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!

Getting a Grip on Saturn-Neptune Aspects

Anne Whitaker:

For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the extensive writings of master astrologer Donna Cunningham, here is a sample – her deep and perceptive ‘take’ on Saturn/Neptune’ aspects. Since we are currently within a Saturn/Neptune energy field, which came closest to its first exact square in March 2015, and will not move out of orb until the end of 2016, Donna’s insights are especially pertinent now…

Originally posted on Sky Writer:

©3-29-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Note: The following is an excerpt from a longer chapter on Saturn-Neptune aspects in Donna’s ebook, The Outer Planets and Inner Life, volume 3:  Outer Planets in Aspect, available at moonmavenpublications.com.

  Saturn and Neptune are possibly the two planets whose concerns and ways of operating are hardest to reconcile.  One way to fathom the degree of comfort or discomfort in planetary pairs is to compare keywords and phrases like those in the table below.

View original 1,266 more words

How do you get the best out of your Saturn/Pluto aspects?

This was the challenging question I was asked earlier today by a fellow blogger –  let us call her Eliza – so I dashed off a quick answer. Here it is – all you folk out there with Saturn/Pluto conjunctions (me!), oppositions, squares, trines, sextiles, inconjuncts, how do you manage those  testing, difficult planetary combinations about which no-one seems keen to write about, very often? (I wonder why?!) And how do you manage friends or loved ones or work colleagues who have them? I would be most interested to hear what you have to say…

Here’s what I replied, off the top of my head and without too much thought. 

SaturnPluto - never give up!

SaturnPluto – never give up!

Ok, Eliza, here goes…work very hard to face up especially to the shadow sides of your own nature – usually presented via the difficulties you run into with other people! – and try over time increasingly to do this without self-punishment but with increasing self-acceptance.

This brings a certain amount of freedom:  both to exercise restraint over the harsher facets of the Saturn/Pluto combination – for example the tyrannical, control freak streak –  and to draw on its best aspects, eg the ability to persevere, even in the face of enormous odds, the ability to honour commitments made, however difficult and testing, the ability to apply forensic analysis to sorting out seemingly intractable problems (I have a Mercury/Saturn/Pluto combo) eg in astrological research of which I am very fond.

And – avoid taking the easy way out in situations where you just want to walk in the opposite direction, but know it would be the wrong thing to do.  Saturn/Pluto people never usually get away with taking the easy way out of anything.

Also – lighten up! I have my Sa/Pl squared by a Third House Jupiter, so have quite the gallows sense of humour at times – but also a well-developed ability to laugh at my own stupidities.

Furthermore, I find that a useful life skill to cultivate and practise is that of being forensically honest with myself (especially regarding my own motives at times) whilst realising that other people –  mostly – cannot or do not wish to have that level of honesty applied to them. So – it is very important to develop the ability to know when just to back off and shut up…

There you are, Eliza – I didn’t intend to warble on so much! I do hope some of it at least is of value to you…..

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Zodiac

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400 words copyright Anne Whitaker  2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

A time for retreat, contemplation: the Dark of the Moon

I was born in the very last hours of Moondark…and find that it’s best to note Moondark periods in my new diary each year. At these times, each month, I find that I need even more time than usual (having several 12th House planets anyway) to retreat, be in silence, drift, and dream…let my mind wander.

This is what I am able to do today, on the last day of Moondark. I’d be interested in others’ experiences of this phenomenon – and its impact especially at those times which happen to us all, when LIFE requires us to engage, to be busy, to stay focused. What are you doing today as you wait for the Cancer New Moon tomorrow?

Having googled “Writing about Moondark”, I found this fine article, a compilation of others’ writings by  astrologer  Molly Hall. (see full attribution at the end.) It is well written and informative. I do hope you enjoy the read – and please do leave a comment especially if your experiences resonate in any way, either with what I have said or  in response to this article. You can also read an article I wrote last year about Moondark on  Writing from the Twelfth House .

When is the Dark Moon?:

Also known as the “dead” Moon, this is the time when there is no solar reflection, leaving the lunar face in darkness. The dark lasts about three days before the new crescent appears.

Is this the same as the New Moon?:

For many, the new Moon begins at the moment of the Sun-Moon conjunction, but for others it remains the dark Moon until that crescent is in view. As the Moon wanes toward those final days of darkness, there’s often a turn inward.

In those contemplative moments, the inner reality is presented through dreams and waking visions. It’s fertile ground for the new Moon intentions to be conjured.

How does the Dark Moon differ from the New Moon?:

The dark of the Moon is the most powerful time psychically. It seems to lure us toward the deepest self, the longings of the soul, and restful listening is a great way to receive these messages. It’s been compared to the dormant seed under the winter snow, or the cocoon holding the butterfly. You might feel tired, or crave quiet solitude. It’s important to make space for the unfolding of the spirit at this time. Like death itself, it’s preparation for the new beginning that begins with the crescent.

The Dark Moon and Women’s Cycles:

You’ve probably heard about the “menstruation hut” of matriarchal and so-called primitve cultures. The dark of the Moon was one of those times when women gathered together to draw wisdom from the powerful psychic energy afoot. Often there was a merging of women’s cycles — as there is now when women live in close quarters — and this created an amped up collective power.

In the hut, women could share visions, divine messages and open to higher wisdom.

The Dark Moon and grief:

Whenever we experience a deep loss, we are changed profoundly, which is a kind of death. This is considered a dark Moon phase, and lasts as long as it takes to fully integrate the experience. Sometimes others are made uneasy by our personal confusion, melancholy, soul angst, etc, and try to prevent us from fully dwelling in the dark. But taking a cue from nature, we can see that everything dies for a time, before coming alive again in a new form. Just like that, there are times when we die to our old self and are reborn to a new life.

The Dark Moon and the Seasons:

During the Winter Solstice, when the days are short (in the Northern Hemisphere), it’s an inward time with a cozy intimate feeling. It’s always a surprise to see the green things come to life again after being stripped to such a bare state. The growth at this time is underground, hidden, but powerful because it’s often the base, the roots.

The Dark Moon and Growing Older, Dying:

In our own lives, there’s a dark Moon phase toward the end as we prepare to enter the mystery of death. Often there is a convergence of memories, making time seem to run together. So many traditions believe the spirit carries on, but to where? This is the great unknown, and a dark Moon period that is taken on faith, with the hope of new life to come. The dark Moon is associated with the underworld, a seperate plane where the dead and almost born are together.

Are we living in a Dark Moon phase?:

In her book, Mysteries of the Dark Moon, Demetra George presented this concept. We live on a dying planet in the sense that her form is changing, from the rainforest floor to the air encircling her. Part of the dark Moon is a break-down of old systems, and letting go, and there’s some review going on of how we’ve been living, what we believe, our relationship with the natural world. The new seeds are being planted, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty and fear — darkness. Seeing this time as a dark Moon period can put it in a broader perspective, with hope for a new beginning.

The Power of the Dark:

The dark Moon is private, intimate, richly renewing and full of depth. The waning Moon is a time of letting go, and as you’re stripped of what you’ve known, there’s a moment of standing naked, not knowing who you are. This might be what dying is like, an awesome mystery that makes us feel fully awake at that final moment. What comes next, we wonder?

I’ve found the dark Moon to be the most powerful time for organically unfolding soul-searching. The inner Self starts to grow in power, and make its presence known. Ideally, you can listen, integrate, and set intentions that will bring you into harmony with yourself during the waxing Moon.

Stillness is the key word for the dark Moon. Restful, rich solitude gives you the chance to hear that inner voice. With the lunar face hidden, the intuitive-psychic self takes over. Make space for a clearing of the mind and spirit, so that you can be ready to recieve.

There’s a historic pattern of fearing the dark, and denying death. But it’s a fact of nature, and if embraced, can be met as the winding down before the next new beginning. The Moon is associated with women, and many Goddesses like Hecate, Kali, Lilith, represent her dark aspect. The dark Moon reminds us of nature’s cycles of death and rebirth. The grave and the womb become the same place, a transition when you’re held in the mystery beyond physical existence.

Each dark Moon is a chance to be renewed, to experience unknowing, and to gain timeless wisdom. The dark Moon opens a door to the past, and it reaches back far into the collective memory. Make it a sacred time for yourself each month, a time to connect to the great mystery of life.

Attribution: This piece was authored by astrologer Molly Hall, who listed her sources thus:  “This is original writing, the foundation of which came from the works of Vicki Noble, Demetra George, Judy Grahn, Starhawk and Elinor Gadon, to name a few…”  and appeared  on the About Religion site which has a section on astrology. I stripped out all the extraneous material, ads etc, so that you could read it without distraction.

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1250 words copyright Anne Whitaker/ Molly Hall  2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Free Book – ‘The Moon’s Nodes in Action’

Many people – myself included – find the Moon’s Nodes fascinating. What you are about to read is a comprehensive, original piece of research, born from my curiosity and interest over many years. As  fellow writer and astrologer Paul F Newman says in his generous preface to the study:

e-publication by co-occurrence

e-publication by co-occurrence

“… this book is about….  Nodal Returns, Nodal synastries, Nodal ‘trawls’ and Nodal moments.  A knowledge-gathering journey through the lives and charts of the famous and not so famous – yet with the excitement of a personal quest and the inestimable benefit of coming through the pen of a gifted writer. Herein are facts – not theories – that you can use to enrich your own astrological interpretations and personal understanding of the Moon’s Nodes in Action….”

Please note that the study was written in 1998 (as the thesis for my Diploma in Psychological Astrology 1995-8)  and I have chosen not to update it, but simply to present the research as I completed it at the time. Being aware that other astrologers have published their own research since then,  I am happy  to make my small contribution, albeit somewhat retrospectively!

I have decided to offer out this research as a free gift to any student or teacher of astrology who wishes to add to their existing knowledge of the Moon’s Nodes, not from a theoretical basis, but as they actually operate in the lives of people both famous and ‘ordinary’. It would be great if you felt you could return something for the gift, by making a small donation to the Scottish Cot Death Trust (which researches the causes of unexplained sudden deaths in infants and small children, offering research-based advice as well as supporting bereaved parents) or to a favourite charity of your own.

Thanks – and do let me know in due course what you think of the book…

Download The Moon’s Nodes in Action now [2.96 MB PDF]

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350 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Astrology: is it a descriptive or a predictive art?

From your comments on the Facebook Page, this blog, and emails, this month of June 2015, nearly over, has been spent by lots of you in a Mercurial, Saturnian and Neptunian fog. You will have read that yours truly’s highlight – as Mercury went direct and Neptune turned retro – was almost being blown up during a domestic gas leak whilst engaged in a podiatry session, which we completed on the pavement outside our building. I don’t give up easily…

A consequence of a period of exceptional fogginess and disruption was that I missed a very important anniversary. Two years ago, on 1st of June 2013, was the date of my first post on Astrology: Questions and Answers.

This new blog was birthed in May 2013 on a page on  Glasgow, Scotland,UK’s popular West End Website, a brilliant local community resource. However, the response via questions and comments was so positive that I decided to set up a whole blog dedicated to Astrology Questions and Answers. Here, then, to celebrate our second anniversary, is the very first question, which is having its very first airing on this site, having first appeared on the West End Website. Enjoy, and many thanks to all you readers, commenters, emailers and questioners for making those first two years such fun!

Questions, cosmic questions!

Questions, cosmic questions!

Would it be fair, then, to say that astrology is descriptive rather than predictive? It occurs to me that much of the fascination with newspaper ‘astrology’ columns is related to their use as fortune-telling!

……from Linda Leinen, USA…….and my favourite blogger, at the wonderful 

The Task At Hand.

It’s fair to say that astrology is both descriptive and predictive. There are many facets to this statement. However, just a few examples should throw at least some light on Linda’s interesting question.

Descriptive

 A properly drawn up horoscope using your date, place, and time of birth can allow me to provide you with a clear description of the characters who are acting out the play of your particular life, to use a familiar but useful analogy.The Sun represents only one character, thereby revealing right away how limited popular Sun Sign astrology is. The other characters are represented by the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (for latest on this contested planet’s status, click HERE ).

The astronomical relationships between the nine planets plus the moon, when drawn onto the horoscope (see picture below – click on the image to enlarge) show the conversations, debates, disagreements and compromises happening between the major characters on your life’s stage.

Charles Dickens

Their action takes place against the backdrop of the twelve Houses of the horoscope, each representing a particular sphere of life. Then I have to take the Ascendant (how you appear to the world) the Midheaven (speaking of vocation/life direction) and several other factors including Chiron (where both wounding and healing take place)) into account. In addition, I need to consider and feed back what the interactions between all those factors are.

Reading a horoscope effectively needs both an experienced, self aware, sensitive astrologer and a client who truly wishes to reflect on their gifts, pains, preoccupations, fears, motivations etc in an honest and open way. A horoscope can be seen as the static drawing of a pattern of living energy ie a human being.

Thus, as an astrologer, I am working with explaining and discussing a number of different levels of manifestation which can and do arise from each symbol. Your birth horoscope is determined by your date, place and time of birth – factors over which we apparently have no control. This can be seen as the fated dimension.

But what you do with those energies depends to a considerable degree (impossible to work out exactly – no wonder reductionist science finds astrology so provoking!) on the levels of conscious self awareness you bring to the choices you make as life unfolds. Therein free will probably lies….

However – you really have to experience a quality astrology reading fully to understand its power and value.

Predictive

Yes, any competent astrologer can predict very accurately when planetary influences from the unfolding energies through time and space, both in the present and in the future, are going to engage with the energy patterns which can be read from a birth horoscope. S/he can also plot out with complete accuracy how long this engagement is going to last; anything from a few days to several years.

But one can only speculate about the level of manifestation of those energies….

Speculation, Mediaeval Style

Speculation, Mediaeval Style

 A simplified example: Venus in your natal horoscope represents relationship(s). The planet Uranus represents the urge to break down old patterns and is unpredictable, disruptive in its impact. If this planet is going to be exactly engaging with your natal Venus, eg for the whole of 2015, then I think you can work out without me telling you that this will not be the most peaceful uneventful year in your relationship life!

I can in this way predict the core of Uranus’ (or any planet’s) impact on any part of a client’s horoscope.Working out what the branches of manifestation arising from that core might be, however, is not something which can be done exactly. Of a few guesses, one might be accurate. Then there is the danger to the client that if I choose a specific branch which I think might manifest, this could well collapse a whole range of possible outcomes into one only. In this way, I as the astrologer may be helping self-fulfilling prophecy along the way.

Personally, I think it is sufficient to describe the core manifestation of a planet’s impact, and work with the person regarding how best to use this information.

A concluding observation on prediction. It is an inexact pursuit for all who attempt it, from economists through weather forecasters through astrologers.The latter failed to spot that World War Two was about to break out, for example, although there are many examples of astrologers delivering exactly the right level at which energies would manifest (ask google about this, especially the famous prediction about the death of Henry the Second of France….).

Modern science teaches us that we live in a universe which conducts a great dance between order and chaos, where probability and indeterminacy, not exactitude, are the order of the day. I like that!

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1050 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Mercury stations – enter domestic mayhem!

At this moment, with Mercury preparing to resume direct motion at 11.35pm BST on Thursday 11th June, I am sitting writing in my Glasgow office – wondering whether we will be spending the night here…. No matter how long one has been studying and practising astrology, there are times when its accuracy in describing the prevailing energy field of a given time period is simply breathtaking. So – sit back, fasten your seatbelts, and let me present you a case in point!

This is what I wrote on this blog’s Facebook Page on the evening of Tuesday 9th June : “Well, is everyone looking forward to Mercury resuming direct motion, at 11.35pm BST on Thursday 11th June? Or are you now – like me – too spaced out to care much? Tomorrow and Thursday sees our local Electricity Board replacing an electrical cable in our building, then linking it to the supply of each of our community’s ten flats.

I can barely contain my enthusiasm about this…how many bets that the whole job will go smoothly? No, I thought there wouldn’t be many! We are due to have our supply cut off from 830 am to 430 pm tomorrow (10th) and Thursday (11th) so that essential work as described above can be completed. Somehow, I don’t get the feeling that the Electricity Board knows anything at all about Mercury Retrograde…. Watch this space!…”

I just KNEW there would be complications, with the current planetary pattern linking Mercury with the prevailing Saturn/Neptune square…I just didn’t realise how bad it would get…

Mercury Direct Glasgow UK

Mercury Direct Glasgow UK

Day One went ok, apart from the Electricity Board’s workers discovering that “the wrong kind of scaffolding” had been erected on our third floor landing ( the building has four floors). This means that the job cannot be completed in the two days stated. So the whole rigmarole of alerting and informing all of us in writing, with accompanying instructions, arbitrary date and attendant inconvenience will have to be gone through all over again at some hitherto unknown date.

Day Two...well…picture the scene. Our podiatrist Lydia visited us this morning, weaving her way up through the building site that is our close in order to get to us. She had done Ian’s feet, and was half way through doing mine, when Ian burst into the room. “We all have to vacate the building, NOW!” he shouted. “There’s a gas scare!”. The strong odour of gas accompanied us as we hastily grabbed a few essentials for the day, Lydia hastily packing up her podiatry equipment as she ran.

Gas was pouring from the wall outside our second floor neighbour’s door. On the street, surrounded by neighbours, curious passers-by and stunned-looking Electricity Board workers, we discovered that they had accidentally sliced through a gas pipe which they had not expected would be embedded in the wall.

The emergency gas services had been alerted and half an hour later were allegedly on their way. There was absolutely nothing we could do, apart from pray that a random spark – the electricity supply apparently could not be turned off since it was too risky – would not result in our building being blown up.

I am not a person who panics in an emergency, or gives up easily (thanks, Mercury/Saturn/Pluto!). I turned to Lydia, who was standing beside her car on the pavement opposite our house. “Shall we finish the job?” She is not a giver-upper either. So I sat on the driver’s seat, feet resting on Lydia’s knees as she balanced herself on the pavement and coolly carried on beautifying my feet – quite a task at the best of times, it has to be said!!

We attracted quite a bit of  passer-by attention – I’m a Leo, no problem there! – and a very kind, chatty lady from the next street offered us coffee and a seat in her garden for the rest of the day, if we were going to remain homeless. So kind! Emergencies do indeed bring out the best in some people. In the course of our conversation I did such a good PR job for Lydia and her podiatry skills that the lady went away happily with one of her cards, promising to book a session for her son, a sufferer from bad feet.

The neighbours, who know me well enough to expect occasional bouts of left-field entertainment, were most diverted by all this from our collective worry that the building might blow up. It still might…but it hadn’t done so by the time the emergency services at last arrived, and Lydia, Ian and me went on our respective ways.

Being an astrologer, of course, absolutely everything no matter how dire is a potential astro-learning experience. You could scarcely make this one up: stationary Mercury square Neptune and Saturn: sliced-through gas pipe and interrupted podiatry session. Moon in Aries applying to the Uranus/Pluto square from Aries to Capricorn – threat of gas explosion in building.

Well,  I do hope you have found this dramatic tale interesting! I’d love to hear how any of my Readers have fared during these few days. Do let us all know! And I will post an update on this blog’s Facebook Page. Will we have a home to go to tonight? Watch this space…

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900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

 

 

Mercury Retrograde status report: the pain – and the gain!

Well, this so far is the most tricksterish, troublesome Mercury Retrograde I’ve had for many a long year –a little post asking for feedback on my Astrology: Questions and Answers Facebook Page has validated this impression.

Mercury’s fellow travellers Mars and the Sun also in Gemini – opposing Saturn  square Neptune – do, I feel, explain this amplification. Such a complex, contradictory energy pattern also accounts for the accompanying confusion, lassitude, lethargy and feelings of being oppressed by tasks with which which one can’t quite come to grips… 

Gorgeous Mercury

Gorgeous Mercury

Mercury rules my horoscope, and aspects every planet, so I knew things might be a little tricky…the torture started on Tuesday morning, mere hours after Mercury went retrograde, with my losing my office keys.There followed frantic searching – husband helpfully went through all my handbags and coat/jacket pockets in my absence and could not believe how many pairs of gloves, lipsalves, emergency cash, pencils, notebooks, tissues etc etc inhabited those arcane corners of my life.

The keys turned up, eventually – in the cafe in the park across from my office where I’d been with a friend last week. Then, two days later, I had walked half way to work when I discovered I had left my office keys behind and had to trudge all the way back home ….there’s more, there’s more! 

In the last week, I have had to conduct a skype astrology reading over mobile phone because something happened my end and skype did not work. My client seemed much less phased by this than me, and wants to book another half hour very soon. Thank goodness I only do half hour sessions at present –I think I might have passed out if I’d had to do a whole reading between here and the USA over a mobile!

I have also got crossed wires with friends re timing of meet-ups, and offered people appointments which I later had to retract because of double booking. ( I am normally very well organised). And – how used I was to this feature of Mercury Retrograde in the days before my long 2001-8 sabbatical – my client/student cancellations and re-schedulings began just as Mercury stationed, prior to turning retrograde.

Today’s arrangements with two friends – I have given myself a writing day with no clients or students, worn out with the nervous strain of trying to keep my practice on an even keel – have been so interrupted and disrupted I cannot face describing what has happened. I haven’t even mentioned Web and computer glitchiness of which there was plenty. Advice: do not attempt to link your PayPal account to your bank account at these Retro times…

However, lest you readers out there imagine that Mercury Retrograde is all bad news, let me stress a fundamental principle of working creatively with planetary energies, whatever they may be. To quote Liz Greene in one of her 1990s Centre for Psychological Astrology Seminars:

“You have to give the god what the god wants. If it’s Mars, don’t offer a bunch of flowers!”

Capricious Mercury

Capricious Mercury

I have never forgotten this witty, sage advice. So – what should we offer Mercury in his retrograde phase? First of all, philosophical acceptance that, the more Mercurial one is, the more day to day screw-ups on the communication and travel front one is likely to have. Just allow more time to do everything, and don’t expect too much to flow smoothly if it is anything to do with communication or manual dexterity.

And of course, paying attention to the Retro part gives you a clue that going back over matters to do with communication/writing is a constructive use of this time.

I am now beginning seriously to contemplate getting to grips with my next book. So I used last Friday to dig out some material I had put together off and on over the last three years – and discovered that I have actually drafted an outline of my core idea, as well as having already conducted and recorded one of the case study interviews. I spent a happy couple of hours re-reading, refreshing my memory, and re-inspiring myself for the task ahead.

Also, on Monday I got down to completing one of my least favourite chores in the whole world: preparing my previous year’s accounts to send to my accountant. This involves going through receipts in excruciating detail, etc etc too boring even to list. My husband swears he simply has to utter the phrase “Tax Return” to me and steam immediately starts pouring from my ears…BUT…I did it!

So – how have you Mercurial folk out there been getting on this first week? Do let us all know – assuming you can get the Comments box to work!

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800 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page