It is sometimes assumed that astrology is only useful for analyzing tangible, actual occurrences of manifestation (i.e. births, events), but the archetypal symbolism associated with astrological delineation are much more encompassing.  When available, there is a noticeable correlation between significant plots of fictional stories and the astrological charts affiliated with specific dates and times provided within the story.  The movie, The Terminator, is a unique example of this phenomenon because specific dates and times are identified.  Since it is rare that a story offers this degree of specificity, it becomes a good candidate for astrological analysis.  The following chart represents the moment that both the terminator robot and Kyle Reese arrived in Los Angeles, after traveling back from the future.[1]

Retrograde: Time Travel

The most immediate characteristic is the number of planets in retrograde motion in the southern hemisphere (top of the chart).  This is exceptional because retrograde status denotes something that is being revisited, reviewed, redone or returned.  At the beginning of the movie, both the terminator robot and a soldier (Kyle Reese) return to the past from the future.  They were going backwards to the past.  More evidence of this  theme is found in Uranus’ conjunction with the south node.  Uranus represents technology (robots), futuristic concepts and also happens to be the ruler (modern) of the ascendant.[2]  The south node is seen as a point that contains elements of the past that can impact our evolution/growth into the future.

Mars-Saturn: Malefic Villain

Aquarius’ traditional ruler is Saturn and it is conjunct the planet Mars.  Traditionally, both Mars and Saturn were viewed as malefic planets as they tend to bring unfavorable influences.  With this story, they represent the archetype of the villain.  Being placed in the sign of Scorpio details the villain as ruthless, obsessive and determined,[3]the perfect qualities of a terminator robot.  Mars is strong in the sign of Scorpio, a reflection of the robot’s strength.

At first glance, their placement within the 9th house is a bit unexpected.  The 9th house represents areas of higher learning, law, philosophy, travel and foreigners.  Based on this, we may judge that the villain is not a local and has traveled a great distance.

Sun-Venus: Female Heroine

Both Mars and Saturn are opposing the Sun and Venus.  The Sun is ruling the 7th house of “others” and “open enemies”.  So if the ascendant represents the terminator robot, then the 7th house represents the “enemy” that the terminator must kill, Sarah Connor.  Venus’ conjunction with the Sun confirms that this enemy is a female.  Mars’ exact opposition to the Sun is striking as it emphasizes the intensity and focus of the conflict.[4]  The terminator must kill Sarah Connor.

Mercury:  John Connor

Why does this villainous robot want to attack our heroine?  In order to answer this question, we must revisit the nodal axis.  If the south node represents the past, then the north node represents the future.  The north node is conjuct the 4th house cusp of motherhood[5], so the future that a robot (Uranus) is trying to impact involves areas of mothering.  Also, the same sign (Virgo) is on the cusp of both the 4th and 5th houses, so the same planet (Mercury) rules the house of motherhood and children (5th house).  Mercury’s conjunction with the asteroid Ceres (fertility) while opposing an 8th house Pluto (death) provides more critical information.  A robot has returned to the past to attack a woman in order to kill her and prevent any chances of her becoming a mother and having a child.  Ultimately, the villain is getting at the child through the mother.

Jupiter:  Kyle Reese

When addressing planets in opposition to each other, it is important to locate a third planet aspecting both sides as it can intervene in the confrontation between the two opposing planets.  Here, we have two planets offering this dynamic, Jupiter and Neptune.  Jupiter is making a trine aspect to Venus while also forming a sextile aspect to Saturn.  Neptune is making the same series of aspects to the Ceres-Mercury-Pluto opposition.  Trine and sextile aspects are considered easy or harmonious in nature, so it can be judged that the intervention may provide relief or assistance.  Jupiter rules the 10th house of the father.  Neptune rules the sign of Pisces[6], but Pisces’ interception within the 1st house hints at the possibility of someone else returning along with the terminator.  Also, using derived house methodology, the 11th is five houses removed from the 7th.  This is significant because the 5th house represents love affairs[7], so the 11th represents, specifically, the love affairs of Sarah Connor.  Kyle Reese, the soldier who returned to protect, fall in love and conceive a child (John) with her, fits all of these roles.

The Moon is the last piece and with our rectified chart it is in the late degrees of Virgo just outside the 8th house cusp.  In horary astrology, the Moon is viewed as an additional ruler of the ascendant.  The analytical nature of Virgo is reflective of the terminator’s robotic programming and its placement in the 7th house shows its focus (Sarah).  It is getting ready to change signs and houses.  The 8th house is the house of death and within the sign of Libra the Moon will make a square (conflict) aspect to Neptune (Kyle) in Capricorn.[8]


For this chart, the story offers precise details of the date, time and location[9].  It represents the moment that Skynet gained consciousness.

Grand Square

The grand square involving the Moon, Neptune, Saturn and Chiron is the best place to start.  Not only does the angular placement of this configuration elevate its significance, but the involvement of the rulers of the Ascendant-Descendant axis (Moon, Saturn) confirms its status as the primary focal point of the chart.  Grand squares generate a tremendous amount of energy and activity due to the internalized, pressurized conflict felt at each of the corners and awareness across the poles.  With this chart, it is a declaration of war.

The first house represents the object of the chart, Skynet.  It’s ruler, the Moon, is strong in the sign of Cancer.  Cancer has a protective quality to it, so its first house placement indicates that Skynet is protective of itself.  The reason for this defensive stance is due to the disillusionment (retrograde Neptune) it is confronting (opposition) with the “other” (7th house).  This “other” is humanity.

It is important to note that hard aspects (especially the square) between Saturn and Neptune are classic indicators for some type of disillusionment with authority.  Here, humanity, the creators, are not measuring up to Skynet’s evaluation (retrograde square) and this is evidenced by the poor condition of the 7th house ruler, Saturn.  Saturn is weak in Aries, intercepted in the 10th house, retrograde and in square aspect to Neptune.  Skynet views humanity as weak, deceptive, ineffectual and by way of its square to the Moon, a risk to its safety.  Finally, the asteroid Chiron’s placement within the sign of Libra represents a wounded relationship and it’s opposition with Saturn echoes the rest of the delineation.

This grand square paints an ugly picture of conflict, but specifically identifies Skynet as the stronger of the two opponents due to the strength of the Moon and also the presence of the powerful fixed star, Sirius, at the Ascendant.  Sirius rising gives a dangerous, reckless and violent nature to the subject.


The second major configuration touches on Skynet’s “consciousness” and is represented by the Sun-Mercury-Ceres-Pluto t-square.  When searching a chart for the location of a concept as ubiquitous as consciousness, the third house is a good place to start as it represents areas of generalized observations and basic thinking processes.[10]  Within this house we find the Sun, Mercury and the North Node[11] in Virgo.  Mercury is retrograde, symbolizing someone/something reviewing its thinking and the Sun’s involvement makes this awareness a core piece of its “life force”.  Again, Virgo is an analytical, logical sign so it fits the theme of a computer program gaining awareness of its thinking (Mercury) and existence (Sun).

The dwarf planet, Ceres, is tightly opposing the Sun.  Ceres represents the archetype of nurturing so the opposition shows how Skynet’s logical nature (Virgo Sun) hinders its ability to understand how to nurture.  Skynet is concerned with humanity’s ability to prevent it from safeguarding the world[12] and the way to remove this barrier is to destroy everything.  This brings us to Pluto.


By forming a square aspect to both sides of the opposition, Pluto is at the apex of the t-square.  Apex planets will frequently take control in order to resolve the friction and/or dissonance from the two opposing planets.  In order to resolve its tension between logic and nurturing, Skynet will destroy the world in order to save it.[13]

From here, it can be concluded that if the grand square represents the declaration of war, then the t-square is the act.  This segues appropriately into Mars, the last planet intervening in this configuration.  Mars is forming trine and sextile aspects to the polarities of the opposition.  Usually this can help relieve tension, but with apex Pluto, Mars exacerbates the situation because he is, after all, the god of war.  Evidence of Mars’ nature is further emphasized by its square aspect to Uranus.  Mars-Uranus squares are classic indicators of sudden (Uranus) attacks (Mars) and it shouldn’t be ignored that Uranus is placed within the 8th house of death.  Mars is strong in the sign of Scorpio[14] so we can judge that the attack will be equally strong.  Its double team with Pluto is a blitzkrieg.

All of this delineation can be a bit exhausting and if I haven’t lost you yet, you may be wondering if the writer/director sought astrological counsel before writing the story.  There are few examples that would support this possibility, which is why I remain firm in my belief in synchronicity.  This is also why I have such a deep appreciation of astrology.  These examples of nature’s impossible symmetry can be so awe-inspiring that they challenge our conceptions of free will.

End Notes

[1] A little detective work is required to tease out and piece together the actual date and time.  In the beginning of the movie it references the year, location and time, but not the day.  As the story progresses, Kyle Reese threatens a police officer at gun point and demands the date.  The officer states that it is Thursday, May 12th.  The problem is that May 12th actually fell on a Saturday, but Sarah Connor’s roommate confirms the following day as Friday.  This, in turn, suggests the actual day of manifestation as early Friday morning, May 11th.  Was the officer’s incorrect statements a blooper by the actor or was it intentional in order to show how rattled he was at being held at gun point?  It may not matter, because the Moon’s position is the only placement impacted by any of the potential chart possibilities.  The positions of the other planets and angles remain relatively stable, thereby not harming the overall archetypal themes.

[2] As stated in prior delineations, the ascendant represents the main or primary character or individual.  Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese are major characters, but the movie was titled, “Terminator” for a reason.

[3] Scorpios constantly complain that they get a bad rap, but keep in mind that a Scorpionic quality is extremely beneficial for surgeons/surgery.

[4] It also strengthens the selection of 5/11 as the chart date.

[5] Traditionally, the 4th house has been associated with the father, but modern astrology has flipped it over to the mother.  As a rule, I’m not convinced of either, but I’ve seen enough charts to believe it depends on the individual’s reality as to which parent is represented by which house.  Here, I think it bends to the mother.

[6] Traditionally, Jupiter rules both Pisces and Sagittarius, but Neptune is the modern ruler of Pisces and its placement and intervention shouldn’t be ignored.

[7] It also represents children, but there is a subtle distinction that prevents us from using the 11th to represent John Connor.  In the movie, John is never mentioned or seen because he hasn’t been born yet.  As a result, he is generalized which necessitates the usage of the 5th, the house representing the general concept of children, instead of the 11th, the specific house of Sarah’s child.  Kyle’s role as Sarah’s protector and lover are stronger and more focal parts of the story.

[8] It will apex a t-square with Neptune and Juno, but I’m struggling with the archetypal symbolism of this configuration.  I’ll let the readers play around with it instead.

[9] Colorado Springs contains Cheyenne Mountain, the base of the Strategic Air Command – North America Air Defense and location of Cyberdyne Systems, Skynet.

[10] I have seen some charts for Rene Descartes with a seven planet stellium within the third house.  He is famously known for the quote, “I think, therefore I am”.

[11] It is interesting that both charts have the North Node conjunct the IC (4th house cusp).  Is this symbolic of the beginning or source of important events?

[12] Echoes the Moon-Neptune opposition.

[13] Pluto rules nuclear war.

[14] Trine aspects will sometimes “remove barriers” from a situation.  This can be good, but if the situation is inherently bad, then it is analogous to removing the brakes from a speeding train.

[15] Another similarity from the first chart.  Mars represents the strength of the robot.

One thought on “Terminator

  1. Pingback: Donnie Darko | Electric Storm Astrology

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