The Harvey Weinstein scandal broke as Jupiter was moving into Scorpio on 10th October 2017, triggering a tsunami of allegations and revelations of sexual misconduct from harassment to rape across social media. The #metoo movement began (i) on social media after a call to action by the actor Alyssa Milano, one of Weinstein’s most vocal critics.
Facebook said that within 24 hours, 4.7 million people around the world – men as well as women – engaged in the #MeToo conversation, with over 12m posts, comments, and reactions. The issue has rapidly become about much more than Harvey Weinstein. It is about “…the ubiquity of sexual assault…” in the words of UK’s Guardian newspaper columnist, Suzanne Moore.
I contributed a couple of my own stories to the thread which developed on astrologer Leah Whitehorse’s Facebook Page, when she bravely came out and told a very frightening story of her own in which, fortunately, thanks to her level head, she was not physically harmed. When I was much younger than I am now, on two occasions, in the cinema and then on the street in broad daylight, I hit two different men who tried to assault me.
They were so astonished at this that the first one got up and left the cinema, and the second one just stood there, his jaw having (metaphorically) hit the floor in utter shock. I realised afterwards that this had been a risky strategy. But I do have an aggressive streak if unfairly treated, and there were other people around.
The tale I am about to tell, however, could have had a very different outcome…a combination of progressed Mercury currently stationing on my third house Jupiter, and an impending Jupiter Return next year, has made me more inclined than usual to descend to Scorpio’s dark realms – as anyone perusing my current reading material would realise! But the outpouring evoked by #MeToo has dredged up from the depths of memory an episode from my younger years which still chills me to recall.
It was mid-June, 1974, Sunday evening, around 7 pm. It had been a day for chores. I was strolling along with my washing to the launderette on the London Road in Bath, the very place where, not long before – as a young Marxist unbeliever in anything mystical or spiritual ( or so I thought then) – I had had an encounter with an astrologer which was to change my life.
A young man around my own age passed me in the street. I paid him no attention. Then I heard a voice, and turned around.
“I am so lonely”, the young man said. “If someone doesn’t talk to me, I’ll go crazy.”
As a woman, I’d always been aware of the need to protect myself, considered myself streetwise. Normally I would NEVER respond to a strange man addressing me in public like that. But there was something about the pleading, the desperation in his eyes I simply could not ignore.
“OK”, I said.” I’m heading across the road to do my laundry. You can sit there with me and chat for a bit.” He appeared grateful to the point of tears.
Almost an hour later, he had told me his story: very deprived childhood, children’s home, ran away at 16, joined a circus, worked there, travelling a great deal, for years. Fell into bad company. Drugs and alcohol, petty crime. Unemployed, on the streets. Hit rock bottom. Then found Jesus. Now saved.
“Jesus loves you,” he kept saying. “Jesus saved me too.”
To me, he didn’t look very Saved, and I was beginning to wonder what to do next. I didn’t want him to know that I lived nearby. “D’you fancy a pint?” I said. “There’s a nice pub just up the road.” Safety in numbers, perhaps. He was delighted, and off we set, walking slowly whilst he talked some more. I hadn’t asked his name, nor told him mine. It was cold, rainy, no-one about.
Suddenly, before I could register what was happening, he grabbed me, dragging me into a dark alley running off the main pavement. He pinned me to the wall. I went cold. Fortunately that’s what I do if I’m ever in a crisis. I didn’t scream, didn’t struggle. Instead, I put my arms up behind him, and started gently stroking his back, saying quietly:
“You don’t need to do this, you’re just going to scare me. We still have lots to say to each other. Please just let me go…” I repeated this a couple of times more, and his hands, which had been on my throat, dropped to his sides.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!” he kept repeating tearfully. “I don’t know what came over me…”
“It’s ok”, I said calmly, whilst mentally calculating what the hell to do next. “You’re just tired. Let’s go and have that pint.”
As we continued our walk to the pub, and he continued to talk, I worked out a plan. I’d get our drinks, then tell him I always called my parents on a Sunday night; would he mind looking after my washing whilst I nipped out and made a quick call? Then I’d phone my friends Sue and Hugh who lived in the next street to the pub, and hope like hell they were at home.
The plan worked, and my friends were in – I almost cried with sheer relief to hear Hugh’s voice. “Get round to the pub right away, it’s an emergency – will fill you in later. When you see me with a dishevelled-looking young guy, look very surprised and ask what was I doing drinking the night before going back to work. Ok?”
I pretended to be just as surprised as they were. My guest looked most uncomfortable, excused himself to go to the toilet, and disappeared. Sue and Hugh escorted me home to my flat just across the road, offering to stay the night, which I declined. Security was good in the flat, and I would call them if anything untoward occurred.
Having slept pretty fitfully, I turned on the radio at 7am as usual, to help me surface and get ready for work. The first item on the news was this: in the early hours of the morning, a young woman had been murdered in Bristol. They gave a description of the man they wished to interview in connection with the incident. It fitted my last evening’s companion exactly.
By this time, I was shaking so hard I could barely get myself to the college in which I was teaching English at the time. I told the Principal, who gave me a severe dressing-down for my folly – as he saw it. We then called the police, and I gave a statement. But they never contacted me again. Although I listened intently to the news for many weeks afterwards, to the best of my knowledge the man who murdered that poor young woman, was never found.
This week is the first time I have ever looked at the astrology of that fateful Sunday. I remain convinced that if I hadn’t somehow kept my cool and reacted as I did, I would have been the one who died. It is an extremely uncomfortable feeling to be grateful for your own life, knowing that the way you reacted may well have paved the way for someone else’s death…
The astrology, I think, is very graphic both for the darkness and dangerous challenge of the situation and for the ‘healing powers’ which meant that I survived. I’ve only put up the progressions with my natal horoscope, because although I’m pretty sure it was mid-June, it may have been mid-May which would have altered the transits but not the progressions – apart from the Progressed Moon by about one degree.
Clearly, with the Progressed Moon on the Mercury/SaturnPluto midpoint, I was in for some potent, dark, potentially life-changing encounters – you can see the potential peril in those significators. However, years later when I knew some astrology I truly thanked my natal Mercury SaturnPluto conjunction. If anything gives you the tough-mindedness coolly to survive most of what life chucks at you, that line-up does!
But the links with natal third house Jupiter in Scorpio tell a very different story. The first house Sun/Venus conjunction makes an emotionally supportive sextile to eleventh house Mars in Cancer, and they all together form a Minor Grand Trine with Jupiter. In the wonderful words of the German poet Holderlin, no stranger to dark experiences himself:
“…Where there is darkness, the healing powers also rise…”.
I was probably foolish that day in the kindness I offered to an unknown, troubled stranger. It may nearly have cost me my life. But I do believe, looking at the astrology, that my protective angels were watching over me in that encounter. They certainly manifested that day in the shape of my good friends. I have long lost touch with them, but I will never forget them.
(i) from Lisa Meyerson on Leah Whitehorse’s Facebook Share of the above post yesterday 26.10.17: “This is great. I have one correction, if you don’t mind. The #metoo campaign was originally started by a woman named Tarana Burke:https://www.democracynow.org/…/meet_tarana_burke_the…
1550 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017