree of transit Miller at her adoption.  Nearby is natal Osiris at 14 Aries, exactly conjoined at her passing by transit Alex, while transit Fellini had exactly returned to its natal degree.

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A makeshift memorial to Ashes rests atop her favorite heart pillow nap spot, which despite its unseasonality, daddy allowed to remain in place for most of the year; a more substantial memorial in the garden will follow

My natal Kitty at 13 Virgo was sesquiquadrate transit Pluto at 29 Capricorn, also squared by transit Requiem ((named for the funeral mass for the dead) at 18 Sagittarius.  Requiem also opposed my natal Vet/Ashes conjunction at 19 and 20 Gemini, and conjoined Ashes’ adoption asteroid Atropos at 19 Sag.  Transit Rip at 10 Libra was closing in on the adoption Kitty at 15 Libra, and setting off a natal T-Square of Requiem at 14 Cancer, Saturn at 13 Capricorn, and Osiris at 14 Aries.

I will miss my dear one more than I can say.  Farewell dearest daughter, faithful friend, precious love.


My dear girl was returned to me on April 3rd, in a lovely carved wooden box, with a certificate verifying her cremation on March 27th.  As an astrologer, I was curious to know how that was reflected in the skies.  Asteroids useful for stories involving fire include Burns, Burney (for burning), Flammario and Flammeus (for flames).

The day was dominated by the continuing conjunction of the Sun with asteroid Fellini (for “feline”), at 6 and 12 Aries respectively.  Two major patterns key off this conjunction, which appears at the fulcrum of a T-Square with asteroid Kitty at 15 Capricorn and Flammario at 7 Cancer.  This connects two cat referents (Fellini, Kitty) with a point symbolizing cremation (Flammario), in this context.

The second pattern is a Grand Trine, with the Sun/Fellini conjunction trined to both asteroid Burney at 12 Sagittarius and Asher (for Ashes) at 5 Leo.  Again we see a focus (Sun) on cats (Fellini), specifically regarding burning (Burney) and a PNA for my cat (Asher).

Another indicator of the circumstances is a pairing of Saturn at 2 Pisces with asteroid Katz (German for “cat”, and a phonetic match) at 9 Pisces, opposing asteroid Flammeus at 3 Virgo.  This depicts the cremation (Flammeus) of a deceased (Saturn) feline (Katz) generally.  Specific confirmation of which feline is given by asteroid Burns at 23 Capricorn closely trine asteroid Ash at 24 Virgo (a nickname I often called her), a stunning, all-but-literal celestial restatement of what occurred that day.

Truly, is there anything that occurs out of season?

Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and a former board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

12 comments, add yours.


I’M SO SORRY TO HEAR THIS, ALEX. We recently lost on of our dogs. I got choked up just reading this.


Ashes in the Yule Village is hysterical. Kitties can be so bad…and adorable.
I’m so sorry for your loss.


Alex, I’m so sorry for your loss. My eyes are filled with tears. I know how hard it is to lose our fur babies. You were both blessed to have each other all those years… but I know no matter how long you have, it is never enough. Prayers for you. May grace surround you, and in time, may happy memories give you comfort.


{{hug}} I’m so sorry to hear about your terrible loss of Ashes, your beautiful and precious girl. I hope she will return to you, soon.


My condolences to read of Ash’s passing! She is in Bast’s arms now.

Irmgard Dering

I feel so sad for you over the loss of your beloved Ashes, It is a horrible pain! She had been a magnificent looking Kitty!


So sorry for your loss.


Dear Alex, as a cat lover myself I also shed a few tears reading this. I have a soft spot for tortoiseshells and she was a beauty. How wonderful that you could give Ashes and her kittens a home off the streets. Sad they predeceased her but I’m glad it meant she enjoyed your full attention. Loved the photos especially of her as Godzilla and with the Halloween display. The asteroids were amazing, as always. Thanks for opening up your heart and sharing this. May she rest in peace..


Rest in peace, sweet ‘Ashes’. I know you made her life better than if she had never been rescued. Thank you for sharing photos. She looks like a sweet kitty. I’m sorry for your loss, and have great empathy as I too, have lost kitties that had been with me for 15 yrs.


I’m sorry for your loss. Ashes was a beautiful kitty.


Condolences. You and Ashes were blessed to have found each other. It seems you’ve both been enriched by your relationship. She’s a little tortie beauty. Thank you for sharing this memorial with your readers. And thank you for all your work with strays!


Thank you also for the addendum, Alex, which is mind-blowing. I’ll have to pay attention to the cremation date for my pets too. Hope you are doing OK.

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