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Chart Elements 11: Mercury & Neptune Equals Spying

Tolkachev photo-1

John Guilsher photo

In September of 1978 a series of “Dear Gramps” letters arrived at an address and were forwarded to the CIA office in the Moscow U.S. Embassy.  These had been defined in the materials given to Tolkachev weeks earlier, hidden within the construction glove.  The letters themselves indicated a boy’s thank you to his grandfather for time and presents that he had received.  The letters showed signs of having been opened by the censors, but they were resealed and forwarded.  On the back side of each page, written in a secret ink, was the small writing of Tolkachev detailing some of the Soviet weapons he was working on.  Each letter contained an extensive amount of sensitive information.  Tolkachev also noted that he had a large notebook of information for to pass to the CIA.

The CIA office proposed to the Langley, USA headquarters that they be allowed to meet directly with Tolkachev for the purpose of finding better ways to transfer information from him to them and to make a personal contact to explore his needs and wishes.  That permission was given.

Late on New Years day, 1978, Guilsher and his family attended a birthday party, driving through cold and miserable weather to get there.  In late afternoon, they left the party and headed home.  Guilsher stopped the car near a narrow dark alley, got out, and his wife Kissa continued on towards home.  Guilsher had changed clothes wearing a long dark coat and fur hat, looking like any other older Russian man.  He boarded a bus and got off near Toalkachevs apartment.  His radio earpiece picked up no Russian surveillance, so he checked the area visually and saw no one about.  He went to a phone booth and called Tolkachev, identifying himself as Nickolai, and asked if Tolkachev could meet him?


This is a t/Moon-to-n/Sun in the 11th house Return, indicating a coming together for a common cause.  t/Mars conjoins the t/Moon, indicating the aggressive nature of the meeting and the danger surrounding it.  The most telling pattern, however, is t/Mercury-t/Neptune-MC.  This is the “spy pattern” alluded to in the title.  In his excellent book, Combination of Stellar Influences, by Reinhold Ebertin, he gives the following view of this pattern; “A rich inner life full of imagination, far-reaching ideas and plans, intuitive thinking, sympathetic understanding of other peoplethe act of deceiving oneself, to go the wrong way, to lie.”  This is valid, but not for the context of Tolkachev and Guilsher’s life at this point in time.  Mercury equals meetings, documents.  Neptune equals secrets and deceit.  The MC equals ones goals and status in life.  Hence, we have a spy pattern.

We also find t/PoF-n/Jupiter in the first house; chance and change (PoF) seeks to have an expanded opportunity (Jupiter) of expression and experience.  So, these brief statements serve to define the nature of this two week cycle.  So, let us now look at the Advanced chart — for the first day of January.


Mercury and Neptune have swapped places with Neptune now closer to the MC angle.  Great care and secrecy is the order of the day.  Both are nervous about this first personal meeting as is suggested by t/Moon conjoining n/Moon in the 12th house of secrets. There is also an air of excitement as suggested by t/PoF-n/Uranus in the first house.  Tolkachev would state to Guilsher that he was “A dissident at heart.”  Remember his n/Sun opposite n/Pluto?  And, to emphasize the secretivness of what was happening, we have t/Neptune-MC and n/Neptune-Desc. — a ‘doubled up’ Neptune.  Tolkachev had first approached an Amercian, hoping to make contact with the CIA, back in 197s — seven years later.  He had exercised great patience in getting his plan underway to do harm to the Soviet Union.

Upon receiving a phone call from ‘Nickolai’, he left his apartment, took his materials, and walked to the phone booth.  Guilsher gave Tolkachev 1,000 rubles, not a great amount, but then there was little to spend it on in Russia’s then-devastated economy.  He really did not need more money, but he appreciated the gesture.  Tolkachev could not make use of a camera in his office during the day but he might be able to linger after office hours and take photos then for awhile.  There was no privacy in his apartment.  For privacy he went to the library.  Guilsher received the notebook and they parted ways.

Immediately following the meeting, CIA headquarters went into ‘queasy’ mode, dubious about giving away money, wondering about the detailed information, feeling that their public meetings in the middle of the night were too chancy.  Of course the field office was ecstatic.  Solid intelligence was provided, great care was taken, the personal meeting gave both side confidence and improved their communications.  Such is the nature of headquarters and field agents. 

Let us now look deeper into Mercury and Neptune.

Mercury and Neptune.  Mercury is said to “rule” the two signs (Gemini and Virgo) that have a hard aspect to the sign that Neptune is said to rule, Pisces.  We can start with this relationship in exploring the way these two planets might work together.

Mercury opposite Neptune (Virgo-Pisces) offers perceptions and ambiguity.  Can Mercury understand what Neptune offers?  Will truth and value stand apart from lies and fraud?  How about ‘facts’ versus ‘ideals.’  Mercury can consider ideals and dreams but Neptune doesn’t take time to think about or analyze them, Neptune just consumes them.  This highlights the difference between Mercury in Virgo and Mercury in Gemini.  Virgo slows down the Mercury processes, Gemini speeds them up.  Gemini will stop once they grasp a Neptune concept, while Virgo will expand and explore a range of Mercury-Neptune possibilities.

So Mercury square Neptune (Gemini and Pisces) will instantly tear Neptune apart and select the pieces it wants.  Mercury exercises its impatient side when squaring Neptune, while taking time to explore Neptune when it opposes that planet.  Whether a useful outcome results in either case is another situation.  Neptune doesn’t often lead to clarity.  If clarity is not the goal, but entertainment, illusion, or fakery is the goal then Mercury can work more productively with Neptune.

We have to move to the softer aspects such as sextiles and trines between these two if we want results of value.  Relative to Neptune/Pisces, this invokes Earth and Water signs and their influence on Mercury.  Trines relate to water signs for Neptune, and Mercury in Water signs is not always good.  Mercury just doesn’t cleanly do its thing when involved with emotions and feelings.  Mercury tends to fake it, and does so poorly.  Mercury has a mixed result when in Taurus versus being in Capricorn.  Its a ‘fixed’ versus an ‘active’ thing for Mercury.  Mercury works best when in can be quick and flexible, something that Taurus tends to discourage, something that Capricorn can support.  So, not every sextile and every trine between Mercury and Neptune works well.  It all becomes very personal and care must be taken when signs are given a role in Mercury-Neptune assessments.




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Chart Elements 10c: Shared Symbols Within Shared Events

John Guilsher photo

Tolkachev photo-1

These two men, Guilsher of the CIA, Tolkachev the Russian Lead Designer at a research institute, both shared a single event in Moscow on August 24th, 1978.  I found it interesting to see what common chart patterns they shared.  This is not ‘synastry’ wherein we look for cross linked aspects between the charts, this is finding similar patterns within each individual chart.  What might those patterns tell us?  below are the two Advanced charts.









Part of Fortune:  Guilsher had t/PoF-MC-opposite n/PoF.  Tolkachev had t/PoF sexstile n/PoF.  This was a high-tension situation for each of them.  They not only had to establish secure contact with each other, build trust in each other’s skills, but they had to deal with the unpredictable nature of the Soviet spy network.  The Part of Fortune symbolism of ‘chance and change’ is very evident.

Sun and Saturn:  They both shared the t/Sun-t/Saturn combination, of course  Guilsher’s chart found t/Sun-t/Saturn opposing his n/Saturn while Tolkachev had the t/Sun-t/Saturn square his n/Saturn.  For Guilsher, this was one more or very many contact missions in foreign countries.  For Tolkachev, this was his first such effort.  Perhaps these are symbolized by the opposition and square aspects.

Venus-MC:  t/Venus opposed the MC in Guilsher’s chart while n/Venus was at the MC in Tolkachev’s chart.  I can only speculate that t/Venus-IC symbolizes the first giving of something valued  while n/Venus-MC represents receiving something that fits with one’s goals.  I’m not sure I could make that distinction prior to the event.

Venus-Sun:  t/Venus-square-n/Sun was the aspect in Guilsher’s chart.  This same aspect was in Tolkachev’s chart.  This was due to them being born some six months (and seven years) apart, allowing the same t/Venus to square opposing n/Sun positions (january and July).

Mars and Chiron:  Guilsher had t/Mars opposing his n/Chiron, Tolkachev had his n/Mars conjunct his t/Chiron.  Both seemed to be making an effort to deal with prior difficulties associated with this swapping of information.  For Guilsher, that had been the freeze in spying operations imposed by CIA headquarters for many months.  For Tolkachev, that had been the long time that it took to convince the CIA that he was serious and capable to provide intelligence information to them.

It is interesting to consider these connections.  We can argue about fate and free will, but we can’t deny that intense common events seem to bring together those who share similar chart elements.  Dave.

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Chart Elements 10b: Sun-MC

work gloves photo

Tolkachev’s Side Of The Dead Drop

Tolkachev had long waited for this moment.  He had at last made a reciprocal contact with the CIA.  His intention was to use his position as Senior Designer (Chief Engineer) at the research institute where he worked to divulge as much intelligence as he could.  He wanted to hurt the Soviet Union as deeply as possible in retaliation for past injustices to his and his wife’s family.  He was waiting for a phone call.

His t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return chart for August 15, 1978 is shown below.


The chart is propitious for the upcoming development.  t/Moon-n/Sun is at the MC; his life’s goals would be addressed in this cycle.  The opposition of n/Sun to n/Pluto will always be active in each of his Return charts, a sort of cosmic reminder of his fate.  Note t/Uranus-Desc. opposing t/Chiron-n/Mars; past hurts and grudges will be acted upon.  Note the transit grouping of Mars-Venus, joined by t/PoF; this is the same “poise and balance” pattern found in Guilsher’s charts, post 10a.  Tolkachev, because of the t/PoF, will be called upon to demonstrate his readiness in a sudden fashion (as a response to a phone call).

Tolkachev’s phone call from the CIA agent came late on the evening of August 24th, 1978, perhaps actually in the early hours of the 25th as Guilsher had left the Embassy at 9 PM, had driven around, then taken the subway, and then walked about before calling Tolkachev.  His Advanced chart is shown below.


The Return chart’s MC was still in the sign of Capricorn in this Advanced chart but the Ascendant had moved into early Gemini.  n/Venus was at the MC; what Tolkachev had long desired was now within his grasp.  This n/Venus squares his n/Chiron, past hurts could now be addressed if he was careful and diligent.  Note the other benefic, t/Jupiter, opposite n/Venus at the IC.  Opportunities were opening up for him.

n/Saturn is at the Desc.  With t/Jupiter at the IC we have a “paran-square” in effect. These two are not in an aspectual square but they are at adjacent angles.  They are a “super-square” if I may use that term.  Jupiter and Saturn in aspect represent “the business of life” being acted out.  Now, note t/Saturn in an actual square aspect to n/Saturn; great care and caution has to be used in order for this plan to work out.   Since the t/Saturn and t/Sun are conjoined in his chart as well as Guilsher’s, we can assume that both will act very professionally.  In Advanced charts we always look at t/Part of Fortune.  Here, t/PoF squares t/Moon in the 12th; nervousness and the ever-present fear of being watched or discovered is on his mind.  The t/PoF also, appropriately, opposes his n/Neptune and t/Mercury; taking a chance on deceitful actions and exchanges of information.

Tolkachev followed the instructios upon leaving his apartment and did find the glove at the drop point.  A one-time cipher pad was included, this being a tool that matches each letter in the alphabet to one-or-more other letters and symbols.  The CIA had a copy.  Also in the glove were materials and instructions for writing secret letters.  The plan was for Tolkachev to write several innocuous letters to an address which the CIA could access.  Of course Tolkachev’s return address would not be on those letters.  Each letter would have writing on one side.  The blank-rear side would have invisible writing that the Soviet censors would hopefully miss.  Money was included for his personal use.  Also extensive messages for him were included.  How all of this could be included in a glove is hard to imagine.  This first drop was successful and marked the start of a productive CIA operation.

This is the second of a linked three part series.  Dave.

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Chart Elements 10a: Tension Shows In The Chart

work gloves photo

In the spy-world, secretly communicating between a spy and his informer is often carried out by using “dead drops.”  Information or material is placed in a hidden or unobvious location, then a call or a mark upon a tree or wall notifies the other person that something is waiting for him or her at a prearranged spot.   The material is then retrieved.  In this posting we will see that an old construction glove placed between a brick wall and a telephone booth was the means of placing material for pick up.

The CIA was very busy analyzing Tolkachev’s initial package of information that was unexpectedly thrust into the hands of a Moscow U.S. Embassy staffer’s hands.  That information was cross checked and finally deemed to be both genuine and highly valuable.  Then, work started between Langly, VA and the Moscow CIA office.  How would further information be transferred, what resources were needed, what should be asked for, could Tolkachev be easily contacted?  The date for contacting and delivering material to Tolkachev was set for Aug. 24, 1978.  Guilsher had put the materials in a dirty construction glove.  Mid-evening he took his car for a drive about Moscow, then parked the car and took the Metro subway until he reached Tolkachev’s area.  The old construction glove was placed behind a telephone booth a short distance from Tolkachev’s apartment.

Tolkachev then was called, the proper code name given, and then instructions for where to pick up dropped material was given.  Guilsher then went to the area through which Tolkachev would have to walk in order to pick up the material.  He wanted a glimpse of the man he would be working with.  The material that Tolkachev picked up include a “one time code” and instructions for writing secret letters on the back of conventional letters.  Those letters and messages would be sent to a given address for the CIA to retrieve.  The secret message on each of several letters contained technical information.  There was evidence that the letters had been opened and inspected but the secret messages were not discovered on the rear side of the letters themselves.  Information on a new Soviet airborne radar and guidance systems was provided.

Guilsher’s Aug. 16, 1978 t/Moon-opposite-n/Sun Return is shown below.


Due to some glitches in my software between relocating natal charts and adjusting for time zone allowances at it existed in 1920 in Russia when John Guilsher was born, I’ve adjusted his noon chart in New York city (-5 hours west) to Moscow (+3 hours east), yielding a ‘birth time’ of 8:00 PM.  As a result I am using a calculated chart for a 8:00 PM birth chart for him.  His Return and Advanced charts are based on these factors.  Tolkachev, having been born in the month of January, has no such issue with time or daylight time adjustments, so his time has been adjusted from Kazakhstan to Moscow based on their time zones.

I will be looking at Guilsher’s and Tolkachev’s Return and Advanced charts, and then I will be looking at the significant number of linkages between their charts for the Aug. 24, 1978 information drop from the CIA to Tolkachev.  Due to the extensive postings and charts I will split this up into three blogs, 10A, 10B and 10C.

Guilsher’s t/Moon opposed his n/Sun in the 12th house.  This house axis typically involves health, work and sacrifice issues.  A better way of looking at this polarity may be to see it as a stressful tug of war between (for the 6th house) what one feels they need to do to 1) feel better, 2) be able to work or provide services in an improved manner, or 3) compromise what they want to do versus what others want from them for support or help.  As for the 12th house, one has to deal with several issues also, 1) who can help them, where should they seek help, 2) can they respond to the aid being given or will they lapse into a victim or suffering mode, and 3) can they change themselves and prepare for something different.   In this case we have to tweek these views to fit the context of Guilsher’s assignment.  He has to exercise great skill and care in constructing the “dead drop” materials and placing them where others won’t suspect and where Tolkachev can retrieve them without attracting attention to himself.  This is the sixth house component of this Moon-opposite-Sun Return.  The twelfth house component is the secrecy and supportive nature of arranging this drop so as to impress Tolkachev that he is in capable, professional hands and to also praise his efforts, commitment and daring in providing information to the CIA.

In the chart, note the t/Part of Fortune (chance and change) square t/Venus-t/Mars (poise) at the IC angle (the start of something new).  The t/PoF conjunct the n/Asc. pattern cannot be counted on as valid because we are dealing with a “noon” chart relocated to Moscow.  t/Mars-t/Venus opposes n/Chiron; Guilsher’s poise and skills have to apply to many past adjustments that his experience have required him to make as he applied his spy-crafts in various parts of the world. 

n/Mercury-Asc. denotes the messages and delivery of written materials. all of this being done under a cloud of uncertainty (the square to n/Moon-t/Chiron).  We should note Guilsher’s photo and the n/Sun-n/Venus conjunction; from his face one can see a certain calmness and assurance.  Since this n/Sun-n/Venus pattern squared his n/PoF, his outer calm probably depended upon his skills and experience.  I am not sure how his n/Mercury-n/Neptune conjunction helped or hindered him as that poses the question of imagination versus fears.

In any case, Guilsher hid a variety of materials in an old construction glove which would be placed behind a telephone station on a dark street.  The glove contained a “one time code pad” which could be used to write information for a return package and then be disposed of, secret writing paper and materials, personal letters assuring him of the value and usefulness of the material he had previously provided in his first package, and the CIA’s profuse thanks.

The materials would be placed in the dead drop on August 24, 1927.  Guilsher took great trouble in avoiding any watchers of the KGB.  He drove his car about Moscow, leaving at 9:00 PM.  When he thought he was clear of any followers, he parked and took the subway system on a zig-zag route, again checking for tails.  Then he got off and walked for an hour, finally reaching a phone booth from which he called Tolkachev.  The conversation was as follows, quoting from the book, The Billion Dollar Spy, page 79.

Tolkachev:  Allo.

Guilsher:  Adolph?

Tolkachev:  Yes.

Guilsher:  This is Nikolai.  Do you have a free half hour to leave the house?  (Nikolai was the code name that Tolkachev had instructed the CIA to use in his initial package that he dropped in the car of the CIA officer.)

Tolkachev:  Yes

Guilsher then gave instructions of how to walk and find the phone booth and construction glove with all of the information in it.


The Advanced chart for August 24, 1978 for Guilsher has t/PoF-MC opposing n/PoF-n/Mars-IC.  This is a tense pattern, great chances are being taken.  If all goes well the CIA has “the goose that laid the golden egg.”  Tolkachev has his means of wrecking havoc on the Soviet state.  If something goes wrong, Tolkacheve goes before a firing squad and Guilsher is thrown out of the country and marked as a spy should he be assigned anywhere else.  In effect his field-based career would be over.  The presence of t/Venus-t/Pluto near the IC angle is interesting.  How would you interpret this?  I would see this as a love-for-danger-and-power.  The square of t/Venus to n/Venus suggests a tension in the love of spy-craft and undercover work (Pluto).  Behind his bland and smiling face lies a love for danger and recognition (Venus-Sun). 

The n/Moon-t/Chiron-t/Moon grouping in the 10th is also interesting.  Earlier that day, t/Moon would have passed over the n/Moon-t/Chiron conjunction.  The preparations would have been meticulous, repeatedly examined for any flaws, each step rehearsed, past experience would be called upon to question every detail.  t/Mercury in the first-conjoining n/Jupiter would cast this operation in the proper context — this was a big and very important endeavor that they were initiating.  From this n/Jupiter we can jump to t/Jupiter which squares n/Mars and t/PoF.  All of these interlocking patterns just describe the vast scope of this operations importance. 

So, the blog heading talked of ‘tension showing in the chart.’  First of all, I would point to the two Part of Fortune’s found on the MC-IC axis.  The square to t/Jupiter would enlarge this uncertainty of one’s goals and resources.  The two Moons and Chiron in the 10th do paint a period of great nervousness and emotions.  The conjunction of t/Sun-t/Saturn and n/Saturn certainly paints a feeling of caution and a need to plan.  t/Mars-t/Pluto-square-n/Pluto are not angular but they do have that important t/Mercury at their mid-point; suggesting harried activity relative to getting the message-package for Tolkachev ready.  Dave


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Chart Elements 9: When Natal and Return Angles Match Up.

John Guilsher photoJohn Guilsher was the case agent assigned to contact and work directly with Tolkachev.   His parents had come from Russia.  He spoke fluent Russian.  He had joined the CIA in 1955 and had worked in many locations in preceding two decades.  In that time he had honed his skills at ‘trade craft’ as on-the-street-operations-with-agents was called. The package from Tolkachev was given to the CIA on March 1st, 1978.  Approval to work with this new agent was approved a couple of days later.  Guilsher was a prime target of the KGB as they recognized the difficulties in trailing him.  They bugged his apartment and trailed him everywhere whenever he left the Embassy or his apartment.  Yet, their dogged persistence revealed all of their methods to his highly trained mind.  He learned to spot their cars, their people.  He could shed tails faster than a trapped salamander.  It was not unusual for the KGB to use several cars when tailing him about the city.  An example of the details he noted can be provided:  The KGB used powerful Volga sedans with powerful V-8 engines.  Volga’s driven by civilians use 4 cylinder engines which had a distinctly less-than-powerful noise.  His hearing told him when the KGB was tailing him.  At times other cars used by the KGB included a variety of small sedans.  These could be identified by a peculiar characteristic of the government car wash station; the car wash mechanisms always left a small triangular patch of dirt on the grill area.  It was by noting details such as these that Guilsher was so successful in spotting KGB followers.

Tolkachev’s instructions were for the CIA to call him at a specific time on the evening of March 5, 1978.  Every phone line in Moscow was bugged or could be bugged if an alert was made by a surveillance officer.  So, use of a specific phone would have to be chosen ahead of time but not approached or used until the proper moment.

An elaborate scheme was developed.  John and Kissa, his wife, planned to attend the Bolshoi Theater for a performance of Anna Karenina.  John would excuse himself during the performance, ostensibly to visit the men’s room.  He would instead make a pay-phone call from the lobby to Tolkachev at the designated time.  The suddenness of this action would preclude any agents from arranging a phone tap.  He knew that he would be tailed by an agent of the KGB that night, a issue that would have to be dealt with when the moment arrived.

As it turned out, their designated KGB agent was known to them; she worked as a civilian clerk at the U.S. Embassy under the direction of John’s wife, Kissa.  Kissa and John were both aware of her covert assignment.  Upon his abrupt leaving during the performance, the woman agent stood up to follow him.  Kissa held her sleeve and noted that big crowds were likely be there as the intermission approached.  She would be better waiting a bit.  The woman reluctantly sat down, not wanting to blow her cover.  As she left later she passed John Guilsher returning to his seat.

Guilsher had followed Tolkachev’s instructions to the letter, calling at the correct time, using the correct ‘name.’  Tolkachev was assured that all of his material was interesting and deemed to be very valuable.  He was thanked.  A relationship had begun.  The March 5, 1978 t/Moon-opposite-n/Sun in the 8th house Return chart coincided with the March 5th phone call arranged by Tolkachev’s March 1st information package passed to the CIA.


The t/Moon-opp-n/Sun in the 8th house offers a ‘theme’ for us to consider; Managing investments brings conflicts if one strays from areas of capability.  Confidence in the face of competition.  Emotions are kept in check.  Others may show stress, you have to show assuredness.  Drawing upon one’s own resources.  Team player.  Much of this generic theme applies here when we nuance it to fit the context of Guilsher’s life.  We could say “Managing conflicting situations by using one’s established capabilities.  Having confidence, not letting one’s emotions to show.  Using your own resources.  Being part of a team effort.”  Although these ‘theme’ statements, given in my book “Personal Moon-to-Sun Returns 2” are applicable in very many situations, they do have to be adjusted to fit unique situations and the context of the subject’s life.

Note that there are no angular planets on the horizontal axis.  t/Neptune-conjoins-n/Asc. in the first house.  Neptune here can indicate deception and behind-the-scenes activity.  This pattern squares t/Mercury in the 3rd house; a message or contact has to be delivered or made under uncertain circumstances.  The chart’s MC angle is populated.  t/N.Node-n/PoF-t/PoF all oppose n/Chiron at the IC angle.  In cyclic and event charts, the Moon’s North Node (N.Node) is indicative of engaging with an associate or a friend.  Here, that doubled-up PoF indicates the excitement level of Guilsher as he makes contact with Tolkachev.

At this point I am going to do something I have never done before with t/Moon-n/Sun Returns.  Normally we ‘Advance’ these charts from the date that the cycle starts.  In this instance I am going to ‘Regress’ this chart to March 1st when Tolkachev’s letter and intelligence package was handed off to Hathaway and his wife as they were entering their car.  This pre-arranged phone call (date and time) was designated by Tolkachev’s instructions in the March 1st contact.  For Guilsher, who did not receive the Talkachev-package himself, what do we find in his regressed t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return?


Regressed chart for March 1st, 1978

NOTE that this is not the same March 1, 1978 chart that was given in the last posting.  That March 1st chart was an Advanced chart from the previous Return chart.  This March 1st chart is a Regressed chart from the to-follow March 5 t/Moon-opp-n/Sun Return.

First the angles of his relocated birth chart are matched up with the transiting Regressed chart’s angles.  This marks a significant ‘life-changing event’ for him and should be strongly emphasized.  n/Mars is at the MC angle; he will be taking physical action relative to this date’s events.  Since n/Mars squares t/Mars, this will not be easy for him.  t/Chiron is at the IC angle.  His life will need to accommodate changes in his routines and work.

It would seem that the cyclic-start of a t/Moon-n/Sun Return does pick up on prior events in what would normally be another cycle.  Since the March 5th phone call to initiate the start of Tolkachev’s spying activity was directly linked to the instructions he passed in this successful attempt to gain the CIA’s interest, it is intriguing to see the linkage between the charts.  Astrology always amazes and delights us if we are curious and choose to explore its possibilities.  This will have to be explored more fully in future charts which have linked events.  Dave

When the natal chart angles happen to match up with any of the Return or Advanced chart’s angles we have a very special condition to consider.  In this case the n/Asc. is at the chart’s Ascendant, the n/MC is at the chart’s MC.  This does happen but it is rare.  What might it mean?  Most simply, it is much like being born again; the chart should be treated as if “Life is at an inflection point; it will likely express itself in some new way, or perhaps in a much more dramatic manner than the way one normally lives their life.”  Treat this as being a very significant moment.

Other natal angles at chart angles can occur just as easily.  Consider natal MC at the chart’s Ascendant.   One’s public image and goals in life (the MC) have to be dealt with on a personal level (the Asc.).  Perhaps the subject changes jobs or takes over a company or promotes himself in some way.  

On the other hand, if the n/Asc. appears at the chart’s MC angle we have a different condition.  The subject will likely be a spokesperson for a project or a corporation, or he will have a need to explain himself and his goals (a politician would do this). 



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Chart Elements 8: Saturn & Uranus, A Struggle For Change.

Adolf-Tolkachev photo-5

The Other Side Of The Spy-Stuff.

There are not very many photos of Adolph Tolkachev.  The one shows the results of a hunting trip.  Tolkachev liked to get out into the country with his small family, finding it a great relief from the pressures of work.

As noted in the previous posting, the Moscow CIA Station Chief was Gardner Hathaway. He was born on March 13, 1925 in Danville, VA and a long career path prepared him for his assignment in Moscow.  But not for the bureaucratic policies that the top-tier people indulged in.  A four-star Admiral Turner was given the job of running the CIA at that time.  He was not well prepared for the job, knew little about spying and field operations.  Following a fire at the Moscow Embassy, he feared that the Russian firemen might have stolen information and security-related secrets, even though great care was taken to keep them away from secret areas.  So worried was Turner that he ordered a stand-down of all spying operations until a full investigation could be carried out.

Hathaway had been running a spy who provided a list of agents in the U.S. who were busy collecting secret information.  He promised to also provide a listing of all Russians who would be engaged in assessing any collected information.  Before that information could be passed to the Moscow CIA officers, notice of the stand-down decision was received from Turner.  The valuable information was never collected.  Hathaway was anxious to not lose this new opportunity with Tolkachev.  Following each of the previous contacts by Tolkachev he had included secret information to show that he was serious about providing the CIA with information.  His contacts and requests had not been given a positive reply.  Turner’s stand-down directive remained in place.  Now, following theis latest package of information from Tolkachev, including the secrets that he included in his package, Hathaway was finally cleared to again conduct spy operations in Moscow.

Let us look at Gardner Hathaway’s t/Moon-opposite-n/Sun Return for Feb. 24, 1978 — five days before Tolkachev made his early evening hand-off to Hathaway and his wife as they were getting into their car.  It is not often that we can examine the charts of several people who are part of the same event.


Fittingly, t/Mercury is on the Desc.; a message from another.  t/Saturn-Asc is opposite, denoting the great caution that was part of this operation.  n/Saturn-t/Uranus-IC is a prescription for overthrowing the rules.  The ‘doubled-up’ Saturn’s point to the care and difficulties involved.  Hathaway’s natal Saturn opposes his natal Part-of-Fortune; he would flout the rules and find innovative ways around restrictions.  We have to note that t/Sun is close to t/Mercury indicating that this is a highly important message that will be the basis for his work.

Let us look at Hathaway’s Advanced chart for March 1, 1978 when Tolkachev handed off his package of instructions and information.


Most dramatic in this chart is t/PoF-n/PoF-MC opposing the n/Saturn-t/Uranus-IC.  This was a surprise of surprises.  t/Saturn is near the Asc., t/Sun-t/Mercury-n/Venus are all grouped closely in the 7th house.  We can view these patterns in many ways:  Hathaway and his wife were going out to eat this late-winter evening, or a valuable message would be given to him.  We can find parallels to the angular planets: t/Venus-n/Uranus-n/Sun is in the 8th house indicating the value of the sudden windfall that was being presented to him.

In summary, the two Part-of-Fortunes at the MC says it all.  Chaos, excitement, changes. This is a great addition to the Saturn-Uranus theme of disrupting stability.  However, there is more to this Saturn-Uranus story.

Let us consider the phase-angle relationship to Hathaway’s natal Uranus-Saturn.  We find Uranus, the slower moving of this pair, at 21 Pisces.  Saturn is at 13:59 (call it 14 degrees), which is 232 degrees.  Rudhyar’s eight phase concept, each phase being 45 degrees, places Saturn (the faster moving planet of this pair) in the 225-to-270 sector.  This what he calls the Believer phase or the Honest Man phase.  This phase generally conveys a need to deal with life by not falling for its games and distractions.  Hathaway fills this criteria well.  He was a consummate professional.  He was both a master spy and a well-honed politician.  It took him many months to work on the CIA Director Turner so as to reverse his paranoid “stand down” order, but he did it.

At the time of this chart and incident, Saturn and Uranus had moved on.  Saturn, at 26 Leo, was 280 degrees ahead of Uranus.  The Rudhyar sector, 270 to 315 degrees, is the “Changer” sector.  This sector supports those who insist on carrying forth their dream and changing life for themselves and for others.  This t/Saturn-Asc. will express itself through cautious and meticulous planning and execution of that plan.  t/Uranus in the 4th house, near the IC, will assure those resulting changes set a new course forward.

When we find specific planetary pairings having emphasis in a cyclic chart, it is often informative to consider the natal and transiting phase angles of those planets to give a “big picture” or overlay of the chart’s details.  These Return and Advanced charts let us follow the flow of daily life.  Sometimes we can get to wrapped up in the minutia and not take advantage of life’s overarching themes that last for several months or even a year or more.  Dave




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Chart Elements 7: Transiting Moon Opposite Natal Sun, 1st House, Return

Tolkachev photo-1This photo is one of only a few showing Adolph Tolkechev’s appearance.  We see a serious and unhappy expression. This likely relates to his whole adult life view of the Soviet system of government, the depressing culture where ‘privacy’ was unknown under the thousand watchful eyes of informers and KGB operatives.  We saw in his natal chart the Sun-opp-Pluto pattern and his own assessment of being a dedicated dissident. This series of blogs will show his dedication to inflicting as much damage upon the government as his position and daring allowed. The fact that he was able to move forward with his plan for several years is remarkable.

A year after his first contact attempt Tolkachev again approached an American car, this time leaving a note that partially identified him.  Since his first attempt he had made two other contacts.  The CIA was not responding, wary of a entrapment.  Still, they were intrigued.  A previous contact noted that Tolkachev recognized their reluctance due to not knowing who he was.  He provided part of a phone number with instructions for them to drive past a designated location at a specific time where they would see the remaining numbers.  They could call him and, hopefully, direct contacts would follow.  When the call was finally placed, a woman answered the phone.  The CIA officer making the call hung up.

On March 1, 1978 the CIA Station Chief in Moscow, Hathaway, and his wife were entering their car which was parked on a street near the Embassy.  Tolkachev approached, rapped on the window and handed him a wrapped package.  Talkachev was walking by the car and never broke stride.  The transfer of the package went unseen by anyone who may have been watching.  Hathaway immediately returned to the Embassy to examine the package.

Tolkachev had identified himself in great detail, the nature of his work, various ways he could be contacted, and highly sensitive information about his research to illustrate what he could provide information of value.  We will examine Tolkachev’s Moon-Sun Return first.


The n/Sun is in the first house, t/Moon in the 7th.  This provides a theme of direct action and involvement in reaching out to others.  Because of the natal configuration of Sun opposing Pluto, any oppositional Return will always have the t/Moon conjoining n/Pluto. Tolkachev will always conduct himself with great intensity and focus.  His ‘dissident’ self-description will be lived up to.  We may choose to see this n/Sun-opposite-n/Pluto as a fated pattern.

However, I wish to discuss t/Moon-opp-n/Sun in the 1st house more deeply.  The n/Sun represents our established adult life-style, current intentions, pride of self.  Placing our natal Sun in the first of a cyclic chart puts our self in the glare of personal interests and the inclination to act on those interests.  The placement of the transiting Moon in opposition, in the 7th house, suggests that changes we find in our current life will seem to be related to what others do in response to our actions.  In some cases the Sun will represent either our self or a male figure, the Moon might represent one who is responsive to our actions and intentions or who may be a female.  In this case the former situations apply; Tolkachev was taking action in order to get a desired response.

Negotiation or trading is often a component of the t/Moon-to-n/Sun placement.  My book, Personal Moon-to-Sun Returns 2, also notes that new relationships, milestone moments, the asking for support or services, and the compromise of personal space may be involved in this pattern.  All the houses around the horizontal axis have relationship meanings.  The first house Sun wants to be important.  The seventh house Moon wants to be heard and responded to.  Along with the seventh house Pluto, this transiting Moon is very demanding.  The Sun and Moon-Pluto axis is squared by t/Pluto; the doubled-up Pluto influence amplifies the importance of this t/Moon-opp-n/Sun Return.

  • n/Mercury lies close above the Ascendant; a long-standing intention to contact someone is activated.  Even though n/Mercury is technically in the 12th house, the presence of t/Mercury in the 1st house emphasizes the desire to communicate.
  • n/N.Node is on the Descendant angle; an association with another is wanted.
  • t/Part of Fortune at the IC; the previous patterns of attempted contact will change.
  • t/Uranus-MC; another indicator of excitement, changes affecting his life-goals.


This Return chart is clearly one of change. 


The Advanced chart for March 1, 1978 (shown above) tells the story of the day when Tolkachev succeeded in contacting the CIA. 

  • n/Sun-Asc.;  Tolkachev’s intentions are acted upon.  The t/Sun, also in the first house, conjoins t/Mercury; communication is established.  Note how close this Sun-Mercury combination is to the n/Part of Fortune.  All the symbols are coming together.
  • n/Pluto, by virtue of its opposition to n/Sun at the Ascendant, is on the Descendant.  This is the day of the dissident in the year of the dissident. 
  • t/Mars is just above the Descendant angle; an effort is made to form a relationship.
  • Interesting is the t/Pluto square to n/Pluto.  t/Pluto, because of house-distortion at the higher latitude of Moscow, is in the 8th house of confidential sharing.  The “sex, death and taxes” association with the 8th is often seen in these more modern times as legalities and shared responsibilities in managing the resources or valuables of others.  In this case the ‘valuables’ are the military secrets of the Soviet Union’s weapons systems.
  • t/Moon will cross the MC on this date; a response will help him achieve his goals.
  • Finally, we can never overlook the t/PoF in an advanced chart.  Here, t/PoF squares n/Mercury in the 12th; changes involving secrets and behind-the-scenes work is indicated.

Much of that which was passed by Tolkachev to the CIA Chief of Station, Hathaway, was written in Russian.  Tolkachev provided his work history and his current work environment.  A case officer was assigned to call Tolkachev and set up meetings and facilitate the transfer of information.  The case officer, John Guilsher, came from a family who had escaped from Russia in the years prior to World War II.  He spoke Russian fluently, and had been selected by Hathaway to be part of the CIA’s team in Moscow.

Great care had to be taken in Moscow to avoid both surveillance outside of the Embassy or the apartment where one lived, or to deal with one apartment or car being bugged to record conversations.  Guilsher had been in Moscow for some time and had handled other agents.  He was quite capable of being able to make contact with Tolkachev and set up the retrieval of information without being detected.

I have the birth dates of several of the Moscow-based CIA Station Chiefs.  We will have an opportunity to view their charts to see their side of some of these milestone events within the spy world.  Dave. 


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