Monthly Archives: May 2019

An astrologer’s job description…

Every so often, someone asks me what I think my job as an astrologer is. It’s a good question – it makes me ‘return to base’, as it were, and set out the basics again, both for the questioner – and for my own benefit.

Here goes!

Anne Whitaker 2019

Anne Whitaker 2019

My  job as an astrologer is to help other people understand themselves more clearly. I don’t know what the balance is between fate and free will any more than any one else does. But the Birth Chart or Horoscope suggests strongly that we come into this world, not as tabulae rasae ( blank slates)  but with certain characters on the stage poised to live out a complex drama as the process of our life unfolds from birth to death. 

What astrologers cannot do is describe the whole range of possibilities of expression which arise from each core character on the stage.

There appears to be a dynamic relationship between what you have been given through family physical and psychological inheritance ( the Old Norse word for fate also means genitals!), location, social status, and your own choices in what you do with those givens.

I think that effective astrologers in consultation are poised on the interface between fate and free will – on the one hand helping clients to confirm who they are, which they probably already know, if they are honest with themselves; but on the other hand helping them to see, and to broaden, the range of possible expression of the energies with which they have been born.

The astrologer’s ego should have a minimal influence on the process of reading another person’s horoscope. It’s impossible to keep ego completely out of it. It’s impossible to be completely objective, to avoid making mistakes; but what the person takes away should be as much theirs, and as little the astrologers, as is possible.

To maximise this outcome I feel it is very important to have my work regularly supervised by an experienced and well-qualified colleague. I am fortunate in this to have the support of a very experienced astrologer who is also a psychodynamic psychotherapist and writer. She has known me, my foibles, my weaknesses and my strengths over a very long period of time.

I  look at the relationship between the patterns present in clients’ natal horoscopes and how that relates to the here-and-now patterns of the planets in the heavens. I’m also very interested in setting clients’ lives in the context of the unfolding stages of the 11-12 year Jupiter cycles and the 29-30 year Saturn cycles, as well as the progressed New Moons, which also occur in thirty-year periods. My experience is that setting their lives in the context of the bigger pictures, and taking guidance from that, is both comforting, supportive and helpful to people who consult me.

I’m only interested in working with clients who are prepared to take responsibility for themselves in relation to the way in which their inner world is connected to the unfolding of their outer life. Astrology appropriately used should enhance the sense of personal responsibility – not take it away and hang it on the planets, or even worse, on the astrologer !

In my view it is important for people not to become too dependent on a symbolic context – astrology and astrologers like relationships, drugs, sex, alcohol or the national lottery can become highly addictive. The great symbolic arts, eg astrology, tarot, palmistry , I Ching, should be consulted with deep respect, and with considerable restraint.

                    In sum – I think it is my job is to send people away feeling more able to operate constructively and honestly in their world than when they came in, by supporting their courage and confidence to lead their own lives – using their own judgement. 

Anne Whitaker 2019

Anne Whitaker 2019

650 words © Anne Whitaker 2019

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

A tale of Saturn, Capricorn, Nodes, and family history….

 My Aquarian husband loves mountains. His ruling planet Mercury, and Mars, reside resolutely in Capricorn. He has climbed all 284 mountains in Scotland over 3000 feet –– named Munros, after the first person to map them, Sir Hugh Munro, born with Saturn, Capricorn’s ruler, square his Aries North Node. 

Reader, here is a clue regarding this column: it’s about the long reach of family fate, centred on the signs of Aries and Capricorn.

Jungfrau and Munch, Switzerland

Jungfrau and Munch, Switzerland

photo: Anne Whitaker

Picture this scene. My maternal grandfather Calum, with Capricorn Sun square the tenth house North Node in Aries, was a true adventurer. In his young days he was employed as a sheep herder in the Cascade Mountains in Canada. Dropping in on Patagonia, he fetched up eventually as a cattle rancher in Argentina, South America. Returning briefly home to marry the comely, dark-haired Mary Ann, he left her to bring up their first child in her parents’ home in a remote village on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

At last he returned, bursting with excitement. “Mary Ann, Mary Ann, we have a wonderful opportunity to make our fortune!”

“And what would that be, Calum?” she enquired.

“I have done so well with the cattle ranching that my employer has offered me a senior position on his ranch, with my own land and a herd of cattle thrown in. You and our son will love Argentina! What do you say?”

There was a long pause before my grandmother Mary Ann finally spoke. “ I will come with you, Calum” she said slowly and deliberately, “ as long as we bring my coffin along too.”

That was the end of our South American connection…

My mother, their last child, was born with the Sun in Aries, exactly square her Capricorn Moon. For most of us, drawing up family charts is a compelling early step in the astrological adventure. When I saw my mother’s chart my heart turned over,  the vivid family story I’ve just related leaping out of the symbolism. Calum saying “Yes!!”  and Mary Ann saying a mournful “No”: clearly encoded in that Sun/Moon square.

My father had an Aries Sun too, trine Saturn: he combined a responsible professional life as a senior local government officer with being the most notorious poacher our island community had seen for many years.  My mother’s attitude to his exploits was summed up in her Capricorn Moon square both their Aries Suns…

Eventually, I married…with my family history, and a fiery Sun/Moon conjunction linked with Saturn, I was in no hurry. When husband Ian’s progressed Sun entered Aries, he took up serious mountaineering, and I took up serious worrying about him – I’ve alluded to this in a previous column.

However, I don’t have a tenth house Mars/Uranus conjunction for nothing. He went up North to do mountains, I went down South to study astrology with Liz Greene. This kept everything in balance for years; not everyone’s solution, but it worked for us.

Fast forward to April 11th 2018. Most of us that week were feeling pressured one way or another, as Mars separated from Saturn, advancing toward Pluto in Capricorn. Saturn retrograding, Chiron entering Aries, and the Aries New Moon would all occur the following week. Not very relaxing…

We were due to set off to Switzerland on 22nd April, the day Pluto would turn retrograde in Capricorn. Mars would be transiting Pluto for the whole trip. Our goal? My husband loves trains and mountains; venturing to the highest railway station in Europe near the top of the Jungfrau mountain had been his aim for many years.

The previous autumn, he’d been knocked down by a cyclist in our local park and struck his head. Dealing with the consequences of this had taken up the whole winter and spring. He was probably well enough now to withstand all the rail travel involved from Scotland, via London and Strasbourg, until we eventually got to Switzerland. But I was seriously worried. Then, on Wednesday 11th April, he injured his back, always a weak point.

Sitting at our kitchen table in tears, I now wanted to cancel the trip but knew how devastated he would be. Then something dawned.This day was my late mother’s birthday. Her Sun was at 21 Aries, her Moon at 21 Capricorn. Pluto, sitting by transit exactly on her Moon, was being triggered by the Sun at 21 Aries.

I was being faced, in essence, by my grandparents’ life-changing dilemma. Ian desperately wanted to go on a longed-for adventure. Being fearful, I wanted to stop him. The power of this realisation was astonishing.  Would I repeat family history, whose consequences had profoundly shaped my grandparents’, then my parents’ marriages? Or would I let go of intense fear – trusting to Fate that Ian would fulfil his dream, and we would be ok?

Stopping crying, I offered the situation up to the Divine: Jupiter, who rises at 18 Virgo in our composite chart, was linking both our natal charts to currently transiting Jupiter at 21.5 Scorpio, sextile Pluto at 21 Capricorn. Amidst all the really challenging energies of this time, my core feeling, beneath the fear, was that Ian would be fine. He was. We had a fantastic trip.

Being able to decode and confront a significant piece of my family inheritance via the medium of astrological symbolism, was deeply moving and awe-inspiring. For those of us who have been given both challenging horoscopes and a willingness to examine ourselves and our motives with as much honesty as we dare to muster, I have long felt that a significant task in this life is to try to redeem some of the pain and limitation which our ancestors have unwittingly handed on to us, along with their gifts, talents and strengths.

By saying “Yes” to my husband, despite the fear, I like to think that, in a small way, a painful part of that family past was honoured – and partly redeemed.

Endnotes

This post is a slightly edited version of my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine  ‘The astro-view from Scotland’  from the November/December 2018 Issue.

Jungfrau and Munch, Switzerland

Jungfrau and Munch, Switzerland

1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2019

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

 

Moon’s Nodes, Saturn/Pluto ….and a ‘just war’?

It was an arresting sight. A wide dark blue ribbon of uniformed, chattering, excited schoolkids carrying home-made placards. Escorted by teachers, they were weaving their noisy way through our local Botanic Gardens, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

Students in Sydney demand action on climate change

 Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Sydney, Australia

I quickly jerked awake from the (usually) semi-somnolent half hour stroll to my office, finding a way through the stream of youngsters, giving them thumbs-up as I went. Of course! They were taking part in the Friday morning schools protest as part of the Extinction Rebellion movement. ‘…and getting some exercise too!…’ remarked a passing teacher cheerfully.

To me, this was a significant moment. Although of course like everyone else I’ve been following the Greta Thunberg story with admiring interest, and reflecting a great deal on the power of one determined enough person to bring about significant cultural, social, political change, this was my first direct physical and emotional encounter with the ordinary grass roots reality of what is clearly happening at ground level at present….Uranus in Taurus is shaking the political and social ground under our feet.

Our changing culture…

From UK’s The Guardian newspaper, 14.3.19‘…Children at tens of thousands of schools in more than 100 countries are due to take part in the walkouts which began last year when one teenager – Greta Thunberg – held a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament. Since then the climate movement has snowballed with schoolchildren on every continent except Antarctica taking part….There are 1,659 climate strike events planned worldwide…’ On 15 March 2019, an estimated 1.4 million students in 112 countries around the world joined her call. This is an astonishing achievement.

In that small Friday morning moment in our small country, I felt very keenly the power and magnitude of  a major shift in public consciousness which has begun in recent months, and is coming into sharp focus as the Saturn/Pluto conjunction at 20-23 Capricorn arrives at exact alignment with the Moon’s Nodes during April and May 2019.

In my original research study, The Moon’s Nodes in Action, I presented my findings on both the individual and collective significance of changes linked to the Nodal axis linked with Pluto. As I write this piece on the day of the Taurus New Moon, Saturn is exactly conjunct the South Node. Clearly, both Saturn and Pluto linked with the Nodes are pointing to our being at a deeply significant turning point collectively.

The Fixed Grand Cross horoscope 

Fixed Grand Cross (click image to enlarge)

The Leo /Aquarius polarity can be clearly connected to individuals – in this case, children and young folk, a major expression of Leo energy – rising up to demand a better future for our human collective. The Taurus/Scorpio polarity can equally be connected to our Earth through Taurus, and Scorpio through the current deep crisis our planet is in, requiring urgent collective purgative action.

Does this suggest the astrological fixed cross to anyone? it certainly does to me! I have been reflecting on its profound metaphorical significance for some years now, as our collective moves into an era of increasing turbulence and disorder. I’ve also written about it recently in my ‘Astro View from Scotland’ column in Dell Horoscope Magazine.

Have a look at this symbolic horoscope with Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and the Moon’s Nodes placed within the fixed cross, with 0 Aquarius as its Ascendant, and 0 Scorpio as its MC. I have placed Aquarius on the Ascendant, not because I believe that we are entering a new age of universal siblinghood, peace and love – check the current evidence, people! – but because there seems little doubt now that we are entering an era of unique interconnectivity for both good and ill ( plenty of that…) expedited by astoundingly rapid technological changes in recent times.

The world is connected like never before. Let’s use that for the common good if we possibly can.

There is much to say on this powerfully metaphorical horoscope. I’ll concentrate for now on the key points.

Let’s look first at the North Node in Cancer in the sixth house of this chart, with the South Node exactly conjunct Saturn and closely conjunct Pluto in the twelfth house. I have been doing much reflecting on these Cancer/Capricorn Nodes since they moved from Leo/Aquarius last November 2018, both in reference to my own personal life, and our collective lives.

It strikes me as supremely apt that the Nodes should be in Cancer and Capricorn as they join up with Saturn and Pluto  – the ruler of this chart’s MC in Scorpio  – at a time when we are mourning the damage we have done to our mother Earth (Cancer, ruled by the Moon) and fearful of what the consequences are going to be (Capricorn, ruled by Saturn).

We are increasingly unable to avoid facing the consequences of our actions, from the whole period when Pluto was last in Capricorn at the start of the Industrial Revolution to the present time, as we realise that an economic system rooted in exploitation of the resources of the Earth cannot continue without dire consequences.

The South Node conjunct Saturn and Pluto in the chart’s twelfth house offers graphic symbolism of the deep fear of our past actions’ consequences slowly rippling in a frightening tide throughout our world’s undercurrents. Sir David Attenborourgh’s masterly, informed, passionate and frightening account of the damage we have done to the world’s oceans has gripped the collective imagination.

We are now beginning to pay attention, take action eg on single plastic use and on trying to clean up the oceans’ plastics infestation caused by humans’ usage of our once-pristine seas as a dumping ground. But this combination also points out that we need to face what we have done, and take action. Saturn/Pluto lets one off with nothing, either personally or collectively.

The North Node’s position in Cancer in the sixth house of our everyday environment, powered by that relentlessly judgemental twelfth house Saturn/Pluto conjunction, shows that we ARE now beginning to take the problem seriously. A major resource in this is the idealism and spirituality offered by second house Neptune in Pisces, making an encouraging and softening, but practical trine and sextile to the Nodal axis/ Saturn/Pluto combination.

This chart’s ruler, Uranus, in the fourth house conjunct the IC in Taurus, is shaking up the whole fixed grand cross from the core. Things can not, and will not, stay the same. Recent severe storms, cyclones and floods in Africa and the Indian sub-continent have pointed that out graphically to us in recent weeks.

Eleventh house ruler Jupiter’s presence currently in Sagittarius in the tenth house speaks of collective optimism that we can effect changes in our value and belief systems which will help to move us in a more constructive direction.

This optimism, allied to the grimly persistent Saturnian determination of campaigners like Greta Thunberg, seems at present to be spearheaded by young school and college students. The future belongs to the millennial generation upcoming – time for the baby boomers to get off the world stage and let those young people get on with it.

I am really struck by how much that symbolic fixed cross horoscope accurately reflects the currents of our time.

Concluding  – with Saturn/Pluto

The Saturn/Pluto return cycle of between 33 and 38 years has a pretty grim reputation. Here is an interesting summary of its essential qualities both positive and negative:

‘…Plutonian power resembles a tank of unstable nitroglycerin stored in the back of a old pick-­up truck finding its way down a bumpy dirt road. It must be used with care and balance, with respect for individual human rights and liberties. (It)… can function both as lifeblood of a free people and as the destroyer of liberty; it can lead a people into the deadness of bondage or into the happiness conferred by freedom. Applied with care, with consideration for the prerogative and good and free will of others, within the form-giving and ethical intent of Saturn, this synod can give birth to a high civilization…’ (i)

I included the term ‘just war’ (ii) in the title of this post. The Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Cancer in the second decade of the Twentieth Century was linked to the First World War; in Leo in the 1940s, to the Second World War and its aftermath; in Libra in the early 1980s to the rise of AIDS and the Falklands War.

Perhaps, though, this new Saturn/Pluto cycle beginning in 2020 will bring, not the kind of mass warfare that people fear, but a ‘just war’ – the battle to save our planet from our own folly.

One could make several hard-headed criticisms of the Extinction Rebellion movement and its youthful leaders and protagonists, eg how on earth do we turn our economic system around by 2025,as they are demanding, without causing massive economic disruption and collapse?

Nevertheless, as a member of the older generation, seeing the movement’s rapid rise in recent months has made me feel optimistic. Let’s hope leaders like Greta Thunberg with Extinction Rebellion can put such worldwide pressure on our politicians that they are forced to take constructive action. And in the meantime, we can all do something to bring our lifestyles more in line with protecting rather than destroying our Mother planet.

“Start where you are, and do what you can” is my favourite Saturnian mantra. What’s yours?

Students in Sydney demand action on climate change

Endnotes:

(i) Here is a very interesting article exploring historical perspectives on the Saturn/Pluto cycle:

http://www.historicalastrology.com/planetary-synodic-cycles/saturn-pluto-conjunction/

(ii) Principles of the Just War.  A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified. … A warcan only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.

https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pol116/justwar.htm

1700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2019

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