For all enquiries, including tuition and booking astrology consultations, my email address is info@anne-whitaker.com

Please note: as from 2018 I will be continuing to offer appointments to former and existing clients, mentorees and students. I will not, however, be offering any appointments meantime for new astrology readings. Students studying with reputable courses seeking mentoring as support for their studies are however still welcome to contact me.

This blog 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!

Advertisements

As Jupiter transits Scorpio: asking The Big Why question…and honouring the late Dawn Bodrogi

I was shocked and upset last evening to hear via astrologer Leah Whitehorse on Facebook that one of my first friends on the Web, astrologer  Dawn Bodrogi, had died. As yet, I do not know the circumstances of this (to our minds) untimely passing; Dawn was only 61 years old. Last evening, via Leah’s post, I shared Dawn’s Summer 2017 Newsletter, the last posting on her site, on my Astrology: Questions and Answers Facebook Page. It is a moving, eloquent piece of writing in which it is clear that much of her energy in recent times has been taken up in caring for her very ill mother.

Dawn Bodrogi

Dawn Bodrogi

In it, she also disclosed that she was coming up to a progressed New Moon in Scorpio, conjunct her progressed Ascendant, and talks of a ‘new life’. It is not for us to know what form that new life will take. However, she leaves this life with our gratitude for the depth, brilliance, humanity and accessibility of her teaching.

Working with Secondary Progressions was her speciality. In my recent article on progressions published in the UK’s Astrological Journal,  I commended her work on progressions thus...’… my USA colleague Dawn Bodrogi in my estimation has done the finest recent work on the topic…’

Dawn’s Sun/Jupiter conjunction exactly conjoined my Virgo Ascendant, so philosophising was a favourite activity of ours in the early days of our blogging careers, when we spoke via skype from time to time. Her changed circumstances in recent times have unfortunately meant that we hadn’t spoken for a long time prior to her death, although we had a brief email exchange last year re my referencing her work in my article.

I thought, therefore, that a fitting tribute would be to share some of our philosophical musings via an article I wrote on my first blog Writing from the Twelfth House  to which Dawn contributed a brilliant guest post. The link to her contribution also takes you through to her site.

Dawn may not have been one of the most high-profile astrologers on the Web or social media. But she was undoubtedly one of the very best: a true astrologers’ astrologer. Here we are, musing on the antagonism which needlessly exists in our current cultural phase, between:

 The Measurers and The Metaphysicians.

William Blake ' Ancient of Days'

William Blake ‘ Ancient of Days’

http://www.artrepublic.com.

From Anne

‘…Lord Rees, president of the UK’s premier scientific organisation the Royal Society from 2005-10,  made a provocative public statement some time ago in a Sunday Times (UK) interview, featured in an article by Jonathan Leake in that newspaper on 13.06.10. He ‘suggests that the inherent intellectual limitations of humanity mean we may never resolve questions such as the existence of parallel universes, the cause of the big bang, or the nature of our own consciousness.’

Rees is ‘one of Britain’s most respected astrophysicists’. His warning, reports the article, is ‘partly prompted by the failure of scientists working on the greatest problem of modern physics – to reconcile the forces that govern the behaviour of the cosmos, including the planets and stars, with those that rule the so-called microworld of atoms and particles.’

To read this fascinating  article by Jonathan Leake, which is bound to stimulate heated debate, click ‘D’oh, we may never decode the universe’

I found it heartening: to read about such an eminent scientist exhibiting some humility was most refreshing.

In my view, we all need to be humble in measuring what little we actually know against the vastness of what we contemplate. We need all the help we can get in our attempts to make sense of a vastness which a great and respected scientist has just admitted may be beyond our comprehension. (He could be wrong, of course!) We need to co-operate with one another, as we all go about honing and sharpening the particular lenses through which we look out at mystery.

We need the perspectives of rationalist, reductionist science. But we also need the perspectives of those non-rational dimensions of the ceaseless human journey towards understanding where we came from, why we are here, and what, if anything, it all means. The great myths, the great religions, the arts – all these also give us a partial glimpse of  The Big Why.

So my Really Big Why is this: WHY can we not learn to respect each other’s different lenses/disciplines, instead of – as so often happens – descending irrationally to the primitive level of the tribal carnivores from which we have slowly evolved over the last 100,000 years, and taking up fundamentalist, tribal positions – in which the futile attempt to declare only one lens right and all others wrong, is doomed forever to utter failure?

The great and ancient art and science of astrology has combined those realms of logos (reason) and mythos (imagination, story-telling, creating of metaphors which help us to live with our deep flaws as humans, as well as celebrating our wonderful creativity) for at least six thousand years, since, in Arthur Koestler’s vivid words from “The Sleepwalkers”:

“Six thousand years ago, when the human mind  was still half asleep, Chaldean priests were standing on their watchtowers, scanning the stars.”

So I find it most refreshing, as a life-long appreciator of the wonders of science, to read Lord Rees’ admission that we may never be able to decode the universe. But let’s pool all our knowledge, shall we, on both sides of the current mythos/logos divide, and concentrate more on what unites us – rather than what divides us.

*******

At this point I would like to hand over to my friend and colleague from New York, fine astrologer, Renaissance woman (check her Bio on her site!) and keeper of The Inner Wheel blog Dawn Bodrogi, my latest Guest on “Writing from the Twelfth House”, who has just written a deep, well-informed and eloquent piece on the very theme which has been preoccupying me even more than usual of late! Over to you, Dawn…..

William Blake "Ancient of Days"

William Blake “Ancient of Days”

The Measurers versus The Metaphysicians

Dawn says : ” I don’t often get angry if I meet folks who find astrology incredulous, or even ridiculous.  I find their worship of science and technology as the answer to everything faintly ludicrous, and am happy to agree to disagree about fundamental life views.  I know my method makes sense, they know theirs does, we’re all happy.  Science is a system which proposes to impose meaning on the random and chaotic.  So does astrology. The mandate of astrology is that life has an underlying pattern we are trying to discover. So does science.  Astrology declares that there is an underlying direction that can be discerned by understanding astrology’s laws. So does science, with its laws. Both are based on mathematical principles. Looked at through a slightly skewed mirror, astrology and science have a lot in common…..”   To read the rest of this article, click HERE

******

1150 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dawn Bodrogi 2010 & 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

New Moon in Scorpio: a meditation on darkness, power and poetry ….

This year, the 26 Degrees Scorpio New Moon is due to fall in my Scorpio third house , conjunct  28 Degrees South Node/Scorpio IC ( place of core, roots, home, family inheritance) close to Jupiter at 19 degrees of Scorpio, waiting  yet another 11-12 year Jupiter Return in 2018..

Recent weeks since Jupiter entered Scorpio on 10th October 2017 have been turbulent to say the least: I know from my work, conversations with friends and colleagues, and from observing events in the wider world  that there is a delving into deep murk – and hopefully cleansing and liberating process – going on. Most striking has been the way that aspects of the victim/abuser dynamic have been reversed. Victims, empowered by a few brave souls early on who have exposed their abuse and abusers, have spoken out across the world. It seems clear that we are living through a major cultural shift.

This is one of the many gifts of Jupiter in Scorpio: by our naming and exposing to the light some of the darkness at the heart of what being human means, it loses at least some of its negative power. However, as you will see from the extract quoted at the end of this post, darkness is at the core of Life’s power and vitality. We need the dark. We need to own and find ways of using both personal and collective power wisely. This to my mind is one of the biggest challenges of being human.

Pondering on this, and working through yet again some ancient childhood pain of my own these last few weeks, thereby releasing the unconscious energy used to hold it under, has taken up much of my focus. It has felt like a turbulent but liberating time.

I would be most interested to hear from my readers how it has been for you!

Now is Scorpio’s season

The thirty degree band of the sky as viewed from Earth, occupying from 270 to 300 degrees of the 360 degree zodiac, is the sector called Scorpio, the beginning of the final quarter of the zodiacal year. The Sun, our marker for the unfolding of the year and the changing of the seasons, entered Scorpio this year on the 23rd October, and leaves it for Sagittarius on the 22nd November – heading for Capricorn and the winter Solstice on 22nd December: the Sun’s most remote point for us in the North.

The astronomy leads us to the symbolic meaning of Scorpio. It is the time of late autumn: in this season the clocks go back, making darkness come earlier. It is the time of grass dying off, trees being stripped bare of leaves, a time of retreat: warmer clothes, more heating, putting things off, often, “….until the New Year”. Energy is lower. Winter flu scythes away many of our old folk. In Greek myth, the goddess Demeter goes into mourning for her beloved daughter Persephone, abducted to his Underworld realm by Hades, king of darkness. The Upper world mourns with her.

A Scorpio poet’s view

However – descent into darkness harbours its own deep, creative purpose. The Scottish poet Christopher Whyte, born with several planets in Scorpio, expresses that purpose with profound eloquence in this extract from his poem Rex Tenebrarum (King of Darkness), an English translation by the poet himself of a poem written in Scottish Gaelic:

……How heavy the earth is above the seed

that struggles and thrusts, looking for nourishment

from the sun, and showers to freshen it!

But if it wasn’t rooted in the darkness,

in a warm, enclosed place filled with worms,

it could do nothing with air or light…..

King of the darkness, king of the world,

when I saw two faces in the mirror

superimposed, made one, I understood

that you have to be reconciled.

Unless the sapling knows

where its roots are sunk, and the whole

plant admits that life

and nourishment come from darkness;

unless it has unequivocal

love for what bore and raised it

how can there be a rich

summer flowering for our hopes? “

The astrological writer Paul Wright reveals in his fine, acclaimed book  The Literary Zodiac, the way in which “writers express cosmic patterns in their creative work….”In the above extract Christopher Whyte’s deep roots in the sign of Scorpio have enabled him powerfully and accurately to capture and express the essence of that sector’s meaning and challenge to us.

All powerfully charged dimensions of life belong to Scorpio: that stage of the human journey challenges us with those facets of life which most powerfully compel us, attract us, repel us, scare us – and transform us.

Another poet very strongly rooted in the sign of  Scorpio, Dylan Thomas, talks about ‘deaths and entrances’.  Thomas was born, fittingly, in Scorpio’s season: on the 27th October 1914, the year of the start of the Great War.

If we can face and grapple with our deepest attractions, compulsions, power drives, fears and repulsions, then we can experience – through staying with the struggle, seeking support where we can, having faith in the transformative dimensions of life – the symbolic death of aspects of the ‘old order’ holding us back from entry into a more complete and authentic expression of who it is we actually are. Jupiter’s presence in Scorpio for the next year offers us a magnificent opportunity to do just that.

*********

What does this New Moon, ushering in Scorpio’s season, mean to you? Do share your thoughts and feelings!

*********

Christopher Whyte 2011

Christopher Whyte

Christopher Whyte has translated Rilke, Tsvetaeva and Pasolini into English. He published four novels between 1995 and 2000 and his fifth poetry collection, in Scottish Gaelic, appeared in 2013. His translation of the work of the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) “Moscow in the Plague Year” was published in 2014 (New York, Archipelago Press 2014). He lives in Budapest, Hungary and writes full-time.

*********

Zodiac

950 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Christopher Whyte 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Scorpio’s season: a genuine sceptic encounters a genuine ghost …

The word ‘sceptic’ has in recent years taken on the  unfortunately narrow meaning of someone who dismisses out of hand all phenomena which lie outwith the scope of the five material senses. Anyone who reads my work for any length of time will, I hope, understand that I am indeed a sceptic: but in the original sense of the word ie being of a questioning turn of mind, not easily convinced by anything – but open to proof. 

Jupiter’s entry into Scorpio, heading shortly for his return to my natal third house Jupiter, has seen me delve once more into matters paranormal. Here are some of my musings about ghosts, including my very own ghost story. I’d be interested in your views, and of course your tales…

Definition of a ghost : “the soul of a dead person which supposedly manifests itself to the living visibly (as a shadowy apparition), audibly etc.” (p 356, The Oxford English Reference Dictionary, Oxford University Press 1996)

An imaginative child, I found going upstairs to bed scary most nights, having probably heard too many ghost stories as I grew up in the storm-tossed Outer Hebrides – home to many a Celtic tale of the otherworld of the supernatural.

There was the woman wrapped in plaid who jostled my maternal grandfather in the winter dark as he traversed the remote, eerie Uig Glen. There was my maternal great-grandmother’s hearing the wheels of lorries rumbling through her remote village toward a deserted headland – many years before they actually came, bearing the materials to build an RAF station there.

There was at least one ghost car. There were the shades of the dead appearing to those few in possession of the Sight – sure harbingers of imminent family death. There were ghostly lights luring sailors to their deaths in stormy seas. More has been forgotten than I could ever now recall.

Fortunately for me, vivid imagination has always sat in tandem with a strongly empirical streak. So I was a true sceptic –inclined to disbelieve in the absence of proof – until the day I  saw a ghost for myself….

Perthshire, Scotland, Autumn 1977

It was the autumn of 1977. My twenties had been turbulent. Restless wandering – from one career to another, one city to another, one set of friendships to another, and one dwelling place to another – characterised the whole decade. Now, I was in a mood to settle. Time to face my dissatisfactions, rather than running away when novelty wore off and disillusion set in.

Resolution thus colouring my mood, I left Dundee in September 1977 to do my social work training at Glasgow University. Having been such a hippie in my twenties, all I owned could be fitted into several boxes and stowed in the back of my old blue Morris Traveller. Laughing to myself, I recalled the occasion when, in my role as unqualified social worker, I had called by my flat in a poor area of Dundee to collect something I had forgotten. Accompanying me was the hard bitten female client I was accompanying on a visit to Dundee’s Family Planning Centre. “For f—s sake!” she remarked, quickly scanning my accommodation whilst I hunted for the forgotten item. “Your standard of living’s even worse than mine!”

Thus in transition, I set off to spend a night or two, en route to my new abode in Glasgow, with my boyfriend at the time who lived in the scenic market town of Perth, half way between Dundee and Glasgow. The Dundee to Perth road was mostly dual carriageway, and a distance of about twenty five miles. I drove happily through the area known as the Carse of Gowrie, which grew the best raspberries in Britain. “Pity I’m in a hurry”, I thought. “A few raspberries for supper would be nice.”

It was a clear evening, around seven pm, growing dusk. There was very little traffic on the road. A few miles outside Perth, my headlights picked out a male cyclist on a racing bike, a little way ahead of me. I pulled into the overtaking lane to pass him – and he vanished.

I arrived at Peter’s flat somewhat shaken by this experience. “I can’t believe I imagined it. What I saw was definitely a cyclist. He was as substantial on that road as you are, standing right now in your kitchen !” 

Peter was quiet for a few moments. He looked thoughtful, as if trying to decide whether to say something or not. At last he told me that a young male cyclist had been killed on that stretch of road a year or so previously. This was something of which I had no knowledge. Why should his ghost appear to me?

“Firstly, because you’re so sensitive anyway. Cast your mind back to some other odd happenings which have occurred  since we’ve been together. Secondly, your life is in transition. I think at those times, normal consciousness is more porous, as it were. Impressions from other layers of ‘reality’ find it easier to seep through….”

I remember feeling quite relieved that I wouldn’t be travelling on that stretch of road for the foreseeable future….

( extracted from Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness 2015)

Zodiac

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

*******************************

We know we must die: but do we come back?

Reincarnation: a source of perennial fascination. And, surely, a great topic to revisit as Jupiter settles into Scorpio, and Hallowe’en is almost with us…When I first came across this quotation, it made me chuckle…trust Henry Miller!

“Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant.”

Definition of reincarnation: “(in some beliefs) the rebirth of a soul in a new body.” (p 1216, The Oxford English Reference Dictionary, Oxford University Press 1996)

****

 

In Nature’s great cyclic pattern, from the tiny to the vast – gnat or galaxy – the same basic stages apply: seeding, germinating, sprouting, flowering, ripening, harvesting, dying back in preparation for the new. This can apply to a life cycle of a day, and to one of millions of years.They all hold another factor in common: as modern physics has taught us, nothing that dies, being composed of energy, can ever cease to exist. It merely changes form. Death is a change of  state, not an ending.

Thus modern science validates what humans have held intuitively to be the case from the beginning of our sentient, conscious awareness of ourselves in relation to the universe of which we are part. All cultures across the globe share beliefs that the souls of humans (and all beings, eg in Buddhism) continue in some form beyond physical death.Only in the narrow, brief context of western secular materialism – over the last two hundred and fifty years or so – has it been believed by some that physical death is the gateway to nothing at all, that life is a random pointless accident in space and time.

Thanks to the meticulous work of the Society for Psychical Research for over one hundred years, and indefatigable individual researchers like Professor Ian Stevenson, as well as many other reputable people, a very large body of experiential evidence is available which appears to support claims since antiquity that one life is not the sum total of our soul’s journey.

I am by nature sceptical in the true, open-minded,  sense of the word. I am happy to read and hear about other people’s experiences – but the empiricist in me demands proof via my own experience in all spheres of life, especially those which lie beyond the range of what our consensus view defines as “ordinary”.

I’ve had several uncanny experiences which remain vivid in my memory.  They do not provide proof of reincarnation, since a less unlikely explanation is that I was somehow ‘tuning in’ to residues of other lives, rather than experiencing former ones of my own. Nevertheless, they remain intriguing, and I still don’t know quite what to make of them.

Click HERE to read about my favourite…

Changing Bodies – Reincarnation

I would be interested to hear my readers’ views on this great subject which has challenged humans for millennia…do tell!

 

As Sun and Jupiter meet in Scorpio: a tale of darkness – and healing powers arising

The Harvey Weinstein scandal broke as Jupiter was moving into Scorpio on 10th October 2017, triggering a tsunami of allegations and revelations of sexual misconduct from harassment to rape across social media. The #metoo movement began (i) on social media after a call to action by the actor Alyssa Milano, one of Weinstein’s most vocal critics.

Facebook said that within 24 hours, 4.7 million people around the world – men as well as women – engaged in the #MeToo conversation, with over 12m posts, comments, and reactions. The issue has rapidly become about much more than Harvey Weinstein. It is about  “…the ubiquity of sexual assault…” in the words of UK’s Guardian newspaper columnist, Suzanne Moore.

I contributed a couple of my own stories to the thread which developed on astrologer Leah Whitehorse’s Facebook Page, when she bravely came out and told a very frightening story of her own in which, fortunately, thanks to her level head, she was not physically harmed. When I was much younger than I am now,  on two occasions, in the cinema and then on the street in broad daylight, I hit two different men who tried to assault me.

They were so astonished at this that the first one got up and left the cinema, and the second one just stood there, his jaw having (metaphorically) hit the floor in utter shock. I realised afterwards that this had been a risky strategy. But I do have an aggressive streak if unfairly treated, and there were other people around.

The tale I am about to tell, however, could have had a very different outcome…a combination of progressed Mercury currently stationing on my third house Jupiter, and an impending Jupiter Return next year, has made me more inclined than usual to descend to Scorpio’s dark realms – as anyone perusing my current reading material would realise! But the outpouring evoked by  #MeToo has dredged up from the depths of memory an episode from my younger years which still chills me to recall.

It was mid-June, 1974, Sunday evening, around 7 pm. It had been a day for chores. I was strolling along with my washing to the launderette on the London Road in Bath, the very place where, not long before – as a young Marxist unbeliever in anything mystical or spiritual ( or so I thought then) – I had had an encounter with an astrologer which was to change my life.

A young man around my own age passed me in the street. I paid him no attention. Then I heard a voice, and turned around.

“I am so lonely”, the young man said. “If someone doesn’t talk to me, I’ll go crazy.”

As a woman, I’d always been aware of the need to protect myself, considered myself streetwise. Normally I would NEVER respond to a strange man addressing me in public like that. But there was something about the pleading, the desperation in his eyes I simply could not ignore.

“OK”, I said.” I’m heading across the road to do my laundry. You can sit there with me and chat for a bit.” He appeared grateful to the point of tears.

Almost an hour later, he had told me his story: very deprived childhood, children’s home, ran away at 16, joined a circus, worked there, travelling a great deal, for years. Fell into bad company. Drugs and alcohol, petty crime. Unemployed, on the streets. Hit rock bottom. Then found Jesus. Now saved.

“Jesus loves you,” he kept saying. “Jesus saved me too.”

To me, he didn’t look very Saved, and I was beginning to wonder what to do next. I didn’t want him to know that I lived nearby. “D’you fancy a pint?” I said. “There’s a nice pub just up the road.” Safety in numbers, perhaps. He was delighted, and off we set, walking slowly whilst he talked some more. I hadn’t asked his name, nor told him mine. It was cold, rainy, no-one about.

Suddenly, before I could register what was happening, he grabbed me, dragging me into a dark alley running off the main pavement. He pinned me to the wall. I went cold. Fortunately that’s what I do if I’m ever in a crisis. I didn’t scream, didn’t struggle. Instead, I put my arms up behind him, and started gently stroking his back, saying quietly:

“You don’t need to do this, you’re just going to scare me. We still have lots to say to each other. Please just let me go…” I repeated this a couple of times more, and his hands, which had been on my throat, dropped to his sides.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!” he kept repeating tearfully. “I don’t know what came over me…”

“It’s ok”, I said calmly, whilst mentally calculating what the hell to do next. “You’re just tired. Let’s go and have that pint.”

As we continued our walk to the pub, and he continued to talk, I worked out a plan. I’d get our drinks, then tell him I always called my parents on a Sunday night; would he mind looking after my washing whilst I nipped out and made a quick call? Then I’d phone my friends Sue and Hugh who lived in the next street to the pub, and hope like hell they were at home.

The plan worked, and my friends were in – I almost cried with sheer relief to hear Hugh’s voice.  “Get round to the pub right away, it’s an emergency – will fill you in later. When you see me with a dishevelled-looking young guy, look very surprised and ask what was I doing drinking the night before going back to work. Ok?”

I pretended to be just as surprised as they were. My guest looked most uncomfortable, excused himself to go to the toilet, and disappeared. Sue and Hugh escorted me home to my flat just across the road, offering to stay the night, which I declined. Security was good in the flat, and I would call them if anything untoward occurred.

Having slept pretty fitfully, I turned on the radio at 7am as usual, to help me surface and get ready for work. The first item on the news was this: in the early hours of the morning, a young woman had been murdered in Bristol. They gave a description of the man they wished to interview in connection with the incident. It fitted my last evening’s companion exactly.

By this time, I was shaking so hard I could barely get myself to the college in which I was teaching English at the time. I told the Principal, who gave me a severe dressing-down for my folly – as he saw it. We then called the police, and I gave a statement. But they never contacted me again. Although I listened intently to the news for many weeks afterwards, to the best of my knowledge the man who murdered that poor young woman, was never found.

16 June 1974

Anne W: 16 June 1974. Progressed Outer, Natal Inner wheel ( click to enlarge)

This week is the first time I have ever looked at the astrology of that fateful Sunday. I remain convinced that if I hadn’t somehow kept my cool and reacted as I did, I would have been the one who died. It is an extremely uncomfortable feeling to be grateful for your own life, knowing that the way you reacted may well have paved the way for someone else’s death…

The astrology, I think, is very graphic both for the darkness and dangerous challenge of the situation and for the ‘healing powers’ which meant that I survived. I’ve only put up the progressions with my natal horoscope, because although I’m pretty sure it was mid-June, it may have been mid-May which would have altered the transits but not the progressions  – apart from the Progressed Moon by about one degree.

Clearly, with the Progressed Moon on the Mercury/SaturnPluto midpoint, I was in for some potent, dark,  potentially life-changing encounters – you can see the potential peril in those significators. However, years later when I knew some astrology I truly thanked my natal Mercury SaturnPluto conjunction. If anything gives you the tough-mindedness coolly to survive most of what life chucks at you, that line-up does!

But the links with natal third house Jupiter in Scorpio tell a very different story. The first house Sun/Venus conjunction makes an emotionally supportive sextile to eleventh house Mars in Cancer, and they all together form a Minor Grand Trine with Jupiter. In the wonderful words of the German poet Holderlin, no stranger to dark experiences himself:

“…Where there is darkness, the healing powers also rise…”.

 I was probably foolish that day in the kindness I offered to an unknown, troubled stranger. It may nearly have cost me my life. But I do believe, looking at the astrology, that my protective angels were watching over me in that encounter. They certainly manifested that day in the shape of my good friends. I have long lost touch with them, but I will never forget them.

___________

Endnotes:

(i) from  Lisa Meyerson on Leah Whitehorse’s Facebook Share of  the above post yesterday 26.10.17: “This is great. I have one correction, if you don’t mind. The #metoo campaign was originally started by a woman named Tarana Burke:https://www.democracynow.org/…/meet_tarana_burke_the…

 

 

Zodiac

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

1550 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s New Moon tomorrow: we’re still in the Dark Moon…

Today I had a most interesting encounter with a 37 year old client in the last year of the Moondark phase of her Progressed New Moon which began nearly thirty years ago when she was nine years old. She and her family relocated then. A year from now, with her Progressed New Moon in Sagittarius, it is likely that she will relocate again.

Being able to place the unfolding pattern of her life in this cyclic context felt supportive and comforting to my client…’…To every thing there is a season...’, as the old biblical saying goes. The encounter has inspired me to share a post from my archives, not only talking about our monthly Moondark, where we are now, but also that powerfully descriptive symbolic cycle of the Progressed New Moon.

Enjoy! 

The web is full of articles about the upcoming  New Moon. New Moons always attract our attention, which indeed they merit. However – the Balsamic lunar phase, where we are now, does not attract nearly as much upfront focus. It should, in my view…and I am not alone here!

The Sun/Moon Month

The Sun/Moon Month

That fine, poetic astrological writer Dana Gerhardt has this to say: ‘As the final phase in the lunation cycle, the Balsamic Moon is the monthly “sleep time”. During the three to four days of this phase, vitality and spirit are replenished, fueling your start at the next New Moon….if you could observe just one Moon phase per cycle, this should be the one… ‘ (my emphasis)

Our increasingly frenetic 24/7 culture, revved up in recent years as it has been by the arrival and increasing dominance of social media, does not encourage us to build a few days of rest and recovery into each month. Can you imagine the average boss’s reaction to the statement “I’m having retreat time now. It’s Moondark. Bye!!”  And yet: we all know what happens if we run ourselves too hard without adequate rest, for too long. For some of us – and I speak from hard personal experience here, folks! – the price can be very high.

So – what is this Balsamic lunar phase, and what is Moondark? Why should we pay it attention? As can be seen from the above image, there are eight key phases in the monthly lunar cycle, flowing from the New to the Balsamic Moon. A good summary of each and what they mean can be found HERE.

The Balsamic lunar phase begins with the waning Sun/Moon semi-square. The Moon is a slim Crescent, forty-five degrees behind the Sun –  that beautiful, fragile, slender waning crescent moon which we may see each month if the skies are clear. Then it disappears. We are in Moondark now, the latter part of the Balsamic phase, the last couple of days of the dying energy of the previous month’s New Moon.

waning crescent Moon

waning crescent Moon

My aim in this short post is to give you a flavour of three key facets pertaining to the Balsamic phase, and Moondark in particular. Hopefully that will stimulate you enough to do your own reflection/research. Those facets are:  the Balsamic phase of each monthly lunar cycle throughout the year; those people born on the Balsamic Moon; and the thirty-year progressed Sun/Moon cycle, where the final, Balsamic phase lasts 3-4 years.

The Monthly cycle – Balsamic phase

Having been born in the Balsamic phase, in Moondark just before a Leo New Moon, I have long been aware of the few days before any New Moon as a special time, a contemplative time: a time to take stock both collectively and personally. Those of us who wish and need to retreat regularly to preserve our balance and well-being tend to be regarded as odd by mainstream society, where ‘time out’ is increasingly hard to find, and is not supported by the culture as a whole.

But humans have always benefited from times of quiet contemplation, in whatever way suits them best: listening to music, doing yoga/meditation, praying to whatever Higher Power sustains them, making or contemplating art, walking in Nature –especially by the sea, that great universal symbol of dissolution and emergence.

Even half an hour a day of retreat time on a regular basis is nourishing for the spirit. In ancient times, women used to retreat together monthly during menstruation time which was seen as a period of potency, and hidden power – a liminal time to link through dreams and ritual to worlds unseen.

It would be good if individually we could get into the habit of using the Balsamic moon time to find some retreat space in whatever way suited us. I certainly find myself feeling more ‘scratchy’ and irritable than usual during Balsamic times, if Life demands that I put myself under more pressure than my spirit wants or needs. It would be interesting to know if other folk feel like this too, at the end of the lunar cycle, before New Moon energy comes in and takes form.

Born on the Balsamic Moon

I have found both from my own life and the lives of clients and students with whom I have worked over the years, that being born in the Balsamic moon phase, and especially during Moondark, the very end of the old cycle, brings with it a contemplative nature, an ‘inner’ orientation, a need to give oneself more space and retreat than most people seem to need. Whilst doing some reading around this topic today, I found this quote which certainly spoke to me, and which may speak to some of you who were born in the Balsamic phase:

‘…This time is essentially one of transition, a chance to contemplate what has passed, tie up loose ends, journey inwards, and prepare for new beginnings ahead.  You have inherited the meditative and introspective characteristics of this phase and yours is a dreamy, contemplative personality. Intuitive and far-sighted, you have innate wisdom and a mystical understanding of the workings of Mother Nature and of the human condition.  For you, activity is spiritual and intellectual rather than physical.  Your experiences involve endings and passings, so you are likely to live through many changes.  Later life, rather than the earlier years, holds the key to your happiness and success...’

TransAngeles – thanks for this sensitive and perceptive comment!

The 30-year Progressed Sun/Moon cycle

I use this cycle as a very helpful guide to the stage of their life phase clients are in when they come for a consultation. When a cycle is coming to an end, when the 3-4 year Balsamic period of life is upon us, then the wisest course to take is that of stepping back, turning inwards, taking stock…and waiting – until the Progressed New Moon arrives, and forward motion, the gradual taking shape of a new life phase, gradually begins. Just as farmers do not plant new crops in winter, so we are wise not to begin a new project during the Balsamic moon phase or its end phase, Moondark.

Here is Dana Gerhardt again, with her words of wisdom:

“When will it end?” is everybody’s first question on learning they’ve entered a progressed Balsamic phase. No matter how colorfully I paint its virtues, they peer beyond to a bleaker landscape, to a three-to-four-year sentence of all loss and no gain. I can see it in their eyes…. I tell them this is the richest spiritual time. I tell them when my own progressed Balsamic phase was over, I had nostalgia for it. I cheer: “You will too!” But it’s a tough sell….”

I would certainly endorse this from my own experience of beginning a new journey when I was approaching the end of a whole 30-year cycle. The result was a long period of enforced retreat until the Progressed New Moon told me it was time to emerge and begin again. It was an enriching and deepening time. But very tough whilst it was happening. I should have taken astrology’s advice, not that of my own ego!

There is a great deal more to be said about this fascinating and important life phase which lies behind the New Moon. I do hope this short post piques your interest sufficiently to devote more attention to it in future!

Zodiac

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

1450 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

What is my job as an astrologer?

Every so often, someone asks me what I think my job as an astrologer is. It’s a good question – it makes me ‘return to base’, as it were, and set out the basics again, both for the questioner – and for my own benefit.

Here goes!.

Anne W 2017

Anne W 2017

My  job as an astrologer is to help other people understand themselves more clearly. I don’t know what the balance is between fate and free will any more than any one else does. But the Birth Chart or Horoscope suggests strongly that we come into this world, not as tabulae rasae blank slates)  but with certain characters on the stage poised to live out a complex drama as the process of our life unfolds from birth to death. 

What astrologers cannot do is describe the whole range of possibilities of expression which arise from each core character on the stage.

There appears to be a dynamic relationship between what you have been given through family physical and psychological inheritance ( the Old Norse word for fate also means genitals!), location, social status, and your own choices in what you do with those givens.

I think that effective astrologers in consultation are poised on the interface between fate and free will – on the one hand helping clients to confirm who they are, which they probably already know, if they are honest with themselves; but on the other hand helping them to see, and to broaden, the range of possible expression of the energies with which they have been born.

The astrologer’s ego should have a minimal influence on the process of reading another person’s horoscope. It’s impossible to keep ego completely out of it. It’s impossible to be completely objective, to avoid making mistakes; but what the person takes away should be as much theirs, and as little the astrologers, as is possible.

To maximise this outcome I feel it is very important to have my work regularly supervised by an experienced and well-qualified colleague. I am fortunate in this to have the support of a very experienced astrologer who is also a psychodynamic psychotherapist and writer. She has known me, my foibles, my weaknesses and my strengths over a very long period of time.

I  look at the relationship between the patterns present in clients’ natal horoscopes and how that relates to the here-and-now patterns of the planets in the heavens. I’m also very interested in setting clients’ lives in the context of the unfolding stages of the 11-12 year Jupiter cycles and the 29-30 year Saturn cycles, as well as the progressed New Moons, which also occur in thirty-year periods. My experience is that setting their lives in the context of the bigger pictures, and taking guidance from that, is both comforting, supportive and helpful to people who consult me.

I’m only interested in working with clients who are prepared to take responsibility for themselves in relation to the way in which their inner world is connected to the unfolding of their outer life. Astrology appropriately used should enhance the sense of personal responsibility – not take it away and hang it on the planets, or even worse, on the astrologer !

In my view it is important for people not to become too dependent on a symbolic context – astrology and astrologers like relationships, drugs, sex, alcohol or the national lottery can become highly addictive. The great symbolic arts, eg astrology, tarot, palmistry , I Ching, should be consulted with deep respect, and with considerable restraint.

                    In sum – I think it is my job is to send people away feeling more able to operate constructively and honestly in their world than when they came in, by supporting their courage and confidence to lead their own lives – using their own judgement. 

Zodiac

Zodiac

650 words copyright Anne Whitaker

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