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

Astrology – what Sun Sign columns CAN’T tell you….


Always being keen to demonstrate that the great and ancient art and science of astrology has much more to offer than its popular face in the sun sign columns would suggest, I thought I’d re-publish the following article which appears on this site on the “Not the Astrology Column” page, but which a number of new readers may not have come across. It is written for members of the general public with an open-minded interest in astrology.

Check it out, and let me know what you think! 

11th Century Horoscope

11th Century Horoscope

My career as an astrologer began in a launderette in Bath, England, in the 1970s – although I didn’t realise that at the time ! Befriending a little girl who came to chat whilst I did my washing, I met her parents, Gloria and Seamus; they were astrologers, they said, and would I care to come back to their place for a cup of tea? They’d like to draw up my horoscope, to thank me for entertaining their child.

Well, I remember thinking, nothing better to do for the next hour…….at that  stage I was  scornful and dismissive of astrology, basing my judgement on the Sun Sign material in the media which struck me as general, banal and trivial. I did not know then that  there was a subject of great depth and power beyond  the Sun Signs.

I was puzzled  by my new  friends’ dismissal of  the Sun Sign columns – wasn’t that what astrology was all about ?. “We’re proper  astrologers” they said firmly. “ Your Star Sign (Leo, in my case) only puts one  character on the stage of your life. It’s impossible to describe who you are from only one factor.”

They wrote down my date, place, and apparently vital TIME  of birth, produced various reference books and did complex-looking calculations. Then they drew up my Birth Chart or Horoscope : this was a map of the heavens for the precise time I was born. It was apparently an unusual chart  – lots of planets in the twelfth house, whatever that meant, and strong Pluto, Saturn  and Uranus influences. So what, I thought.

Anne W’s Horoscope

Then came their interpretation into character analysis of the planetary symbols in my Birth Chart, in considerable depth and with a high level of accuracy. The experience shocked me to the core. How could they be so accurate about my career aspirations? How could they know what my deepest fears were ?How COULD they manage to describe my parents’ core characteristics and some of the key effects they’d had on me ? How could they describe so vividly the restless spirit  which drove me ? I had met them less than an hour ago. They knew nothing of my personal history or life experience.

Worse was to come. “You tell me you’re a total sceptic,” Seamus chuckled . “But your Horoscope shows that you have a deeply sensitive, spiritual side to your nature which you’re currently refusing to acknowledge, preferring to identify with the intellectual and the rationalist in yourself. But I can see from your Chart, and where the planets will be in a few years, that in your early thirties the spiritual dimension will come calling. You are very likely to end up doing something like this yourself.”

What nonsense, I thought. But I had no acceptable way of explaining in rational terms what had happened. Uneasily, I filed the experience away in the pigeonhole reserved for the many incidents occurring in my twenties which did not fit my existentialist  world view.

Fast forward to my early thirties, having forgotten all about Seamus’ prediction. For my birthday that year, a friend gave me an odd present considering my scepticism – an astrology book. It was intelligently and sensitively written; I found myself compelled. My feelings were an uncomfortable mixture of attraction, rejection, fascination and embarrassment. What COULD I say to my friends and family?

Saying nothing, I carried on reading. After a year, astrology still fascinated me. By this time – and by a series of odd coincidences – I had found out about the Faculty of Astrological Studies, based in London. It offered a year-long correspondence course with some lengthy exams at the end of it, leading to a Certificate of the Faculty.

I embarked on my studies in an empirical spirit. If astrology WAS indeed merely superstitious nonsense of little value, at least I would have arrived at a conclusion based on knowledge and practice, rather than ignorance and prejudice. I had moved on sufficiently from intellectual arrogance to the awareness that it was very unscientific, and highly irrational, to dismiss a whole body of knowledge without ever having studied it. I obtained my Certificate in 1983, by which time my studies had demonstrated to me that the astrological model had worthwhile insights to offer.

(I was to further my studies much later on, at the Centre for Psychological Astrology,  by commuting by plane from Glasgow to London from 1995-1998 to complete a three-year Diploma in Psychological Astrology with renowned teacher writer and astrologer Dr Liz Greene.)

The teaching and practice of astrology became a major strand in my self-employed career from 1985 until 2001 when, following a long health crisis, I gave up all work (except writing!) for seven years. In May 2012, after a very long sabbatical, I returned to my astrological work part time. It feels good to be back!

This wonderful universe

This wonderful universe

Working with the symbolic descriptions of collective and personal life provided by astrology was, and continues to be, a source of much insight.  It offers a route towards integration of the rational dimensions with the intuitive, symbolic and spiritual. Time and time again my clients used to tell me that their Readings helped them to see and to accept who they were more clearly –  and to make better use of the gifts they had been given.

Good astrological practice encourages people to take responsibility for their own lives, and supports their courage to be themselves.

We have not yet found anything which provides the ultimate answer to the puzzle of our  existence on this earth. Astrology is no exception – although it is a fine way of asking intelligent questions  about  what life may mean. It is NOT  a religion. The insights it offers do not interfere with whatever religious beliefs individuals may hold. But  its perspective offers two very important things.

Firstly, a picture of an holistic universe in which our movement through space and time is not  random,  but meaningful. Astrology’s great insight is that the shaping forces or archetypes which govern all of life including human experience, are symbolically connected with the planets and their movements in the heavens as time unfolds.

Secondly, from the horoscope drawn up for the date, place and exact time  of birth, astrology can give individuals very useful insights into the characters who are enacting the drama of their individual life story. But it cannot tell who the director is, what the exact details of the plot are, or what the outcome of the play will be. Astrology, like quantum physics, can only deal with ranges of probability. The rest  is as it will probably remain a profound mystery. 

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Like to book a reading or some individual/small group tuition?

For a full brochure with details of my approach to astrology, qualifications, experience, supervision, memberships and fees, click anne-whitaker-astrologer.pdf

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1250 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013 Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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ask an astrologer a question….

….and who knows what the answer will be!

Astrologers are always being asked questions. By clients. By students. By interviewers for various media outlets. By open-minded members of the public. By closed-minded-members of the public. By one’s friends and family. The list is endless, the questions multifarious, the answers….? Well, that depends….

If you want to find out, drop by The Mountain Astrologer Blog, where I am guest blogger this week, presenting several of the most typical questions asked of me over the years – and some of my answers. Enjoy!

And – for those of you who have not yet discovered it,

The Mountain Astrologer

is recognized as the best astrology magazine in the world. Each issue has a student section, articles by and for professional astrologers, a forecast section, daily aspects, the astrology of world events, astrological data and more.
Order a SUBSCRIPTION, RENEWAL or SAMPLE COPY

Feb/Mar 2013

Highlights of this issue:

  • Silent Spring and a Frankenstorm Fall
  • Beyond Compatibility: What Really Makes Relationships Work
  • Preparing for a Relationship Analysis Consultation
  • Pluto, Uranus, and the Financial Crisis Part II: Collapse in the West?
  • Fortune and Spirit: Reclaiming Astrology’s Lost Archetypes
  • The Centaurs Part 2: Okyrhoe….and more
  •  200 words copyright Anne Whitaker/The Mountain Astrologer 2013
    Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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An astrologer cranks up her brain cell for 2013….

After a very long sabbatical spent resting, reading and writing, I am happy to have returned to working as a consultant astrologer and teacher since 1st May 2012. I have done a number of interviews over the years. This one was particular fun to do, since Wendy of that excellent site The Know It All Astrologer sent me a list of questions which I was not expecting at all! The unexpected, of course, is useful for jolting one’s remaining brain cell into something approaching dynamic action….and boy, at the start of 2013, do I need all the brain-galvanising help I can get….

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Anne Whitaker

Anne Whitaker

What transit always shows up for you in surprising ways?

They all do, especially the long-lasting ones. The deep challenges that force our growth lurk in the realms of the unconscious, just waiting to hitch a ride on the nearest really tough transit. For example, I didn’t think that ten years of Neptune transits was going to involve an enforced descent into the Underworld for most of that period! However, the good news is that I have now emerged, much improved (unless you ask my husband….!)

What is your funniest transit or retrograde experience?

There are several, not all of which can be aired publicly! The one which comes immediately to mind is the occasion, in March 1985, when Saturn turned retrograde on my 28 Scorpio IC. In the middle of lunch with an old friend who at that time was a bank manager, without warning, I passed out. Just then, a friend of his, who was also a bank manager, was passing by the restaurant window. I came round and insisted on going home – very groggily, with a bank manager holding me up by each arm. Very Saturn in Scorpio, don’t you think?!

Would you rather be ruled by Uranus or Jupiter? Why?

What a question! Both those planets are strong in my horoscope, Uranus in the tenth house leading an eastern bowl shape, with Jupiter in the third closing the bowl, and the two in bi-quintile aspect. My Ascendant is also on the Jupiter/Uranus midpoint. However, if forced to choose I would go for Jupiter, provided the aspects weren’t too difficult. My reasons are probably dictated by the stage I’ve got to in life: that disruptive, eccentric, unpredictable, stubborn individualism characteristic of a Uranus-ruled life feels too tiring to contemplate now!

Jupiter’s boundless energy and optimism, ability to inspire others and be inspired by the more positive dimensions of  life, and willingness to be open to a sense of meaningful connectedness to that which is greater than oneself, are especially attractive to me at this point.

What advice would you give to someone learning how to read their own chart?

One, there are dozens of ways of evading personal responsibility – resolve at the outset never to do so by blaming your horoscope or your transits for your difficulties in life.

Two, realise that objectivity is something to be aspired to, which can never be achieved by mere human beings. This being the case, try to recognise that you can be most objective and therefore most helpful by reading the horoscopes of strangers, provided you have appropriate training and supervision. When approaching your own horoscope, or those of your loved ones, you will inevitably colour the planetary picture before you with your own hopes and fears.

Three, the illuminating light which is gradually cast as your understanding of  the symbols in your chart grows, will be wonderfully helpful in shedding light on your gifts, pains, motivations and aspirations. But bear in mind that possessing astrological knowledge has a shadow side – for example, I have never known anyone including myself who didn’t look at upcoming transits, especially of Saturn and Pluto, without a certain amount of fear.

To help my astrology students with this,  I used to point out that 99.9% of the human race from the beginning of time has managed to stagger through life without the aid of astrology! So – enjoy the fascination of  deciphering the astrological map of your life. But don’t get too precious about it – and be aware that this wonderful knowledge has a double edge….

What astrology books do you re-read or use the most?


The two astrologers who have most inspired and educated me have been Liz Greene and the late Charles Harvey, with both of whom I was fortunate to study – unofficially from the mid-1980s and formally between 1995 and 1998. As reference books for my interest in mundane astrology, my three favourites are: The outer planets and their Cycles by Liz Greene,  Anima Mundi – the astrology of the individual and the collective by Charles Harvey, and Mundane Astrology by Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion and Charles Harvey.

My copy of Stephen Arroyo’sAstrology, Karma and Transformation , that wonderful in-depth companion on the ‘stormy journey of the soul’ is now so well-thumbed that it is starting to fall to bits – and when I feel like some outrageous, light-hearted, funny, but deadly accurate astrological analysis I turn to Debbi Kempton-Smith’s Secrets from a stargazer’s notebook.

However, in keeping with my re-engagement with work as an astrologer and teacher, I am now moving into re-framing my relationship with astrology in keeping with the ” new paradigm…. emerging in Western civilisation, led by transpersonal psychology, chaos and general evolution theories, and the human potential movement…. ” in the words of Armand Diaz, a fine writer and author of Integral Astrology which I am currently reviewing. I have also greatly enjoyed reading Bernadette Brady’s book Astrology a place in chaos – which also re-contextualises astrology for the contemporary world. And – have been given The Archetypal Cosmos by Keiron Le Grice for Christmas and am really looking forward to reading it!

(permission to re-publish this interview was given by The Know It All Astrologer)

1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Stories from the coal face! Saturn in Scorpio Part 2

All powerfully charged dimensions of life belong to Scorpio: that stage of the human journey challenges us with those facets of life which most powerfully compel us, attract us, repel us, scare us – and transform us….

To read Part 1, click HERE. In this second post I will be having a look at some personal stories…..what is beginning to take shape for individuals as the planet Saturn settles into its 2012-5 symbolic journey through the thirty degrees of the sign of Scorpio? What is beginning to emerge from the murky depths of what we don’t want to face? Where do potential transformations lie?

image:  Cafe Astrology

Helena‘s feedback shows clearly that her work has already begun. In her birth horoscope Chiron, the asteroid signifying both wounding and healing, is placed at 4 degrees of Scorpio. The planet Saturn, noted in its traverse of Scorpio for purging and cleansing deep-rooted old patterns which only serve to hold us back, currently transiting Helena’s Chiron, will not have finished its work there until a year from now:

” Early in September 2012 I caught a nasty cold from my granddaughter which kept returning, bringing with it headaches, wheezing and sneezing, and as it continued, low energy, tiredness and low mood.My usual enthusiasm for life felt much diminished. By the end of October I was still unwell, and had decided I really must DO something about this. So I visited a reputable nutritional specialist one of whose approaches was to test for food intolerances.

I am a sceptic ( in the open-minded sense of the word!) but felt I had nothing to lose by doing this. In sum, she provided me with a professionally administered boot up the ass regarding the toxins which were affecting my energy and well-being (despite my having a more than averagely healthy diet) and gave me the motivation to begin, in essence, a detoxing regime which I anticipate will take around a year since I want to do it gradually.

So – I decided to cut out sugar apart from what occurs naturally in fruit and vegetables, reduce dairy foods by two thirds, and cut out tomatoes altogether. The gadget she had attached to my left middle finger by which she measured my body’s energetic response to a wide range of substances, positively shrieked when it encountered tomato. Exit tomatoes from my life.

Result? Within thirty six hours the draggy cold had dried up and gone. My energy levels quickly improved dramatically. And my catarrh has virtually gone. I sleep better because of this. One month on, I feel better than I have for years.

But for the first three days of the new diet regime, as I detoxed from sugar in particular, I felt wretched. Headaches, feeling weepy – and anger, accompanied by very old feelings of family pain from issues belonging to childhood. And as I write – very aware of family of origin issues in the present, manifesting through younger members of my family……time to face more emotional challenges rooted in the past, as well as purging my diet of toxins. I feel this Saturn  transit over Chiron, very powerfully on several levels……”

Saturn by transit has not yet reached Flora‘s Scorpio planets, as we will see shortly. Nevertheless, she is beginning to see the possible shape of  things to come, emerging from the murky depths….

“I have Neptune conjunct Venus in Scorpio (8-12o).  Over the next year Saturn will transit the conjunction.  In 2002 I almost had an affair – it was very traumatic and confusing: transiting Neptune was squaring that Neptune conjunct Venus in Scorpio at the time.

During the recent Saturn in Libra period (Autumn 2009-Autumn 2012) my (long) marriage has been tested again, although I have been finding things hard going for some time. I have a lot of respect and love for my husband, but I am finding that we have less in common as time goes on and that he is more and more restrictive and smothering.  Sex has been a very intrinsic part of my marriage as one might expect of the conjunction being in Scorpio – there is a lot more to be said about that but I do not wish to write too much.  Suffice to say it is a highly important aspect of our marriage to him.

About eighteen months ago when Saturn, transiting through Libra, was conjunct the Sun/Moon midpoint I met someone. He is married with children and of course so am I. We care deeply for each other and have even spoken of being together one day.  Whether this happens or not remains to be seen as the obstacles to doing so are perhaps too much. But I do feel this year may well bring all that into focus….”

Tough realism is needed, and willingness to confront some of the less attractive facets of ourselves, others and our family history during this Saturn in Scorpio transit. It helps to remember that whatever we have to face is not unique to us, but part of collective human suffering. Self pity should be strictly rationed! Considerable clarity and growth can be the reward if we persevere with self honesty, compassion and patience with self and others.

Never more so than when travelling through Scorpio, Saturn challenges us to separate out from what we are not – in order to become more fully who we were meant to be.

I’d like to give the last word in this post to Scottish poet Christopher Whyte, who has several planets in Scorpio:

” Forgiving life and, in the process, forgiving oneself, is one of the toughest enterprises of all.”

This statement for me sums up the essential challenge of Saturn in Scorpio, whatever our personal stories ….

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Many thanks to those of you who sent in your feedback but which I have not had the space to feature. It is my intention from time to time to post some individual stories, since showing how astrological symbolism plays out in real lives demonstrates more clearly than anything else the validity of the astrological model as a means of attempting to understand ourselves both individually and collectively. So – do continue to send in your stories! But please, only disclose what feels comfortable for you to reveal. And by all means use anonymity. Helena and Flora are not the real names of the contributors featured in this post.

1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

Saturn through Scorpio : “Sex – Death – and Taxes….” 18th November 2012

“As above, so below”

 This ancient maxim sums up the interconnectedness of all life, a reality which periodically pushes itself to the forefront of our awareness when nature wreaks savage destruction and we are confronted with power which we are utterly unable to control.

Force of Nature

Force of Nature

For example: the aftermath of hurricane Sandy will continue its devastating effects on many lives long after it has ceased to be immediate headline news. But it may also force the upper echelons of political power in the USA at last to take the threat of climate change seriously and stop blocking those who are at least trying to do something about it.

“….If the worst Atlantic storm in U.S. history holds an economic lesson, it is this: We all need to come to terms with the cost of climate change….”

Being forced by circumstances beyond our control (which often have their genesis in collective or individual choices made long ago but now forgotten) to confront profound and threatening matters many would rather not face, sums up the symbolic action of Saturn  – the stern old patriarch of the planetary pantheon –  as he purges his way through the sign of Scorpio once every 29/30 years.

Saturn entered Scorpio early in October 2012 and remains there until September 2015. Time to clean up our act, individually and collectively (i).

Though the lenses of sex, abuse of power, and death – three of of Scorpio’s key themes – we can see the collective challenges of this shift already. In the UK, as Saturn began his sojourn in Scorpio, sexual abuse scandal began early in October with utterly shocking revelations of the activities over many decades of Jimmy Savile – probably the worst paedophile in UK history rapidly  spreading to permeate much of UK’s institutional life.Then sexual misbehaviour scandal surfaced at the top of the US military and continues to rumble on.

Yesterday, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard ordered a rare Royal Commission, the highest form of investigation in the country, into how churches, government bodies and other organisations have dealt with possibly thousands of child sex abuse claims.

And the Indian government is currently putting diplomatic pressure on the Irish government over the death of a young Indian woman resident in Ireland, who was allegedly refused an abortion despite miscarrying, dying of blood poisoning as a consequence. There have been mass protests in India and Ireland as a result, calling for reform of Ireland’s abortion laws.

An old cliche has it that Scorpio’s main realms are ‘sex, death, and taxes‘ – the latter is certainly coming into sharp focus too, as the European Central Bank puts increasing pressure on debt-ridden economies., eg on 9th November …. “More austerity may please the Germans, but it is an unnecessary tragedy for Greece ….”

Following hard on the heels of considerable relief at President Obama’s re-election, which  possibly heralds the slow death throes of the hegemony of angry WASP males in the USA, we have the dreaded Fiscal Cliff looming in January 2013 – “….the effect of a number of laws which (if unchanged) could result in tax increases, spending cuts, and a corresponding reduction in the budget deficit beginning in 2013….”

At a collective level we can certainly see the power and challenge of  Saturn’s symbolic journey through Scorpio – only just beginning. There has been an eruption from the murky depths of material which we would rather had stayed there. Now we have no option but to face up to what confronts us. It is a slow, painful process. But when the collective wound is cauterised and cleansed, there is a chance for some healing to begin….

Do the same underlying principles apply to individuals as well as nations? What do you think? In the next post, following shortly,  I will be having a look at some personal stories…..what is beginning to take shape for individuals? What is beginning to emerge from the murky depths of what  we don’t want to face? I am reminded of a counselling supervisor I had many years ago, who every so often would hit me with the following challenge: “What is it you don’t want to talk about today, Anne? Let’s talk about that….”

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NOTES

(i) those readers who have studied astrology to a level ‘beyond the sun signs’ will also have noted that this symbolic energy is amplified by mutual reception with the planet Pluto, ruler of Scorpio, in the sign of Capricorn. Also, for the next year Saturn makes a beneficial link by trine aspect with the planet Neptune. 

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750 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

Book review: ancient discipline, post-modern context

The essence of this important new book is summed up in its subtitle: ‘understanding the ancient discipline in the contemporary world’.

'Integral Astrology' by Armand Diaz, PhD

‘Integral Astrology’ by Armand Diaz, PhD

I found it a highly stimulating read which has come my way at an ideal time. Having just returned to the practice of astrology this year after a very long sabbatical, I have found “Integral Astrology” very helpful in ordering my own thinking about what my relationship now is with our ancient art in this turbulent, challenging time.

We stand not only at the start of a new Millennium, but at a liminal point. The dominant paradigm of rational materialism which has determined our world view since the Age of Reason in the 17th/18th Centuries with such success,  is creaking and groaning.

Post-modern perspectives on the age-old understanding of As above, so below are slowly making their way towards the forefront of contemporary consciousness and culture – bringing new insights from physics, humanistic and transpersonal psychologies, chaos theory etc. They all challenge the materialist view that physical reality ie matter, is the real reality….The strength of Armand Diaz’ book lies in the clear way he weaves together the insights which astrology can and does offer to both individual and collective life, with just those post-modern insights.

In this way, he argues, an Integral Astrology can emerge and take its place within integral theory, which he defines as “….a way of harmonising or synthesising apparently disparate streams of thought and experience: this runs counter to our tendency towards increased specialisation that has dominated the past few hundred years….”

Armand Diaz, with good reason, is worried that astrology, despite its own flowering and moving closer to mainstream culture since its revival from the 1960s onwards,  is going to be left out of this shift: running a parallel course with the New Paradigm disciplines, but at a considerable distance from them. His fear is that if we do not re-examine and re-frame our own discipline in the light of contemporary perspectives, not only will astrology be left on the outside of the larger New Paradigm world view, but astrologers will too.

Diaz’ core point, which he emphasises in different ways throughout, is that the level of consciousness at which an individual is operating critically determines the way in which astrological symbolism plays out.

Emerging from this core are two key themes: one relating to astrology, the other to consciousness models. He points out that the development of human consciousness over millennia has produced different perspectives on the interrelationship between earthly and planetary energies and how these are interpreted:

“….no astrology can exist without being embedded in our constructed meanings, and the best way to understand those meanings is to look at the developmental level, culture, and inner/outer perspective they represent….(p135)….just as humans evolve and just as consciousness in the Universe evolves so astrology also evolves….(p 137)

Had I been an astrologer in Chaldean times, for example, I would not have been able to ponder today’s transiting Mars square my natal Mercury (7.9.12). Astrology then was about the king and the kingdom; no individual horoscopes existed. A century ago, sibling conflict might have been predicted. In today’s post-modern consciousness, I am choosing to channel intellectual energy into hand-writing this book review….in between brisk “thinking” walks!

Diaz also briefly and clearly surveys the different astrologies there are which co-exist in our contemporary world – where it is perfectly possible to practice mediaeval astrology, post-modern psychological astrology, AND archetypal cosmology which sets our ancient art clearly in a New Paradigm context, and call them all “astrology.” As Diaz makes it clear, there is no one astrology.

But before this, he offers “….a sampling of ways to think about the evolution of consciousness….” (p 141) 

Put very briefly, the models he lays out, centering on Spiral Dynamics, provide a way of thinking about the evolution of human consciousness which links individual, group and collective processes.

His key point is that these models provide a ‘vertical framework’ for describing the upward movement of consciousness from Matter > Life > Mind > Soul > Spirit: the core process behind the Perennial Philosophy which underlies all the differing consciousness models eg Koshas, Chakras, Yoga, Kabbalah right through to post-modern Spiral Dynamics.

However, astrological symbols operate along the ‘horizontal’ plane, ie that of

“ universal conditions that can and do occur at any and all evolutionary levels….” (p14)

 He points out that astrology can indicate the timings and types  of stresses and challenges encountered by individuals. But it cannot say whether those challenges will lead to evolution of consciousness up the ‘vertical’ scale.

To assess this needs the dynamic of astrologer, horoscope and client, usually over several encounters rather than one. In his final chapter “ Consulting”, Diaz presents a model of astrological practice which, with examples from actual client work, lets one see how the weave of  contemporary perspectives from both the sciences and the humanities which he has laid out in this book, all come together in the consulting room. It is challenging, impressive –  and helpful in a down-to-earth way.

I would recommend this book to astrologers at all levels of learning their craft. It introduces newcomers to a model which places astrology in the context of New Paradigm perspectives, which they can take forward with confidence as part of the world-changing shift re-claiming that ancient insight ‘As above, so below’ for a level of collective consciousness appropriate for the vastly more complex Universe we now know we inhabit. And it gives a good shake-down to the practice of more seasoned astrologers such as myself – who may be in danger of becoming set in our ways…..

 “Integral Astrology” by Armand Diaz, Ph.D, published 2012 by Integral Transformation, LLC. pp 192.

Cost: $19.95 USA/ £12.87 UK

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1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Greetings to Saturn in Scorpio: and what were YOU doing 1983-5?

One of my regular commenters and blog followers, EMariaEnterprises, asked me a number of general questions regarding the collective effects of the recent shift of the planet Saturn into the sign of Scorpio(any readers who would like to read a spectrum of  quality, thoughtful articles on this important planetary shift, do go over to my favourite astrology blog, The Mountain Astrologer blog run by Mary Plumb: she presents a series of articles  there on this key planetary event).

However Emaria also asked me the following: “How are you doing in this area? Are you looking forward to this cycle? or hedging your bets?”

Here, off the top of my head, is my reply. I thought it might be of interest to all of you out there who, like me, are fascinated with the way planetary energies play out in the unfolding of our lives:

chandra.harvard.edu

 “….Regarding your questions about me – well, the last time Saturn went through Scorpio ie the end of 1982-85 (traversing part of my 2nd house, all of the 3rd, and crossing my IC) the following key things happened: I got serious about astrology, obtained my first qualification through the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London, and began to do readings and teach my first class (to three ballerinas and a flower remedy specialist, I seem to remember!).

I went part-time in my existing career and set up in private practice as an astrologer, astrology teacher,counsellor and assertiveness trainer – and was pretty broke for the first two years until the practice took off. My sister’s marriage broke up and her ex husband set up home with my husband’s ex-wife (you couldn’t make it up!) My father died very suddenly. And we moved house to where we still live. Pretty uneventful really….

So, I look forward to this new Saturn in Scorpio period in a Buddhist spirit……ie live in the moment, and ‘lean into the sharp points’ – of which I expect there will be quite a few….”

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Any readers who have feedback from the 1982-85 period, astrologers or not, feel free to leave as a comment so that we can have a mini-research project going!

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300 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Farewell – the Libran Saturn Return!

The planet Saturn entered the sign of Libra on 30th October 2009, and is currently poised for entry into Scorpio on 5th October 2012.

Those of you born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 – when Saturn was last in Libra  – will then emerge blinking into the light – hopefully having made some of the changes necessary for old baggage to be shed, and with new challenges to take on, as you move into the second thirty-year cycle of Saturn, the great definer….have you done that? Let’s take stock….

Saturn - welcome to the Real World!

Saturn – welcome to the Real World!

wordsources.info

The planets in their cyclic rhythms symbolically weave the story of our collective and personal lives through space and time. These cycles vary enormously: from the tiny 29.5 day dance of the Sun and Moon, to the vast epoch-defining cycle of Neptune and Pluto, meeting only once every five hundred years.

The planetary cycle which has most penetrated the popular imagination, however, is the 29-30 year cycle of Saturn, commonly known as the Saturn Return. Stay with this post, those of you with no astrological knowledge born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 (i). You’ll gain some useful perspectives….

How many Returns?

In a long lifetime, you may have three Saturn Returns: one at 29/30, another at 59/60, and a third at 89/90. The first one, however, is arguably the most crucial and the one upon which this article is focused. But any Saturn Returners just completing their Second and Third Returns are most welcome to read this article – and send me their feedback!

Saturn the cosmic Tester….

The Saturn Return is very much about defining yourself: separating out from what you are not, in order to get closer to the grain of who you are meant to be. We all go through it with varying degrees of success and failure in being able to clarify who we are – none of us is capable of sorting everything out, even in a whole lifetime, never mind the first 29/30 years!

Saturn Returns vary in degrees of challenge, levels of difficulty – and, let’s not forget! – of achievement as a result of honestly taking stock of what needs to change and making that change happen. This is not a time to stick your head in the sand to avoid facing painful truths about circumstances, people, or your own attitudes and beliefs which are holding back your progress as a developing and growing person.

Locating Saturn – currently leaving Libra

Let’s now move from those general principles to looking at some specifics. Plotting Saturn’s current position, observable against the 30 degrees section of the zodiac which we call Libra, is a good way to illustrate this.

In its 29/30 year cycle, Saturn moves through all twelve zodiac signs, spending 2-3 years in each. An Aries Saturn Return, for example, is very different in flavour from a Pisces Saturn Return. Thus Saturn’s underlying principles just described will be seen through the filter of the particular 2-3 year period in which you were born, irrespective of your Sun or Star sign.

The Libran Saturn Return

In astrological terms, Saturn is traditionally ‘exalted’ – ie in its most favourable placing –  in the airy, rational sign of Libra. Thus the generational group born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 (i) is by nature more inclined than the rest of us towards the well-known Libran virtues: detached reasonableness, a strong sense of fairness and justice, striving to achieve balance and harmony in all spheres of life, but especially in relationships with others.

Thus the Libran Saturn Return has been especially tuned, in essence, towards finding balance in all areas of life and sorting out what you want from what you do not want in relationships. Remembering that Saturn really turns up the heat and piles on the pressure where we are most dysfunctional and, in Libra’s case, indecisive, I thought it would be a very good idea to put flesh on the bones of the theory by asking some real live Libra Saturn Returners for their feedback!

Investigating Real Lives

I was really pleased to come across a group of four friends, living at very different locations in the UK and USA, none of whom have studied astrology but all of whom were willing to participate in a mini research study.They were all born between Autumn 1980 and Autumn 1983 (i) when Saturn was going through Libra.

I researched whether one could detect the challenges and disruptions characteristic of astrology’s description of the Saturn Return in general, and their Libran one in particular, at work as common factors in all their lives from autumn 2009 until now – and was not disappointed! This short article can only provide a flavour of their lives and the detailed, interesting feedback they sent me:

Anna’s boyfriend died in an accident, she got a new job, and emigrated to the USA. Barbara obtained a new job in a new company in a different part of the UK much nearer her partner, and bought a new house. Caroline split up with her partner of seven years, but they have recently got back together to try again. Diana faced many career challenges and disruptions, and the end of a three year relationship. (ii)

In conclusion….

These human stories allow the vividness and relevance of astrological symbolism to manifest. Even through this very brief extract, we can see the particular imperative which the Saturn Return presents, clearly at work.  We can also see how their experiences all centre on relationship, Libra’s especial focus. All four have taken on life-changing challenges, experienced significant losses as well as gains – but feel overall that they have a clearer sense both of who they are, and who they are not – their lives feel more balanced as a result.

Saturn has done his work!!

NOTES

(i) this is a general article only – the particular detail is as follows: Saturn entered Libra on 21st September 1980 and finally left on 24th August 1983. However, for a period of several months from 30th November 1982 to 6th May 1983, Saturn ‘dipped into’ Scorpio which it was to enter fully on 24th August 1983 for the next two and a quarter years.

 (ii) not their real names.

This brief article was first published in a slightly different edition on the blog Love Your Saturn Return , and is part of my much longer recent exploration of the meaning of Saturn Returns incorporating a mini-research study of the experiences of four researchees experiencing the Saturn Return in Libra. It is currently being considered for publication, but will appear here in due course if it is not accepted! 

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1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Some astrology questions and answers….

Here are some interesting questions I was asked not long ago. If you would like to ask me any more, to keep the middle aged braincell from teetering into the abyss (all help gratefully received!) , please leave them in a comment and I will reply – provided they are genuine of course! 

Astrologer at Work - Mediaeval Style!

What transit always shows up for you in surprising ways?

They all do, especially the long-lasting ones. The deep challenges that force our growth lurk in the realms of the unconscious, just waiting to hitch a ride on the nearest really tough transit. For example, I didn’t think that ten years of Neptune transits was going to involve an enforced descent into the Underworld for most of that period! However, the good news is that I have now emerged, much improved (unless you ask my husband….!) with enough notes to keep me writing for a further ten years.

What is your funniest transit or retrograde experience?

There are several, not all of which can be aired publicly! The one which comes immediately to mind is the occasion, in March 1985, when Saturn turned retrograde on my 28 Scorpio IC. In the middle of lunch with an old friend who at that time was a bank manager, without warning, I passed out. Just then, a friend of his, who was also a bank manager, was passing by the restaurant window. I came round and insisted on going home – very groggily, with a bank manager holding me up by each arm. Very Saturn in Scorpio, don’t you think?!

Would you rather be ruled by Uranus or Jupiter? Why?

What a question! Both those planets are strong in my horoscope, Uranus in the tenth house leading an eastern bowl shape, with Jupiter in the third closing the bowl, and the two in bi-quintile aspect. My Ascendant is also on the Jupiter/Uranus midpoint. However, if forced to choose I would go for Jupiter, provided the aspects weren’t too difficult. My reasons are probably dictated by the stage I’ve got to in life: that disruptive, eccentric, unpredictable, stubborn individualism characteristic of a Uranus-ruled life feels too tiring to contemplate now!

Jupiter’s boundless energy and optimism, ability to inspire others and be inspired by the more positive dimensions of  life, and willingness to be open to a sense of meaningful connectedness to that which is greater than oneself, are especially attractive to me at this point.

What advice would you give to someone learning how to read their own chart?

One, there are dozens of ways of evading personal responsibility – resolve at the outset never to do so by blaming your horoscope or your transits for your difficulties in life.

Two, realise that objectivity is something to be aspired to, which can never be achieved by mere human beings. This being the case, try to recognise that you can be most objective and therefore most helpful by reading the horoscopes of strangers, provided you have appropriate training and supervision. When approaching your own horoscope, or those of your loved ones, you will inevitably colour the planetary picture before you with your own hopes and fears.

Three, the illuminating light which is gradually cast as your understanding of  the symbols in your chart grows, will be wonderfully helpful in shedding light on your gifts, pains, motivations and aspirations. But bear in mind that possessing astrological knowledge has a shadow side – for example, I have never known anyone including myself who didn’t look at upcoming transits, especially of Saturn and Pluto, without a certain amount of fear. To help my astrology students with this,  I used to point out that 99.9% of the human race from the beginning of time has managed to stagger through life without the aid of astrology! So – enjoy the fascination of  deciphering the astrological map of your life. But don’t get too precious about it – and be aware that this wonderful knowledge has a double edge….

What astrology books do you re-read or use the most?


The two astrologers who have most inspired and educated me have been Liz Greene and the late Charles Harvey, with both of whom I was fortunate to study – unofficially from the mid-1980s and formally between 1995 and 1998. As reference books for my interest in mundane astrology, my three favourites are: The outer planets and their Cycles by Liz Greene,  Anima Mundi – the astrology of the individual and the collective by Charles Harvey, and Mundane Astrology by Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion and Charles Harvey.

My copy of Stephen Arroyo’s Astrology, Karma and Transformation , that wonderful in-depth companion on the ‘stormy journey of the soul’ is now so well-thumbed that it is starting to fall to bits – and when I feel like some outrageous, light-hearted, funny, but deadly accurate astrological analysis I turn to Debbi Kempton-Smith’s Secrets from a stargazer’s notebook.

And….this Christmas 2011, I was given the brilliant present of “A History of Western Astrology” Volumes 1 & 2, by well-known and respected astrologer and historian Dr Nicholas Campion.  I am really looking forward to reading them!

Biog:

Anne Whitaker has been an astrologer since the 1983 Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in Sagittarius. She also has a long background in adult education, social work, counselling and supervision. Anne holds the Diploma from the Centre for Psychological Astrology where she studied with Liz Greene and Charles Harvey (1995-98 London, UK), an MA degree, and postgraduate diplomas in education and social work. Based in Glasgow in Scotland, she is now studying part-time at Edinburgh University on an MSc programme, and planning to set up a small astrology practice again this year after a ten-year gap spent reading, writing, blogging, and regaining her energy.

(thanks to The Know It All Astrologer who originally asked the questions)

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2011

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Evoking the Twelfth House

A tiny frog, barely half an inch long, flopped, dead, on the tip of a teaspoon as I gently lowered it toward the plug hole of the kitchen sink. Soon, I’d turn on the tap and its fragile little body, already liquefying, would be washed down the drain.

Just holding on....

Just holding on....

http://www.sarasites.com/css_images/frog.jpg

Yesterday, it had been leaping around, full of life, inside the  plastic refrigerator box in which I had created a little aquarium with water, moss and stones. The tadpoles which I had brought home a few weeks previously had all survived. Satisfaction and pleasure at having achieved this, however, was tempered with the growing knowledge that these delightful new pets would soon have to be returned to their original habitat.

But this little fellow would never go home.

This small incident, which occurred well over thirty years ago, offered such a poignant illustration of the transient fragility of life that it has never left my memory.

There are times when something apparently tiny and fleeting can illustrate much larger truths.

The constant dance between order and chaos, form and formlessness, being and non-being, seems to occur in all epochs and at all levels. Humans have created a range of paradigms and metaphors, from ancient myths through the world’s great religions to modern cosmology, within which to explore this dialectic.

Cosmologist Brian Swimme in his inspirational invocation of ‘The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos’ speaks of “each instant protons and anti protons…… flashing out of, and …… absorbed back into, all-nourishing abyss……” The abyss is his term for “a power that gives birth and that absorbs existence at a thing’s annihilation.”

Astrology has its own name for this inchoate territory where everything, tiny or vast, which has ever had form dissolves back into the primal waters of the Source. It is called the Twelfth House.

In my horoscope the Sun, Moon,Venus, Saturn, Pluto, and Mercury the planet of communication and writing are all to be found in the Twelfth House. I have been preoccupied with the mystery of whence we arise and where we return since I opened my eyes to the world. Thus it doesn’t require much of a leap of imagination to work out why this blog is called ‘Writing from the Twelfth House’……

400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2011
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page