Pluto Astrology

J. K. Rowling Chart Analysis: Part 2

Chart Analysis

In part 1, we saw how Rowling attained her PPP and how each planet, revolving around the Sun, contributed in its own way to the story that was created by that Sun. It was a striking picture, I think, but we skipped over something - the skipped steps! Let's just hope that me skipping over skipped steps doesn't create more of them in the future (sorry, couldn't help myself). :)

Before we go there though, I feel that I should bring to everyone's attention that Rowling also has Pallas on her ascendant. Striking, isn't it? I don't work systematically with the asteroid goddesses, but it doesn't hurt to include them when you are beginning to study a chart, to see if something comes up. As Pallas seems to be connected to an inspired intellect and inspired communication, this adds more flavor to Rowling's chart. Right on the ascendant, it is connected to her most instinctive way of being.

Introduction to Skipped Steps

In the way Jeffrey Wolf Green originally formulated it, a skipped step is a lesson not learnt, something the person skipped over in a previous life, so that it comes back as an issue that must be resolved before evolution can be fully actualized. The skipped step is represented by a planet squaring the nodal axis. A traditional orb stands around 10 degrees, but some of us have found that even an orb of up to 15 degrees can sometimes be used successfully.

The way the skipped step is resolved via the node that it was most recently in conjunction to via transit. That is, if you take the birth chart and project it backwards in time, the skipped step planet would have conjuncted one of the nodes before it conjuncted the other. Another way to describe it is that the skipped step is resolved in a clockwise direction.

Some evolutionary astrologers use a trick to remember the direction: Imagine that you are standing on the skipped step, looking towards the center of the chart. Now, walk from the skipped step to the center - and then turn left. There is your resolution node.

If the resolution node is the North Node, it means that the person is invited to embrace a new dynamic connected with the North Node as a means of resolution. If the resolution node is the South Node, it means that they are invited to revisit old dynamics in a new way as a means of resolving the skipped step. The South Node will then find a new, more positive expression, and the way to the North Node will be cleared.

There have been some developments in the treatment of skipped steps. The term "skipped step" implies that the person missed something, but it would seem that, in some cases, the hindrance of evolution could have been more external than internal. In such a case, a skipped step could more properly be understood as a boulder on the road that has to be removed one way or another, whether it was "you" in a past life who placed it there or not.

Of course, on some level, the difference between the internal and the external begin to blur.

Interpreting a Skipped Step

A skipped step is interpreted by following these steps:

  1. Look at the planet. Within the archetype of that planet, you will find the issue that the skipped step is describing. For example, a Venus skipped step could be about a problem in the relationship to yourself or to another person.
  2. What house is the planet in? This house will color the archetype of the planet.
  3. What sign is the planet in? This sign will take the planet in the house and contextualize it.
  4. Finally, you should also ask the question: How would this skipped step have prevented the person from reaching their North Node? If you can find an answer to this question that makes perfect sense - congratulations! You have just succeeded in mapping a major obstacle to soul evolution.

As I do my analysis, I am not going through these four steps with great care, one by one - rather, I am summarizing my findings. But if you are new to skipped steps, it is a good procedure to follow.

General Recommendations When Working With Skipped Steps

In any chart, the number of skipped steps will increase or decrease based on

  1. the orb you use, and
  2. the number of chart points you use, depending on whether you include Chiron, other asteroids, etc.

In a chart like Rowling's, the task can seem daunting - there are five skipped steps (including Chiron) with a ten-degree orb, and no less than seven with a fifteen-degree orb! Not to worry though, as long as you remember to

  1. focus on the closer skipped steps before the weaker ones
  2. always look at the actual life lived and see if you find something, any kind of stumbling block that the planet seems to correspond to in real life. If you don't find anything, that's okay - focus on the closer skipped steps instead (where you will almost certainly find something).
  3. Don't rely too much on cookbook descriptions on skipped steps. Just look at the archetypes involved as you try to map what the skipped step is about. When I deal with Rowling's Saturn skipped step, I will demonstrate why.

Skipped Steps in Rowling's Chart

I have decided to use a fifteen degree orb, but I decided to leave the Moon out of it. I think I know what it was about and how it was resolved, but I thought I would leave it for you, the reader, to interpret, which should be perfectly possible after you have finished this article.

One final note before we begin: Is it "bad" that Rowling has so many skipped steps? Is she afflicted? Are the skipped steps somehow malefic?

The answer is a resounding NO! While Rowling clearly had many challenges in her life, it seems clear that she overcame them. In doing so, she released an enormous amount of creativity and became the world's first billion-dollar author. Had her chart been less challenging, I doubt that she would have been able to come up with such marvels. While I have my own interpretations of her skipped steps, I wouldn't be surprised if they are connected to her authorship in more ways than one.

Moving forward now, this is how I interpret Rowling's skipped steps: Uranus (the tightest of all), Pluto, Venus and Mercury (resolving through the North Node), and Saturn and Chiron (resolving through the South Node).

Uranus 7H Virgo

In the documentary A Year In the Life (2007), Rowling had this to say about her relationship to her father:

I was very frightened of my father for a very long time. [...] But I also tried desperately to get his approval... and make him happy I suppose. And then there came a point, quite shamingly late in life, where I couldn't do that anymore. And so I haven't had any contact with my father now for a few years.

In fact, the troubled relationship seems to have gone on and off a few times before there was a definite break. Already in 1997, when Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published, it was dedicated to her mother, her sister and her daughter, but not to her father.

Why I connect this to Uranus is because it is the archetype of liberation and individuation. When expressed negatively, it can be connected to an exaggerated loyalty that thwarts individuation and growth. In 7H Virgo, we see an expression of such loyalty to another person (7H) through trying to get his approval (Virgo - trying to be good enough). As we saw previously, this was strongly connected to Rowling's soul issue, which makes it rather unsurprising that it should be so tight.

How did this prevent Rowling from actualizing her NN? While I do not know the details of this drama, it is clear that Rowling had to go it alone when she set out to write Harry Potter.

How, via the NN, was the skipped step resolved? The most direct interpretation is that it was resolved when Rowling re-constituted or "edited" (Gemini) her family (4H) via removing (SNr Virgo) a significant other (SNr 7H) from the picture. It may not seem like a happy resolution, but it was a resolution nonetheless.

Pluto 7H Virgo

With a Pluto skipped step, the question of choice looms large (Scorpio archetype - making a final commitment). As we saw in Part 1, Rowling seems to have taken her soul issue and creatively morphed it into the backstory of Harry Potter. For reasons that may never be entirely known to us, Rowling simply could not let her own crisis of relationships lie but had to transform it (Pluto) somehow. She did this through morphing it into an imaginative story (NN 4H Gemini) in exactly the same way we have already seen with her NN in general.

Venus 7H Virgo

Stay with me, because the farther out in orb we get, the more literal it seems to get! After she returned from her broken marriage in Portugal, with a small daughter to care for, Rowling writes:

I intended to start teaching again and knew that unless I finished the book very soon, I might never finish it; I knew that full-time teaching, with all the marking and lesson planning, let alone with a small daughter to care for single-handedly, would leave me with absolutely no spare time at all. And so I set to work in a kind of frenzy, determined to finish the book and at least try and get it published. Whenever Jessica fell asleep in her pushchair I would dash to the nearest cafe and write like mad. I wrote nearly every evening. Then I had to type the whole thing out myself. Sometimes I actually hated the book, even while I loved it.

The Venus skipped step speaks of a lack of resources, poverty which would have forced Rowling to go back to work (Virgo) in order to care for her daughter who was completely dependent on her (7H). But here we see that, as Rowling felt the skipped step was closing in on her, she evaded it! Just because it had stopped a past-life Rowling (by some other name) didn't mean it would be allowed to stop her. She "dashed to the nearest cafe and wrote like mad" whenever she had time, which is clearly a resolution via the North Node.

Mercury 7H Virgo

It took a year for her agent to find a publisher. Twelve publisher turned her down: supposedly, her writing (Mercury) was not good enough (Virgo) for the intended audience (7H). Finally, Bloomsbury decided to publish it and I suspect they have been laughing at their competitors ever since. They had one suggestion though: they wanted her to use a pen name to disguise her gender, so that the book would appeal to both boys and girls. Said and done, Joanne Rowling (since 2001, Joanne Murray) has since been known as J. K. Rowling. The K for "Kathleen" wasn't even her own name, but was borrowed from her grandmother.

As unfair as this may seem, Rowling has since said she is happy with her pen name: in public she is J. K. Rowling and in private she is Jo Murray. She has also later written books under another pen name, although it was found out in time.

In summary, the Mercury skipped step was resolved by adopting a name (NN 4H - self-image) for writing (NN Gemini) so that she would appear as a craftsman (NNr Virgo) who was worthy (NNr Virgo) of an audience (NNr 7H).

This is an example of a more "external" skipped step - the boulder on the road was certainly not of her own making. Luckily enough, she still managed to deal with it.

Saturn 1H Pisces

Whew! We now turn to the Saturn and Chiron skipped steps that resolve via the South Node.

What is the Saturn skipped step about? Imagine now that we were to use a cookbook to try to find the answer. There is one: Healing the Soul by Mark Jones gives descriptions of all the planets as skipped steps and what they can represent. For Saturn, he writes:

When Saturn [...] squares the Moon's nodes the nature of the unresolved material relates to the conditioning that the individual has been exposed to, either through family, society, religion or by any broader societal theme. Such conditioning then becomes the basis of repression.

Healing the Soul, p. 149-150

He goes on to say that such a skipped step can indicate "a need for maturation" or "an issue of genuine guilt". This is all fine - but what if none of these options fit? The Saturn/Capricorn archetype is a broad one - we would need lots of pages to cover all of the options!

If, instead, we know the archetypes by heart, we can use them fluidly and see what comes to us. We know that Rowling suffered from depression, which is very much part of this archetype, and so we simply settle for that.

Saturn/Capricorn can be such a heavy energy, it can make everything seem futile. According to one article, Rowling

was in her late 20s and a single mother when depression encompassed her life. She became suicidal. Thoughts of how it could affect her daughter pushed her to finally reach out and get help. “The thing that made me go for help was probably my daughter,” she said. “She was something that earthed me, grounded me, and I thought, This isn't right; this can't be right. She cannot grow up with me in this state.”

It would seem that the depression (Saturn) made Rowling feel so lost (Pisces) in terms of what she wanted to be and to do (1H) that she contemplated putting an end (Pisces) to her existence (1H).

With the South Node as resolution node, the way Rowling resolved her depression was through taking responsibility (SN 10H) for her happiness (SN Sagittarius) by going to counseling sessions (SNr 4H - nurturing space; Gemini - talking).

But there is more! Rowling has confirmed that the creation of dementors was inspired by her depression. What are dementors? They are ghostlike creatures (Neptune) who can fly (9H) and who suck (Scorpio) all happiness and hope (9H) out of its victims. Neptune is in an exact trine to Saturn.

In Rowling's own words:

"It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it's a healthy feeling. It's a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different."

Can you see her words expressed through that Saturn-Neptune trine?

And if you allow me to digress just a little: a trine creates an ease in the energy flow between two planets, but the way this energy flow operates can go both ways. Because of Harry's traumatic background, he is highly susceptible to the dementors' influence - but then, Rowling allows Harry to turn that trine around to become one of the youngest conjurers of the Patronus Charm ever! Neptune, then, is no longer connected to the deepest meaninglessness and despair, but to the deepest meaningfulness and happiness - again, the Patronus is a ghostlike figure (Neptune), but one that concentrates all the caster's most positive feelings (9H) as a means of banishing (Scorpio - elimination) the dementors. Inside the trauma of Neptune lies the potential cure.

And if, on the most literal level, Neptune represents the dementors, isn't it all the more striking how it is only the other enemies of Harry - Voldemort (Pluto) and the death eaters (Uranus) - who are in a close conjunction, always operating in tandem, while the dementors usually operate alone?

Chiron 1H Pisces

We are finally back with Chiron, only this time we are not looking at Harry's scar, but at Rowling's own pain.

I think this skipped step is about the pain (Chiron) that Rowling has suffered when she was victimized (Pisces) to the point of fearing for her life (1H - basic existence) in connection with degrading sexual assaults (Chiron opposite Moon in 8H Virgo). And I think the resolution to this skipped step shows why she has lately become so outspoken on questions of sex and gender.

There is, for some reason, plenty of people today who think that Rowling is hateful or even "violent" towards trans people. I have never seen any evidence of this. If you hold such an opinion, I invite you to read this article on her website.

I quote:

The writings of young trans men reveal a group of notably sensitive and clever people. The more of their accounts of gender dysphoria I’ve read, with their insightful descriptions of anxiety, dissociation, eating disorders, self-harm and self-hatred, the more I’ve wondered whether, if I’d been born 30 years later, I too might have tried to transition. The allure of escaping womanhood would have been huge. I struggled with severe OCD as a teenager. If I’d found community and sympathy online that I couldn’t find in my immediate environment, I believe I could have been persuaded to turn myself into the son my father had openly said he’d have preferred.

And we are right back where we started. The crisis (Pluto in Virgo) of expectations (Pluto 7H) that she couldn't possibly live up to. It comes back in Chiron, as a fundamental question of healing (Pisces) her identity and right to exist (1H). Rowling continues:

I managed to escape my first violent marriage with some difficulty, but I’m now married to a truly good and principled man, safe and secure in ways I never in a million years expected to be. However, the scars left by violence and sexual assault don’t disappear, no matter how loved you are, and no matter how much money you’ve made. My perennial jumpiness is a family joke – and even I know it’s funny – but I pray my daughters never have the same reasons I do for hating sudden loud noises, or finding people behind me when I haven’t heard them approaching.

If you could come inside my head and understand what I feel when I read about a trans woman dying at the hands of a violent man, you’d find solidarity and kinship. I have a visceral sense of the terror in which those trans women will have spent their last seconds on earth, because I too have known moments of blind fear when I realised that the only thing keeping me alive was the shaky self-restraint of my attacker.


So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.

Rowling's own words should put an end to the myth of her hatefulness. If only people were willing to listen to what she actually says, instead of projecting their own hatred onto her.

It should be clear from the last paragraph that the resolution of the Chiron skipped step reflects a need to publicly stand her ground (SN 10H) in expressing her truth (SN Sagittarius) that there should be female spaces (SNr 4H) such as bathrooms that are reserved (SNr Gemini - separation) for natal (SNr 4H) girls and women (SNr 4H). (By the looks of it, Rowling would also accept post-op trans women into such spaces.) Whether that is the best solution or not is not the subject for this article. The point is simply that when Rowling speaks her mind in the way she does here, it is not out of hatred, but out of a personal trauma which she is trying to heal - for herself, her daughter and future generations of women.

Whether the Chiron skipped step had been resolved in some fashion before this, I cannot say. It does seem that something has been coming to head for these last few years. In any case, it seems ironic that the woman who rehabilitated the idea of a witch as something positive now has come to be treated as one by parts of her former fan base. It is hard to avoid the impression that the word "TERF" is increasingly used as a slur against women who are percevied to be strong, powerful, and have a mind of their own - in other words, witches.

25 Sep Addendum

When I first published this article, I wrote that the Moon skipped step should be "perfectly possible" to figure out on your own after you had finished reading. I left out one key quote though - the one paragraph where Rowling describes how she managed to escape her first violent marriage and how she is now "married to a truly good and principled man, safe and secure in ways I never in a million years expected to be." I have now added the full paragraph under the section Chiron 1H Pisces.

I still leave it to you to spell out the resolution of this skipped step! First, look at the planet in the house and sign - what is it about? What was it that Rowling needed to escape, something which had previously hindered her North Node? Then, look at the North Node and its ruler - what was needed for its resolution? How did it resolve? I have an idea of how I would spell it out - but mine is not the only valid point of view! Details of Rowling's second marriage are scant, so feel free to use your creative imagination to come up with solutions.

Here is an additional clue that could help:

If you have a solution ready, feel free to comment here or on my associated IG post:

Over and out!


De Baker, Michael (2022). Same Soul: The Astrology of Sequential Reincarnation.
Jones, Mark (2011). Healing the Soul: Pluto, Uranus and the Lunar Nodes.
A Year in the Life (ITV, 2007).


Leave a comment