The world was saddened to learn of the passing of writer Nora Ephron on 26 June 2012. In addition to penning such noted screenplays as “Silkwood” (1983), “When Harry Met Sally” (1989), “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993), “You’ve Got Mail” (1998), and “Julie &Julia” (2009), among others, Ephron was an accomplished journalist, essayist, director, filmmaker, producer and novelist who impacted Hollywood and American culture for almost 30 years.
Her uneasy matrimonial alliance with Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein was chronicled in “Heartburn” (1983), her first novel, later made into a feature film starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. [Author’s note—I still use Ephron’s cheesecake recipe from that book; it’s quite good!] Perhaps appropriately, Ephron (who was Jewish but not religious, once commenting that “You can never have too much butter—that is my belief. If I have a religion, that is it”) also ended her career with a food-themed project, 2009’s “Julie & Julia“, the fact-based story of a blogger who worked her way through all 720 pages of Julia Child’s epic tome, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” in a year.
Married three times, Ephron eventually found happiness in her third union, with fellow screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, which lasted over 20 years. She died in New York City of complications from acute myeloid leukemia.
When she passed, asteroid Nora (#783) at 14 Taurus was closely conjunct asteroid Atropos, named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death, at 15 Taurus, with Nora also exactly sextile Ephron’s (born 19 May 1941) natal Atropos at 14 Pisces. Transit Nora was further opposed by both asteroid Requiem (named for the funeral mass for the dead) at 7 Scorpio and Osiris (Egyptian god of the dead) at 13 Scorpio retrograde, while trined by Pluto (modern ruler of death generally) at 8 Capricorn. Transit Nora and Atropos were closing in on her natal Saturn (ancient ruler of death) at 19 Taurus, while transit Requiem exactly opposed her natal Lachesis (the Fate determining the span of life) at 7 Taurus, and transit Osiris closely trined natal Atropos, providing more than a few clues to the fact that Ephron’s time was up.
Transit Saturn at 22 Libra was trine natal Reqiuem at 24 Aquarius, and transit Mars (also death in some contexts) at 26 Virgo closely opposed her natal Osiris at 25 Pisces. An exact natal inconjunct between Mars at 2 Pisces and Pluto at 2 Leo was being transited by Neptune cris-crossing natal Mars in the months before her death, as her health rapidly declined.
Natally, Ephron’s success can be seen in an exact conjunction of the Sun and Jupiter at 28 Taurus, hit by the 0 Gemini Solar Eclipse on May 20, and her self-identity as a writer was prefigured by asteroid Nora’s close conjunction with Mercury at 12 and 13 Gemini, a combination opposed by the Lunar Eclipse of 14 Sagittarius on 4 June.