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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Underworld - Ancient Egypt

In the Underworld, Ancient Egyptian style…

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

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

King Solomon's Mines First Edition

King Solomon’s Mines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venus Rising

Venus Rising

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Endnotes:

This article was most recently published on Astrodienst in 2017

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

and –

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

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2600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014/17/18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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550 words copyright Anne Whitaker/ Denise 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Endnotes:

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

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

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1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Solar Eclipse 9.3.16, Indonesia

Solar Eclipse 9.3.16, Indonesia

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

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

Making sense of eclipses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life changing times

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leo Lunar Eclipse 11-2-17

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

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

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

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

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

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1150 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Born on the cusp? No such thing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

baby-x-uk

baby-x-uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zodiac

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

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

Jupiter in Scorpio: some musings on astrology’s scary delights…

One scary delight of being an astrologer is the opportunity offered to see one’s own transits and progressions shaping up. Opportunities for second guessing the Universe’s intentions are ever present. This can get tiring…

I clearly recall a day in November 1998, the day I realised, as opposed to having merely noted, that Neptune would enter Aquarius at the end of the month – thereby commencing a long series of oppositions to my five twelfth house Leo planets (or six by equal house, take your pick…) which would not complete until Neptune entered Pisces in 2011/2012.

I reacted by doing what I suspect many enlightened people do when offered useful warning of serious upcoming challenges: yelled ‘waaah!!’ to myself, pulled a metaphorical duvet over my head (so far, so Neptunian…) and carried on regardless.

It took from 2001-2008 to recover from the prolonged family crisis and energy burnout which followed. I did not return to work until 2012. However, all clouds do indeed have their silver lining: I wrote two books whilst lying on the sofa with the laptop, caught up on 30 years’reading, and got onto the web in 2008 via my first blog “Writing from the Twelfth House”. I also learned something absolutely essential for persons with an overload of Leo: the world – somehow–  could manage to cope wonderfully well in my absence.

This year 2018 finds me once again in an especially interesting, possibly scary place: progressed ruling planet Mercury at 21 Scorpio, having stationed on natal third house Jupiter at 20 Scorpio, turned retrograde at the end of January. For the rest of my life. It’s proving an interesting Jupiter Return – not yet completed… 

I’ve been trying to approach the whole issue rather more intelligently this time than I did when Neptune was sending a mini tidal wave my way. One of the things which has arisen is an inclination to delve back into that third house Jupiter in Scorpio territory which has been the core landscape of my whole life since very early childhood.

The mystery of where we came from, where we go when we leave this world,  and what the Big Picture may be, has always preoccupied me to a far greater degree than the majority of more sensible people, most of whom prefer to dwell on more concrete and less threatening matters. Grappling with that mystery led me eventually to astrology.

On a recent visit to London, whilst visiting the iconic Watkins bookshop, I chanced upon a deeply thought-provoking book re-appraising that vast territory, the Super Natural (as they title it), by writer Whitley Strieber and professor of religion Jeffrey J. Kripal from which the following quote is taken:

“…The more deeply we plumb the psyche, the deeper the well appears to go. Somewhere down in there, it would appear that there is a place where the line between the physical and nonphysical blurs, where imagination and reality somehow converge, and events unfold that are not yet understood at all. It is the realm of Jeff’s ‘imaginal’, where the electrons of thoughts somehow converge into the molecules of things. But how? The mind knows, but not, perhaps, in ways that it can articulate…(i)…”

It struck me immediately on reading this passage that six thousand year old astrology is the language which has always been available to us for both exploring and articulating the imaginal realm as well as the realm of the practical and the everyday.

I am most grateful, however, to the insights which have arisen from what little I understand of quantum physics. As mentioned in my recent Progressions article in the UK’s Astrological Journal, modern science has demonstrated that we live, move and have our being as part of a vast energy field which dances between order and chaos, in invisible patterns which would appear to hold 4 % matter, 23 % dark matter, and 73 % dark energy together in a vast cosmic web.

With  Mercury by progression stationed retrograde on third house Jupiter in Scorpio, I can feel my mind being drawn back into re-reading and re-evaluating my relationship to myth, religion, symbolism, contemporary science, the Super Natural as termed by Streiber and Kripal, Jungian psychology and of course astrology.

I am grateful to astrological writers and thinkers of the calibre of Bernadette Brady, Armand Diaz, Kieron le Grice, Richard Tarnas, and Phoebe Weiss, to name a few of my own recent favourites, in the help they have provided me in thinking through what I have long seen as complementary lenses: the astrological world view and that of the weirdly paradoxical world revealed by quantum physics.

I want to learn more, in more depth, about the 96% of that vast energy field which science has told us is there – but which the procedures of scientific reductionism, centred on the 4% about which we DO know, seem to be able to tell us very little.

Wish me luck on the journey –  enjoy your own Jupiter in Scorpio plumbing expeditions, and feel free to report back…!

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Endnotes:

(i) Quotation from The Super Natural a new version of the unexplained by Whitley Strieber and Jeffrey J. Kripal: P283, from a chapter called Mythmaking (Whitley Strieber)

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This is a slightly edited version of my 15th Not the Astrology Column featured in the November/December 2017  Issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver.

Zodiac

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

Licensed undeCreative 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.

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1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018

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