Tag Archives: Astrology

Neptune, poetry, and August’s melancholy…

I have always loved August, that month where a particular coolness in the morning air on stepping out, a papery rustle tingeing the wind blowing through the trees, intimates that Summer is losing its hold upon the year, that Autumn is ascending…sensing this brings on a very particular mood, a mood dominated by the atmosphere of Neptune, that most poignant, sensitive and poetic of energies.

Step with me for a moment into Neptune’s world…

August is my birth month. There is a poised melancholy about it which fits my temperament well. From a very young age I have been very aware of the transience of Life: for all its challenge, turmoil, joy, grief and seemingly endless possibility, its manifold excitements, loves and pleasures, it is soon gone: a frail leaf drifting down to the river of Time which carries everything mortal to the great Universal Sea.

Whilst in a pleasingly melancholy August mood today, I dipped into a favourite inspirational book and found this gem, which I thought I’d share, from Katherine Mansfield…

Death of a Rose…

“…It is a sensation that can never be forgotten, to sit in solitude, in semi-darkness, and to watch the slow, sweet, shadowful death of a Rose.

Oh, to see the perfection of the perfumed petals being changed ever so slightly, as though a thin flame had kissed each with hot breath, and where the wounds bled the colour is savagely intense . . . I have before me such a Rose, in a thin, clear glass, and behind it a little spray of scarlet leaves. Yesterday it was beautiful with a certain serene, tearful, virginal beauty, it was strong and wholesome, and the scent was fresh and invigorating.

To-day it is heavy and languid . . . So now it dies . . . And I listen . . . for under each petal fold there lies the ghost of a dead melody, as frail and as full a as a ray of light upon a shadowed pool. Oh divine sweet Rose. Oh, exotic and elusive and deliciously vague Death..”.(i)

______

Endnotes

(i)  Katherine Mansfield: The Death of a Rose (from The Virago Book of Spirituality, Edited by Sarah Anderson, published 1996,  p276 )

photo: Anne Whitaker

400 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Do you do Moondark? Maybe you should…

The web is full of articles about the upcoming Leo New Moon. New Moons always attract our attention,which indeed they merit. However – the Balsamic lunar phase, where we are now, does not attract nearly as much upfront focus. It should, in my view…and I am not alone here! 

The Sun/Moon Month

The Sun/Moon Month

That fine, poetic astrological writer Dana Gerhardt has this to say: ‘As the final phase in the lunation cycle, the Balsamic Moon is the monthly “sleep time”. During the three to four days of this phase, vitality and spirit are replenished, fueling your start at the next New Moon….if you could observe just one Moon phase per cycle, this should be the one… ‘ (my emphasis)

Our increasingly frenetic 24/7 culture, revved up in recent years as it has been by the arrival and increasing dominance of social media, does not encourage us to build a few days of rest and recovery into each month. Can you imagine the average boss’s reaction to the statement “I’m having retreat time now. It’s Moondark. Bye!!”  And yet: we all know what happens if we run ourselves too hard without adequate rest, for too long. For some of us – and I speak from hard personal experience here, folks! – the price can be very high.

So – what is this Balsamic lunar phase, and what is Moondark? Why should we pay it attention? As can be seen from the above image, there are eight key phases in the monthly lunar cycle, flowing from the New to the Balsamic Moon. A good summary of each and what they mean can be found HERE.

The Balsamic lunar phase begins with the waning Sun/Moon semi-square. The Moon is a slim Crescent, forty-five degrees behind the Sun –  that beautiful, fragile, slender waning crescent moon which we may see each month if the skies are clear. Then it disappears. We are in Moondark now, the latter part of the Balsamic phase, the last couple of days of the dying energy of the previous month’s Cancer New Moon.

waning crescent Moon

waning crescent Moon

My aim in this short post is to give you a flavour of three key facets pertaining to the Balsamic phase, and Moondark in particular. Hopefully that will stimulate you enough to do your own reflection/research. Those facets are:  the Balsamic phase of each monthly lunar cycle throughout the year; those people born on the Balsamic Moon; and the thirty-year progressed Sun/Moon cycle, where the final, Balsamic phase lasts 3-4 years.

The Monthly cycle – Balsamic phase

Having been born in the Balsamic phase, in Moondark just before a Leo New Moon, I have long been aware of the few days before any New Moon as a special time, a contemplative time: a time to take stock both collectively and personally. Those of us who wish and need to retreat regularly to preserve our balance and well-being tend to be regarded as odd by mainstream society, where ‘time out’ is increasingly hard to find, and is not supported by the culture as a whole.

But humans have always benefited from times of quiet contemplation, in whatever way suits them best: listening to music, doing yoga/meditation, praying to whatever Higher Power sustains them, making or contemplating art, walking in Nature –especially by the sea, that great universal symbol of dissolution and emergence.

Even half an hour a day of retreat time on a regular basis is nourishing for the spirit. In ancient times, women used to retreat together monthly during menstruation time which was seen as a period of potency, and hidden power – a liminal time to link through dreams and ritual to worlds unseen.

It would be good if individually we could get into the habit of using the Balsamic moon time to find some retreat space in whatever way suited us. I certainly find myself feeling more ‘scratchy’ and irritable than usual during Balsamic times, if Life demands that I put myself under more pressure than my spirit wants or needs. It would be interesting to know if other folk feel like this too, at the end of the lunar cycle, before New Moon energy comes in and takes form.

Born on the Balsamic Moon

I have found both from my own life and the lives of clients and students with whom I have worked over the years, that being born in the Balsamic moon phase, and especially during Moondark, the very end of the old cycle, brings with it a contemplative nature, an ‘inner’ orientation, a need to give oneself more space and retreat than most people seem to need. Whilst doing some reading around this topic today, I found this quote which certainly spoke to me, and which may speak to some of you who were born in the Balsamic phase:

‘…This time is essentially one of transition, a chance to contemplate what has passed, tie up loose ends, journey inwards, and prepare for new beginnings ahead.  You have inherited the meditative and introspective characteristics of this phase and yours is a dreamy, contemplative personality. Intuitive and far-sighted, you have innate wisdom and a mystical understanding of the workings of Mother Nature and of the human condition.  For you, activity is spiritual and intellectual rather than physical.  Your experiences involve endings and passings, so you are likely to live through many changes.  Later life, rather than the earlier years, holds the key to your happiness and success...’

TransAngeles – thanks for this sensitive and perceptive comment!

The 30-year Progressed Sun/Moon cycle

I use this cycle as a very helpful guide to the stage of their life phase clients are in when they come for a consultation. When a cycle is coming to an end, when the 3-4 year Balsamic period of life is upon us, then the wisest course to take is that of stepping back, turning inwards, taking stock…and waiting – until the Progressed New Moon arrives, and forward motion, the gradual taking shape of a new life phase, gradually begins. Just as farmers do not plant new crops in winter, so we are wise not to begin a new project during the Balsamic moon phase or its end phase, Moondark.

Here is Dana Gerhardt again, with her words of wisdom:

“When will it end?” is everybody’s first question on learning they’ve entered a progressed Balsamic phase. No matter how colorfully I paint its virtues, they peer beyond to a bleaker landscape, to a three-to-four-year sentence of all loss and no gain. I can see it in their eyes…. I tell them this is the richest spiritual time. I tell them when my own progressed Balsamic phase was over, I had nostalgia for it. I cheer: “You will too!” But it’s a tough sell….”

I would certainly endorse this from my own experience of beginning a new journey when I was approaching the end of a whole 30-year cycle. The result was a long period of enforced retreat until the Progressed New Moon told me it was time to emerge and begin again. It was an enriching and deepening time. But very tough whilst it was happening. I should have taken astrology’s advice, not that of my own ego!

There is a great deal more to be said about this fascinating and important life phase which lies behind the New Moon. I do hope this short post piques your interest sufficiently to devote more attention to it in future!

Zodiac

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

1250 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

 

 

 

 

 

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 2017

Mars opposes Pluto: feeling the burn…

Well, are you feeling it? I certainly am. 

My 10th House Mars return took place just after Mars entered Cancer on 5th June 2017, a few days after the most recent terrorist atrocity in London on 3rd June, and not long before the appalling fire disaster at Grenfell Tower in London on 14th June 2017. As I write, Mercury at 18 degrees Cancer  is exactly opposite Pluto at 18 degrees Capricorn. Mars opposes Pluto on Sunday 2nd July 2017.

I don’t know about you, but as I contemplate the UK’s Moon at 19 degrees of Cancer in the nation’s 10th House about to be exactly opposed by transiting Pluto through the UK’s 4th house, I am anticipating more burning, of a literal or a metaphorical kind, not just in the UK or the USA, but in other parts of the world. The Mars/Pluto combination is not called the War Monger for nothing…

A mood of public anger has been very evident in the UK recently and is growing, as Mercury, Mars and lastly the Sun travel through Cancer, amplified by Jupiter squaring them all in the middle degrees of Libra – and by the upcoming full moon on 9th July 2017 at 17 degrees Capricorn. Anger re our recent shambolic general election, terrorist attacks, and that terrible fire disaster, are the most recent flashpoints for UK citizens’ rage.

Crumbling institutions’ incapacity to meet the needs of the communities they are supposed to be serving is not just a local but a worldwide problem. How must many of our USA friends be feeling, for example, regarding the prospect of having their healthcare removed? Just have a look at Facebook and Twitter and you will find out.

I have been sharing in this public mood: not normally given to ranting about the state of the world in general or our national politics in particular, in recent days I have been doing just that. No doubt having been in London on the weekend of the most recent terror attack there has helped to wind up my anger.

But the other morning’s local news tipped me over into taking that anger onto Facebook, something I do not usually do. Some of you will know of our local successful Children’s Wood’s campaign –with international support, thanks! – to keep developers off one of the last bits of wild land in the city, well used by all sectors of our community including 22 local schools. That morning I found out that a local well-loved and well-used Scout Hall in Kelvindale near where we live is to be cleared at the end of the summer, along with tree-rich land next to it, to make way for developers.The community is fighting this. Good for them!!

childrens-wood-protest-1

childrens-wood-protest-1

photo: Anne Whitaker

Pluto’s long transit of Capricorn from 2008-2024, aided by revolutionary Uranus in hot-tempered Aries,  is slowly doing its work of battering on the doors of all established structures and taking them down.  No wonder we are all feeling insecure, battered and bruised by the turmoil and disruption going on – which has hit so many of our fellow citizens across the world so brutally and with so much destruction.

As our sclerotic, archaic institutions are increasingly unable to cope with the modern world in which we are actually living, community power is becoming the way forward in so many areas of contemporary life.

In this, I have been getting a strong flavour of the upcoming Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, due to take place in 2020 at 0 degrees of Aquarius. Pluto heads into that community-oriented sign by 2024.The upcoming generations are busy laying the foundations for a new world order, centred on our world community thanks to the rise and dominance of the Internet.

Pluto was last in Capricorn from 1762 to 1778, the time when the foundations of a world-wide economy predicated upon material exploitation of the planet’s natural resources including many of its people, were laid. That era’s days, the days of Big Oil etc, are numbered….Let’s hope that what replaces it is an era of fairer sharing of the Earth’s increasingly diminishing resources, more international co-operation…and less bloodshed.

In the meantime, back to our  currently especially energised, turbulent, stroppy, anger-charged personal lives. ( I’ve been having a trawl round comments on Facebook in recent days. This energy field has been burning up lots of us in various challenging ways.) Wherever in your horoscope Mercury, then Mars opposes Pluto at present and in the upcoming week, that pair of houses is where you will be ‘feeling the burn’.

Here is a live example: a friend of mine is making a train journey of several hours’ duration to come and visit us here in Glasgow. As I am writing this post, with Mercury exactly opposite Pluto today, she has just texted to say her train has been cancelled, and there is no word as yet re exactly how she and her fellow passengers are supposed to get here.

Do let me know how it goes with you – and try to channel that energy and anger as best you can in the week ahead.

850 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

Moon’s Nodes, Midsummer, and Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”…

I have noticed over the years that having natal horoscope planets, Angles or Nodes around 0-5 degrees of Cancer (Midsummer), Libra (Autumn Equinox) Capricorn (Midwinter) or Aries (Spring Equinox) tends to bring significant inner or outer events into the lives of clients, students, friends and family at those key times of the year. It certainly happens with me, with Mars at 1.5 Cancer in the tenth house of vocation/career.

It happened big time with Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, whose Asc was 2 degrees Cancer, square her Mercury at the end of Virgo. Scroll back exactly two hundred and one years to Midsummer 1816, when Mary was still only 18 years old, and experiencing her first Nodal Return. Resident with husband Percy Shelley, the charismatic, amoral and scandalous Lord Byron and various friends and family members, at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva, during a stormy night Byron challenged them all to write a ghost story…the rest, as they say, is history.

Mary went to bed that night and dreamed Frankenstein…

Inspired by Mary Shelley’s life, her Moon’s Nodes, and her authorship of Frankenstein, I wrote an article to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of that event for The Mountain Astrologer which they published last June. Here it is. I hope you enjoy this Midsummer tale!

Dreaming ‘Frankenstein’

250 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

The Cycles of Saturn: Growing up time!

Today’s Neptune turned newly retrograde in Pisces, conjunct the Moon as I write, has brought an interesting wave of returns:  lovely feedback for my writing, some money due, an old favourite track “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” playing real good, loud and free in Kelvingrove Park, and my return to a favourite lunch haunt being livened by a gaggle of very drunk, very loud, very happy young women.

And here, with kind permission of  The Mountain Astrologer Magazine, is another recent article of mine – stepping aside from that Neptune wave: my exploration of those vital formative cycles of that planet who rewards honest self-examination and patient, realistic effort over time. A slow burner, but a giver of rewards truly worth having…

saturn

saturn

Cycles of Saturn: forging the Diamond Soul

As ever, your comments, observations and shared experiences are valuable – and welcome!

150 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Revisiting the Twelfth House…

Every so often, being a fully paid-up 12th House person, I have to take time out to re-charge my blogging batteries. So – I’ll be having a pause on my blog for a couple of weeks. However, to keep things ticking over meantime, and to keep you, my lovely readers, happy, I ‘ve decided to share a couple of my articles, with kind permission of  The Mountain Astrologer Magazine, where they have appeared in recent times.

The 12th House

The 12th House

The first one, rather appropriately, is on that most mysterious, elusive and oft-misunderstood and misrepresented place in space, the Twelfth House. I’ve called it ‘…an optimist’s take on Self -Undoing…’. You will shortly see why!

Enjoy the read by clicking on the link below (which resolutely refuses my attempts to colour it blue!!) – and do share your thoughts and experiences if you feel like doing so.

Contemplating the 12th House

150 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page