Tag Archives: Capricorn

A tale of Saturn, Capricorn, Nodes, and family history….

 My Aquarian husband loves mountains. His ruling planet Mercury, and Mars, reside resolutely in Capricorn. He has climbed all 284 mountains in Scotland over 3000 feet –– named Munros, after the first person to map them, Sir Hugh Munro, born with Saturn, Capricorn’s ruler, square his Aries North Node. 

Reader, here is a clue regarding this column: it’s about the long reach of family fate, centred on the signs of Aries and Capricorn.

Jungfrau and Munch, Switzerland

Jungfrau and Munch, Switzerland

photo: Anne Whitaker

Picture this scene. My maternal grandfather Calum, with Capricorn Sun square the tenth house North Node in Aries, was a true adventurer. In his young days he was employed as a sheep herder in the Cascade Mountains in Canada. Dropping in on Patagonia, he fetched up eventually as a cattle rancher in Argentina, South America. Returning briefly home to marry the comely, dark-haired Mary Ann, he left her to bring up their first child in her parents’ home in a remote village on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

At last he returned, bursting with excitement. “Mary Ann, Mary Ann, we have a wonderful opportunity to make our fortune!”

“And what would that be, Calum?” she enquired.

“I have done so well with the cattle ranching that my employer has offered me a senior position on his ranch, with my own land and a herd of cattle thrown in. You and our son will love Argentina! What do you say?”

There was a long pause before my grandmother Mary Ann finally spoke. “ I will come with you, Calum” she said slowly and deliberately, “ as long as we bring my coffin along too.”

That was the end of our South American connection…

My mother, their last child, was born with the Sun in Aries, exactly square her Capricorn Moon. For most of us, drawing up family charts is a compelling early step in the astrological adventure. When I saw my mother’s chart my heart turned over,  the vivid family story I’ve just related leaping out of the symbolism. Calum saying “Yes!!”  and Mary Ann saying a mournful “No”: clearly encoded in that Sun/Moon square.

My father had an Aries Sun too, trine Saturn: he combined a responsible professional life as a senior local government officer with being the most notorious poacher our island community had seen for many years.  My mother’s attitude to his exploits was summed up in her Capricorn Moon square both their Aries Suns…

Eventually, I married…with my family history, and a fiery Sun/Moon conjunction linked with Saturn, I was in no hurry. When husband Ian’s progressed Sun entered Aries, he took up serious mountaineering, and I took up serious worrying about him – I’ve alluded to this in a previous column.

However, I don’t have a tenth house Mars/Uranus conjunction for nothing. He went up North to do mountains, I went down South to study astrology with Liz Greene. This kept everything in balance for years; not everyone’s solution, but it worked for us.

Fast forward to April 11th 2018. Most of us that week were feeling pressured one way or another, as Mars separated from Saturn, advancing toward Pluto in Capricorn. Saturn retrograding, Chiron entering Aries, and the Aries New Moon would all occur the following week. Not very relaxing…

We were due to set off to Switzerland on 22nd April, the day Pluto would turn retrograde in Capricorn. Mars would be transiting Pluto for the whole trip. Our goal? My husband loves trains and mountains; venturing to the highest railway station in Europe near the top of the Jungfrau mountain had been his aim for many years.

The previous autumn, he’d been knocked down by a cyclist in our local park and struck his head. Dealing with the consequences of this had taken up the whole winter and spring. He was probably well enough now to withstand all the rail travel involved from Scotland, via London and Strasbourg, until we eventually got to Switzerland. But I was seriously worried. Then, on Wednesday 11th April, he injured his back, always a weak point.

Sitting at our kitchen table in tears, I now wanted to cancel the trip but knew how devastated he would be. Then something dawned.This day was my late mother’s birthday. Her Sun was at 21 Aries, her Moon at 21 Capricorn. Pluto, sitting by transit exactly on her Moon, was being triggered by the Sun at 21 Aries.

I was being faced, in essence, by my grandparents’ life-changing dilemma. Ian desperately wanted to go on a longed-for adventure. Being fearful, I wanted to stop him. The power of this realisation was astonishing.  Would I repeat family history, whose consequences had profoundly shaped my grandparents’, then my parents’ marriages? Or would I let go of intense fear – trusting to Fate that Ian would fulfil his dream, and we would be ok?

Stopping crying, I offered the situation up to the Divine: Jupiter, who rises at 18 Virgo in our composite chart, was linking both our natal charts to currently transiting Jupiter at 21.5 Scorpio, sextile Pluto at 21 Capricorn. Amidst all the really challenging energies of this time, my core feeling, beneath the fear, was that Ian would be fine. He was. We had a fantastic trip.

Being able to decode and confront a significant piece of my family inheritance via the medium of astrological symbolism, was deeply moving and awe-inspiring. For those of us who have been given both challenging horoscopes and a willingness to examine ourselves and our motives with as much honesty as we dare to muster, I have long felt that a significant task in this life is to try to redeem some of the pain and limitation which our ancestors have unwittingly handed on to us, along with their gifts, talents and strengths.

By saying “Yes” to my husband, despite the fear, I like to think that, in a small way, a painful part of that family past was honoured – and partly redeemed.


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

Jungfrau and Munch, Switzerland

Jungfrau and Munch, Switzerland

1000 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2019

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


‘Dancing on the Edge’ as the Aries New Moon dawns…

‘Dancing on the Edge’. That’s what it feels like at present. Astrologers have a double-edged tool: access to the ever-shifting energy patterns of our tiny corner of the cosmos via an ancient symbolic art which has long drawn meaning, both collective and personal, from those patterns. Double-edged especially in times of crisis, ie NOW.

These times are volatile, unstable, dangerous. We can examine the horoscopes eg of Trump, Putin, Assad in relation to the latest escalation of the dreadful events in Syria. We can scare ourselves and our readers, students and clients witless if we choose to do so. The Web is full of  fevered speculation regarding what the upcoming 16.4.18 Aries New Moon, with its dramatic, tempestuous pattern, could bring to our troubled world. It feels at present as though we are ‘dancing on the edge’(i). Of what, no-one knows…

Aries New Moon 2018

Aries New Moon 2018

As I write today, uk time, Mercury has just turned direct at 4 degrees Aries. Monday’s Aries New Moon at 26 Aries triggers off the Eris/Uranus conjunction, square Pluto. Mars is on the Saturn/Pluto midpoint in Capricorn. On Tuesday Chiron enters Aries for the first time since 1968 – think Vietnam War protests, students rioting in the streets of Paris – and Saturn turns retrograde. As though all of that weren’t more than enough, Pluto also turns retrograde on Sunday next.

Looks like it’s going to be quite a week!

However, I will leave those more inclined and probably more knowledgeable than I am to get on with the speculating, and go off on a different tack.

Having been born in Moondark, ie the very end of the monthly Sun/Moon cycle, I am very sensitive to the need periodically to retreat, contemplate, take stock – a fundamental aspect of human experience which has increasingly been squeezed out by the 24/7 freneticism of contemporary living, to the increasing detriment of our collective mental and physical wellbeing.

We tend to think of the annual 20th March equinox, the day the Sun enters Aries, as the symbolic beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. But you could argue that the true beginning takes place with a New Moon in that sign. This year we have been in Moondark since the 27 Pisces New Moon on the 17th March – anticipating the fresh energy upsurge of the 26 Aries New Moon on 16th April 2018.

Today, at the very end not only of the lunar month’s Moondark, but also the whole zodiacal year’s Moondark, I am in a deeply withdrawn, sensitive, pensive state, feeling very open to our collective vulnerability and suffering as fragile creatures on a tiny planet.

I’m very aware that Chiron, the planetoid which concerns both our suffering and our healing, is at 29 degrees 53 minutes of Pisces, about to move into 0 degrees Aries after his seven year sojourn in that sign of the zodiac which most concerns our unity with the One, the Ground of our being.  Liz Greene points out re the centaur Chiron’s unhealable wound, that “….the wound exists in the collective and is ancestral..” (ii) With Chiron poised at the edge of Pisces, along with so many of us right now I am feeling deeply connected to our world’s pain, and wondering what his shift to fiery, Mars-ruled Aries may mean.

Will it be more brutality towards the vulnerable and the innocent, orchestrated by powerful men whose humanity has become debased? Or will it signify a new generation arising, whose values are not rooted in accumulation of wealth and power at the expense of our mother planet? Thankfully, we are seeing evidence of the latter option arising already…

The Big Why?

The Big Why?

In contemplative moments such as this, poised in the stillness of a whole year’s Moondark, being temperamentally inclined to brood on questions most sensible folk prefer to avoid much of the time, I tend to return to The Big Why, and its attendant questions: Why are we here at all? What does it all mean? What am I to do with my small life?

It would appear from numerous surveys one tends to come across both in print and social media, that despite conventional religions losing ground, most people are just as inclined as they have ever been toward some sort of faith, some belief that despite its painful, turbulent dimensions life has meaning.

In times of suffering and turbulence, one of the great offerings of astrological knowledge, despite its being a double-edged gift with just as much capacity to scare us as to offer enlightenment, is a pointing through its symbols to something both collectively and personally meaningful going on. Looking through an astrological lens reveals patterns, not randomness.

Astrology is not a religion or a belief system – but it offers a clear lens through which to look out at the vastness of Mystery in which we exist, inviting us toward some form of belief that there is a Bigger Picture of  which we are all part, however small. Personally, I have found that lens to have been a vitally important tool on my own journey toward a deep faith that we are all part of the One, and that even the dreadful things in life which afflict us both collectively and individually at times are woven into a tapestry of meaning, at some level which we are too ill-equipped to comprehend.

I find it supportive and comforting to centre myself in that faith when times are tough for the world – as they certainly are right now – and for those to whom I am personally connected with bonds of friendship and of love.

I’ve spent this morning reading a contemplative book by one of my favourite writers, Richard Holloway, in which he considers the challenging question of faith from the perspective of those, like himself, who are ‘dancing on the edge’.

I leave him with the last word:

“…the persistence of belief…could be a valid response to reality.That is why it is important to offer faith the compliment of a respectful hearing and to afford it the status of a reasonable response to the mystery of life…even if we ourselves find it personally elusive …”


(i) Richard Holloway Dancing on the Edge, 1997, Fount Paperbacks, p12

(ii) Liz Greene ‘Wounding and the will to live’ in Issue 3 of Apollon, the Journal of Psychological Astrology (1999). This article is now available on Astrodienst, and I would strongly suggest that any readers interested in exploring Chiron’s meaning at profound depth should read it.


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

110 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

Teaching astrology: the magic of the moment…

You never quite lose that magical feeling of being a tiny but unique part of a meaningfully shifting, dancing pattern of interconnectedness which immersion in the symbolic world of astrology brings. However, it does tend to recede into the background as time marches on and your connection spans a few decades. Then every so often, the sheer potency of what practicing astrology means, can knock you sideways.

This happened to me – and my tutorial students – on  the morning of our resumed classes ten days ago.

Astrologers at Work

Astrologers at Work

Being an orderly group (as astrologers go…), we had decided on our schedule before taking a break for the holidays. We would continue with our exploration of the progressed Sun/Moon cycle, using our own charts and lives as our research material. I have known those students for a long time; it was their persuasion that drew me back to astrology teaching after a long break. So we are happy to share our life experiences with one another in the interests of learning.

Just before the class, however, I decided that a recent, shocking private death which had resulted in a very public, prolonged outpouring of grief, ie that of David Bowie, would make an unmissable topic for part of our class discussion. I duly prepared David Bowie’s chart, then added the transits for his death day by hand.

David Bowie + Death Transits

David Bowie + Death Transits (click on image to enlarge) 

The most striking features to hit my eye were David Bowie’s natal 12th House Capricorn line-up squared by a 9th House Neptune: Mercury 8, Mars 16, Sun 17, squared by Neptune at 9 Libra. The transiting Uranus/Pluto square had been triggering that line-up for some time, now almost exactly via his Mars/Sun conjunction as January 2016 advanced. Saturn had crossed his natal MC for the last time in November 2015, and was conjunct his South Node at the time of his death, that whole axis also being squared by Neptune’s transit. What a powerful emphasis on Saturn/Capricorn, I thought. Saturn always gives, and takes, what is due…

I love my Io software and have been using it for twenty years now ( no, Io hasn’t paid me to do a commercial! ) – Io Sprite is a great programme to have running as background to astrology classes, enabling you to comment on the moment arising, at any relevant point during a class. Just before the class began I opened it up.

Here is what we saw:

Tutorial Class Start 26.1.16

Tutorial Class Start 26.1.16 (click on image to enlarge)

The MC for 26th January 2016 at the start of the class was almost 15 Capricorn, exactly conjunct newly-direct Mercury, with Pluto at 16 Capricorn – all closely conjunct David Bowie’s Capricorn natal and transiting planets, and with Mars at 12 Scorpio  squaring Bowie’s Saturn/Pluto conjunction. The Moon for the start of the class was 3 Virgo – exactly conjunct David Bowie’s 8th House cusp.

We all fell silent– awestruck– as we regarded this line-up, so powerfully and appropriately symbolising the topic of our opening discussion. There wasn’t much I needed to say by way of  elucidation: the moment was speaking to us, most powerfully, of the fundamental inter-connectedness of all things. “As above, so below – vividly illustrated right there in front of our very eyes.

We went on to have an intense, in-depth discussion about David Bowie’s death, and its timing two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his acclaimed last album, Blackstar. Was it co-incidence? Was it planned? One student, who is in the music business, observed using Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson’s deaths as examples, that an artist’s death was the best possible promotion for his/her music. I leave you readers to decide what conclusions we came to, with Mercury/Pluto conjunct the Capricorn MC of our class horoscope that day…

As we went on with the class, the Mercury/Pluto/MC /Capricorn overtone continued. It’s worth noting that the IC ruler of this class horoscope for 26.1.16 at 11 am,  is the Moon. So, with Capricorn MC/Cancer IC, what was our main planned topic, decided in mid-December 2015, several weeks before the class?  It was to follow the progressed Moon through Capricorn in all of our Secondary Progressed horoscopes.

This arose from one of the student’s enjoyment of her progressed Moon’s journey through Sagittarius, and her apprehension at the prospect of its imminent move into Capricorn. She had had a difficult time 28 years previously with a very Capricornian relative as the progressed Moon traversed Capricorn, and feared that something similar might happen once again with the same relative.

We were of the view that much of her apprehension was projection. She was much cheered by that analysis, especially since the feedback we all gave from our own experiences of the progressed Moon through Capricorn at a variety of different ages and life stages, centred round becoming more organised, taking on greater responsibility and often promotion, becoming grandparents, buying or renovating property, becoming more responsible about money, etc etc. Nothing too grim there, just very typically Capricornian!



Although some astrologers give more credence to the progressed Moon’s travels through the houses in terms of ‘delivering’ corresponding meaning than they do with the signs, we certainly found in our small piece of research that both sign and house ‘delivered’ recognisable symbolic correspondences between the progressed Moon’s positions and our reported life events .

For example, in my own recent case the progressed Moon entered Capricorn in the Fourth House in the early summer of 2012, just as I was re-organising myself with professional indemnity insurance, supervision arrangements, promotional materials and web stuff, etc as I returned to my astrology practice. (The progressed Moon entered Aquarius in the Fifth House in August 2014, the same month in which I returned to astrology teaching.)

Further illustrating the Mercury/Pluto/MC /Capricorn overtone of the day was not only the depth and seriousness of the topics which came up, but also that famous ‘graveyard’ humour which is the realm of any Mercury/Saturn/Pluto combination. Despite the intensity of our discussion around not only Bowie’s chart but also our own experiences, we had quite a few laughs– albeit of the black humour type.

And where was the Moon by transit, as I (very slowly !) drafted this post on Friday 5th February? Yes, you’ve guessed. It was in Capricorn…

I’m sure the experience I have described here of the energies of a particular moment in time clearly mirroring what was taking place in that moment, is something which is pretty familiar to most astrologers. I can think of quite a few other outstanding examples from my teaching and practice over the years.

There was the autumn in the 1980s when I – with transiting Pluto in the Third House beginning to square Mercury, then all the rest of my Leo planets – attracted a Beginners astrology class in which most of the ten students had very strong emphases on either Scorpio, Pluto, or both. It was like teaching a black hole! My classes are usually lively, communicative events. This lot hardly said a word – just sucked in information as though their very lives depended on it. The horoscope for the start of the class, needless to say, was very, very Plutonian..

I would be most interested to have examples from other astrologers of the kind of experience of interconnectedness which I have been describing here. If we were conscious all the time of the full power of astrological symbolism to describe in symbolic terms the intricate weave of which we are all part, we would probably burn out mentally pretty quickly. So it’s healthy to ‘tune out’ of full awareness much of the time. But every so often it is magical, powerful, to be pulled into unfiltered direct experience of the meaning-charged energy field into which we are all woven. What do YOU think?



1300 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page