Captain Phillips; Where Angles Fear To Tread

Photo Phillips and Hanks

Eleven months ago, Oct. 2013, the movie “Captain Phillips” made its appearance in the theaters.  Starring Tom Hanks, the story of the capture of the Motor Vessel Maersk Alabama of the Somalia port city of Eyl became a box-office hit.  The movie is said to mirror closely the actual experiences ot Capt. Phillips, the crew, pirates and U.S. Navy over a five day period.  The photo at the right is of Hanks (left) and Phillips (right).

The Motor Vessel Maersk Alabama had been advised to take a course some 600 miles off the coast of Somalia to avoid pirates.  These pirates operated relatively small boats, skiffs and rubber boats with high powered outboard motors, working often from a “mother” ship in order to stay at sea and cover a wide area as they searched for ships to capture, crew to ransom.   Captain Phillips’ ship was 240 miles southeast of Eyl, a small port city in upper Somalia when the pirates found them.  The Maersk Alabama swung back and forth, sending a strong wake behind which capsized one of the two pirate boats closing upon them.  On that day, April 8, 2009, they managed to board the ship.  We will first look at Capt. Phillips natal chart relocated to the waters off of Somalia.





















Phillips’ birth in Winchester, MA (noon birth time is used) shows scattered chart with only two pairs of planets, Mercury-Mars and Jupiter-Uranus.  As we have learned from prior examples, Moon-to-Sun Returns work well with untimed charts due to the relatively fast Moon-motion compared to the Sun’s rate of advance.  In most cases these return chart’s MC and Asc. values are close, typically within 7 degrees, often closer.  Here, we can note n/Moon in the “Changer” phase (Rudhyar’s Lunar Cycle phase relationship method) relative to the Moon; a logical approach to life, making goals, being a role model and leader.  Mercury-Mars in Gemini indicates his incisive and quick thinking — his maneuvering of the ship and rigging of fire hoses along the ship’s sides almost prevented the pirates from boarding. Jupiter-Uranus indicates his imagination and innovative approach to life.  This contrasts with a Taurus Sun.

Phillips’ t/Moon-to-n/Sun Cyclic chart occurred on March 30, 2009, and is shown below.






















This is a 12th house t/Moon-to-n/Sun chart;  a theme (in part, taken from my book) of “Shaping the future or helping others in their needs. . . . Being in a recovery or treatment phase for one’s health. Being isolated or working alone behind the scenes.”  The 12th house relates to be under confinement or treatment, dealing with the needs or under treatment by others.  This generic approach is quite inline with the events that followed.  Sun and Mercury in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn, but are not angular — what is angular is t/Mars-n/Moon in the 10th, the area of Phillips’ command of his ship.  This is in opposition to t/Saturn in the 4th; emotions will run high, constraints will need to be dealt with.  The passage past Somalia was a time of anxiety for any ship’s Captain and crew.  Although the Cyclic chart’s MC and Asc. angles are close-to-accurate, the n/Asc at the cyclic charts Desc. angle cannot be considered as the natal angles are not trustworthy or useful for a noon chart. 

Photo PirateThe cited t/Mars, n/Moon, t/Saturn in angular houses, plus the t/Sun-n/Moon theme for the chart is what we use to understand what this cycle will bring us.  We will now move to the chart for April 8, 2009 when the pirates succeeded in board the ship.  The photo on the left is taken from the movie and depicts the very young teen-aged boy that commanded the pirates.  The April 8, 2009 Advanced chart is shown below.
























We immediately note that t/Mars-n/Moon-opposite-t/Saturn are located now very close to the vertical axis of the chart.  This is a day of frustrating effort and limitations, harsh conflict and emotional overtones as one deals with a changing situation.  n/Mercury is on the Advanced chart’s Ascendant, n/Mars is nearby.  Quick thinking and aggressive action will be called for.   Note that both n/Mars and t/Mars are angular and square; This doubled-up Mars indicates a fight, a small war in which one defends oneself with all the force they can bring to bear.   Since n/Mercury is on the Ascendant, we look for t/Mercury to see what it is doing — we find t/Mercury opposing n/Neptune, indicating great uncertainty as to what one was seeing and dealing with.  

With the pirates boarding the ship, the crew locked themselves in the Engine Room of the ship, leaving the Captain and a few others on the bridge.  We will pick up the balance of this story in the next posting.  Dave
























About dadsnook

Dave has been exploring cyclic astrology since the mid-1970's. CYCLIC astrology utilizes both Return charts and planetary-pair cycles for short-term prediction. These practices and nine years of archived material are available for study or reading at A new book, Personal Prediction ISBN 978-9-615-63033-5, has been published and the MC-Solar Cycle technique is now supported through a recognized software provider so that all students and practicing astrologers can apply these techniques for their own use. Recently, Dave has been exploring a new charting format:, transiting Moon to natal Sun Return charts. These moon-sun returns show how we can maintain or deal with change in our lives. A book, Personal Moon-to-Sun Returns 2 has been released in 2015. Contact Dave for details at Dave is a retired business systems analyst and automation systems engineer, enjoys woodcarving and tarot in addition to astrology.
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