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…
An example: the Jupiter Cycle Think for a moment about your life pattern: most of us begin secondary or high school between the ages of 11-12. The essence of this stage is that of opening up to a bigger, more challenging life. Hopefully as we are exposed to a broader subject range and more in-depth study, we begin to see more options appear, with new possibilities. Maybe we experience our first trip abroad, learn a new language, develop new passions (in more ways than one!). Or we may relocate with our family, eg if one parent takes on a new post in another country. Astrologers view this 11-12 age in symbolic terms as the first Jupiter Return. Astronomically, if you were born eg when the planet Jupiter was at 19 Taurus of the 360 degrees circle of the Sun’s path through the heavens as viewed from Earth, (where it is now, on 20.7.23) it will return to that position every 11.6 years throughout your life: 11-12, 23-4, 35-6, 47-8, 59-60 and so on. Core meanings, new possibilities Each time, the core meaning is the same, as new possibilities of one kind or another open up, taking your life further along the path of discovery and learning. Jupiter’s symbolic action works in this way in essence for us all, although there are many branches of possible manifestation arising from the Jupiterian core. Each person’s horoscope offers a different ‘take’on the core principles or characters of each of the planets occupying Life’s stage as revealed by a horoscope or birth chart drawn up for the date, place, and all-important exact time of birth. Working creatively with Cycles, Fate and free will A competent and experienced astrologer can be very useful in helping you via examination of the planetary symbols and other features in your horoscope, to understand yourself and your world more clearly. S/He can also, by examining the unfolding patterns of your life via the planetary cycles, look backwards into the past, examine the present, and give you some idea of the essence of what is coming up next. This can help you to understand your past, live more realistically in the present, and ‘set your sails to the prevailing wind’ as a new cycle takes shape and unfolds over the next few years. Through this interaction both you and the astrologer are ideally working creatively with the balance of Fate (eg your Jupiter cycles will always begin with Jupiter in Taurus if your birth date is 20.7.23) and free will or agency depending on your particular life circumstances, the degree of self-awareness you have, and the choices you make. Thus, knowledge of the core meanings of each of the planets, and how their cycles unfold as Time passes, can be very useful even to those of you who have an open-minded interest in astrology without necessarily knowing very much about it. Talking Cycles with Ana Isabel : Part One Ana and I have now had several enjoyable conversations on a variety of astrological topics including Anaretic Degrees, Fate and Neptune; Ghosts, Spirits, Impressions and Predictions; and Astrology’s Dragons (the Moon’s Nodes) in the last year or so.
Last week, we embarked on a conversation about one of my favourite astrological topics, the cycles of the planets. Exploring our work with students, clients, and examples from our own lives, we touched on the 11-12 year cycles of Jupiter (as per the example offered earlier in this post) , the 29-30 year cycles of Saturn, that planetary taskmaster who challenges us to shed our illusions, take responsibility for the reality of who we actually are, and grow up. We also touched on the 18-19 year cycle of the Moon’s Nodes, whose South Node point shows us where we have come from, and the North Node which guides us, like a constant Northern Star, in the direction our soul needs to go in this life.
Enjoy listening, do leave a comment to let us know what you think or share your own experiences…
****** We will be returning for Part Two before long, discussing and exploring more cycles including the fascinating 50 year return cycle of Chiron, the Wounded Healer as he is commonly known. Watch this space!
I first encountered the late, great mundane astrologer Charles Harvey when he gave a lecture in Glasgow in the early 1980s. At that point I was grappling with the intricacies of chart calculation (yes, folks, there was an era when we had no option but to do that manually!) and learning the basics of interpretation. I was then only dimly aware of the profound significance of planetary cycles and their bearing on our collective and personal lives.
One hour in that lecture theatre with Charles, quite simply, threw open a door for me to hitherto unknown, compelling territory where – to quote Charles quoting Plato (something he was very fond of doing) – ‘Time is the flowing image of Eternity’: with the planets in their never-ending cycles being the instruments of Time. I have never forgotten that first introduction; fascination for the timing and wisdom planetary cycles have to offer has deepened as my personal time has unfolded.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.(i) Whether the cycle is huge, like the 500 year Neptune/Pluto one, 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.
In considering the unfolding of any cycle, we can’t do better than to use the symbolic template of the monthly 29.5 days Sun/Moon cycle– easily observable in the night sky above us – to guide us in our reflections, actions, and choices.
The crescent moon, first indication that the energies of a New Moon are beginning to take form in the world, does not appear until two or three days into the cycle. As a rule of thumb, that is around one twelfth of the whole 29.5 day period.
From that first encounter with Charles’ inspiring perspective, over the years of continuing to work with clients’ and students’ horoscopes as well as my own, I became increasingly fascinated with the developmental significance of the first and final twelfths of any cycle (equivalent to the waxing and waning crescents): not least because of the enduring fascination over millennia and all cultures, and its significance in mathematics, of the number twelve.(ii)
(I should perhaps declare the possibility of some personal bias here, though: as well as having far too many planets in the twelfth house, I was born in number twelve of the street in which my parents lived at the time!)
I slowly began to notice that the ending/balsamic/twelfth house phase of an old cycle seemed to carry clues – seeds – in an individual’s horoscope regarding what the major themes arising in the new one might be. Recently, it has occurred to me that one can apply this principle to the very much larger cycles of collective life too, something about which I am currently writing at some length.
Focusing for the moment on the opening twelfth of personal cycles, the one which ‘delivers’ most clearly is the 29/30 year Saturn cycle. I’ve seen innumerable examples over the years, of how the most significant changes which were decisively to shape someone’s life thereafter, appeared more clearly in the two or three years post Saturn Return, than in the year of the Return itself.(iii)
In my own case, I changed career, becoming an unqualified social worker on my Saturn Return. In the subsequent two to three years I qualified in my new profession, met my future husband – and began seriously to investigate astrology.
I had a bafflingly accurate horoscope reading in my late twenties following a chance encounter in a launderette in Bath, Somerset during the twelfth house phase of my first Saturn cycle: this shook my scepticism (based on the usual ignorance) to the core, sowing seeds of which I was then completely unaware which would later grow into a career of nearly forty years’ duration.
My previous column mused on the conundrum in which we are currently held this year, metaphorically speaking: the new Saturn/Pluto cycle which will force us to re-define how we live as a human collective has only just begun.
But two Jupiter/Saturn cycles – one of twenty years, the other of over two hundred years concluding the Jupiter/Saturn series through the Earth Element since 1803 – have yet to end, with a dramatic flourish at the winter solstice of 2020.
The 2000 to 2020 final Jupiter/Saturn cycle in Earth can be seen as the twelfth house phase of the long cyclic journey which began in 1803, as the Industrial Revolution started gaining the momentum which has totally transformed how we live on Planet Earth.
The first significant event of that 2000/2020 cycle, which took place at the ‘crescent moon’ stage, can be seen as 9/11, the terrorist attack taking down New York’s Twin Towers on 11 September 2001 which has resulted in a hugely disruptive re-ordering of geo-political structures right across the globe.
The other major world-changer which began to accelerate from 2000 has been the massive rise of a computer and smartphone-expedited inter-connected world.
Ever since Saturn moved into Aquarius in late March 2020, and lockdown has spread to varying degrees across the map in our collective struggle to contain the covid 19 epidemic, we have seen the seeds of a new world order emerge with the massive rise and spread of internet platforms such as Zoom.
It’s a very difficult time to be a human –and the best break the planet has ever had from our increasingly destructive activities.
I’m finding it useful to regard the first twenty year Jupiter/Saturn cycle in Air from Winter Solstice 2020 to Hallowe’en 2040 ( WHO chose those dates?!) as the emerging ‘crescent moon’ phase of a very long cycling of Jupiter/Saturn through the Air element.
This suggests the need for us as a human community to learn patience and humility in the face of the regulating planetary cycles which have been symbolically pointing out two very significant things to which we should be paying close attention.
One, we have come to the end of a whole way of living on Planet Earth which has become increasingly unsustainable by any of the creatures inhabiting it. Two, it is going to take us at least the next twenty years, realistically, to re-shape our world into a new order which hopefully will be an improvement.
This will be led by an emerging generation of young folks whose ideals, on the whole, seem to be more collective and environmentally responsible than the materialistic baby-boomers of my generation whose race is almost run…
i) The Bible: Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 Verse 1 King James Version (KJV)
Some of you will have read my recent article on Astrodienst, Some Notes on Cycles in a Time of Crisis, which sets the turmoil, violence and complexity of our home planet at present in the context of the great planetary cycles which symbolically describe the turbulence of a changing world order so graphically.
In the meantime, we poor wee human individuals caught in the Saturn/Pluto/Nodes grinder are trying to survive it all, and if possible make some sense of it. One of the undoubted gifts of the Saturn/Pluto combination – and I should know, with the exact conjunction conjunct four personal planets – is the capacity to endure, and to be brave in tackling what must be faced and dealt with.
Beyond that, in my view we leave the rest to Spirit, the Unseen, the Divine – whatever name you wish to use in reaching out to that which is forever beyond our human grasp. I came to the practice of astrology a long time ago, seeking some kind of proof that we lived in a meaningful universe, that all the turmoils and struggles of life meant something – that we are not all mere butterflies pinned to the board of Fate within a random, meaningless cosmos.
And I did find pattern – meaning too. The great cycles tell us that we are part of a vast pattern charged with meaning. Each of us, tiny chips of the prevailing energies of our date, place and time of birth, products of our era, has our small part to play in the unfolding of the great cosmic Pattern.
In times of difficulty, I have always taken consolation from contemplating the Bigger Picture, taking refuge in a sense of the sacred. I know from my own, my friends, students and clients’ lives at present – avoiding mentioning the state of our nations eg in the UK and the USA! – that times are hard for so many of us.
So – tonight, feeling meditative, I thought I’d share a favourite quote, which every time I read it walks me gently into Mystery, brings me some refuge, some peace…
“….in this journey of the spirit, I and others still walk that steep uphill road….And all our religious ediﬁces, which serve ﬁrst as staffs to help us on our way, in the end become crutches which we must discard….And the doctrines which we espouse and which we hold dear are only smooth shining stones which we pick up on the road and place in our baggage. With each new dogma and doctrine, the baggage grows heavier, until we discard these pebbles, one by one, leaving them on the roadside for others to ﬁnd and carry a little further. And in the end we have need of neither doctrine nor creed, nor to name that which we worship – for it is beyond all image and words….”(i)