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

Jupiter in Scorpio, astrologers and Prometheus – a cautionary tale..

Since sharing When Transits Bring Suffering by Dana Gerhardt on my Facebook Page a few days ago, I have been reflecting yet again on the reality that the Cosmos’ unfolding energy patterns – from which astrology helps us to extract meaning – offer us darkness as well as light as the Wheel of Fortune turns… I ruminated on this topic recently in my column for Dell Horoscope Magazine, offering a striking example from my own life by means of illustration…

“…The Titan Prometheus was a pretty arrogant fellow, in my view. According to Greek myth he stole the fire of knowledge from the gods, hidden in a fennel stalk, to give to humanity for our enlightenment. Did he consult any humans beforehand, to see if we wanted such a double-edged gift?

To the best of my knowledge, he did not. He thought he knew best. For this blatant act of hubris, ie thinking you are as smart as the gods, he was savagely punished by Zeus, their king.

You probably know the story, but it bears repeating, just to remind us that hubris is not a good idea. Chained to a rock, Prometheus had his liver pecked out by an eagle on a daily basis; it regrew overnight – the punishment never ended.

In astrology the planet Jupiter, named for the king of the gods in Roman myth, rules the liver. In the Prometheus myth, the liver was chosen as the focus of torture because the ancient Greeks regarded the liver as the seat of life, soul, and intelligence.

So – wherever Jupiter is in your horoscope, that’s where you are compelled to seek to broaden your experience, widen your horizons, deepen your knowledge. However, the myth would appear to suggest that you need to be careful with the results of your quest and its impact on both yourself and others.

Jupiter has very recently moved into the sign of Scorpio, ruled by the Lord of the Underworld, Pluto. Wherever Scorpio is in your birth chart, that’s where the soul-enhancing benefits of deepening your understanding and experience within that dark terrain can be gained over the next year.

Jupiter in Scorpio crops up often in the horoscopes of astrologers, as do Jupiter/Pluto aspects, or Jupiter in the Eighth House. This should not be a surprise, either to astrologers themselves or those who know them. Astrological knowledge is powerful  – as such, it is potently attractive to those of us prepared to do the in-depth work required in order to become fluent enough to practice as astrologers and/or astrology teachers.

However, with such deep knowledge comes a warning, which Prometheus should have heeded; one which astrologers should note, if they have the wisdom and humility to do so: fire burns. By acquiring such powerful knowledge, hidden from most people, we are procuring the gods’ fire. That fire can burn us as it did Prometheus. It can burn our clients and students too, if we are not careful.

Consider this example from my life last year: late in May 2017 I was preparing to attend the Student Astrology Conference in London on 2-3 June. There had recently been two major terrorist attacks on the UK: one in March in London, the second in Manchester just over a week before we were due to set off. One of the key transit patterns common to those attacks was the long square between Saturn in late Sagittarius and Chiron in late Pisces.

I have a Uranus/Mars conjunction in late Gemini/early Cancer in the tenth house. Observing the ephemeris with increasing disquiet, wondering what unpleasant collective events might be triggered by transiting Mars moving through Gemini and once again setting off the Saturn/Chiron square, I suddenly realised that I was ‘plugged in’ to this pattern.

Mars would be exactly triggering my Uranus/Mars midpoint, opposing Saturn transiting the fourth house and squaring transiting seventh house Chiron. On the London Conference weekend.

Given the overall picture, I was worried to say the least. What should I do? Should I tell my husband, thereby alarming him? (Fortunately he is an Aquarian, and not easily intimidated!) Should we cancel our trip? It certainly looked as though some unpleasant surprises were coming our way. In the end, having decided that all this difficult symbolism was contained within an overall protective grand kite pattern involving my horoscope and transiting planets, I concluded that things would be difficult, but not directly involving me or us.

So it proved. One hour before we departed on 1st June, a close relative called me to say his wife was going to have surgery soon for breast cancer. At Euston railway station in London, tired from travelling, we got into a black cab with a driver who blasted us with the full force of his rage against the world for the full half hour it took to get to our hotel. And on the night of 2nd June, less than a mile away from our hotel and the conference venue, there was a devastating terror attack on London Bridge.

My foreknowledge of the broad picture, but not the detail, undoubtedly caused me distress. I could give many other examples as I am sure could my astrologer colleagues, of being burned by this wonderful knowledge we have – which can also be so constructively helpful and illuminating both to us and to our clients.

What would you have said to an astrology client with the planetary line-up described, if they had asked you “Should I go to London next weekend?”  I am still thinking about that one. But in the end we have to trust the sacred space of the consultation, our link to the Divine, be humble – and  strive to do no harm…”

Endnotes:

This post first appeared in my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine  ‘The astro-view from Scotland’ in the November 2017 Issue.

Zodiac

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018

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

As 2018 begins, Saturn in Capricorn speaks…

As part of the slow process of emerging snail-like from the tinsel shell of the Festive Season, and preparing to greet the new world of 2018, I returned, as I sometimes do, to  Persian poet Rumi’s wonderfully wise poem “This being human”. Do read it, if you have not done so already. It contains great wisdom regarding the turbulent duality of light and dark forces which constitute not only human nature, but also Life itself. It also feels a very appropriate message from Saturn in Capricorn…

Light and dark are inseparably interdependent: maybe, Rumi is suggesting, it would be wise to honour them both, since those dark destructive energies which periodically sweep through, causing havoc personally and collectively, contain  messages, guidance  from Beyond, which are telling us something we usually do not wish to hear. 

A year’s turn, no matter what our beliefs, brings with it a deeply-ingrained, archetypal need to take stock, reflect on the year gone by, and perhaps resolve to make some positive changes in the New Year emerging. As 2018 dawns, Saturn from his natural domain in Capricorn, will gather momentum in his work of reminding us both personally and collectively that we need to behave with as much integrity as possible and take full responsibility for our own actions as the next few years unfold.

I am not alone in having had Life hurl me against the same wall a few times before I eventually ‘get the message’, and with painful slowness begin the process of change which is being demanded of me by a deeper, wiser Self –  that chip of divine light which is present in every one of us.

Writers offering comforting platitudes skimmed from a glide across the surface of life, or perhaps digging down a little, do not move me. My help comes from  those who look unflinchingly into the world’s dark heart without underestimating in any way the destruction and cruelty to be found there, but who can balance what they see with inspiring affirmation.

Despite all the awfulness of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ which is an ever-present reality through the ages both personally and collectively, Life is full of opportunities to be ‘surprised by joy’, to seek and find meaning in even the most scouring of experiences. That is certainly what I have come to believe.

Some writers have a way, also, of reminding us of how we need to change by poking us where it hurts, just as Saturn does… Reflecting on the current dismal-looking state of  planet Earth and its denizens as 2018 begins, I have been chewing upon one of my favourite anger-generating topics: how our need to be RIGHT  – and its world-wide manifestations via religious, political and scientific fundamentalism – has probably caused more bloodshed, mayhem and havoc throughout history than anything else, when I recalled this short but pungent poem by the poet Yahuda Amichai.

With thanks to Monica Domino who published it last year on symbolreader, I offer you this as a New Year meditation:

“The Place Where We Are Right”

“From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.

But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.”

Yehuda Amichai

 

 

 

 

 

Zodiac

Zodiac

600 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Yehuda Amichai 2018

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

Saturn and the Sun in Capricorn: some thoughts at the Winter Solstice

Tomorrow the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn, the zodiacal backdrop to our journey through the dark heart of  winter each year. This year its entry, and the Winter Solstice, is lent especial significance by Capricorn’s ruling planet, Saturn, having come home to its own sign today. I have been feeling the gravity of this, as I am sure have many of my readers.

2589725-midwinter-winter-solstice

In essence, my feeling about the period we are moving into from Winter Solstice 2017 is this: Saturn is the planet which dispenses strict justice, telling us that what we sow, we reap – for good or ill. As he moves slowly towards conjunction with mighty Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, at 22 degrees Capricorn in 2020, a meeting which only occurs every thirty-five years or so, we are being reminded that environmentally, politically and financially there is a collective reckoning on its way. Jupiter’s presence in Capricorn that year further amplifies the encounter’s significance.

The consequences of our actions are looming; there is a rebirth coming which hopefully in the long run will challenge us as a human community to behave with greater integrity in our dealings both with one another and with our precious mother planet. So, the turbulent times ahead will force us to confront our failures and shortcomings, both personally and collectively.

But they will also offer us satisfactions and rewards in those areas of our lives to which we bring integrity, personal responsibility,  patience, persistence and honesty. The choice is ours – as always. 

It’s important to give profound times their due. But we also need comfort and distraction, especially in the ‘bleak Midwinter’…

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: 2017 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.

 An annual event in our Scottish household is to flick malt whisky symbolically onto the Christmas Tree, the modern version of the ancient Sumerians’ Moon Tree, and to read Susan Cooper’s wonderful Winter Solstice poem aloud. All families across the world have their own variations on seasonal ritual.

I hope you find comfort and joy in yours.

Ancient Akkadians honour their tree of life

Ancient Akkadians honour their tree of life

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!!

******

In the bleak Midwinter...

In the bleak Midwinter…

600 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Susan Cooper 2017

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Anne, how do you feel Astrology is best learned?

Anne, how do you feel Astrology is best learned? Through books, lectures, classes, or ?

I received this message from Judith on this blog’s Facebook Page several days ago, replying to say I’d deal with it when I had time. But it’s a good, BIG question, more deserving of a thought-out answer than merely via a Facebook comment. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought; there are dozens of ways to respond!

My astrological colleagues will have their own way of replying – I’d be happy to hear their views, and those of current students or folk who are thinking about studying. I spent a happy half hour with one such person on Thursday 30th November 2017, responding to his question about Mercury Retrograde. His fascination with the whole subject was a joy to be around…

In the meantime, here are my thoughts…

My husband Ian, who in his earlier life was a professional actor, once asked a seasoned professional what it took to be a serious member of the profession. The older man replied rather grandly : ” My boy, all you need to be an actor is three boards – and passion…”

Passion

So let’s start with the passion.

Picture this scene. There I am, sitting at a cramped old desk in the bedroom of our new house, having just moved, acquired a husband (not ever part of my life plan, by the way!) a half share in his two children, his elderly cat, and his ex wife who at that time lived round the corner from us. Oh yes, and having just changed  jobs.

In front of me is an astrology text book: Margaret Hone’s Modern Text Book of Astrology (most recent imprint 1954 or thereabouts). I am already scared stiff by Margaret, although I have never met her. I am at Chapter Six: Computation. It’s a struggle to understand the maths, never my strong point to put it mildly.

There are mascara stains half way down the page. Mine. “I’ll never ever get this!” I wail to the new husband, who is looking bemused. Less than a year later, having sat a whole week of exams in May 1983, I discover that I have gained my Certificate of the UK’s Faculty of Astrological Studies – with a Distinction in the Calculation paper.

That’s where passion, allied with her much less glamorous but more useful sister persistence, can get you. So that’s where you start, if you really want seriously to engage with the art of astrology. You need to be passionately attracted to those seductive, mysterious, elusive symbols whose sliver of meaningful light cast on your life – very often, first of all,  through the Sun Signs – compels you to engage with a landscape whose depth and richness becomes increasingly evident the further you venture within.

Finding the way 

It’s fascinating to find out how well-known astrologers found their way: HERE are some of their stories, including my own, which is set in a launderette in Bath, Somerset, England; a very long time ago. Then, I thought ( based on the usual total ignorance of the subject) that astrology was a load of old rubbish. How wrong could a person be…

People vary greatly in how they arrive at a reasonable degree of competence and fluency in interpreting astrological charts. This is where persistence and discipline come in. Without those, you are going to remain on the margins: a dilettante, “into” astrology but with no real grasp of the subject. That’s fine, if that’s where you wish to remain. But you won’t get to the heart of the subject without persistent application.

I think my own pattern was fairly typical. First, I had an unexpected encounter with astrologers the accuracy of whose reading of my horoscope stunned me. It came at a time when I was seriously questioning what my life was FOR – and whether life itself was intrinsically meaningful, or not. If strangers could describe my inner world and external life patterns so accurately, I thought, that certainly suggested the likelihood of something meaningful going on in the grand scale ….but the challenge provided to my agnostic resistance wasn’t at that point ripe enough to propel me into exploratory action.

Then seven years later, a friend thrust Alan Oken’s The Horoscope, the Road and its Travellers into my hand saying “I think you should read this.” In order not to offend him, I did, and was instantly compelled to begin studying first of all symbols, planets, signs, houses, aspects. I still have that old, battered notebook with all my handwritten notes in it – and the book with my name in it “Anne Whitaker 1981”.

Next, feeling lonely as a self-directed solo student, I decided to attend a local astrology group.Great,” I thought. “At least here I can get away from everyone who knows me but doesn’t know I’m interested in this weirdo stuff…”

“Hello, Anne, fancy meeting you here!” said the woman collecting entrance fees. It was a colleague from psychiatric social work. My cover was blown from day one. Attending the group led me to joining a class run by Carole Wilson (are you reading this, Carole?!) who held the Diploma from the Faculty of Astrological Studies.After that I just told people I was studying astrology, eliciting the usual mixture of responses from the incredulous to the dismissive, with a very liberal dollop of ” Wow, great – can you do my chart?”

Taking it further

Saying “Yes” and embarking on short, limited chart readings  very quickly revealed two things. One, that I too could study marks on pieces of paper and feed back accurate information to their owners. Two, that there was a great deal of power, and responsibility for using it, vested in the process of reading horoscopes and the person who took on that task. Feeling committed but daunted, needing some consistent high-quality teaching to take me on from Carole’s excellent introductory class, I signed up as a  Faculty of Astrological Studies correspondence student and in due course obtained my Certificate.

But you never can get to the end of  astrological knowledge: it’s too wide, and too deep. I was to further my studies much later on, at the Centre for Psychological Astrology,  by commuting by plane from Glasgow to London from 1995-1998 to complete a three-year Diploma in Psychological Astrology with renowned teacher writer and astrologer Dr Liz Greene and the late great mundane astrologer, teacher and writer Charles Harvey.

I consider myself most fortunate to have spent most of my twenties as a college lecturer, and most of my thirties as a generic and psychiatric social worker and counsellor, since both those strands wove into and greatly supported my work as an astrologer. I was also used to having my professional work supervised: thus, when I went freelance with writing, teaching, counselling and the practice of astrology – on the first Saturn square after my Saturn Return – it was a natural step for me to set up regular supervision for my astrological work.

So – returning to Judith’s question by way of conclusion: Judith, as you can see from this post, you answered your own question in the way you posed it!

Passionate interest, for whatever reason, kicks the whole thing off. Then it’s as you say: books, lectures, classes … and preferably some disciplined study with a reputable, recommended school, leading to a qualification which is recognised in the astrological world – that’s if you wish to establish some credibility as a practitioner and teacher.

There is a great deal more to be said on this topic, including the fact that many well-respected astrologers have no formal qualifications. You can find some of what I have previously discussed HERE if you want some food for thought regarding the professional and ethical dimensions of being an astrologer. I’d like to put on record here my appreciation of the work of the late, great master astrologer Donna Cunningham, who as you will see features very much in the first post in the series you will find by going through the above link.

Enjoy the browse – and many thanks, Judith, for inspiring this post!.


Zodiac

Zodiac

1350 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

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

 

 

 

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

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