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!

Honouring Jupiter in Scorpio, Saturn in Capricorn, and “mummy wheat”…

“…If Jupiter and Saturn meet,
What a crop of mummy wheat!…” (i)

As regular readers of this blog will know by now, in my horoscope a third house Jupiter in Scorpio squares no less than six planets in Leo in the eleventh and twelfth houses. Whether I like it or not – and often I do not! – the Big Picture issues of why are we here, and what is it all for, and what can we do to inject meaning into it, have been a lifelong preoccupation.

With the above line-up, the shadowy borderland between life and death has always intrigued and fascinated me more than many other people, most of whom sensibly appear to prefer to dwell on more concrete and less threatening matters.

In my case, I have noticed over the years that significant events of an in-depth Scorpionic nature seem to bracket the beginning and ending of the 11-12 year Jupiter in Scorpio cycles. I would be most interested to hear from readers if this has also been the case for them!

At the start of my second Jupiter in Scorpio cycle,  having been fascinated for a couple of years previously by Egyptian mythology (ii) and the question of where we went after death, both my beloved grandfathers died within a few months of each other when I was eleven years old. This was my first conscious encounter with grief and irredeemable loss, and the recognition of how fleeting human life really is.

And now yet another Jupiter in Scorpio cycle, the one which began in 2006, is coming to an end for us intense Scorpionic types. I have to confess that I am beginning to look forward to Jupiter’s ingress into fiery, optimistic Sagittarius in November 2018.

Early in September 2018, with another personal Jupiter in Scorpio cycle ending along with transiting Saturn in early Capricorn opposite 10th House Mars in Cancer, the sign of home, family and roots, I did something I have never done before, and will probably never do again. I returned to my native island – to visit and honour the graves of my ancestors.

On the 2.5 hour ferry crossing, as I gazed pensively out to sea, those lines from Yeats quoted at the beginning of this post came strongly into my mind, and stayed there…I’ve learned over the years not to question fragments floating up from the unconscious which refuse to leave until I have paid full attention to what they mean – although their full significance often takes some time to manifest.

Firstly I visited my sister’s grave – she died two years ago the day after my birthday. Then my parents’ grave. Then my Whitaker grandparents. I brought a beautiful simple bunch of purple and white, long-stemmed flowers, placing some from the same bunch on each grave – thus linking the generations. This simple ritual felt deeply meaningful.

Ardroil Cemetery, Uig

Ardroil Cemetery, Uig

My husband and I then drove to the wild, beautiful Atlantic coast of my native island where my Maclean and Macleod ancestors are buried, being fortunate to have fine weather for this part of the pilgrimage. There at Ardroil is a stunning sweep of beach, above which the cemetery sits. I picked some wild flowers, including delicate purple harebells, laying a few flowers from the bunch on each family grave as we located it. My Macleod grandparents including beloved Grandpa Calum, and my mother’s brother and sister with their spouses, are all there.

It is quite something also to be able to view the burial stone of your great-grandparents; I especially honoured my psychic great-grandmother, known to all and sundry in our family as ‘Granny Uig’. My memoir “Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness” which gives an account of my own paranormal experiences, is dedicated to her.

It also occurred to me, as I contemplated all those graves, that one word encompasses two significant branches of the essence of Jupiter in Scorpio combined with Saturn in Capricorn: gravestone.

The day we were due to leave, I went with some cousins to visit an exhibition called ‘Blazing the Trail for Stornoway Women’, a celebration of island women held to commemorate the centenary of them getting the vote. A star of this show was my feisty grandmother Bella Whitaker, the first woman ( in 1907) to make the main speech at her own wedding, and one of the  first two female town councillors ever elected in Stornoway – they were fearless in taking on the patriarchal dominance of local authority affairs at that time.

Then I left, feeling proud, realising something which felt very powerful: not only had I been honouring my ancestors, but had also been letting them know silently, symbolically, that I had done my best with what they had handed on.

Sitting gazing at the sea on the return journey, I understood why that Yeats quote had been inhabiting my mind for weeks: the ‘mummy wheat’ symbol of death and regeneration from  ancient Egyptian myth is a powerful way of describing how we arise both physically and in spirit  from the lives and deaths of our ancestors…

Endnotes

(i)

This quotation is from the first verse of  ‘ Conjunctions’ from one of W. B. Yeats’s most obscure collections of poems, the “Supernatural Songs.”
And, for a definition of ‘mummy wheat’: from the Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (2nd edition): ‘…mummy wheat — a variety of wheat, _Triticum compositum_, said to have been produced from grains found in Egyptian mummy cases…’ If anyone is sufficiently excited by the notion that wheat can indeed be grown from Ancient Egyptian tombs, here is the link to follow: http://stupidquestionarchives.blogspot.com/2008/03/mummy-wheat.html

(ii)

There is no complete text of the myth of the Ancient Egyptian god Osiris’s death and his restoration by his sister/wife the goddess Isis. However around 3000 years ago, ‘….In the early dynastic period Osiris became identified with new grain that rises from the earth, nourished by the waters of the Nile. He is pictured lying as a mummy beneath the grain which sprouts from his body, while a priest pours water on him. It’s interesting to note that at this time mats of earth with sprouting grain were placed in tombs of the dead, therefore making the connection between grain that rises yearly from the earth and immortal life…’ 

To read the full text of the article to which the above quote belongs, click HERE.

Zodiac

Zodiac

1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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

 

Anne, how do you feel Astrology is best learned?

Whilst my head is down getting three columns done by the end of this month ( aaargh!) , I thought I’d repost some of my thoughts on how astrology is best learned, inspired by astrologer Fernanda Paiva’s thoughtful recent post Saturnian Sobriety:

Thanks once more to Judith Burke for her searching question, and please feel free to post your own thoughts.

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

Talking astrology, mediaeval style!

Learning astrology, mediaeval style!

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

1400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017/18

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

 

 

 

What happens when Uranus, Neptune and Pluto cross the I.C?

I’m often asked about what clients/students can expect when the biggies, ie Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, cross the Imum Coeli or I.C. Well, here is an account of one person’s experiences, ie mine! Do not worry, those of you in the throes of one of those heavy duty, life changing transits. I’ve had all of them cross my I.C and I’m still here…( as far as I know…)

Although this article was written and published in the mid/late 1990s I thought it was worth posting again on “Astrology: Questions and Answers”.. for my new readers. It’s been the most-read-ever article both here, and on my other blog, now an archive,  ‘Writing from the Twelfth House‘.

It would be most interesting, and educational for other readers, if any of you felt like sharing YOUR experiences regarding any of those great collective planets crossing the I.C. point.

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Liz Greene once wryly observed in one of her seminars that, if you wanted a relatively quiet and peaceful life, you should arrange to be born when the outer planets were as far away from the personal planets and Angles as possible. I wish! say many of you reading this, as indeed does the writer, who has all the outer planets bolted onto all the personal planets and has had anything BUT a quiet life. (Encouraging note for the similarly challenged – I’m not young any more,  but I’m still here –more or less! – and pretty happy with what I have been able to make of my time on this earth to date).

In similar vein, many people – depending on the horoscope yielded by their particular date, time, and place of birth – will never even experience one of the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto crossing their IC ( for non-astrologers reading this, the IC symbolises the point of origin, roots and core of a person’s life).

However, I have had the lot – and am still here to tell the tale. Here it is….

The Underworld - Ancient Egypt

In the Underworld, Ancient Egyptian style…

In my horoscope the IC is conjunct the South Node at 28 degrees of Scorpio. Pluto, its ruler, is placed in the twelfth house conjunct Mercury, Saturn, Venus, Moon and Sun in Leo. As a child I would lie in bed watching the roses on the wallpaper turn into malevolent  faces as daylight faded; I had to make bargains with them before they would let me sleep.

I read voraciously, and particularly recall the works of Victorian novelist H Rider Haggard whose myth-steeped descriptions of his characters’ adventures in Africa last century fascinated me. But da Silva, the Dutch explorer whose frozen body was found centuries after his death in a cave high up Mt. Kilimanjaro, transferred himself from “King Solomon’s Mines” to the wardrobe in my bedroom, on and off, for a couple of years. Getting to sleep was no mean feat with an imagination like mine!

King Solomon's Mines First Edition

King Solomon’s Mines

My ‘real’ life – eating, sleeping, going to school – was incidental to my inner life which was full of what I felt were the really interesting questions : why are we alive, where do we go after death, do we live on several planes of existence at once, what is happening in other galaxies, if there are x million Catholics and even more Buddhists and Hindus, how come they are all Wrong and Damned and a few thousand members of the Free Church of Scotland are Right and Saved ?

And what would happen if you unwrapped an Egyptian mummy and I wonder if I could make a shrunken head like the Jivaro Indians and why did people paint pictures on cave walls thousands of years ago?

These were the issues which preoccupied me for years. No-one knew about them except my maternal grandfather. He had spent time taming wild horses alone in the middle of Argentina before World War 1, and in later life was the only Church of Scotland missionary to visit ill or injured foreign sailors of all religions in the local island hospital, despite the disapproval of the Free Church. “We are all God’s children”, he would say firmly to his critics – and to me. He died when I was eleven, after which I spoke to no-one until I grew up and left home about anything which really mattered.

As Pluto squared 12th house Venus, Moon and Sun, then crossed the IC conjunct South Node from 93-95, what was left of my family of origin fell apart in a particularly painful and tragic way. I had to make choices in order to protect myself from the destructive urges of other family members which involved separation from loved ones which is probably permanent. The major decision I made during those years was that the blood tie does not give others the right to destroy your life. I was indeed fortunate in having an astrological framework, which helped to provide a meaningful context for the pain.

As part of trying to process what was happening, I decided to compile a family history, returning to my native island to collect some oral material from old people who knew my family back a couple of generations. The day I sat down to write it up, transiting Pluto was exactly conjunct the South Node, within half a degree of the IC.  During the same week, I looked back through some old writings of my own, finding two unpublished pieces.

The first was written in July 1970, six months after the start of Neptune transiting the IC. I had no knowledge of astrology then…….

“…….My sister and I decided to take the dog and walk from our house, just outside the  town, to a beach very exposed to the sea, well beyond the harbour. It would be a long walk, but it was a beautiful briskly windy sunny day – snatched from the usual bleak incessant rains of  a Hebridean July.

We took a curving route through the town, then via an outlying district overlooking the navigation beacon. This landmark had winked its electric eye reassuringly at the mouth of the harbour for as long as I could remember. Approaching the district cemetery, my sister walked on by, but I slowed down, never having passed through its gates. Only men attended funerals in the Outer Hebrides when I was growing up.

“The sun is shining on the dead today!” I called to my sister. “Let’s go and pay our respects.” She wasn’t too keen. “Have you ever visited Granddad and Granny’s grave?” I asked.

“No,” she said. ” I suppose we could do that.”
We pushed open the heavy creaking gate. The graveyard, beautifully tended, sloped gently down to within a few hundred yards of the sea. I realised that I did not know where my father’s parents lay.

” I remember where Daddy said it was,” my sister said. “Follow me. With our English name, it shouldn’t be difficult to find.”

Our  paternal grandfather had been posted to the Outer Hebrides before the First World War, meeting our grandmother on his first trip ashore. English gentlemen were a great rarity in these parts; very desirable “catches” to aspiring island girls like Granny, who had by all accounts been a handsome, strong and wilful young woman. He was well and truly caught; apart from a period of war service he remained in the Outer Isles for the rest of his long life.

His death devastated my grandmother. They had been married for fifty two years. I remember sitting with her in her bedroom, she who had always turned herself out so elegantly propped up in bed, an old singlet of my grandfather’s failing to conceal her droopy, withered breasts from my young eyes. Up to then I had never known the desolation of not being able to console another human being – or that old people ever cried. She wept and wailed and moaned, repeating:
“I don’t want to live any more. What’s the use, what’s the use now he’s away? “

Live on she did, doggedly, for nine years, lightened only by a late addition to the family. I was fifteen when my brother was born. Granny was eighty two, and half way senile. The child was called Frederick, after Granddad; as the novelty wore off Granny slipped into senility, a querulous fractious husk, and finally just a husk, and a medical miracle, carried off at eighty six with her fourth bout of pneumonia.

I was at university when she died, having become so distant from her by then that  I felt nothing but a vague sense of relief ….

“I’ve found it !”
I had fallen behind my sister in my reverie. She was standing about twenty yards away; I hurried to the spot. It was a plain, simple grave. A low railing ran round it. The headstone was in sandstone, with only the facts of their births and deaths etched on it in gold lettering. Noting with satisfaction, which my grandmother would have shared, the absence of ‘fancy versification’, I stood and looked at the grave.

Without any warning, for I had felt quiet and composed, there was a rush and a roar in a deep silent centre of my being; a torrent of desolation and grief swept through me. I wept and wept and wept, quite uncontrolled.

There they were, half my being. Where had it all gone: the passion of their early love; the conception of their children; her sweat and blood and pain as she thrust my father into the world; their quarrels, silences, love, laughter, loneliness and grief; their shared and separate lives? And this was it. On a hot beautiful day with the sea lapping on the shore and the seabirds wheeling and diving, a few bits of cloth and bone under the earth, an iron railing and a stone above.

I was not weeping just for them. Overwhelmed by  total awareness of my own mortality and that of all human beings before and after me, I had never felt so stricken, so vulnerable, so alone.” (i)

The second piece, however, written in the autumn of 1971, at the end of the Neptune transit to the IC, whilst Neptune was 0 Sagittarius, shows that something else was now emerging from the underworld which would offer me inspiration and support :

(The ‘pibroch’ referred to is the music of lament played on the Scottish bagpipes)

“ It was a clear autumn evening. Peter called just after seven; he was going out to practice some pibroch. Would I like to come along? It was a rare time of balance – in the weather, in the satisfaction of work which was still new enough to be stimulating, in the fact that Peter and I were falling in love.

Peter drove several miles out of town, winding slowly up deserted country roads to a hill above a small village. Taking out the pipes he began to blow them up, and after much tinkering began to play. To avoid distracting him, I strolled slowly down the road. Peter was standing on a bank of grass at the top of the hill; on his left was a little wood. On the other side of the road was a ditch thick with whin bushes.

Beyond the ditch was a rusty, sagging fence; on the far side of the fence, smooth, mossy moorland dotted with whins, their vivid yellow colour fading into the deepening dusk. In the distance I could just see the  Highland hills, purple and rust, gathering shadows in the autumnal twilight.

Venus Rising

Venus Rising

A myriad of stars, taking their lead from Venus, was growing bright with increasing intensity. A mellow harvest moon was slowly rising, casting a glow on the hills. The air held a hint of cold. I could feel the melancholy music of the bagpipes flowing through me like a magical current.

Reaching the foot of the hill, surrendering myself completely to the intensity of the moment, I lay down in the middle of the road. Spreading out my arms, I gazed up at the stars.

A gentle breeze blew over my body, soughing through the reedy grass. Drifting with the music through the night sky, slipping away from awareness of myself or the present, I was a timeless spirit of the air, travelling the vastness of space on the notes of the pibroch. An unobtrusive rhythm, a pulse, began to beat; growing more and more steady, it became a whispering message in my mind :

‘ There is nothing to fear,’  it said. ‘ There is nothing to fear.’

An image of my lying dead, under the earth, came to me. Such images, occurring at other times, had filled me with panic and disgust. Now, there was none of that. I could gladly have died at that moment; my flesh would return to the earth and nourish it, my spirit would soar to infinity. The pulse continued, flooding me with its light :

‘ There is nothing to fear, nothing to fear, nothing to fear….’

At that point of spiritual ecstasy, I felt the absolute reality of my soul.

Such a moment might have lasted a second, an hour, or a hundred thousand years; but the music ceased, and the chill which was gradually taking over my body drew me back gently into the present…….” (ii)

The knowledge that such a vitalizing sense of connectedness was possible, glimpsed during the above experience, kept me going through the long struggle to believe that  life had an overall meaning, and to find my own way of offering my energy creatively in the years which were to follow.

When Uranus crossed the South Node/IC in 1980/81, I began to study astrology,thereby fulfilling a prediction made by an astrologer I had casually encountered in a laundrette in Bath in England in the early 1970s. I also met, moved in with and later married my partner – his Scorpio Moon is conjunct my IC and South Node, and he has an Aquarian Sun and Venus. All very appropriate symbolism for the timing of the Uranus IC transit !

His steadfast support, combined with the deep awareness of teleology which many years’ practice of astrology brings, have been vital for my personal and professional growth and development from the time Uranus crossed the IC until now, (ie end 1995-early 1996) as Pluto moves off that point.

When Pluto was still transiting the IC, but from Sagittarius, I applied and was accepted for a major astrological study course. The very day that Pluto was exactly on the South Node and about to cross the IC for the last time saw me beginning the first year of study. I felt a powerful sense of standing on firm inner ground after the turbulence and trauma of the last few years – of being in the right place at the right time, of having done what I could, for now, with my family inheritance – of being ready to move on to the next growth cycle.

Now that the outer planets have crossed the IC and moved into the Western hemisphere of my Horoscope, I feel liberated from much of the pathology of the past, and  more able to use directly in the world the undoubted creativity inherited with it. Nor do I need any longer to make bargains with the shadowy figures who emerge when the light of day is dimming….

Endnotes:

This article was most recently published on Astrodienst in 2017

i & ii : Both extracts have been published both together and separately  in several articles in the USA, the UK and  Australia, eg in “Of Cerberus and Blackest Midnight Born” which appeared in the UK’s Astrological Journal, 1996,  and was then reprinted in Considerations magazine (USA) in the same year.

and –

“Of Cerberus and Blackest Midnight Born” is a quote from ‘L’Allegro’ by the English poet John Milton

Zodiac

Zodiac

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2600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014/17/18

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

A note on Uranus retrograde…and a bit of philosophising …

One of the many pleasures of blogging is the correspondence I receive intermittently from folk I have never met who turn out to have been reading my blog posts/Facebook Pages. I am always interested in feedback from readers, sharing connections between their personal lives and/or the world at large which correspond to planetary shifts. 

I received this interesting piece of email feedback a few days ago from Denise, relating to Uranus’ turning retrograde on 7th August 2018:

‘…Anne – it was on your site that I read about the connection between Uranus moving from Aries to Taurus and the recent eruption of Kilauea, so I thought you might be interested in this observation – both the explosions in the crater and the lava flow from the rift zone slowed and then stopped just days before Uranus turned retrograde.  Coincidence, synchronicity, or cause and effect – I won’t speculate which it is.

I have been following the course of this eruption on the US Geological Survey websites.  For 3 months, there were daily explosions in the main crater of earthquake magnitude 5.2 – 5.3, plus numerous small earthquakes throughout the general area.  Lava flow from the rift zone created 875 acres of new coastline (though unstable) and destroyed hundreds of houses and much farmland.  You can see the area affected here:

The photo gallery on this site is amazing.  I live in California, so am no stranger to fires and earthquakes, but the idea of the earth opening up in one’s neighborhood and spewing a river of molten rock for three straight months is beyond my comprehension.  I will be watching to see if this situation changes again early next year…’

In response to what Denise said about the correspondence between earthly events and planetary movements, ie  ‘…Coincidence, synchronicity, or cause and effect – I won’t speculate which it is…”, here are my musings:

My own view for what it’s worth is that astrology functions as a form of quantum physics: it maps the movement of energy fields via TIME and SPACE – but allows us (via millennia of observation of correlations between the movements of the planets and what occurs on planet Earth) to ascribe core meanings to those shifting energy patterns, thereby taking its value a step beyond what physics can offer.

We are tiny particles in a vast energy Field, and there are various ways of tracking the patterns which endlessly move within that Field. Astrology is a pretty potent one, I think, since it would appear to be able to bridge both the material and the nonmaterial dimensions of those patterns in a coherent manner which can offer guidance to humans should they be willing to consider it.

No doubt the reductionists would dismiss this view – but I have never been able to comprehend why the perspectives which can be offered offered via myth and symbolism are usually arrogantly dismissed. After all, contemporary science can only account for the 4% of matter that apparently constitutes the known universe, acknowledging the existence of 23% dark matter and 73% dark energy whilst admitting that the nature of those energy categories is unknown.

This apparently being the case, one would think that a little humility in the face of our almost totally mysterious universe might be in order…Still, one of those days…

Thanks for contacting me, Denise! I cannot imagine what it must be like to be in Hawaii, observing the raw and brutal power of Nature at such close quarters…

Zodiac

550 words copyright Anne Whitaker/ Denise 2018

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

Cycles end, new ones begin…hovering with Jupiter in Scorpio…

I always seem to have a favourite word. Maybe that’s one of the hallmarks of being a writer. It’s probably tiresome for other people when I cram it into conversations. By now, I’m sure you are quite desperate to know what the damn word is this time.

Ok. It’s ‘liminal’. From the Latin ‘limen’  meaning ‘threshold’, it refers to that stage in life when one is hovering…departing from what is in the past: not quite at home here in the present: not quite arrived there, in the future…it’s an uncomfortable, fluid state to be in, but highly creative and full of potential.

How about this contemporary usage, definition from Wikipedia: ‘…More recently, usage of the term has broadened to describe political and cultural change… During liminal periods of all kinds, social hierarchies may be reversed or temporarily dissolved, continuity of tradition may become uncertain, and future outcomes once taken for granted may be thrown into doubt…’

I don’t know about you, but this to me sounds just like where we are collectively on planet Earth at present.  Let’s hope in the long run – which we baby-boomers likely won’t live to see – we end up with something better than the mess we have now.

‘As above, so below’ : no contemporary astrologers have come up with a pithier definition of the essence of our art than did fabled Ancient Egyptian sage Hermes Trismegistus in the equally fabled Emerald Tablet. Hermes was conceived as apparently hovering between the divine and human worlds.

Down here in that all-too-human world, thinking about Hermes in relation to the world ‘liminal’ is providing me with some inspiration; much needed in my case, as I hover uncomfortably and uncertainly between the end of one 12 year Jupiter cycle, and the beginning of  a new one.

Jupiter cycles have always been a big deal for me, since third house Jupiter at 19 degrees 07 Scorpio squares all six of my Leo 11th and 12th house planets. I wrote about the dubious but transformative delights of this astro-lineup in my very first column for Dell.

This idea of hovering between the divine and human worlds might be of some comfort and inspiration also to those of you readers who are ending one cycle at present, without being able to see how the energy of the next one is going to form. Standing in this liminal place, one cannot bully, cajole or entreat the new order to reveal itself. There is divine time, and there is human time.

This may sound pretty mystical, but my feeling – from both personal and professional  experience– is that the deeper wisdom of our soul knows the direction in which we need to proceed in order to become all we can be, and how long it may take to get there.

The astrological cycles can put us in touch with that spark of divinity within each of us, offering profound insights into what a waning cycle has been about, and what the newly-forming one might bring. They also teach us that ‘… there is… a time to every purpose under the heaven…’ (i) .

Our egos, located in human, ordinary time, can often rail against this when we don’t like what we see of the shape of things to come, or how long a particular transitional period is going to take. Try consulting your ephemeris, as I did at the end of 1998, to realise that I was about to have a series of sixth house Neptune oppositions to twelfth house planets lasting from 1999 until 2012, as well as the ending/beginning of five major cycles.

It was some immersion, I can tell you. Did my ego rail against it? You bet. I had to quit my career in 2002, and did not begin to surface, via writing on the Web at first, until 2008, not returning to consulting and teaching until 2012.

But guess what? I now look back on that period, when I felt liminal approximately twenty-four hours a day for years, as the most soul-enriching of my entire life.

One of the many lessons I took from that period was to pay close attention especially to the feelings of restlessness, dissatisfaction and uncertainty which herald the end of, for example, the 29-30 year cycle of Saturn which we all share. Many of us recall – or are experiencing now! – the turbulence and pain of the end of our twenties, from which most of us emerged or will emerge by around the age of thirty-three with a much clearer idea of who we are, and most importantly, who we are not.

Those difficult feelings and experiences occurring in the twelfth house phase of any major cycle are part of the dissolution of the old order of that part of our lives. An ending must take place– so that new energy may arise, taking us forward to the next stage of our unfolding.

Astrology’s great gift is to show us that we are not random butterflies pinned to the board of Fate. We each have our small, meaningful strand to weave into life’s vast tapestry.

In the end, it was consent to my tough and frightening period of liminality, patient waiting, the love and support I was fortunate to have, and trust in the wisdom of the Unseen that got me through.

So, my liminal fellow travellers, take heart. The old order may be waning, but something fresh and new is surely arising…

Endnotes:

(i) Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 King James Version (KJV)

This slightly edited version of my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine first appeared as  ‘The astro-view from Scotland’ in the May/June 2018 Issue.

Zodiac

1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018

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

The Leo/Aquarius eclipse season 2017-2019: setting the bigger context…

The Nodal axis travels backwards through the zodiac at 18 months per sign, pulling twice yearly solar and lunar eclipses with it as it goes.

The final eclipse of the Virgo/Pisces season fell on 26th February 2017 at 8.12 Pisces. That season began on 20.3.2015 with a solar eclipse at 29.27 Pisces.

The new Leo/Aquarius eclipse season started just after midnight (GMT) on 11 February 2017 with a lunar eclipse at 22.28 Leo – running right through to the last in the season, another lunar eclipse at 0.52 Leo on 21.01.2019.

Solar Eclipse 9.3.16, Indonesia

Solar Eclipse 9.3.16, Indonesia

What does it all MEAN, though? A quick trawl through google will reveal dozens and dozens of astrology sites offering all kinds of opinion. It seems that we humans still get excited by eclipses, which have been dredging up fear, excitement, anticipation and predictions since the earliest days of civilisation if not earlier.

I can still clearly recall the fuss, during the last Leo/Aquarius eclipse season, over the Big Solar Eclipse of August 1999, which picked up on a great deal of collective fear as the Millennium approached. Predictions, from the end of the world as we knew it to Paris going up in flames, ran rampant. As you may have noticed, the world is still here, and we still have Paris. If you’d like to read what I wrote about it all then, just click HERE.

Making sense of eclipses

How, then, do we make sense of eclipses and relate them to our own lives in ways which are going to be useful? There are choices to be made regarding this question. My own view, for what it’s worth, is that getting worked up about individual eclipses is all very well, but we need to put some kind of context in place for the information we extract to be of much value.

The biggest possible context is that of placing the 2017-9 Leo/Aquarius eclipses  in the context of the Saros Series of eclipses, which run in vast energy waves from North to South across the globe, repeating every 19 years, for varying periods of up to a thousand years or more.

Each eclipse belongs to one of the Saros Series families of eclipses, each of which has a specific core meaning rooted in the very first eclipse of that particular series. If you want some in-depth research by Dr Bernadette Brady, the book to acquire is “Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark . A free 17 page download introducing the Saros Series is also available from her website HERE.

If you don’t quite have the time, energy or inclination to pursue this truly fascinating context, then the next one to consider in which to set this  Leo/Aquarius season, is the 18.6 year returning cycle of the Moon’s Nodes, which governs the appearance of both solar and lunar eclipses.

(For readers who need to be brought up to speed regarding Nodal basics, check out Wikipedia on The Lunar Nodes for the astronomy, and Cafe Astrology for a typical explanation of the Nodes’ symbolic meanings.)

As the Nodal axis regresses through the chart, identifying via the highlighted houses the overall territory up for change, the transiting eclipses function as “battery chargers”, gradually building up the energies of our lives in preparation to receive major change.

An image  comes to mind here from the female menstrual cycle, of the egg gradually being primed and prepared until it is at its maximum point of readiness to receive the male sperm, conceive and begin new life. I think the eclipses begin their work of charging-up as soon as the relevant eclipse season begins, which may be as long as eighteen months before the turning point(s) in  life appear.

Life changing times

The really powerful “major” times in life are characterised by not just one or two, but a cluster of transits and/or progressions involving the natal, and/or progressed, and/or transiting Nodes.The outer planets, especially Pluto with its strong “fated” feel,  stand out. To read the research on which I based those conclusions, you can download my book The Moon’s Nodes in Action for free.

A powerful recent example of this can be seen from the the Virgo/Pisces season, which began on 20.3.2015 with a solar eclipse at 29.27 Pisces, and ended with another solar eclipse on  26th February 2017 at 8.12 Pisces.

As the Moon’s North Node retrograded through Virgo, pulling the eclipses with it,and connecting with the Saturn/Neptune square which transited 10-15 degrees of  Sagittarius/Pisces from November 2015 to its last exact square in September 2016, those powerful, difficult energies triggered the natal Uranus conjunct Pluto in Virgo opposite Chiron in Pisces natal configurations of people born from 1963/4 right through to 1968.

Many people had a particularly difficult time during 2016 as a consequence of being ‘plugged-in’ to this energy pattern combining natal planets, Nodes, eclipses and Pluto and producing events of a life-changing nature in many cases. I saw this in a number of clients’ charts and lives, in members of my own family – and their challenges directly impacted on me, since I have 9 Virgo/Pisces as my Ascendant/Descendant degrees.

The dominant transiting pattern for 2016 was Saturn in Sagittarius, squaring Neptune in Pisces. Everyone with planets/Asc/MC/ Nodes/Chiron in the early to middle degrees of the mutable signs triggered by this Saturn/Neptune square would have found 2016 tougher than usual, with family of origin pain, loss, low energy, confusion re life direction, and often, health issues in the mix.

What lies ahead for this 2017-9 Leo/Aquarius eclipse season?

Leo Lunar Eclipse 11-2-17

Overall, the birth chart for the starting eclipse of this season looks altogether more buoyant than the preceding Virgo/Pisces one. For starters, Nodal/eclipse energies are moving from earth and water to fire and air, lightening things up and bringing in greater potential for moving forward as a result of creative opportunities coming our way through group contacts, if we are ‘plugged-in’ to the Leo/Aquarius axis via planets in our birth charts.

As can be seen from the above chart, there is a Grand Kite pattern draped around a Jupiter/Uranus opposition.  As the Nodes and eclipses regress through Leo/Aquarius, they will be picking up that opposition, and Uranus’ trine to Saturn, sextile Jupiter, for much of 2017.

So – a combination of restless desire to break new ground via the Jupiter/Uranus opposition, held in check by Saturn and offered fruition by the Jupiter/Saturn sextile,was the prevailing Nodal/eclipse pattern for 2017. Since the North Node always pushes us to be the best we can be, and this North Node is in Leo, have a good look at the pair of houses which will be highlighted in your horoscope by the North and South Nodes and their attendant solar and lunar eclipses.

These are the areas continuing to be up for major change as 2018 unfolds.

Good luck with it all! And feel free to leave feedback. That’s how we go on learning…

Zodiac

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1150 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Born on the cusp? No such thing!

“What does it mean if I’m born on the cusp?” This is one of the the most frequent questions asked of astrologers. So – I thought I’d revisit it for the benefit of new readers – with thanks to Rian, who asked the original question.

“Could you talk a little bit about cusps? How much does a person with their sun at 29.5 degrees take on the next sign? Or is it black and white. I think it might be a fade-out/ fade-in, but I’ve never found anything written about this. Thank you.”

Anne’s Answer: I’m glad you asked this question. It’s one astrologers are asked A LOT ! I’ll answer it in two stages.

Firstly, let’s imagine someone out there was due to give birth mid to late June 2013 in Glasgow, UK, and was wondering whether their baby would have the Sun in Gemini or Cancer.

At midnight GMT on 21st June (1.00 am UK summer time) that year, the Sun was at the very end of  Gemini:29 degrees 48 minutes. By midnight GMT on 22nd June (1.00 am UK summer time), the Sun had moved to the next sign and occupied the very beginning of Cancer: 0 degrees 45 minutes. Thus our imaginary child arriving on 21st June 2013 some time after midnight GMT  in Glasgow,  UK would have been in popular terms, ‘born on the cusp’.

However, as anyone who takes their interest in astrology ‘beyond the Sun Signs’ will very quickly realise, there is a lot more to astrology than its popular Sun Sign face would suggest. With an accurately calculated horoscope which uses the date, place and vital TIME of birth, an astrologer (or, these days, anyone with access to a reasonable computer programme ) can work out to the minute where the Sun is on that child’s birthday.

To illustrate this, look at the image below. (click on it to enlarge). Our imaginary cusp Baby X, born in Glasgow UK at 6.00 am British Summer Time(5.00 am GMT) on Friday 21st June 2013, has the Sun in Gemini – at 29 degrees 59 minutes. If this child had been born only five minutes later, however, he/she would have the Sun in Cancer – at 0 degrees 00 minutes.

Thus, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as ‘born on the cusp’. Our Baby X, horoscope accurately calculated,  is either – in Sun Sign terms – a Gemini or a Cancer.

baby-x-uk

baby-x-uk

However, Rian, your guess was quite correct. Someone born with the Sun at the very beginning of the 30 degrees of any zodiac sign has a stronger, more vivid and obvious  ‘charge’ of the sign’s energy than someone born at the very end.

Imagine you are standing in a favourite room which you have occupied for a long time. You are becoming a little bored, jaded with what that room may have to offer. Suddenly, a door you’d never noticed before opens slightly. A shaft of new light streams through from another room. You step forward, intrigued. Could this be a new adventure? Or, to conclude our analogy: the Sun in fickle, restless Gemini is becoming stale – the prospect of entry into a journey through another sign, watery mysterious Cancer, beckons….

The second stage of my answer, though, brings in a little of the more complex picture which more in-depth astrology has to offer.

Take another look at Baby X’s horoscope, featured above. (click on it to enlarge)

Even those of you with very little knowledge of astrology should be able to imagine the 360 degree zodiac circle before you as a stage. Stand in the centre, and look around the circle.

You will see various symbols, representing the planets. Humans have been standing on Earth, looking out into the night sky, plotting the planets’ positions against an imaginary 360 degree great circle, the zodiac, for more than six thousand years. That view has never changed, despite our knowledge for several centuries that the Sun, not Earth, is the centre of our solar system. We still look out from the same Earth to the same  celestial view.

On the left of the circle, just above and below the horizontal black line,  fall the sectors of Gemini and Cancer. Our Baby X may be a Sun Gemini – only just! – but very close to that Sun is Jupiter (desire to connect to the Big Picture)   and not far away is Mars (action). This gives our Baby X a very strong emphasis on the Gemini theme.

However the horizontal black line is his/her Ascendant or Rising Sign, revealing the way s/he appears to the world in general. This is in the sign of Cancer. Just below this point, squashed together on 22 degrees of Cancer, are Venus (urge to relate) and Mercury (drive toward communication, expression). Thus Baby X has five out of the ten planets (or characters on the stage), and Rising Sign, occupying only two of the twelve signs of the zodiac.

This places a very strong emphasis on the signs of Gemini and Cancer, rational air and emotional water. Thus, at a very simple level – full interpretation has to take all the characters, their locations and interactions on the zodiac stage into account – Baby X will have the gifts and pains of that classic Shakespearian clash between reason and passion, to wrestle with and reconcile, be driven by–  for as long as  s/he lives.

A long answer for a short question! But I do hope it sheds some light – and reveals in the process a deeper astrology ‘beyond the Sun Signs’. Do let me know what you think!

And you new visitors and Followers out there. Drop by with your observations….. and, of course,  your Questions….

Zodiac

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

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018