Vladimir Putin has dominated Russian politics for almost a quarter century. A former KGB officer, Putin entered politics after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, an event he describes as the greatest tragedy of the Twentieth Century. In 1996 he joined Boris Yeltsin’s administration; appointed as prime minister in 1999, he filled the role of acting president when Yeltsin resigned later that year, being elected to the office in 2000. At the time, Russia had a prohibition on an individual serving more than two consecutive terms as president, so after being reelected in 2004, in 2008 Putin swapped jobs with then prime minister Dmitry Medvedev for a term, only to assume the top spot again in the following election, four years later. That would have entitled him to two more terms, but Putin changed the law to allow himself to run for an additional two terms uninterrupted, potentially continuing his occupancy of the presidency indefinitely.
With Putin at the helm, Russia has experienced a gradual shift away from democracy and toward authoritarianism. His rule has been characterized by endemic corruption, with the rise of billionaire oligarchs as power players, the jailing, murder and repression of political opponents, the intimidation and suppression of independent media in Russia, and a lack of free and fair elections. A prime goal of Putin’s foreign policy has been to reconstitute the old Soviet Union, to the extent that is possible, and to that end he has embarked on wars in Chechnya in 1999 and Georgia in 2008, illegally annexing the Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and now this outright invasion of Ukraine. Putin’s wars have been focused on attacks on civilian populations and destruction of infrastructure as a means of cowing resistance and terrorizing the populace into submission, war crimes for which he has thus far not been called to account.
Increasingly isolated since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, Putin grants limited access to advisors, and governs Russia as a virtual dictator, with the Duma, its representative legislative body, acting as his rubber stamp. The current economic sanctions established by the West after his invasion of Ukraine constitute the first time Putin has been sanctioned personally for his war crimes, as opposed to sanctioning institutions and other prominent individuals in Russia.
Born 7 October 1952, no time available (there is a chart floating about the Internet with a 9:30 AM birth time, but it is rated DD by Rodden’s Astro Data Bank, for “dirty data”, with no confirmation or conflicting information, so I don’t use it), Putin’s attraction for authoritarianism can be seen in the Sun at 14 Libra conjunct Saturn at 17 Libra, ruling strictness and oppression. Saturn is also the symbol of the Chief Executive, a role Putin has filled for Russia for 23 years, with no end in sight. Also with the Sun is Neptune at 21 Libra, appropriate for someone involved with espionage (Putin served 16 years with the Soviet KGB, and was briefly director of its Russian successor, the FSB), and given to a secretive, reclusive nature.
The Sun further anchors a Grand Cross, with additional conjunctions to asteroids Pandora and Tantalus at 12 and 19 Libra, squares to Damocles and asteroid Niobe at 16 Capricorn and Uranus at 18 Cancer, and an opposition to TNO Eris at 7 Aries. Pandora represents the unleashing of unintended consequences, a factor which may be playing out in real time as Putin experiences the international blowback from his invasion of Ukraine, where resistance has been much greater than calculated. Tantalus is a point relating to pure evil; many would argue that Putin’s war tactics qualify as a manifestation of this energy. Damocles is the looming threat or peril, something that Russia has come to embody to its neighbors under Putin’s leadership, while Niobe is associated with overbearing pride, which eventually becomes a source of ruin. Again, we may be seeing this celestial potential becoming a reality. Uranus contributes to Putin’s unpredictability, heated, inflammatory rhetoric, and the controversial nature of many of his policies. Eris is named for the goddess of strife and discord, known to the ancient Greeks as “the nurse of war.” More to the point, Eris is noted for taking offense quickly, harboring resentments, and brooding over perceived slights, for which she enacts petty revenge.
The Sun is also conjoined by asteroid Bomben at 8 Libra, signifying “bombing”, Putin’s preferred wartime activity, with flattened cities in Georgia, Chechnya, Syria (where Russian assets facilitated dictator Bashar al-Assad’s war on his own people) and now Ukraine, with devastation to such urban regions as Mariupol and Kharkiv, as proof of his passion for destruction via this means.
Mercury at 23 Libra is at the far edge of the Sun’s orb of influence; conjoined asteroid Toro at 1 Scorpio we see the aggressive, bullying style of Putin’s communications and rhetoric. Mercury opposes TNO Sedna at 24 Aries, conjoined asteroid Vladimir at 26 Aries. Sedna with Mercury promotes isolated thinking, a cold and calculating intellectual disposition, and an easily activated sense of betrayal. Asteroid Vladimir here serves to further personalize these traits to Putin, and the isolation of the pandemic has also exacerbated these tendencies (at one point, Putin required potential visitors to quarantine for two weeks before meeting him). As well, opposed to Mercury, Vladimir’s position fits one of the typical placements for one’s own PNA (Personal-Named Asteroid), commonly tied to the Sun, Moon, Ascendant or Mercury (which represents the naming function). One has only to look at a photo of Putin, seated alone at one end of an enormously long conference table, with intermediaries conveying materials from his interlocutors at its far end, for a visual of how Mercury embroiled with Sedna can operate.
Saturn and Neptune also conjoin Mercury; Saturn here can tend toward harsh or critical judgments, calcified thinking and opinions, rigidity and an unwillingness to alter course. Neptune is more flexible, but also prone to unrealistic appraisals, secretiveness, fantasy and wishful thinking. Saturn with Mercury often yields depression; Neptune can bring on madness. A T-Square is formed by asteroid Lie at 28 Capricorn, an indication that Putin regularly and willingly distorts or manipulates data, promotes misinformation or disinformation, and is deliberately deceptive or misleading.
Next to consider are points which appear at station in Putin’s birth chart. Stationary bodies exert a much greater impact on the character and biography of the individual than would normally be the case, embedded in consciousness and disproportionately powerful.
Not surprisingly, for one who has ruled Russia for almost a quarter century, Vladimir Putin has asteroid Moskva, named for its capital of Moscow, stationary at 25 Gemini, from where it turned retrograde 13 days after his birth. Moskva conjoins TNO Orcus at 29 Gemini, also at station, in a Grand Cross with asteroid Russia at 29 Virgo, Mars exactly conjunct asteroid Karma at 26 Sagittarius with asteroid Gunn at 29 Sagittarius, and TNO Chaos at 29 Pisces. Stationary bodies can become the lodestars of our existence, and with Moskva in this stance, Putin’s attraction for the capital and the political power it represents is easy to understand; Russia in square reinforces this.
Orcus symbolizes rules and oaths, and is noted for punishing those who break them; dwarf planet expert Sue Kientz stresses that it has an affinity with authoritarian types. Mars is the leader, the champion, and also ruler of war and conflict; exact with Karma, Putin likely believes he has a fated role to play in the leadership of his country, to which he feels he has an almost mystical connection. That role will involve violence and war (Mars), reinforced by the presence of asteroid Gunn, homophone of one of the tools of war. Karma here ensures that at some point, Putin will be held accountable for his acts of aggression.
TNO Chaos represents just what the name implies – disorder, confusion, turmoil, anarchy. Certainly Putin has exported that commodity to several areas of the globe, most notably Ukraine, with upwards of a quarter of its population displaced, internally or in exile, by his invasion. But there is another side to Chaos, which the Greeks envisioned as the formless void from which all else is created. Linked in this manner with Moskva and Russia, Putin sees himself as a creator of their destiny, remaking the state in his image and that of the former Soviet Union, after the chaotic collapse of the old order he so prized.
Also at station are two centaur bodies: Bienor at 10 Gemini, and Pholus at 29 Capricorn. Not much is known mythically of Bienor, he has a very thin backstory. But his name is enough – it literally means “Strong Man”, a position which Putin obviously aspires to, in its political sense of a strongman as a leader who rules by the exercise of threats, force, or violence. Bienor was activated by a Solar Eclipse at 12 Sagittarius in opposition on 4 December 2021, as Putin marshaled his forces on the Ukraine border.
Pholus has unfortunate connotations as well, given Putin’s biography. It relates to mass deaths, by whatever cause, an energy which clearly resonates to Putin’s resume, even before this invasion. Accurate numbers for casualties for the current conflict are difficult to obtain through the fog of war, but the Ukraine government estimates that as of March 28, some 1300 soldiers and 1200 civilians have died due to the fighting; estimates of Russian casualties range as high as 15,000.
Pholus is not the only death-related stationary point. Asteroids Osiris at 13 Aquarius and Atropos at 26 Aquarius are also standing still in the heavens at his birth, Osiris being named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, while Atropos is named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death. In some sense, Putin becomes an agent or emissary of these energies, embodying the theme of death, which is deeply embedded in his subconscious and psychological makeup.
The final stationary body is asteroid Putilin, closest to Putin, which at 15 Aquarius is trine the Sun; again, we see the solar connection so typical for a PNA. Putilin’s close conjunction with Osiris reinforces the death theme in Putin’s psyche. Putilin fits neatly at the head of a Pentagram pattern, in semisquare to Mars/Karma/Gunn and Chaos, and sesquiquadrate to Moskva/Orcus and Russia, personalizing the power and force of the Grand Cross to Putin personally, directing the pattern. Putilin is involved in a second pattern which helps to explain his temperament. This a T-Square, with Putilin at the fulcrum, again in the lead or commanding position, with squares to Jupiter at 19 Taurus and a combination of Venus with asteroids Nemesis and Hybris, at 12 and 18 Scorpio. Nemesis/Hybris shows a downfall or ruin related to excessive pride or arrogance, Venus indicates a financial or economic quality to his overthrow, and Jupiter suggests both a massive ego and an inflation of the situation beyond the point where it can be contained or controlled.
There are also a number of asteroid clusters in Putin’s birth chart which foretell the current circumstances and the political realities that underpin them. Most significant is a grouping of asteroids Icarus, Intel, Kiev, Volodymyr, Donbass and Sphinx, at 24, 25 26, 27 and 29 Scorpio. These factors are inextricably linked in Putin’s mind, with Kiev named for the capital of Ukraine; Donbass named for its disputed eastern region bordering Russia (comprising the breakaway separatist “republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk), which Putin covets; Volodymyr representing its president, Volodymyr Zelensky; Intel being the raw data on which Putin bases his calculations; Sphinx noted (as per asteroid maven Martha Lang-Wescott) for “questions, missing information, lack of answers and understanding”; and Icarus representing rash, reckless actions taken heedless of the consequences, an inability to accept and follow good advice.
Put it all together, and we have a remarkably apt description of the current situation, identifying the geographic region affected (Kiev, Donbass), one of the lead players in the tragedy (Volodymyr), the flawed data (Intel/Sphinx) that caused a miscalculation of the outcome (Putin apparently thought he could overrun Ukraine in a matter of days, that resistance would crumble), and the impulsive decision (Icarus) to proceed. This asteroid stellium was highlighted by a Lunar Eclipse in opposition from 27 Taurus on November 19, 2021, even as Putin began mobilizing the troops for his forthcoming invasion. The stellium will be ignited again by the Lunar Eclipse of May 15, 2022 at 25 Scorpio, in conjunction, perhaps bringing a final closure to the matter, or accelerating the conflict beyond the relatively limited scope it currently has.
Remarkably, this stellium appears at the Apex of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjunct aspects to asteroids Vladimir at 26 Aries and Moskva at 25 Gemini, which depicts a rendezvous with Fate (Yod) for Putin (Vladimir), wielding the power of the state (Moskva), vis-à-vis Ukraine (the Scorpio stellium). Shift the picture slightly, place Moskva at the Apex, and a second Yod is formed, with inconjuncts to the Scorpio stellium and a pairing of Pholus at 29 Capricorn with asteroid Lie at 28 Capricorn. This depicts mass deaths (Pholus) in Ukraine (stellium) based in deception and untruths (Lie) fostered by the Russian government (Moskva); Putin asserted that his motive in invading his neighbor was a genocide of its Russian-speaking population and a need to “de-Nazify” the state, clear falsehoods used to justify his actions. Shift again, placing Vladimir on the Apex, and we see the stellium with asteroid Russia at 29 Virgo at its base, a reiteration of the state (Russia) as an extension of Putin’s ego and motivation (Vladimir) in the present conflict in Ukraine (stellium). These three interlocking Yods suggest a high degree of fated actions and outcomes in the present crisis.
Also of interest, and remarkable in their defining of the political alliances and lines being drawn due to this conflict, are two additional asteroid groupings: Pluto at 22 Leo, conjoined by asteroids Ukraina and Jose at 25 Leo, and Washingtonia at 26 Leo; and asteroid Kriegh with Bida and Zelinksy, at 2, 4 and 5 Leo. Pluto rules devastation and destruction, while Kriegh is a patronym based on the German “Krieg”, meaning “war.” Note how Ukraine’s support from the US is indicated in Ukraina’s close conjunction with Washingtonia, representing the US capital, reinforced strongly under the current administration by the presence of asteroid Jose, the Spanish form of Joseph, for US president Joe Biden. The personal connection between the US and Ukrainian presidents at this time of war (Kriegh) is again seen as Bida (closest to Biden) conjunct Zelinsky (alternate spelling of Zelensky). Underpinning it all is Putin’s natal asteroid America at 23 Cancer conjoined Achilles at 22 Cancer, suggesting he sees the US as weak on some level, but also feels vulnerable and exposed by this rival. Achilles further carries the connotation of sulking or brooding at length on a matter, especially a perceived injustice.
On that score, perhaps the most telling transit Putin has endured for the past few years has been TNO Eris opposing natal Mercury from 23 Aries. This has offered Putin an extended period of fixating on perceived slights, wrongs, injustices, and grievance, to the point of obsession. All this while asteroid Vladimir (Putin) has been traveling with asteroid Volodymyr (Zelensky), with asteroid Karma between them, since the spring of 2020. Not always conjunct each other, but both conjoined Karma (one before and one behind), since the onset of the increased isolation of the pandemic, Putin has been mulling his relations with Ukraine, thoughts of old grudges, new provocations and continual irritations agitating his mind like obsessively running a tongue over a sore tooth.
While their asteroid referents were conjoined, constantly chafing each other with a backdrop of fate and destiny (Karma), the subject was inescapable in Putin’s mind, and became forefront in Zelensky’s once Russia’s hostile intentions became clear. Their very proximity celestially presented obstacles to choice and momentum, enmeshed as they were. But as the two began to separate in late February and early March, Putin finally felt free to make his move, after years of feeling trapped and stifled by the situation.
A transformation in thinking generally was initiated by Pluto’s square to natal Mercury at 23 Libra over a period of two years, ending in December 2020. An obsession with power and violence can be a hallmark of this type of transit, which was succeeded immediately by Pluto’s square to natal asteroid Vladimir at 26 Aries in March through June 2021, including a station retrograde in April. This heralds a period of deep psychological transformation for Putin, which will not be completed until the backhand station direct of October 2022, with Pluto inhabiting 26 Capricorn and the exact square to Vladimir from August through November. This transit, similar to Pluto interacting with the Sun (think of one’s own PNA as a mini-Sun, representing the core being) has the ability to essentially remake the individual from the ground up, for good or bad, with issues of one’s relationship to power and how it is expressed becoming paramount. Having pushed his personal power to its extremes in stage one of the transit, and having misused it, it’s entirely possible that Putin will experience a total loss of power as he moves into the final stage later this year. Joe Biden’s apparent gaffe, when touring refugees in Poland recently, that Putin cannot remain in power, is likely being echoed by many in Russia, and may prove to be prophetic.
Transit Jupiter and Neptune will be weighing in on the situation as well, with Neptune coming to station at 25 Pisces in June, exactly squared Moskva and setting off the associated Grand Cross and Yods (it will activate this degree from mid-May through July). Neptune clouds judgment and promotes muddled thinking, unrealistic expectations and elevates fantasy preeminent over reality. In the present military contest, this could also refer to the use of chemical weapons. Jupiter brings its patented brand of inflation and exacerbation to the table in April and May, when it activates several natal points in late Mutable Signs, including Moskva, Russia, Mars and Chaos. Jupiter’s conjunction with Chaos May 6-10 could ramp up the instability in the situation considerably.
Saturn’s station will be unhelpful as well. In early June Saturn stations retrograde at 25 Aquarius, exactly squared the Lunar Eclipse of just two weeks prior, as well as igniting the natal T-Square of the Scorpio asteroid stellium and the Pluto grouping in Leo including Ukraina and Washingtonia, with Atropos in Aquarius. Saturn is known as the ancient lord of death, and its station within a degree of Putin’s natal Atropos could elicit some truly horrific manifestations indeed.
There’s one more upcoming transit that I didn’t feel competent to delineate thoroughly: Sedna sesquiquadrate Putin’s Sun. So, as I always do at these times, I turned to dwarf planet expert Sue Kientz for advice. This is what she had to say:
“Many people wonder what Putin’s thinking. When I see Dwarf Planet Sedna (transiting at 28 Taurus 25) sesquiquadrate Putin’s 13 Libra 55 Sun (aspect exact mid-May 2022, and coming for another unpleasant reprise when it retrogrades then stations direct sesquiquadrate in Jan-Feb 2023), I think about Putin looking at turning 70 years old in October, a milestone he might well be obsessing about for a few years. Sedna transits are like getting hit by Saturn and Neptune all at once. That can mean job loss, sickness, some period of weakness or disability, or even deep depression. Sedna (think “Sat-Ne” to remember its Saturn-Neptune effect) has already made two transits sesquiquadrate Putin’s Sun, and this could have caused him to sense time is running out for him to reconstitute his great Soviet Empire. His physical power may feel diminished, panicking him, and so he unleashes this vastly ill-advised invasion of peaceful Ukraine. Putin has never put so much on the line, with his military appearing unprepared, and his need for outlandish Nazi lies. Since he’s been making noise about Ukraine for some time, that’s allowed Ukrainians to prepare and marshal powerful friends. Putin may even have symptoms or a diagnosis of some disturbing illness, which he would be prone to hide. Whatever the case, Putin is actually weak, and his Sednan condition is coming through in the reports on the war we see in the news.
“Sedna’s transit is nowhere near done with Putin (even after Sedna stops exact 135-degree aspects, it will be closely in orb to that point for a few years more), which does not bode well for his empire ambitions. If USSR version 2.0 means so much to him, he’s unlikely to risk all of Russia to make any nuclear moves. The Russian people will rather suffer the Sednan-like sanctions (leading to severe lack and confusion, very Saturn-Neptune) until Putin finds an exit ramp he likes or has one thrust upon him.”
The repeated application of cosmic heft to pressure points in Putin’s chart as spring stretches into summer does not bode well for the resolution of the war, unless a peace can be negotiated quickly. But for that to have any meaning, the world would need to rely on the word of a faithless, calculating, conscience-free, sociopathic despot. Not a pleasant prospect.