Sister-in-law Julie, visiting daughter Ciara in London, found time to drop by The Astrology Shop in Covent Garden, check out ‘Postcards…’, and say “Hello” to the Shop’s proprietor (and legend) Barry Street. Thanks all!!
(from Dr Armand Diaz, published Spring 2022 in the USA’s NCGR MemberLetter)
When was the last time you curled up in your favorite chair and opened up an astrology book that you knew was going to be informative, entertaining, and would really get you to think?
Pretty often, if you’ve been reading the books I’ve been reviewing in this and past editions of Memberletter. But Postcards to the Future offers something different, because it’s a collection of essays on a wide range of topics, from specifics like the cycles of the planets, to professional issues like ethics, all the way to the “Big” questions about astrology, life, the universe, and everything.
That’s a tall order, but Anne Whitaker is up to it, as she takes a heart-centered and thoughtful approach to the topics. The essays contained in this book were also written over time, so that they are the products of the author’s reflection and consideration. One outstanding characteristic of her writing, to me at least, is that Whitaker doesn’t come from one hundred percent within the realm of astrology. As much as she is an astrologer, and an accomplished one at that, and as much as she has extensive knowledge and experience, she comes across as curious about astrology, and that curiosity leads to an openness that is very refreshing. There’s no dogmatic insistence that she has the right answer, and no tacit understanding that the reader will agree with everything she says.
One of my favorite essays is on “The Art of Astrology: Healing, Wounding, Or Both?”, an extended discussion of how astrology helps, but also how it can wound. Encouraged by the report of a one-time client she had seen years ago, Whitaker asks her long-term students to write about their experiences with astrology. Typical of her style, the author assumes little going in, and is cautious in dealing with the (encouraging) results.
Science and astrology is always fertile ground for debate, and Whitaker doesn’t disappoint. After a brief introduction to the topic, she states – correctly – that “I know it’s not like me to rant.” Her first short essay in this section should be required reading for astrology students, not because it will help convince skeptics (it will not), but because astrologers themselves need to understand enough about why astrology can be valid while not fitting into the scientific-materialist paradigm.
There’s so much more. A section on the Moon. Mundane transits, like Saturn’s ingress into Aquarius. There’s a section on fate, and one on teaching. Throughout all the many topics, Anne Whitaker’s friendly, comforting, insightful style pervades, inviting discussion. She’s probably out on a walk in the lonely Scottish landscape, and you’re curled up in your favorite chair. Have some tea. And read this great astrology book.
Mercury is now in Gemini, going retro on 10th May 2022, and doing a merry dance ( or rather, slow waltz…) over my 29 Taurus MC/North Node conjunction for the next six weeks, and we’ve just had the first solar eclipse of the Taurus/Scorpio eclipse season. And it’s May Day!
S0 – perfect timing for another bout of promoting my latest book, “Postcards to the Future”, subtitled Mercurial Musings 1995-2021.
“Postcards…” has been in whimsical mood today, as you can see from the image below – dropping in on the Kingdom of Faerie:
“Postcards…” has been getting great reviews: here is the most recent one from Moon Zlotnick which appeared in the Spring 2022 Issue of The Career Astrologer. Thanks so much, Moon!
POSTCARDS TO THE FUTURE by Anne Whitaker
‘…,Part memoir, part anthology, and part deep musings about everything from ethics in astrology to the chart of Mary Shelley, Whitaker shares her ideas thoughts and experiences from over four decades of professional involvement with astrology. Having studied with many well-known astrologers including Liz Greene and Alan Oken, and also read and studied Carl Jung, her musings are deeply psychological and profound.
The subtitle of the book is “Mercurial Musings” and it does move lightly from subject to subject. The book is comprised primarily of essays and columns written for The Mountain Astrologer, Apollon, FAA journal, Dell Horoscope, and more. In one chapter she is interviewed by someone from the AFA about her book Jupiter Meets Uranus, while in another she reviews a book by Liz Greene. There is a chapter of an exchange of very lively letters between her and Victor Olliver. This book is never boring, as each new chapter covers different areas of astrology.
Her tone is conversational at times, educational at others, and even deeply philosophical in some chapters. Throughout the chapters she includes very personal experiences and anecdotes that relate to transits and progressions in her birth chart, leaving the reader with the distinct feeling of having entered the inner sanctum of her life.
The book begins with a discussion of critical degrees and then illuminates what it means to be born on a cusp, and follows with a classroom experience studying the chart of a set of twins, a study that confirmed my own theories, partly from my own twin studies, but more from being a twin myself. She continues with an interesting look at cycles, particularly the Saturn/Pluto cycle culminating in 2020.
One of my favorite parts of this book is how Whitaker includes her students and clients’ feedback. In the chapter called “Ingresses” she chronicles four of her students’ lives as Jupiter entered Libra in 2016. After giving us basic chart information she includes quotes from her students illuminating both their inner and outer experiences, a true hands-on learning experience. In the chapter called “Healing and Wounding” she includes letters from her clients describing the healing impact astrology has had on their lives. Each one of these case studies is a gem.
The final section of the book looks to the future and expresses Whitaker’s ideas on the supposed “Age of Aquarius” with the Jupiter/Saturn 20-year cycle having moved in December 2020 into Aquarius – and the Air element for the next 200 or so years, and Pluto due to move into Aquarius in 2024.
I skipped around while reading this book, and read several chapters over and over, finding new gems and insights all along the way. If you’re a seasoned long term professional like me, or someone who is early in your studies there is much to be enjoyed and learned from Postcards to the Future…’
Here is another lovely review of my latest book ‘ Postcards To The Future’ this time from Trish Marin of the Astrology Quarterly magazine, from the January/March 2022 Issue, Vol 86, No 4.
Thank you, Trish!
“…Anne Whitaker’s mercurial musings weave through the last quarter century, unpicking some of the highlights of astrological patterns and mundane events. Postcards To The Future reveals the correspondences and synchronicities between our everyday lives and planetary movements in a convincing display of astrology of the moment.
The book is an entertaining compendium of some of Anne’s prolific blog posts and articles published over the years by a wide variety of sources. Broad in scope, it whizzes authoritatively through planetary cycles, notable conjunctions, typical beginner’s questions, interview Q&A and correspondence, while scattering generous gems of astrological wisdom.
As an astrology teacher and meticulous researcher, Anne provides clear explanations of some complex concepts presented in an engaging and memorable way. As she explains in the book, she was initially a sceptic, until her ‘encounter’, described here in humorous detail. Throughout, the astrology is brought to life with witty and amusing examples and stories from her own life experiences and those of her clients and students. Sprinkled with literary references and philosophical reflections it makes an enjoyable, illuminating read.
I felt compelled to reach for the ephemeris and to look again at the Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions and the part they played in my own past adventures. Secondary progressions had always seemed a rather subtle, internal influence but I was prompted to re-examine their impact with some unexpected insights.
Anne admits to being obsessed by Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, and has written of her synastry with Dolly the Sheep, as Frankenstein’s real-life enactment. Furthermore, Mary Shelley has a twenty-first century counterpart who, like her, is sounding a siren for the future of the earth; Greta Thunberg, born nearly two hundred years later, carries her message forward.
A mercurial book, suitable for both beginners and experienced astrologers, delivered in bite sized chunks it can be dipped into or savoured in larger portions. I highly recommend it to all our readers…”
From the depths of antiquity right through until the general advent of electric light in the early part of the twentieth century, humans have been powerfully influenced by the 29.5 day cycle of the Sun and Moon.
The power of the Sun/Moon cycle
They hunted in daylight, made long journeys by the light offered by the Moon as it moved to full illumination of the night sky 14-15 days into the cycle. They timed their most powerful magical/religious rituals to coincide with the Full Moon. Ancient peoples gradually came to understand, as the age of agriculture took root and developed, that the time to plant their crops was when the Moon was waxing in the early part of the 29.5 day cycle, and in the Spring, or waxing, part of the year.
Out of those practical observations of the heavenly bodies, so fundamental to survival in humanity’s early days, came the realisation so beautifully put in the Bible:
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” (i)
The planetary cycles, from the tiny 29.5 day Sun/Moon cycle to that powerful regulator of human affairs, the 20 year Jupiter/Saturn cycle, were recognised in antiquity as weaving all life including that of human beings into an observable rhythm which brought a context of order, structure, and some comforting predictability to the patterns of life on Earth.
But whether the cycle is huge, like the Neptune/Pluto 500 year one which was not known in antiquity, or small, like the monthly Sun/Moon one, the same basic stages apply: seeding, germinating, sprouting, flowering, ripening, harvesting, dying back in preparation for the new.
All cycles’ 12th House phase
Moondark describes the end of any cycle – the 12th House phase – whether we are contemplating the monthly Sun/Moon one or the epoch-defining Neptune/Pluto cycle. It is the time of withdrawal and dissolution of energy – think of wintertime, the stripped trees, the cold, barren earth – a time of dark power in which the old order dies at a number of different levels, so that fertile energy can emerge from the womb of the night: indeed, a time of “dying back in preparation for the new.” Thus, every year, the time from the New Moon in Pisces to the New Moon in Aries can be seen as the 12th House phase, the Moondark time, of the entire zodiacal year.
Moondark has fascinated me for a long time. I may first have encountered the concept in my twenties, through the agency of Marion Bradley’s magnificent novel “The Mists of Avalon”, set in the time of druidical Britain in the era when Christianity was sweeping through the Roman Empire and the Old Religion of the Druids was being violently challenged as a result.
The legendary King Arthur, disregarding the advice of his Druid priests, married Guinevere in a Christian ceremony – at Moondark, the very end of the Sun/Moon monthly cycle.Since Arthur was a king, getting the symbolism of his marriage right was much more important than it would be for us ordinary mortals! “Woe, woe, no good will come of this!” was the view taken by the Druids. They were right. The marriage was childless; moreover, Guinevere spent much of it in love with Lancelot, one of the knights of King Arthur’s fabled Round Table.
Each year’s Moondark
We tend to think of the annual 20th March equinox, the day that the Sun enters the sign of Aries, as the symbolic beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. But you could argue that the true beginning of spring is when a New Moon takes place in the sign of Aries. In 2022, that celestial event occurs tomorrow on 1st April, both Sun and Moon meeting at 11.5 degrees of Aries, the fiery first sign of the zodiac. The degree of their meeting varies from year to year: in 2021, it was 22.5 degrees Aries; in 2020, 4 degrees Aries; in 2019 15 degrees Aries; in 2018, 26 degrees Aries.
I find it illuminating and helpful to think of each year in those terms. Thus – as we wait for the fresh energy upsurge of the Aries New Moon tomorrow, we are symbolically waiting in Moondark. This year’s Moondark has been especially potent; it has run from the 12 degrees Pisces New Moon on the 2nd March 2022, making a conjunction with Jupiter at 16 degrees Pisces which is already approaching its powerful conjunction with Neptune, due on 12 April 2022 at 24 degrees Pisces. Much is already being written and discussed across the Web regarding the implications of this planetary duo.(ii)
Events of a collective and personal nature have been powerful, dark and traumatic this Moondark: the Pisces New Moon’s conjunction with Jupiter, as that planet approaches conjunction with Neptune, hascertainly brought Ukraine experiences of symbolic crucifixion (iii) via the sweep of war at Russia’s instigation, and its attendant suffering as millions flee their homeland in search of whatever kind of safety can be found. Along with a world-wide Pisces/Neptune response of compassionate desire to help, manifesting in donations of clothing and other supplies, and money pouring in to various charities, there is a general mood of disgust, shock, world-weariness and exhaustion.
All those reactions are typical Pisces/Neptune responses from all of us world-wide who have been through years of acute political upheaval and turmoil, increasing awareness of the climate emergency we now face – then two years of a pandemic, not yet over, which has upended our whole way of life.
All that most of us wish is peace. We are now having to find ways of being creative, constructive and hopeful in a world in turmoil and transition from an old materialist world order clearly long past its sell-by date…
The uses of Moondark
Moondark is at its best a contemplative time: a time to take stock both collectively and personally. We live in an increasingly frenetic 24/7 society where ‘time out’ is increasingly hard to find, and is not supported by the culture as a whole. Those of us who wish and need to retreat regularly to preserve our balance and well-being tend to be regarded as odd by mainstream society.
But humans have always benefited from times of quiet contemplation, in whatever way suits them best: listening to music, doing yoga/meditation, praying to whatever Higher Power sustains them, making or contemplating art, walking in Nature –especially by the sea, that great universal symbol of dissolution and emergence.
Even half an hour a day of retreat time on a regular basis is nourishing for the spirit. In ancient times, women used to retreat together monthly during menstruation time which was seen as a period of potency, and hidden power – a liminal time to link through dreams and ritual to worlds unseen.
It would be good if individually we could get into the habit of using the time from the Pisces New Moon each year to find some retreat space in whatever way suited us: to take stock of the year that was coming to an end, ponder our successes and our failures, and set some realistic intentions to pursue for the zodiacal year ahead. In a time of unprecedented turmoil, taking retreat time to work out how to cope best with the world we now inhabit, seems more important than ever…
Have you been taking stock ? I certainly have…and your thoughts on what has emerged for you, would be most welcome as we emerge from Moondark and begin a new zodiacal year.
iii) the six-week Christian season of Lent, with its Piscean themes of prayer, reaching out to the Divine, compassion, renunciation and sacrifice, runs this year from the day of the Pisces New Moon on 2nd March, right through to 14th April, just before the first Full Moon of the new astrological year
1300 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2022 Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
In this six minute reading from my latest book “Postcards to the Future” – a collection of 60 essays, articles and columns published between 1995 and 2021 – I tackle one of the most frequent questions astrologers are ever asked: how does astrology account for twin differences when especially with identical twins, they both have almost identical birth charts or horoscopes? I formulated a theory based on my own observations over years, then tested it out with my students. I think you’ll find the results fascinating. We certainly did!
As you can see from the photo, I’m feeling really cheerful – serene, even! – despite this unremittingly horrible, wet, dreary, cold Monday in my home city of Glasgow. The reason? In recent days I have had no less than FOUR more great pieces of publicity for my latest book “Postcards to the Future”.
A five star Amazon review from Steven Forrest (which I’m sharing here below); an extract from “Postcards…” ie ‘The ethics of astrological practice: a Question needing an Answer…’ (pp 92-8) which appeared in that excellent new on-line magazine “Timelords”; Brian Clark’s lovely review in “The Mountain Astrologer Magazine” ; and today, ‘An Astrologer’s Job Description’ (“Postcards…” p 84) which has just appeared onAstrodienst…
Steven Forrest‘s Review:
5.0 out of 5 stars
Like a long talk with a wise friend . . .
Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2022
‘…Reading Anne Whitaker’s book felt like having lunch and a wide-ranging, fascinating conversation with a friend, only to look down at my watch and realizing that cocktail hour had arrived. Time flies, in other words. I’ve been in the world of serious astrology for a long time and most of what I read are things I have heard before. Such books serve a purpose, but at this point I don’t get much out of reading them myself. Not Anne’s book! I found myself turning the pages as if it were a novel, and rarely did ten pages go by without me learning something new or thinking of something in a new way. She’s not only had a lot of experience, she’s has digested it and turned it to real wisdom. My only frustration was that she wasn’t sitting there with me so I could interrupt and say, “You know what THAT makes me think of!” Thank you, Anne — with these luminous pages, you have advanced our cause…’
This morning I did an hour’s housework: an event sufficiently unusual in itself to qualify for an Aquarian stamp. Disproportionately pleased considering how much hadn’t got done, I headed out for a bracing walk, narrowly avoiding being blown over by periodic gusts of wind.
Hurrah! Black Pine Coffee, my favourite Glasgow West End coffee shop, as of today was once again allowed to admit sitting customers. However, the message couldn’t yet have got around, since the place was unusually quiet, giving me more of a chance than usual to chat with the owner, Pete, and his assistant Sandi (real names with permission).
We agreed we were glad January was now over, it not being the best month for single minded enthusiastic focus on the tasks in hand, to put it mildly.… Personally, if at all possible I prefer to spend that month with a metaphorical blanket over my head. “I like January though,” said Pete. “It’s my birth month, after all.” I remembered that he had told me this some time ago ( I do drop in here quite a lot – great coffee, fun chat) and I had remembered the date as being close to that of my late husband Ian on 30th January. “I was born on the 28th”.
“That makes you an Aquarian, Pete,” said Sandi. “Funnily enough, I have an Aquarian Moon. My mum’s friend drew up my birth chart when I was born (1995). I still have it in my baby book.” It was beginning to occur to me that you couldn’t make this up: here I was, a few hours into the Aquarian New Moon, talking to a Sun Aquarius man and an Aquarian Moon woman.
“Well, Anne”, said Pete, turning to me as he made my coffee, “you’re an astrologer. What would you say were key Aquarian characteristics?” So of course I gave my usual spiel about it being impossible to mirror back accurately the complexities of any human using purely one lens, eg that of the Sun sign or the Moon sign, and how you needed the full birth horoscope based on time, date and place to do that.
“Yes, yes, you’ve told me that before,” persisted Pete, grinning winningly. “But go on: name just a couple!”
‘Very stubborn, very charming, somewhat left field’ I replied.
“Yep, that’s me!” said Pete.
Sandi by this time was looking at me expectantly…clearly my spiel was not having much impact as yet. ‘Aquarian Moon – give me space!’ said I, quite happy to play the game with such great young folks. “Oh yes – too true, that’s me!” she said.
By now, some other customers were drifting in, so I settled down to drink excellent coffee and catch up with my phone emails. However, during a lull some minutes later, Sandi tentatively asked “Do you have any astrology apps on your phone?” Very shortly afterwards we were deep in contemplation of our mutual TimePassages app, with me explaining to her how to navigate it.
I also recommended one or two of my astrology colleagues if she wanted an in-person/zoom reading of a high standard from astrologers who are reputable, experienced, know what they are talking about, and take their responsibilities to clients seriously. I strongly suggested she be very wary of the vast array of ‘astrologers’ enabled by the ease with which one can acquire a smattering of astrological knowledge on-line these days – but without a firm grounding in either experience, in-depth study, or an adequate awareness of the responsibility inherent in calling oneself an astrologer and taking on both teaching and practice of such an ancient, powerful art.
Sandi is clearly very very interested in astrology – I did my best to point her in some quality directions, and she clearly appreciated that. Who knows where her interest may take her? I hope I get a further opportunity to find out!
It was a delightful encounter: totally spontaneous, completely unexpected – and a brilliant manifestation of the Aquarian New Moon’s current energy field drawing the three of us together ‘in the moment’ and offering a shared experience very much of the nature of that moment.
But that Aquarian Moon wasn’t finished making its presence felt in my life today. On the way home, I ran into a journalist friend I hadn’t seen for quite a while – someone with a strongly Aquarian vibe.
….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.
I learned to look forward to having some rest during Mercury Retrograde, since my referral rate dropped. Normally clients always turned up for appointments, MR periods being the exception. Cancellation rates increased.
Once, a client called to cancel because her house had just caught fire (yes, she called the Fire Brigade first!).Two clients often turned up at the same time. Cheques invariably got lost in the post, or clients forgot to bring cash.
One summer I moved office during MR, becoming involved in a dispute of byzantine complexity with the telephone company which took almost a nervous breakdown on my part to sort out.
As MR periods approached, I used to entertain my students by looking at their individual horoscopes, which enabled me to be more specific regarding possible MR effects. I told one student, a lawyer, that a female helper in his workplace was likely to have communication problems which would impact on him.
His feedback? His secretary sprained her wrist, and was unable to type during the entire MR period.
Mercurial people, ie those with the sign Gemini strongly emphasised or the planet Mercury dominant in their horoscopes, are most affected by Mercury’s retrograde phase. Anyone involved in the business of communication can look forward to a less than smooth three weeks.
A good example is my old friend Ronnie who used to run a first rate copying and web design business here in Glasgow; Mercury’s retrograde havoc wreaked on his computers one year convinced him that “There’s definitely something in this astrology business, Anne!”
What can mercurial folk do, then, to maximise advantage and minimise disruption when Mercury is retrograde? MR is a positive time for going back over all matters to do with communication, and cleaning up.
Some examples: if you’ve been putting off a purge of your filing system, do it now. If your accountant has asked you nine times for your last year’s papers, use this 2-3 weeks to update them.
Dig out and finish some of those half-worked articles if you are a writer. If you’ve been writing furiously and the brain/wrist is seizing up, have a break. Catch up with some reading. As we know, fallow time is creative.
The don’ts? If it is not feasible to avoid or delay taking important new initiatives or completing existing processes, eg signing contracts, leases, etc, try to accept complications or thwartings philosophically.
Also – be prepared for delays, eg when travelling, especially long distance. Don’t sit under the mailbox waiting for cheques. And please, don’t arrange for a phone installation!
“Come on then !” I can hear you shouting as you search for my mobile number or email. “Tell us WHEN !”
….oh, all right. I’ll tell you:
2022: January 14-February 3 in Aquarius & Capricorn
May 10-June 3 in Gemini & Taurus
September 9-October 2 in Libra & Virgo
December 29-January 18, 2023 in Capricorn
PS. I know you’ll find this hard to believe: I have just published a book of collected essays, articles and columns called “Postcards to the Future” – available everywhere on Amazon – whose subtitle is ‘Mercurial Musings 1995-2021’. However – there isn’t a single article on Mercury, or even Mercury Retro. Maybe I should rectify that in the next edition…
On impulse – that 2nd January 2022 New Moon at 12 degrees Capricorn, trining Uranus at 11 Taurus, trining my 9 Virgo Ascendant – I dashed off a seven-minute recording of me reading the Preface of my new book “Postcards to the Future”. It went down really well, and I have had some lovely comments, amongst them from long-term fellow astrologer and USA Facebook Friend Maureen:
“Love this Anne, I think you’ve found a new niche! “
So – I’ve decided to post the video version which is now on YouTube. Hope you enjoy it!!
>….ie today, a fantastic review of my new book ..’Postcards to the Future‘ by Karin Hoffman of the world-renowned Astrodienstwebsite:
Karin says: ...”Present and future astrologers will find in this deep and varied collection nuggets of pure gold, forged in a lifetime, collected and polished for display and – most importantly – for enlightenment and use…”
To read the whole review – and hopefully treat yourself or a friend, student of astrology, or interested member of the public who wants to know more about the depths and delights offered by astrological knowledge to a copy of ‘Postcards…’ – here it is: