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!

Ten Years on the Web – can this really be true?

19th May 2018 is the 10th anniversary of my very first blog post. That first blog was called Writing from the Twelfth House. It has been an archive since May 2016, despite which it is still visited surprisingly often – if you choose to drop by, you’ll find an eclectic range of articles, centred round the blog’s broad aim: 

“My site is here to support, encourage, inspire and entertain open-minded people who, like me, are exhilarated and amazed by the beauty and complexity of the worlds we human beings inhabit – and for those writers and readers who share my preoccupation with questions of  mystery, meaning, pattern and purpose.”

Writing from the Twelfth House

Writing from the Twelfth House

As you can see from the above image, very aptly the Moon is rising in the twelfth house, forming a dynamic Grand Cross with the Part of Fortune, Sun, Venus, Nodal axis, Chiron and Neptune. This powerful pattern picks up my Natal MC/IC /Nodes/Sun T-Square. The South Node is conjunct my natal Leo Sun, to the minute. Also, Pluto the 12th house ruler is in the first house at 0 Capricorn, trine Saturn at 2 Virgo in the ninth. Amongst other things, this I think signifies longevity and intense effort!

Talk about being pushed out of my comfort zone to offer something creative and inspiring ( Sag Rising…) from the twelfth house! I had no idea then how much would flow from that moment, how much writing I’d be doing, how many brilliant connections I’d be making…or what heartwarming feedback I’d be receiving.

By way of commemoration, and celebration, here is that very first post. It’s offered with a heartfelt thanks to all my readers, past and present. I’m sure you’ll notice, as I did on re-reading, how very apt the quote is for a blog called  Writing from the Twelfth House!

‘….I have a running joke with friends that I will then begin broadcasting to the world/three people in Outer Mongolia, as the case may be. If you are one of the Outer Mongolian Three I would love to hear from you in due course!

Since my aim is to inspire, how about this quote which I came across today in my reading hour:

“….in this journey of the spirit, I and others still walk that steep uphill road….And all our religious edifices, which serve first as staffs to help us on our way, in the end become crutches which we must discard….And the doctrines which we espouse and which we hold dear are only smooth shining stones which we pick up on the road and place in our baggage. With each new dogma and doctrine, the baggage grows heavier, until we discard these pebbles, one by one, leaving them on the roadside for others to find and carry a little further. And in the end we have need of neither doctrine nor creed, nor to name that which we worship – for it is beyond all image and words….” (i)

————–

Endnotes:

(i) Women in Search of the Sacred by Anne Bancroft (Penguin Arkana 1996) pp 120-121…’

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Zodiac

500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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

Uranus in Aries, farewell…for now…

Well, it’s been a blast – in more ways than one. Uranus first entered Aries on 28th May 2010, exiting to enter Taurus on 15th May 2018, two days from now: his first visit there since the 1930s, where he will remain (apart from a brief dip back into Aries  from 6th November 2018 to 6th March 2019) until 26 April 2026.

In recent times the Web has been awash with all kinds of speculation regarding what this shift may mean. Jessica Adams’ recent Astrology Bank Predictions is well worth a read on that one topic which concerns us all – money.

However, today I want to take a brief look back at the last 7/8 years both collectively and in our personal lives, to see what perspectives may emerge.

Kilauea Volcanic Eruption, Hawa

Kilauea Volcanic Eruption, Hawaii

The world certainly feels like a more turbulent, unstable place in the wake of revolutionary, high-tech, unpredictable Uranus’ fiery traverse of Aries, the first, Mars ruled, most intemperate and hot-headed of all the zodiacal signs. There has been so much; what follows are a few highlights. You will no doubt come up with your own list of key points I have left out!

It is also important to point out that the turbulence has been greatly deepened and amplified by Uranus’ long square to Pluto’s purging presence in Capricorn, which reached exactitude in 2012/3. If you wish to reflect on this in more detail, read HERE some of what I’ve written on that topic.

It started with a blast:

“…Following a major earthquake, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident on 11 March 2011. All three cores largely melted in the first three days….”(i)

This occurred just one day before Uranus re-entered Aries after several months’ return to watery Pisces…

And – as it ends:

“…(8/5/18) Cracks open in the ground. Lava creeps across roads, swallowing cars and homes. Fountains of molten rock shoot up to 70 meters (230 feet) high, setting treetops on fire. Last week, after a month of rumbling warning signs, Hawaii’s most active volcano began a new phase of eruptions.

Kilauea (Kil-uh-way-uh) spewed clouds of steam and ash on May 3. Lava gushed forth through several new rifts — openings — on the volcano’s east slopes. Clouds of gas laden with toxic sulfur dioxide also burst from the rifts. .. In all, some 1,700 were forced to flee homes directly in the path of the encroaching lava. As of May 7, activity had shifted to Kilauea’s southwest flank. That region continues to steam, although no new rifts have opened. Indeed, this eruption may be far from over…”(ii)

.One of the many fascinations of astrology lies in being able to observe how planetary shifts correlate with observable worldly upheavals – in the case of Uranus, the very fabric of the earth usually erupts, as can be seen from those two massive events bracketing Uranus’ entry to and exit from Aries. No doubt his entry to Taurus, sign of the very body of the earth herself, will produce more earthly shocks…

Revolution…

Uranus through Aries has also seen the fires of revolution burn through the Middle East, taking down unsavoury dictators such as Saddam, Gadaffi and Mubarak. Popular uprisings, and inept Western intervention combined with the rise of so-called Islamic State ie Isis, have all  led to the dreadful seemingly endless civil war in Syria. A huge influx of refugees fleeing for their lives to Western countries, has created all kinds of social and political problems including the rise of the spectre of Fascism again in Europe.

Referenda:

It has also witnessed, in the UK, two referenda: one, in Scotland in 2014, where the people on a massive 84% turnout opted by a decisive 55% No vote not to break away from the UK. And two, the narrow 52% margin by which the UK in 2016 voted to leave the European Union in 2019, leading to Brexit – a process being conducted with shambolic incompetence by the most inept government many of us have seen in our lifetimes.

Trump and Kim Jong-un:

The USA has seen the biggest unforeseen upset imaginable in its political system – the election in November 2016 of Donald Trump, about whom millions of words have already been written; this continues on a daily basis. I do not feel the need to add to that tally here, except to say that the general feeling of being in an especially dangerous phase of world history has been very considerably amplified by this most unlikely – and in many quarters ferociously unwelcome –  presidency.

It remains to be seen whether the much trumpeted impending meeting in July 2018 between Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea – who became Supreme Leader of that country in 2011 as Uranus re-entered Aries – will do anything at all to reduce current tensions. Who could have predicted that those two powerful men, after hurling insults at each other for months like a pair of especially malevolent primary school children, would as I write be preparing for an apparently world-saving (Trump’s rhetoric) summit in a couple of months?

As Dr Liz Greene gnomically observed in one of her seminars some years ago: “If you think you can predict Uranus, it’s not Uranus you’re looking at…”

New energy sources:

On the positive side, we have seen the world, expedited by major advances in technology,  become increasingly inter-connected in a way which has been generally empowering of ordinary people’s ability to band together and stand up against all kinds of oppression. There have also been innovative strides forward in developing and using new sources of energy which do not depend on the despoliation of our planet. Big Oil, hopefully, is slowly on the way out.

Rise and rise of mobile banking:

The rapid world-wide spread of mobile technology during this period has enabled people eg living in remote parts of Africa to have bank accounts, which has in many cases hugely improved their economic circumstances, especially in the case of women…

“…Financial inclusion can be particularly powerful for women and other marginalized groups who have traditionally been excluded from the formal economy and had less control over their own finances…”(iii)

The Higgs boson, at last…

And of course, last but by no means least in this list – which will rapidly run to a whole book if I don’t stop now – the Higgs Boson ‘God’ particle has been found!!!

“…On 4 July 2012, the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider announced they had each observed a new particle in the mass region around 126 GeV. This particle is consistent with the Higgs boson predicted by the Standard Model…”

What about me??!!

 

Yes, yes, we’re getting to you and me now!

“As above, so below”...each of us, at birth, is given a tiny ‘chip’ of the prevailing energy field into which we were born with which to work for the whole of our lives– our horoscopes or birth charts map this energy out in symbolic form. It’s then up to us to hand this chip back at the end of our days, metaphorically speaking. Hopefully it will be polished up a little from its original form, have some light shining through it. In this tiny way, we become co-creators of our magnificent, mysterious cosmos, where nothing is static, everything always changes.

Those energy patterns vary in intensity, ease or challenge. For example, I was born on the same day as the partition of India after World War Two resulted in the sectarian slaughter of millions: with an exact Saturn/Pluto conjunction also conjunct Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury – fortunately for me, all squared by an irrepressible third house Jupiter! As you may imagine, getting the best out of that lot has not exactly been a walk in the park! But I’ve survived, grown – and would not now swop my ‘chip’ for anyone else’s.

Transits and progressions are ways of mapping the ever-shifting patterns of the vast energy field in which we exist. When a particular pattern, eg Uranus transiting through Aries, is reflected in events in the collective, it also impacts on us as individuals. We are always, whether we know astrology or not, being woven into the fabric of the current moment via our natal horoscope: this never changes. But we do – although we have no choice in the timing and patterns of energies coming our way.

However, we have a great deal of choice, dependent on our level of awareness, in how we respond to those challenges, even those grim events whose appearance  is outwith our personal control..The gift of astrological knowledge allows us to make sense of the shifting energy patterns of our lives; it helps us, as it were, to set our sails to the prevailing winds of our times rather than attempting to sail against them.

S0 – what part of your horoscope has been challenged by this seven-year traverse of Uranus through Aries? How have you changed as a result? Here are a few speculative examples.

Midheaven/Uranus

If the ninth, Midheaven and tenth houses, your career and direction in life will have likely altered in ways you could not have expected. Hopefully you are enjoying greater freedom and autonomy as a result. You may even have relocated – or had to relocate as a consequence of unexpected changes in your parent or life partner’s career or vocational life.

Second house/Uranus

If your second house has felt Uranus’ impact, you may well have had a long period of material instability and turbulence, perhaps forcing you to downsize or to find alternative ways of bringing in money. Perhaps you’ve gone for the freedom of self-employment, despite the temporary loss of earning power which has resulted from leaving steady but unfulfilling work.

Chiron/Uranus

Uranus may have traversed your sixth house, triggering Chiron on the way. That may well have resulted in a period of illness forcing you to change all your habit patterns as part of the return to full health. Or you may have had a call out of the blue to train as a therapist or healer.

Uranus in Aries: the essence

There are infinite possibilities: the impact of this period also depends on how far personal planets, Nodes and Angles have been affected. But at the core of Uranus through Aries has been the call to challenge limiting circumstances, to break free of constraint or restraint, and take initiatives in engaging with possibilities hitherto unseen or unknown. Choose radical change – or have it forced upon you, is the essence of the Uranus in Aries message.

And me, the writer?

2011-18 has been one of the most rewarding, exciting and changeful periods of my life. In sum, Uranus has been trining all my six Leo planets in the eleventh and twelfth houses from the eighth house, also sextiling natal Uranus in the tenth in Gemini for the last two years .

I began that time still recovering from a long period of burn-out and energy collapse, triggered by a long family crisis in 2001 which led to my having to completely give up a busy career.

In 2011 I returned to academe for a year, wondering if I had recovered enough energy to cope with early starts, commuting, and all the usual stuff involved in studying and attending lectures etc.Yes I had – but very much disliked how regimented, controlled and politically correct university life had become. Thus,  having completed the study course,  I was now clearly fit enough to return to my own work, which would actually be enjoyable, and free of petty restrictions and rules – apart from my own.

2012 thus saw me returning to consulting as an astrologer, having said twelve years earlier that I never would. (Jupiter Return, anyone?) Two years later, the week my progressed Moon entered Aquarius, I returned to astrology teaching, dragged back by a bunch of my former students who would not take “No” for an answer. It’s been great!

Having set up a blog in 2008 in preparation for promoting my first book “Jupiter Meets Uranus: from erotic bathing to star gazing” (AFA print version 2009, re-published and updated as an ebook in 2015) I went on to establish a niche on the Web initially through my blog “Writing from the Twelfth House” then a complete research study of the 2010/11 Jupiter/Uranus conjunction as a blog, then “Astrology: Questions and Answers” – my main astrology blog, set up in 2013  with its own Facebook Page which materialised (by accident!) in 2015.

Since then, up until now, my writing has appeared in the Mountain Astrologer Magazine, Mountain Astrologer blog,  Astrodienst, and regular columns in Dell Horoscope Magazine, Infinity Astrological Magazine and the UK’s Astrological Journal. I have also published four ebooks. It’s also been great to be able to join the world-wide community of astrologers made possible by social media and the Web.

On a personal level, in 2011 my husband and myself became grandparents to the lovely Lola – another surprising event which has brought a great deal of joy and pleasure into all our lives.

In 2010/11, I had absolutely no idea at all that any of this was remotely possible, and I look back on the Uranus in Aries transit with amazement and gratitude.

Conclusion

We are certainly living through very unstable and frightening times. However, it is clear from the bigger planetary patterns shaping up over the next 5-6 years and beyond that a whole world order is coming to an end, as a new one slowly arises from its ashes. Throughout history, birth whether of a new world order or a tiny new person, has never been accomplished without turmoil, upheaval and pain.

As a baby boomer, my generation is unlikely to live long enough to see the shape of this world order settle, become clear. But in the unprecedented changes of the last few years, we can certainly see its turbulent beginnings as the old order crumbles. I have faith that the millennial generation, whose values are rooted much less in materialism than ours, will in the end be able to address the huge environmental and political problems currently facing our world, and come up with ways of living which run more with the grain of our interconnected lives than those of us gradually leaving the stage have been able to accomplish.

So – bring it on, Uranus in Taurus!

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Endnotes:

(i) http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident.aspx

(ii) https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/how-long-will-kilaueas-new-eruption-last

(iii) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/footnote/how-mobile-banking-is-tra_b_12944438.html

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Zodiac

2400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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

Some thoughts on the Astrological Houses: Placidus, Equal – or what ?

Sooner or later, it dawns on the student or budding astrologer that the method of dividing the inner space in a horoscope into twelve sectors or spheres of life, known as Houses, poses some problems.

Astrological Houses

Astrological Houses

Firstly, since there are a number of different house systems – click HERE for more detail on this – which should you choose?

Secondly, to a varying degree depending on your chart, planets can move house. In my chart, for instance, by Equal House I have no less than SIX planets in the Twelfth House. When I first saw my horoscope in  Placidus houses, one planet, my ruler Mercury, had migrated to the Eleventh. O joy! I need all the help I can get here, I thought then. But, as you will soon see, it’s not as simple as that…

Then there is a further problem. In Placidus, the MC/IC axis always defines the cusp of the Tenth/ Fourth Houses. If you use Equal House, the MC/IC axis can fall through any pair of houses from the 8th/2nd to the 11th/5th. How do you deal with that?

I have worked with only two systems over the years, i.e. the most commonly used ones in the UK – Equal House and Placidus. I used Equal House from the early 1980s perfectly happily, finding that the system worked well for me. Then I changed to Placidus in 1995. I didn’t choose it for any carefully thought through philosophical or practice reasons; it was simply the system used on the Diploma course I was doing. Now, in 2015, I am moving back to using Equal again. For philosophical reasons this time, as you will see shortly.

A class experiment

Ever since a small group of my ‘old’ students persuaded me to run a refresher class for them starting last August 2014, I have really enjoyed returning to astrology teaching. Those students were all very rusty, and wanted to cover the basics again. Inevitably, the question of house division came up. Having covered the core meanings of the houses in an introductory class, we recently spent a whole tutorial looking in more detail at the issue of house division.

The methods I adopted on this occasion were twofold: firstly, I gave the class copies of their charts in Equal House to compare with their existing Placidus charts. Then I drew up a grid, of which we all had a copy. This listed all the planets, Chiron and the North Node as well as the pair of houses through which the Equal House MC/I C axis ran. Thus we could see at a glance those features which stayed the same in both systems, and which ones changed. In some charts many features changed. In others eg mine, there was very little difference.

I have always taught astrology with every student having a copy of everyone else’s horoscopes, including mine. With permissions always asked and given before the start of a course, and appropriate emphasis on confidentiality, this way of working has been very effective. It creates each class as a kind of mini qualitative research laboratory, where astrological theory can be tested out there and then, observing to what extent it manifests accurately in the nuts and bolts of the everyday lives of those present. It is a model which makes for very lively teaching…

We worked our way round everyone in the small group, including me, discussing how interpretations might change, and most importantly, how much that mattered by potentially altering the emphasis on key horoscope themes.

For instance, the Moon in one student’s horoscope changed from the Placidus Ninth house (a location she really liked for her Moon, being both a teacher and an education junkie!) to the Tenth by Equal House, which emphasised the importance of her vocational/career life but not the dimensions of teaching and learning which are both Ninth House concerns. However, we pointed out to her that this didn’t really matter in terms of overall accuracy of interpretation; she really was very well endowed with Jupiterian energy anyway, given her Moon’s trine to Jupiter in Aries, as well as her Sun’s square to Jupiter.

This was just one example in which, whatever shift we saw of planets from one house to another, there was invariably an underlying strong theme in the birth chart, so that the emphasis being slightly shifted in one context made little if any difference to the overall accuracy of interpretation of the whole horoscope. Interestingly, more than half of our small group, despite my having worked with all students with Placidus from 1995, said that they preferred the relative simplicity of the Equal House system.

In my own case, although ruling planet Mercury moved from the sociable, group-oriented Placidus 11th House to join five other planets in the reclusive Twelfth by Equal House, I have an exact semi- square from Mercury to 10th House Uranus in both systems, Uranus also strongly aspecting the Sun and Moon, so the Aquarian/Uranian/11th house ‘tone’ remains strongly emphasised. That Mercury energy also flows from the Twelfth House to an exact sextile to Neptune, and a square to Third House Jupiter in both systems. So any reclusive tendencies brought by the move are well and truly restrained by other horoscope factors!

The students could see from our small experiment something which is fundamental to the accurate reading of any horoscope: strong themes will shine through, whatever way you divide up the circle. As U.K astrologer Robin Heath so memorably observed a number of years ago: “…astrology appears more and more to behave like a hologram. You can perform almost any technique with the data, turn the chart inside out or slice it up, and still the symbolic pictures remain….” (i) Both this statement and our class experiment bore out the conclusion at which I had  arrived some time ago. It doesn’t really matter much what system you use. What you get is the same overall picture…

Horses (Houses!) for courses…

I went on to outline the way some astrologers use different house systems for different purposes. Since the Equal House system is based on the Ascendant/Descendant axis which is the axis of “… here I am in relation to you… “, this system can be used when the client in their reading wishes specifically to address matters pertaining to relationship.

Since the IC /MC axis can be seen as an arrow flowing from the person’s deepest self and origins (IC) to their future direction (MC), then issues of roots, vocation and life direction are most appropriately contemplated, some astrologers think, via the Placidus lens since that system can be seen to emphasise the MC/IC.

Also, although I have never worked with the Koch system myself, I know that some astrologers swear by the accuracy of its house cusps in plotting transits and progressions.

The Equal House MC/IC “problem”

The placing of inverted commas above gives you a clue that I do not see the shifting placement of the MC/IC axis in the Equal House system as a problem at all. Quite the opposite. I think that working with the MC/IC axis against the backdrop of either the 2nd/8th, 3rd/9th, 4th/10th, or the 5th/11th adds a layer of richness to the interpretation of the MC/IC which of course should remain just as focal and important in the Equal House system as in any other where the MC/IC  is always the cusp of the 10th/4th Houses.

For example, I have often encountered clients or students with 2nd/8th backdrops in professions involving finance and collective money, those with 4th/10th backdrops have their strong life focus on career/vocation emphasised. With 5th/11th emphasised, you often find “creative” types who work co-operatively and collaboratively in the pursuit of their careers. And in my own case, the 3rd/9th backdrop is highly appropriate since writing and higher education have been central to all the diverse vocational paths I have pursued throughout my working life.

Equal House: the return

In conclusion, the students were very keen to know why I had decided to return to working with Equal House.  For giving me the final shove in that direction I have to thank Phoebe Wyss and her excellent recent book “Inside the Cosmic Mind” . I  would urge any astrology student or practitioner to read this book if they are inclined, as I am, to perceive astrology as a ‘top down’ art whose practice and interpretation reveals us as expressing in micro form, the shifting macro patterns of the whole cosmos.

In Phoebe Wyss’ own words:

“ Archetypal astrology is an approach to astrological chart interpretation that is based on this cosmological view. The meanings of the chart factors such as  zodiac signs, houses, and planets are then seen to derive from the twelve basic categories of meaning associated with the astrological archetypes. These fundamental cosmic principles and their inter-relationships are symbolised in the geometry of the zodiac…”(ii)

Wyss’ book – which builds on the recent work of Richard Tarnas, Kieron Le Grice and other pioneers in the field of archetypal cosmology – has taken me back and re-grounded me in the basic geometry of sacred numbers, whose symbolism reflects the core shaping principles or archetypes governing the movement of energy throughout the whole cosmos. The number twelve is one of those sacred numbers.

From that symbolic, geometric perspective, dividing the inner space of the horoscope symbolically into twelve equal parts seems more appropriate than using any other house system, including Placidus, whose devising arises purely from measurements limited by the view from planet Earth in relation to the solar system in our tiny corner of space/time 

Endnotes:

(i) The Mountain Astrologer, Issue 78, April/May 1998, Letters p 11

(ii) Inside the Cosmic Mind, Phoebe Wyss, Floris Books 2014, p 93

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Zodiac

  • 1600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015/2018

    Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

‘Dancing on the Edge’ as the Aries New Moon dawns…

‘Dancing on the Edge’. That’s what it feels like at present. Astrologers have a double-edged tool: access to the ever-shifting energy patterns of our tiny corner of the cosmos via an ancient symbolic art which has long drawn meaning, both collective and personal, from those patterns. Double-edged especially in times of crisis, ie NOW.

These times are volatile, unstable, dangerous. We can examine the horoscopes eg of Trump, Putin, Assad in relation to the latest escalation of the dreadful events in Syria. We can scare ourselves and our readers, students and clients witless if we choose to do so. The Web is full of  fevered speculation regarding what the upcoming 16.4.18 Aries New Moon, with its dramatic, tempestuous pattern, could bring to our troubled world. It feels at present as though we are ‘dancing on the edge’(i). Of what, no-one knows…

Aries New Moon 2018

Aries New Moon 2018

As I write today, uk time, Mercury has just turned direct at 4 degrees Aries. Monday’s Aries New Moon at 26 Aries triggers off the Eris/Uranus conjunction, square Pluto. Mars is on the Saturn/Pluto midpoint in Capricorn. On Tuesday Chiron enters Aries for the first time since 1968 – think Vietnam War protests, students rioting in the streets of Paris – and Saturn turns retrograde. As though all of that weren’t more than enough, Pluto also turns retrograde on Sunday next.

Looks like it’s going to be quite a week!

However, I will leave those more inclined and probably more knowledgeable than I am to get on with the speculating, and go off on a different tack.

Having been born in Moondark, ie the very end of the monthly Sun/Moon cycle, I am very sensitive to the need periodically to retreat, contemplate, take stock – a fundamental aspect of human experience which has increasingly been squeezed out by the 24/7 freneticism of contemporary living, to the increasing detriment of our collective mental and physical wellbeing.

We tend to think of the annual 20th March equinox, the day the Sun enters Aries, as the symbolic beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. But you could argue that the true beginning takes place with a New Moon in that sign. This year we have been in Moondark since the 27 Pisces New Moon on the 17th March – anticipating the fresh energy upsurge of the 26 Aries New Moon on 16th April 2018.

Today, at the very end not only of the lunar month’s Moondark, but also the whole zodiacal year’s Moondark, I am in a deeply withdrawn, sensitive, pensive state, feeling very open to our collective vulnerability and suffering as fragile creatures on a tiny planet.

I’m very aware that Chiron, the planetoid which concerns both our suffering and our healing, is at 29 degrees 53 minutes of Pisces, about to move into 0 degrees Aries after his seven year sojourn in that sign of the zodiac which most concerns our unity with the One, the Ground of our being.  Liz Greene points out re the centaur Chiron’s unhealable wound, that “….the wound exists in the collective and is ancestral..” (ii) With Chiron poised at the edge of Pisces, along with so many of us right now I am feeling deeply connected to our world’s pain, and wondering what his shift to fiery, Mars-ruled Aries may mean.

Will it be more brutality towards the vulnerable and the innocent, orchestrated by powerful men whose humanity has become debased? Or will it signify a new generation arising, whose values are not rooted in accumulation of wealth and power at the expense of our mother planet? Thankfully, we are seeing evidence of the latter option arising already…

The Big Why?

The Big Why?

In contemplative moments such as this, poised in the stillness of a whole year’s Moondark, being temperamentally inclined to brood on questions most sensible folk prefer to avoid much of the time, I tend to return to The Big Why, and its attendant questions: Why are we here at all? What does it all mean? What am I to do with my small life?

It would appear from numerous surveys one tends to come across both in print and social media, that despite conventional religions losing ground, most people are just as inclined as they have ever been toward some sort of faith, some belief that despite its painful, turbulent dimensions life has meaning.

In times of suffering and turbulence, one of the great offerings of astrological knowledge, despite its being a double-edged gift with just as much capacity to scare us as to offer enlightenment, is a pointing through its symbols to something both collectively and personally meaningful going on. Looking through an astrological lens reveals patterns, not randomness.

Astrology is not a religion or a belief system – but it offers a clear lens through which to look out at the vastness of Mystery in which we exist, inviting us toward some form of belief that there is a Bigger Picture of  which we are all part, however small. Personally, I have found that lens to have been a vitally important tool on my own journey toward a deep faith that we are all part of the One, and that even the dreadful things in life which afflict us both collectively and individually at times are woven into a tapestry of meaning, at some level which we are too ill-equipped to comprehend.

I find it supportive and comforting to centre myself in that faith when times are tough for the world – as they certainly are right now – and for those to whom I am personally connected with bonds of friendship and of love.

I’ve spent this morning reading a contemplative book by one of my favourite writers, Richard Holloway, in which he considers the challenging question of faith from the perspective of those, like himself, who are ‘dancing on the edge’.

I leave him with the last word:

“…the persistence of belief…could be a valid response to reality.That is why it is important to offer faith the compliment of a respectful hearing and to afford it the status of a reasonable response to the mystery of life…even if we ourselves find it personally elusive …”

Endnotes:

(i) Richard Holloway Dancing on the Edge, 1997, Fount Paperbacks, p12

(ii) Liz Greene ‘Wounding and the will to live’ in Issue 3 of Apollon, the Journal of Psychological Astrology (1999). This article is now available on Astrodienst, and I would strongly suggest that any readers interested in exploring Chiron’s meaning at profound depth should read it.

Zodiac

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

110 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

Revisiting Pluto as he dredges through Capricorn …

We all have stand-out moments. For me – as for many astrologers – hearing that Pluto, symbolic Lord of the Underworld, had been demoted to a mere ‘dwarf planet’ was one of those. I felt a deep shiver of apprehension. Did those scientists on 24th August 2006 understand at more than a material level what they were doing? The ancient Greeks knew all too well about the sin of hubris. It does not do AT ALL to disrespect the gods…

Pluto - Lord of the Underworld

Pluto – Lord of the Underworld

Shortly afterwards, Pluto abandoned his season of blithe excess during his traverse of ‘leap first, look later’ Sagittarius from 1995, and entered sombre Capricorn, settling in from 2007/8 until 2023/4 to the long job of ruthlessly dredging up and showing us the consequences of institutionalised greed, political short-termism – and disregard for the very Earth on which we depend for our survival. We are having to face all that now…

All a column can do is offer brief engagement with this hugely complex topic. However, with transiting Pluto in Capricorn currently sextiling my third house Jupiter, I have been revisiting my fascination with Pluto’s profound power.

The Big Collective Picture

Pluto’s cycle is nearly 250 years long; he last occupied Capricorn from 1762-1778, the time when the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions were gaining traction. As that cycle ends, we are seeing another revolution beginning with the shift from an Earth-based global economy to one which is increasingly being run from cyber-space. Pluto enters the air sign of Aquarius in 2023/4, following the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction at 0 Aquarius at the end of 2020. We are turning away slowly from exploiting the body of the planet for our energy sources.

Big Oil, your days are numbered…

Stepping down to the smaller picture, the USA is moving towards its Pluto Return in 2022/3 at 27 Capricorn. As such, a process of death and transformation of the old order is already under way. The Trump presidency with all that it has brought and threatens, is an excellent example of this process…

Pluto in recent times has also been having his way with the UK’s 9 Capricorn IC,10 Capricorn Sun and 14 Aries/Libra Nodal Axis. There is more to come as he opposes the UK’s 19 Cancer Moon. This has brought ‘Brexit’: the UK’s momentous decision to leave the European Union. My Nodal research (1) has shown that any combination of Pluto with the Moon’s Nodes and the natal, progressed or transiting horoscopes of either nations or individuals, brings with it very significant endings: the old order bulldozed away so that new life can eventually emerge.

My own nation of Scotland illustrates that. Pluto in recent times has combined with Uranus in Aries to dredge and batter the MC, Venus and Sun. As Pluto crossed Scotland’s 15 Capricorn North Node in 2014, we had a referendum in which 84% of the population voted by a decisive majority not to separate from the UK. However, following the UK’s ‘Brexit’ vote, another Scottish referendum may be likely; Uranus is currently on his last transit of Scotland’s 26 Aries Mars, later to be followed by a Pluto square to that incendiary planet…

Pluto’s destructive but deeply transformative power can be witnessed in personal lives too, as astrologers across the world would affirm. Individuals can work with this planet’s awe and fear-inspiring energies in a deeply satisfying way: the radical psychological x-ray of a good reading at the right time can be profoundly alchemical. 

Pluto transits are slow. We have time to work constructively with this life-changing energy. Paradoxically, individuals may thus have more free will in the face of Pluto’s fateful demands than nation states do.

A personal story

I can offer a powerful example. My mother died suddenly, and my husband took up serious mountain climbing, in the summer of 1992. Transiting Pluto was then squaring my natal Sun/Moon conjunction from the third house. I reacted to both those events with a great deal of fear that my husband was going to die in the hills (he didn’t!).This led to much anger, conflict and resentment, mostly on my part, which could have seriously damaged our relationship.

However, some astro-research via the ephemeris showed me that transiting Pluto had last triggered my Sun/Moon conjunction when I was three years old. My father left my mother then, apparently causing me a great deal of distress. I have no conscious recollection of this trauma. It was only acknowledged in my twenties, by which time my parents had long been reconciled.

Old buried pain, grief and separation anxiety was being re-dredged by the Pluto transit in my adult life; I was projecting it onto my husband. That was a hugely powerful, freeing insight. Sharing it enabled him to understand why I was so upset, considerably diminishing his resentment. It also enabled me to own my fears, take back my projections, and work with them – both with my husband and in my journal.

He could then go to his beloved hills without having to struggle with me in order to do so. Meanwhile I channelled my considerable third house Plutonian energy into travelling to London to complete my studies with Liz Greene at the Centre for Psychological Astrology. So – working with Pluto’s tough challenge led gradually to a deepening of our relationship and a win/win situation for both of us.

Without the insights which astrological knowledge offered, and our willingness to work with it, the outcome of that fateful Pluto transit might have been very different: a repeat of my parents’ past, perhaps…

––––––––

Endnotes:

(1) see The Moon’s Nodes in Action downloadable for free from my website.

This slightly edited version of my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine first appeared as  ‘The astro-view from Scotland’ in the September 2017 Issue.

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950 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018

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

Sellieve’s Question: should we mention possible death as a transit’s outcome?

Astrologer Sellieve Neptune has form when it comes to asking me challenging questions! But I appreciate them; it is part of the job of experienced teachers and practitioners, in my opinion, to attempt to guide and support younger members of our profession in the tough but rewarding process of becoming grounded, responsible, effective and compassionate practitioners. A vital part of that evolutionary process is the recognising of both our own limitations – and those of the art of astrology itself.

My last post, on Chiron, produced a considerable amount of reaction and response. At the end of the following extract you will find Sellieve’s question, which I assume was prompted by the following powerful example:

“…A long time ago – I no longer have the chart or notes for reference but still remember the situation – a woman with Chiron conjunct her Moon consulted me not long after her 50th birthday. Chiron had recently returned to that natal conjunction. I recall that Saturn by transit was also probably involved. I asked her whether there was a difficult issue currently involving a key female in her life, and she said yes, that her mother-in-law to whom she had been very close had recently died and she was having difficulty getting over this loss; her deep grief seemed to her to be out of proportion.

I then asked if she had had a similar loss in the first year of her life. It turned out that her own mother had died when she was less than a year old, and that she had felt bereft of mothering until her mother-in -law came into her life, hence her great difficulty with the current situation. Both the client and I were deeply moved by how powerfully the Moon/Chiron symbolism had spoken on Chiron’s return to its natal position. But realising this also helped the client to make more sense of the depth of her grief, and hopefully to process it more consciously…”

From Sellieve: While reading this, it dawned on me that someone I know will have transiting Chiron conjunct their moon after their Chiron return, and their mother might die when this transit happens, not sure if I should tell them or how to counsel them thru this? I’m welcome to hear anyone’s thoughts.

From Anne: Sellieve, once again you’ve raised an ethical question which deserves a considered reply outwith comment boxes.

That ancient basic guideline which we share with all the caring professions is still: ‘Do no harm’.

Introduction

We can describe clearly to our clients the essence of a planetary combination eg Chiron/Moon by transit: but the branches which arise from that core essence are many and varied although all tie back to the core theme/s. So we are not in any position to select one branch and offer it to the client as a possibility – or even worse, a definite outcome! –  if it is something which may raise fear/be undermining or damaging.

It is another matter when (as in the example I gave in this post) the client brings a branch which for them has manifested as a death. It is then our job to help them explore this event in such a way that they gain some understanding, and are able to go forward feeling empowered rather than undermined. 

Working with a client’s Chiron Return

My recollection, regarding the example quoted above, is that I sketched out a core description of transiting Chiron returning to a Chiron Moon Saturn combination, by saying something to this effect: “Your natal pattern is certainly challenging: it can manifest along a spectrum of possibilities from maternal separation or loss of some kind and the need to heal from that wounding, to having a mother whose disciplined professional work as a healer of some kind –perhaps a medical practitioner – absorbed more of her time than you as a child felt was enough to meet your needs.

This might have had the effect of making you emotionally self-sufficient, or the pattern might indicate that you were drawn to the healing professions yourself. But you will need to tell me how it showed and shows up in your life. I can point the camera at what the shot is, but you will need to do the fine tuning to bring your actual picture into focus. What’s your feedback?”

At that point, she told me that she was in fact a nurse – and that her own mother had died in the first year of her life. I then asked her, looking at Chiron’s return to that pattern, whether anything connecting to that early loss had happened in the last few months. She replied that her mother-in-law, to whom she had grown very close, had died recently, triggering her overwhelming grief which she seemed unable to deal with.

We were then able to look at how this recent death had opened the floodgates, as it were, to very old bewilderment, pain and fear still unresolved from her own mother’s death which she could now begin to see was finding its expression in her adult life through the death of her beloved mother- in-law.

Our discussion helped her to put her current circumstances into a more comprehensible perspective, and I was able to refer her on to a very experienced bereavement counsellor since she felt that she needed to do some old grief work on her past as well as on the present.

What could Sellieve do?

So, Sellieve, I think you could  – assuming that the person you mention is a possible client, coming to consult you formally – sketch out in broad terms what her particular Chiron pattern may be, then ask her for feedback so that you can work together on the information she feeds back to you. You could then find out what her current circumstances are in relation to her mother – or indeed key women in her life, or her own emotional state, and take the Chiron Return discussion from there. In my experience, you follow the client’s lead, and judge what you say – or do not say – according to that.

I would certainly not offer the possibility that the client’s mother might die, and if the client, her mother or any of her female friends have serious health issues at this time, I would not venture to discuss any medical condition but refer the person on to an experienced medical astrologer and/or a medical practitioner. It is so important for us to know our limitations, and work within them. That’s why I consider it essential for practising astrologers to have at the very least some formal counselling training, and professional supervision with an experienced colleague.

I hope, Sellieve, that this necessarily limited discussion has at least opened out some of the issues you presented, and given you some pointers.

Last word to Donna Cunningham

I’d like to give the last word to the late Donna Cunningham, generous friend and mentor to many of us, whose input into the series on ethics I did a few years ago on this blog was very much appreciated:

donnafaintbuddhabtr72-hart

 

 

 

 

“…We live in very difficult times, and the world at large is in turmoil. The transits are difficult ones, too. Many astrology clients are fearful about their future but hope for good news, while astrologers struggle to make helpful predictions. Sometimes, however, the things we say can leave them even more anxious than they were before. What, then, would be a healing and empowering perspective on the concerns they bring to a session?

It’s extremely important that astrologers and their clients both understand astrology’s limitations. Natal chart features and transits to them may suggest what’s going on, but they do not set the outcome in stone. Any given placement or combination has many expressions—some challenging, some positive, yet all related. There’s no way of predicting precisely how people will express those features, for much depends on their character, history, spiritual evolution, and choices. What a consultation can do is to help them become aware of their options.

Most of us work from the heart and do the best we can to help our clients. As in any service field, the better prepared we are to understand their emotional responses—and our own—during the session, the better we can serve…”

Zodiac

Zodiac

1400 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Donna Cunningham 2018

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

Reflecting on Chiron as the Pisces New Moon dawns…

What does Chiron mean to you? Have you experienced his symbolic energy as healing? Wounding? As the ‘inconvenient benefic’, kicking open doors to places you’d never have thought to go? Does he simply not register as any kind of recognisable influence in your life or those around you? Or have you simply not given him much thought as you work with your horoscope in relation to your life?

Lots of questions. In this meditative 12th house time just before the Pisces New Moon tomorrow, I am very much engaged with them, being all too aware of Chiron’s approaching the end of his long 2010-18 sojourn in Pisces.

A liminal time

Any time just before an important heavenly body shifts from one sign to another is a liminal time – a threshold time, a 12th house time of final dissolution of the old cycle  without the energies of the new yet being clearly evident. Chiron moves into Aries on 17th April 2018, dipping back into Pisces for a few months in the autumn of that year, settling into his journey through Aries on February 18th 2019, remaining there until 2026/7 when he shifts into Taurus.

Chiron’s orbit is very irregular, and if you’d like to go into the detail of this, Cafe Astrology is the place to go for some very clear tables. However, his return cycle is a steady 50 years: we all have a Chiron Return at that age. This return is especially significant since it represents the end of a whole 50 year period from 1968/9 when Chiron was last in Aries. A cycle is completing at the present time, and the shift from Pisces the last sign of the zodiac to Aries the first is always more radical than any other – and fierier, more disruptive and far-reaching at a collective level.

Chiron in Aries – 20th Century

50 years back from 1968/9 takes us to 1918/19 and the turbulent aftermath of the First World War. Some of us still vividly remember 1968/9 with the student riots in Europe, the protests in the USA against the Vietnam war, and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King against the turbulent backdrop of the Civil Rights movement. We also remember that wonderfully pioneering event of the Moon landing, a stunning example of humanity’s kicking open a door to a place no-one throughout our whole history until that moment thought we would go.

…and 21st…

Early on in Chiron’s transit through Aries, ruled by the red planet Mars, preparations for the first human mission there envisaged for the 2030s are well under way. The upcoming Mars 2020 rover will study the availability of Martian resources, including oxygen. This is a major step forward in the preparation process. Some of us baby-boomers, if we live a long life, may well see the first blast-off taking humans in Shakespeare’s famous words about death, to “…The undiscovered country from whose bournNo traveler returns…” 1   The Mars explorers know they will not return to their home planet…

No doubt there will be much more speculation across our various media outlets regarding what this shift may mean both collectively and individually. It has already begun, as a quick google search will testify!

Back to first principles

However, I have found my reflections returning me to contemplation of first principles: the questions at the start of this post are in fact my own interrogations both of my experience of Chiron’s symbolic energies in my personal life and my professional practice.

In response to those questions, on looking back I can say that I have seen Chiron, in his  popular ‘wounded healer’ mode, most notably in colleagues and acquaintances with Chiron prominent in their charts eg 2nd, 6th or 10th Houses and/or strongly linked with planets, Nodes and Angles. They have found their way into caring, alternative healing or medical/nursing contexts, usually propelled there by family and/or personal wounding they were consciously or unconsciously seeking to assuage.

I have also seen situations where the wounding dimension was well to the fore and people struggled to see any healing in what they were experiencing – quite often at the Chiron Return point, when the whole horoscope’s Chiron aspects are triggered. This is where as an astrologer it is so vital to tread carefully in seeking to offer a context to deep pain and suffering which may offer some comfort and hope without raising unrealistic expectations – and to know when we are coming up against our own limitations eg in lack of specific expertise in dealing with questions of health and healing.

Here, it is important to have a network of  reputable and experienced practitioners in various healing modalities who might be able to offer some support which builds on what one has hopefully been able to clarify for the client.

Inconvenient…but beneficial

It was the late astrologer A.L. Morrison who coined the term ‘inconvenient benefic’ as a facet of Chiron’s actions – I can see on considering the placement of Chiron in our solar system, his source for this interpretation. Chiron appeared in 1977 between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus. He can be seen as the one who unlocked the door between the safe boundaries of the known system contained by Saturn, lord of form and structure, security and stability and the outer planetary realm of Uranus –lord of misrule, breaker of custom, known code and convention. It is very threatening to be kicked out of safe territory into the unpredictable and unknown. But often it is just what we need although we don’t appreciate it at the time.

I have certainly seen this Chironian dimension in action by transit or progression with clients who turn up for readings after a long process where life has given them a good kicking (sound familiar, anyone?!) but who emerge out the other end realising that the kicking was necessary to get them to move in a direction they would not have been brave (or foolish!) enough to see held considerable positive benefits for them.

An amusing (in retrospect…) and quite significant example of this ‘inconvenient benefic’ aspect of Chiron in action can be offered from my own life a long time ago. My husband developed mumps, and had such a sore throat for several days that he could neither speak nor eat anything that wasn’t liquidised, and certainly could not bear to smoke. Chiron was then transiting his Gemini Midheaven. He quit for good… 

Chiron’s Return at Midlife

It makes sense that Chiron doesn’t feature very strongly in a person’s life if not prominent by horoscope placement or by aspect. However, even in such cases, if Chiron directly transits any of the personal planets or Angles, it is very unusual for there to be a ‘dumb note’ struck. It also seems to me that the Chiron Return at age 50 registers with everyone, but especially strongly when Chiron is a powerfully placed and aspected symbol.

A long time ago – I no longer have the chart or notes for reference but still remember the situation – a woman with Chiron conjunct her Moon consulted me not long after her 50th birthday. Chiron had recently returned to that natal conjunction. I recall that Saturn by transit was also probably involved. I asked her whether there was a difficult issue currently involving a key female in her life, and she said yes, that her mother-in-law to whom she had been very close had recently died and she was having difficulty getting over this loss; her deep grief seemed to her to be out of proportion.

I then asked if she had had a similar loss in the first year of her life. It turned out that her own mother had died when she was less than a year old, and that she had felt bereft of mothering until her mother-in -law came into her life, hence her great difficulty with the current situation. Both the client and I were deeply moved by how powerfully the Moon/Chiron symbolism had spoken on Chiron’s return to its natal position. But realising this also helped the client to make more sense of the depth of her grief, and hopefully to process it more consciously.

Chiron and our deep ancestral wound…

In approaching what Chiron’s symbolic action may bring in our own and clients’ horoscopes, it seems to me to make sense to hold those several facets I have described in this post in mind as we reflect.

However, there is a deep layer which has meant more to me than any other, which I first came across in an article by Liz Greene called ‘Wounding and the will to live’ in Issue 3 of Apollon, the Journal of Psychological Astrology (1999). This article is now available on Astrodienst, and I would strongly suggest that any readers interested in exploring Chiron’s meaning at profound depth should read it.

Here, Liz Greene points out re the centaur Chiron’s unhealable wound, that “….the wound exists in the collective and is ancestral..”

My understanding of what she is saying is that where Chiron appears in our birth charts represents our ‘chip’ of the accumulated woundedness of humanity over the ages. It is not our fault that we have this particular ‘chip’ allocated to us, any more than it was the centaur Chiron’s fault to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in the centaurs’ battle with the Lapiths during which he was grazed in the thigh by a poisoned arrow which would not heal because it was dipped in the blood of the Hydra. 

We are not directly responsible for our personal share of humanity’s wounding. But if we can work with as much honesty and humility, and as little bitterness as possible with that share as indicated by Chiron’s placement in our natal chart, then we can begin to transform that woundedness into something which can be offered for the healing of others. This process can ultimately help us to grow enough for our personal wound to become an increasingly smaller part of who it is we are able to become.

I have used this understanding of Chiron in many client readings now, and have found that it offers inspiration and consolation. Much of that healing flows from helping clients to accept that the wound is not our fault – but it is our responsibility to choose how we deal with it. No doubt the fact that I have found this deep message a consolation in my own work with ancestral wounding, also communicates itself to clients without my having to say a single word about my own process…

________

Endnote:

 1 Hamlet: Act 3 Scene 1

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1800 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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

1800 words