Tag Archives: Uranus

What happens when Uranus, Neptune and Pluto cross the I.C?

I’m often asked about what clients/students can expect when the biggies, ie Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, cross the Imum Coeli or I.C. Well, here is an account of one person’s experiences, ie mine! Do not worry, those of you in the throes of one of those heavy duty, life changing transits. I’ve had all of them cross my I.C and I’m still here…( as far as I know…)

Although this article was written and published in the mid/late 1990s I thought it was worth posting again on “Astrology: Questions and Answers”.. for my new readers. It’s been the most-read-ever article both here, and on my other blog, now an archive,  ‘Writing from the Twelfth House‘.

It would be most interesting, and educational for other readers, if any of you felt like sharing YOUR experiences regarding any of those great collective planets crossing the I.C. point.

******
Liz Greene once wryly observed in one of her seminars that, if you wanted a relatively quiet and peaceful life, you should arrange to be born when the outer planets were as far away from the personal planets and Angles as possible. I wish! say many of you reading this, as indeed does the writer, who has all the outer planets bolted onto all the personal planets and has had anything BUT a quiet life. (Encouraging note for the similarly challenged – I’m not young any more,  but I’m still here –more or less! – and pretty happy with what I have been able to make of my time on this earth to date).

In similar vein, many people – depending on the horoscope yielded by their particular date, time, and place of birth – will never even experience one of the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto crossing their IC ( for non-astrologers reading this, the IC symbolises the point of origin, roots and core of a person’s life).

However, I have had the lot – and am still here to tell the tale. Here it is….

The Underworld - Ancient Egypt

In the Underworld, Ancient Egyptian style…

In my horoscope the IC is conjunct the South Node at 28 degrees of Scorpio. Pluto, its ruler, is placed in the twelfth house conjunct Mercury, Saturn, Venus, Moon and Sun in Leo. As a child I would lie in bed watching the roses on the wallpaper turn into malevolent  faces as daylight faded; I had to make bargains with them before they would let me sleep.

I read voraciously, and particularly recall the works of Victorian novelist H Rider Haggard whose myth-steeped descriptions of his characters’ adventures in Africa last century fascinated me. But da Silva, the Dutch explorer whose frozen body was found centuries after his death in a cave high up Mt. Kilimanjaro, transferred himself from “King Solomon’s Mines” to the wardrobe in my bedroom, on and off, for a couple of years. Getting to sleep was no mean feat with an imagination like mine!

King Solomon's Mines First Edition

King Solomon’s Mines

My ‘real’ life – eating, sleeping, going to school – was incidental to my inner life which was full of what I felt were the really interesting questions : why are we alive, where do we go after death, do we live on several planes of existence at once, what is happening in other galaxies, if there are x million Catholics and even more Buddhists and Hindus, how come they are all Wrong and Damned and a few thousand members of the Free Church of Scotland are Right and Saved ?

And what would happen if you unwrapped an Egyptian mummy and I wonder if I could make a shrunken head like the Jivaro Indians and why did people paint pictures on cave walls thousands of years ago?

These were the issues which preoccupied me for years. No-one knew about them except my maternal grandfather. He had spent time taming wild horses alone in the middle of Argentina before World War 1, and in later life was the only Church of Scotland missionary to visit ill or injured foreign sailors of all religions in the local island hospital, despite the disapproval of the Free Church. “We are all God’s children”, he would say firmly to his critics – and to me. He died when I was eleven, after which I spoke to no-one until I grew up and left home about anything which really mattered.

As Pluto squared 12th house Venus, Moon and Sun, then crossed the IC conjunct South Node from 93-95, what was left of my family of origin fell apart in a particularly painful and tragic way. I had to make choices in order to protect myself from the destructive urges of other family members which involved separation from loved ones which is probably permanent. The major decision I made during those years was that the blood tie does not give others the right to destroy your life. I was indeed fortunate in having an astrological framework, which helped to provide a meaningful context for the pain.

As part of trying to process what was happening, I decided to compile a family history, returning to my native island to collect some oral material from old people who knew my family back a couple of generations. The day I sat down to write it up, transiting Pluto was exactly conjunct the South Node, within half a degree of the IC.  During the same week, I looked back through some old writings of my own, finding two unpublished pieces.

The first was written in July 1970, six months after the start of Neptune transiting the IC. I had no knowledge of astrology then…….

“…….My sister and I decided to take the dog and walk from our house, just outside the  town, to a beach very exposed to the sea, well beyond the harbour. It would be a long walk, but it was a beautiful briskly windy sunny day – snatched from the usual bleak incessant rains of  a Hebridean July.

We took a curving route through the town, then via an outlying district overlooking the navigation beacon. This landmark had winked its electric eye reassuringly at the mouth of the harbour for as long as I could remember. Approaching the district cemetery, my sister walked on by, but I slowed down, never having passed through its gates. Only men attended funerals in the Outer Hebrides when I was growing up.

“The sun is shining on the dead today!” I called to my sister. “Let’s go and pay our respects.” She wasn’t too keen. “Have you ever visited Granddad and Granny’s grave?” I asked.

“No,” she said. ” I suppose we could do that.”
We pushed open the heavy creaking gate. The graveyard, beautifully tended, sloped gently down to within a few hundred yards of the sea. I realised that I did not know where my father’s parents lay.

” I remember where Daddy said it was,” my sister said. “Follow me. With our English name, it shouldn’t be difficult to find.”

Our  paternal grandfather had been posted to the Outer Hebrides before the First World War, meeting our grandmother on his first trip ashore. English gentlemen were a great rarity in these parts; very desirable “catches” to aspiring island girls like Granny, who had by all accounts been a handsome, strong and wilful young woman. He was well and truly caught; apart from a period of war service he remained in the Outer Isles for the rest of his long life.

His death devastated my grandmother. They had been married for fifty two years. I remember sitting with her in her bedroom, she who had always turned herself out so elegantly propped up in bed, an old singlet of my grandfather’s failing to conceal her droopy, withered breasts from my young eyes. Up to then I had never known the desolation of not being able to console another human being – or that old people ever cried. She wept and wailed and moaned, repeating:
“I don’t want to live any more. What’s the use, what’s the use now he’s away? “

Live on she did, doggedly, for nine years, lightened only by a late addition to the family. I was fifteen when my brother was born. Granny was eighty two, and half way senile. The child was called Frederick, after Granddad; as the novelty wore off Granny slipped into senility, a querulous fractious husk, and finally just a husk, and a medical miracle, carried off at eighty six with her fourth bout of pneumonia.

I was at university when she died, having become so distant from her by then that  I felt nothing but a vague sense of relief ….

“I’ve found it !”
I had fallen behind my sister in my reverie. She was standing about twenty yards away; I hurried to the spot. It was a plain, simple grave. A low railing ran round it. The headstone was in sandstone, with only the facts of their births and deaths etched on it in gold lettering. Noting with satisfaction, which my grandmother would have shared, the absence of ‘fancy versification’, I stood and looked at the grave.

Without any warning, for I had felt quiet and composed, there was a rush and a roar in a deep silent centre of my being; a torrent of desolation and grief swept through me. I wept and wept and wept, quite uncontrolled.

There they were, half my being. Where had it all gone: the passion of their early love; the conception of their children; her sweat and blood and pain as she thrust my father into the world; their quarrels, silences, love, laughter, loneliness and grief; their shared and separate lives? And this was it. On a hot beautiful day with the sea lapping on the shore and the seabirds wheeling and diving, a few bits of cloth and bone under the earth, an iron railing and a stone above.

I was not weeping just for them. Overwhelmed by  total awareness of my own mortality and that of all human beings before and after me, I had never felt so stricken, so vulnerable, so alone.” (i)

The second piece, however, written in the autumn of 1971, at the end of the Neptune transit to the IC, whilst Neptune was 0 Sagittarius, shows that something else was now emerging from the underworld which would offer me inspiration and support :

(The ‘pibroch’ referred to is the music of lament played on the Scottish bagpipes)

“ It was a clear autumn evening. Peter called just after seven; he was going out to practice some pibroch. Would I like to come along? It was a rare time of balance – in the weather, in the satisfaction of work which was still new enough to be stimulating, in the fact that Peter and I were falling in love.

Peter drove several miles out of town, winding slowly up deserted country roads to a hill above a small village. Taking out the pipes he began to blow them up, and after much tinkering began to play. To avoid distracting him, I strolled slowly down the road. Peter was standing on a bank of grass at the top of the hill; on his left was a little wood. On the other side of the road was a ditch thick with whin bushes.

Beyond the ditch was a rusty, sagging fence; on the far side of the fence, smooth, mossy moorland dotted with whins, their vivid yellow colour fading into the deepening dusk. In the distance I could just see the  Highland hills, purple and rust, gathering shadows in the autumnal twilight.

Venus Rising

Venus Rising

A myriad of stars, taking their lead from Venus, was growing bright with increasing intensity. A mellow harvest moon was slowly rising, casting a glow on the hills. The air held a hint of cold. I could feel the melancholy music of the bagpipes flowing through me like a magical current.

Reaching the foot of the hill, surrendering myself completely to the intensity of the moment, I lay down in the middle of the road. Spreading out my arms, I gazed up at the stars.

A gentle breeze blew over my body, soughing through the reedy grass. Drifting with the music through the night sky, slipping away from awareness of myself or the present, I was a timeless spirit of the air, travelling the vastness of space on the notes of the pibroch. An unobtrusive rhythm, a pulse, began to beat; growing more and more steady, it became a whispering message in my mind :

‘ There is nothing to fear,’  it said. ‘ There is nothing to fear.’

An image of my lying dead, under the earth, came to me. Such images, occurring at other times, had filled me with panic and disgust. Now, there was none of that. I could gladly have died at that moment; my flesh would return to the earth and nourish it, my spirit would soar to infinity. The pulse continued, flooding me with its light :

‘ There is nothing to fear, nothing to fear, nothing to fear….’

At that point of spiritual ecstasy, I felt the absolute reality of my soul.

Such a moment might have lasted a second, an hour, or a hundred thousand years; but the music ceased, and the chill which was gradually taking over my body drew me back gently into the present…….” (ii)

The knowledge that such a vitalizing sense of connectedness was possible, glimpsed during the above experience, kept me going through the long struggle to believe that  life had an overall meaning, and to find my own way of offering my energy creatively in the years which were to follow.

When Uranus crossed the South Node/IC in 1980/81, I began to study astrology,thereby fulfilling a prediction made by an astrologer I had casually encountered in a laundrette in Bath in England in the early 1970s. I also met, moved in with and later married my partner – his Scorpio Moon is conjunct my IC and South Node, and he has an Aquarian Sun and Venus. All very appropriate symbolism for the timing of the Uranus IC transit !

His steadfast support, combined with the deep awareness of teleology which many years’ practice of astrology brings, have been vital for my personal and professional growth and development from the time Uranus crossed the IC until now, (ie end 1995-early 1996) as Pluto moves off that point.

When Pluto was still transiting the IC, but from Sagittarius, I applied and was accepted for a major astrological study course. The very day that Pluto was exactly on the South Node and about to cross the IC for the last time saw me beginning the first year of study. I felt a powerful sense of standing on firm inner ground after the turbulence and trauma of the last few years – of being in the right place at the right time, of having done what I could, for now, with my family inheritance – of being ready to move on to the next growth cycle.

Now that the outer planets have crossed the IC and moved into the Western hemisphere of my Horoscope, I feel liberated from much of the pathology of the past, and  more able to use directly in the world the undoubted creativity inherited with it. Nor do I need any longer to make bargains with the shadowy figures who emerge when the light of day is dimming….

Endnotes:

This article was most recently published on Astrodienst in 2017

i & ii : Both extracts have been published both together and separately  in several articles in the USA, the UK and  Australia, eg in “Of Cerberus and Blackest Midnight Born” which appeared in the UK’s Astrological Journal, 1996,  and was then reprinted in Considerations magazine (USA) in the same year.

and –

“Of Cerberus and Blackest Midnight Born” is a quote from ‘L’Allegro’ by the English poet John Milton

Zodiac

Zodiac

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2600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014/17/18

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

Jupiter opposes Uranus, Boxing Day 2016: Bring it on!!

On Boxing Day, 26.12.16, we have a dose of dynamic disruption for our world community and for those of us ‘plugged in’ via our horoscopes to 20-27 degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn: the first of three exact opposition aspects on 26 December 2016 (20 Aries/Libra), 2 March 2017 (22 Aries/Libra), and 28 September 2017 (27 Aries/Libra).

The Jupiter/Uranus combination can represent the very best in human aspiration, exploration, inventiveness and the sheer exuberance of being alive. However, arrogant conviction of their own rightness when working together can make this combination inflammatory, hubristic and downright destructive. We should therefore see both the positive and negative sides of this unique combination during the Jupiter/Uranus opposition year ahead.

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Jupiter meets Uranus – from http://www.cainer.com

I have form when it comes to astrological obsessions! During the 1997-8 conjunction year when those two planets met at 5-6 degrees Aquarius, I ran a research study into the lives of 17 people whose charts were ‘plugged in’ to the above numbers, set in the context of world affairs at the time. The resulting book, vividly depicting their extraordinary year, was published in 2009 by the American Federation of Astrologers. The Jupiter/Uranus cycle is 14 years long: during the subsequent conjunction in Pisces/Aries during 2010-11, my Jupiter/Uranus obsession struck again, resulting in further research, this time conducted via the Web. Once again, a new group of 10 trusty volunteers had a year like no other. I published all this research in one e-book in 2015: you can download it HERE for free, with my compliments.

Whilst we wait to see what this especially dynamic, disruptive Jupiter/Uranus opposition year will bring, I thought I’d whet your appetites by re-posting the article I wrote in 2010, ten days before the second Jupiter/Uranus meeting (the first, at 0 degrees Aries, occurred on 8.6.2010) : by this time, the key themes were taking clearer form, and as we have seen in the last 6/7 years, have unfolded (allied with the longer-term Uranus/Pluto square in Aries/Capricorn) in a way which has radically changed our world.

Enjoy the read – and any comments always welcome, especially personal feedback regarding your Jupiter/Uranus experiences!

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“…You don’t have to be a very sage astrologer to work out that one of the likely backdrops to this upcoming 19th September 2010 Jupiter/Uranus conjunction at 29 degrees Pisces (the second of three in Pisces and Aries during 2010/11) is going to be that perennial sustainer, challenger, inspirer, executor and persecutor of the human race – religion –  as a new 14-year cycle unfolds.

And sure enough, it is shaping up in bold primary colours already.

A major row has been rumbling in the USA since the end of August 2010 over the proposed location of  a Muslim religious centre close to the site of Ground Zero. Check out HERE:

Last week the UK’s most prominent and respected scientist Stephen Hawking grandly announced that God was not necessary in coming up with an explanation for the origins of the Universe. This could be found in the laws of physics. The book “Grand Design”, set for release on September 9, has him saying: “because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing….”

New Hubble Image: Carina Nebula

In recent days, it has become world-wide news that the pastor of a small church in Florida, Terry Jones, is planning a less than conciliatory act of remembrance of the 9/11 atrocity by burning 200 copies of the Koran on the 11 September. This plan has been roundly condemned from USA Secretary of  State Hilary Clinton downwards. See  HERE

(NOTE: it just caught my eye in Google’s news headlines as I was signing off after publishing this post and doing some emails, that the pastor in question has called off his protest. How interesting that this should occur on the very day that Jupiter slips from combative, fiery Aries into the soothing waters of Pisces….)

And here in the UK, that anti-messiah and self-appointed High Priest of Atheism, the scientist and polemical writer Richard Dawkins, had planned to arrest the Pope when he visits the UK during 16-19 September, just at the exact point of the second Jupiter/Uranus conjunction.

“Campaigners supported by Prof Richard Dawkins, the prominent atheist, had hoped to have Benedict XVI held over his supposed cover-up of child abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

But leaders of the Protest the Pope coalition now admit that the Pontiff cannot be arrested as Britain acknowledges him as a head of state, granting him sovereign immunity from criminal prosecution.” Read more

The fingerprints of the Jupiter/Uranus combination in Pisces are all over these events. First of all, Jupiter and Uranus are planets associated with the ‘masculine’ dimension of life regardless of a person’s sex: outgoing and action-oriented.

Then, if we think of the mythology of Jupiter and Uranus, we have the arrogant and combative Olympian god Jupiter, who was always right, enjoyed laying down the law, (fundamentalism anyone?) and who threw thunderbolts from Mount Olympus at unfortunate humanity cowering down below. His ally Prometheus (I follow the Richard Tarnas view that Uranus in action most resembles the Greek god Prometheus) was an innovator who taught humankind the great arts of astrology, science and music.

He also decided that the gods’ fire was just what the human race needed to make them all-wise and powerful (without actually consulting any of them to see if they wanted this equivocal gift!) and proceeded to steal that precious substance, hidden in a fennel-stalk. Unfortunately he got caught and spent eternity chained to a rock having his liver pecked out by an eagle.

As I point out in my book ” Jupiter Meets Uranus “ (AFA 2009, updated FREE e-edition 2015) the Jupiter/Uranus combination can represent the very best in human aspiration, exploration, inventiveness and the sheer exuberance of being alive. However, arrogant conviction of their own rightness when working together can make this combination inflammatory, hubristic and downright destructive. We should therefore see both the positive and negative sides of this unique conjunction during the Jupiter/Uranus year of 2010/11.

The Jupiter/Uranus combination works out of the ‘left field’ more than any other combination of planetary energies. Its cycle is 14 years long.

In 1969 Man stepped on the Moon for the first time under an exact Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Libra. In 1983 with the conjunction in Sagittarius, the world’s first artificially made chromosome was created at Harvard University. In February 1997 with the conjunction in Aquarius, Dolly the Sheep, the first cloned animal, was announced to the world.

2010/11 is gradually revealing unique developments too for good and ill: the Large Hadron Collider’s vast experiment and what it may reveal. Craig Venter’s company’s creating of  the first artificial living cell – using highly sophisticated computer technology. The worst man-made oil spill in history. Scientists making hubristic statements about spiritual matters which go inappropriately beyond their reductionist terms of reference. Religious (and anti-religious) fanatics behaving in ways that no-one could have guessed or believed…..

Bring it on, Jupiter/Uranus!

We are waiting with bated breath for more left-field events: with a mixture of  fascination, awe, humour (sometimes if you don’t laugh you just end up crying….) dismay and disbelief. Well, given that Pisces is involved, the word ‘belief” has to feature somewhere.

Zodiac

Zodiac

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12o0 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2010/ 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Questions and answers, astrology style!

I have done quite a number of interviews over the years, both in magazines, newspapers, and more recently on the Web. To entertain you on my return from a refreshing sabbatical from blogging, spent partly sitting staring into space, and partly travelling, here are a few of my favourite interview questions and answers…

Mumbo interviews Jumbo...

Mumbo interviews Jumbo…

What transit always shows up for you in surprising ways?

They all do, especially the long-lasting ones. The deep challenges that force our growth lurk in the realms of the unconscious, just waiting to hitch a ride on the nearest really tough transit. For example, I didn’t think that ten years of Neptune transits was going to involve an enforced descent into the Underworld for most of that period! However, the good news is that I emerged, much improved (unless you ask my husband….!)

What is your funniest transit or retrograde experience?

There are several, not all of which can be aired publicly! The one which comes immediately to mind is the occasion, in March 1985, when Saturn turned retrograde on my 28 Scorpio IC. In the middle of lunch with an old friend who at that time was a bank manager, without warning, I passed out. Just then, a friend of his, who was also a bank manager, was passing by the restaurant window. I came round and insisted on going home – very groggily, with a bank manager holding me up by each arm. Very Saturn in Scorpio, don’t you think?!

Would you rather be ruled by Uranus or Jupiter? Why?

What a question! Both those planets are strong in my horoscope, Uranus in the tenth house leading an eastern bowl shape, with Jupiter in the third closing the bowl, and the two in bi-quintile aspect. My Ascendant is also on the Jupiter/Uranus midpoint. However, if forced to choose I would go for Jupiter, provided the aspects weren’t too difficult. My reasons are probably dictated by the stage I’ve got to in life: that disruptive, eccentric, unpredictable, stubborn individualism characteristic of a Uranus-ruled life feels too tiring to contemplate now!

Jupiter’s boundless energy and optimism, ability to inspire others and be inspired by the more positive dimensions of  life, and willingness to be open to a sense of meaningful connectedness to that which is greater than oneself, are especially attractive to me at this point.

What advice would you give to someone learning how to read their own chart?

One, there are dozens of ways of evading personal responsibility – resolve at the outset never to do so by blaming your horoscope or your transits for your difficulties in life.

Two, realise that objectivity is something to be aspired to, which can never be achieved by mere human beings. This being the case, try to recognise that you can be most objective and therefore most helpful by reading the horoscopes of strangers, provided you have appropriate training and supervision. When approaching your own horoscope, or those of your loved ones, you will inevitably colour the planetary picture before you with your own hopes and fears.

Three, the illuminating light which is gradually cast as your understanding of  the symbols in your chart grows, will be wonderfully helpful in shedding light on your gifts, pains, motivations and aspirations. But bear in mind that possessing astrological knowledge has a shadow side – for example, I have never known anyone including myself who didn’t look at upcoming transits, especially of Saturn and Pluto, without a certain amount of fear.

To help my astrology students with this, I point out that 99.9% of the human race from the beginning of time has managed to stagger through life without the aid of astrology! So – enjoy the fascination of  deciphering the astrological map of your life. But don’t get too precious about it – and be aware that this wonderful knowledge has a double edge….

Zodiac

Zodiac

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650 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

What happens when Uranus, Neptune and Pluto cross the I.C?

I’m often asked about what clients/students can expect when the biggies, ie Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, cross the Imum Coeli or I.C. Well, here is an account of one person’s experiences, ie mine! Do not worry, those of you in the throes of one of those heavy duty, life changing transits. I’ve had all of them cross my I.C and I’m still here…( as far as I know…)

Although this article was written and published in the mid/late 1990s I thought it was worth posting on “Astrology: Questions and Answers”.. It’s been the most-read-ever article on my other blog ‘Writing from the Twelfth House’.

It would be most interesting, and educational for other readers, if any of you felt like sharing YOUR experiences regarding any of those great collective planets crossing the I.C. point.

******
Liz Greene once wryly observed in one of her seminars that, if you wanted a relatively quiet and peaceful life, you should arrange to be born when the outer planets were as far away from the personal planets and Angles as possible. I wish! say many of you reading this, as indeed does the writer, who has all the outer planets bolted onto all the personal planets and has had anything BUT a quiet life. (Encouraging note for the similarly challenged – I’m not young any more,  but I’m still here –more or less! – and pretty happy with what I have been able to make of my time on this earth to date).

In similar vein, many people – depending on the horoscope yielded by their particular date, time, and place of birth – will never even experience one of the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto crossing their IC ( for non-astrologers reading this, the IC symbolises the point of origin, roots and core of a person’s life).

However, I have had the lot – and am still here to tell the tale. Here it is….

The Underworld - Ancient Egypt

In my horoscope the IC is conjunct the South Node at 28 degrees of Scorpio. Pluto, its ruler, is placed in the twelfth house conjunct Mercury, Saturn, Venus, Moon and Sun in Leo. As a child I would lie in bed watching the roses on the wallpaper turn into malevolent  faces as daylight faded; I had to make bargains with them before they would let me sleep.

I read voraciously, and particularly recall the works of Victorian novelist H Rider Haggard whose myth-steeped descriptions of his characters’ adventures in Africa last century fascinated me. But da Silva, the Dutch explorer whose frozen body was found centuries after his death in a cave high up Mt. Kilimanjaro, transferred himself from “King Solomon’s Mines” to the wardrobe in my bedroom, on and off, for a couple of years. Getting to sleep was no mean feat with an imagination like mine!

King Solomon's Mines First Edition

My ‘real’ life – eating, sleeping, going to school – was incidental to my inner life which was full of what I felt were the really interesting questions : why are we alive, where do we go after death, do we live on several planes of existence at once, what is happening in other galaxies, if there are x million Catholics and even more Buddhists and Hindus, how come they are all Wrong and Damned and a few thousand members of the Free Church of Scotland are Right and Saved ?

And what would happen if you unwrapped an Egyptian mummy and I wonder if I could make a shrunken head like the Jivaro Indians and why did people paint pictures on cave walls thousands of years ago?

These were the issues which preoccupied me for years. No-one knew about them except my maternal grandfather. He had spent time taming wild horses alone in the middle of Argentina before World War 1, and in later life was the only Church of Scotland missionary to visit ill or injured foreign sailors of all religions in the local island hospital, despite the disapproval of the Free Church. “We are all God’s children”, he would say firmly to his critics – and to me. He died when I was eleven, after which I spoke to no-one until I grew up and left home about anything which really mattered.

As Pluto squared 12th house Venus, Moon and Sun, then crossed the IC conjunct South Node from 93-95, what was left of my family of origin fell apart in a particularly painful and tragic way. I had to make choices in order to protect myself from the destructive urges of other family members which involved separation from loved ones which is probably permanent. The major decision I made during those years was that the blood tie does not give others the right to destroy your life. I was indeed fortunate in having an astrological framework, which helped to provide a meaningful context for the pain.

As part of trying to process what was happening, I decided to compile a family history, returning to my native island to collect some oral material from old people who knew my family back a couple of generations. The day I sat down to write it up, transiting Pluto was exactly conjunct the South Node, within half a degree of the IC.  During the same week, I looked back through some old writings of my own, finding two unpublished pieces.

The first was written in July 1970, six months after the start of Neptune transiting the IC. I had no knowledge of astrology then…….

“…….My sister and I decided to take the dog and walk from our house, just outside the  town, to a beach very exposed to the sea, well beyond the harbour. It would be a long walk, but it was a beautiful briskly windy sunny day – snatched from the usual bleak incessant rains of  a Hebridean July.

We took a curving route through the town, then via an outlying district overlooking the navigation beacon. This landmark had winked its electric eye reassuringly at the mouth of the harbour for as long as I could remember. Approaching the district cemetery, my sister walked on by, but I slowed down, never having passed through its gates. Only men attended funerals in the Outer Hebrides when I was growing up.

“The sun is shining on the dead today!” I called to my sister. “Let’s go and pay our respects.” She wasn’t too keen. “Have you ever visited Granddad and Granny’s grave?” I asked.

“No,” she said. ” I suppose we could do that.”
We pushed open the heavy creaking gate. The graveyard, beautifully tended, sloped gently down to within a few hundred yards of the sea. I realised that I did not know where my father’s parents lay.

” I remember where Daddy said it was,” my sister said. “Follow me. With our English name, it shouldn’t be difficult to find.”

Our  paternal grandfather had been posted to the Outer Hebrides before the First World War, meeting our grandmother on his first trip ashore. English gentlemen were a great rarity in these parts; very desirable “catches” to aspiring island girls like Granny, who had by all accounts been a handsome, strong and wilful young woman. He was well and truly caught; apart from a period of war service he remained in the Outer Isles for the rest of his long life.

His death devastated my grandmother. They had been married for fifty two years. I remember sitting with her in her bedroom, she who had always turned herself out so elegantly propped up in bed, an old singlet of my grandfather’s failing to conceal her droopy, withered breasts from my young eyes. Up to then I had never known the desolation of not being able to console another human being – or that old people ever cried. She wept and wailed and moaned, repeating:
“I don’t want to live any more. What’s the use, what’s the use now he’s away? “

Live on she did, doggedly, for nine years, lightened only by a late addition to the family. I was fifteen when my brother was born. Granny was eighty two, and half way senile. The child was called Frederick, after Granddad; as the novelty wore off Granny slipped into senility, a querulous fractious husk, and finally just a husk, and a medical miracle, carried off at eighty six with her fourth bout of pneumonia.

I was at university when she died, having become so distant from her by then that  I felt nothing but a vague sense of relief ….

“I’ve found it !”
I had fallen behind my sister in my reverie. She was standing about twenty yards away; I hurried to the spot. It was a plain, simple grave. A low railing ran round it. The headstone was in sandstone, with only the facts of their births and deaths etched on it in gold lettering. Noting with satisfaction, which my grandmother would have shared, the absence of ‘fancy versification’, I stood and looked at the grave.

Without any warning, for I had felt quiet and composed, there was a rush and a roar in a deep silent centre of my being; a torrent of desolation and grief swept through me. I wept and wept and wept, quite uncontrolled.

There they were, half my being. Where had it all gone: the passion of their early love; the conception of their children; her sweat and blood and pain as she thrust my father into the world; their quarrels, silences, love, laughter, loneliness and grief; their shared and separate lives? And this was it. On a hot beautiful day with the sea lapping on the shore and the seabirds wheeling and diving, a few bits of cloth and bone under the earth, an iron railing and a stone above.

I was not weeping just for them. Overwhelmed by  total awareness of my own mortality and that of all human beings before and after me, I had never felt so stricken, so vulnerable, so alone.” (i)

The second piece, however, written in the autumn of 1971, at the end of the Neptune transit to the IC, whilst Neptune was 0 Sagittarius, shows that something else was now emerging from the underworld which would offer me inspiration and support :

(The ‘pibroch’ referred to is the music of lament played on the Scottish bagpipes)

“ It was a clear autumn evening. Peter called just after seven; he was going out to practice some pibroch. Would I like to come along? It was a rare time of balance – in the weather, in the satisfaction of work which was still new enough to be stimulating, in the fact that Peter and I were falling in love.

Peter drove several miles out of town, winding slowly up deserted country roads to a hill above a small village. Taking out the pipes he began to blow them up, and after much tinkering began to play. To avoid distracting him, I strolled slowly down the road. Peter was standing on a bank of grass at the top of the hill; on his left was a little wood. On the other side of the road was a ditch thick with whin bushes.

Beyond the ditch was a rusty, sagging fence; on the far side of the fence, smooth, mossy moorland dotted with whins, their vivid yellow colour fading into the deepening dusk. In the distance I could just see the  Highland hills, purple and rust, gathering shadows in the autumnal twilight.

Venus Rising

A myriad of stars, taking their lead from Venus, was growing bright with increasing intensity. A mellow harvest moon was slowly rising, casting a glow on the hills. The air held a hint of cold. I could feel the melancholy music of the bagpipes flowing through me like a magical current.

Reaching the foot of the hill, surrendering myself completely to the intensity of the moment, I lay down in the middle of the road. Spreading out my arms, I gazed up at the stars.

A gentle breeze blew over my body, soughing through the reedy grass. Drifting with the music through the night sky, slipping away from awareness of myself or the present, I was a timeless spirit of the air, travelling the vastness of space on the notes of the pibroch. An unobtrusive rhythm, a pulse, began to beat; growing more and more steady, it became a whispering message in my mind :

‘ There is nothing to fear,’  it said. ‘ There is nothing to fear.’

An image of my lying dead, under the earth, came to me. Such images, occurring at other times, had filled me with panic and disgust. Now, there was none of that. I could gladly have died at that moment; my flesh would return to the earth and nourish it, my spirit would soar to infinity. The pulse continued, flooding me with its light :

‘ There is nothing to fear, nothing to fear, nothing to fear….’

At that point of spiritual ecstasy, I felt the absolute reality of my soul.

Such a moment might have lasted a second, an hour, or a hundred thousand years; but the music ceased, and the chill which was gradually taking over my body drew me back gently into the present…….” (ii)

The knowledge that such a vitalizing sense of connectedness was possible, glimpsed during the above experience, kept me going through the long struggle to believe that  life had an overall meaning, and to find my own way of offering my energy creatively in the years which were to follow.

When Uranus crossed the South Node/IC in 1980/81, I began to study astrology,thereby fulfilling a prediction made by an astrologer I had casually encountered in a laundrette in Bath in England in the early 1970s. I also met, moved in with and later married my partner – his Scorpio Moon is conjunct my IC and South Node, and he has an Aquarian Sun and Venus. All very appropriate symbolism for the timing of the Uranus IC transit !

His steadfast support, combined with the deep awareness of teleology which many years’ practice of astrology brings, have been vital for my personal and professional growth and development from the time Uranus crossed the IC until now, (ie end 1995-early 1996) as Pluto moves off that point.

When Pluto was still transiting the IC, but from Sagittarius, I applied and was accepted for a major astrological study course. The very day that Pluto was exactly on the South Node and about to cross the IC for the last time saw me beginning the first year of study. I felt a powerful sense of standing on firm inner ground after the turbulence and trauma of the last few years – of being in the right place at the right time, of having done what I could, for now, with my family inheritance – of being ready to move on to the next growth cycle.

Now that the outer planets have crossed the IC and moved into the Western hemisphere of my Horoscope, I feel liberated from much of the pathology of the past, and  more able to use directly in the world the undoubted creativity inherited with it. Nor do I need any longer to make bargains with the shadowy figures who emerge when the light of day is dimming….

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i & ii : Both extracts have been published both together and separately  in several articles in the USA, the UK and  Australia, eg in “Of Cerberus and Blackest Midnight Born” which appeared in the UK’s Astrological Journal, 1996,  and was then reprinted in Considerations magazine (USA) in the same year.

and –

“Of Cerberus and Blackest Midnight Born” is a quote from ‘L’Allegro’ by the English poet John Milton

Zodiac

Zodiac

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2600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014/17

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Emily’s Question: What is the Saturn Return? Part 2

 Part Two: here we move from astronomical description to a discussion of the astrological symbolism, core meanings and varying levels of manifestation of the Saturn principle; ending with some concrete examples of people’s actual experiences at the Saturn Return point. And, of course, inviting YOU to offer some examples from your own experience.

Dark side of Saturn backlit by the Sun (NASA)

Dark side of Saturn backlit by the Sun (NASA)

Staying with the astronomy reveals to us where the symbolic meaning of the planet Saturn comes from. Until the 1780s when Uranus was discovered with the aid of modern technology, ie the telescope, only seven planets were visible to the naked eye: Sun, Moon (which is treated for symbolic purposes as a planet) Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Saturn thus for most of astrology’s history defined the farthest limits and the boundary of the known solar system. It was the ring-pass-not.

The astronomy passed into the mythologies of various cultures, in the West appearing as Saturn in Roman myth, Chronos in Greek myth. The figure of the stern old man, carrying a scythe with which to cut down humans who had reached the outer limits of mortality, long ago passed into popular culture where it still pops up in various guises.

In astrological symbolism, which has very strong ties with myth as can be inferred from the names of the planets in our solar system, Saturn became, in essence, the drawer of boundaries and setter of limits and definitions.

Thus everything in our world which does this: walls, bones(which hold us up), skin (which holds us in!), structures of all kinds, worldly status and position, all outer forms of restriction, are part of Saturn’s external portfolio of manifestation.

At an inner level, fears (which bring psychological limits and restrictions), the ability to set necessary psychological boundaries, determined refusal to be ground down by the world’s and other people’s restrictions, willingness to shoulder responsibility, having a grounded outlook based on realism, all belong to the wide range of characteristics and qualities which arise from the core meaning of astrological Saturn.

Even without knowing much astrology, you can probably already see from this the fraught nature of prediction!

In my view arising from long experience, a view shared by many other astrologers, it is more constructive first of all to describe to our astrology clients the core meaning of all the planetary symbols and their interactions. In this way they can get an essential grasp of what is taking place on their life’s stage, before we proceed together to explore the range of possibilities which can and do arise from each core meaning, and how the client may be able to move to more positive modes of expression.

The  return cycle of Saturn completes four key stages of development: age 7/8 years, 14/15, then 21/2, then 28-30.

The first stage represents the first steps towards more autonomy and independence from parents and family. The second takes this further, tying in with puberty and all the challenges accompanying it, including defining oneself more via the peer group and less with family of origin. The third should represent a further stage of developing autonomy via completing one’s education and entering the world of work and perhaps more committed relationships.

I hope, as we approach the end of this article, that you can now see why the fourth stage, ie the first Saturn Return at 28-30, is a major turning point in the process of becoming an adult: still (ideally….) connected by bonds of love and responsibility to parents and family, but having established an adequate degree of personal autonomy. It symbolises the completion of the first cycle of growth and maturation.

The determinants of the Saturn Return apply not just to human beings, the focus of this discussion, but to anything born in a moment in time and completing its first cycle of formation and definition.

Partnerships of a personal and business nature, marriages (does the seven-year itch now make more sense?!), friendships, educational institutions, Facebook, restaurants, yoga studios, banks, chain stores, you name it, all face the same essential challenges at each stage within the cycle as well as at its completion.

It is not possible amid the messes, fudges and failures of an average human life to achieve  perfect completion of any life stage. The point is to have made a good enough job of the Saturn Return transition to find yourself standing on a firmer and more realistic foundation to your life after the Return, than you had before it.

Coming back to the point I made that many branches can and do arise from the same core of any astrological symbol, people make changes or have changes thrust upon them which on the surface seem very different.

Here are some from my experiences of observing students’ and clients’ lives over the years: career changes, marriage/committed partnering, divorce, birth of a child, relocation to other countries, retraining, going back to education, religious conversion, loss of religious faith/atheism, retreat from the world for a period of time in different contexts, taking on promotions or greater responsibility. No doubt you can think of some more yourselves as you read this and think about the people you know.

In writing this article I have focused purely on the core features of the Saturn Return, which apply to everyone and everything born or begun. A great deal of individual fine tuning can of course be done with a properly drawn and calculated horoscope which needs the date, place, and vitally important TIME of birth.

You readers out there will, I hope, have your own variation on this core theme of separating out from what you are not in order to become more fully who you are. It would be great if you felt willing and able to share your experiences with this new learning community at Astrology: Questions and Answers.

AND – New visitors and Followers out there! Do drop by with your observations….. and, of course,  your Questions….on any astrological topic.

Zodiac

Zodiac

700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013

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