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!

A new venture for a New Year! Check out “The Astro-View from Scotland” in Dell Horoscope

I’m most happy to be joining a team of quality astrologers who write for USA’s distinguished Dell Horoscope Magazine. As from January 2017, you can read my thoughts on a diverse range of topics – no, I’m not going to tell you what they are. Subscribe to the magazine, either by print or e-subscription, and you will find out!

dell-horoscope-january-2017

dell-horoscope-january-2017

And – New Year Greetings and a big Thank-You to all my readers, likers and commenters who have made keeping this blog for the last few years such a fun project. Do keep dropping by, as this year – full of jaw-dropping uncertainties set in motion by the last one – gets under weigh.

And – got any really interesting questions for me to tackle in 2017? If you do, let me know and I will do my best to find an answer for you.

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Zodiac

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

As the Capricorn New Moon dawns: honouring the old moon’s 12th House phase…

Having been born in Moondark just before a Leo New Moon, I have long been aware of the 2-3 days before any New Moon as a special time – a 12th House time: of retreat, contemplation, a time when I have felt more fragile, more sensitive than usual, a time when peace and silence calls. Life being what it is, however, peace and silence may not be possible when one needs it! 

So, in honour of the waning Sagittarian moon’s 12th House phase, this year occurring in that liminal time after the 2016 Festive Season but before the New Year of 2017, here are some of my thoughts on the core of the 12th House, ie our connectedness with the Sacred, the numinous, that which lies beyond the ordinary compass of the everyday.

For me, when I was younger, the Sea, that other Great Universal, brought me a sense of the sacred, a sense of peace. Going to the sea was my equivalent of going to church.

photo: Anne Whitaker

I was born by the sea. The stripped-down Presbyterianism of my native Hebridean island certainly spoke eloquently to many, but did not speak to my Romantic temperament: it was a form of worship too spare and verbal for a soul whose longing for the Divine needs the engagement of all the senses.

The remote beaches of the Hebrides are perfect for communing. In some places no mark of human hand can be seen anywhere. You could be in any epoch.

The endless ebb and flow which soothes your spirit is millions of years old. With the cries of wild birds, and the sound of the wind ( no shortage of that !) the sea weaves music which carries you beyond time. The rich smell of ozone, salt and bladder-wrack is overlaid with a delicate scent of wild flowers. Sea splashes leave salt tastes on your skin. Sunlight on the sea’s surface creates diamond sparks. God/dess is right here.

Natural beauty calls to us, confirming that the Holy Spirit which we sense in nature includes us all. Sand, sea, sun and solitude evoke a sense of our infinite smallness in relation to the vastness before us. Yet there could be no sea without each drop of water, no beach without each grain of sand.

Church on the face of it is very different, being a contained space. But it is a space charged up with collective worship, where the cadences of liturgy and participatory ritual also evoke a feeling of Divinity’s vast presence in relation to our precious smallness.

The mind-calming, meditative facets of sea, and centuries-old church ritual, can lull us into peace, calming the heart and uplifting the spirit. Both sea and church in their differing ways can restore a sense of the balance and interweaving of matter and spirit – “spirit is a lighter form of matter, matter is a denser form of spirit” –  and provide a reminder that the small, limited, mundane world which we inhabit is set to the compass of Eternity.

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Zodiac

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500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

Winter Solstice: a poetic invocation for the Sun in Capricorn

Today the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn, the zodiacal backdrop to our journey through the dark heart of  winter each year. 

We humans in the Northern Hemisphere, beset by darkness and cold, have from long antiquity needed light and celebration to lift our spirits in the bleak midwinter, no matter how much the grimness of world affairs or the pains of everyday life hold us down: 2016 has been a particularly harrowing year. 

We have, also, long needed ritual to guide our lives through the passage of all kinds of seasons: seasons of the year, seasons of our lives, seasons of joy, seasons of mourning…these rituals give significance, dignity, to the archetypal processes of life and death, then rebirth to new life in one form or another. 

All families across the world have their own variations on seasonal ritual. An annual event in our house is to flick malt whisky symbolically onto our Xmas Tree, the modern version of the ancient Sumerians’ Moon Tree, and to read Susan Cooper’s wonderful Winter Solstice poem aloud. I do hope, somewhere, somehow, she knows this.

Happy Solstice, Everyone! 

Our Midwinter Tree

Our Midwinter Tree

THE SHORTEST DAY’ BY SUSAN COOPER

 

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

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In the bleak Midwinter...

In the bleak Midwinter…

350 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Susan Cooper 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Jupiter opposes Uranus, Boxing Day 2016: Bring it on!!

On Boxing Day, 26.12.16, we have a dose of dynamic disruption for our world community and for those of us ‘plugged in’ via our horoscopes to 20-27 degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn: the first of three exact opposition aspects on 26 December 2016 (20 Aries/Libra), 2 March 2017 (22 Aries/Libra), and 28 September 2017 (27 Aries/Libra).

The Jupiter/Uranus combination can represent the very best in human aspiration, exploration, inventiveness and the sheer exuberance of being alive. However, arrogant conviction of their own rightness when working together can make this combination inflammatory, hubristic and downright destructive. We should therefore see both the positive and negative sides of this unique combination during the Jupiter/Uranus opposition year ahead.

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Jupiter meets Uranus – from http://www.cainer.com

I have form when it comes to astrological obsessions! During the 1997-8 conjunction year when those two planets met at 5-6 degrees Aquarius, I ran a research study into the lives of 17 people whose charts were ‘plugged in’ to the above numbers, set in the context of world affairs at the time. The resulting book, vividly depicting their extraordinary year, was published in 2009 by the American Federation of Astrologers. The Jupiter/Uranus cycle is 14 years long: during the subsequent conjunction in Pisces/Aries during 2010-11, my Jupiter/Uranus obsession struck again, resulting in further research, this time conducted via the Web. Once again, a new group of 10 trusty volunteers had a year like no other. I published all this research in one e-book in 2015: you can download it HERE for free, with my compliments.

Whilst we wait to see what this especially dynamic, disruptive Jupiter/Uranus opposition year will bring, I thought I’d whet your appetites by re-posting the article I wrote in 2010, ten days before the second Jupiter/Uranus meeting (the first, at 0 degrees Aries, occurred on 8.6.2010) : by this time, the key themes were taking clearer form, and as we have seen in the last 6/7 years, have unfolded (allied with the longer-term Uranus/Pluto square in Aries/Capricorn) in a way which has radically changed our world.

Enjoy the read – and any comments always welcome, especially personal feedback regarding your Jupiter/Uranus experiences!

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“…You don’t have to be a very sage astrologer to work out that one of the likely backdrops to this upcoming 19th September 2010 Jupiter/Uranus conjunction at 29 degrees Pisces (the second of three in Pisces and Aries during 2010/11) is going to be that perennial sustainer, challenger, inspirer, executor and persecutor of the human race – religion –  as a new 14-year cycle unfolds.

And sure enough, it is shaping up in bold primary colours already.

A major row has been rumbling in the USA since the end of August 2010 over the proposed location of  a Muslim religious centre close to the site of Ground Zero. Check out HERE:

Last week the UK’s most prominent and respected scientist Stephen Hawking grandly announced that God was not necessary in coming up with an explanation for the origins of the Universe. This could be found in the laws of physics. The book “Grand Design”, set for release on September 9, has him saying: “because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing….”

New Hubble Image: Carina Nebula

In recent days, it has become world-wide news that the pastor of a small church in Florida, Terry Jones, is planning a less than conciliatory act of remembrance of the 9/11 atrocity by burning 200 copies of the Koran on the 11 September. This plan has been roundly condemned from USA Secretary of  State Hilary Clinton downwards. See  HERE

(NOTE: it just caught my eye in Google’s news headlines as I was signing off after publishing this post and doing some emails, that the pastor in question has called off his protest. How interesting that this should occur on the very day that Jupiter slips from combative, fiery Aries into the soothing waters of Pisces….)

And here in the UK, that anti-messiah and self-appointed High Priest of Atheism, the scientist and polemical writer Richard Dawkins, had planned to arrest the Pope when he visits the UK during 16-19 September, just at the exact point of the second Jupiter/Uranus conjunction.

“Campaigners supported by Prof Richard Dawkins, the prominent atheist, had hoped to have Benedict XVI held over his supposed cover-up of child abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

But leaders of the Protest the Pope coalition now admit that the Pontiff cannot be arrested as Britain acknowledges him as a head of state, granting him sovereign immunity from criminal prosecution.” Read more

The fingerprints of the Jupiter/Uranus combination in Pisces are all over these events. First of all, Jupiter and Uranus are planets associated with the ‘masculine’ dimension of life regardless of a person’s sex: outgoing and action-oriented.

Then, if we think of the mythology of Jupiter and Uranus, we have the arrogant and combative Olympian god Jupiter, who was always right, enjoyed laying down the law, (fundamentalism anyone?) and who threw thunderbolts from Mount Olympus at unfortunate humanity cowering down below. His ally Prometheus (I follow the Richard Tarnas view that Uranus in action most resembles the Greek god Prometheus) was an innovator who taught humankind the great arts of astrology, science and music.

He also decided that the gods’ fire was just what the human race needed to make them all-wise and powerful (without actually consulting any of them to see if they wanted this equivocal gift!) and proceeded to steal that precious substance, hidden in a fennel-stalk. Unfortunately he got caught and spent eternity chained to a rock having his liver pecked out by an eagle.

As I point out in my book ” Jupiter Meets Uranus “ (AFA 2009, updated FREE e-edition 2015) the Jupiter/Uranus combination can represent the very best in human aspiration, exploration, inventiveness and the sheer exuberance of being alive. However, arrogant conviction of their own rightness when working together can make this combination inflammatory, hubristic and downright destructive. We should therefore see both the positive and negative sides of this unique conjunction during the Jupiter/Uranus year of 2010/11.

The Jupiter/Uranus combination works out of the ‘left field’ more than any other combination of planetary energies. Its cycle is 14 years long.

In 1969 Man stepped on the Moon for the first time under an exact Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Libra. In 1983 with the conjunction in Sagittarius, the world’s first artificially made chromosome was created at Harvard University. In February 1997 with the conjunction in Aquarius, Dolly the Sheep, the first cloned animal, was announced to the world.

2010/11 is gradually revealing unique developments too for good and ill: the Large Hadron Collider’s vast experiment and what it may reveal. Craig Venter’s company’s creating of  the first artificial living cell – using highly sophisticated computer technology. The worst man-made oil spill in history. Scientists making hubristic statements about spiritual matters which go inappropriately beyond their reductionist terms of reference. Religious (and anti-religious) fanatics behaving in ways that no-one could have guessed or believed…..

Bring it on, Jupiter/Uranus!

We are waiting with bated breath for more left-field events: with a mixture of  fascination, awe, humour (sometimes if you don’t laugh you just end up crying….) dismay and disbelief. Well, given that Pisces is involved, the word ‘belief” has to feature somewhere.

Zodiac

Zodiac

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12o0 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2010/ 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Some thoughts on Millennials…will they change the world for the better?

A Baby-Boomer comments on Millennials…how brave is that?!!  

But I also talk about planetary cycles…so it’s not ALL about them. My thanks go to astrologer Jessica Adams for our recent email conversation, which got my  braincell ticking on the ever-fascinating topic of the upcoming Millennial Generation.

As ever, let me know your thoughts!

I still recall with great clarity my first encounter with planetary cycles, in 1983. In the early days of a developing obsession with astrology, still grappling to acquire reasonable fluency with natal patterns, my focus – of necessity – was still limited to unlocking the complex symbolism of natal horoscopes. I had no idea that the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction at 6-9 Sagittarius that year, trining my 12th House Mercury from the Fourth House, was about to provide a wake-up call.

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Charles Harvey

It came via a wonderful lecture on mundane astrology by the late, great Charles Harvey. “Time is the flowing Image of the Eternal…and the planets are the instruments of Time”, began Charles, quoting Plato’s ‘Timaeus’. That hour passed in seconds, or so it seemed. I was riveted. The idea that each horoscope is a unique ‘chip’ of the prevailing planetary pattern, which also symbolises the ebb and flow of collective and world affairs, was a revelation. Although no great expert in mundane astrology, my fascination with the great planetary cycles’ timing of the unfolding of collective and personal life, and their interweaving, has never waned.

The mighty Neptune/Pluto cycle of 500 years begins whole epochs: the most recent conjunction in the 1890s in Gemini began the Information Age. The Uranus/Neptune cycle of 172 years, from 2-3 Capricorn in 1821 to 18-19 Capricorn in 1993, produced seminal thinkers such as USA’s Transcendentalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817-162) and Germany’s Karl Marx (1818-83), a political philosopher and writer whose socialist ideas changed the world.

Neptune longs for a new, perfect vision of how life could be; Uranus  breaks down the old order in ways never before envisaged, letting those new vistas take shape, paying little attention to the ensuing chaos. Those long cycles are change-makers, ensuring that nothing stays the same shape for long, either in our tiny personal lives or the patterns of the Big Picture.

The start of the last Uranus/Neptune meeting saw Karl Marx’s birth and growth to maturity. The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, when Saturn joined the ending of that cycle and the seeding of the new one in 1993, saw the collapse of the Communist system birthed by Marx’s ideas.

Each generation bears its own stamp… The most recent Uranus/Neptune group began to appear with the applying conjunction in 1986 in late Sagittarius/early Capricorn, staying in range throughout the signs Capricorn and Aquarius until 1999. They are the ones now rising with the new Millennium, as we Pluto in Leo baby-boomers sink slowly into decrepitude and irrelevance…no doubt kicking and screaming as we go…

The Millennials are the future. So – what can they expect, and we expect from them, as the new world order recently birthed by Uranus/Neptune arises and takes shape? I wonder who will prove to be their Marx equivalent? I wonder who will be their Thoreau? Here are a few brief thoughts, which I hope will stimulate yours!

a-millennial

The 20 year Jupiter Saturn conjunctions, the “Great Chronocrators,” or Rulers of the Ages,  are ‘concerned with the formation of our sense of social purpose and direction, our quest for concrete achievements in the world’ (Greg Bogart). The next Jupiter Saturn conjunction in 2020, growing closer and closer in late Capricorn throughout that year, finally reaches exactitude at 0 Aquarius at the winter solstice. (The most recent one, at 23 Taurus in May 2000, was the last in the earth element for around 800 years).

Next up, Pluto shifts from Capricorn into Aquarius in 2024, beginning a long trine aspect to the 1892 Neptune/Pluto conjunction in Gemini. More air. The next Uranus/ Neptune conjunction, in 2165, will take place in early Aquarius, their first meeting in the air element for a thousand years. 

Thus, since 1980, when the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction at 5-8 Libra  entered the air element for the first time since its last entry in the twelfth century A.D, we have been moving gradually into an air-dominated era, with the sign of Aquarius in high focus. We are moving from an emphasis on material development and planetary exploitation  which characterised the Industrial Revolution and the whole materialist culture arising, to one of global social development – that of ideas, information, communication, and relationships – expedited by technology, for the coming 200 years or so.

This upcoming Uranus/Neptune generation, with its Capricorn/Aquarius mix, are a challenging bunch.They aren’t inclined to be gullible: Saturn’s influence – via his rulership of Capricorn and Aquarius –  sees to that. They like proof.

My 23 year old nephew, just finished a Politics degree, currently doing a Masters in Overseas Development, is very much like that. He is interested in astrology and very open-minded, but I have to present the subject to him with grounded clarity. I like that challenge! The young folks whose charts I have read are having to learn to dance on a wobbly board, as it were: Capricorn craves order, whilst Uranus is bored by it and Neptune loves to dissolve it, see what lies in the open spaces of spirituality and imagination.

This generation will thus be arriving at maturity as the energy patterns dominating collective life shift from an earth element base to an airy fundament. The dominant sign energy, as we have seen, will be airy, collective, revolutionary, idealistic Aquarius. We are already seeing the early brushstrokes of this upcoming era, with the fast rise of the Internet and social media over the last decade, and with it young people who are expert at surfing those new cultural waves.

Let’s hope this Millennial generation arising, then their children, will slowly create a new kind of global interconnectedness: perhaps, even, a way of living which is not rooted in the despoliation of Mother Earth…

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Zodiac

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950 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Just how stubborn is Taurus?

I am feeling the need for a rest for a bit from writing long articles! Here is a quick question from ‘Mandy’ (not her real name): 

I was born on the 11th May and am therefore a Taurus, I was also born in 1973 which is the year of the bull in the Chinese horoscopes (which is also of interest as I lived in HongKong for a while). 

How do both areas of astrology combine? And am I really as stubborn as a ‘double bull’ would indicate? 

Taurus

Taurus

Hello Mandy

since you have kindly provided your date and year of birth, I have taken a peek into that favourite reference book of astrologers, The American Ephemeris for the 20th Century. It lists the midnight positions of all the planets for a hundred years and I’d definitely not be without it on a desert island (yes, ok, I’m mad!) This is where we astrologers begin the process of calculating horoscopes, although the TIME of birth is needed to reveal the whole picture.

The Ephemeris tells me that on 11 May 1973, in common with everyone else born on that day, the Sun was indeed to be seen occupying that 30 degree sector of the sky called Taurus. However, Mercury, planet of mind and communication,  and Venus, planet of relationship, harmony and beauty,  were also there on that day! So – having three of the ten key characters on your life’s stage in the same sector or sign emphasises the characteristics of that sign very strongly. The answer to your second question, therefore, is an emphatic YES based on Western astrology alone.

However, there are other things in your horoscope which both modify and contradict this strong stubborn streak. A full horoscope reading, for which you would need to provide your date, place and all-important TIME of birth,  would put all the key characters on the stage, enabling you to get a better ‘handle’ on what drives you….

As far as the combination of Chinese and Western astrology is concerned, after more than 30 years as an astrologer I am still getting to grips with the Western tradition (!) so have only a very superficial knowledge of Eastern astrologies. However, I turned to our ever-present friend  Google – which, incidentally, told me that the Chinese year for your date of birth is,in fact,  the year of the Ox.

Astrowiki has an interesting and informative page on Chinese Astrology for any readers who wish to pursue the topic further.

 Many thanks for your question, Mandy. Your feedback would be welcome. And – ask me another any time ! 

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Zodiac

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450 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Some thoughts on prediction…

Prediction post-mortems have abounded throughout all media in the wake of the shock result of the USA election which will see Donald Trump inaugurated as 45th President in January 2017. A large majority of astrologers predicted a Hillary Clinton win. She DID win the popular vote, by a majority of 1.4 million according to the most recent reliable estimates. But Trump secured the Presidency, thanks to the Electoral College results. So – were the astrologers’ predictions of a Clinton win right, or were they wrong? 

Mulling over this conundrum, I thought it might be of interest to repost an article I wrote some years ago on the topic of prediction. Let me know what YOU think!

Mediaeval Stargazers

Mediaeval Stargazers

The question of whether it is possible to foretell the future is one which has preoccupied humans ever since we evolved into self-conscious beings and began to conceptualise past, present, and future — now thought to be around 80,000 years ago. Prediction has been around for a long time. Economists do it. Weather forecasters do it. Politicians do it. Physicists do it. Futurologists do it.

Most of the foregoing predictors direct scorn and derision at the people who have done it for longer than anyone else: astrologers.

There is several thousand years’ worth of recorded empirical evidence — much of it stored on clay tablets, as yet undeciphered, in the basements of museums across the world — demonstrating that the movements of  the planets in our solar system correlate with particular shifts in “the affairs of men” (Shakespeare’s term, not mine!).

This empirical observation continues into the present day in the consulting rooms of astrologers across the world. For example, a number of politicians and economists consult astrologers regularly. They are mostly unwilling to admit it, though we astrologers know who they are!

What we can, and cannot, do

Both astrologers and astronomers, via planetary observation, can look at and correctly plot the unfolding pattern of energies through space-time. After that, astrologers step into a different realm than that of observation of the external, material, planetary world. By looking at a section of any points or moments of the past, present, or future via a horoscope, they can examine the essence of that moment in terms of its meaning, and speculate with moderate accuracy about what some of the branches manifesting in the wider world, or in individuals’ lives, may be.

What they can’t do is to see exactly, and with consistency, how those branches are going to manifest. Historically, our track record on hindsight is much better than it is on foresight!

There have been some spectacularly accurate predictions made by astrologers in the public realm over the centuries; a famous one was made by Luc Gauricus in 1555 to the effect that King Henry II of France (then aged thirty-seven) was in danger of death in his forty-second year, by a head injury incurred in single combat in an enclosed space. And five years later Henry duly died of a lance splinter which entered his eyes and pierced his brain.

There have also been some spectacular failures, e.g., to predict that the Munich agreement of 1938 would lead to World War II.

A new model slowly emerging

We do much better at describing the essence of a pattern, but identifying the exact branches is much more hit and miss. Personally this cheers me, since it appears to suggest a creative balance between fate and free will in the universe; chaos theory in contemporary physics also has strong parallels with the astrological paradigm. Both the language of astrology and the language of quantum physics tells us that not everything  is pinned down.

Indeed, a view and a model are slowly emerging, despite considerable resistance from the diehard defenders of reductionism, which can demonstrate convincingly that the lenses of astrology and quantum physics are focusing on the same underlying, all encompassing Reality.

The perspectives offered by contemporary writers, astrologers, depth psychologists, and scientists, such as Richard Tarnas, Liz Greene, the late Charles Harvey, Stanislav Grof, Brian Swimme, Rupert Sheldrake, and others — including recent books by astrologers Armand Diaz, Kieron Le Grice and Bernadette Brady — have been of inestimable value to me. I urge any readers of this blog who are keen to expand their own perspectives to explore their work.

Consciousness holds the key

My view, based on my personal experiences and those of clients and students over 30 years, as well as extensive reading and study, is that the key dimension in determining how a particular planetary pattern will play out in a person’s life is the level of consciousness at which they are operating at the time the inevitable challenges of life come their way.

Most astrologers have had the humbling experience of looking at the horoscope of a client which looks so difficult that the impending consultation feels very stressful, but upon encountering the client, they meet someone who has faced, dealt with, and grown through hard experiences that would have flattened a less aware person. We can never predict the level of awareness of a client we have never met, although we can have a pretty good idea that, e.g., Mars conjunct Saturn conjunct Pluto square the Moon is going to be no walk in the park.

I am personally very hesitant about both the accuracy and the wisdom of predicting at all, especially for individuals, in any more than a “describing the core and speculating about the branches” kind of way. Predicting that a specific branch will manifest may well close down possibilities rather than open them up, which also takes us into the realm of self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, when Uranus was about to cross my Pisces Descendant in 2005, beginning its seven or so years’ traverse of my 7th house, I became concerned about what this might mean for my marriage. The rather problematic implications of Uranus’ impact on the relationship realm that practising astrologers see every day in their students’ and clients’ lives, as well as their own, worried me.

However, a profound, totally unexpected spiritual experience on my husband’s part linked both our spiritual journeys into walking the same path at the same time. This has had a supportive, deepening effect on our marriage and not one I could possibly have envisaged before Uranus crossed my Descendant.

My personal prediction story

Having just made what I hope is a coherent case for specific prediction being a practice of dubious merit and only intermittent accuracy, here is my own striking experience of being on the receiving end of a specific prediction I never asked for, at a time when I was a typical astrology dismisser, i.e, I considered that astrology was rubbish without ever having taken the trouble to study it.

Bath, Somerset, England, June 1974: I was engrossed in the Sunday evening chore of doing washing in the launderette on the London Road, near where I lived. It was a liminal time in my life. After having resigned from a lecturing job, I was preparing to leave Bath. A return to the Outer Hebrides was imminent.

A strange looking couple came in, accompanied by a little girl of about five years old. The woman was tall, slender, with long dark hair, a very scruffy Afghan coat, and a distinct look of Cher (of Sonny and Cher fame). The man was smaller than her, slight, with unruly greying hair and a mischievous face.

I carried on with my laundry. The little girl was chatty; soon, she was putting money into the dryer for me, I was telling her stories, and we had become great friends. I met her parents. They were both artists and astrologers. (note:“Seamus” and “Gloria” are fictitious names.)

“Not the kind who do that stuff you see in the papers,” said Seamus scornfully, having noted the fleeting look of disdain which crossed my face at the mention of the word astrology. (I had given one of my mature students a very hard time a couple of years before for her public devotion to what seemed to me a subject unworthy of someone of her intelligence.) Seamus said, “We are the real thing.”

Twenty minutes later, I was sitting in their cramped basement kitchen, drinking tea, and being charmed by Seamus. His combination of erudition, intensity, conviction, humour, and blarney was irresistible.

An unsuspecting client . . .

“Do you know your birth time?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied. “Why are you interested in that?”
“Because I am going to draw up your horoscope”, he replied. Whether I wanted such a procedure embarked upon or not was of no consequence to him. So slain was I by his charm that I didn’t offer any resistance.

As I watched, interested in spite of myself, Gloria and Seamus assembled a hefty tome, a slim pamphlet, blank sheets of paper, a calculator, a fountain pen, and a newly sharpened pencil. The tome was an ephemeris, they informed me —  a list of the planets’ placements everyday at noon for the whole of the 20th century.

Seamus took a blank sheet, carefully drawing a circle freehand in its centre. He then proceeded with great rapidity and fluency to insert squiggles — “Planets!” — and numbers around the inner edge of the circle. He then drew lines within a smaller inner circle — “Aspects, or links between the planets at the time you were born.” He and Gloria then sat back, gazing with silent preoccupation at the image they had created.

Anne W's Horoscope - drawn by hand!

Anne W’s Horoscope

I can still recall very, very clearly what followed.

Seamus, looking at his drawing and only briefly at me, gave an astonishingly accurate description of my father’s complex, domineering, idiosyncratic and wayward character. That was bad enough, not least because it reminded me of certain aspects of myself! Worse was to follow.

“You are a person rich with creative gifts,” he said. “But you need to know and face more clearly the more difficult facets of your own nature. It’s time to do that, since you are approaching 30 and your Saturn Return.” With that, he forensically summed up those parts of myself which I knew were there, but had tried very hard to avoid facing or admitting to anyone — a very common and human failing that Saturn transits expose and challenge on a cyclic basis throughout our lives. I was feeling by this time as though I’d been hit on the side of the head with a sock full of sand.

Then, with true rhetorical skill, he delivered the punch line. “You tell me you are a total sceptic now,” he said. “But stop fooling yourself. You have a deeply spiritual nature, which needs to find meaning and connection with something greater than yourself. Until you manage that, you will be driven by the same restlessness that still drives your father, and you will not find inner peace.”

There was a long pause.

“And I can see, from where the planets will be in about seven years’ time, that the Big Picture is going to come seriously calling at your door. In your early thirties, you’re going to end up either doing what I’m doing now, or something very like it.”

I was utterly shocked. I had known those people for less than an hour, most of which had been spent walking back from the launderette to their flat and organising cups of tea. They knew nothing about me of any significance. How could they produce such specific and accurate material from marks on a piece of paper? I couldn’t even begin to get my head round the prediction. It seemed beyond absurd.

Slowly, I carried my laundry home. There was no way I could find to make sense of the experience I had just had. There was no file inside my head into which it could fit.

Seven years later

Seven years later, a friend gave me a copy of Alan Oken’s ‘Complete Astrology’. I had no idea why, but had enough respect for that friend and his opinions to begin reading. About three pages in, I had the strangest sensation of someone pulling me into the book, saying “Come here, you’re for me…” I still have this battered old copy with my signature on it — February 1981.

And my transits at the time? The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Libra exactly conjunct natal 2nd-house Neptune and exactly sextile natal 11th-house Mercury (my ruling planet); Uranus crossing the natal IC; Neptune beginning a long opposition to the natal 10th-house Uranus-Mars conjunction, and trine to the natal 12th-house Sun; Pluto trine natal Uranus and sextile natal Sun; North Node conjunct natal Mercury. A summons, pretty much . . .

In February 1981, that prediction, (which I had never quite forgotten), and the feeling of fascination, compulsion, and exhilaration which Alan Oken’s book triggered in me came together in a way that has profoundly shaped the whole of my subsequent life.

Concluding thoughts

It’s good for us all — especially people like me, with seven planets in fixed signs! — to get jolted out of our positions now and then by experiences that don’t fit our frames of reference. Hopefully, the jolt will have the effect of breaking down some of our old defences and letting new experience and new knowledge enter our lives.

I re-interpreted Seamus’ prediction in the light of my own subsequent astrological knowledge; it was pretty obvious by then how he had got there, as was the timing of it.

I still think about the encounter with him, his child, and partner over 40 years later. Did his prediction, at some subliminal level, point my life in a direction that it would not otherwise have gone? I will never know. But I do know, as a result of our encounter, that whatever my reservations are about the wisdom of offering such specific outcomes to people, astrologers sometimes have the power to do just that.

Whether they should do it is another issue altogether!

Astrology Consultation

Postscript:

Yesterday, I read a most interesting editorial by Edward Snow, on the excellent Astrology News Service, which had this concluding comment from astrologer Armand Diaz which I thought I’d share, since it illustrates my own belief:

“As an astrologer, I often think of the story of King Croesus, who asked the oracle at Delphi if he should attack Persia. ‘If you do,’ the priestess replied, speaking for the god Apollo, ‘a great kingdom will fall.’

“Enthused, Croesus attacked, and indeed a great kingdom fell – his own. I take that story as a reminder that there is always something mysterious and unknowable, a trickster’s play, running through the Cosmos,” Diaz said.

Amen to that…

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Endnotes

An earlier  version of this article was posted on The Mountain Astrologer blog on 28.8.2013

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Zodiac

2,500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page