Tag Archives: Planets in astrology

What is my job as an astrologer?

Every so often, someone asks me what I think my job as an astrologer is. It’s a good question – it makes me ‘return to base’, as it were, and set out the basics again, both for the questioner – and for my own benefit.

Here goes!.

Anne W 2017

Anne W 2017

My  job as an astrologer is to help other people understand themselves more clearly. I don’t know what the balance is between fate and free will any more than any one else does. But the Birth Chart or Horoscope suggests strongly that we come into this world, not as tabulae rasae blank slates)  but with certain characters on the stage poised to live out a complex drama as the process of our life unfolds from birth to death. 

What astrologers cannot do is describe the whole range of possibilities of expression which arise from each core character on the stage.

There appears to be a dynamic relationship between what you have been given through family physical and psychological inheritance ( the Old Norse word for fate also means genitals!), location, social status, and your own choices in what you do with those givens.

I think that effective astrologers in consultation are poised on the interface between fate and free will – on the one hand helping clients to confirm who they are, which they probably already know, if they are honest with themselves; but on the other hand helping them to see, and to broaden, the range of possible expression of the energies with which they have been born.

The astrologer’s ego should have a minimal influence on the process of reading another person’s horoscope. It’s impossible to keep ego completely out of it. It’s impossible to be completely objective, to avoid making mistakes; but what the person takes away should be as much theirs, and as little the astrologers, as is possible.

To maximise this outcome I feel it is very important to have my work regularly supervised by an experienced and well-qualified colleague. I am fortunate in this to have the support of a very experienced astrologer who is also a psychodynamic psychotherapist and writer. She has known me, my foibles, my weaknesses and my strengths over a very long period of time.

I  look at the relationship between the patterns present in clients’ natal horoscopes and how that relates to the here-and-now patterns of the planets in the heavens. I’m also very interested in setting clients’ lives in the context of the unfolding stages of the 11-12 year Jupiter cycles and the 29-30 year Saturn cycles, as well as the progressed New Moons, which also occur in thirty-year periods. My experience is that setting their lives in the context of the bigger pictures, and taking guidance from that, is both comforting, supportive and helpful to people who consult me.

I’m only interested in working with clients who are prepared to take responsibility for themselves in relation to the way in which their inner world is connected to the unfolding of their outer life. Astrology appropriately used should enhance the sense of personal responsibility – not take it away and hang it on the planets, or even worse, on the astrologer !

In my view it is important for people not to become too dependent on a symbolic context – astrology and astrologers like relationships, drugs, sex, alcohol or the national lottery can become highly addictive. The great symbolic arts, eg astrology, tarot, palmistry , I Ching, should be consulted with deep respect, and with considerable restraint.

                    In sum – I think it is my job is to send people away feeling more able to operate constructively and honestly in their world than when they came in, by supporting their courage and confidence to lead their own lives – using their own judgement. 

Zodiac

Zodiac

650 words copyright Anne Whitaker

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

 

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Reflecting on what astrology is, and revisiting Pluto…

It  has probably not escaped your notice that the trickster planet Mercury, of whom Jude Cowell wrote so eloquently in her recent Guest post, is currently retrograde…I learned a very long time ago that applying the prefix RE to as many activities as possible is a great way to get the best out of that old trickster during retrograde periods!

So, this week, I’m taking readers down my memory lane, re-visiting a post I last published on my Writing from the 12th House blog in 2008, just as Pluto was beginning to create mass mayhem in the structure-loving sign of Capricorn.

Those of you fairly new to astrology will I hope enjoy this reflective introduction to our great art. More seasoned astrologers and astrology students may be interested to see how far my musings at the start of Pluto’s long transit through Capricorn have been borne out by the passage of nearly a decade since then. Your thoughts, as always, are welcome.

Imagine, if you will, a Bushman in the middle of the Kalahari desert  conversing with a visiting Tibetan, in their respective languages, regarding the best way to get to Stornoway in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. One would suspect that the route might not become easily evident !

Speaking symbolic language

It’s rather like this for astrologers, whose view is holistic and whose language is symbolic, living in a culture whose prevailing terms for describing the world have been shaped by scientific rationalism for the last two hundred and fifty years. In our collective efforts to try and make sense out of life on earth there is no ONE language which can possibly describe the whole picture.

We need the description provided by rational science. We also need the description provided by symbolism. We need all the help we can get.

Star Sign astrology as found in the media is too limited to tell us much about personal life or world affairs. It focuses largely on the position of the sun in the heavens on any given day,  equivalent to trying to tell the story of a complex play with the main emphasis on one central character. It can thus never offer much more than entertainment – or a nugget of truth to contemplate on the day in the case of ‘quality’ popular astrology .

This is the form of astrology which is vilified by people who don’t know that there is something much more profound hidden behind the “Star Sign” mask.

Astrologers have noted for several millennia that there are meaningful links between the planets’ movements and the rhythms of earthly life. They plot the position of the planets from the same starting point as astronomers and mariners do: using the 360 degree circle of sky from 0 degrees Aries or the Vernal Equinox (see image); this is where the sun’s path or Ecliptic (see image), in its movement into the Northern hemisphere in the spring, crosses the plane of the celestial equator.

Astrologers divide the 360 degree circle from 0 degrees Aries into twelve sectors of 30 degrees each, called Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and so on.

images

This frame of reference against which the planets are located, known as the tropical Zodiac, should not be confused with the constellations which originally gave the signs (or 30 degree sectors) of the Zodiac their names. By drawing up a map of the heavens (known as a Birth Chart or Horoscope) of a particular moment in time in relation to this tropical Zodiac, astrologers can draw a symbolic picture of anything or anyone born at that moment.

Uses of astrology

Thus astrology has many uses : eg in the business world, to help plot and understand market trends and economic cycles; in medicine, to provide clarification of individuals’ predispositions to particular health problems, and most useful modes of intervention; in analysing the inner meaning and outer manifestation of major events in the affairs of nations and the wider world; in choosing favourable moments to begin new enterprises; in the analysis of personal relationships; and in providing individuals with a clearer understanding of who they are, and why they  do the things they do.

Each of the planets symbolises a different archetypal force, a shaping principle. As the planets move in their ever-changing weave through space and time, so the shape, meaning and manifestation of the pattern of life shifts from minute to minute, day to day, year to year and epoch to epoch.

Along with many modern astrologers, I have come to think of astrology as another form of physics: basically, it charts, maps and times the shifting dance of the energy patterns of our solar system – then offers grave offence to minds of a limited, conventional  cast by ascribing meaning to those patterns!

Most people do not realise, however,  that the association of particular meanings with the movements of  specific planets has been demonstrated through empirical observation and recording of the heavens for over six thousand years – since the astronomer/priests of ancient Babylon first stood on their watch towers, scanning the stars.

Astrology’s symbolic language tells us that everything is connected, materially and spiritually  – we are all part of  the One.

The moving picture – Pluto

To illustrate this, let us choose the action of  the furthest out planet, Pluto, whose status has been downgraded recently. Try telling astrologers who work with deep collective and individual crises, as the energy of Pluto continues its weave in the planetary tapestry, that Pluto is of little consequence now! Continuing empirical observation of Pluto’s symbolic action does not support this view at all….

The planet Pluto represents raw, primal power, taking its name from the much feared mythical god of the Underworld. It  is connected with the processes of death and regeneration which keep the life cycle going at every level.

In Scorpio – plumbing extremes

Pluto was observed against the 30 degree band of sky known as Scorpio from its entry in 1982 until its exit in 1995. Both Scorpio and Pluto are connected to the deepest, darkest and most extreme facets of life: during this time, for example, we had to face the rise of Aids, famine in Africa, and a dredging to the surface of the most taboo issues, especially incest and child abuse. This period also forced us to begin to realise more clearly than ever before that, if we continue to abuse the Earth, we put our collective survival at risk.

In Sagittarius – expansiveness and greed

But things change. In January 1995 Pluto shifted into the 30 degree sector of sky known as Sagittarius. This sector is linked to the planet Jupiter, symbolising the urge to expand – in experience, knowledge, wealth, wisdom, and understanding of what life means. It expresses itself (amongst other related branches) through connections with Higher education, long distance travel, exploration of all kinds at all levels, the law and ethical structures, religious beliefs, the packaging of information to offer a better perspective on a bigger picture, and especially the willingness to gamble and take risks.

In the famous thumbnail description of the money markets being dominated by greed and fear, Sagittarius represents the greed end of that spectrum!

Pluto’s shift into Sagittarius brought us the biggest information packaging and disseminating system ever known to humanity – the Internet. Via stunning images brought back by the Hubble telescope, we have travelled to the outer reaches of our solar system and beyond. Recent advances in science and medicine continue to raise ethical issues on an unprecedented scale, regarding our tampering with the very basis of life itself and what the consequences may be.

The rise and spread of religious fundamentalism has dominated the period, with some devastating consequences most notably 9/11 in the USA. In our own little country the UK, the National Lottery became the focus for our hopes of greater wealth and a better life. The whole period has been characterised by unfettered optimism: from this arose collective and individual fiscal recklessness, with disregard for consequences on an unprecedented scale.

In Capricorn – facing consequences

Pluto traversed Sagittarius from January 1995 until the end of  January 2008 when it dipped into Capricorn for a few months, returning to Sagittarius in the middle of June 2008. As I write, with the money markets still in turmoil, Pluto is due to re-enter Capricorn on 28 November 2008, where it will then remain until 2024.

When the outer planets change signs, the energy patterns dominating our collective life also shift. What does this shift mean, in general terms? It means that the times of expansiveness, excessive optimism and risk-taking are now over. A more sober and cautious view of life must prevail as we face the consequences of our behaviour since the mid-Nineties.

Sagittarius is ruled by expansive Jupiter. Capricorn is ruled by stern and cautious Saturn, the planet of consequences, and represents the fear end of the greed/fear spectrum. Thus it didn’t require brilliantly perceptive astrological observation of this approaching shift, to be able to predict a major collective ice bath of realism at all levels. For example, the rumble of the impending train wreck of our collective financial arrangements could be heard during most of 2007. Then in 2008 came the crunch.

The sign of Capricorn, and its ruling planet Saturn,  is known for its association with prudence, realism and good judgement at one end of the spectrum – and fear, gloom, pessimism and harshness at the other. You cannot escape the consequences of your actions, is the message that this sign and planet bring.

All the help we can get….!

Pluto is about to traverse Capricorn for a very long time. The planet of purging and regeneration, Pluto’s movement is connected to the death of old forms so that something new and more constructive can arise. Knowing this may offer some insights to help us modify our wasteful and destructive ways for the better. As renowned astrologer Liz Greene observed some time ago in one of her seminars:
“ Saturn pushes us to separate out from what we are not – in order to become more fully who we are.”

We human beings urgently need all the help we can get from as many sources as possible to enable us to become more fully who we are: ie one strand, whose presence cannot be allowed to dominate the weave in the web of life. If we approach its wisdom in these turbulent times in an open and thoughtful way, the ancient language of astrology can aid us in developing a perspective appropriate for our times: one grounded in the humility and realism we need in the tough period which lies ahead.

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Endnote:

This is an updated and edited version of an article first published in Scotland’s Glasgow “Herald” as “The Cycles of Heaven and Earth” in November 1996. Copyright remains with the author.

Zodiac

Zodiac

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1800 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2008, 2017

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

Guest Slot : ‘Unruly Tricksters of the Twelfth House’ by Jude Cowell

The planet Mercury – my ruling planet – has certainly earned his tricksterish reputation in my life, never more so than when he turns retrograde, this time in Virgo. Just as he quit dancing around my 9 Virgo Ascendant, disappearing into the Twelfth House this week, I decided to re-visit some articles in my Writing from the Twelfth House blog, an archive since May last year. Just on cue, up popped one of the most frequently read posts on that site: all about trickster Mercury and the Twelfth House!

I love it when astrology does that…

Gorgeous Mercury

Mercury, by Praxiteles – isn’t he gorgeous?

So –I am delighted to be re- publishing this topical article by prestigious and prolific USA fellow blogger, my friend from Georgia, Jude Cowell. During that season of three weeks (13/8 – 5/09 2017) when the ultimate planetary trickster, Mercury, turns retrograde and challenges us all with communication conundrums, Jude poses and answers a few mercurial conundrums of her own…

” Having astrology’s trickster planet, Mercury, or Mercury-ruled Gemini or Virgo, associated with one’s natal twelfth house can be quite a ‘tricky’ proposition for anyone to manage.

When one considers the unconscious nature of the twelfth house and Mercury’s rulership of our thinking and communicating processes, the picture becomes fraught with possibilities for confusion, doubt, and awkwardness.

In fact, in similar fashion to this blog’s creator and author, the gracious Anne Whitaker, I am communicating with you from the twelfth house right now, with sixteen degrees of a mercurial sign directing the show from behind the curtain.

As you know, repressed energies of the twelfth house (12th h) are identified by planets posited there, and by those which are connected by sign and aspect to the house of Self-Undoing and Karma, the 12th h of the Unconscious.

But when fleet-of-foot Mercury is involved, we can be certain that unbidden thoughts will frequently float up into consciousness from the watery depths of the Neptunian realms of the unconscious – some useful and to be acted upon, others not as useful and to be disregarded.

Mysterious Mercury

Mysterious Mercury

A 12th house Mercury may give a tendency to talk to oneself, and the old caution that it’s ‘okay as long as one doesn’t answer back’ may be moot with Mercury involved in the house of the Unconscious – for talk back the trickster will, and often out loud at the most inappropriate times or in awkward ways.

“Foot-in-mouth” syndrome is a common manifestation of the predicament of having connections between the Unconscious psychological 12th house and our thinker-communicator planet.

Plus, ‘The Fool’ card in the Tarot deck illustrates neutral Mercury’s brash characteristics quite well as he/she haplessly opens mouth to insert foot – and usually at the worst of moments…the ‘speak first, think later’ tendency.

Yet that is where Astrology can aid us in understanding these mercurial 12th house dynamics and learning to make productive use of them so that we don’t mistakenly shoot ourselves in the very foot we placed in our mouths. Now that would be a definite ouch!

Directing mercurial 12th house energies outwardly into the wider world may produce a writer or other type of artisan who draws upon knowledge from the collective unconscious and expresses it on behalf of mankind, while remaining the private sort of person that a mercurial 12th house requires.

But before projecting them outwardly, it’s important to replace self-defeating attitudes (such as the repeating loop in our heads of mother’s old discouragements: “oh, you can’t figure that out,” or “what would you know about it?”, etc.) with a more positive attitude; for after all, neutral Mercury can ‘go either way’ – so why not take the high road? Especially since we know that decision-maker Mercury, in his Hermes disguise, is the mystery guide at the crossroads of life, isn’t he?

So aspects to planets in, or associated with the 12th house (or its cusp), show us how and where to use these repressed, unconscious energies to best advantage by ‘tricking the trickster’ and turning them into the talents they truly are.

And developing our verbal and non-verbal creative work is one of the better ways to manage these unruly mercurial scamps of the 12th house while benefiting the collective simultaneously; attempting to push these energies further beneath the oceanic 12th house surface only causes them to fester and become even more distorted than they were from being stifled during childhood by the adults around us who had their own 12th house issues to deal with. And perhaps they didn’t manage it as well as we, with Astrology’s instruction, may now.

So rather than setting ourselves up for subliminally undoing ourselves from the unconscious 12th house, I say: let the 12th house trickster breathe freely, romp with the other kids, take up his quill or paintbrush, and reveal mercurial insights for the benefit of all! “

Zodiac

Zodiac

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(Written for Anne Whitaker to use, with Jude Cowell’s  permission)

700 words Copyright Jude Cowell /Anne Whitaker 2017

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

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Check out Stars over Washington for Jude’s outspoken astrological and political commentaries on USA’s current affairs….and Jude Cowell Astrology for her varied astrological writings.

Jude Cowell

Lifelong artist Jude Cowell is a native of Athens, Georgia and an Astrology novice since 1996. She attended Atlanta College of Art in her younger years where she studied Fashion Illustration, Layout, and Design, and has exhibited her artwork in Athens, Augusta, and Atlanta, Georgia. She now displays her colored pencil drawings exclusively online.

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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)

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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

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

Astro-Guide for 2017

Can’t quite believe it is the first day of February! I THINK I am now coming round from a particularly dozy January – not helped at all by a long bout of winter flu or whatever the hell it was…

I greatly appreciate the efforts of those colleagues who every new year, compile most helpful lists of the major planetary events. Last year, I posted Leah Whitehorse‘s very comprehensive list. This year, my thanks to that wonderful resource The Astrology Podcast: here is their list. I have mine printed out and pinned up on my office wall. Hope you find it useful!

Zodiac

Zodiac

Main Signatures for 2017

  • Leo eclipse in August, and that axis shifting from Virgo-Pisces to Leo-Aquarius in general.
  • Venus retrograde in Aries/Pisces, echoing back to 8 years ago.
  • Jupiter-Uranus opposition off and on most of the year.
  • Final phases of Saturn in Sagittarius, followed by start of Saturn in Capricorn.
  • Saturn-Uranus trine
  • Jupiter-Neptune trine

Full List of Major Alignments for 2017

  • Mercury direct at 28 Sagittarius January 8
  • Jupiter stations retrograde at 23 Libra February 6
  • Venus stations retrograde at 13 Aries on March 4
  • Saturn stations retrograde at 27 Sagittarius on April 5
  • Mercury stations retrograde at 4 Taurus on April 9
  • Venus stations direct at 26 Pisces on April 14
  • Pluto stations retrograde at 19 Capricorn on April 20
  • Mercury stations direct at 24 Aries on May 3
  • True Node moves into Leo on May 9
  • Jupiter stations direct at 13 Libra June 8
  • Neptune stations retrograde at 14 Pisces June 16
  • Uranus retrograde at 28 Aries on August 3
  • Mercury retrograde at 11 Virgo on August 13.
  • August solar eclipse everyone talking about.
    • August 21
    • Occurs at 28 Leo
    • Shadow moves over entire continental United States
  • Saturn stations direct at 21 Sagittarius August 25
  • Pluto stations direct at 16 Capricorn on September 27
  • Mercury stations direct at 28 Leo on September 5
  • Jupiter moves into Scorpio on October 11
  • Saturn moves into Capricorn on December 20.
    • Preceded by a Mercury retro in Sag that stations direct around same time.
Questions, cosmic questions!

Questions, cosmic questions!

And ” What does it all mean?” is sure to be the next question. Well, astrology students out there, go and work it out for yourselves! If you want some help in doing so, there are many excellent astrology sites who will be reflecting from varying perspectives, on what the complex planetary picture for 2017 is likely to symbolise for us at both a collective and a personal level.

Here are a few for starters:

StarIQ

The Mountain Astrologer Magazine and The Mountain Astrologer Blog

Astrology News Service

The Horoscopic Astrology Blog

Enjoy your research! – and do leave any useful information pointers on this topic which you may wish to add, in the comments section. Thanks and all good wishes for  2017 to everyone!

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450 words copyright Anne Whitaker/The Astrology Podcast 2017

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Some thoughts on retro Mars, Saturn – and Muhammad Ali

Well, folks, transiting Mars is retrograding over my Scorpio IC/South Node, transiting Saturn retro squares my Ascendant/Descendant whilst transiting Neptune hovers there. Jupiter in Virgo transiting the First House, opposing one of these and squaring the other,  is persecuting me with billowings of detail and admin which I can’t be bothered doing…I have a series of posts on the Nodes lined up, waiting to be edited, but can’t seem to get around to it.

Aaaargh!!!

In short, I am being incredibly, uncharacteristically, lackadaisical. 

Anyone else out there feeling like this? Don’t all of you rush to tell me at once. On second thoughts, my  guess is, you can’t be bothered. But never mind…Mars goes direct at the end of June, catching up with himself by 22nd August 2016. Saturn goes direct on 13th August, catching up with where HE left off by 20th November 2016. That interminable Saturn/Neptune square will make its last exact point on 10th September 2016 and start to wane thereafter.

So, by December 2016 we should all be demons of frantically focused forward motion. Or maybe we will all wait until the New Year…

Anyway, I thought I’d keep you informed and entertained by a fellow astrologer who, if  affected by the above, is not in nearly as bad a state as I am! On the day of Muhammad Ali’s passing last week, I asked my husband, who is not an astrologer, what he thought was The Greatest’s Ascendant.

“Leo – absolutely!” he replied. How right he was.

Here, whilst I get around to eventually regaining my bearings ( by next week, hopefully!)  is Christina at The Oxford Astrologer‘s fine analysis of the incomparable Ali’s horoscope. I’m sure you will enjoy and appreciate it.

Muhammad Ali: Leo Rising

Zodiac

Zodiac

300 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page