(This is an edited version of a longer interview, published in Connections magazine,
Scotland, UK in February 1996. It appears on the website in three parts – click An astrologer at work: Part One to read the first part.)
extract from Part One….” The purpose of the “Not the Astrology Column” theme on this website is to introduce open-minded readers to the in-depth astrology which lies behind the entertainment facade offered by the Sun Sign columns. We are living in a time where awareness of the ‘interconnectedness of all things’ is fast returning to the forefront of public consciousness across the world. The evidence is piling up increasingly starkly: what happens in one part of our biosphere impacts everywhere.
The ancient maxim ‘As above, so below‘ has thus never seemed more relevant. The art and practice of astrology has been based on that maxim for at least six thousand years. Astrology links what happens in the individual and collective lives of human beings to the movement of the planets through the solar system of which we are part….”
Now read on!
The Principles and Practice of Astrology
“Connections” Editor Ian Holland interviews Anne Whitaker
IH: A series of interviews were done with members of the public who came to our last Alternative Health exhibition, asking them their views on New Age matters, and whether they had any negative comments. The main criticism was of the relentlessly positive way of putting things which new age practitioners tended to adopt. Telling someone who has been through absolute tragedy that this is perhaps something that was meant to happen, and presented an opportunity to grow….I feel that attitude shows great insensitivity to a person devastated by brutal experience.
AW: I would entirely agree with you here. I think that life has always been a difficult process for everybody, and as far as anyone knows it will probably continue to be so. I have now had my fair share of experience of people coming to me who have had terrible trauma, and I think that it’s extremely disrespectful, insensitive and glib to tell somebody who is in pieces that this is a learning and a growing experience. I don’t think that I have the right to say that. And I certainly wouldn’t say it.
However, if they were trying to grope for some sense of meaning and understanding in order to cope better, then I would very gently and tentatively attempt to help them to do that. But it is not my job to tell people how they should receive their personal experience. And I’ve been through sufficient personal and family tragedy of my own to respect people’s struggle to come to terms with life’s brutalities in THEIR way.
IH: I was reading a book a while back on medical astrology . Can you predict physical illnesses or ailments that a person may be subject to ?
AW: I think it’s enormously important to work within my levels of competence. If anyone ever contacts me specifically re health advice, I always refer them on to my colleague who is a recognised authority in this field. What I would do, since I consider myself absolutely no expert in medical matters, is to confine my comments to areas I feel confident enough to comment on.
You can tell for example when a person is temperamentally quite highly strung, and likely to express their nervous tension in physical ways – and advise them to take up things like meditation, or yoga, to help relax them.
The planet Saturn is particularly connected, in physical manifestations of its symbolism, to bones and skin ( what holds us up, and what holds us in! ) – if this planet is prominently placed in the horoscope, especially close to the Rising Sign, and has tense rather than flowing links with other planets, this is a pretty clear indicator of a predisposition to skin and/or bone problems as a way of expressing held-in fear, anger or frustration. Since a progressed horoscope can provide specific timings, it is very helpful for individuals prone to such difficulties to be alerted to periods when these problems might be more likely to manifest than others. Thus they can take some kind of prophylactic action through physical and or emotional work in advance – or during the time period where their horoscope indicated them to be at risk.
It is important for astrologers to have confidence in their own competence, otherwise they are not going to do a good job for their clients. But it’s also important for them to be honest and clear about their own limitations, especially in areas like health.
IH: Where do you think that these predispositions indicated in the Birth Chart come from ? Is it an accident of birth, or….
AW : I think we’re back here to the fate/free will question. As I said earlier, the symbolic map of our point of entry into this world powerfully suggests that we bring in certain qualities and themes, from family inheritance perhaps, to be lived out and hopefully worked with. But at the heart of the question regarding the primary origin of what we bring in, lies a great mystery. Perhaps only the Deity can answer that question….
IH : Are we into the past life issue as well ?
AW : I prefer not to comment on the past life issue – although I’m interested in it, and I’ve had some experiences which I can only usefully explain to myself in terms of reincarnation, being a pragmatist I consider that my job is to live this present life as well as I can….so if someone wants to have this kind of astrological discussion specifically rather than tangentially, I will refer them on to a practitioner who has a particular interest in that area.
IH: What about the wider social and political context ? What does astrology have to say about that ?
AW: A great deal. On the 17 January 1995 a major planetary event occurred – the planet Pluto, which had been travelling through the 30 degrees of the sign of Scorpio since 1984, moved into 0 degrees of the sign of Sagittarius. On that day a major world event occurred – the Japanese earthquake which devastated the city of Kobe and killed thousands of people. The horoscope for the start of the earthquake is very powerful and has very strong links with Japan’s horoscope. This is just one example of a fascinating area of study – Mundane astrology, the study of the links between planetary movements and world affairs. There are always striking planetary patterns to be found symbolically reflecting major events in the world.
(note: see‘ Interesting Times – an astrologer’s view’ for some comments on the recent shift of Pluto from Sagittarius into Capricorn at the end of November 2008) )
IH: I notice that the Abbey National Building Society have started publishing their guide to investment – it ‘s done tongue in cheek – but do you believe that astrology can be useful in planning investments ?
AW : I don’t think that popular sun sign astrology is useful in any specific way to any individual person or business, because it only takes one feature, the sun’s position, into account. But there’s a whole branch of astrology which looks at the charts of companies, and these charts’ links with overall market cycles. Business astrology is widely used though very few business people would admit it! There’s a very good book out called ‘Money and the Markets’ by Graham Bates and Jane Bowles which deals in detail with this topic. My husband works in the investment field and wishes I’d take up business astrology – but I’m more interested in the spiritual, psychological and educational dimensions, to his chagrin !
So astrology can be used for a range of different things. Mundane astrology concerns national and world affairs – from the Latin mundus, meaning the world. There is business astrology, and then you have personal or natal astrology which is largely what I do; synastry which brings the charts together of eg parents and children, friends, lovers, business partners; and horary astrology which asks a question at a particular moment in time like ‘should I marry Fred ?’ and from the chart cast for the time of asking, a series of complex rules of interpretation are followed which come up with an answer.
There is medical astrology which we’ve touched on, and then there is electional where you choose a favourable moment for launching an organisation or a ship, getting married, etc. If you wanted to launch another magazine, Ian, you could get me to do a chart for you to select a good time. Inceptional astrology looks at the chart to determine conditions in force at the outset of a venture– eg for the launching of the Titanic – so that we can all be wise by hindsight !
IH: There was an amazing story on television recently concerning a young woman who had been adopted and wanted to find her birth mother. Apparently her letter of enquiry to the adoption agency arrived on the same day as a letter from her birth mother wanting to trace her! Is that an example of the heavens at work ?
AW: I suppose that’s an example of what Carl Jung called synchronicity – where things occur in the same moment in time and are thereby held together in significant interrelationship. To a member of the public the story you have just related looks like a fascinating co-incidence. To an astrologer, if you were able to look at both the girl’s chart, the mother’s, and the chart of the day of overlap, you should certainly be able to see in symbolic terms a powerful inter-relationship between the individuals and the overlapping day – and perhaps some clues regarding the nature of the significant event. But I doubt very much whether you could describe the exact event.
Part Three follows shortly
1600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2008
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
4 thoughts on “An astrologer at work: Part Two”
This is a fascinating interview. Thankyou for publishing it. I look forward to reading part 3 x
Thanks Leah – I hoped it would be of interest to fellow astrologers as well as open-minded general readers exploring astrology’beyond the sun signs’- your comment encourages me to think that this is the case. I look forward to exploring your site when I have time later on in the week! Anne
This is a great article and next time anyone asks me how astrology works I’ll refer them here – looking forward to more – CarolexXx
Thanks Carole – currently mulling over an update and rewrite of “Astrology as a healing and a wounding art”. Watch this space!