Monthly Archives: September 2009

Briefly – points to ponder: Jude Cowell on astrology – is it a belief system?

September’s Guest on Writing from the Twelfth House is that prestigious and prolific blogger from Georgia, USA  – Jude Cowell – and very popular she has proved to be with her Mercury article  ‘Unruly Tricksters of the Twelfth House’! Jude is an accomplished encapsulator : great at pithy summings-up. Here she is on that very old chestnut: is astrology a belief system, or is it not? Over to you, Jude….

Recently  USA’s Late Late Show host, the Scot Craig Ferguson….” stated on air that he doesn’t believe in Astrology. Or that he doesn’t use it, or something like that (it was a while ago, and late – very late.)

….Now this is where I point out that Astrology is not a belief system so it’s impossible to ‘believe in’ it. One may believe it works or is a useful tool or language with which to understand the world and our own psyches, but a faith-based system it is not.

Craig ’s natal chart is quite interesting – and I assert that his self-revealed visits to a therapist would go even better through the use of Psychological Astrology, if the option is available to him.

After all, no less than Carl Jung used Astrology for diagnosing his patients, you know. Of course, it’s impossible to get an appointment with him these days….”

To see the full post, check out Jude’s Threshold September 6 2009

200 words copyright Jude Cowell/Anne Whitaker 2009

Guest Slot : ‘Unruly Tricksters of the Twelfth House’ by Jude Cowell


I am delighted to be publishing this topical article by prestigious and prolific USA fellow blogger, my friend from Georgia, Jude Cowell. During that season of three weeks (07-29/9/09) when the ultimate planetary trickster, Mercury, turns retrograde and challenges us all with communication conundrums, Jude poses and answers a few mercurial conundrums of her own…

Having astrology’s trickster planet, Mercury, or Mercury-ruled Gemini or Virgo, associated with one’s natal twelfth house can be quite a ‘tricky’ proposition for anyone to manage.

When one considers the unconscious nature of the twelfth house and Mercury’s rulership of our thinking and communicating processes, the picture becomes fraught with possibilities for confusion, doubt, and awkwardness.

In fact, in similar fashion to this blog’s creator and author, the gracious Anne Whitaker, I am communicating with you from the twelfth house right now with sixteen degrees of a mercurial sign directing the show from behind the curtain.

As you know, repressed energies of the twelfth house (12th h) are identified by planets posited there, and by those which are connected by sign and aspect to the house of Self-Undoing and Karma, the 12th h of the Unconscious.

But when fleet-of-foot Mercury is involved, we can be certain that unbidden thoughts will frequently float up into consciousness from the watery depths of the Neptunian realms of the unconscious – some useful and to be acted upon, others not as useful and to be disregarded.

Mysterious Mercury
Mysterious Mercury

A 12th house Mercury may give a tendency to talk to oneself, and the old caution that it’s ‘okay as long as one doesn’t answer back’ may be moot with Mercury involved in the house of the Unconscious – for talk back the trickster will, and often out loud at the most inappropriate times or in awkward ways.

“Foot-in-mouth” syndrome is a common manifestation of the predicament of having connections between the Unconscious psychological 12th house and our thinker-communicator planet.

Plus, ‘The Fool’ card in the Tarot deck illustrates neutral Mercury’s brash characteristics quite well as he/she haplessly opens mouth to insert foot – and usually at the worst of moments…the ‘speak first, think later’ tendency.

Yet that is where Astrology can aid us in understanding these mercurial 12th house dynamics and learning to make productive use of them so that we don’t mistakenly shoot ourselves in the very foot we placed in our mouths. Now that would be a definite ouch!

Directing mercurial 12th house energies outwardly into the wider world may produce a writer or other type of artisan who draws upon knowledge from the collective unconscious and expresses it on behalf of mankind, while remaining the private sort of person that a mercurial 12th house requires.

But before projecting them outwardly, it’s important to replace self-defeating attitudes (such as the repeating loop in our heads of mother’s old discouragements: “oh, you can’t figure that out,” or “what would you know about it?”, etc.) with a more positive attitude; for after all, neutral Mercury can ‘go either way’ – so why not take the high road? Especially since we know that decision-maker Mercury, in his Hermes disguise, is the mystery guide at the crossroads of life, isn’t he?

So aspects to planets in, or associated with the 12th house (or its cusp), show us how and where to use these repressed, unconscious energies to best advantage by ‘tricking the trickster’ and turning them into the talents they truly are.

And developing our verbal and non-verbal creative work is one of the better ways to manage these unruly mercurial scamps of the 12th house while benefiting the collective simultaneously; attempting to push these energies further beneath the oceanic 12th house surface only causes them to fester and become even more distorted than they were from being stifled during childhood by the adults around us who had their own 12th house issues to deal with. And perhaps they didn’t manage it as well as we, with Astrology’s instruction, may now.

So rather than setting ourselves up for subliminally undoing ourselves from the unconscious 12th house, I say: let the 12th house trickster breathe freely, romp with the other kids, take up his quill or paintbrush, and reveal mercurial insights for the benefit of all!

(Written for Anne Whitaker to use, with Jude Cowell’s  permission)

700 words Copyright Jude Cowell 2009

Check out Stars over Washington for Jude’s outspoken astrological and political commentaries on USA’s current affairs….


Jude Cowell

Jude Cowell

Lifelong artist Jude Cowell is a native of Athens, Georgia and an Astrology novice since 1996. She attended Atlanta College of Art in her younger years where she studied Fashion Illustration, Layout, and Design, and has exhibited her artwork in Athens, Augusta, and Atlanta, Georgia. She now displays her colored pencil drawings exclusively online.

Operating several blogs on Political Astrology, Art, and a combination of the two, she allows her astrological studies and universal considerations of the collective to inform her Cosmic, Moon, and Fairy Art.

Jude is a Saturnian astrologer who sees in horoscopes heredity rather than past lives, and though she no longer consults on a regular basis, is always open to the possibility when time permits.

Her blog list includes:

Stars Over Washington, a Political/Mundane Astrology site since 2005:

Jude’s Threshold, a tapestry blog of Art, Astrology, Politics, and Current Events:

Two Hours You’ll Never Get Back, a tapestry blog of Art, Astrology, Politics, Environmental, and Family Concerns:


Where’s that wasp? Fetch me my AK-47!

– and by the way – a big thanks to NHS Scotland !….

….in this turbulent time of controversy re major changes proposed to the USA’s healthcare system, and the often bad press which the UK’s NHS tends to receive, I thought I’d add my own contribution – an account of how I still have my left arm, thanks to the NHS in Scotland….

10.30 pm: Thursday 13th August 2009: Western Infirmary, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

A young woman has just been wheeled in to the next bed. She is crying with pain. Nurses and a doctor are in attendance. The woman opposite, snoring loudly, is only a year older than me. Epileptic, registered blind, she has had six strokes. Swollen, painful legs have caused this admission. She has cut her smoking to fifteen cigarettes a day.

I have not slept for twenty-one hours. My left hand looks like a kilo of sausages, forearm beginning to resemble a marrow. My right arm is attached, via a cannula inside the elbow, to an antibiotic drip. “Domestos, basically!” a male nurse remarked cheerfully earlier that day. “ Kills just about everything. You’ll be fine!” I did not feel fine.

How quickly life can pitch us from order to chaos….

Noon, Tuesday 11th August 2009. We were relaxing in sunshine outside Exeter airport, drinking coffe, waiting for the Flybe plane to take us home from a happy family visit in Devon. Clasping my hands expansively to the back of my neck, I did not see the wasp. “Ouch! That hurt!” My first ever sting. By 4 pm it was almost forgotten – only just red by then, and barely tingly.

It was good to be home. Off I went to do a week’s shopping – our cupboards were bare. Whilst carrying bags up the three flights of stairs to our house, I noticed my hand was redder, and a little swollen. It was 5 pm. By 6.30 pm, I was having slightly tingly feelings round my lips and throat as well. Anaphylactic reaction? Off we went to the local Accident and Emergency department.

It was fairly quiet – “Thank goodness it’s not a Friday night!” I remarked to my husband. Within half an hour, I had been assessed for degree of urgency, seen by a doctor who confirmed a very mild but not serious anaphylactic reaction, then a GP, and sent home having been given an antihistamine tablet. “Go and see your own GP tomorrow if it’s any worse,” the hospital GP said. “It should settle overnight, though.”

It didn’t. It was worse, and I was worried. The surgery already had the notes from last night’s consultation. They fitted in an appointment that morning, Wednesday 12th August. My GP tailored the antibiotics prescription to one aimed at skin bacteria, which apparently can be very noxious indeed. Some time ago, a friend had licked a tiny scratch on his hand made by a staple, and found himself in the Western Infirmary with necrosing fasciitis. They only just managed to save his hand….   “If it hasn’t started to improve in twenty-four hours, come back”, he said.

“Are your patients worried about swine flu?” I asked, ever curious. Apparently not. It seems they are far more affected – especially with mental health problems – by the recession….

During Wednesday, things did not improve. My hands and wrists are small and thin. The swelling, moving slowly upward, had obscured the wrist bones by nightfall. We went to sleep at 11 pm.

At 1.50 am on Thursday 13th August I woke up: my hand and arm were swollen almost to the elbow. Around my knuckles between which the wasp had stung, the skin, turning a purply-yellow, was starting to ooze.

That was it. We returned to the A and E Department at 2.30 am.

Assessed at 3 am, I waited till 4 am to be seen. Through the wall of the small brightly-lit consulting room, we could hear sounds of someone who was obviously mentally ill. The first doctor thought I’d probably be admitted for intravenous antibiotics. At this point, I sent my husband home. He had a difficult day ahead, and one of us might as well get some sleep! A kind nurse with thirty-two years’ experience sat and chatted, commenting that good nursing care wasn’t just about hooking people up to machinery. I agreed; at this point it was good not to be alone.

Another doctor, a young orthopedic surgeon with a delightful celtic voice and the charm to go with it, eventually managed to get a cannula in my arm for the antibiotic drip. The kind nurse continued to chat in an effort to distract me, my having warned them that physical courage was not my forte. “You have awkward veins!” he said. “Just like the rest of me!” I replied. We all laughed.

6.15 am. At last, a bed was found – in a surgical ward on Level 10. The very brisk, cheery porter conveying me there on a trolley informed me that wasps had to sting before they died. He expressed great surprise at my ignorance of this fact – especially at my mature age. Though not convinced of the veracity of this statement,  I felt too feeble by this time to argue. How unlike me….

Even butterflies get attacked!

Even butterflies get attacked!

10.30 pm: Thursday 13th August 2009: Western Infirmary, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

Surrounded by very ill people – some in great pain, I finally ‘hit the wall’.

After 21 hours without proper sleep, having being told I would have to lie for an hour getting my sixth lot of antibiotics for that day, the shock of the day at last hit me. Tears welled up. The duty nurse until that point having been quite brusque, immediately became kind. “I’d feel the same, if it was me,” she said, going off to make me a cup of sweet tea – quite outwith the official tea or meal times. A slender young female doctor who, truly, looked about twelve years old, came and sat on my bed whilst I drank the tea, solemnly asking me if there was anything else troubling me. “Don’t worry,” she said. “You’ll soon be fine, and out of here.” She was right.

3.00 pm  Friday 14th August 2009 : discharged! Armed with some more antibiotics and an appointment five days later with the very thorough consultant who had overseen my case, I was soon fine again.

However, as a consequence of this experience, I will for some time be reflecting on what we all know at some level, but do not like to contemplate often: how poised our lives always are on the edge of chaos of one kind or another. Tossed from a quiet, reclusive life into the midst of human suffering much worse than my own, I was humbled by the way we were all cared for – by the staff in our National Health Service who are perpetually undervalued and overworked.

Memory of the unobtrusive acts of kindness and humanity I overheard and witnessed during those two long days, and largely sleepless nights, will stay with me for a long time.

I am only too aware that there are times when our UK National Health Service grievously lets down, for one reason or another, those who are entrusted to its care. No institution can be perfect. The gap between the ideal and the real can never be bridged in any situation involving human beings. Even at our best, we are all only too fallible – there is always lots of room for improvement. But I will remain forever grateful for the care provided by all concerned in those few fraught August days. Thanks to the NHS, I still have my left arm – not to mention, perhaps, my life….

1200 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2009
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Favourite Quote: from an interview with scientist Paul Davies in “Devout Sceptics”

” The older I get, the more I find that I am returning to those deep questions, and asking ‘Why?’ I don’t think it’s enough to shrug this question aside. My scientific colleagues will often say, ‘Scientists shouldn’t ask “why?’ questions’. Well, that response reminds me of my school days: ‘Sit down, Davies, and shut up!’ I’m afraid I’m not going to sit down, and I’m not going to shut up. I’m going to go on asking these ‘why?’ questions. We do want to know why the world is as it is. Why did it come to exist 13.7 billion years ago in a Big Bang? Why are the laws of electromagnetism and gravitation as they are? Why those laws? What are we doing here? And, in particular, how come we are able to understand the world? Why is it that we’re equipped with intellects that can unpick all this wonderful cosmic order and make sense of it? It’s truly astonishing.”(from a 2002 conversation)

The Big Why ?

The Big Why ?

from – (p57) – Devout Sceptics conversations on faith and doubt with Bel Mooney (2004) If you are preoccupied – as I always have been – with The Big Why?, and find it intriguing and stimulating to browse the musings of other people regarding how we got here, why we are here, and what is the point of it all, then the above book is definitely for you. Mooney’s edited transcripts from the popular BBC Radio 4 series, Devout Sceptics, feature well-known people as diverse as authors Phillip Pullman, Joanna Trollope and Jeanette Winterson, broadcasters Kate Adie and John Humphries, scientists James Lovelock and Paul Davies: 20 in all. These interviews will make you think. Do check this book out.