I’ve just received this question about the practice of astrology and felt impelled to address it as fully as possible! Do drop byAstrology: Questions and Answersto read the whole post – and if you are a professional astrologer who has had to deal with this type of question, I’d be interested to have your comments….
“Horoscope” ‘s Question:
Is it true that REAL astrologers do not charge for their services as it is against the code to take profit out of a gift from God to help people? I read this and saw a medium on tele say it. In these circles it is donations given based on good work.Is this true at all?
Dear Ms/Mr/ X(I am assuming ‘horoscope’ is not your real name)
thank you for raising this interesting question. Before getting down to discussing the issue of payment of fees for any professional service, whether the professional is for example a highly trained,well qualified and experienced astrologer, lawyer, or accountant, it is important to clarify a few points for you.
Your question strongly suggests that you associate the practice of astrology in some way with the practice of mediumship. They are two separate activities. Thus a comment on how mediums operate cannot usefully be applied to the practice of astrology.
Secondly, it would perhaps help you if I made clear that there are broadly speaking two main types of astrology. The first type, popular star sign or sun sign astrology, is the kind which most people know about. …to read more, clickHERE
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 blogrun 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:
“….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….”
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!
300 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
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 Autumn1983 – 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….
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 Autumn1983 (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 PiscesSaturn 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 Autumn1983 (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!
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 Autumn1983(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)
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!!
(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!
1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
One of the many fascinations of astrology is how it shows the ever-changing patterns of the planets symbolically reflecting different kinds of energies in our collective life. If you as an individual are strongly plugged into collective patterns – which you can assess through comparing the natal horoscope with prevailing planetary positions in the here-and-now – it seems as if you are given a tiny chip of the current pattern to work with in your individual life.
Here is a specific example. From the end of 1992 until the beginning of 1995 there was a particularly difficult combination of planets, which when it shows up tends to symbolise warring, destructive energies at work in our world. I’m talking about the Saturn/Pluto combination.
Every time these planets have connected in the Twentieth century the collective context has been war – they were linked at the start of World War 1, then at the end of the Second World War when we were confronted with the horrors of the two holocausts, Nazi and nuclear.
This combination formed a key part of the planetary backdrop to the Arab/Israeli war (the State of Israel was born under the Saturn/Pluto conjunction of 1947/48) in the Sixties; the Falklands war in the Eighties; and 1992 saw the upsurge of the Balkan War. Over the following two years we saw in Europe a fierce and brutal period of terrible carnage – as well as genocide in Ruanda and various other horrors at different locations.
(AND: the atrocity of 9/11 took place during the subsequent major Saturn/Pluto combination in the autumn of 2001)
From 1992 to early 1995, I observed individuals, whose horoscopes showed them to be strongly plugged into this pattern, going through deeper and darker traumas in their personal lives, much of it involving family fate issues, than I had ever seen before. Because my own horoscope involved this pattern, I had to go through some very painful and difficult times regarding my own family of origin. It seems to me that I drew to me, as a practitioner, clients plugged into the same overall pattern as myself.
On a much lighter note, there was a dynamic, exciting, challenging and disruptive planetary combination during 1997/8, repeating again during 2010/11, with which I became so obsessed that I wrote a book about the first one (published 2009, eventually….) and later wrote a whole blog, involving the experiences of 10 volunteers ‘plugged in’ to the second one, for the entire 2010/11 period, called “Tales from the Wild Ride”. Intrigued? Then click HERE.
I love that old Shakespearean quote – ‘there is a tide in the affairs of men’…..if you practice astrology often enough, and for long enough, you can see the tides of history, the changing patterns of the times, running through the lives of individuals whose charts you read. It’s fascinating…and awesome….and, it would appear, addictive!
As a friend observed to me recently : “You can take the girl out of astrology – but can you take astrology out of the girl?” The answer to that would appear to be “No”….as I prepare to return to the practice of astrology after a long sabbatical. Never say never, indeed!
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!
We all arrive at the first Saturn return at the ages of 29-30.
Whether we know we’re having one or not, the broad determinants are the same. My metaphor for this return is the recollection I have of a school science class, where I was fascinated to observe the growth of a copper sulphate crystal, which, over a period of weeks, emerged from clear blue water into a highly-defined, beautiful, crystalline shape.
At the first Saturn return, the crystalline shape that must emerge is that of realism. In a developmentally healthy person, the purity of that crystal of realism isn’t overly tainted by bitterness, cynicism, and disillusion, all of which corrode the soul and limit the potential for further growth. As the crystal of realism emerges, it may well carry with it some pain, grief, and depression. This is healthy and normal enough as part of the process of getting through the 27-to-30-year period. We know from observation of the lives of others, and our own, that this period is critical.
To an astrologer’s perception, its critical nature is emphasized by the knowledge that ages 27-30 brings with it four major symbolic patterns that are all about differentiation, individuation, and the facing and purging of illusions that hold us back from realization of our full potential.
These patterns are: the second transit of the North Node to the natal South Node’s position at age 27; the progressed Moon’s return around age 27; transiting Pluto to natal Neptune between 27-29; and, of course, the Saturn return between ages 29-30, which seems to focus the other three patterns.
Letting go: illusions and defences
Letting go of the illusions and defences that buffer us from the poundings of life, but which also limit our becoming what we may most fully be, can be desperately painful. During this period, I was forced to give up my long cherished illusion of being a writer. It gave me a secret sense of superiority over the rest of the world and met my profound need to be special and different.
When put to the test between ages 27-30, it crumbled. I realized that I had writing talent, for which I received some public recognition, but I also discovered that I lacked the single-minded drive that keeps one at it full-time. With out shedding my illusion and moving on, I would never have been able to develop my other gifts and talents, which began to take shape from my Saturn return onward.
The development of an internal locus of evaluation — a sound sense of one’s own worth that isn’t overly dependent on the approval of parents, colleagues, partners, or peers — is another psychological change that should be happening to a reasonably substantial degree by the Saturn return.
Saturn: taking responsibility
This marks the point in life where we are no longer seen as children or even very young adults by the larger world. We are expected to take responsibility for our own actions, and to be effective in the world as workers, partners, parents, and friends, with no excuses or allowances having to be made for our youth and immaturity.
Ideally, we should also have developed a sense of what the boundary is between our parents and ourselves — between their demands of us and ours of them — and how to respond to them in a mature fashion without falling prey to old, child-like patterns of behaviour. If our parents haven’t been mature enough to let go of us, we should be well on our way towards having the maturity to draw our own boundaries.
Rites of Passage: fire, air, earth and water
Although there is a common core to the rites of passage we all face, birth charts show that there are as many different Saturn returns as there are individuals. With Saturn in a fire sign, one’s core challenge is to find faith in life. This, in turn, fuels the struggle to establish an unshakable sense of self-worth and of the special nature of one’s contributions to the world. The Saturn-in-water person’s major task is to come to terms with the inevitability that we are all separate and alone, no matter how much we may love other people or be loved by them.
For Saturn in air, developing mental discipline, establishing intellectual credibility, and contributing worthwhile ideas to collective life are key formative tasks. The Saturn-in-earth person must form a sound relationship with the world of everyday reality, and pay the physical and material dimensions of life their due, in order to feel at peace within.
Each will have a different journey through the first formative Saturn cycle. The sign and house positions of Saturn, as well as whether it is angular or not, the Lunar Nodes, Chiron, and other planetary connections, provide the fine-tuning that shows the relationship between the archetypal forces present in all of life and the many differing ways they may manifest individually.
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 the general public with no formal knowledge, but an open-minded interest in astrology.
Check it out, and let me know what you think!
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.
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.
For my birthday that August, 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 several years.
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. This is enormously comforting to those of us who cannot bear the idea that the turmoils and struggles of this life are capricious and pointless.
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 mystery known only to the Divine.
Note : this is an updated and slightly altered version of an article first published in Scotland’s Glasgow “Herald” as “Future beyond the Sun Signs” on 20.8.96. Copyright remains with the author.
1300 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2011 Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page