Monthly Archives: February 2014

Surreal, macabre….yes, that’s Scottish poet Carole Bone!

  • Here are two new poems by Carole, read by her with great relish at recent poetry readings hosted by Glasgow’s Oxfam Book Shop, Byres Road, in the Spring and Autumn of 2013. I’m sure you will agree that she has a distinct feel for the surreal and the macabre!
  • ( please, readers, accept my apologies for the peculiar perpendicular dots on the left side of this page. Try though I might, I could not erase them….my contribution  to the surreal, if not the macabre!)
  • In my dreams I can fly if it takes my fancy
  • There’s a two tailed talking dog called Clancy
  • Who plays Flamenco guitar telling tall-dog-tales
  • Of giant clockwork cats with ears like sails
  • In my dreams I live in a house made of cheese
  • Blow bubblegum bubbles with effortless ease
  • So big that they lift me up-up in the air
  • Did I mention Clancy has electric blue hair?
  • In my dreams time is measured by dandelion clocks
  • There are NO spiders and NO odd socks
  • Doris the Mermaid sings Aerosmith songs
  • Eating anchovy ice cream and egg foo yong
  • In my dreams there are many magical things
  • Bright yellow dragons with duffle coat wings
  • Corkscrew daisies grow fifteen feet high
  • Clancy likes them…. You can understand why
  • In my dreams many things transmogrify
  • But they ARE only dreams, so can YOU tell me why
  • When I wake with Clancy no longer there
  • My pillow has strands of electric blue hair?

  • She s-mothered him till he was forty-five, her precious child,
  • fussing over him, prune lipped and pillow breasted,
  • a benevolent dictator.
  • He simmered like the bubbling fat in the fryer
  • of the family fish’n’chip shop.
  • Three Generations Son!!!
  • He despised it, and her.  The acrid smell
  • of grease and the way it
  • clung to everything.
  • What he really wanted, was to paint a Masterpiece
  • or write a Bestseller or go hot air ballooning
  • up the Orinoco.
  • One Sunday afternoon, he was painting the masterpiece
  • that was the kitchen door and she was prattling
  • ON and ON about potatoes.
  • When it suddenly occurred to him that
  • there was NOT that much
  • to say about potatoes.
  • He saw his life then, peeled and chipped.
  • Deep-fried and wrapped up in
  • yesterdays newspaper
  • discarded on a Friday night, cold and half eaten
  • and he pushed her in the chipper.
  • Then, inspired
  • he picked up his pen and a fresh sheet of paper.
  • Smoothed it carefully.  At last!
  • Fodder for the bestseller!

Carole Bone

Carole Bone

To see Carole’s bio and her publications list, click

Carole Bone – Bio and Publications

Contact Carole at:

500 words copyright Carole Bone/Anne Whitaker /2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Guest writer Carole Bone: “Poetry – Pain, Pleasure and the Pen”

In the late 1990s Carole Bone turned up in my daytime astrology class: red hair, big eyes, bright mind, very eager to learn, fast talker, very hard to keep her quiet. Irrepressible. A great student to teach.

Some ten years later, she began, tentatively, showing me her poems: it was obvious that she is a born writer.

I remember thinking  “She’ll be getting published before long.” Sure enough, in 2011 she won a national poetry prize of £1000 with her poem ‘Stardancing‘ and has continued to develop as a poet. Click HERE to read her first published poem. Her first collection should be appearing before too long! ( Carole – did you hear that…..?)

Carole has kindly agreed to be my first Guest writer of 2014. Here she talks about why poetry is such a special creative medium for her. The next post will feature two of Carole’s recent poems.

Carole says: I was first attracted to writing poetry because I found I could say things in a poem that were difficult to express in other forms of writing.

So much can be said within the creative space of a poem to create a unique piece of art that touches the human soul in a way no other form of writing can.  Poetry has this limitless, creative magic other forms of writing do not have because it is not bound by the usual constraints and structures of grammar, sentence and context.  It is therefore arguably the most creative form of writing.

Developing as a poet can be hard work and not as easy as you might think. The freedom of all this amazing creative space can be overwhelming rather than inspirational.

I am reminded of a quote by Gene Fowler – “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead”.   I think most writers would agree that sometimes it can indeed feel as though blood rather than sweat is shed finding just the right words for a poem.

Engaging in writing poetry stretches your abilities as you strive to master the art of showing readers a scene through imagery, creating something that comes alive in the reader’s mind.

The challenge is to grab the reader’s heart by appealing to their senses, using words and images that make them feel.  That the reader connects emotionally with characters and their plights is essential to generate the visceral response you seek. This is achieved by learning how to use language that evokes emotions without telling readers what they should be feeling, to “Show not tell”.

Words must be carefully selected; every single one must be necessary to the poem. The writer must also learn how to be economical with language. The meaning of each word in a poem must be weighed carefully; connotation can mean the difference between a poem with depth and a poem that feels flat.

Melody too, has a natural affinity with poetry.  Similarly, a well crafted poem flows in meter, rhythm and cadence. A musicality is present in both which can have a physical effect on the listener.

Inspiration can flourish from almost anything.  An intriguing word, a dream, an image, an experience – your own or someone else’s.The list is endless.  The subject can be anything from comic to tragic, fact to fantasy and everything in between.  The crafting of a poem as it comes to life, weaving words to create a scene or story, is ultimately highly satisfying.  It can even feel as if  the poem is growing, taking on a life of its own.

The opportunity to develop your skill as a poet is boundless but there is an aspect to writing that I found both unexpected and magical.  When I first started to write it was a very private experience, but when I finally shared my efforts I was amazed at how something I had written had perhaps made someone ponder for a moment, smile, shed a tear or simply just enjoy.

That truly is an indescribable pleasure: a gift well worth every drop of “blood” squeezed from the brow to the page….

Carole Bone

Carole Bone

To see Carole’s bio and her publications list, click

Carole Bone – Bio and Publications

Contact Carole at:

700 words copyright Carole Bone/Anne Whitaker /2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Review of ‘The Stellium Handbook’ by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Donna Cunningham succinctly sums up the purpose of this very practical, very comprehensive two-part handbook thus:

“….consider this book a long-term guide to increasing self awareness by using the tools youll encounter here.

The Stellium Handbook by Donna Cunningham

The Stellium Handbook by Donna Cunningham

Many consulting astrologers will have had the experience of putting up a client’s chart prior to the consultation, seeing a log jam of several planets in one place, and thinking Oh no! Why didnt they choose someone else to read their chart? If the astrologer, too, has one of those log jams, or stelliums to give them their proper title, that reaction may be amplified. Practitioners do the best they can, with varying degrees of success, to analyse and explain as constructively as possible to clients what their stellium means – but doing so represents quite a challenge for the astrologer’s empathy and skill.

Help, however, has arrived from master astrologer and writer Donna Cunningham who draws on her long and deep experience both in astrological and related fields to produce this first ever thorough, in-depth work on stelliums – a very much needed aid for readers of varying levels of astrological knowledge.  (if you think it should be stellia, by the way, check out what Donna says in the footnote on page 15!) Her commitment is to make the book available to everyone with stelliums, not just astrologers or astrology students.

It is written with Donna’s signature depth, clarity, humour and compassion. One of her gifts is to be able to be briskly honest and realistic about the most difficult topics, but in such a compassionate, often witty way that the reader feels encouraged rather than squashed by the information provided.

The core aim of the book is to help stellium folk find their ‘mission’ in life, as revealed by the stellium’s planetary composition and location in sign(s) and house(s), andto focus on that in a more constructive way, with the emphasis on self-help throughout.

She does this very thoroughly and effectively: first defining what a stellium actually IS, then with the aid of various worksheets, leading the reader through detailed analysis and weighting – in order of significance and impact – of the major planet/sign/house/Angle/Node combinations. Want to find out what the ‘Alpha Dog Planet’ is, to give one example? Then check out Chapter 10 which presents the ‘Story Arc and Cast of Characters’ in your stellium.

The book is abundantly amplified with fascinating case material: from motivational speaker Nick Vujicic who was born without arms and legs, to actor Johnny Depp, Prince William of the UK, and a range of real-life examples drawn from readers and commenters on Donna’s Skywriter blog as well as the many articles to be found there. The pdf format of the book enables readers to click through to a pleasing range of relevant back-up material from Donna’s many books, as well as blogs and internet sites which will help to deepen and widen one’s knowledge base.

As an experienced practitioner, the chapters I found most useful were 12 and 13. Chapter 12 lists and discusses the five outer planet conjunctions between 1960 and 2010, including the Uranus/Pluto which dominated the 1960s, and the Uranus/Neptune which dominated the 1990s, both marking whole generations of people born under them. Chapter 13 presents and analyses – complete with a useful fact sheet – the ‘Capricorn Stellium Generation,’ born under therare and powerful super conjunction of  Uranus, Saturn and Neptune in Capricorn illuminating how it affects the lives of people born with it.

Chapter 14 pulls the whole book together, guiding the reader through how to get the most out of their stellium or triple conjunction. Topics covered include ‘Doing a Research Project on your Stellium’ and ‘Four Books that will Kick your Manifestation Mojo into Overdrive’.

There is a wealth of reference material throughout the book in the form of work and fact sheets, e.g. a Transit Tracking Table from 1990-2020, which will prove of great practical value both to astrology students and teachers. Donna Cunningham is a truly generous practitioner who has shared her knowledge in so many ways over the years with countless clients, students and fellow astrologers.

This fine book, the latest addition to her abundant astrological output, is an essential reference work for all astrologers’ libraries, one to which they can return time and time again as they encounter clients who are trying to come to grips with one of the most challenging, and potentially rewarding, of  all astrological patterns: the stellium.

The Stellium Handbook by Donna Cunningham

The Stellium Handbook by Donna Cunningham

To download a free sampler, click  here:  Stellium Handbook–A Sampler

Find out more about Donna Cunningham’s many books and enjoy a browse through a brilliant selection of articles on her popular blog Sky Writer

800 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page



Scotland’s Horoscope

As the countdown to the referendum on Scottish Independence  on 18th September 2014 begins, I thought – since this site emanates from Scotland – it might be a good point to present an analysis of our national Horoscope.

 I wrote this analysis, and commentary, as Scotland moved towards electing the first Scottish parliament for nearly three hundred years on the 6th May 1999. Fifteen years later, my closing comments seem eerily accurate…..

Non-astrologers, don’t click off! It might be interesting for you to see what astrological symbolism reveals about we Scots’ complex psyche….


 The most commonly used chart for Scotland is that of the crowning of Malcolm the Second at Scone on 25 March 1005 at noon (see DATA at end of article). In this chart can be seen quite clearly some of the main themes which the wider world associates with Scotland. In a brief piece like this, one can only cover the most obvious.

The first thing to strike the eye is the powerful emphasis on fire, with Leo rising , Aries MC, and both rulers in Aries in the tenth house.  Mercury Venus conjuncts the MC from the Ninth House. This conjures up a picture of an exuberant, creative and confident nation not wishing to keep its talents to itself but  launching them (in the shape of its people) out into the wider world.

Scots are to be found everywhere, and every modern Scot has relatives in Canada, America and Australia in particular. Some of the world’s most famous explorers were Scots, David Livingstone and Alexander MacKenzie, who named the MacKenzie river in Canada, being two examples.

Uranus, ruler of the Aquarian Descendant, is placed in the Ninth House in a watery grand trine with Saturn and Pluto. This conjures up a powerful image of strongly inventive and imaginative abilities which can structure the natural forces of nature in innovative ways: James Watt whose steam condenser leading to the steam engine drove the Industrial Revolution, and John Logie Baird who invented television, come immediately to mind.

Uranus’ conjunction with Mercury, Venus, the MC and trine the Leo Ascendant  combines restless travelling with innovative writing and artistic expression: Robert Louis Stevenson and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, neither of whom ended their days in their native land, but both of whom exerted powerful influence as writers and artists, fit this pattern well.

Overall, Scotland is a country which has contributed to the positive dimensions of human endeavour quite out of proportion to its small size.

Scotland 1005

Scotland 1005

Inevitably, there is a darker side to this bright picture, as with any nation. Saturn rising in Cancer in the Twelfth House is the powerful starting place from which to explore the painful side of Scotland’s complex sense of national identity. That identity under threat from an oppressive aggressor nation is a strong picture which arises from the square between the Twelfth House Saturn in Cancer, and  Mars in Aries in the Tenth.

There are many examples of this oppression by England over the thousand years since Malcolm was crowned at Scone. Memories of the brutal putting down of the 1745 rebellion against English rule, the infamous Massacre of Glencoe and the suppression of the Gaelic language which followed, and the Highland Clearances which forced thousands of Scots to emigrate in the eighteenth century, still fester in the national psyche.

Mars in Aries in the Tenth is exuberant, bold and adventurous; the square to Twelfth House Saturn in Cancer shows the undertone of rage and pain at  being torn from one’s deepest roots which lies behind that bright spirit. Poverty and oppression in many cases were the driving forces behind the Scots’ wanderlust.

One of Scotland’s many paradoxes is that a great, and justified, sense of national pride seems to co-exist with angry feelings of resentment and a hidden inferiority complex; symbolically, this fits well with the square sitting behind Leo rising.

If you are in any doubt about this, try keeping company with Scots who are the worse for drink, particularily if the location is England! One of the most unattractive facets of contemporary Scotland seems to be the need to put down (with the exception of Sean Connery !) those who have done well, rather than praising them.

Scotland’s passionate and at times tortured relationship with the spirit at its different levels can also be seen from this chart. Look at the dominant grand cross involving the Cancer/Capricorn Nodal axis with Neptune, crossing the MC/IC axis T-square involving the prominent Sun and Venus.

This is a highly imaginative, spiritual, musical, passionate,cultured, artistic, adventurous, justice-seeking, visionary pattern in its bright face. It speaks of the many gifts this small nation has given to the wider world, and through which its own national life has been, and is, a rich experience for many of us who live here.

But its dark face is that of the maudlin drunk, abandoned by God, oppressed by England, singing exiles’ songs in some parochial bar, longing to return to the unchallenging safety of the womb/home – or failing that, the oblivion of alcohol.

The 1005  chart  reflects well  the momentuous changes currently going on, as we move towards electing the first Scottish parliament for nearly three hundred years on the 6th May 1999.

Prog Uranus at 4 degrees Aries is crossing natal Mercury and Venus (IC ruler) in the Ninth House, with prog Asc at 20 degrees Pisces close to natal Uranus, also in the Ninth. Prog Sun (Chart Ruler ) is conjunct  Prog MC at 28 Sagittarius, both falling on the natal Part of Fortune – all indications of the radical nature of current changes, and the nation’s optimism and expansive spirit as it prepares for its first step towards self-government  for nearly 300 years.

Transits reinforce this. As the time of the elections approaches, Jupiter crosses all the Aries planets at the top of Scotland’s horoscope, as well as the MC.

During the whole period since the sweeping New Labour victory in May 1997 made a Scottish parliament a reality instead of a romantic nationalistic fantasy, transiting Pluto in Sagittarius has been opposing Scotland’s Jupiter in the 11th in Gemini, square the 2nd House Virgo Moon. Scotland’s Sun/Moon midpoint at 8 Gemini is also opposed by Pluto from Spring 98 until the end of 1999.

These are very appropriate significators for the debate centred around beliefs and values and the proper allocation of resources which has been going on; also, there is a death/rebirth process going on in Scotland’s ties with England and the UK. The outcome of that is by no means clear, many Scots wanting nothing less than the end of the long marriage with the UK. 

ps: 11.9.2014

To read my thoughts on the Scottish Independence Referendum, viewed through the lens of the larger, and extremely turbulent, contemporary world picture, click HERE


Scotland : 25 March 1005,  Scone, Scotland, Noon (traditional symbolic time for the coronation of the king). Coronation of  Malcolm the Second. Source/s: this date is given as the start of the year 1005 in the Annnals of Ulster, as quoted in Early Sources of Scottish History Volume 1, p 521,covering AD 500-1296. This work was collected and translated by Alan Orr Anderson(1879 -1958)and first published in 1922 by Oliver & Boyd (Edinburgh). A corrected edition was published by Paul Watkins in Edinburgh in 1990. (note: the Horoscope in this article is set for Perth, a latitude and longitude so near Scone as to make no difference to the horoscope’s planetary positions, Ascendant or Midheaven – the computer hadn’t heard of Scone, apparently! And – the date changes to 31 March when calendar adjustments are made from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar)

(This article was first published in “Considerations” magazine (USA) in 1999, as well as in “DataPlus UK” in the same year.)

1250 words copyright Anne Whitaker 1999/2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Miscellaneous Mercurial Mayhem!

Capricious Mercury

Capricious Mercury

In the spring, summer and autumn/winter of each year, the planet Mercury does something strange. It appears to slow down in its orbital pace, stop, then start to move backwards. This is known as retrograde motion. It is of course an illusion. Otherwise, we’d have fallen off the solar system aeons ago.

However, the effects down here on Earth when Mercury is in its 2-3 week retrograde phases are anything but illusory. For years, I studied this phenomenon in my own life, the lives of family, friends, and astrology students. In sum, communications of all types become strangely awkward and hard to manage during those times……

to find out more, and read some true stories, click below:

It’s that backwards time again – Mercury goes retro tonight!

Why have I been feeling S-L-E-E-PY all day today? Could Mercury turning retrograde tonight at 21.38 UK Time, conjunct Neptune, have anything to do with it, I wonder? 

Mercury - isn't he gorgeous?

Mercury – isn’t he gorgeous?

Worry not! Help is at hand – just click HERE 

Support for all women whose male partners have the SAF gene

 It is now February, thank goodness, and I have decided to cheer myself and 50% of my Followers up by publishing (with her permission) my correspondence with a female friend last year. When you get to the end of the post, I will reveal to you all what the SAF gene is – then go and duck behind our hedge from the other 50%, for reasons which will be obvious by then!

 From me to Lizzie  

Hi Lizzie

Ian (my husband) was out by 1530 on the day of the (knee) op on Wednesday, and after a rough 36 hours is better today and already walking better than before. Various friends have offered to sit on him on a rota basis… is very trying, getting him to lie down to anything. Maybe you have a sensible husband when it comes to health matters….if so, you are in a very small minority, believe me.

Thanks so much for your concern. Everyone has been so kind.



From Lizzie to me later that day….

Hi Anne,

well that is a relief – the worst bit is over and the trying bit is now to come – my husband is exactly the same. I don’t think many men are good at staying still but you will have to take his sticks away!

My aunt (in Holland) told me an amazing (true) story about wifely control – she (aunt) was on a bus and the lady next to her offered her some sweets in a brown paper bag. Aunt looked in the bag to choose a sweet and saw a pair of false teeth among the sweets.

“Don’t worry about those” says the woman “ They are my husband’s but I make him take them out when I go shopping because otherwise he will eat all the meat in the fridge while I am out!”

So taking Ian’s sticks or shoes or trousers or something so he remains confined to bed or chair can’t be worse than that!!!

Anyway, hope his recovery will be steady and good!



….and the SAF gene? Friend Lizzie was visiting her chiropractor, and complained to him about her new son-in-law. ‘He runs himself ragged’, she sighed. ‘he just doesn’t rest or look after himself properly.’

‘Well’, said the young male chiropractor gravely, with a totally straight face. ‘Sounds as if he has that SAF gene which has been identified in the DNA of a surprising number of men.’

‘What’s that?’ asked Lizzie.

‘The Silly As Fuck gene’, he replied.

I’m still laughing about it, as I hide behind the hedge…..

450 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page