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)
(This is an edited version of a longer interview, published in Connections magazine,
Scotland, UK in February 1996. It appears on the website in three parts – clickAn Astrologer at Workto read the first two installments.)
extract from Part One….” The purpose of the “Not the Astrology Column” theme on this website is to introduce open-minded readers to the in-depth astrology which lies behind the entertainment facade offered by the Sun Sign columns. We are living in a time where awareness of the ‘interconnectedness of all things’ is fast returning to the forefront of public consciousness across the world. The evidence is piling up increasingly starkly: what happens in one part of our biosphere impacts everywhere.
The ancient maxim ‘As above, so below‘ has thus never seemed more relevant. The art and practice of astrology has been based on that maxim for at least six thousand years. Astrology links what happens in the individual and collective lives of human beings to the movement of the planets through the solar system of which we are part….”
Now read on!
The Principles and Practice of Astrology
“Connections” Editor Ian Holland interviews Anne Whitaker
AW: One of the many fascinations of astrology is how it shows the ever-changing patterns of the planets symbolically reflecting different kinds of energies in our collective life. If you as an individual are strongly plugged into collective patterns – which you can assess through comparing the natal horoscope with prevailing planetary positions in the here-and-now – it seems as if you are given a wee chip of the current pattern to work with in your individual life. Let me give a specific example. From the end of 1992 until the beginning of 1995 there was a particularly difficult combination of planets, which when it shows up tends to symbolise warring, destructive energies at work in our world. I’m talking about the Saturn/Pluto combination.
Every time these planets have connected this century the collective context has been war – they were linked at the start of World War 1, then at the end of the Second World War when we were confronted with the horrors of the two holocausts, Nazi and nuclear. This combination formed a key part of the planetary backdrop to the Arab/Israeli war (the State of Israel was born under the Saturn/Pluto conjunction of 1947/48) in the Sixties; the Falklands war in the Eighties; and 1992 saw the upsurge of the Balkan War. Over the following two years we saw in Europe a fierce and brutal period of terrible carnage – as well as genocide in Ruanda and various other horrors at different locations.
(2008 update: the atrocity of 9/11 took place during the subsequent major Saturn/Pluto combination in the autumn of 2001)
From 1992 to early 1995, I observed individuals, whose horoscopes showed them to be strongly plugged into this pattern, going through deeper and darker traumas in their personal lives, much of it involving family fate issues, than I had ever seen before. Because my own horoscope involved this pattern, I had to go through some very painful and difficult times regarding my own family of origin. It seems to me that I drew to me, as a practitioner, clients plugged into the same overall pattern as myself.
Thus I was aware of having to struggle hard to keep a balance between compassionate feeling and dispassionate judgement during this period – the danger of projecting my own experience was high. But at least I was aware of that fact. This is an illustration of how astrologers need both professional supervision and, when appropriate, personal therapy to ensure that they are fully aware of their own issues and avoid as far as possible projecting them into their astrological work.
You know the Shakespearean quote – ‘there is a tide in the affairs of men’…..if you practice astrology often enough, and for long enough, you can see the tides of history, the changing patterns of the times, running through the lives of individuals whose charts you read. It’s fascinating…and awesome.
IH : you were telling me earlier that on the 16 Feb 1997 there’s something pretty spectacular coming up for us all ?
AW : (laughs) Yes! There is no doubt in my mind that astrologers can look at the unfolding pattern of energies through spacetime, cut a section through any point or moment of the past, present or future, look at what the essence of that moment is, and speculate regarding what some of the branches manifesting in the wider world, or in individuals lives, may be.
What they can’t do is see how they’re going to manifest exactly. Our track record on hindsight is much better than it is on foresight, historically!
There have been some spectacularly accurate predictions made by astrologers in the public realm over the centuries; a famous one was made by Luc Gauricus in 1555 to the effect that King Henri the Second of France ( then aged 37) was in danger of death in his 42nd year, by a head injury incurred in single combat in an enclosed space. And five years later Henri duly died of a lance splinter which entered his eyes and pierced his brain.
There have also been some spectacular failures, eg to predict that the Munich agreement of 1938 would lead to World War Two.
We do much better at describing the essence of a pattern – identifying the exact branches is much more hit and miss. Personally this cheers me, since it appears to suggest a creative balance between fate and free will in the universe – chaos theory in contemporary physics also has strong parallels with the astrological paradigm. Not everything is pinned down – both the language of astrology and the language of contemporary physics tells us that!
So you can perhaps see that I am very hesitant about both the accuracy of prediction and the wisdom of doing it at all, especially for individuals, in any more than a “describing the core and speculating about the branches” kind of way. Predicting that a specific branch WILL manifest, in my opinion closes down options rather than opening them up, also taking us into the realm of self-fulfilling prophecy….
But there are some very interesting patterns coming up, including the one you referred to a moment ago. So perhaps we can have some fun as we move to the close of this interview by playing with some possibilities !
In Feb 1997 the planet Jupiter, which concerns expansion, growth, development and opportunity, meets Uranus which symbolises the urge to break through to new levels of experience. Of the 360 degrees of the zodiac, the exact conjunction takes place at 6 degrees of Aquarius from 15 to 17 of February.
What that should mean collectively is some kind of major step forward being announced in human development and awareness at that time. Jupiter/Uranus in Aquarius is a combination which has a strong feeling of technological & scientific breakthrough about it. Here are some examples:
The first powered aeroplane flight on 17 Dec 1903 took place in Carolina, USA. There was a significant link between those two planets then. On the day of the moon landing in July 1969, there was an exact conjunction between those two planets. What we might expect is something which takes us boldly where humanity has not gone before. ……
What I’d urge your readers to do is keep an eye on the news around that time. And to further tantalise and tease everybody, I want to give a special message to people who were born when the sun was at 6 degrees of Aquarius in any year – ie those of you whose birthday is 25, 26, or 27 January – this applies to every year. All those people should experience, in a variety of different ways, the same essential unusual, unexpected opening-out and development in their life’s path. Something quite out of the ordinary !
I would like people born on those days, whatever their age, to get in touch with me with their DATE, PLACE and TIME of birth, which I will then log into my computer. They could then contact me after the 15-17 February 1997 and let me know how it was for them! If I get sufficient feedback I will write it up, anonymously, as a research project.
IH : Great! I’m sure our readers will be only too glad to oblige.
(2008 update: The major event occurring a few days after the exact conjunction was the announcement to the world of a truly boldly-going scientific achievement – the creation of Dolly the Sheep, the world’s first cloned animal, by a team of Scottish scientists led by Dr Ian Wilmut. Read all about this, and other exciting developments around the same time, in Anne Whitaker’s book on the Jupiter Uranus conjunction of 1997.
The book, including the researched experiences of 17 people who participated in the project, is now published (April 2009) as “ Jupiter meets Uranus : from erotic bathing to star gazing” by theAmerican Federation of Astrologers. If you would like to read a brief summary of its content in the meantime, click on BOOKS where the back page blurb is displayed.)
1500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2008
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