Regulus and a time for change

Astrology is the study of cycles. The Moon travels around Earth in about a month. Earth circles the Sun, creating the year. Other planets move through the great circle known as the zodiac. Longer cycles typically involve the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. However, there’s another motion that goes far beyond any of these: precession.

Due to a wobble in Earth’s rotation, there’s a very small change in the relationship between the tropical zodiac (based on the seasons) and the fixed-star zodiac (based on the constellations). This difference may mean less today because we no longer depend on the stars to navigate or to time the planting of crops, yet it remains an interesting cycle to observe.

This wobble means the relationship between the tropical or seasonal zodiac and the fixed-star zodiac changes about one degree every 72 years (in the order of the signs). Compare this to the outer planets: Pluto takes at least 14 years to transit a sign, sometimes more, but it takes 2160 years for a star to move through a tropical sign by precession (72 years for each of the 30 degrees in a sign).

The extreme length of the precession influence may be why it’s ignored by most astrologers. Precession is so vast it doesn’t often impact individual charts or lives in an easily observed way. That is, unless there is a particularly significant change in this cycle as there was recently.

Regulus: Heart of the lion

Fixed star Regulus, “heart of the lion” and the royal star of summer, precessed from tropical Leo into Virgo on September 16, 2011. This was a rare, once-in-2160-years event. Let’s think about what this means.

Of all the constellations, the Lion is the most powerful. As the heart is the strongest muscle in the body, so the “heart of the lion” is of supreme importance. Thousands of years ago, this star was deemed as one of just four royal stars.

If Regulus has precessed into a different sign, humanity’s very ideas of prominence and power are experiencing important changes.

Recently, scientists discovered an extremely potent energy to Regulus. It spins on its axis at an extremely high rate, moving more than 1 million kilometres per hour compared to only 7240 kilometres per hour for the Sun. If Regulus were in the place of the Sun, the oceans would boil. Regulus’s movement pushes the limits of what is possible; any more than 10 per cent faster and the star itself would break apart.

Similarly, traditional astrology connects Regulus to prominence and power. If Regulus has precessed into a different sign, humanity’s very ideas of prominence and power are experiencing important changes. To better understand the significance of this shift, let’s look at the movement of Regulus through Leo.

Terms of Leo

The idea of sections of the zodiac, called terms or sometimes bounds, is common in Hellenistic astrology. Vettius Valens, one of the earliest astrological authors, writes about the terms just after planets and signs — before any mention of aspects or houses. The terms or bounds are subsections of signs that vary in size. Each subsection is allocated one planet as ruler for that term. Here’s a look at Regulus as it moved through the terms of Leo, which are as follows: Jupiter (0–5.59), Venus (6.0–10.59), Saturn (11.0–17.59), Mercury (18.0–23.59) and Mars (24–end).


Jupiter and supremacy

Regulus precessed into tropical Leo in 157BC. The first six degrees of Leo are the term of Jupiter. This is a particularly grand combination as the supremacy of Leo combines with the expansion of Jupiter. During this time the Roman Empire emerged. While this was not the first empire in history, it did have a new kind of reach. Roman roads were built in England and, as the saying goes, “all roads lead to Rome”. A rule of similar scope came about in China. Both the Roman Empire and the Chinese Han empire totalled more than 5 million square kilometres. The size of each domain is a graphic representation of the star of power, Regulus, in the sign of Leo and term of Jupiter.

Venus and compromise

After 278AD, Regulus entered the term of Venus (6.0–10.59). Both empires faded. Rome went through a fast succession of many leaders as no one emperor could hold onto power. In time, a compromise leadership emerged where four figures shared the domain. In China, there were also historic compromises: the foreign religion of Buddhism was permitted in what was a Confucian land and the system of land ownership was reformed.

Venus is the planet of interaction and accord; a star in her portion of Leo suggests that power itself is less insisting and more willing to bend to preserve the peace. This is exactly what happened in both empires.

Saturn and the Dark Ages

Regulus moved into the term of Saturn (11.0–17.59) in 641 AD. As it so happens, historians have a name for the period in Europe from about 400–1000: the Dark Ages. Very fitting, as astrologically Saturn is linked to black and dark themes.

During this Saturnine era, epidemics wiped out much of the population and trade declined. Written history even disappeared from England for about a century. However, education, medicine and power were found in the monasteries. Monks, such as the Benedictines, kept an austere schedule, appropriate for an age of Saturn. They slept, ate and spoke little; and spent much of their time in prayer and work. Yet in other regards the Church held the reigns. The blessing of the Pope was required for the major endeavours of leaders; if someone ran afoul of the Church they could be excommunicated. Leadership was literally found in the Church.

Mercury, trade and education

The events of Regulus through the term of Mercury (18.0–23.59) from 1146–1580 are of particular interest. Regulus is currently in a sign ruled by Mercury (Virgo) and in its term, so the qualities of the last term of Mercury provide clues to what this current period will be about.

During this period, commerce and learning advanced in important ways. Trade agreements, banking, accounting, credit and insurance all developed in Italy, and universities first came into being. To emphasise this point, before Regulus’s in term Mercury, universities did not exist; knowledge was transmitted in the monasteries. After Regulus shifted, centres of learning arose that were separate from the Church. What qualified as knowledge and how to obtain it changed significantly.


Trade guilds became more influential in European city economies. Similarly in China, paper, silk and porcelain industries developed. The palace of the Emperor known as the Forbidden City was built by more than 1 million workers over 15 years. To co-ordinate this, many people without a computer certainly took Mercurial skills.

Mars and war

Regulus through the term of Mars, starting in 1580, resulted in centuries of conquest and war. European history during this period is nearly constant conflict. The very first British settlement in North America started just a few years later, in 1584; this began the domination of an entire continent.

The nature of power itself is changing from the dominion of Leo to the intelligent stewardship of Virgo.

Before this time, countries certainly fought but during these centuries wars reached a new level of destruction. In particular, the 29th degree of Leo, which Regulus transited from 1939 to 2011, was especially woeful. Never before did so many millions of people perish at the hands of government. Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis and millions more died in WWII.

The US began the nuclear age by dropping bombs that destroyed two Japanese cities in a flash and, since the Cold War arms build-up, people around the world have lived with the everyday threat of total annihilation. In the late 1950s, Chairman Mao was so interested in steel production (a Mars endeavour) that China did not produce enough food and more than 20 million people died from famine. The list goes on: Stalin, Pol Pot, genocides in Africa and central Europe, and countless conflicts around the world. America pursued power through war in Korea and Vietnam and despite the consequences continued in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Virgo and Mercury

With all this in mind, what might it mean for Regulus to move signs, from Leo to Virgo, and shift terms from Mars to Mercury? Considering the history of Regulus through Leo, humanity is in the early stages of a paradigm shift that will have all kinds of consequences around the world. There is a relatively simple way to check its importance: by examining the last time a royal star changed signs by precession.

Royal stars and epochs

The most recent incidence was Fomalhaut, royal star of winter, which moved into tropical Pisces in 1725. This star is the mouth of the fish and has to do with knowledge received from the water pourer, Aquarius, above. Though the European Enlightenment does not have a precise beginning, the term was first used to define the movement in 1733, which is not too far off the date of Fomalhaut changing signs. The entire nature of belief changed as thinkers moved away the dogma of the Church to investigations launched from their own reason. Science replaced faith and this has influenced the current materialist culture.

Aldebaran, royal star of spring, and Antares, royal star of autumn, are closely opposed. When Aldebaran precessed from Taurus to Gemini in 1298, Antares moved from Scorpio to Sagittarius just a year later. The Renaissance also does not have an exact beginning, but many scholars select the writings of Dante in 1308 and the painting of the Scrovegni Chapel by Giotto in 1305 as symbolic of its start. Given the speed of communications at the time, these years are close enough.

Aldebaran is eye of the bull. The nature of writing (Gemini) and seeing (eye) both changed as Dante started to write from a humanist perspective, and Giotto depicted images in more realistic depth compared to the flat figures earlier.

Thus, the previous and only two incidences of royal stars changing signs in the last thousand years produced both the Enlightenment and the Renaissance. With Regulus having moved into Virgo in late 2011, it’s appropriate to wonder what future generations might call this pivotal era.


Changing power

The nature of power itself is changing from the dominion of Leo to the intelligent stewardship of Virgo. “Right by might” no longer has justification; instead, leaders will need to produce quantifiable results. One such change occurred in Italy in late 2011. Silvio Berlusconi is the very image of Leo-Mars: a flamboyant, billionaire, soccer-team owner, who is famous for sex scandals. He served as Italy’s prime minister and held power longer than any other since WWII, but was forced out and replaced by Mario Monti, a hard-working banker, economist, professor and think-tank member.

According to solar fire, Regulus precessed into Virgo on September 15, 2011. The Occupy movement began just two days later, on September 17. Regulus into Virgo is much more than Occupy, yet this movement was, and is, at the forefront of challenging power that’s still operating in a Leo way. It criticises the concentration of money and politics that allows the wealthy to bend the government to their aims. Leo-style domination is no longer acceptable. Occupy itself has no one leader; instead, it is a movement run by organised committees. Based on the timing and its connection to Regulus in Virgo, Occupy has just begun.

Decades in the future, when most people in power have been born with Regulus in Virgo, people may look back to this time and wonder how they thought just one person could make the best decisions. Yet some positions still demand a central figurehead, even though they might share power through committees more than in the past. Since Virgo is a feminine sign, more women will be in these central power roles, including the US presidency.

Though it’s easiest to look at politics and government for examples of power, it’s more widespread than this. A few months ago someone wrote to me that a major Fortune 500 company had changed its decision-making structure from top down (what the CEO wants happens) to bottom up (product development starts with customers).

Knowledge, sustainability and health

There are several other Virgo themes that should assume prominence. Sustainability is key. Organic farming, recyclable materials, green energy, and Fair Trade are all in early stages and currently only a small fraction of what is possible. Soon those who have the ability to live in a sustainable way will be in power. Just as influence changed from the priests to the guilds in the medieval era, and knowledge moved from monasteries to universities, so it will be for communities and countries that live sustainably. The true costs of pesticides, a throw-away culture, polluting fuels and employment disparities will be inefficient and undesirable.

Virgo likes to be healthy. On a societal level, countries with healthy citizens and adequate care systems will produce more with lower costs compared to countries swamped by disease and high expenditures. Power itself will need to be productive and show quantifiable results. There will be more watchdog types of agencies and greater concern about reputation.


Efficiency and service

When Regulus moved into term of Mercury in Leo, the entire structure and transmission of knowledge changed. Contemporary education is ripe for a similar shift. Currently, learning is seen as both personal development (a Leo type of project) and means to a job. The latter is most desirable to the Virgo perspective, but there seems to be a much more efficient way of going about it. Instead of amassing thousands of dollars in debt to attend some location for years and obtain a degree that does not guarantee a paid position, more people will be interested in specific job training. Given technology, students no longer need to be in the same physical space as a professor. Learning, like almost everything else, can move to the internet.

From the view of terms, Regulus is moving out of Mars into Mercury. This may seem rosy-eyed, but it’s likely this will reduce the focus on military force as a means of political power. From the Mars view, having an army with lots of bombs, and the bigger the better, is a given. From the Virgo point of view, neither makes sense. An army means spending tremendous amounts of money on something that is utilised only when intelligent negotiations fail. When an army is deployed, people are hurt, which requires further costs and health care; and after a bomb is dropped there is nothing but a big mess to clean up. Instead of training millions to fight, a Virgo approach might consist of operating a service corps of youth to help those in need.

Given the historical changes, this is not too much of a stretch. Prior to Regulus into Leo, the expanse of the Roman Empire was inconceivable. From the view of the empire, the compromise of the era of Venus was unthinkable. From there the decline of the Saturnine Dark Ages was unimaginable, and so on with the rise of trade during Mercury years and then the spread of war in the centuries of Mars.

The current change of Regulus into Virgo is not only a shift of term but an entire sign itself, so it’s quite possible that armies will be reduced or restructured and money for war spent on other projects.

Money and lifestyle

Last, Regulus affects more than just governments; it impacts you individually. The basis of much of the capitalist economy is “I want it, I buy it; if I cannot afford it then bring out the credit card”. A paradigm shift to Virgo reads like this: “Does this purchase fit with my goals? Do I have the resources? Is it the most intelligent choice? What are the consequences of this transaction? How will it impact my health? How are the people producing this product treated and paid? And how will it affect the sustainability of the planet?”

We are living at a time when humanity is on the verge of a more intelligent and informed form of capitalism, where the pinnacle is no longer the ability to buy the biggest and most luxurious, but the skills to make the smartest choices that demonstrate responsibility for both our resources and the health of the planet.

It is thrilling to think we may be living in a time as important as the European Enlightenment or Renaissance. How will we know that smaller events are a sign of lasting change to come? After all, the full effects of Regulus in Virgo won’t be apparent until people born after November 15, 2011, grow up and act upon the world.

If the reduction and withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan continues, if military budgets are cut, if more women assume top-level leadership roles (Australia is ahead of the US here); if Silvio Berlusconi types continue to be replaced by the likes of Mario Monti; if Occupy continues to grow; if there are developments in sustainability, health care and education; if examples of a more informed and responsible capitalism emerge, you can point to Regulus into Virgo and think “2160 years to go”.


Jonathan Pearl is a stock market forecaster and trader living in San Francisco, US. Visit his website,, and find him on Facebook and Twitter (@jpearl).

The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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