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The new millennium has come in with a bang for gymnast Elise Ray. After winning the all-around gold medal in the 2000 U.S. Championships, she delivered a masterful performance for a first place finish in the Olympic trials in August. Cool, calm and collected, Aquarian Ray (born February 6, 1982, in Tallahassee, Florida) is peaking at just the right time to lead the U.S. team to the Sydney games.

The United States team has lost its footing in the world of international gymnastics since the golden days of the Magnificent Seven in Atlanta. Russia, Romania, China and the Ukraine are considered the favorites now, after the U.S. team crashed to sixth place in the 1999 World Championships. But there was one bright Ray that came to light during that world-class rude awakening. Seemingly from out of nowhere, Elise emerged eighth place in the all-around and seventh on uneven bars, far ahead of her other teammates. Since then, she has dominated U.S. gymnastics, her confidence growing with each competition.

Leader of the Pack

Something has obviously changed for Elise Ray over the past year, something that has elevated her style and precision far above the rest of the pack. Even coach Bela Karolyi has named her the de-facto team leader. All gymnasts train hard, making constant sacrifices to improve themselves and advance in their field, but there’s nothing like a little planetary assistance to help them get the most bounce for their buck. Ray has been getting a lot of help lately from the planet Uranus, currently at 17 degrees Aquarius.

Uranus has a way of unexpectedly bursting on the scene; shocking as a streak of brilliance, a lightning bolt out of the blue, a cold, clear slap in the face that suddenly shows you the world as you’ve never seen it before. It’s the original oddball planet, but no genius was ever normal. It doesn’t even spin normally. It’s the only planet that rotates around an axis that is parallel to, rather than perpendicular to, the plane of the ecliptic. In comparison, the other planets seem to be struggling to stand upright, while Uranus is just rolling on its side along with the orbital flow. The surprising discovery of Uranus in 1781 blew apart the boundaries of the known universe, sparking off a scientific revolution that still continues. Uranus doesn’t seek to fit in. By its very nature, it can’t. It always stands apart, either in leadership or splendid isolation.

The planet Uranus has been very active in Elise Ray’s chart for the past year, crossing back and forth over her natal Sun at 17 degrees Aquarius. In fact, Uranus sits right on her Sun now, and will remain there throughout the Olympics. She has never performed more brilliantly, and with any luck, the presence of this unpredictable planet could deliver a shock to the rest of the gymnastics world.

Balancing Planets

Ray’s chart is blessed with a stellium (group of planets) in the sign Libra, the original balance beam. Blending strength and artistry, her Mars-Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Libra makes a trine aspect (120 degrees) to her Aquarius Sun, linking the energies together in a harmonious, fortunate relationship. Libran athletes excel in rugged competition, making the impossible seem pleasant and effortless. Many gymnasts, figure skaters and dancers have strong Libra placements in their charts, conferring exceptional balance and poise. Ray’s natal Mars in Libra is at 18 degrees, so it makes a close trine (120 degree) aspect to both her natal Sun and the transiting Uranus, further enhancing the benefits of that Uranus contact.

Her natal Saturn in Libra is performing a balancing act of its own, negotiating between the two extremes of an opposition between her Moon in Cancer and her Venus in Capricorn. Her Saturn forms a 90-degree angle to both ends of that opposition, a dynamic configuration known as a t-square. Tremendous energy and tension are contained within that alignment, generating a steady stream of challenges and the willingness to face them all. The sophistication and maturity of her artistry is testament to the power of that Saturn-Venus square (90 degree angle). There is a timeless grace in her movements that makes her seem not only older than her years, but older than her generation.

The girl has also got a firm grip on herself. The Saturn-Moon square seems to add extra emotional control, which has served her well in the jarring madness of competition. In the recent Olympic trials, while other equally talented gymnasts were falling apart, Ray was unflappable. Her Aquarian detachment was very much in evidence. In the midst of every imaginable distraction, she was pure focus. She seemed to be in her own sphere, above it all. In her confident, commanding routines, incorporating the most difficult elements with exalted artistry, she inspired her teammates while serving notice to the judges and the rest of the the world. Elise Ray is ready for Sydney. Let’s hope the world is ready for her!




Courtney Roberts, M.A.,is a writer, teacher, and consultant, originally from Miami, FL. Her work reflects a unique perspective: a real passion for the 'big picture' that combines cosmology, religious studies and history with a lifetime of observing the dynamic interaction of spirit and cosmos.

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For more information about Courtney Roberts Conrad, click here.

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