Tag Archives: Saturn Return

As Saturn returns to Pluto in Capricorn: some notes on Saturn Returns…

I’ve had quite a few messages of late, asking me why I haven’t posted here for a few weeks. Well, like almost everyone else to whom I speak, I’ve been feeling the pressure and heaviness of a very challenging year since Saturn began to catch up with Pluto in Capricorn last Spring 2019, coming within three degrees of exact conjunction in April as they met the South Node in Capricorn. Recent weeks have thus been a time for some rest and reflection. 

Saturn...

Saturn…

As I wrote in one of my recent articles exploring various dimensions of this fearsome conjunction:

‘… In essence, Saturn/Pluto lets us off with nothing, either personally or collectively. We are forced into increasingly tight corners, whilst the pressure is ramped up on us to face and deal with the present consequences of past decisions, some of which might not be of our direct making. The environmental crisis which has become so vivid this year with the Nodal Axis joining the dance of Saturn/Pluto throughout 2019, is a case in point…’(i)

I am currently writing a reflective piece on what we should try to learn from a not very much discussed topic, ie the end or balsamic phase of planetary cycles, which I hope to post here soon. So – watch this space!

Prompting me to write today have been several conversations I’ve had, not all of them directly in person, with people coming up to experiencing their Saturn Returns at this time: both the first at age 29/30,  and the 59/60 second Saturn Return.

Since the 1981/2 Saturn/Pluto conjunction cycle ends, with the new one beginning, on 12 January 2020 with the two meeting at 23 degrees of Capricorn along with the Sun, Mercury – and Jupiter not far behind – those folks at the end of their twenties and fifties are facing a profoundly defining transition during their Saturn Returns since theirs involve Saturn/Pluto as well as the other planets.

Every completing of a Saturn 29/30 year cycle is  a time of being invited, in essence, to separate out as best we can from who we are not, in order to become more fully who it is we actually are meant to be.

The Second Saturn Return carries additional gravitas, because it represents a challenge to sum up what the whole Saturn cycle since age 29/30 has been about. From the Third Return on, if we live that long, coming to terms with life’s approaching ending is the biggest challenge any of us will face.

So – I decided I’d share the reflective work I have done on the Saturn Returns, to give those of my readers, younger and older, some food for thought and hopefully support in facing a challenging life stage coming up as this year ends and 2020 begins. The most recent version, published in The Mountain Astrologer magazine, is at the end of this post.

For the record, and to cheer up anyone who is feeling dismal about all this Saturn/Pluto stuff and impending Saturn Returns, I was born with several personal planets conjunct an exact Saturn/Pluto conjunction, and have been through two Saturn Returns which triggered my natal Saturn/Pluto combination.

I’m still here, still standing, still productive, not too displeased with how my life has turned out. So my writing is born not out of theory but out of surviving some very tough challenges – both of my own making and through things over which the only control I had was over the attitudes I decided to adopt…

Buddhist wisdom considers dealing with adversity as the process of “Forging the Diamond Soul”. I found meditating on this a great support in some very hard times, both past and recently.

I do hope you enjoy this article and find it helpful in getting the best out of your upcoming Saturn Returns:

The Saturn Cycles by Anne Whitaker

Endnote:

(i) Posted on Astrodienst 17.9.19… Some Notes on Cycles in a Time of Crisis

650 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2019

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see About Page 

 

 

Greetings to Saturn in Scorpio: and what were YOU doing 1983-5?

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 blog run 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:

chandra.harvard.edu

 “….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….”

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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!

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

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Farewell – the Libran Saturn Return!

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 Autumn 1983 – 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….

Saturn - welcome to the Real World!

Saturn – welcome to the Real World!

wordsources.info

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 Autumn 1983 (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 Pisces Saturn 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 Autumn 1983 (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!

Investigating Real Lives

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 Autumn 1983 (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)

In conclusion….

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!!

NOTES

(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! 

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1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2012
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Second Saturn Return and beyond: The Cycles of Saturn part 4

To read Parts 1,2 and 3 of “The Cycles of Saturn: forging the “Diamond Soul” click HERE

Second Saturn Return: Ages 58-59

By the second Saturn return, we can see what our lives have become — and we can see what it is too late to change. This is one of the most fundamental differences in perspective between the second and the first return. At age 30 we have probably still to sow the most productive seeds of our lives — what we have already sown is still only germinating. But by the approach of 60, we are reaping the harvest and are confronted with the stark Biblical words, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

Saturn is the planet of strict justice. Blind, stubborn, arrogant, or fearful refusal to face certain basic realities in life, as the second cycle unfolds, skews the life path further and further away from who we could become – were we able to acknowledge and accept who we actually are rather than try to be who we are not. This can bring increasing pain, dissatisfaction, emptiness, and depression as the second Saturn return approaches.

Facing the Final Cycle of Saturn: 60 +

Franz Hals: an image of serene later life

Franz Hals: an image of serene later life

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frans_Hals

At one end of the spectrum are those who arrive at this stage feeling that their time on this Earth has not been wasted. They have very few regrets and are prepared to face the final cycle of life with equanimity, perhaps rooted in great spiritual depth. These people usually retain a zest for life and its remaining possibilities.

At the other end are those who have sown meanly, poorly, or fearfully, and are reaping a harvest of regret, bitterness, loneliness, physical ill health, and fear of the waning of physical power and attractiveness in the inevitable decline toward death.

Most of us will arrive somewhere in the middle range: satisfied with some aspects of our achievement and disappointed by our areas of failure — or those things that fate appears to have denied us without our having had much option for negotiation.

I see the main challenges of this stage as follows:

* first, to value what we HAVE been able to do

*second, to come to terms with and accept those failures or disappointments that it is now too late to change

* third, to find, within the limitations and constraints imposed by our state of mind, body, spirit, and bank balance, some further goals that are realistically achievable, which bring a sense of meaning and enjoyment to whatever time we have left.

Recommended book: 

Saturn A New Look at an Old Devil

  Saturn: A New Look At An Old Devil
by Liz Greene
.

  Info/Order book.

( NOTE: The full text of this article was first published in the UK’s ‘Astrological Journal’ (Nov/Dec 1996), and subsequently in ‘www.innerself.com’ and ‘The Mountain Astrologer’ (Feb/Mar 1998)

It was recently included in  The Mountain Astrologer’s “Editor’s Choice” : 43 previously out-of-print articles from TMA in the 1990s, available on CD from the autumn of 2010.“The Mountain Astrologer” is recognised as the world’s leading astrology magazine.)

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


The Cycles of Saturn: forging the “Diamond Soul”: part 3

To read Part One and Two of this series click HERE

Everyone has their distortions, their failures, their blindness. The gift of the first Saturn return is that the pressures it inevitably applies, bring a great opportunity for us to look at those very aspects we have hitherto been unable to face.

Saturn turns up the heat and pressure so much that the price of continued avoidance becomes higher than we are prepared to pay. Thus, realizing at a heart and soul level that “…the easiest path….is not the path of personal growth has been the major turning point of many a life.

Saturn

Mythological Saturn

http://www.freewebs.com/saturnmen/planet-saturn.gif

Whether a person is functioning in a healthy way by the first Saturn return is dependent psychologically on how well he or she has negotiated the first three stages of the cycle: 7-8 years , 14-15 years, and 29-30 years.

For example, those who have been unable to effectively separate from their mothers at the waxing square at ages 7-8 may still be locked into a dependent relationship at 29-30, thereby distorting their development as the second cycle begins. Those without long-term partners, unable as yet to mature from the challenges of the first opposition at ages 14-15, may not see that being alone is better than being in an unfulfilling partnership, and are likely to carry some self-destructive relationship patterns into the next cycle.

Finally, those who have failed to negotiate effective entry into the adult working world at the waning square of ages 21-22 are likely to have even more difficulty as their 30s advance, unless they can begin to see what self-defeating patterns are blocking their path.

I find it very satisfying to work with clients who are either in the 27-to-30-year phase, or have been through the return and are taking stock at the beginning of the second cycle. It is here that the gifts of astrology are at their most potent, but only if people are willing to face who they are and be open to exploring some possible avenues of development that a good astrology reading can provide.

Clients who are strongly plugged into the energies symbolized by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto can take a very long time to bring these connections into consciousness. The usual pattern is to be battered and buffeted by these powerful energies right up until the age of 30 and beyond. It usually takes at least this long for such individuals to begin to comprehend their relationship with those great impersonal forces. Then they can consciously begin to align the personal with the impersonal in a more aware, less fearful, and, therefore, more creative way.

Until age 30, life’s energy is waxing. The first Saturn return could be seen as the Full Moon point of life. Thereafter, the body starts to die, energy to wane, and our ability to recover from self-inflicted punishment and the battering of life begins to diminish. Consequently, the margin for serious errors to be made, from which one can recover and even benefit, grows inexorably narrower. The development of self-awareness becomes ever more important, as well as a realistic appreciation of both one’s gifts and limitations.

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

To order this recommended book click HERE

 To read Part 4:  Second Saturn Return and Beyond

click HERE 

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600 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

http://chemistry.about.com/od/growingcrystals/ig/Crystal-Photo-Gallery/Copper-Sulfate-Crystals.htm

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

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



Aside

“Just as water flows downhill, the tendency in all of nature is to take the easiest path. That direction, however, is not the path of personal growth.” (1)  “…Saturn’s heat and pressure are needed in order that we can develop … Continue reading

Astrology as a healing and a wounding art 3: healing and wounding – an intricate weave

Please click on links to read the first two articles in this series of 3:

‘Astrology as a healing and a wounding art 1’

‘Astrology as a healing and a wounding art 2’

Part Three : Healing and wounding – a close and intricate weave

The big picture

I had hoped in asking for feedback from long-term students that they would provide a range of responses which illustrated the main themes regarding  both the healing and the wounding dimensions of astrology – they did not disappoint me.  Andrea’s“sense of awe” which inspires her to try harder to take responsibility for her life, live it in a positive way, is  typical of the spiritual and soul healing which the study and practice of astrology can bring. This is well illustrated also by Marie’s concluding comment 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.”

However, there are also wounding dimensions to setting one’s small individual life in the context of the big picture. The planetary energies are archetypal, and the further out you go, especially to the great collective powers of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, the harder it is to hold onto any sense of personal identity, uniqueness. There is a cold inexorability to the unfolding of the planetary pattern through space and time, an utter impersonality. Being given a slice of that time and space as an image of one’s all too fallible humanness can be less than comforting, in fact can be very threatening.

I sometimes get a gut sense of this whilst out walking in the Scottish hills, something I am addicted to doing, and will do under almost any weather conditions. Go to wild, remote places and you will become aware of the archetypal forces of nature, their potentially destructive power, even as your soul is being uplifted by marvellous landscape and the utter peace of being where the only sound is of the wind and of birdsong. In these beautiful, peaceful places I have occasionally had fear descend on me even on sunny days, accompanying an awareness of how implacably indifferent the landscape is to my existence. Its power could sweep my life away given a sudden change of weather, or one slip on a hillside could turn me into yet another fatality statistic. As Shakespeare put it in King Lear :

”As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods;
They kill us for their sport.”

(W. Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 4, Scene 1 )

The Five Sisters and Loch Duich, Kintail, Scotland

The Five Sisters and Loch Duich, Kintail, Scotland

At times of personal bleakness which afflict us all on occasion , looking at the horoscope doesn’t always bring a sense of comforting connection to higher powers.

The individual chart

One of the most potent pieces of healing that astrology has to offer was, I felt, well summed up by Lisa, the one-off client:

”……..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 ……………”.

Over  and over again, I have heard from clients that the most valuable thing about their astrology reading was just that validation commented on by Lisa.

But Charlotte’s question “why me? Why did I have to have this chart? “ clearly illustrates where all but the most blithe of us have surely been, as the harder realities of certain chart configurations began to dawn with our more sophisticated understanding of the implications of the natal horoscope.

Certain natal chart configurations may be wonderful opportunities for growth, but it’s usually going to be bloody painful when they’re triggered, and this is a lifetime’s reality which even the sturdiest of us find hard to face and accept, especially in times of vulnerability. If there’s anyone reading this who feels joyous at having been given an exact Saturn Pluto conjunction linked with most of their personal planets (me!), could they please phone me, and  reverse the charges!

The contrasts provided so humorously by Alice, who celebrated her Sagittarian energies as “adventurous, lucky, fun loving and optimistic” but wanted to scrub out Pluto when she saw it sitting right on top of her Ascendant, who longed for Venus in Taurus whilst being decidedly lukewarm about her actual Venus in Capricorn, is so typical of most students’ reaction to initial exposure to their natal chart !

I think it’s also fairly typical of most astrologers’ starting position in their developing relationship with their own horoscopes over time. Ideally, one comes to the point of enjoying and utilising, for example, one’s Sun-Moon-Jupiter grand trine in fire without being too immodest about it, or too obviously pitying those lesser mortals not fortunate enough to have had this divine gift bestowed upon them.

If it is also possible to come to an acceptance of difficult energies such as Uranus Pluto rising – notice that Alice forebore even to mention Pluto’s close companion on her Ascendant ! – combined with finding some positive outward channel for its disruptive, wayward and potentially destructive power, then one is well on the way to living in a reasonably positive way with the unique challenges of the individual birth chart.

The unfolding pattern

The intricate weave of healing and wounding is very obvious in considering the responses to transits and progressions of those of us who have trodden the astrological path for a while. Trying to second guess the universe’s response to our presence in it, seems to  be a favourite occupation of astrologers. This is trenchantly summed up by Andrea :

“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.”

Astrologers can be hubristic, arrogant and just plain wrong in their attempts to know what it means before they get there – damaging to their clients as well as themselves. Astrology is a very powerful aid to awareness. It is also very useful in mapping out the terrain in broad terms, and in offering accurate timings. But life reminds us often enough, through our mistakes and errors of judgement of the planetary pattern, that the unconscious, by definition, is precisely that. It is not notable for an inclination to reveal deeper intentions beyond the ego’s access, just because some astrologer is standing somewhere near the entrance cave to its mysterious terrain waving an ephemeris,  shouting ” I’m pretty sure this Venus/Uranus transit means…………”

Alice’s and Marie’s differing feedback on their response to transits, I think also sums up  both ends of the healing/wounding continuum well, from a somewhat different perspective to that of Andrea. On the one hand we have Alice describing her teacher’s clarifying what was going on at Alice’s  Saturn Return :

” …………………..The light had been switched on. It was an amazing experience. I felt understood, accepted, and not alone. ……..”

Marie’s reaction to recent transits affecting her elderly mother was a lot less positive :

‘”…….. 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…….”

Yes, I certainly do agree ! And we’ve all done it, no matter how  spiritual, actualised, wise or mature we think we are. Most beginning students find their introduction to transits and progressions enlightening, productive of a powerful
sense of meaningful connection to something greater than themselves, exhilerating –  and scary.

As a teacher, I find I have to work hard to strike the right balance :  between giving information, setting a constructive context, offering honesty and realism, always trying to be aware of my own permanent and serious limitations by virtue of being human, avoiding projecting my own particular fears, and bringing in the tempering influence of humour.

I also have to realise that students must negotiate for themselves, after all that, what the balance is going to be for them between the healing and wounding facets of the study and practice of astrology.

I always point out to them when they start expressing fears about upcoming transits – Saturn and Pluto being the favourite raisers of fear – that ninety nine point nine five percent of the human race has got through the whole of our collective history without knowing anything about astrology, despite the fact that one hundred per cent of us have always had every kind of transit from the start of life till its end. This usually helps! It is very important not to give the impression that astrological knowledge can protect us from life. Its great healing gift is that it can help us greatly to make some sense of it.

Conclusion

I would like to conclude this series by wondering why so few people, having penetrated such a complex subject to the stage of acquiring a reasonable degree of fluency,  seem to give up the practice of astrology, despite its having a wounding as well as a healing dimension. I suspect a major reason is that once virginity has been lost, it cannot be regained. For most  of us, the price paid for that loss of innocence is worth it, for the more complex and full, albeit more difficult, life that is opened up as a result. Once the gods’ fire has been stolen, it cannot be returned. Futhermore, as Charlotte put it :

” Personally, I couldn’t  not  know. Otherwise I wouldn’t have pursued the subject as long as I have. “

Trust a  multiple Sagittarian to put that into words for the rest of us! There is an incurable  curiosity in human beings, and a relentless drive to create meaning, perhaps in the hope that one day we will be able to heal the primary wound of not knowing why we are here. Once we have held the gods’ stolen fire overhead, and seen the intriguing, flickering, chimeric shadows it throws up for us, we become addicted to the quest to find what the shapes behind those shadows might be……..


This is an edited version of “Astrology as a Healing and a Wounding Art”, published in Apollon, The Journal of Psychological Astrology, in Issue 3, August 1999.

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


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