Tag Archives: Astrology

Fate, Uranus – and the astrologers’ degree…

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

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

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

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

So – what was it ?

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

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

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

Johannes Kepler Asc 24deg 25 mins Gemini

Johannes Kepler Asc 24 deg 25 mins Gemini

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to share your story? Go on…

–––––––

Endnotes:

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

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

******

950 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2019

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

Capricorn New Moons, Eclipses and the power of collective memory…the Iolaire Disaster

It was Moondark, just before a Capricorn New Moon on New Year’s morning 1919. HMY Iolaire, an overcrowded naval yacht, under-equipped with lifesaving equipment, had set sail from the Scottish West Highland seaport of Kyle of Lochalsh on the 31st December 1918, carrying 283 war-weary sailors.

Iolaire Commemoration 2019: Poppy Pin

Iolaire Commemoration 2019: Poppy Pin

“…The Isle of Lewis had a hard war. Some 6,200 men joined up and nearly 1,000 had died. Every family on the island had lost fathers, sons, brothers or uncles. So, the night of 31 December 1918 was tense with expectation. The war was finally over, the world was at peace and after four long years the men who had served king and country were on their way home…’ (i)

1.55am, 1st January 1919:

As they approached the town of Stornoway on Lewis – where their families were waiting on the pier –the Iolaire struck the rocks known as the Beasts of Holm. Stormy weather made it almost impossible to reach the shore only 50 yards away. 201 of those on board died: literally within sight of home. There were 82 survivors. Around one third of the bodies of those who perished were never recovered.

‘…As New Year’s Day broke across the islands, families waiting for the arrival of their loved ones heard rumours of a terrible disaster. Men walked miles from villages to Stornoway searching for news. What they found was devastating. The Scotsman of 6 January (1919) reported the tragedy, soberly noting: “The villages of Lewis are like places of the dead. The homes of the island are full of lamentation – grief that cannot be comforted. Scarcely a family has escaped the loss of a near blood relative. Many have had sorrow heaped upon sorrow…’ (i)

Apart from the loss of the Titanic in 2012, this disaster represents the second greatest loss of life at sea in the UK during peacetime.

So devastating was the impact of this tragedy that once the dead had been buried, a great silence of profound grief descended on Lewis. It was too hard to talk about. It took forty years for the public silence to be broken:

‘…In 1959 Donald Macphail, speaking on Gaelic radio, recalled the moment his friend found the body of his son. ‘The man’s son was there, and I remember he was so handsome that I could have said he was not dead at all. His father went on his knees beside him and began to take letters from his son’s pockets. And the tears were splashing on the body of his son. And I think it is the most heart-rending sight I have ever seen.’…’ (i)

Having grown up on the island of Lewis, I was aware of this terrible tragedy from a very young age. The most telling detail I can recall, from my mother’s accounts of what she had heard from her parents’ generation, was this: the local undertaker at the time was my late grandfather’s best friend. Following the harrowing circumstances with which he had to deal in January 1919, he had a nervous breakdown…

Commemorations 2019

I had known for some time that there would be many moving ways in which those terrible events of  New Year’s Day 1919 would be commemorated at the centenary. If any form of redemption was possible, then the generations arising – and especially those relatives whose lives had been marked directly or indirectly down the subsequent years – would enable it through their public events, their poetry, their music, their art.

I became very conscious of the momentum towards commemoration building during a recent visit to Lewis in September 2018, and was moved by what I saw.

The Iolaire Disaster’s Horoscope

However, I was unprepared by how deeply folk memory would affect me personally as 2018 drew to a close. By New Year’s Eve, I was feeling very emotional, almost tearful, despite our family’s Festive Season having been relaxing and peaceful. My spirits were invaded by a darkness and melancholy that I simply could not shake off.

With five Twelfth House planets, I have always been mediumistic, although it has taken me a very long time to face and make peace with this facet of my makeup. I recognised that what I was feeling was only partly personal…

Then, on reading through some material on the Iolaire Disaster on the Web on New Year’s Day, I came across the precise time at which the Iolaire had struck the rocks. 1.55am. I put up the chart: stunning details struck me immediately.

Iolaire disaster 1.1.1919

Iolaire disaster 1.1.1919 (click on image to enlarge)

The Midheaven ( MC) of this event  – its direction – is in the sign of Cancer, described in my previous post as ‘…centring on the relationship with home and family, the pursuit of emotional security and a sense of belonging…’ With poignant aptness, Vesta, the asteroid of home and hearth, is exactly conjunct the Cancer MC. However, both MC and Vesta are in the very last minutes of Cancer. It is nearly the end of the matter. The IC ( point of home, roots, origins) is in the opposite sign of Capricorn, a facet of which is.‘..facing the pain of inevitable times of separation and loss…’ 

These men perished within sight of home. As the chart so tellingly points out, they never quite got there. As the minutes ticked by on that devastating night,  Neptune, god of the sea, reached the MC of this horoscope, gradually claiming most of the lives of those on board by drowning. The next planet to come to the MC was Saturn, ruler of the IC.  Grim Reaper Saturn’s message at its bleakest.

(There are other significant pointers to what happened appearing in this horoscope’s symbolism. I have presented only those which struck me most forcefully.)

Links with the 2019 commemorations

In view of the Nodal axis’ having shifted into Cancer/Capricorn in November 2018, it’s most apt that the commemorations have been taking place with the transiting Nodes crossing the MC/IC axis of the Iolaire Disaster’s horoscope.

Two weeks before the tragedy occurred on 1st January 1919, there was a 9th house lunar eclipse at 25 Gemini, opposite the horoscope’s 3rd house Moon at 25 Sagittarius, emphasising the theme of travelling both far and near, . The Ascendant of the Iolaire Disaster’s horoscope, progressed to New Year’s Day 2019, is exactly conjunct the Disaster chart’s natal Moon ( MC ruler) and opposite that fateful eclipse degree.

The 2019 commemorations took place just before the eclipsed New Moon in Capricorn, approaching Moondark, with transiting Saturn conjunct the Sun of the Disaster’s horoscope, emphasising the solemnity and also the respectful nature of those events.

Chiron in the Iolaire Disaster’s chart is at 29 Pisces, closely conjunct Eris, Goddess of Strife at 27 Pisces. The commemorations are occuring exactly two 50-year Chiron Returns from the tragedy, Chiron currently being at 28 Pisces. Perhaps that indicates the healing which will hopefully arise in time from the creativity, dignity and eloquence with which the people of the Western Isles, and Lewis especially, have marked the most devastating tragedy ever to strike their shores. One can but hope so….

Endnotes

i) Read more at:

https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/the-iolaire-disaster-where-200-men-died-yards-from-shore-1-465122

1200 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2019

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

The Moon’s Nodes – what will their Cancer/Capricorn transit bring?

The Moon’s Nodal axis shifted into Cancer/Capricorn early in November 2018, and will remain there until early May 2020, bringing with it some ‘interesting times’ indeed for us both personally and collectively through the Cancer/Capricorn eclipse season and strong links with both Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn.

Various astrologers are now writing on our collective Wall (mostly the Internet, these days!) about what looks to be an especially interesting, turbulent, radically changeful period. No doubt I will be adding to all that in due course!

Moon's Nodes

Moon’s Nodes

 

(I’ve written a book on the Moon’s Nodes, an original research study called The Moon’s Nodes in Action, which you can purchase for a small fee HERE if you want to refresh yourself regarding their significance. Come to think of it, maybe it’s time for me to re-read it myself…) 

However, in keeping with the reflective mood which affects many of us as we struggle to emerge from the Festive Fug, my thoughts are currently more focused on personal themes.

With the Nodes exactly conjunct my MC/IC axis at 28 Taurus/Scorpio, I always feel their transiting shift strongly, see themes arising in my personal life which bear the stamp of the prevailing Nodal energies, and prepare to work as best I can with the challenges arising.

These challenges invariably bring to the fore issues of vocation/life direction ( NNode conjunct MC) which need to be balanced with the pull of domestic life ( SNode conjunct IC.) I now realise, with a Twelfth House Leo Sun squaring both ends of this heavily weighted axis, that channelling whatever understanding and insight has emerged from the tough lifelong challenges presented has been major fuel for my less than straightforward vocational path…

Anne W's Horoscope

Anne W’s Horoscope

Cancer/Capricorn energies at a personal level concern our feelings and experiences centring on the relationship with home and family, the pursuit of emotional security and a sense of belonging. They also describe the responsibilities which we need to face and take on in those areas of life, as well as facing the pain of inevitable times of separation and loss, or the realisation that we may be looking for security in the wrong places, or with the wrong people. 

The main goal is to arrive at what we need both for ourselves and for the nurturing of those we love and value, whilst being realistic about what life may withhold from us, no matter how hard we try to acquire what we think we need. In short, when this polarity is being transited by the Nodes, the challenge is for us, whatever stage we may be in life, to grow up emotionally a bit more. 

Because the Nodal axis returns every 18-19 years, it’s usually productive to look back at where you were in life the last time it journeyed through Cancer/Capricorn, taking note of which pair of houses was involved. The axis last travelled through Cancer/Capricorn from early April 2000 to early October 2001. What were you doing then? What challenges of the nature of Cancer/Capricorn did Life throw up? What did you gain from dealing with them? And – what issues can you identify already which those planetary energies have begun to bring your way?

These are all questions upon which I am pondering at present. At the end of 2018/ start of 2019 I found myself being unexpectedly affected by a powerful emotional response which arose in me regarding an event centring on the place of my birth. It’s a deeply moving story.

But that’s for the next post…

Moon's Nodes

Moon’s Nodes

 

600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2019

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

As the Sun enters Capricorn: a meditation for the Winter Solstice

Tomorrow night, at 22.24 GMT, the Sun moves into Capricorn … we have arrived at the Winter Solstice. This has triggered memories and meditative thoughts – I’m sure you will have your own. Feel free to share them!

A core memory from my Hebridean childhood is located in winter’s depths.Whilst dashing out to play after our evening meal, running up the garden path, breath frosty on the clear cold air, a glance at the pitch dark sky stopped me dead. A magical swirling dance of colour was washing the Northern sky with translucent radiance. I held my breath, friends forgotten,  gazing for a long time at the wonderful display. Gradually, inevitably, it faded and vanished.

This first experience of awe has remained etched on memory. It imprinted on my soul, at a very young age, a deep intuitive sense that there is a sublime mystery at the core of the interplay between light and dark.

Subsequent adult reading provided a scientific explanation for the phenomenon of the aurora borealis. But science cannot explain the sense of wonder and awe which the Northern Lights has evoked in countless numbers of us since our remote ancestors scanned the skies, seeing the Divine in natural beauty, and eventually in its predictable rhythms.

Knowing that the Moon, for example, had its pattern of waxing and waning enabled our ancestors to plan the best times for planting, travelling, and timing their religious rituals. But the Moon’s guiding light could only be accessed in the dark of night.

We need winter. We may not like it much, especially in the frequently wet, grey dreariness of the West of Scotland at this time of year! But we need it, and the darkness that goes with it. A long rest refreshes the earth, revitalises it; new life quietly germinates in the dark, bursting forth in the miraculous renewal of spring.

We need the dark. Within the year’s natural cycle, the diurnal alternation of light and dark brings restful silence at night and the restorative power of sleep, without which all creatures including us would burn out and die before their time. We are in danger of forgetting this – at our peril – as an increasingly technology-driven culture sweeps the world, creating the illusion that we can live sustainably and healthily in defiance of the ancient rhythms set by the great cycles of nature.

One snowy winter’s dusk, I failed to return home from primary school. A snowstorm was blowing up with a fierce gale. Worried, my mother sent out a search party. I was found, in a state of some distress, almost white with snow, pinned against a fence. A slight child, I had been blown and held there by the wind. Where I grew up, we didn’t need to read books to understand the fierce destructive power of nature as well as its unearthly beauty.

Capricorn Midwinter Solstice

Capricorn Midwinter Solstice

From those childhood experiences on, I have walked the well trodden path underlying all faiths which seeks ways of affirming connection with that vast Power which runs nature, the Universe and everything, reconciling dark and light, going way beyond time.

Whilst reflecting on the profoundly mysterious and paradoxical relationship between light and dark, with which we humans have always wrestled in one form or another, the phrase ‘dazzling darkness’ came to mind. It persisted for days, until eventually I located the source.

It occurs in a fascinating article, which I had first read in 2002, titled

“A RELUCTANT MYSTIC: God-Consciousness not Guru Worship” by John Wren-Lewis. (1)

The author describes how, at the age of nearly sixty, retired and with a distinguished career as a scientist behind him,  he had spiritual consciousness “thrust upon me….without working for it, desiring it, or even believing in it.”

It was 1983. Wren-Lewis was in Thailand, in a hospital bed, hovering between life and death, having eaten a poisoned sweet given to him by a would-be thief. What happened next, a ‘near death experience’(NDE), he describes as follows:

“I simply entered – or rather, was – a timeless, spaceless void which in some indescribable way was total aliveness – an almost palpable blackness that was yet somehow radiant. Trying to find words for it afterwards, I recalled the mysterious line of Henry Vaughan’s poem The Night:

‘There is in God (some say) a deep, but dazzling darkness’

His return to life, as the medical staff gradually won their battle to save him, was not in any way accompanied by the typical NDE’s classic sense of regret or loss at having to go back to the world of the everyday. It was, in fact, “nothing like a return….more like an act of creation whereby the timeless, spaceless Dark budded out into manifestation”. Furthermore, the experience was “indescribably wonderful.”

In Wren-Lewis’ own words “I now know exactly why the Book of Genesis says that God looked upon all that He had made – not just beautiful sunsets, but dreary hospital rooms and traumatised sixty-year old bodies – and saw that it was very good.”

Moreover, this heightened awareness did not leave him. A permanent shift, without any effort at all, into what he calls “God-consciousness” caused him to do further reading and research beyond accounts of NDEs into the “once-despised world of mystical literature and spiritual movements”. But he rejects the notion held by experts in many religious traditions that the path to God-consciousness, or Enlightenment, or Nirvana requires years or even lifetimes of intensive spiritual effort. After all, he’d been handed “the pearl of great price on a plate” without ever seeking it, and found God-consciousness to be quintessentially ordinary and obvious – a feature emphasised by many mystics.

I was so intrigued by Wren-Lewis’ startling account  that I re-read the great Victorian psychologist William James’ classic book “The Varieties of Religious Experience” for the first time in nearly thirty years. This confirmed what I had already known but forgotten: a great many people who have profound religious or mystical experiences have them in nature.

I felt grateful then for that brilliant encounter with the Northern Lights, so long ago but still clearly remembered, which affirmed my need for ‘God consciousness’ before I could ever articulate it.

We need awe: it points our vision towards the sacred. So, readers, embrace the darkness if you can, these winter nights – you never can tell what wonders may reveal themselves ….

Endnotes

(1) from Self & Society Vol 29 Number 6 Feb-March 2002 (pp 22-24)

Aurora Borealis North West Scotland

Aurora Borealis North West Scotland

1100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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

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…

______________

Endnotes

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

______________

Zodiac

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

 

Zodiac

Zodiac

********

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’

Zodiac

Zodiac

********

1600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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