Category Archives: Astrology Article Archive 1 – “Not the Astrology Column”

How I became an astrologer – a lesson in open-mindedness…

Here is the latest post on Astrology: Questions and Answers:

My first horoscope

My first horoscope

http://astrologyquestionsandanswers.com/2016/01/04/how-i-became-an-astrologer-against-all-the-odds/

 

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Chilling out with Moondark ( ‘what’s that?!’)

Chill out time....

Chill out time….

As I sit writing this, tucked away quietly in our Quiet Room with some soothing Japanese incense burning, it is approaching the end of Moondark. ‘What on earth is that?’ I hear you say.

Moondark is the last three days of the 29.5 day Sun/Moon cycle. At Moondark, the  Moon disappears. Full Moon is the high energy point of the cycle, fourteen days after the New Moon. A few month’s notetaking is sufficient to realise that life is more pressured and charged up at that time. Moondark is the low energy point. It is a time for rest and retreat, not a time to initiate new projects or demand great feats of one’s vitality.

“When I retire, I’m going to burn forty years of work diaries and run my life by the phases of the Moon!”

Yes, I said that, in a period of extreme work stress about twenty years ago. Friends laughed; but now in the post-career phase of my life, I’m working at just that. I find it comforting, helpful and useful to tune into the Moon’s cycle as far as possible in plotting the ebb and flow of my energies these days.

My long 2001-8 retreat  taught me that regular and adequate periods of rest are essential. The bill for rest deprivation cannot be evaded by anyone.We cannot abandon technology which has brought our world community so many advantages, but can – if we choose – begin slowly to step aside from the destructive 24/7 ism which it fosters. People need to stop going to the supermarket at midnight and sending emails at 3 am if they want to have a proper life!

I find now that up to an hour’s retreat time daily, and careful planning to avoid taking on anything very demanding at Moondark, (not always possible!) has provided a rhythm of alternating activity and rest which is stabilising and supportive of well-being. But it is important to be patient, realistic and gradual in any attempts to introduce lifestyle changes. It would be silly to suggest otherwise.

I hardly think the bosses of the land would take kindly to staff’s announcing that all work from now on was going to be run by the phases of the Moon!

You don’t need special tables to work out when Moondark is. Most diaries indicate by a small black circle next to the day and date, when the New Moon falls.

For example, you will find this year (2014)  that  Monday 25 August indicates the day of the New Moon. I am writing this in the last couple of hours of Moondark. Wednesday 24 September is the next New Moon, and so on … Thus Moondark this month is 23,24 and part of 25 August. Next month, it is 21, 22 & 23 September.

It is easy, as I do at the start of a new year and a new diary, to go through the year putting a red line through the days when Moondark falls.

A pattern of  daily rest and retreat time, and observing Moondark as much as I can each month, has given me a sound support structure from which I have now returned to a reconnected life. Observing Moondark is a regular reminder, also, that we belong to Mother Nature.

New Moon

The New Moon in Virgo – in the UK time zone – begins at 15.14 today.Virgo is an earth sign, its energies strongly service oriented, practical, and good at managing detail. It is also extremely hard working, and analytical.So – the Virgo new moon would be an ideal time to start that blitz on your admin system which you’ve been putting off all year, or for putting special effort into re-organising and cleaning up the garden.

I’ve noticed that people with a strong emphasis on Virgo in their horoscopes or birth charts seem to be very fond of stationery shops, and of acquiring stationery. So, why not use this new moon to acquire next year’s diary, go through it and mark off Moondark each month? Or set your smartphone to send you a reminder of when Moondark begins?

Why don’t you try working with this lunar rhythm for a while, trying to chill out and wind down a little at  Moondark ? Don’t forget to let me know how you get on!

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

Neptune turns retrograde: time to turn to the inner sea…

The mystical planet Neptune turned retrograde at 7.5 degrees of its own sign of Pisces today, 9th June at 14.00 GMT, not turning direct until mid-November. This is a subtle, deep time for all inner, reflective, imaginative, spiritual work. Take up meditation, writing poetry, listening to music: pay more attention than you normally would, to the hidden currents of your inner world, and see what comes to you as the months pass.

In the meantime, here is beautiful evening image of the sea, Neptune’s realm…

Honouring Neptune

Honouring Neptune

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

The Cardinal Grand Cross: some thoughts on astrology as a healing and a wounding art….

Commentaries are piling up throughout the astro-blogosphere. Angst-ridden people with greater or lesser degrees of astrological knowledge are winding  themselves up. What will the impact on our lives be, as the dramatic  Grand Cross pattern builds up in the heavens to its point of exactitude on 23rd/24th April 2014 ? To see what’s building up collectively, just read the papers. Political turmoil across the world, disasters on air and sea – these are just for starters….

Cardinal Grand Cross 2014

Cardinal Grand Cross 2014

Rather than add to the current air of nail-biting tension– addressed in his usual humorously ascerbic way by astrologer Matthew Currie, I thought I’d take off in a somewhat different direction by contemplating both the healing and the wounding aspects of the practice of astrology.

We don’t hear much about the latter dimension! But large scale panics over eg the End of Millennium Eclipse of 11 August 1999, and the Winter Solstice of 2012 (folks – we’re still here….) vividly demonstrate that  contemplating the symbolic patterns of the heavens frightens as well as enlightens us, even in this supposedly secular age.

Wounding, healing and the art of astrology

(It is important at this point to emphasise to readers who are familiar only with Sun Signs that to get ‘beyond the Sun Signs’ requires an individual’s horoscope to be drawn up for the date, place AND time of birth. Human beings are complex and contradictory. It’s not possible to approach any satisfying symbolic exploration of that complexity through the Sun or Star Sign alone.)

Astrology itself neither heals nor wounds. Having  arisen aeons ago from attempts to create a meaningful context to human life through observation of the physical movements of the planets in the heavens, whether such a framework is experienced as wounding or healing is heavily predicated upon the attitude of the individuals who choose to use it:

“The fault, dear Brutus, is  not  in our stars,
But in ourselves, that  we are underlings.”

(W.Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2)

It is easy enough to talk about the positive healing benefits of an astrological framework, providing as it does a major defence against meaninglessness and insignificance. Feeling connected at a personal level to loved ones and friends is recognised as a major factor in promoting and maintaining physical, emotional and mental health and happiness.

Feeling connected at a more cosmic level lets us see that  we are not random accidents in time and space, but threads in the weave of a greater pattern – very small threads perhaps, but contributors nevertheless. This awareness promotes a sense of spiritual well being.

There is also the sheer fun, excitement and intellectual discovery which the study of astrology brings.

Every bright light, however, has a dark shadow; in the promethean nature of our art  lies its shadow too. It is all very well to steal the gods’ fire, as Prometheus did, with the noble intention of  liberating humanity from some of its bonds with the powerful enlightenment which that fire brings.

But fire burns. It is impossible to light up the darkness of our human limitations of perception, without the hand that holds the illuminating fire being burned by it. It’s not so easy to talk about that. But it does less than justice, in exploring the impact of the astrological model on human consciousness, to concentrate on the healing aspects of the interaction,  whilst glossing over the wounding dimensions. Exposure to the model brings both.

I  always attempted to restore a sense of perspective on this issue by pointing out to my astrology  students that for the whole of human history most of humanity has managed to stagger through life without the benefit of astrological knowledge.

On one occasion, I asked a small group of my  tutorial students, who had studied and practised for long enough to experience both the light and the shadow facets of our great art, to write something about its healing and wounding dimensions. I was delighted by the honesty and perceptiveness of their feedback. Here is what Charlotte, 35 at the time of my asking, had to say.

Charlotte

Charlotte

(not her real name – data withheld for confidentiality)

 I’ve never really been asked to consider the wounding aspects of astrology in such a direct way before. I did have a bit of a job focusing on the question without the more positive aspects coming up all the time! I think the serious study of astrology knocked me out of the idyllic vision I had had of my family background. I had to accept that my parents weren’t perfect, and the overall effect of this was enlightening but also disappointing. It kind of knocked me into the real world and showed me things as they were which I found quite hard to come to terms with.

Seeing things in black and white on the astrological chart  led to a lot of resentment on my part, raising a lot of difficult questions which I’m still working hard to understand. I think this can sometimes sidetrack me and stop me getting on with things, and lead to some disasters which might not have occurred otherwise – although I would say I do have a natural tendency to analyse things anyway. Astrology just provides more scope for this.

There is also the question “ why me? Why did I have to have this chart?” which may be quite childish, but did lead at one time to some resentment at the apparent unfairness of it all. Especially when you are grappling with hard Pluto and Saturn aspects. You know you have your work cut out for you, and that life is not going to be easy. The prospect of living your life with these aspects can be quite daunting and depressing, and lead to a lot of despondency at times.

Another factor that’s hard to take on board is that you are responsible for yourself. You can’t go around blaming other people for your misfortunes all the time. You have to take responsibility for your part in the drama. It’s your stuff, and you’re the only one who can deal with it. This can lead to a lot of self criticism on my part, and a good deal of depression if things aren’t working out.

Looking at  it from a promethean point of view, Prometheus stole fire from the gods. He knew he would suffer for it, but he also, I think, knew on some intuitive level that he was doing the right thing. And in the end he was released from his suffering. Personally, I couldn’t not know. Otherwise I wouldn’t have pursued the subject as long as I have. I just hope it works out for me in the end too”.

This is one person’s vivid perspective on the implications of knowing her natal horoscope. I’d be interested to have comments on this issue from my readers, either by email, or via comments left on this post. And of course  – how was that  Cardinal Grand Cross for you? 

1150 words copyright Anne Whitaker/”Charlotte” 2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

A ‘wisdom book’: “Keywords to Unlock Chiron” by Joyce Mason

“Keywords to Unlock Chiron” 

Keywords to Unlock Chiron by Joyce Mason

50 Passageways to Healing and Wholeness

by Joyce Mason

Weaver – Mentor – Centaur – Stuck – Stringed Instruments – Healing Humor – Shame – Left and Right Brain – Abandonment – Evolution: just a few of the keywords Joyce Mason uses to unlock the doorway to deep, deep wisdom contained within the archetype of the mythical being known as Chiron: half man, half horse – best known in Western popular culture as the Wounded Healer.

Joyce is a healer herself with many strings to her lyre: prolific writer, seasoned astrologer, flower essences practitioner, dreamworker, to name but a few. Here in her own words is the essence of her book:

“ Seldom in life do we get such a personalised prescription of what’s wrong and how to fix it. These 50 keyword essays will help you identify where you’re stuck and suggest how you can get from pain to breakthrough and healing–and ultimately to being yourself in your full glory. Your personal message lies in which keywords ‘hit home’ for you.”

As the reader will discover from Other Astrology Books by Joyce Mason on pp 279-281, Joyce has written extensively on Chiron in the past, both in published books and on her blog The Radical Virgo. This book, however, is somewhat different in that Joyce’s focus is on the Chiron archetype itself and an exploration of 50 branches arising therefrom.

Chiron symbolises the deep wound present to a greater or lesser degree in all of us, fallible imperfect creatures, uneasy blends of body and spirit; endlessly curious, forever seeking answers to why we are here and what we are supposed to do with our brief time on Earth. Chiron also symbolises the depth and wisdom we can gain by addressing and seeking to heal that wound, both in ourselves and others.

Ultimately, facing and accepting our vulnerability, together with realisation of our inter-connectedness with the whole of life, and the healing power of love: these are our salves and our saviours.

Joyce’s Keywords to Unlock Chiron is surely a ‘wisdom book’. It is a wonderful distillation of her knowledge, personal and professional experience drawn from a deep and wide range of sources: science, myth, symbol systems including astrology and Tarot, astronomy, and culture both contemporary and ancient.

She writes so well, with wit, reverence, irreverence and above all compassion both for her own frailty and ours. Open sharing of core aspects of her personal story demonstrates that she is not trying to tell us how we should live from her somewhat higher plane of existence. She makes it clear that, in the struggle to come to terms with the wounding which hopefully in the end makes us a bit wiser and more skilled in the fraught business of living, we are all in it together.

There are many examples which I could quote of deeply helpful wisdom offered in this book. In Chapter 24, Disowned, there is a very challenging question posed: ‘What would you rather die than do?’ Joyce’s answer to this is ‘I’d rather die than move (house)’  which leads into a discussion of how we all to a greater or lesser extent, disown parts of ourselves, to our detriment.

Joyce then offers seven “Tips for Not Disowning Yourself” including ‘Listen objectively to things others point out that you’re missing or denying, especially if you hear the same thing from several different people.’ I commend this section to any individual honest enough to be working towards personal growth and change, as well as any therapy practitioner looking for some inspiration to bring to their client work.

In Appendix 3, p273, Joyce provides information for people with little or no knowledge of astrology who wish to obtain a copy of their own horoscope and find out where Chiron is placed in their case.

The whole book is also filled with useful web and other references to a wonderful range of resources – arising from the core Chironic keyword of Wholeness.

The book is of value also to students and practitioners of astrology. From that perspective, this reviewer certainly felt as though she had been comprehensively re- acquainted with the depth and practical value of understanding Chiron’s natal position as well as Chiron transits.

But it is important to stress that Keywords to Unlock Chiron should not be seen primarily as a book for astrologers or those interested specifically in astrology.

As I said earlier, it is a ‘wisdom book’, a great resource for anyone of a reflective nature, who may be practising as a healer of others, to have in their library to turn to for inspiration, information or support in difficult times. Be guided by how you are feeling in seeking help from the book’s wisdom. As Joyce says herself: Your personal message lies in which keywords ‘hit home’ for you.”

Joyce, thank you for this wonderful compendium. It truly deserves to be widely read.

Keywords to Unlock Chiron by Joyce Mason

Keywords to Unlock Chiron by Joyce Mason

As per her original book release announcement, Joyce is offering this book in PDF in order to make the material available, at least in some form, sooner rather than later. The announcement describes her book in detail, including contents, other brief reviews and the advantages/disadvantages of the PDF format, including the ways to access it on various reader devices. Due to extensive other commitments, I understand that she may be unable to print it to paperback and eReader (Kindle, Nook, etc.) until 2015.

**********

900 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

DATA :

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:

http://astrologyquestionsandanswers.com/2014/02/08/strange-tales-from-mercurys-retrograde-realm/