Astrology: gifting us a place in the cosmos…

“…I’ve loved listening to your conversation, Steffie and Steve. I was deeply moved by the way in which you shared your deep sense of wonder at the night sky, and the sense you both had of being connected to a larger consciousness. That sense precisely underlies my own core connection to astrology – and evolution as an astrologer over several decades now…”(i)

It was delightful recently to listen to a very lively discourse between master astrologer Steven Forrest, well-known USA astrologer, teacher and writer – and Steffie James, graduate from and tutor with the London School of Astrology, who runs the Stellium Astrology podcast which hosts a whole range of astrologers on all manner of interesting themes.

Lunar Cycle
Lunar Cycle. (pixabay.com)

Those of us who are regular students, practitioners and teachers of this 6,000 + years old practice, rooted in humans’ wondering about the stars, and where they fit in to the Big Picture we see stretched before us in the night sky, can get a bit blasé. We can forget in our quotidian preoccupations with clients, classes, writing and deadlines – not to mention the normal preoccupations of day-to-day living, the depth and wonder of the subject that is astrology.

We can be so immersed in computerland that we forget simply to go out on a dark, clear night (assuming this might be a possibility given one’s location and local weather!) and look up. Following the path of the Moon each month as she waxes and wanes in the heavens can be a reminder that we are woven into the cosmos – as are all living creatures.

So – it’s great every so often to stop and be reminded (recently for me by listening to Steven and Steffie talk about when astrology first gripped them) of the sheer grandeur and vast sweep of universal energies ebbing and flowing throughout the cosmos – their patterns brought down by the ancient practice of astrology to help us make sense of life here on Planet Earth.

Looking back a long way, I think the early beginnings of my own capture by the art of astrology can be traced back to my childhood on the Isle of Lewis, a wild and at times ferociously windswept island off Scotland’s West Coast. I still clearly recall lying cosy and tucked up in bed, listening to the fierce winter gales that used to scour our island, feeling that the wind was tearing the world apart – and wondering what the sheer Power could be that generated such ferocity. Feeling quite safe in my bed, I used to be exhilarated, not frightened by the weather’s wildness. ( Many years later, I was to discover that the planet of Power, Pluto, was very strong in my birth horoscope. So – no wonder those wild winds had such a powerful effect then!)

I was also deeply affected, growing up, by observing and gradually being able to identify celestial patterns in the clear, star-studded night skies. In those days, in that location, the effects of light pollution were minimal. The sense of wonder engendered by those skies, the feeling of being a tiny part of something too vast for me fully to comprehend, was triggered by that early closeness to Nature, and the wildness of the elements. 

Fast forward a couple of decades, to a rainy Sunday night in a laundrette on the outskirts of Bath, Somerset. A college lecturer in English in those days who considered herself a Marxist, I had no idea that the template for my future life was about to be set. I’ve written about and been interviewed about the event following, a number of times in recent years (ii): in essence, I encountered a couple who turned out to be astrologers. Such was their charm that they persuaded me to let them read my horoscope – over a cup of tea in their nearby flat.

I can still vividly remember reeling out of their house, completely staggered by the in-depth accuracy about me, my character, my family background as well as vocational tendencies, which they had been able to extract (without knowing anything about me), from marks on a piece of paper. I still have that hand drawn horoscope…

Anne W's Birth Chart
Anne W’s Birth Chart

The most baffling part of the whole thing was the prediction that in around seven years’ time whether I believed in Astrology or not ( decidedly not, in those Marxist days! ) I would end up practising it – or something very like it – myself.

And, Dear Reader, it duly came to pass!

I have now been an astrologer, teacher, writer and student mentor for decades. This represents undoubtedly the most satisfying period of my vocational life, my main interest in recent years being observation and writing about the larger planetary cycles. These can give us amazing insight into the unfolding patterns of energy and time throughout history, and are especially helpful in setting a meaningful context for the current turbulence world-wide. 

The practice of Astrology offers many gifts, allowing each one of us to weave our tiny threads of life meaningfully into the great tapestry of time and space. ‘As above, so below’…

This opportunity having come my way, its background being my Nature-dominated Hebridean childhood, and its unlikely foreground that encounter on a rainy night in Bath in Somerset, has left me feeling forever grateful to that

“…divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will…” (iii)

I’m always intrigued to hear folks’ experiences of their first encounters with Astrology, and especially from those of you out there who were so gripped that you went on to study and to practice the ancient Art. What was your experience, why did Astrology capture your imagination, what keeps you interested and involved?  Do let me know – I’d love to share your stories, perhaps in a future article!

Endnotes:

(i) from my comment left in response to the following podcast: November 1st 2022: Episode 118 of Stellium Astrology podcast with Steffie Jay:

‘Evolutionary Astrology: Beliefs, Empowerment & Reincarnation’ with Steven Forrest

(ii) ‘Postcards to the Future: Mercurial Musings 1995-2021’ pp…122-5

(iii) Hamlet to Horatio in ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare  Act 5, Scene 2.

Lunar Cycle
Lunar Cycle

© Anne Whitaker 2023 1000 words

Dissing the Dismissers…an astrologer speaks out…

I know of what I speak, being a reformed dismisser myself. Readers of this blog may recall the tale of my being stopped in my dismissive tracks by a startling prediction – made as a result of a chance encounter with astrologers in a launderette in Bath, England – that I would in fact become an astrologer, too. They were right. You can find the full story in the Fate section of my latest book “Postcards to the Future”.

Moving from ignorant dismissal of a tradition going back at least six thousand years, to gradual acceptance of its validity based on study and experience, was one of the most profound and humbling processes of my entire life.

In this 8 minute reading, “Astrology is a load of rubbish!” Please, NOT that tedious old trope again…” I present the third spoken extract from “Postcards’ … sixty essays, articles and columns I’ve had published in a range of websites, magazines and journals since 1995 including Astrodienst, The Mountain Astrologer, Dell Horoscope, and the UK’s Astrological Journal: my ‘Mercurial Musings’.

I hope you enjoy what I have to say!

I’m so pleased that “Postcards to the Future” has been collecting great reviews so far – all five stars. Here is the most recent one, from master astrologer Steven Forrest, USA:

Like a long talk with a wise friend . . .

Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2022

Verified Purchase

…Reading Anne Whitaker’s book felt like having lunch and a wide-ranging, fascinating conversation with a friend, only to look down at my watch and realizing that cocktail hour had arrived. Time flies, in other words. I’ve been in the world of serious astrology for a long time and most of what I read are things I have heard before. Such books serve a purpose, but at this point I don’t get much out of reading them myself. Not Anne’s book! I found myself turning the pages as if it were a novel, and rarely did ten pages go by without me learning something new or thinking of something in a new way. She’s not only had a lot of experience, she’s has digested it and turned it to real wisdom. My only frustration was that she wasn’t sitting there with me so I could interrupt and say, “You know what THAT makes me think of!” Thank you, Anne — with these luminous pages, you have advanced our cause…’

Steven Forrest and
“Postcards…”

Thank you so very much, everyone who has reviewed, promoted in various ways, and purchased “Postcards…”. I am so grateful to you all!

••••••••

550 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2022

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

“Postcards to the Future” : four reasons to be cheerful…

As you can see from the photo, I’m feeling really cheerful – serene, even! – despite this unremittingly horrible, wet, dreary, cold Monday in my home city of Glasgow. The reason? In recent days I have had no less than FOUR more great pieces of publicity for my latest book “Postcards to the Future”.

A five star Amazon review from Steven Forrest (which I’m sharing here below); an extract from “Postcards…” ie ‘The ethics of astrological practice: a Question needing an Answer…’ (pp 92-8) which appeared in that excellent new on-line magazine “Timelords”; Brian Clark’s lovely review in “The Mountain Astrologer Magazine” ; and today, ‘An Astrologer’s Job Description’ (“Postcards…” p 84) which has just appeared on Astrodienst

Steven Forrest‘s Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars

Like a long talk with a wise friend . . .

Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2022

Verified Purchase

…Reading Anne Whitaker’s book felt like having lunch and a wide-ranging, fascinating conversation with a friend, only to look down at my watch and realizing that cocktail hour had arrived. Time flies, in other words. I’ve been in the world of serious astrology for a long time and most of what I read are things I have heard before. Such books serve a purpose, but at this point I don’t get much out of reading them myself. Not Anne’s book! I found myself turning the pages as if it were a novel, and rarely did ten pages go by without me learning something new or thinking of something in a new way. She’s not only had a lot of experience, she’s has digested it and turned it to real wisdom. My only frustration was that she wasn’t sitting there with me so I could interrupt and say, “You know what THAT makes me think of!” Thank you, Anne — with these luminous pages, you have advanced our cause…’

Steven Forrest and “Postcards…”

Thank you so very much, everyone!

400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2022

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House