Home for the Holidays: Brittney Griner’s Harrowing Russian Adventure
WNBA star Brittney Griner’s unexpected release from Russian custody on December 8th, after almost ten months in detention for a drug trafficking violation, sent waves of relief through family, friends and fandom. Griner had been arrested February 17, 2022 on smuggling charges after customs authorities found vaporizer cartridges containing less than a gram of hash oil in her luggage. Griner had a prescription for medical marijuana use from the state of Arizona, but all forms of the drug are illegal in Russia.
Occurring just days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many suspected Griner was being made an example of, a high-profile individual who would perhaps be useful as a bargaining chip down the road, as international sanctions applied a chokehold to the Russian economy. Griner, who continues to play pro basketball in other countries during the off-season in the US, had been a regular player with Russia’s Ekaterinburg team. Griner stated that the infraction was a result of hurried, unthinking packing for her trip, where she simply grabbed meds and personal items and tossed them in a bag.
Her trial began July 6, 2022, and on the second day Griner pleaded guilty, but said the possession of cannabis was a mistake, and she had no intent to break the law. On August 4th, she was found guilty and sentenced to 9 years in prison. Negotiations for her release had begun in advance of the trial, with President Biden proposing a prisoner swap as early as July 27th. Attempts were made to include Griner in a “package deal” with other Americans in Russian prisons, but were unsuccessful. Finally on December 8th she was flown to Abu Dhabi in the UAE, and exchanged for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year sentence.
In 2013, Britney Griner came out as lesbian; in 2015 she married fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson, then unsuccessfully filed or an annulment less than a month later, citing fraud and duress. That October Johnson gave birth to twins which were conceived in vitro; the marriage ended in 2016. In 2019 Griner married a second time, to Cherelle Watson, who has been a tireless advocate for her spouse’s release.
Born 18 October 1990 (no time available), Brittney Griner’s nativity well depicts her biography, and provides multiple clues to the thorny legal morass in which she found herself embroiled in 2022.
Griner’s destiny as an LGTBQ+ pro athlete, as well as her fated brush with disaster due to marijuana use, can all be surmised just from the stationary points in her chart. Stationary bodies appear to have come to a standstill in the heavens, and are thus representative of embedded, powerful energies upon which the rest of the chart revolves, major factors in character and biography.
Mars, ruling athletes, sports and competition, falls at 14 Gemini, and turned retrograde two days after Griner’s birth, suggesting an outsized importance for that archetype in her life. Asteroid Antinous is a gay marker, named for the lover of first century Roman Emperor Hadrian; at 26 Gemini, Antinous is trine the 24 Libra Sun and at station, having turned retrograde on the 7th of October. Antinous also trines Venus at 21 Libra, ruling romance and relationships, thus reinforcing the “lesbian” vibe which its stationary status and solar trine conveys.
The remaining stationary points describe the current contretemps: a triple conjunction of asteroids Nemesis, Herba and Karma at 8, 12 and 14 Pisces respectively. Nemesis indicates ruin or disaster, often self-created; Herba is a stand-in for “herb,” a marijuana euphemism; and Karma suggests some fated or predestined circumstance, as well as being called to account for one’s actions. Herba turned direct October 15th, Nemesis followed suit on the 22nd, and Karma on the 28th. Their square to Mars brings these effects into the realm of pro sports. A T-Square is formed with asteroid Britneyschmidt at 16 Sagittarius, a CNA (Compound-Name Asteroid), with both first and last names strung together as one word, which can be separated and used as a referent for either, here representing Brittney.
A secondary indicator of trouble brewing related to drugs or medications is a grouping of Neptune and Saturn at 11 and 19 Capricorn, with asteroids Panacea, Britneyburch and Grass in tow from 10, 16 and 17 Cap respectively. Neptune of course is the planetary ruler of drugs as well as imprisonment, while Saturn rules career, legal matters and penalties exacted. Panacea is named for the Greek goddess of medicine, and resonates with drugs of all kinds, legal or otherwise. Grass is another marijuana euphemism, while Britneyburch is another CNA referent for Griner. At the periphery of this central cluster is Uranus at 6 Capricorn, symbolizing the controversy itself and her newfound freedom; and asteroid Russia at 28 Cap, the venue for the debacle. Russia squared the Sun suggests some level of stress, strain or antagonism from that quarter.
Note that Britneyburch is also squared to the Sun and Mercury, conforming to the typical placement for a PNA (Personal-Named Asteroid), which commonly aspects the Sun, Moon, Mercury or Ascendant. Asteroid Britneyschmidt opposes Mars at 14 Gemini, further propelling Griner toward involvement with sports, while asteroid Brittany (phonetic match for Brittney) at 12 Libra is just out of orb of the Sun but also squares the Capricorn stellium, increasing its personal impact for her.
When Griner was arrested on 17 February 2022, the Sun at 28 Aquarius formed a T-Square with asteroid Karma at 29 Scorpio and asteroid Brittneyschmidt at 0 Gemini, implying a fated moment (Karma) had arrived for the Phoenix Mercury star (Britneyschmidt) which would place her in the spotlight (Sun). Brittneyschmidt also conjoins asteroid Grass at 7 Gemini, combining Griner and cannabis, but this point is too far wide to be considered part of the larger pattern. Transit asteroid Russia at 23 Libra conjoins her 24 Libra Sun and 22 Libra Mercury, in square to Pluto at 27 Capricorn, marking a newsworthy (Mercury) and devastating (Pluto) event of a self-defining (Sun) and criminal (Pluto again) nature, related to Russia.
As well, asteroid Moskva, Russian for Moscow, its capital, is at station from 1 Cancer, refining the event to the Sheremetyevo International Airport in that city, where she was arrested. This point forms a Grand Trine with the Sun and Russia, and at the String of a Kite Pattern is asteroid Panacea at 3 Capricorn, bringing in the element of the drug-related infraction. The Moskva/Panacea polarity also forms a T-Square with asteroid Herba at 1 Aries on the fulcrum, identifying the specific drug in question as marijuana.
An exact conjunction of Venus and Mars at 17 Capricorn designates a female (Venus) athlete (Mars); opposing asteroid Britneyburch at 16 Cancer, we see her name; a T-Square with Russia at 23 Libra again identifies the venue. Asteroid Brittany at 12 Sagittarius is coming to conjoin natal Britneyschmidt and activating that T-Square with Mars and the Pisces stellium of Nemesis/Herba/Karma, while also opposing Grass at 7 Gemini, further linking Griner and drugs.
Transit asteroid d’Arrest at 25 Virgo, symbolizing arrest, charges filed, and detention, opposes Neptune at 21 Pisces, ruling drugs and incarceration. Natally, asteroid d’Arrest at 22 Taurus conjoins asteroids Sappho (named for an ancient Greek lesbian poet) at 20 Taurus and Whitehouse (representing the president and the administration) at 29 Taurus, prefiguring the detention (d’Arrest) of the LGBTQ+ (Sappho) basketball star and the administration’s (Whitehouse) vital role in obtaining her release.
Although it took months to come to fruition, an important development in Griner’s release came July 27th, when Biden proposed a prisoner swap. Asteroid Brittany had made its station the day before at 8 Sagittarius, exactly squared natal Nemesis and exactly sextile natal asteroid Moskva at 8 Libra, marking a literal “turning point” in the case where the Russian state (Moskva) had been her adversary and downfall (Nemesis). That station also represents the subsequent conviction and sentencing on August 4th, barely a week later, when Griner’s future seemingly became officially dark indeed.
Brittney Griner’s release came December 8th, with the 16 Sagittarius Sun exactly conjoined her natal asteroid Britneyschmidt, highlighting her once more. The Sun also participates in a transit Grand Cross, opposed Mars (athletes) at 15 Gemini, squared asteroids Whitehouse (the administration) at 12 Pisces and Grass (the offending substance) at 13 Virgo. Griner is also in the midst of a Mars Return, a period of reset and reintegration of natal energies in current time.
There is a wide square from the Sun to asteroid Viktorov at 24 Pisces, conjoined Neptune at 22 Pisces, representing Viktor Bout (Viktorov), the other actor in the prisoner (Neptune) swap. Natally, Brittney Griner has Viktorov at 10 Cancer, exactly opposed druggy Panacea at 10 Capricorn, in a T-Square with Moskva and Brittany at 8 and 12 Libra, on the fulcrum. This binds the individuals personally (Brittany, Viktorov), while setting up the circumstances of their connection (Moskva, Panacea). They had never met in person before that airport tarmac, but their lives were inextricably entwined in this moment, key for both of them.
There are two exact pairings in the release chart which are of note: asteroids Russia and Karma conjoin at 1 Capricorn (with Venus at 27 Sagittarius and Mercury at 2 Cap also involved), aligning with Griner’s natal Uranus at 6 Cap and the arrest Panacea at 3 Cap. This depicts freedom (natal Uranus) for a newsworthy (Mercury) female (Venus) in some fated (Karma) interaction with Russia (Russia) having to do with drugs (Panacea).
The other exact pairing is asteroid Brittany with Pluto at 26 Capricorn, opposed by asteroid Herba at 25 Cancer, aligning with Griner’s natal asteroid Russia at 28 Capricorn. We see the connection to criminality (Pluto), but also the total transformation of circumstance which Pluto brings, in this case bound up with Griner personally (Brittany), and again reflecting the root issue (Herba). Note further that Pluto’s April 2022 station was at 28 Capricorn, precisely conjoined Griner’s natal Russia, which became the crucible for her life-altering experience.
Transit asteroid Brittneyburch at 16 Libra conjoins asteroid America at 13 Libra, and is just wide of asteroid Moskva at 5 Libra (which is still within orb of America). This represents the diplomacy between the two powers which led to her release. Griner was about to experience a “Moskva Return” to its natal degree of 8 Libra, affording an opportunity to reset her relations with that entity. Transit asteroid Brittneyschmidt at 3 Virgo was an exact match for natal Damocles, that point of doom hanging overhead, about to descend at any moment, now deflected by her release.
Griner’s professional future is uncertain; at any rate, she’s unlikely to resume her Russian basketball career anytime soon. For now, she rests serene in the bosom of her family, who have just gotten the best Christmas gift ever.
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