Category Archives: Dell Horoscope ” The Astro-View from Scotland” (9 articles)

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

 

As the Aries New Moon dawns: A Saturn Return Tale…

We have all had life-changing moments. Some, we only recognise retrospectively. Others hit us like lightning bolts, metaphorically pinning us to our seats. Literally, in my case. I remember it well, that scuffed red velvet chair in that rented room in a friend’s scruffy flat. I was twenty-nine years old (Saturn Return, anyone?), embarking on social work training. Navel-gazing, therefore, was the order of the day – in fact of that whole year.

Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt

There I was, seated on that chair, reading Carl Gustav Jung’s  Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Seven years previously, I had embarked on pondering how I could improve myself as a consequence of deciding to face up to the unsparingly honest comments of a good friend on aspects of my behaviour at that time.

Following that, at twenty-seven and an astrology dismisser, I had encountered astrologers, astrology and an initial dip into my horoscope which had shocked me with its accuracy – especially its uncomfortable ability to pinpoint, as well as the plusses, those minuses in our character which so often get projected onto others.

The whole tenor of my self-challenging and self-learning at that stage was this: by gradually dragging into conscious awareness as much as possible about the difficult and dark sides of myself, I thought I could perhaps in time get rid of them, along with those contradictions in my character and behaviour which were causing me so much stress and pain.

This being the quest, I suppose it was inevitable that extensive reading should eventually bring me to Jung… then, sitting comfortably on that red velvet chair, I read this:

‘…Therefore the individual …has need, first and foremost, of self-knowledge, that is, the utmost possible knowledge of his own wholeness. He must know relentlessly how much good he can do, and what crimes he is capable of, and must beware of regarding the one as real and the other as illusion. Both are elements within his nature, and both are bound to come to light in him, should he wish as he ought to live without self-deception or self-delusion…..’ (i)

The lightning bolt was realising the futility of trying to cast my dark energies as ‘bad’ and trying to suppress them. In that truly life-changing moment I saw that the work ahead lay in creatively facing, owning and constructively channelling that vital energy which flows from sincere attempts to reconcile the opposites which are inherent in the whole of life.

Since we are each a tiny chip of Life’s vital force –  something which astrology illustrates wonderfully through the medium of our horoscopes – we need to own and work with the whole spectrum, not just the shiny end.

I have had a lifelong interest in science.  I see it as one of many lenses through which to explore why we are here and what it may all mean. In an open-minded world, astrology and scientific exploration would go hand in hand. Happily, in some quarters now they actually do!

Being a person with many twelfth house planets, I’ve been driven all my life to set our tiny personal lives in the context of the Big Picture. Both science and astrology have provided huge help in this. It has struck me for a long time that contemplating the Big Bang, the best scientific theory currently available to us regarding how our universe began, is a wonderful starting point for work on reconciling the opposites.

That vast explosion which gave birth to everything we can conceive of, was an event of monumental destructiveness. But it was also an event of  monumental creativity without which we would not exist, nor would the glorious beauty of this world.

Chaos theory has in its turn shown us that we live in a vast energy field, rippling with ever-repeating patterns from the vast down to the minute. This maps well onto astrology’s archetypes: we can regard each planet as a mini energy field, each offering a range of possible manifestations arising from the same recognisable core.

Jung put the links between the vastness of universal energies and our tiny human existence very succinctly:

‘…Our psyche is set up in accord with the structure of the universe, and what happens in the macrocosm likewise happens in the infinitesimal and most subjective reaches of the psyche….’ (ii)

Contemplation of all this inextricable interweaving of what we culturally term ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ energies, via what I have understood both from science and from the teaching and practice of astrology, has helped me greatly in the never-ending process of reconciling and uniting my own opposites. I truly hope I have been able thus to offer out some inspiration via my vocational path, to clients, students, and readers over the years.

Here is an apt last word on the topic from ‘Alice’, taken from an article I wrote a long time ago, asking students for their feedback on ‘Astrology as a Healing and a Wounding Art’ (iii):

‘…The more I learned about  the interacting energies within my chart, the more I could accept myself and stop having to put on an act. The energy I had previously been using to keep Pluto well at bay, could now be directed towards more constructive pursuits. I felt freed. The healing had begun…’

PS: I’d love to know what happened to that red velvet chair!

Endnotes

This post is a slightly edited version of my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine  ‘The astro-view from Scotland’  from the March/April 2019 Issue.

(i) and (ii) From Late Thoughts, last chapter of ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’ by C. G. Jung, published 1962 (recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffé.) (iii) From Apollon, The Journal of Psychological Astrology, Issue 3, August 1999.

Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt

1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2019

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

Sun conjunct Mercury: shall we talk about Twins? And Epigenetics?

Every so often, I take a vow not to buy any more books. As I left our excellent local charity book store in full vow mode a while ago, a book cover stopped me in my tracks. On the back, in large white letters on a dark blue background, it said: “The realisation that an individual genetic code can result in multiple different outcomes is at the heart of epigenetics – the most exciting discipline in biology today.”(i)

image.jpeg

Gorgeous Mercury

‘Yes!!’ I said, perhaps not entirely to myself judging from the pained look from a fellow browser next to me. Remembering the vow for a moment, I scanned the back page with my smartphone app. Then, feeling mean and irresponsible, I bought the book. Reader, it was worth it.

By now you are probably wondering ‘Where on earth is she going with this?’

To in-depth astrology, that’s where. Both the hard sciences including genetics and the symbolic arts including astrology are attempting to put comprehensible frameworks round a vast puzzle: why are we here, and how can we best cope with the unpredictable and often brutal uncertainties of life?  This being the case,  I find it deeply dispiriting that they have increasingly been at odds with one another since the dawning of the Scientific Revolution. We need complementary disciplines, surely, to help us live as constructively as possible on our beautiful, fragile planet.

My excitement at the back cover quote from “The Epigenetics Revolution” therefore arose from the link it instantly made for me between the practices of both genetics and in-depth astrology. Most astrologers would agree that the complex patterns revealed in an individual’s horoscope can express themselves in a range of possible manifestations from the same core. That quote regarding the genetic code struck me as being remarkably similar to what astrologers find in their practice.

In effect, two individuals with identical DNA can and do manifest both similar and different lives…In a chapter titled “Why Aren’t Identical Twins Actually Identical?” author Nessa Carey states that “…The differences between identical twins have certainly captured the imaginations of creative people from all branches of the arts, but they have also completely captivated the world of science…”(ibid. p75)

(click on image to enlarge)

This is certainly the most frequent question which students, clients, friends and the general public have thrown at me over the years. If identical twins born no more than a minute apart have identical horoscopes, how come there are usually significant differences both in their personalities and their life patterns, as well as undoubted similarities? Epigenetics would appear to provide the answer from a scientific point of view. ( for an astrological perspective, read my articles HERE)

Geneticist Nessa Carey is a very clear, entertaining writer. She uses vivid analogies from everyday life to illustrate an incredibly complex web of varied influences – both before and after birth – carried by infinitely subtle chemical messengers, which modify our DNA epigenetically to produce, as she puts it, considerable variations on life’s basic script.

  Using Shakespeare’s famous play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as one example, she points out that in the hands of two different directors ie George Cukor in 1936 and Baz Luhrmann in 1996, … “ Both productions used Shakespeare’s script, yet the two movies are entirely different…”(ibid. p2)

Theatrical analogy is also very useful to astrologers. Along with, no doubt, many of my astrologer colleagues, I invite my clients to think of their horoscopes as a stage with the planets representing the characters standing quietly on it, waiting for life’s script to unfold from their birth moment.

I explain that I can certainly portray accurately the essence of each character illustrated by the ten planets, their ‘style’ as illustrated by the sign they occupy, and their location in terms of which houses are tenanted. I can also describe their dialogues and interactions, pointing out how different the conversation is between eg Moon square Saturn and Mars sextile Uranus.

However, I tell them that I cannot describe with unfailing accuracy the whole range of possible branches which arise from each core character or archetype. I have seen, often enough, how for example one person’s Moon square Saturn expresses very differently from another’s – this is true of every other horoscope pattern. This is also true in observing clients’ varying responses to the challenges and shaping influences of transits and progressions.

It can be difficult – if not impossible –  to work out why one person emerges battered but strengthened from eg a lengthy Pluto transit to several planets, whilst another of the same age, with a very similar horoscope, emerges battered and beaten. Neither has epigenetics, as yet, come up with a full explanation of why some genetic variations occur in some circumstances, but not in others of remarkable similarity.

I have long grappled to understand at least something of the essence of what quantum physics has revealed regarding the contradictory vastness of the energy field in which we exist, and the patterns arising therefrom which appear to interact to create the whole of life of which we are part. My conclusion is that practitioners of both the hard sciences and the symbolic arts are considering the same vast energy field, and attempting to describe in different but essentially complementary ways, those mysterious patterns that shape our lives.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could share our knowledge?

Endnotes

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

(i) Nessa Carey “The Epigenetics Revolution”, Icon Books,  2011

Image result for mercury astrological jpegs

950 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2019

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

Fate, Uranus – and the astrologers’ degree…

Anyone who has ever written a regular column will know that there are times when inspiration is – not to put too fine a point on it  – notable by its absence. At other times, so many ideas are flying around that catching one by the tail to pin it down is, to say the least, tricky. And – you never know, as the last deadline is met and you can now relax for a few weeks –  which set of conditions is going to prevail the next time.

So, Reader, there I was, new deadline appearing over the horizon, and…nada. Nix. No–thing. At all. Braincell dry as an old chewed-up bone. In this situation there are generally two options: blind panic – or blind faith. I have six fiery planets. This is often a curse, let me tell you, but in the matter of column deadlines, it is a blessing. So, armed with nothing but blind faith, I headed for the office.

To pass time sitting on the bus, I check my phone. Ahah – there’s a message on Messenger. A colleague is beginning a new project for the international company he works for, an unusual company where his boss is an astrology appreciator. He is making a podcast series on Turning Points:  asking people to talk for five minutes on the one decision which changed their lives forever. He is inviting me to contribute. ( To listen to the resulting 5 minute interview, click HERE)

“Ping!!” went the braincell, hit by a mini bolt of inspiration. I had my topic. I’d ruminate on what it was that inspired me to take up, and continue, the long-term study and practice of astrology. That decision certainly changed MY life forever.

So – what was it ?

Was it my youthful awe as I watched the Northern Lights enacting their glorious colourful dance, just above the skyline near our house? Perhaps it was lying cosy in bed, listening to the roaring gales of January tearing the world apart – wondering what the Power was behind that raging wind. Was it the growing excitement, as I grew up, of being able to spot familiar constellations in the clear, unpolluted night skies of my native island?

Or – maybe the Fates had already decided, leaving me a clue to be decoded many years later, via the placement of Uranus, the astrologers’ planet, at 25 Degrees of Gemini,  in the tenth house of my natal horoscope?

I have recently been revisiting the significance of the placement of Uranus’ discovery degree, ie  24 degrees 27 minutes Gemini,(i) in the horoscopes of those drawn to the practice of astrology. A dip into my horoscope collection, lifting out three male and three female birth charts, found that all six prominent astrologers chosen have this degree either conjunct, square or opposite natal planets, Nodes or Angles: the lately deceased and much-missed Donna Cunningham, Michel Gauquelin, Liz Greene, Isabel Hickey, Johannes Kepler and Noel Tyl. (ii)

Johannes Kepler Asc 24deg 25 mins Gemini

Johannes Kepler Asc 24 deg 25 mins Gemini

Furthermore, when I was 27 years old, progressed Sun crossed asteroid Urania, placed at 19 degrees of Virgo in my first house, square tenth house Uranus. That year, as mentioned in an earlier column, I had a totally random encounter with a pair of astrologers who predicted my future astrological career.

So – did I choose that career or did I come in with it already chosen? Was it Fate, or free will? We will, of course, never be able to answer that question. MY conclusion, hardly stunningly original, is that we dance to the tune of both. There are times when the power of Fate feels strongly present. Other times, the unglamorous wrestle with inertia, poor judgement, and other ills to haul our lives into a reasonably satisfying shape feels very strongly to be determined mainly by our own conscious efforts.

In the latter case, a major ingredient in the shaping process, in my opinion, is the power of inspiration. At twenty-four years of age I was fortunate enough to have what I later realised was a mystical experience, something which has continued to inspire me. This may well have created a spiritual backdrop for the subsequent encounter with astrology as foreground; when I met those astrologers I was going through a crisis involving wondering what, after all, my life was FOR…not an uncommon state for one’s late twenties!

Their accurate reading inspired me to investigate astrology further, initially via the UK’s Faculty of Astrological Studies. On discovering that I, too, could produce accurate and affirming feedback from those strange marks on a piece of paper which seemed helpful to people trying to understand themselves better, I was hooked. For the rest of my life.

Astrology has continued to inspire because it continues to challenge me. It challenges me because we are working with living energies, patterns whose essential meanings we have established over millennia, but whose manifestations are endless and only partly predictable. Despite decades of experience, I still get that tight anxious feeling before every new client I see, being very aware of my responsibility at least to do no harm, at best to help the person before me see their life in a more constructive, bigger context.

I am, of course, always curious to find out what inspires people to engage with astrology – and to keep going once they get there. There is an occasional series running on my blog, in which astrologers tell their interesting, unusual tales of inspiration and  – of course! – an inevitable amount of perspiration…

Want to share your story? Go on…

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Endnotes:

(i) and (ii) : all charts available free from Astrodienst: http://www.astro.com

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

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950 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2019

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

Pluto cycles, Martin Luther, collective revolution…

Martin Luther has been bugging me for weeks. No, he hasn’t been trending on Twitter. In fact, he has been dead since 1546. So – why my preoccupation now?

Here’s why. Looking round our highly unstable world – at the parlous state of the planet, the rise of China and the East, the malign interference of Russia in other nations’ affairs, the Trump factor, the disastrous incompetence of UK politicians in attempting to carry out our narrow vote to leave the European Union with huge attendant turmoil, the continuing clamour for Scottish Independence – my spinning mind has turned once again to contemplating the big planetary cycles.

I need some detachment, some perspective…

This turmoil feels as though we are undergoing a collective revolution at a number of levels, given how interconnected the world now is –  hence my thoughts turning to Martin Luther, one of history’s great revolutionaries.

As you read this post, Jupiter has recently moved into Sagittarius, with Saturn advancing toward conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn in 2020.… very apt imagery for that defiant, outspoken Scorpio cleric Luther nailing 95 objections to church policy onto a hard church door on All Souls Day 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany.

It is doubtful whether Martin Luther ever physically did this – but there is no doubt that his standing up to the corrupt might of the institutional Catholic Church, the year after Pluto moved into Capricorn in 1516, triggered off the Reformation, a religious revolution that changed the world.

Fast forward to the period 1762-1778, the next time Pluto traversed Capricorn. This saw a great expanse of European colonialism, as well as the American Revolution followed by the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

However, arguably the most far-reaching changes of the period came through Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer James Watt’s improvements to steam engine technology: the primary driver of the Industrial Revolution. This led to the massive expansion in industrial and technological advances which have given us the world we have now.

Two Pluto through Capricorn traverses  – two world revolutions. Going further back in history through Pluto in Capricorn cycles reveals similar patterns of deep upheaval both in terms of our planet and human culture. Astrologer Michele Finey’s recent summary is worth checking out for more detail on this topic.

Pluto moved into Capricorn in 2008, triggering a narrowly-averted meltdown of the world’s precariously balanced financial system. In the last decade he has purged his way relentlessly, exposing the rotten foundations of most worldwide institutional structures, social and political as well as financial: exposing for example the sexual abuse scandals of the Roman Catholic Church. But Pluto in Capricorn is not finished dredging …

According to a recent report by the charity Oxfam,  basing its research on the Forbes rich list and data provided by investment bank Credit Suisse, the world’s eight richest people have same wealth as the poorest 50%…the vast majority of people in the bottom half of the world’s population are facing a daily struggle to survive, with 70% of them living in low-income countries. 

“From Brexit to the success of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, a worrying rise in racism and the widespread disillusionment with mainstream politics, there are increasing signs that more and more people in rich countries are no longer willing to tolerate the status quo,” the report said.

Signs of this unwillingness to tolerate the status quo abound. The recent transit of Jupiter through Scorpio, one of the other significant planetary patterns adding to Pluto in Capricorn’s revolutionary impetus, has seen the worldwide MeToo grassroots anti-abuse movement; young people in the USA in mass protests against school shootings and the gun laws expediting them; and youthful protests worldwide against climate change.

Just recently, the UK’s incomparable David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series, shown world-wide, has graphically presented to all of us the devastating damage being caused to our seas by plastic pollution. We are at last beginning to take collective responsibility for this huge problem.

Humans have had to live through the pain, turmoil and upheaval of revolutionary change since the beginning of time. Why should we 21st Century folk think ourselves exempt? However, as part of the departing baby-boomer generation who will not live to see the shape of the new world order arising, I take great comfort from the increasing bottom-up challenges we are seeing to a world too long managed from the Top Down.

In the midst of our current chaos, the Millennial generation arising, bred on interconnected technologies, is using them to push for a less materially exploitative, more equal world order.

Recently I had the good fortune to meet two dynamic young women friends for coffee: one (about to hit her Saturn Return) returning home to Saudi Arabia. She is intent on using her chemistry PhD to make an impact on the increasing global threat of antibiotic resistance.

The other, a Scottish community activist and parent who has achieved great things locally in bringing children, parents and teachers together outside to enjoy the benefits of spending time in nature. This has involved strenuous bottom-up community efforts, attracting worldwide support as the Children’s Wood campaign grew – thus preventing our local authority from selling off a precious bit of local wild land to developers planning to build expensive housing there.

As a means of containing my own little chip of collective anxiety in the face of this current Pluto in Capricorn revolution, I have taken their Millennial motto to heart:

“ Start where you are, and do what you can…”

How very Capricornian…

Endnotes:

This post is a slightly edited version of my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine  ‘The astro-view from Scotland’  from the January/February 2019 Issue, now out.

1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Endnotes:

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

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

Zodiac

1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018

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

New Moon Eclipse in Cancer…the old order changes…

The only certainty in life is change…Jupiter this week turned direct in Scorpio and is soon to surface from those murky depths, entering his  fiery, adventurous home sign of Sagittarius early in November 2018, just two days after the North Node enters Cancer, thereby ending the Nodes’ eighteen months sojourn in Leo/Aquarius.

This first eclipse of the Cancer/Capricorn polarity, therefore, is an early herald of changing planetary weather as this especially turbulent year begins to wind down from the Midsummer peak. The Web is full of opinion and prediction regarding this Cancer solar eclipse. I have just shared Virginia Bell’s fine reflection on that very topic over on this site’s Facebook Page. 

However, in my usual contrarian style, I feel it’s time to look back a little, at the Leo/Aquarius Nodal journey and an interesting personal tale – told earlier this year – which illustrates its core meaning very vividly. 

‘...Unless you live in a cave far far away – with no wifi – you will have noticed that Jupiter is still in Scorpio, with the Moon’s Nodes travelling retrograde through Leo (North Node) and Aquarius (South Node). It’s time for a story weaving all those symbolic energies together. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

A fascinating conversation recently with a friend about individuality, lineage, and tribe – apt for Leo/Aquarius – evoked a long-buried memory. Many years ago, I took my good friend Emma (not her real name), then recovering from a serious illness,  for a restful holiday to the Hebridean island of my birth. Transport links were poor, we were young and adventurous; hitchhiking to the remote places and beautiful beaches I wanted to show her seemed the best option.

“What you need to remember,” I said to her solemnly as we set out for one of the wild outlying areas on the Atlantic coast where my Macleod ancestors had lived, “ is that I have been away for such a long time that I don’t really know anyone in those parts any more.”

We were soon offered a lift from a man aged around sixty – a total stranger. As we drove through increasingly wild, starkly beautiful countryside towards our destination, after chatting amicably about this and that, he looked quizzically at me and said, head to one side: “ You wouldn’t be any relation of Calum Curlach (Calum of the curly hair) I suppose?”

Startled, I replied “Yes. He was my grandfather.”

Later that day, with rain pouring down and us getting soaked, whilst trudging past some houses on a hillside overlooking a stunning beach wreathed in sea mist, I said to Emma “I’m fed up of this – a cup of tea would be a good idea. Come on, I’m going to knock on the first door to ask if we can come in for shelter till the rain goes off.”

“You can’t do that to complete strangers!” she said.

“Watch me,” was my reply.

She had never experienced the tradition of Celtic hospitality in which I had been raised.

Five minutes later, we were warming ourselves by a peat fire whilst the lady of the house fussed around, making tea and sandwiches. After a few pleasantries had been exchanged, she asked me what I recalled as a very traditional Hebridean question: “Who are your people?”

On finding out that I was Calum Curlach’s granddaughter, she added scones and cream to the sandwiches. We spent the next hour eating, drinking tea and hearing stories about my distant relatives which I had never heard before. Emma sat there listening in open-mouthed amazement.

Heading back to town some hours later, on one of the very infrequent local buses, she remarked with a grin:

“You lied to me! I thought you didn’t know anyone here any more?”

“Well, I don’t, in any personal sense” was my reply. “ I was known today by lineage and by tribe, not for who it is I actually am.”

I added that I did not know whether to be comforted or disconcerted by what had occurred.

Many years later, as an astrologer reflecting on the above events – whose memory was evoked by that recent conversation with the friend who had been recognised in a similar way herself – a realisation dawned. In that strange engagement between my individualistic urban self and the Celtic community into which I had been born and raised, I had encountered the Leo/Aquarius polarity in a very striking form.

Leos – I have the Sun and several planets in Leo, in the twelfth house – need above all things to be recognised and affirmed for their unique individuality. Aquarians, on the other hand, are quite comfortable with an identity shared with whatever the tribe is to which they consider they belong.

I find it quite fascinating that our conversation should have occurred during the present Leo/Aquarius Nodal/eclipse season; also, I am writing this column just after the much-hyped Super Moon lunar eclipse on January 31st – which triggered natal Pluto, ruler of my 29 degrees Scorpio IC/South Node..

Furthermore, checking back in the ephemeris, I found that in the summer in which the experience described had occurred, the North Node was transiting my Scorpio/South Node IC.  As a further thread in the weave of lineage,  I had discovered some years ago that grandfather Calum Curlach’s progressed IC was 29 degrees Scorpio in the year I was born…

Natal Jupiter is in my third house in Scorpio right now. I am currently at the end of one 12-year Jupiter cycle, awaiting the challenging new possibilities for learning and development which the new one will bring, as it will to all of us Jupiter in Scorpio folk.

In keeping with this, I had been thinking a great deal before that conversation about my grandfathers, wonderful old men, who both died during my first Jupiter Return. I was then approaching twelve years of age. Their passing opened me out to an understanding of some deep truths: all human life is finite; love and loss are but two sides of the same coin.

There is a story, too, about my other grandfather. This involves his Victorian rose gold watch chain, and my choice to have it melted down and made into golden crescent earrings and a ring – which I collected just two weeks ago, several Jupiter Returns after he died, during this Leo/Aquarius Nodal season. But that tale is for another day…

Endnotes:

This post first appeared in my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine  ‘The astro-view from Scotland’ in the July/August 2018 Issue.

Zodiac

Zodiac

Zodiac

1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018

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