Tag Archives: Astrology

Some thoughts on predicting the future…should we do it? Can we (with reliable accuracy)?

A large majority of astrologers predicted a Hillary Clinton win in the 2016 USA election. She DID win the popular vote, by a majority of 1.4 million according to the most recent reliable estimates. But Trump secured the Presidency, thanks to the Electoral College results. So – were the astrologers’ predictions of a Clinton win right, or were they wrong? 

Mulling over this conundrum, I thought it might be of interest to repost an article I wrote some years ago on the topic of prediction. Let me know what YOU think!

Mediaeval Stargazers

Mediaeval Stargazers

The question of whether it is possible to foretell the future is one which has preoccupied humans ever since we evolved into self-conscious beings and began to conceptualise past, present, and future — now thought to be around 80,000 years ago. Prediction has been around for a long time. Economists do it. Weather forecasters do it. Politicians do it. Physicists do it. Futurologists do it.

Most of the foregoing predictors direct scorn and derision at the people who have done it for longer than anyone else: astrologers.

There is several thousand years’ worth of recorded empirical evidence — much of it stored on clay tablets, as yet undeciphered, in the basements of museums across the world — demonstrating that the movements of  the planets in our solar system correlate with particular shifts in “the affairs of men” (Shakespeare’s term, not mine!).

This empirical observation continues into the present day in the consulting rooms of astrologers across the world. For example, a number of politicians and economists consult astrologers regularly. They are mostly unwilling to admit it, though we astrologers know who they are!

What we can, and cannot, do

Both astrologers and astronomers, via planetary observation, can look at and correctly plot the unfolding pattern of energies through space-time. After that, astrologers step into a different realm than that of observation of the external, material, planetary world. By looking at a section of any points or moments of the past, present, or future via a horoscope, they can examine the essence of that moment in terms of its meaning, and speculate with moderate accuracy about what some of the branches manifesting in the wider world, or in individuals’ lives, may be.

What they can’t do is to see exactly, and with consistency, how those branches are going to manifest. Historically, our track record on hindsight is much better than it is on foresight!

There have been some spectacularly accurate predictions made by astrologers in the public realm over the centuries; a famous one was made by Luc Gauricus in 1555 to the effect that King Henry II of France (then aged thirty-seven) was in danger of death in his forty-second year, by a head injury incurred in single combat in an enclosed space. And five years later Henry duly died of a lance splinter which entered his eyes and pierced his brain.

There have also been some spectacular failures, e.g., to predict that the Munich agreement of 1938 would lead to World War II.

A new model slowly emerging

We do much better at describing the essence of a pattern, but identifying the exact branches is much more hit and miss. Personally this cheers me, since it appears to suggest a creative balance between fate and free will in the universe; chaos theory in contemporary physics also has strong parallels with the astrological paradigm. Both the language of astrology and the language of quantum physics tells us that not everything  is pinned down.

Indeed, a view and a model are slowly emerging, despite considerable resistance from the diehard defenders of reductionism, which can demonstrate convincingly that the lenses of astrology and quantum physics are focusing on the same underlying, all encompassing Reality.

The perspectives offered by contemporary writers, astrologers, depth psychologists, and scientists, such as Richard Tarnas, Liz Greene, the late Charles Harvey, Stanislav Grof, Brian Swimme, Rupert Sheldrake, and others — including recent books by astrologers Armand Diaz, Kieron Le Grice and Bernadette Brady — have been of inestimable value to me. I urge any readers of this blog who are keen to expand their own perspectives to explore their work.

Consciousness holds the key

My view, based on my personal experiences and those of clients and students over 30 years, as well as extensive reading and study, is that the key dimension in determining how a particular planetary pattern will play out in a person’s life is the level of consciousness at which they are operating at the time the inevitable challenges of life come their way.

Most astrologers have had the humbling experience of looking at the horoscope of a client which looks so difficult that the impending consultation feels very stressful, but upon encountering the client, they meet someone who has faced, dealt with, and grown through hard experiences that would have flattened a less aware person. We can never predict the level of awareness of a client we have never met, although we can have a pretty good idea that, e.g., Mars conjunct Saturn conjunct Pluto square the Moon is going to be no walk in the park.

I am personally very hesitant about both the accuracy and the wisdom of predicting at all, especially for individuals, in any more than a “describing the core and speculating about the branches” kind of way. Predicting that a specific branch will manifest may well close down possibilities rather than open them up, which also takes us into the realm of self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, when Uranus was about to cross my Pisces Descendant in 2005, beginning its seven or so years’ traverse of my 7th house, I became concerned about what this might mean for my marriage. The rather problematic implications of Uranus’ impact on the relationship realm that practising astrologers see every day in their students’ and clients’ lives, as well as their own, worried me.

However, a profound, totally unexpected spiritual experience on my husband’s part linked both our spiritual journeys into walking the same path at the same time. This has had a supportive, deepening effect on our marriage and not one I could possibly have envisaged before Uranus crossed my Descendant.

My personal prediction story

Having just made what I hope is a coherent case for specific prediction being a practice of dubious merit and only intermittent accuracy, here is my own striking experience of being on the receiving end of a specific prediction I never asked for, at a time when I was a typical astrology dismisser, i.e, I considered that astrology was rubbish without ever having taken the trouble to study it.

Bath, Somerset, England, June 1974: I was engrossed in the Sunday evening chore of doing washing in the launderette on the London Road, near where I lived. It was a liminal time in my life. After having resigned from a lecturing job, I was preparing to leave Bath. A return to the Outer Hebrides was imminent.

A strange looking couple came in, accompanied by a little girl of about five years old. The woman was tall, slender, with long dark hair, a very scruffy Afghan coat, and a distinct look of Cher (of Sonny and Cher fame). The man was smaller than her, slight, with unruly greying hair and a mischievous face.

I carried on with my laundry. The little girl was chatty; soon, she was putting money into the dryer for me, I was telling her stories, and we had become great friends. I met her parents. They were both artists and astrologers. (note:“Seamus” and “Gloria” are fictitious names.)

“Not the kind who do that stuff you see in the papers,” said Seamus scornfully, having noted the fleeting look of disdain which crossed my face at the mention of the word astrology. (I had given one of my mature students a very hard time a couple of years before for her public devotion to what seemed to me a subject unworthy of someone of her intelligence.) Seamus said, “We are the real thing.”

Twenty minutes later, I was sitting in their cramped basement kitchen, drinking tea, and being charmed by Seamus. His combination of erudition, intensity, conviction, humour, and blarney was irresistible.

An unsuspecting client . . .

“Do you know your birth time?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied. “Why are you interested in that?”
“Because I am going to draw up your horoscope”, he replied. Whether I wanted such a procedure embarked upon or not was of no consequence to him. So slain was I by his charm that I didn’t offer any resistance.

As I watched, interested in spite of myself, Gloria and Seamus assembled a hefty tome, a slim pamphlet, blank sheets of paper, a calculator, a fountain pen, and a newly sharpened pencil. The tome was an ephemeris, they informed me —  a list of the planets’ placements everyday at noon for the whole of the 20th century.

Seamus took a blank sheet, carefully drawing a circle freehand in its centre. He then proceeded with great rapidity and fluency to insert squiggles — “Planets!” — and numbers around the inner edge of the circle. He then drew lines within a smaller inner circle — “Aspects, or links between the planets at the time you were born.” He and Gloria then sat back, gazing with silent preoccupation at the image they had created.

Anne W's Horoscope - drawn by hand!

Anne W’s Horoscope

I can still recall very, very clearly what followed.

Seamus, looking at his drawing and only briefly at me, gave an astonishingly accurate description of my father’s complex, domineering, idiosyncratic and wayward character. That was bad enough, not least because it reminded me of certain aspects of myself! Worse was to follow.

“You are a person rich with creative gifts,” he said. “But you need to know and face more clearly the more difficult facets of your own nature. It’s time to do that, since you are approaching 30 and your Saturn Return.” With that, he forensically summed up those parts of myself which I knew were there, but had tried very hard to avoid facing or admitting to anyone — a very common and human failing that Saturn transits expose and challenge on a cyclic basis throughout our lives. I was feeling by this time as though I’d been hit on the side of the head with a sock full of sand.

Then, with true rhetorical skill, he delivered the punch line. “You tell me you are a total sceptic now,” he said. “But stop fooling yourself. You have a deeply spiritual nature, which needs to find meaning and connection with something greater than yourself. Until you manage that, you will be driven by the same restlessness that still drives your father, and you will not find inner peace.”

There was a long pause.

“And I can see, from where the planets will be in about seven years’ time, that the Big Picture is going to come seriously calling at your door. In your early thirties, you’re going to end up either doing what I’m doing now, or something very like it.”

I was utterly shocked. I had known those people for less than an hour, most of which had been spent walking back from the launderette to their flat and organising cups of tea. They knew nothing about me of any significance. How could they produce such specific and accurate material from marks on a piece of paper? I couldn’t even begin to get my head round the prediction. It seemed beyond absurd.

Slowly, I carried my laundry home. There was no way I could find to make sense of the experience I had just had. There was no file inside my head into which it could fit.

Seven years later

Seven years later, a friend gave me a copy of Alan Oken’s ‘Complete Astrology’. I had no idea why, but had enough respect for that friend and his opinions to begin reading. About three pages in, I had the strangest sensation of someone pulling me into the book, saying “Come here, you’re for me…” I still have this battered old copy with my signature on it — February 1981.

And my transits at the time? The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Libra exactly conjunct natal 2nd-house Neptune and exactly sextile natal 11th-house Mercury (my ruling planet); Uranus crossing the natal IC; Neptune beginning a long opposition to the natal 10th-house Uranus-Mars conjunction, and trine to the natal 12th-house Sun; Pluto trine natal Uranus and sextile natal Sun; North Node conjunct natal Mercury. A summons, pretty much . . .

In February 1981, that prediction, (which I had never quite forgotten), and the feeling of fascination, compulsion, and exhilaration which Alan Oken’s book triggered in me came together in a way that has profoundly shaped the whole of my subsequent life.

Concluding thoughts

It’s good for us all — especially people like me, with seven planets in fixed signs! — to get jolted out of our positions now and then by experiences that don’t fit our frames of reference. Hopefully, the jolt will have the effect of breaking down some of our old defences and letting new experience and new knowledge enter our lives.

I re-interpreted Seamus’ prediction in the light of my own subsequent astrological knowledge; it was pretty obvious by then how he had got there, as was the timing of it.

I still think about the encounter with him, his child, and partner over 40 years later. Did his prediction, at some subliminal level, point my life in a direction that it would not otherwise have gone? I will never know. But I do know, as a result of our encounter, that whatever my reservations are about the wisdom of offering such specific outcomes to people, astrologers sometimes have the power to do just that.

Whether they should do it is another issue altogether!

Astrology Consultation

Postscript:

Yesterday, I read a most interesting editorial by Edward Snow, on the excellent Astrology News Service, which had this concluding comment from astrologer Armand Diaz which I thought I’d share, since it illustrates my own belief:

“As an astrologer, I often think of the story of King Croesus, who asked the oracle at Delphi if he should attack Persia. ‘If you do,’ the priestess replied, speaking for the god Apollo, ‘a great kingdom will fall.’

“Enthused, Croesus attacked, and indeed a great kingdom fell – his own. I take that story as a reminder that there is always something mysterious and unknowable, a trickster’s play, running through the Cosmos,” Diaz said.

Amen to that…

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Endnotes

An earlier  version of this article was posted on The Mountain Astrologer blog on 28.8.2013

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2,500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016/2018
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

Jupiter enters Sagittarius, a new cycle begins…

Just published on www.astro.com,

via https://infinityastrologicalmagazine.com/

Feeling restless, dissatisfied, antsy, looking for a new goal, ready for a new adventure? If so, it could be that you are beginning an 11/12 year phase which kicked off the last time Jupiter was in Sagittarius from November 2006 to December 2007. If you are around 23/4 years old, or 35/6, or 47/8, or 59/60, or 71/2, or 83/4 – it’s you I am talking about. You were born with Jupiter in Sagittarius, Jupiter is back in that fiery, restless, optimistic sign this November 2018 – and you need a big new challenge!

Jupiter:Sagittarius

Jupiter/Sagittarius

 

To read the rest of this article, click HERE

 

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100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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

 

 

 

 

Scorpio’s season, Hallowe’een, Dark Matter…

Strange things delight me – for that I blame Jupiter in Scorpio (mainly…). The other morning, I sat bolt upright in bed, almost spilling my tea, on hearing this: Hallowe’en is to be celebrated as Dark Matter Day. Such startling information triggered a whole stream of thoughts and reactions, so strongly that I have had to emerge briefly from my third house retro Venus in Scorpio retreat in order to share them.

Dark Matter etc

But where to start? Perhaps with Dark Matter, for those of you for whom the term is as yet unfamiliar. Here is one definition:

Dark matter is a huge part of the Universe that scientists’ calculations tell us exists, but that has never been observed. Yet, together with dark energy, scientists believe it makes up 95 percent of the total universe. What we can see, and the matter that scientists can account for is just five percent of the Universe, the rest is a mystery. (i)

Please pay great attention to that last sentence. Science can offer an explanation for just 5% of the Universe…the rest ie 23% dark matter and 72% dark energy, is a mystery. This being the case by modern science’s own admission, I have been at a loss for decades to understand why by and large most scientists operate on the reductionist principle loudly and vehemently declaimed by the likes of the UK’s Professors Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox – that if it can’t be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, touched or proved through the application of the procedures of contemporary science then it simply does not exist.

Non-existence, reductionist science style

Here are just a few examples of the ‘it’ that does not exist or is of no credible value:

all types of paranormal experience eg precognitive dreams, telepathy, premonitions, mediumship, seeing ghosts, mystical experience – well documented by a vast range of people and cultures throughout the world for millennia

the myths of all cultures throughout the ages – (the modern definition of a myth is ‘an untrue story’ ) – which through their symbolic stories have offered guidance to humans re how best to navigate the complexities inherent in every facet of life

all religions, which no-one would deny have considerable flaws and deficiencies but which have at least tried to address the unquantifiable facets of human experience and offer us teachings through which we might ‘do as you would be done by’

the great symbolic arts, for example astrology, the i ching, palmistry, and the tarot, which have evolved over lengthy time periods for the guidance of us fallible humans as we try to make our way – all of which especially astrology have largely been dismissed as rubbish by scientists who have never taken the trouble to study in any depth that which they are only too happy to condemn.

It should be obvious to any reasonably sentient, rational person that a stance of ignorant dismissal of whole bodies of knowledge which have been embedded in human culture from the outset does not and should not command any respect whatsoever. I can imagine what Prof Dawkins would say, were anyone to dismiss the whole of physics from a standpoint of wilful ignorance…

Ooops! Must not fall into ranting…I can feel one coming on…so…

Where do I stand on the science v religion/symbolism issue?

I am in total awe of the magnificent achievements of science since the rise of the Age of  Reason around the middle of the 17th Century, and have been an avid reader of popular science books since my teens in a long attempt to understand the complexities thereof, especially those of quantum physics which have gradually revealed to us a Universe at an energetic level which is paradoxical, deeply strange, and only partly predictable.

I have also read widely and thought deeply – as well as practising – within those dimensions of life I have just listed which modern science largely dismisses as invalid and not worth taking seriously.

However, a view and a model are slowly emerging, despite considerable resistance from the diehard defenders of reductionism, which can demonstrate convincingly that the lenses of eg astrology and quantum physics are focusing on the same all encompassing energy field which generates our tiny existence on planet Earth.

Astrology maps this energy field in space/time through the movements of the planets in our solar system, a rational measuring process which is also conducted by mariners and astronomers. However, it goes much further than those disciplines, by ascribing symbolic meaning to those planetary movements based on observations over millennia of the correspondences between life on Earth and the movements of the planets in their orbits.

My personal view is that both the scientific and the symbolic arts have their complementary roles to play in exploring and explicating the fundamental mystery of why we are here, and what we should do about it.  We need all the help we can get, after all, and should be pooling our collective human knowledge for the benefit of us all. As the atomic physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer so wisely put it :

These two ways of thinking, the ways of time and history and the way of eternity and timelessness, are both part of man’s efforts to comprehend the world in which he lives. Neither is comprehended in the other or reducible to it. They are, as we have learned to say in physics, complementary views, each supplementing the other, neither telling the whole story. (ii)

Dark Matter meets Hallowe’en in the 95% field

Given the kind of prejudices I have been describing from a profoundly dominant and influential group of people, ie the scientific community, at first I was pretty annoyed to see that the 31st October, ie Hallowe’en, had been designated as Dark Matter Day, especially as its first event last year had been billed in some quarters as First Ever Dark Matter Day in Hallowe’en Takeover. The inference in this headline is pretty clear: the choice of day represents an attempt by the scientific community yet again to attack and dismiss what they see as mere superstition which has no place in the contemporary world.

However, on reflection, I realised that the scientific community could have unwittingly created a bridge between the two worlds of the non-rational and the rational by holding Dark Matter Day on Hallowe’en.

When I first came across the compelling notion of the division of the Universe’s energy, as far as science can ascertain, into 5% matter and the rest dark matter and dark energy, my immediate thought was this: ‘Wow, so we only have direct access to a thin slice of  Reality…then what goes on in the 95% we know is there but can’t as yet access via the methodologies of reductionist science?’

On further reflection,  maybe the 5% could represent our conscious, practical  relationship with the familiar world. Dark energy might be what Jung called the collective unconscious, home to those archetypal patterns shaping our myths, religious beliefs and cultural values as well as what we broadly call the realm of the paranormal. And – dark matter could represent individuals’ personal unconscious, the liminal territory which acts as a filter through which images of all kinds from the collective unconscious make their way to the light of day, ie to the 5% that science can explain.

Thus the 95% dark matter/dark energy ‘field’ could be the non-rational dimension which is rich in creative energy of all kinds, energy giving rise (in partnership of course with the rational dimension of life represented by the 5%) to eg great art and music, and also to those unquantifiable but essential attributes which represent the best of humanity eg love, compassion, humour and kindness.

But, as we all know only too well from our collective and individual lives, there is a very dark shadow side to this non-rational dimension, one of whose manifestations is fear of the unknown, especially death.This has given rise rise historically to all kinds of superstitious beliefs and practices designed to ward off evil spirits and placate threatening supernatural beings – territory which is commemorated and engaged with each year in the shape of Hallowe’en.

We need constructive outlets for those dark fears and impulses, and Hallowe’en provides just that. I find it most interesting that, far from our reductionist-dominated culture stamping out all forms of irrationality, cultural practices such as Hallowe’en have become more mainstream in recent years.

Thinking about this calls to mind a brilliant  – and brave – book written by the well-known UK journalist Bryan Appleyard, who risked all kinds of opprobrium by exhaustively researching and writing about Aliens and the UFO phenomenon, setting the whole thing in a long historical context. His eventual conclusion, simply put, was this: if aliens didn’t exist (and he remains personally agnostic on the topic despite extensive research) the human mind, needing irrationality to maintain some sort of balance, is such that it would need to invent them…

So, scientists, you have I think made the right decision in aligning your Dark Matter Day with Hallowe’en – although probably not for the reasons you had in mind!

And– First Ever Dark Matter Day in Hallowe’en Takeover – it could ONLY happen in Scorpio’s season…

Endnotes:

(i) from the Web on 1st November 2017 in an article entitled First Ever Dark Matter Day in Hallowe’en Takeover, which also has some interesting follow-on links if you wish to research this fascinating area further.

(ii) Stuart Holroyd ‘The Arkana Dictionary of New Perspectives’ published by Arkana (Penguin Books Ltd) 1989, p154, quoting from Lawrence LeShan’s book ‘The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist’

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1600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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

 

All Scorpios: look away now!

Having just emerged almost brain dead but triumphant from a serious bout of deadline-itis, I am finding that the remaining braincell is rebelling at my attempts to cudgel some new inspiration therefrom. So, just to reassure my readers that I haven’t resigned from regular blog posting whilst I take a couple of weeks’ break, here is something which should amuse most of you – even the Scorpios.

This is my favourite astrology cartoon. It’s a reminder to us all, astrologers or not, that we should not take ourselves TOO seriously…

Feel free to share your own favourite astro-jokes / cartoons. We all need a laugh these days…

This lugubrious chap clutching a newspaper is staring at his television which is saying: ”The practice of astrology took a major step toward achieving credibility today when, as predicted, everyone born under the sign of Scorpio was run over by an egg truck”.

Now, before any thin-skinned Scorpios leave me annoyed comments, I hasten to add that you are free to assign any sign you like to the above unfortunate fate. I’m a Leo…the egg truck awaits…

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200 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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

 

Anne, how do you feel Astrology is best learned?

Whilst my head is down getting three columns done by the end of this month ( aaargh!) , I thought I’d repost some of my thoughts on how astrology is best learned, inspired by astrologer Fernanda Paiva’s thoughtful recent post Saturnian Sobriety:

Thanks once more to Judith Burke for her searching question, and please feel free to post your own thoughts.

“Anne, how do you feel Astrology is best learned? Through books, lectures, classes, or ?”

Talking astrology, mediaeval style!

Learning astrology, mediaeval style!

I received this message from Judith on this blog’s Facebook Page several days ago, replying to say I’d deal with it when I had time. But it’s a good, BIG question, more deserving of a thought-out answer than merely via a Facebook comment. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought; there are dozens of ways to respond!

My astrological colleagues will have their own way of replying – I’d be happy to hear their views, and those of current students or folk who are thinking about studying. I spent a happy half hour with one such person on Thursday 30th November 2017, responding to his question about Mercury Retrograde. His fascination with the whole subject was a joy to be around…

In the meantime, here are my thoughts…

My husband Ian, who in his earlier life was a professional actor, once asked a seasoned professional what it took to be a serious member of the profession. The older man replied rather grandly : ” My boy, all you need to be an actor is three boards – and passion…”

Passion

So let’s start with the passion.

Picture this scene. There I am, sitting at a cramped old desk in the bedroom of our new house, having just moved, acquired a husband (not ever part of my life plan, by the way!) a half share in his two children, his elderly cat, and his ex wife who at that time lived round the corner from us. Oh yes, and having just changed  jobs.

In front of me is an astrology text book: Margaret Hone’s Modern Text Book of Astrology (most recent imprint 1954 or thereabouts). I am already scared stiff by Margaret, although I have never met her. I am at Chapter Six: Computation. It’s a struggle to understand the maths, never my strong point to put it mildly.

There are mascara stains half way down the page. Mine. “I’ll never ever get this!” I wail to the new husband, who is looking bemused. Less than a year later, having sat a whole week of exams in May 1983, I discover that I have gained my Certificate of the UK’s Faculty of Astrological Studies – with a Distinction in the Calculation paper.

That’s where passion, allied with her much less glamorous but more useful sister persistence, can get you. So that’s where you start, if you really want seriously to engage with the art of astrology. You need to be passionately attracted to those seductive, mysterious, elusive symbols whose sliver of meaningful light cast on your life – very often, first of all,  through the Sun Signs – compels you to engage with a landscape whose depth and richness becomes increasingly evident the further you venture within.

Finding the way 

It’s fascinating to find out how well-known astrologers found their way: HERE are some of their stories, including my own, which is set in a launderette in Bath, Somerset, England; a very long time ago. Then, I thought ( based on the usual total ignorance of the subject) that astrology was a load of old rubbish. How wrong could a person be…

People vary greatly in how they arrive at a reasonable degree of competence and fluency in interpreting astrological charts. This is where persistence and discipline come in. Without those, you are going to remain on the margins: a dilettante, “into” astrology but with no real grasp of the subject. That’s fine, if that’s where you wish to remain. But you won’t get to the heart of the subject without persistent application.

I think my own pattern was fairly typical. First, I had an unexpected encounter with astrologers the accuracy of whose reading of my horoscope stunned me. It came at a time when I was seriously questioning what my life was FOR – and whether life itself was intrinsically meaningful, or not. If strangers could describe my inner world and external life patterns so accurately, I thought, that certainly suggested the likelihood of something meaningful going on in the grand scale ….but the challenge provided to my agnostic resistance wasn’t at that point ripe enough to propel me into exploratory action.

Then seven years later, a friend thrust Alan Oken’s The Horoscope, the Road and its Travellers into my hand saying “I think you should read this.” In order not to offend him, I did, and was instantly compelled to begin studying first of all symbols, planets, signs, houses, aspects. I still have that old, battered notebook with all my handwritten notes in it – and the book with my name in it “Anne Whitaker 1981”.

Next, feeling lonely as a self-directed solo student, I decided to attend a local astrology group.Great,” I thought. “At least here I can get away from everyone who knows me but doesn’t know I’m interested in this weirdo stuff…”

“Hello, Anne, fancy meeting you here!” said the woman collecting entrance fees. It was a colleague from psychiatric social work. My cover was blown from day one. Attending the group led me to joining a class run by Carole Wilson (are you reading this, Carole?!) who held the Diploma from the Faculty of Astrological Studies.After that I just told people I was studying astrology, eliciting the usual mixture of responses from the incredulous to the dismissive, with a very liberal dollop of ” Wow, great – can you do my chart?”

Taking it further

Saying “Yes” and embarking on short, limited chart readings  very quickly revealed two things. One, that I too could study marks on pieces of paper and feed back accurate information to their owners. Two, that there was a great deal of power, and responsibility for using it, vested in the process of reading horoscopes and the person who took on that task. Feeling committed but daunted, needing some consistent high-quality teaching to take me on from Carole’s excellent introductory class, I signed up as a  Faculty of Astrological Studies correspondence student and in due course obtained my Certificate.

But you never can get to the end of  astrological knowledge: it’s too wide, and too deep. I was to further my studies much later on, at the Centre for Psychological Astrology,  by commuting by plane from Glasgow to London from 1995-1998 to complete a three-year Diploma in Psychological Astrology with renowned teacher writer and astrologer Dr Liz Greene and the late great mundane astrologer, teacher and writer Charles Harvey.

I consider myself most fortunate to have spent most of my twenties as a college lecturer, and most of my thirties as a generic and psychiatric social worker and counsellor, since both those strands wove into and greatly supported my work as an astrologer. I was also used to having my professional work supervised: thus, when I went freelance with writing, teaching, counselling and the practice of astrology – on the first Saturn square after my Saturn Return – it was a natural step for me to set up regular supervision for my astrological work.

So – returning to Judith’s question by way of conclusion: Judith, as you can see from this post, you answered your own question in the way you posed it!

Passionate interest, for whatever reason, kicks the whole thing off. Then it’s as you say: books, lectures, classes … and preferably some disciplined study with a reputable, recommended school, leading to a qualification which is recognised in the astrological world – that’s if you wish to establish some credibility as a practitioner and teacher.

There is a great deal more to be said on this topic, including the fact that many well-respected astrologers have no formal qualifications. You can find some of what I have previously discussed HERE if you want some food for thought regarding the professional and ethical dimensions of being an astrologer. I’d like to put on record here my appreciation of the work of the late, great master astrologer Donna Cunningham, who as you will see features very much in the first post in the series you will find by going through the above link.

Enjoy the browse – and many thanks, Judith, for inspiring this post!.


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1400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017/18

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…

Zodiac

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.

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