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 on “Astrology: Questions and Answers”.. It’s been the most-read-ever article on my other blog ‘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.
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….
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!
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.
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….
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.
“Of Cerberus and Blackest Midnight Born” is a quote from ‘L’Allegro’ by the English poet John Milton
2600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014/17
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
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via Facebook 3.10.14:
from Angela Giannicopoulos: Such a wonderful and inspiring article!Thank you Anne!
Many thanks, Angela! I always aim to inspire, if at all possible…
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From: Inger Lise Karlsen | October 4, 2014 at 3:03 pm: (left on “Writing from the Twelfth House”:)
Thank you very much for the beautifully written article Anne.
I became highly curious when you told that the males were the only ones who partook in funerals in The Hebrides when you were a youngster, Anne.
How come that particular custom arose? The Scandinavian countries became Protestants back in the 15th century, when Lutheranism came along.
Aside from the ladies sitting on the benches at the right side by themselves, and the males sitting at the left side in the churches back then……I never have heard of females left out of participation in funerals.
Appreciating very much everything you are telling. I`m a fool when it comes to the astrology sad to say, but interesting it is !
Many thanks, Inger Lise. I’m afraid I don’t know how long the custom of excluding women from funerals in the Western Isles of Scotland has existed. And it may have changed – but was still the case in the 1980s and 1990s, when I last attended funerals there…
From janewheelock, (via “Writing from the Twelfth House”): Submitted on 2014/10/06 at 1:48 pm
That is such a lovely interwoven story of two such moving events in your life Anne, it makes me feel quite tingly in the spine. Thank you so much for this as I prepare for a big new experience. Jane xx
Spine- tingling? Why, I could not have aspired to a better response than that! Thanks, Jane. Big experiences are the most daunting, especially if you KNOW you are headed into one. But they also push us to grow the most…will be thinking of you. Xx
Mercury conjuncts Pluto and together they oppose my Pisces Moon conjunct Chiron.
When Pluto crossed my IC, I was 11. My father left my mom for a younger woman, and basically abandoned me. He moved far away and made no secret how much happier he was. I came to hardly know him. My mother was devastated, she sold our house and moved me to a tiny apartment in skid row. I became very depressed and stopped going to school. I fell into
a bad crowd and had no parental guidance or supervision. I am lucky to be alive, looking back.
The one positive out of it all is that I learned to parent my own child much better. I took all the negative traits my parents had and raised my son the exact opposite. It worked, my son is very successful and does not have the broken spirit I ended up with. I am so grateful despite many mistakes I have made that my son had the support and guidance to achieve his goals that I never had myself.
Sherry, thanks so much for this open and heartfelt feedback. You will have seen from my article, how heartwrenching my experience of that transit was too, although it took place at a much later stage in life than you. It’s to your great credit that you drew the wisdom you described from such deep, early family wounding, and used it constructively in your own home life with your son. I think that part of the purpose of those deep, dark rites of passage may be to offer us an opportunity to heal family wounding in subsequent generations. Blessings, Anne
Fascinating stuff! When Neptune crossed my 28′ Sagittarius IC, I was 18 years old. My great-grandmother passed away then, at the age of 103. She was very much the matriarch of the family, and I know that despite her advanced age, my mother was crushed by the loss. Within a few months of her death, I began experiencing powerful mediumistic trances; but without any context to understand what was happening, I panicked for my mental health and shunned everything remotely metaphysical for a while. As my Sun is at 4′ Capricorn, it was only a matter of time before transiting Neptune came around to challenge that, and I came to reaccept my psychica! gifts again. When Uranus transited my IC, I married my husband and moved across the country with him. And my father died when Pluto was exactly conjunct my IC; Pluto stationed retrograde the day we were travelling back from his funeral. The classic IC themes of family and roots were prominent through all of these experiences.
Mary, I am very struck especially by the overlaps in our experiences when Neptune crossed our IC points and opened up a channel of mediumship, although in differing ways, for us both. Thank you so much for your openness in giving all your feedback on all three ‘heavies’ crossing the IC. Perhaps we should set up a club for those of us who have gone through the rite of passage of triple Outer Planet baptism by fire!!
Well Anne, I am glad to have found this site. I am also a Leo Sun, Mercury in the 12th along with Mars/N.Node in Virgo there. When Neptune crossed my IC at 2 Sag, my father died. When Pluto crossed in ’96/97 I left a job with a negative boss I could no longer tolerate (opposite natal Uranus in the 10th). When Uranus crossed and opposed natal Uranus, my house sold, I was a Love Boat astrologer on 3 cruises, and I moved two states away. Mars and Saturn are in the 4th now but nothing of note to report. Thank you for your insightful writings. -Bonnie
Bonnie, thanks for this colourful feedback from a fellow Leo 12th House-er! Uranus brings stuff one could not even begin to make up, as your Love Boat astrologer x 3 story proves…you are another potential member of the triple Outer Planet baptism by fire club…and many thanks for your kind words about my writing. Much appreciated.
Re-posted on Facebook Page:
The worries you speak of kept me from astrology for a long time – too scared to peek! This is a wonderful article…. your humor is reassuring and appreciated!
Many thanks for your very kind words, Rena! And a sense of humour, especially about oneself, is a major survival tool in my experience…
Re-posted on Facebook Page:
Anne I loved your writing of your experiences when the Outers crossed your Nadir. I began to look at my own crossings
Many thanks, Morgana! Glad to have sent you off on some astro-exploring…
Re-posted on Facebook Page:
I loved hearing about your grandfather and the lovely relationship between you.
Many thanks for your warm words, Pat. Those of us who managed to have a real relationship with our grandparents were, I think, very fortunate people..
To read some more interesting comments on this and other posts, check out
Astrology: Questions and Answers’ Facebook Page:
Thanks for sharing this article! I am the opposite, that is, I will have the 3 biggies crossing the MC. When Uranus crossed my MC, I was about to go to college and I chose a major that I never had thought I would…now Neptune is conjunct my MC, my career goal seems hazy, but I somehow need a spiritual outlet, and I guess that is how I felt an urge to start learning astrology. It will take a few more decades for my Pluto to cross MC. What will happen? I have no idea and hopefully, by then astrology will already offer me another perspective to see whatever will happen in a more positive and intriguing light.
Great feedback, Tommy! Yes, when the ‘big three’ cross the angles, it’s life changing time… I’m pleased to say that this article will be appearing on Astrodienst shortly.
It is certainly a life changing time…Sometimes I thought what if I had made a different choice and chosen a more “traditional” major in college? But now I know that with the influence of Uranus, this would hardly be possible and this is probably all predestined.
BTW I have a couple quite irrelevant questions, don’t know if you’re willing to share your opinion:
First thing I would like to know is when did you start learning astrology and how? Is it possible for a person to learn astrology to the very advanced level by just reading extensively and practicing?
Second thing is I read about the method of “Directing by Triplicities” today. I haven’t heard of it at all before, but then I thought of your warning yesterday that there are way too much “astro-dross” on the web and be careful with what I read. So I would like to know what you think about this method?
here is the story! The first para links to other people’s stories too. https://astrologyquestionsandanswers.com/2016/01/04/how-i-became-an-astrologer-against-all-the-odds/
No, I don’t think you can become a responsible, ethical astrologer just by reading and practice: here are some articles which hopefully will fill in a context for you: https://astrologyquestionsandanswers.com/category/astrology-challenges-ethics-and-practice-10-articles/
And _ I think you should disregard arcana such as “Directing by Triplicities” at this stage – maybe even forever! You need to learn the language, which is a basic slog, before starting to talk it to yourself, much less the unsuspecting public…
Hope all this keeps you going for a while. I like your enthusiasm…one gets nowhere without that!
Thanks a lot for the reading recommendation and for the advice of disregarding the arcana!
I’ve actually started reading Stephen Arroyo and I think it is a wonderful start!
Yes, ‘Astrology, Karma and Transformation’ was one of my formative astrology books. I think the articles I sent to all give you food for thought. Reading is great, but at some point if you want to commit yourself you will need to do some form of reputable astrology course. But there are now plenty of options online!Do keep me posted re-your progress: my email address is The best way to contact me.
Thank you for the suggestion Anne. I’ve checked out the Faculty of Astrological Studies and it seems a very decent educational institution. I know at some point of life, maybe not long after, I will enroll in it.
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Hello Anne sorry I cannot find your email anywhere on your website.
But I did some research and now I am hesitating between Mayo School of Astrology and Faculty of Astrological Studies (I am only looking online courses). I think it would be great to ask you for some opinions as you’ve been in the industry long enough.
Mayo – it takes less years (although requiring more commitment per week) and also a lot more affordable than FoAS.
FoAS – seems like upon completion you receive a very prestigious Diploma (although in Mayo you also receive a quite distinct Diploma upon completion). It also looks like in FoAS the courses are very well structured and go very deep. (Or maybe just because it provides more details on the website than Mayo?)
What is your view about these 2 schools?
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Hi Tommy, well, first of all you have done me a favour by alerting me to the fact that my email address isn’t easily accessible on my website. Thank you. I will fix that.
Regarding your study query, I would go with the Faculty of Astrological Studies qualification. I did the Certificate myself in the 1980s and found it very thorough and demanding. Also – I am currently mentoring a student who is doing the Faculty course, and can see what a high standard they still set.
If you are particularly interested in psychological astrology, then John Green runs an excellent on-line foundation course for the Centre for Psychological Astrology – Dr Liz Greene’s school – where he and I obtained our Diplomas in the 1990s. Another mentoree of mine is doing that course at the moment, and loving it. http://www.cpalondon.com/foundation.html
As regards cost – as with most things in life, you get what you pay for…
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, by the way!
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