This blog now has its own Facebook Page, where I publish all kinds of astrological stuff – blogs, videos and articles from leading astrologers for instance  – in fact anything astrological which takes my fancy and I think might interest YOU, dear reader. Do go over, visit for a while, leave a Like or even better, a comment. See you there!

Questioning popular astrology (3) : the ‘smoke screen’ effect? Anne Whitaker replies to Victor Olliver…

We live in a vast energy field of constant movement, most of which is totally invisible to mere humans with their limited perceptual apparatus. The rippling patterns of order and chaos, that fundamental dance, govern everything. I have come to see the art of astrology (helped by what I am able to grasp of what the quantum world has revealed to us) as one which enables us to map those patterns as they are viewed from Earth via the constant shifting energies of the planets in their orbits.

Then astrologers take the step which in our reductionist, materialist culture pulls down all sorts of opprobrium and scorn upon our heads. We attribute meaning to those patterns.  From ancient times, right up until the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century caused a major split between form described by astronomy, and content described by astrology, the maxim “As above, so below” governed people’s world view. We lived then in a cosmos charged with meaning, where form and content reflected and informed each other.

We are all particles...

We are all particles…

Some of us still live in that cosmos. Others do not. Where you have such a powerful clash of world views, you get polarisation, and prejudice. I think that Victor Oliver was right in his eloquent and well-argued response to my doubts and questions about popular astrology, to point out that the real enemy of astrology is prejudice.

Prejudice from outwith the astrological community, from those who believe that our lives are the product of cosmic chance, thereby devoid of meaning. Prejudice from those within the community who consider themselves to be ‘serious’ practitioners, towards the populist, mass-market astrology which millions avidly consume across a vast range of media on a daily basis, looking for some glimmer of meaning in life.

What do we do about this? In reflecting on how I might “wrap up” Victor’s and my debate, which has generated a very great deal of interest (traffic to this site quadrupled in the few days that our posts were most active!) across the Web, the word “occult” came strongly to mind. So I pondered on it for a few days. According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the original meaning of the word is from the Latin ‘occulere’ ie ‘to hide, conceal’. It also (in a more physical sense) means ‘to cut off from view by interposing some other body’ as in, for example, the occultation of one planet or heavenly body by another.

The word ‘occult’ in recent times has taken on a more sinister connotation, referring more to magical or supernatural practices. But I became more and more interested, on reflection, in the original meaning of the word. It has led me to a conclusion about the status of astrology, especially in our modern world.

This is it: the true depth of what astrology can reveal about human affairs both in the collective and the personal sense, will always be inaccessible to the large majority of people. Astrology is an occult subject. As such, its influence and its great value is likely to remain masked, hidden from view, operating powerfully but behind the scenes of everyday life.

For example, in very ancient times its practice was held in high esteem eg by Babylonian or Egyptian rulers, whose astrologer-priests scanned the stars and advised the kings (and sometimes, even, the queens!)  of the fate of their nations. There were no personal horoscopes then. The general public were in no way consulted or informed regarding decisions made which affected all their lives. Astrological knowledge, deemed sacred, was deliberately kept hidden from ‘ordinary’ view.

In our time mass-market popular astrology – paradoxically – could be seen as fulfilling the function of concealing the real power of astrology pretty effectively. Most of the public remain unaware of the depth which exists behind the mask of the Sun Sign columns – although I do agree with Victor that there is a very big difference between the glimmer of truth which a quality Sun Sign column can reveal, and the kind of trashy stuff which any old tea lady could dash off. (I have been a tea lady in my day, so please, no offence given or taken!)

Sun Sign columns are also rather effective in raising the ire and spleen of reductionists who thereby are permanently deflected from benefitting from astrology’s true depth, which at times could have been life-saving as evinced in a powerful example of astrologer Dennis Elwell’s prescient warning in the 1980s.

Dennis Elwell, the late well-known and respected UK astrologer mentioned in Victor’s post, was revealed as having written in 1987 to the main shipping lines to warn them that a pattern very similar to that under which the Titanic had sunk, was coming up in the heavens very soon. He strongly suggested that they review the seaworthiness and safety procedures of all their passenger ships. His warning was duly dismissed. Not long afterwards, the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry boat went down, with the loss of 188 lives.

It is true, as Victor points out, that mass market astrology is the stepping-stone which enables people who are seekers after deeper meaning than the Sun Sign columns can provide, to step from relative triviality to much greater depth.

If you want to understand the profound link which exists between your small personal existence and the larger, meaningful cosmos which your unique chip of energy has entered in order to make its contribution, then you need actively to seek out a good astrologer to offer you a sensitive and revealing portrait of your moment of birth via your horoscope. Those of us who are in-depth practitioners know that a quality astrology reading with the right astrologer at the right time can be truly life-changing.

However, only a small percentage of people who read Sun Sign columns take that step into deeper territory. Most do not. Either they are quite happy – or put off – by the superficiality they find there, or they spin off into active enraged prejudice and sometimes very public condemnation of our great art…

My pondering on the word ‘occult’ therefore, has led me to quite a peaceful place, Victor – I am sure you will be very pleased for me!  I can now stop being annoyed with my colleagues who are Sun Sign astrologers: they are offering a valuable service in providing a smoke screen.  This helps greatly to maintain astrology in its true place as an ‘occult’ activity, leavening the lumpen ignorance and crassness of our materialist, consumer age  from behind the scenes.

Readers, what do you think of this view? I’d be most interested to hear.

(as before, any offensive comments will be ruthlessly binned)

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1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Questioning popular astrology (2) : media astrologer Victor Olliver’s robust reply…

Yesterday, I posted Part (1) : Questioning popular astrology, listing my challenges and questions regarding the merits – or otherwise – of popular astrology. True to form, Victor responded thus: “…feels like a bull fight and you’ve just flicked the red cape…”

Read, react, enjoy – and REPLY!

( nb anything offensive will be ruthlessly binned)

Uk's Astrological Journal Jan:Feb 2015

Uk’s Astrological Journal Jan:Feb 2015

Thanks for inviting me to contribute to your wonderful site, Anne. Though I’m the editor of  The Astrological Journal, and The Lady magazine’s resident stargazer, I am still relatively new to professional astrology and only recently have become a lot more aware of the huge psychological gulf between serious and popular astrology. This surprises me because in all worlds there’s a spectrum of expression, from public face to purist core and in between. Why not in astrology, too?

Take the fashion world, for instance. Expensive haute couture and pret-a-porter are showcased at the international collections and these in turn inspire high street looks for ordinary budgets. The cheaply-produced mass market is as much a part of fashion as Anna Wintour’s Vogue. But we don’t say that the clothes in shop windows are not fashion or that these looks are embarrassing. Indeed, without the retail outlets there would be no fashion except for the super-rich.

Likewise, in another sense, in astrology. Many practitioners of serious or scholarly star-gazing disdain the popular expression, namely in media Sun-sign horoscope columns; and some even doubt the validity or credibility of the solar chart. Others are shamed by the apparent crassness and simplicity of these media columns and try to ignore them.

This really is self-defeating in my view.

The actual ‘enemy’ of astrology is prejudice. It comes in a number of forms. Chiefly, the prejudice of many secularists and what I call science cultists can be dismissed quickly. We know who they are. They rubbish astrology yet know nothing about it. They laud science yet respond most unscientifically to something they’ve never studied or researched.  Then there’s prejudice in the world of astrology against popularisation. Serious astrologers fear that the Mystic Megs are letting the side down and making it easier for science debunkers to debunk.

But here’s the truth: debunkers/doubters/science cultists are not interested in whether your astrology has been assayed by the laboratory’s finest geeks or simply dreamt up by fake stargazers. No matter how learned the astrological study and compelling the results, nothing will sway the know-all who’s certificated with a science professorship. They believe astrology is rubbish. So in their case, media Sun-sign horoscopes is a non-issue – it’s just the thin end of the fraudulent wedge. We need not concern ourselves with determined nay-sayers. We waste our time trying to play up to them.

Nonetheless, I fully support those astrologers who bring academic rigour to the subject and seek to find mainstream respectability – not because I think a professional debunker can be turned, but for the sake of a better appreciation of astrology. Science itself will in time gradually move towards a greater understanding of the nature of the cosmos, possibly through quantum mechanics – you’ve written about this yourself - and the time will come when the intellectual climate for astrology will be a lot more receptive than it presently is.

Now, what about Sun-sign astrology. Is it valid? That’s the real question. Let me quote the brilliant late astrologer Dennis Elwell who was known to be highly critical of ‘trivialising’ media horoscopes. This is what he actually wrote in a 1975 essay titled ‘Is There A Solar Chart?’: “I do believe in the basic validity of solar chart transits but that is not to say that they can be relied upon to produce readings every day, week or month, depending on how often a particular journal happens to be published, or that they are always interpreted correctly.”

Elwell was quite idealistic in his expectation of constant ‘reliability’ and perhaps forgot McLuhan’s well-known dictum: “The medium is the message”. In other words, a mass market entertainment magazine is not likely to play host to a discursive, learned, nuanced forecast from the house astrologer. Newspapers and magazines usually seek snappy one-liners that can be digested at a glance. The ‘house style’ is what matters and the astrologer must seek to fill the allotted space as well as she or he can.

A great many media astrologers these days are actually trained astrologers, such as myself. The ‘simplistic’ solar chart, with the relevant Sun-sign cusp placed at the ascendant point, is all about transit ingresses and aspects. To state the obvious:  if we accept that transits-to-birth chart speak to us then transits-to-transits have something to say also – an idea that’s no problem to, say, electional astrologers. The challenge is less the solar astrology and more what is selected for the column and how it is written up.

My approach to the solar chart, interpretively, is more-or-less the same as to a natal chart. My professional media grail is to find a form of words that is both entertaining and true to the spirit of the moment for each sign. It was Elwell who wrote so beautifully (in his book Cosmic Loom) of how an aspect can find concurrent expression in a multiplicity of ways in life and events, from the ridiculous to the sublime. We’d be wise to keep our minds open to this feature of astrology which even now we do not properly comprehend.

Astrology is a flexible thing: it communicates its wisdom no matter the house system, national culture, computer programme, dubious birth detail or oblivious opposition.

Anne, to answer your question: there’s nothing to justify. If one’s mindset is dead against popular expression, then avoid reading the Jonathan Cainers. Avert your gaze. If you fear that Sun-sign astrology is polluted by the Shelley von Strunckels, then here’s a comforting thought: in the minds of science cultists, astrology is already polluted. It’s dead! And if certain persons judge astrology by their cursory reading of Mystic Meg, you can rest confident that they probably skate over a lot of life’s other treasures of the spirit. Perhaps their preference of depth is cricket or crochet.

Contrary to what many scholar-astrologers think, media horoscopes are the main bridge to the public, just as a short chic affordable jacket in Marks & Sparks may resonate with fans of high-end Chanel. We should be grateful for the enduring need for ‘irrational’ advice from our nation’s stargazers. As Nick Campion has averred, the Sun-sign column – for a great many people – offers the only one moment in the day when time is taken to consider the general shape of the life (or Life) or to question the point of doing something. In a materialistic world, this is a form of spiritual awareness, albeit rudimentary in many instances. But don’t knock it.

And, Anne, next time you’re offered a Sun-sign column, take it. And aim to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. The experience may prove both humbling (in the challenge to bring high minds down to earth) and rewarding (as in, er, bank balance). 

Victor Olliver

Victor Olliver

Victor Olliver’s Lifesurfing: Your Horoscope Forecast Guide 2015 is available in Kindle or paperback on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lifesurfing-Your-Horoscope-Forecast-Guide-ebook/dp/B00KHUE6US/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424635718&sr=8-1&keywords=lifesurfing+2015

Victor Olliver is the editor of The Astrological Journal and media officer of the Association of Professional Astrologers International, and has a distinction diploma in natal and mundane astrology from the Mayo School. Before turning to the study of astrology back in 2008, he was an entertainment/lifestyle editor, journalist and writer. He has worked as an editor for, among others, IPC Magazine, Mirror Group and Daily Mail & General Trust. As a freelance writer he has contributed to many publications including The Sunday Times Magazine, Australia Women’s Weekly and Marie Claire. He currently lives on the south coast in West Sussex.
Victor Olliver
volliver5@aol.com
Twitter: @VictorOlliver
Facebook: Victor Olliver Astrology

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1350 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Victor Olliver  2015

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Questioning popular astrology (1) : Anne Whitaker challenges media astrologer Victor Olliver

In recent months I’ve had the pleasure, thanks to Facebook,  of ‘meeting’ astrologer Victor Olliver, the new Editor of UK’s long established Astrological Journal and star sign columnist for The Lady magazine. As well as sharing a love of astrology (and a very black sense of humour), we have already collaborated on several writing projects. This is proving to be great fun as well as being most stimulating.

One of the things I like about Victor is his love of a good argument. So, I decided he was just the person with whom I could raise my various doubts about the merits of popular astrology. I wrote to him, airing my questions and objections at some length. Here they are. Victor’s response will follow in the next post.

Dear Victor

I have always refused invitations to write popular astrology columns, feeling that to do this would be to throw my lot in with the ‘entertainment wing’ of astrology. Those of us who are trained and experienced astrologers know that there is a profound, ancient and some would say sacred art hidden behind this popular mask. Some of us who know this – like yourself - still manage to combine in-depth astrology practice with writing astrology for the popular press, apparently without feeling any particular discomfort at straddling both worlds.

I suppose my big problem is that the astro-dismissers are almost invariably people who have never gone into astrology in any depth, because they never get past the shallow waters of popular astrology where they find plenty of ammunition for their scorn, much of it valid when you have a look around a lot of the astro-stuff published in the world’s media.

Personally, I see off any astro-dismissers by fixing them with a keen gaze, enquiring very politely whether they have ever studied the subject in depth, and responding to their evasions (very few direct admissions of ignorance are forthcoming) by suggesting they go away to study the subject in depth for a couple of years then come back to resume our conversation. As a ‘serious’ astrologer, I have to admit to feeling defensive when asked what I do, invariably saying that I do in-depth stuff which has very little to do with the astrology to be found in the popular press.

Is there any way round this problem? Should we all just accept that astrology of whatever shallowness or depth will simply never be taken seriously within our current materialist culture, and cheerfully get on with it, whatever kind of astrology we do? Would it be helpful if ‘serious’ astrologers who also do popular astrology were to admit that for many of us, the gap between the public face and the private reality of astrology and its practice is a very hard one to bridge?

What are your views on this, Victor? How do you justify occupying both worlds to yourself and others – and what do you suggest those of us do (apart from go boil our heads) who feel uncomfortable at having our commitment to serious, in-depth work ridiculed by people who have taken their stance from perusing the shallow material available in much of the popular press?

Do feel free, dear Readers,  to leave some observations  of your own on this contentious issue – as long as you understand that anything abusive will be binned without mercy!

To read Part Two, click HERE

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600 words copyright Anne Whitaker  2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Pag

“Contemplating the Twelfth House – an optimist’s take on self undoing”

I’m delighted to say that my long essay “Contemplating the Twelfth House – an optimist’s take on self undoing” is featured this month on Astrodienst, one of the world’s most respected astrology sites. So, here it is for those of you who have been asking for some time for a copy….

NOTE: First published in: The Mountain Astrologer, Aug/Sep 2014

Republished in: The Astrological Journal, Mar/Apr 2015

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Some thoughts on the Astrological Houses: Placidus, Equal – or what ?

Sooner or later, it dawns on the student or budding astrologer that the method of dividing the inner space in a horoscope into twelve sectors or spheres of life, known as Houses, poses some problems.

Astrological Houses

Astrological Houses

Firstly, since there are a number of different house systems – click HERE for more detail on this – which should you choose?

Secondly, to a varying degree depending on your chart, planets can move house. In my chart, for instance, by Equal House I have no less than SIX planets in the Twelfth House. When I first saw my horoscope in  Placidus houses, one planet, my ruler Mercury, had migrated to the Eleventh. O joy! I need all the help I can get here, I thought then. But, as you will soon see, it’s not as simple as that…

Then there is a further problem. In Placidus, the MC/IC axis always defines the cusp of the Tenth/ Fourth Houses. If you use Equal House, the MC/IC axis can fall through any pair of houses from the 8th/2nd to the 11th/5th. How do you deal with that?

I have worked with only two systems over the years, i.e. the most commonly used ones Equal House and Placidus. I used Equal House from the early 1980s perfectly happily, finding that the system worked well for me. Then I changed to Placidus in 1995. I didn’t choose it for any carefully thought through philosophical or practice reasons; it was simply the system used on the Diploma course I was doing. Now, in 2015, I am moving back to using Equal again. For philosophical reasons this time, as you will see shortly.

A class experiment

Ever since a small group of my ‘old’ students persuaded me to run a refresher class for them starting last August 2014, I have really enjoyed returning to astrology teaching. Those students were all very rusty, and wanted to cover the basics again. Inevitably, the question of house division came up. Having covered the core meanings of the houses in an introductory class, we recently spent a whole tutorial looking in more detail at the issue of house division.

The methods I adopted on this occasion were twofold: firstly, I gave the class copies of their charts in Equal House to compare with their existing Placidus charts. Then I drew up a grid, of which we all had a copy. This listed all the planets, Chiron and the North Node as well as the pair of houses through which the Equal House MC/I C axis ran. Thus we could see at a glance those features which stayed the same in both systems, and which ones changed. In some charts many features changed. In others eg mine, there was very little difference.

I have always taught astrology with every student having a copy of everyone else’s horoscopes, including mine. With permissions always asked and given before the start of a course, and appropriate emphasis on confidentiality, this way of working has been very effective. It creates each class as a kind of mini qualitative research laboratory, where astrological theory can be tested out there and then, observing to what extent it manifests accurately in the nuts and bolts of the everyday lives of those present. It is a model which makes for very lively teaching…

We worked our way round everyone in the small group, including me, discussing how interpretations might change, and most importantly, how much that mattered by potentially altering the emphasis on key horoscope themes.

eg the Moon in one student’s horoscope changed from the Placidus Ninth (a location she really  liked for her Moon, being both a teacher and an education junkie!) to the Tenth by Equal House, which she felt focused her Moon more narrowly than her experience told her it should be placed; the Moon in the 10th by Equal House emphasised her vocational/ career life. However, we pointed out to her that this didn’t really matter in terms of overall accuracy of interpretation. She really was very well endowed with Jupiterian energy, given her Moon’s trine to Jupiter in Aries, as well as her Sun’s square to Jupiter.

This was just one example in which, whatever shift we saw of planets from one house to another, there was invariably an underlying strong theme in the birth chart, so that the emphasis being slightly shifted in one context made little if any difference to the overall accuracy of interpretation of the whole horoscope. Interestingly, more than half of our small group, despite my having worked with all students with Placidus from 1995, said that they preferred the relative simplicity of the Equal House system.

In my own case, although ruling planet Mercury moved from the sociable, group-oriented Placidus 11th House to join five other planets in the reclusive Twelfth by Equal House, I have an exact semi- square from Mercury to 10th House Uranus in both systems, Uranus also strongly aspecting the Sun and Moon, so the Aquarian/Uranian/11th house ‘tone’ remains strongly emphasised. That Mercury energy also flows from the Twelfth House to an exact sextile to Neptune, and a square to Third House Jupiter in both systems. So any reclusive tendencies brought by the move are well and truly restrained by other horoscope factors!

The students could see from our small experiment something which is fundamental to the accurate reading of any horoscope: strong themes will shine through, whatever way you divide up the circle. As U.K astrologer Robin Heath so memorably observed a number of years ago: “…astrology appears more and more to behave like a hologram. You can perform almost any technique with the data, turn the chart inside out or slice it up, and still the symbolic pictures remain….” (i) Both this statement and our class experiment bore out the conclusion at which I had  arrived some time ago. It doesn’t really matter much what system you use. What you get is the same overall picture…

Horses (Houses!) for courses…

I went on to outline the way some astrologers use different house systems for different purposes. Since the Equal House system is based on the Ascendant/Descendant axis which is the axis of “… here I am in relation to you… “, this system can be used when the client in their reading wishes specifically to address matters pertaining to relationship.

Since the IC /MC axis can be seen as an arrow flowing from the person’s deepest self and origins (IC) to their future direction (MC), then issues of roots, vocation and life direction are most appropriately contemplated, some astrologers think, via the Placidus lens since that system can be seen to emphasise the MC/IC.

Also, although I have never worked with the Koch system myself, I know that some astrologers swear by the accuracy of its house cusps in plotting transits and progressions.

The Equal House MC/IC “problem”

The placing of inverted commas above gives you a clue that I do not see the shifting placement of the MC/IC axis in the Equal House system as a problem at all. Quite the opposite. I think that working with the MC/IC axis against the backdrop of either the 2nd/8th, 3rd/9th, 4th/10th, or the 5th/11th adds a layer of richness to the interpretation of the MC/IC which of course should remain just as focal and important in the Equal House system as in any other where the MC/IC  is always the cusp of the 10th/4th Houses.

For example, I have often encountered clients or students with 2nd/8th backdrops in professions involving finance and collective money, those with 4th/10th backdrops have their strong life focus on career/vocation emphasised. With 5th/11th emphasised, you often find “creative” types who work co-operatively and collaboratively in the pursuit of their careers. And in my own case, the 3rd/9th backdrop is highly appropriate since writing and higher education have been central to all the diverse vocational paths I have pursued throughout my working life.

Equal House: the return

In conclusion, the students were very keen to know why I had decided to return to working with Equal House.  For giving me the final shove in that direction I have to thank Phoebe Wyss and her excellent recent book “Inside the Cosmic Mind” which I am currently reading through for a second time. I  would urge any astrology student or practitioner to read this book if they are inclined, as I am, to perceive astrology as a ‘top down’ art whose practice and interpretation reveals us as expressing in micro form, the shifting macro patterns of the whole cosmos.

In Phoebe Wyss’ own words:

“ Archetypal astrology is an approach to astrological chart interpretation that is based on this cosmological view. The meanings of the chart factors such as  zodiac signs, houses, and planets are then seen to derive from the twelve basic categories of meaning associated with the astrological archetypes. These fundamental cosmic principles and their inter-relationships are symbolised in the geometry of the zodiac…”(ii)

Wyss’ book – which builds on the recent work of Richard Tarnas, Kieron Le Grice and other pioneers in the field of archetypal cosmology – has taken me back and re-grounded me in the basic geometry of sacred numbers, whose symbolism reflects the core shaping principles or archetypes governing the movement of energy throughout the whole cosmos. The number twelve is one of those sacred numbers.

From that symbolic, geometric perspective, dividing the inner space of the horoscope symbolically into twelve equal parts seems more appropriate than using any other house system, including Placidus, whose devising arises purely from measurements limited by the view from planet Earth in relation to the solar system in our tiny corner of space/time 

Endnotes:

(i) The Mountain Astrologer, Issue 78, April/May 1998, Letters p 11

(ii) Inside the Cosmic Mind, Phoebe Wyss, Floris Books 2014, p 93

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Mars through Pisces…how was it for you?

The planet Mars entered the sign of Pisces on 12th January 2015. It is due to exit on 20th February 2015, entering its own sign of Aries. Boy, will I be glad! It has been a very mixed, pretty tough month and I would be most interested to hear how any of my readers/Followers have fared.

Mars enters Pisces

Mars enters Pisces

It should be obvious to anyone with some knowledge of astrology that Mars, the planet of energy and direct action, is not best placed in watery, subtle, diffuse, imaginative, dreamy and artistic Pisces.

Neptune, the ruler of Pisces, has been slowly traversing that sign, which it first entered in April 2011. It is currently at 6 degrees of Pisces. Saturn changed signs on 23rd December 2014, entering Sagittarius, beginning a long dance in square aspect to Neptune which will not separate until the end of December 2016. It is currently occupying 4 degrees of Sagittarius. Chiron, the planetoid signifying healing and wounding, is half way through Pisces, sitting currently at 15 Pisces.

Mars enters Aries

Mars enters Aries

So – as Mars began his watery journey, he made an exact square to Saturn on 16th January, a conjunction to Neptune on 19th January, crossed the Neptune/Chiron midpoint on 24/5  January, and Chiron on 1st/2nd February.

Anne W's Horoscope

Anne W’s Horoscope

In my horoscope, Mars was transiting the 6th House of work and health, crossed my Pisces Descendant, and is currently travelling through the Seventh House of relationships. I never cease to be amazed and moved at how the currents of shifting energy in our solar system, plotted and explicated by the planets, flow like tides, bearing our lives along with them, bringing us delights and challenges, pains and pleasures with every breaking wave.

Here in brief is how I have been faring. I hope some of you will share your experiences, thoughts, and insights too.

Mars entered Pisces and I began a bout of intermittent insomnia which lasted until Mars crossed and passed Chiron early in February. On the day Mars entered Pisces, I had the great pleasure of moving – with my seafaring brother’s help! – into a lovely new office which is now my Twelfth House retreat in which I hope to write my next book.

With Mars applying in square to Saturn, I was foolish enough to attempt to buy a digital overhead projector for my new office (from which I will also be teaching.) This produced a long series of thwartings of byzantine proportions, during which I failed to acquire the projector from one place, easily located it in another, bought it, then had to return it as unsuitable on the very day that the Mars /Saturn square was exact. Moral of this story? You are an astrologer! Don’t you ever look at your Ephemeris?

I usually get very angry with something/someone when Mars crosses my Pisces Descendant. This occurred on Saturday 24th of January, when we went to see an opera by a well-known composer, which I hated so much I left half way through and went home early. Note in my diary:” hatred, fear, and loathing of women still alive and well in the psyche of 21st century Western male composer…”

I then contracted a bacterial infection which took two lots of  reluctantly consumed) antibiotics to shift and gave me headaches every other day, causing me to feel low in energy and pretty dispirited for a few days.

And – with Mars in the 7th House, I re-connected with an old friend I hadn’t seen for several years, who came to visit in the new office. Also, I arranged with a friend I have known over 20 years, to sublet a day a week from me at a much reduced day rate, thereby aiding her in setting up her therapy practice and helping to cover part of my rent.

Apart from all that, it was a very quiet month…!!

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Evoking the Twelfth House…

Last summer I was most happy to have The Mountain Astrologer magazine publish my long essay ” Contemplating the Twelfth House” – a reflection on that most complex of houses, born from my own long period of Neptunian meltdown and recovery during 2001-8. It will be re-published next month in the UK’s“Astrological Journal “, after which I intend to make it available as a free downloadable pdf. 

 In the meantime, I thought some of my Followers and readers who haven’t read the essay would like a peek at the prequel, a much shorter piece in which I first featured the nature image that midwifed the eventual finished essay.

tiny-frog-on-lotus-bud

tiny-frog-on-lotus-bud

A tiny frog, barely half an inch long, flopped, dead, on the tip of a teaspoon as I gently lowered it toward the plug hole of the kitchen sink. Soon, I’d turn on the tap and its fragile little body, already liquefying, would be washed down the drain.

Yesterday, it had been leaping around, full of life, inside the  plastic refrigerator box in which I had created a little aquarium with water, moss and stones. The tadpoles which I had brought home a few weeks previously had all survived. Satisfaction and pleasure at having achieved this, however, was tempered with the growing knowledge that these delightful new pets would soon have to be returned to their original habitat.

But this little fellow would never go home.

This small incident, which occurred well over thirty years ago, offered such a poignant illustration of the transient fragility of life that it has never left my memory.

There are times when something apparently tiny and fleeting can illustrate much larger truths.

The constant dance between order and chaos, form and formlessness, being and non-being, seems to occur in all epochs and at all levels. Humans have created a range of paradigms and metaphors, from ancient myths through the world’s great religions to modern cosmology, within which to explore this dialectic.

Cosmologist Brian Swimme in his inspirational invocation of ‘The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos’ speaks of “each instant protons and anti protons…… flashing out of, and …… absorbed back into, all-nourishing abyss……” The abyssis his term for “a power that gives birth and that absorbs existence at a thing’s annihilation.”

Astrology has its own name for this inchoate territory where everything, tiny or vast, which has ever had form dissolves back into the primal waters of the Source. It is called the Twelfth House.

In my horoscope the Sun, Moon,Venus, Saturn, Pluto, and Mercury the planet of communication and writing are all to be found in the Twelfth House. I have been preoccupied with the mystery of whence we arise and where we return since I opened my eyes to the world. Thus it doesn’t require much of a leap of imagination to work out why my main blog www.anne-whitaker.com is called ‘Writing from the Twelfth House’……

Zodiac

Zodiac

  • 600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

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