Planetary Cycles Part Two: Uranus the Disrupter, Chiron the “Inconvenient Benefic”.

This month, we reflect on the key transits and 84 year cycle of Uranus, the great Disrupter of the zodiac. We also take time to consider the Chiron cycle of 50 years, and its impact, sharing some moving stories. Chiron is best known in his mythical garb as the Wounded Healer; we also consider him in his perhaps lesser well-known role as the Inconvenient Benefic.

In this conversation, we share some very funny personal anecdotes regarding Uranus transits’ capacity to turn life upside-down with (eventually) positive outcomes. We also share some deeply moving personal stories both from our client work ( anonymously of course) and from our own lives where one can see both the wounding and healing dimensions of the Chiron archetype at work.

So – take a break, settle down, and enjoy our dialogue as you reflect on how those two great planetary forces have impacted on YOUR life…

200 words © Anne Whitaker 2023

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 ….


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


The Cycles of Saturn: forging the “Diamond Soul”: part 2

To read Part One of this series click HERE

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.

Beautiful copper sulphate crystal
Beautiful copper sulphate crystal

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.

Saturn A New Look at an Old Devil
Saturn A New Look at an Old Devil

To order this recommended book click HERE

 Part 3: click HERE


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

Kreativ Blogger Awards 2010

It is not Xmas. It is not New Year. It is not Valentine’s Day. It is still cold in the Northern Hemisphere. It is not yet Spring. So I thought I’d introduce a note of  celebration and good cheer this week, by posting Anne Whitaker’s Kreativ Blogger Awards 2010.


Kreativ Blogger Awards 2010
Kreativ Blogger Awards 2010



Thanks first of all to my cyber-pal from Georgia, the prestigious and prolific blogger extraordinaire Jude Cowell, for including ‘Writing from the Twelfth House’ in her list of Kreativ Blogger Awards for 2010. A list of all Jude’s blogs encompassing art, astrology and fearlessly outspoken politics, as well as her selection of January 2010 KB Awards, can be found here:



Now here are the 6 rules for the Kreativ Blogger Award which you will need to follow if you are chosen:


1. Copy/paste the Kreativ Blogger Award picture onto your blog
2. Thank the person who awarded it to you and post a link to her/his blog
3. Write 7 things about yourself we do not know
4. Choose 7 other bloggers to award
5. Link to them
6. Notify your 7 bloggers of their award


7 things about me you ( unless you are one of my family/friends/former astrology students in which case you have probably heard it all before TOO many times!) do not know:

1. I have far too many planets in Leo.

2. Just as well they’re in the Twelfth House!

3. I was actually born in the 12th House – 12, Plantation Road – on the street in which my parents were living at that time

4. My birth was so premature and I was so tiny that I was anointed in olive oil, wrapped carefully and placed in a drawer – too small for a cot – and not expected to live. Wrong!!!

5. I have my Honourable Discharge Papers from the British Merchant Navy

6. At a time when I was utterly dismissive of astrology, an astrologer I met by accident in a launderette drew up my chart and predicted that I would become an astrologer in my early thirties. Right!!!

7. I am still asking the same question I started asking when I first opened my eyes to the world: “Why are we here?”(answers, under a plain wrapper, to this site. Reward for most original response)

That’s enough of that! Here are my Kreativ Blogger Award recipients, in alphabetical order. As Jude Cowell has pointed out, there are a considerable number of  high quality blogs on the Web, and I am acutely aware of only knowing a small selection well enough to nominate them. A large part of the purpose of this award is to encourage our community to spread the net by our own nominations, enabling other great bloggers to have their work picked out and highlighted.

Kreativ Blogger Awards 2010
Kreativ Blogger Awards 2010


1. Dawn Bodrogi – runs a new blog in town, less than a year old. But it is full of thoughtful, quality writing from an accomplished astrologer and teacher. Check Dawn out at The Inner Wheel – Living with Astrology

2. Jude Cowell – a generous spirit, sharp and funny – already mentioned and linked! Find Jude, in true Mercurial style, in several places, including Jude’s Threshold

3. Donna Cunningham – will already be known to many of you as a world class astrologer, writer and teacher – and is now a brilliant blogger at her  SkyWriter blog. Check out her online writing seminars at Moon Maven Publications, along with her books in e-book form or hard copy. I hope to be featuring Donna’s writing on my Guest slot next month.

4. Lauren Lesko is the most sensitive and lyrical writer on astrological topics that I have had the pleasure to come across and to befriend – and a most generous soul. Check out her writing, and the beautiful art which accompanies it, at  ASTROLOGY: the art of awareness

5. Joyce Mason felt like a fellow spirit from the start, and I love her writing – fresh, deep and often very, very funny.  Her Chiron and Wholeness: A Primer is a must for all astrology students, and a great reference tool for practising astrologers, informed as it is by Joyce’s lengthy research and reflection on the Chiron archetype. She has several quality blogs, the main one being The Radical Virgo

6. Susannah combines deep, sensitive and insightful articles with art and poetry. In her own words: “I explore astrology with my poems, images and observations. I hope that maybe you can identify with some of it!” Check out her work – and her selection of blogs! – at  The Lion and the Lightning Bolt

7. Leah Whitehorse is a multi-talented musician and writer, with special interest in working with tarot and with dreams as well as astrology. I am hoping to have a piece from her on working with dreams on my Guest slot this Spring. Visit her at  Lua Astrology – Navigation by the Stars

I’m flouting the rules ( Mars/Uranus in the Tenth House – I like rule-breaking!) with an extra nominaton – one non-astrologer:

Linda Leinem is a writer whose work I discovered very early on in my own blogging career. I was absolutely knocked out by the quality of her writing; here, to give something of the flavour both of Linda’s rich inner and outer life, and her writing themes, is a little clip from the About Me page on her blog:

“Sharing stories, trading secrets, weaving new realities of threads pulled from discarded memories or long forgotten dreams – those are the tasks of a new writer, dedicated to new endeavors.

Living a quiet and hidden life, anchored to my dock like a barnacle to a piling, I varnish boats on the Texas Gulf Coast.  My dock provides both things Virginia Woolf recommended for a woman who writes: money, from the labor, and a room of my own – space and solitude for thought, remembrance, and creative reflection on the truths and mysteries of life.”

I never fail to find affirmation and inspiration in her wonderful writing – her blog gathers many comments, and when you visit  The Task at Hand you will understand why….



1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2010
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Guest Slot: ‘For Chiron (and Laughing) Out Loud’ by Joyce Mason

I am delighted this month to be introducing that distinguished Radical Virgo, Joyce Mason, long experienced in-depth astrologer and fine writer. She has just completed and E-published “20 years of work with Chiron distilled into 40 pages…...‘Chiron and Wholeness: A Primer.’ It is a fine piece of work which introduces the archetype of Chiron, the Wounded Healer, in a deep, lively and accessible manner which will be of interest to practising astrologers and their clients, astrology students – and the open-minded general reader.

Joyce’s Guest piece will tell, in her usual humorous  style,  how Chiron “hooked” her, becoming a life-long preoccupation. Over to you, Joyce!

I’ll never forget my goose bumps. I was reading Barbara Hand Clow’s book, Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets. Actually, I was reading it out loud to my best friend while she drove. We were returning from an astrology workshop on Chiron, where I’d just bought it. Both of us were complete novices on the asteroid, comet—whatever. Nobody was even sure what this little rock was that seemed to be orbiting in the wrong place, yet I was already in love with it! Then there was that strange myth, a story about a half-man/half-horse—a centaur who was wise, wounded, and wonderful. He turned out heroes by the dozen: Jason, Hercules, Asclepius.

That was 1988. For over 20 years, Chiron has remained my astrological passion. I discovered Chiron just as I launched my astrology career. Ever since, he’s been the compass of my star trek.  From 1992-95, I edited an international newsletter on Chiron’s “continuing discovery” called Chironicles. In 1996, I organized and facilitated a journey of 18 astrologers from four continents to the Pelion region of Greece, Chiron’s mythical homeland. The Chironic Convergence celebrated Chiron’s perihelion or pass closest to Earth in its orbit. It was a “shareshop.” Participants swapped what they’d learned to date about Chiron in a variety of ways that included ritual, chart interpretations, and informal presentations.

 Chiron and Wholeness
Chiron and Wholeness

What would turn me into such a Chironoholic?

Surely we ask this whenever we fall in love, whether it’s with a man, woman, cat, dog, or mythical creature. “What does she see in him?” we wonder, while karma and the law of dynamic attraction have their way with us. (I swear; I hear them laughing!)

Chiron was an underdog in the astrological community during the first decade or two after its 1977 discovery. Many “serious” astrologers weren’t ready to let some upstart into their orderly system of chart analysis. I have always been a sucker for the underdog (or centaur). I suspect that was part of the initial lure.

Most of all, I had a strong inkling that there was “something there.” Barbara Clow’s book ignited and inspired me. Early on, Chiron was nicknamed the Wounded Healer because of the lingering wound he incurred at a wedding feast. He was accidentally shot by a stray, poisoned arrow from the bow of his most beloved student, Hercules. Immortal, Chiron could not die; he had to soldier on. Despite his pain, Chiron continued to mentor hero after hero, bringing out the best in each of them so they could contribute their special skills to society.

I usually “get it” when “something is wrong with this picture.” The accent was on the wrong syllable. It wasn’t just about Chiron’s wound; it was about helping others become all they could be. If heroes save the day, society can only be revived when we each give our unique gifts, things we do like no one else.  Together, each bit of individuality can be woven into a warm quilt of societal wholeness.  We do the same thing with inner growth, integrating our unrelated, unique aspects until we’re fulfilled, embodied spirits. Of course, sometimes in the process, this tapestry feels more like a crazy quilt. Then there’s the pain, for which humor and making the best of things is the only antidote.

Soon, I agreed with those who saw Chiron as the missing link in chart interpretation. Chiron was the first astrologer. Modern astrologers have his same mission: to bring out the best in their clients by helping them identify their greatest gifts. Only when we become busy making our unique difference does pain fall into the background. Then we begin to heal ourselves by helping others.

Astrological Chiron confirms the wounds we have to overcome. Our wounds hold the hide-a-key to our healing.  Chironic people often serve society thanks to their pain. Example: Candy Lightner’s daughter was killed by a drunk driver. She went on to found Mothers Against Drink Drivers (MADD).  MADD’s influence has since led to a 43 percent reduction in US drunk driving deaths. Chiron in your chart will tell you about the pain you need to overcome to deliver the gifts you gained from it.  No pain, no gain—as the saying goes.

Chiron is my gift, one that never stopped giving. Recently, I wove twenty years of learning about Chiron into a primer. It’s a meaty and lushly illustrated synthesis called Chiron and Wholeness. Drop by my blog, The Radical Virgo, anytime to learn more about it and read many of my articles on Chiron and other subjects on becoming the best you.

Chiron and Wholeness gives you the essentials on Chiron. I hope it leaves you wanting more. If at least one idea in my e-book gives anyone the goose bumps, I’ll feel like I’ve come full circle.

(written by Joyce Mason for Anne Whitaker to use)

1000 words copyright Joyce Mason 2009



Joyce Mason
Joyce Mason

Joyce Mason has been an astrologer for over 20 years and a writer ever since she could hold a pencil. Her astrological specialties are Chiron, the sign of Virgo, and living on the upside of the zodiac. Her trademark is depth with humor. Learn more about Joyce, her two blogs, and her library of articles on topics from A to Zzz (astrology to dreamwork) on her Writer Joyce Mason website:

Astrology as a healing and a wounding art 2: the student/practitioner’s view

Please click on link to read the first article in this series of 3:

‘Astrology as a healing and a wounding art 1’

Part Two: From art to actual life – the student / practitioner’ s view

In further pursuing the exploration which my chance encounter with Lisa had begun, I asked my ongoing students for their comments. I was particularly keen to receive feedback from those in my monthly study/supervision group who had been students and practitioners for seven to eight years or more, feeling that they would have a more rounded perspective to offer, based on going through many different stages in their relationship with astrology.

They were asked to reflect on the healing and wounding aspects of working within the astrological model, from the viewpoint of the impact their involvement had had on their personal lives.

Here is their feedback which I found rich, eloquent and varied.

1) – Marie (52) –

Marie's Horoscope
Marie's Horoscope

“I came to astrology when you read my chart in May ‘87. Suddenly, after twenty one years, old pain I had partly buried, partly learned to live with, resurfaced.  I had to come to terms with it,  heal it, if I were to live with myself.  I had had a difficult time when I was nineteen.   At the time of the consultation, Uranus was squaring the Uranus of those events in 1966, and Pluto was conjunct my Chiron –  for me, astrology has always been a healing tool.

More recently, it helped me through the period of my father’s death in 1993 by enabling me to detach and accept by understanding the process.The Uranus/ Neptune conjunction was exact, squaring his 19 Libra sun. At the moment of his heart attack, the Ascendant was exactly conjunct my natal Chiron; Mercury was squaring my Chiron when he died.

For me, astrology is an invaluable tool. I trust more now in my own intuition, especially where the timing of events is concerned. I think we all subconsciously know when the time is right to take a decision, make a phone call, accept an offer or whatever. I   regularly run up charts for significant moments and find the Ascendant reveals the flavour of the moment, the Moon the timing of the event, Mars the motivating force underlying it and Mercury often literally brings the message.

An interesting example of this is when I began to realise that the house I lived in was playing a part in my healing process.  Being convinced of the significance of certain moments in time, I ran up a chart for the exact moment my husband and I  entered the house for the first time as owners.  It was Hallowe’en 1984 and the sun was at 8 Scorpio conjunct my Chiron.  Not only that, the house’s Chiron was conjunct my Moon and Node at 7 Gemini, the Moon was on my Ascendant and Venus on my MC.  Even more incredible, the Ascendant of the house chart was 29 Cancer 27, which turned out to be the Jupiter of  W.G. Morton, the artist who had  had it built in 1912 – his Jupiter was 29 Cancer 30 !   Morton’s  ghost haunted the house ; I   felt I could help him let go and move on.  My Pluto at 11 Leo is exactly conjunct his Moon and IC at 10 and 11 Leo.

These amazing synchronicities prove to me how finely tuned our lives are, and what a gift astrology is in helping me interpret the meaning of my life, face up to the dark side of my nature and co-operate as best I can with transits as they ebb and flow.

We don’t always get what we expect. My Mum’s Sun, Venus and Mars are at 2,6 and10 Sagittarius respectively.  With Pluto crossing these degrees and also opposing my Moon Node conjunction at 7 Gemini, I was scared I was going to lose her.  She is 84 ; when I looked ahead to these Pluto transits, it seemed a likely outcome. I’m sure you would agree that  projecting fear onto upcoming transits is one of the most obvious facets of the wounding side of astrology…….

However, as Pluto stripped away all that was unnecessary in her life, she began to give away her money and her jewelry and to talk about her death in a very matter-of-fact way. How  could she see us enjoy our inheritance if she’d gone?  Better still, she began for the first time in my life to tell me she loved me and  was proud of me, words I had waited for all my life. I no longer live in fear of her death, but accept all our time together now as a bonus.  During this period, Chiron was also busy. On the day she gave me , out of the blue, a large sum of money, Chiron was 2 Sagittarius ,conjunct  her sun, and the IC of the moment!

I can only sum up by saying that whenever I feel I’m stumbling around in the dark, astrology restores my faith in life by reconnecting me to a sense of meaning  and purpose.”

2) – Andrea (39) –

Andrea's Horoscope
Andrea's Horoscope

On the whole, I’ve been very lucky with the astrologers I’ve met. Almost all have been good people, good astrologers and have definitely helped me on my way. From a personal viewpoint, astrology has helped me to open my heart and my soul to a way of being centred on self-acceptance and love; I’m not sure I would have managed that otherwise. I’ve learned to treat myself with a bit more sympathy and understanding – and hopefully treat other people the same way. My experience of astrology has opened me to the deeper mysteries of life – even if I can’t put that into words or fully understand it, I know it’s there. That’s such a healing experience, because the sense of awe makes me want to try harder to be responsible for my life, to live it in a positive way.

Having said all that, for a while I didn’t look at the Ephemeris or any astrology. Partly, the reason for that is that astrology can turn me away from my own life. That seems a complete contradiction to what I’ve just said.

Maybe, for me, this is the wounded/wounding side of astrology  – being so busy reading astrology, looking at charts, thinking about aspects, looking at planets, transits, progressions, or midpoints meant I was too busy to live my life in the present – I would be thinking about the past or looking to the future.

Recently, when looking at my transits, (which I hadn’t looked at  for  months) I had a sharp intake of breath as I saw Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and progressed Moon all triggering off planets in my natal chart. The sense of trepidation  was almost overwhelming. I have to work hard to just meet life as it comes. For me, that’s a real challenge – astrology can help me to be more aware, but I have to resist the urge to think I know what it means before I get there.”

3) – Charlotte (35) –

Charlotte's Horoscope
Charlotte's Horoscope

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

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

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

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

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

4) – Alice (35) –

Alice's Horoscope
Alice's Horoscope

“ My first experience with ‘real’ as opposed to ‘Sun Sign’ astrology was at night school. My birth chart was not what I had expected. I was a true Sagittarian, adventurous, lucky, fun loving and optimistic, wasn’t I ? Oh yes – I was pleased with my grand trine in fire. That made sense; but a meek, mild, service-seeking Virgo ascendant was not exactly me. Oh well, I suppose I could come across that way to some people.

Then I see it – a small black glyph sitting right on top of my Ascendant. It must be a mistake. I feel like scrubbing it  out. I don’t want Pluto there on my lovely chart. I’m nothing like a Scorpion type – moody, emotional, secretive, jealous, controlling. My Venus sitting smugly in Capricorn does not enhance my frame of mind. I take small consolation from hearing it is earthy and loyal. I feel cheated, and continue to long for Venus in Taurus.

Gradually over the term, astrology stripped me of my pre-conceptions of myself, and left me exposed to the facts. I could no longer carry on in blissful denial of the deeper, darker side of my nature.

A significant  turning point came when I was asked to explain the types of things which had been happening to me, since I was experiencing my Saturn return at that point. I couldn’t explain. I hadn’t a clue what was going on. Where did I start? My teacher then summarised, in a couple of minutes, the way I had been feeling and how it was all part of a process. The light had been switched on. It was an amazing experience. I felt understood, accepted, and not alone.

The more I learned about  the interacting energies within my chart, the more I could accept myself and stop having to put on an act. The energy I had previously been using to keep Pluto well at bay, could now be directed towards more constructive pursuits. I felt freed. The healing had begun.”

to be continued

1900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2009
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Astrology as a healing and a wounding art

Ten years ago, with Chiron crossing my IC/South Node , I was drawn to reflecting on my involvement with astrology both as a student, practitioner and teacher. The result was “Astrology as a Healing and a Wounding Art”, published in Apollon, The Journal of Psychological Astrology, in Issue 3, August 1999. Now, with Chiron, Jupiter and Neptune squaring my MC/IC/Nodes, it feels like an appropriate time to offer out the observations and insights of my then clients and  students to a new audience from a new context. Reading the article again after such a long time, their thoughtful comments still seem to me to be powerful and illuminating. I hope you enjoy and benefit from what they have to say.

The article will appear in three installments. It has been slightly edited. Names have been changed for confidentiality.

Part One: from Art into Real Life: the client’s view

“Teach me your mood, o patient stars
who climb each night the ancient sky.
Leaving no space, no shade, no scars,
no trace of age, no fear to die.”


We do not know why we are here. This could be said to be the primary wound of humankind. In order to assuage it, and in attempting to heal it, we have spun around ourselves a web of wonderful richness and intricacy, woven of many bright threads of myth, poetry, religious belief, art, sacred architecture, storytelling, music, adventurous quests of mind, body and spirit. Wars have been fought, and countless millions of lives destroyed, in the clash of differing religious beliefs, and socio-political theories, which have been created in our attempts to heal that primary wound by creating a sense of meaning and order.

However, despite the best efforts of the greatest minds throughout the whole of our history, we still don’t even know what consciousness is. Far less do we know why we tiny creatures, wonderfully creative and terrifyingly destructive, cling to planet Earth, an insignificant speck of planetary gravel hurtling through the vastness of infinite space.

Thus we need teleological frameworks more than ever. This need is reflected in the  proliferation of paths on the quest for meaning which seem to be opening up  as this new millennium begins. The longest trodden of them all, about to enter its seventh millennium, is astrology. Not only has it survived the onslaught  of contemporary science – but may even be seen in some quarters to be making alliances with it !

Astrologer at Work - Mediaeval Style!
Astrologer at Work - Mediaeval Style!

Wounding, healing and the art of astrology

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

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

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

It is easy enough to talk about the positive healing benefits of an astrological framework, providing as it does a major defence against meaninglessness and insignificance. Feeling connected at a personal level to loved ones and friends is recognised as a major factor in promoting and maintaining physical, emotional and mental health and happiness. Feeling connected at a more cosmic level lets us see that  we are not random accidents in time and space, but threads in the weave of a greater pattern – very small threads perhaps, but contributors nevertheless. This awareness promotes a sense of spiritual well being.

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

The sense of wonder and significance which comes with realising, for example, that  one transiting aspect can and does produce a range of observable manifestations, all apparently different, which spring from the same core, never quite stops being thrilling no matter how long you’ve been a practitioner. Saturn in Scorpio squared my Moon during the nineteen-eighties. I don’t especially recall what the emotional challenges of the time were. But I still vividly remember that my favourite silver chain turned almost black for no reason at the start of the transit, resisting several jewellers’ attempts to clean it up. It was dumped at the back of a drawer. Just after the transit was over, I came across it again – as sparking bright as the day I got it.

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

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

The client’s view

Impetus in translating this essay from inner reflection to grounding in the actual world of people’s lives came, fittingly enough, from a recent chance encounter with a former client, Lisa, now aged thirty three. She was very excited about her imminent departure to live and work in California, and we talked about that. But then, quite unexpectedly, she brought up the subject of the one-off reading I had done for her eight years previously. In common with most astrologers, I am always interested in feedback from former clients, especially those with whom one only has a one -off encounter, and usually no idea of what the impact of the experience over time has been for them.

What she had to say was so clearly expressed that I invited her to email me with her comments, which she did. Here they are :

“ It must be about eight years since I came to you for a reading, but there are one or two things that stand out in my memory about that visit. The first was how accurately you were able to describe aspects of my character – I can’t pretend to understand it, but for some reason seeing it laid out in front of me was very reassuring. Perhaps because it gave validity to my personality. That was who I was, and you encouraged me to feel good and confident about that.

However, I think that the main benefit of that visit was the discussion relating to my decision making process. You said you imagined that I would find this quite difficult as there were three equally valid, and contradictory, aspects to my character. The outcome of that discussion was that I no longer got caught up in my inability to make a decision, something that used to cause me unnecessary stress. What I do now is to allow each of the viewpoints to surface until such time as the decision has to be made. It might seem like a simple thing, but it has had an enormous impact. Overall, I am less critical of myself. That’s got to be a good thing! ”

Lisa’s feedback was pleasing and illuminating to have. If compared  with feedback which other astrologers receive on the effect of their one-off sessions, I feel pretty confident that the core of it would be similar, although of course individual clients as Lisa did, would also emphasise individual themes peculiar to their own horoscope. Competent and sensitive astrological work, one hopes, has an impact on clients’ lives where the healing dimensions are very much to the forefront of their experience.

In trying to establish a general guideline for the interplay of healing and wounding in people’s response to exposure to the astrological model, one could use the simple image of light for healing, and dark for wounding, quite effectively. My feeling is, if we take a broad spectrum from very bright at one end to very dark at the other, that  one-off  consultations, well handled, with clients who are at the right point of readiness for the experience, would occupy a position very close to the brightest end of that spectrum.

Where individuals find themselves, of course, depends on a number of factors such as age, experience, maturity, sensitivity or otherwise, degree of stoicism, capacity for joy and faith in life, predisposition to depression, and so on. There is also  movement up and down the spectrum, depending on the same range of factors combined with what life chooses to dish up at  various points. So this image is only meant as a general reference tool !

Chiron the Wounded Healer
Chiron the Wounded Healer

However, experience and observation tell me that the more exposure there is to the astrological model, the more people’s position begins to shift from bright to darker, as the promethean implications of involvement  begin to emerge. As I write this I am thinking of a very bright and gifted male client, now in his mid-forties, who has been coming for astrological reviews every year or two for over a decade. His horoscope is rich and complex; at its heart lies a grand cross involving the Sun, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus and the Nodes. This complex pattern links in with both his brightest gifts and his deepest pains, and we have worked with that pattern on sufficient occasions now for him to have developed a clear understanding of the paradoxes it brings.

On balance, he feels that  having the framework which astrology provides is more healing than wounding. But it doesn’t stop him, for example, fearing his Saturn transits, at the same time as he knows intellectually that the upcoming challenge of each one is to define who he is in the world more clearly, whilst jettisoning ever more of the painful old baggage which slows him down. He now knows that the problem with accepting Prometheus’ gift is that  under no circumstances can one give it back, even if one feels too vulnerable at times to be able to cope with it very well………..

to be continued

1700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2009
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page