Tag Archives: Astrologer

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

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What is my job as an astrologer? Where do I stand?

My  job as an astrologer is to help other people understand themselves more clearly. I don’t know what the balance is between fate and free will any more than any one else does. But the Birth Chart or Horoscope suggests strongly that we come into this world, not as tabulae rasae ( blank slates)  but with certain characters on the stage poised to live out a complex drama as the process of our life unfolds from birth to death. 

Example Horoscope: Charles Dickens

Example Horoscope: Charles Dickens

What astrologers cannot do is describe the whole range of possibilities of expression which arise from each core character on the stage.

There appears to be a dynamic relationship between what you have been given through family physical and psychological inheritance ( the Old Norse word for fate also means genitals!), location, social status, and your own choices in what you do with what has been given.

I think that effective astrologers in consultation are poised on the interface between fate and free will – on the one hand helping clients to confirm who they are, which they probably already know, if they are honest with themselves; but on the other hand helping them to see, and to broaden, the range of possible expression of the energies with which they have been born.

The astrologer’s ego should have a minimal influence on the process of reading another person’s Horoscope. It’s impossible to keep ego completely out of it. It’s impossible to be completely objective, to avoid making mistakes; but what the person takes away should be as much theirs, and as little the astrologers, as is possible.

To maximise this outcome I feel it is very important to have my work regularly supervised by an experienced and well-qualified colleague. I am fortunate to have been able to organise the support of a very experienced astrologer who is also a psychodynamic psychotherapist as I prepare to return to regular practice.

The main focus in this new phase of my astrological work is in vocational guidance, and in helping people who feel themselves to be on a developmental path which is rooted in whatever their sense of meaning may be, to gain an enhanced sense of clarity and perspective. Having been very much influenced by Buddhist philosophy in the last decade, in my own life I try to practice living in the present as effectively and mindfully as possible. Thus I will be looking at the relationship between the patterns present in clients’ natal Horoscopes and how that relates to the here-and-now patterns of the planets in the heavens. Looking at future trends will not be part of my orientation.

I’m only interested in working with clients who are prepared to take responsibility for themselves in relation to the way in which their inner world is connected to the unfolding of their outer life. Astrology appropriately used should enhance the sense of personal responsibility – not take it away and hang it on the planets, or even worse, on the astrologer !

In my view it is important for people not to become too dependent on a symbolic context – astrology and astrologers like relationships, drugs, sex, alcohol or the national lottery can become highly addictive. The great symbolic arts, eg astrology, tarot, palmistry , I Ching, should be consulted with deep respect, and with considerable restraint.

                    In sum – I think it is my job is to send people away feeling more able to operate constructively and honestly in their world than when they came in, by supporting their courage and confidence to lead their own lives using their own judgement. 

However, I also consider it important to have a refer-on list of reputable therapeutic practitioners of varying disciplines, if it becomes apparent from our reading that the person consulting me needs some form of ongoing help. In assessing this, a long background as a counsellor as well as an astrologer I regard as being of immense help to me – and therefore, I hope, to my clients….

Astrologer at Work - Mediaeval Style!

Astrologer at Work - Mediaeval Style!

Readers’ comments on this post or this series of my reflections on returning to the practice of astrology are welcome. Any rude or offensive comments, however, will be binned!

To be continued….

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700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page