Tag Archives: Zodiac

The Leo/Aquarius eclipse season 2017-2019: setting the bigger context…

The Nodal axis travels backwards through the zodiac at 18 months per sign, pulling twice yearly solar and lunar eclipses with it as it goes.

The final eclipse of the Virgo/Pisces season fell on 26th February 2017 at 8.12 Pisces. That season began on 20.3.2015 with a solar eclipse at 29.27 Pisces.

The new Leo/Aquarius eclipse season started just after midnight (GMT) on 11 February 2017 with a lunar eclipse at 22.28 Leo – running right through to the last in the season, another lunar eclipse at 0.52 Leo on 21.01.2019.

Solar Eclipse 9.3.16, Indonesia

Solar Eclipse 9.3.16, Indonesia

What does it all MEAN, though? A quick trawl through google will reveal dozens and dozens of astrology sites offering all kinds of opinion. It seems that we humans still get excited by eclipses, which have been dredging up fear, excitement, anticipation and predictions since the earliest days of civilisation if not earlier.

I can still clearly recall the fuss, during the last Leo/Aquarius eclipse season, over the Big Solar Eclipse of August 1999, which picked up on a great deal of collective fear as the Millennium approached. Predictions, from the end of the world as we knew it to Paris going up in flames, ran rampant. As you may have noticed, the world is still here, and we still have Paris. If you’d like to read what I wrote about it all then, just click HERE.

Making sense of eclipses

How, then, do we make sense of eclipses and relate them to our own lives in ways which are going to be useful? There are choices to be made regarding this question. My own view, for what it’s worth, is that getting worked up about individual eclipses is all very well, but we need to put some kind of context in place for the information we extract to be of much value.

The biggest possible context is that of placing the 2017-9 Leo/Aquarius eclipses  in the context of the Saros Series of eclipses, which run in vast energy waves from North to South across the globe, repeating every 19 years, for varying periods of up to a thousand years or more.

Each eclipse belongs to one of the Saros Series families of eclipses, each of which has a specific core meaning rooted in the very first eclipse of that particular series. If you want some in-depth research by Dr Bernadette Brady, the book to acquire is “Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark . A free 17 page download introducing the Saros Series is also available from her website HERE.

If you don’t quite have the time, energy or inclination to pursue this truly fascinating context, then the next one to consider in which to set this  Leo/Aquarius season, is the 18.6 year returning cycle of the Moon’s Nodes, which governs the appearance of both solar and lunar eclipses.

(For readers who need to be brought up to speed regarding Nodal basics, check out Wikipedia on The Lunar Nodes for the astronomy, and Cafe Astrology for a typical explanation of the Nodes’ symbolic meanings.)

As the Nodal axis regresses through the chart, identifying via the highlighted houses the overall territory up for change, the transiting eclipses function as “battery chargers”, gradually building up the energies of our lives in preparation to receive major change.

An image  comes to mind here from the female menstrual cycle, of the egg gradually being primed and prepared until it is at its maximum point of readiness to receive the male sperm, conceive and begin new life. I think the eclipses begin their work of charging-up as soon as the relevant eclipse season begins, which may be as long as eighteen months before the turning point(s) in  life appear.

Life changing times

The really powerful “major” times in life are characterised by not just one or two, but a cluster of transits and/or progressions involving the natal, and/or progressed, and/or transiting Nodes.The outer planets, especially Pluto with its strong “fated” feel,  stand out. To read the research on which I based those conclusions, you can download my book The Moon’s Nodes in Action for free.

A powerful recent example of this can be seen from the the Virgo/Pisces season, which began on 20.3.2015 with a solar eclipse at 29.27 Pisces, and ended with another solar eclipse on  26th February 2017 at 8.12 Pisces.

As the Moon’s North Node retrograded through Virgo, pulling the eclipses with it,and connecting with the Saturn/Neptune square which transited 10-15 degrees of  Sagittarius/Pisces from November 2015 to its last exact square in September 2016, those powerful, difficult energies triggered the natal Uranus conjunct Pluto in Virgo opposite Chiron in Pisces natal configurations of people born from 1963/4 right through to 1968.

Many people had a particularly difficult time during 2016 as a consequence of being ‘plugged-in’ to this energy pattern combining natal planets, Nodes, eclipses and Pluto and producing events of a life-changing nature in many cases. I saw this in a number of clients’ charts and lives, in members of my own family – and their challenges directly impacted on me, since I have 9 Virgo/Pisces as my Ascendant/Descendant degrees.

The dominant transiting pattern for 2016 was Saturn in Sagittarius, squaring Neptune in Pisces. Everyone with planets/Asc/MC/ Nodes/Chiron in the early to middle degrees of the mutable signs triggered by this Saturn/Neptune square would have found 2016 tougher than usual, with family of origin pain, loss, low energy, confusion re life direction, and often, health issues in the mix.

What lies ahead for this 2017-9 Leo/Aquarius eclipse season?

Leo Lunar Eclipse 11-2-17

Overall, the birth chart for the starting eclipse of this season looks altogether more buoyant than the preceding Virgo/Pisces one. For starters, Nodal/eclipse energies are moving from earth and water to fire and air, lightening things up and bringing in greater potential for moving forward as a result of creative opportunities coming our way through group contacts, if we are ‘plugged-in’ to the Leo/Aquarius axis via planets in our birth charts.

As can be seen from the above chart, there is a Grand Kite pattern draped around a Jupiter/Uranus opposition.  As the Nodes and eclipses regress through Leo/Aquarius, they will be picking up that opposition, and Uranus’ trine to Saturn, sextile Jupiter, for much of 2017.

So – a combination of restless desire to break new ground via the Jupiter/Uranus opposition, held in check by Saturn and offered fruition by the Jupiter/Saturn sextile,was the prevailing Nodal/eclipse pattern for 2017. Since the North Node always pushes us to be the best we can be, and this North Node is in Leo, have a good look at the pair of houses which will be highlighted in your horoscope by the North and South Nodes and their attendant solar and lunar eclipses.

These are the areas continuing to be up for major change as 2018 unfolds.

Good luck with it all! And feel free to leave feedback. That’s how we go on learning…

Zodiac

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1150 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Jupiter in Scorpio: some musings on astrology’s scary delights…

One scary delight of being an astrologer is the opportunity offered to see one’s own transits and progressions shaping up. Opportunities for second guessing the Universe’s intentions are ever present. This can get tiring…

I clearly recall a day in November 1998, the day I realised, as opposed to having merely noted, that Neptune would enter Aquarius at the end of the month – thereby commencing a long series of oppositions to my five twelfth house Leo planets (or six by equal house, take your pick…) which would not complete until Neptune entered Pisces in 2011/2012.

I reacted by doing what I suspect many enlightened people do when offered useful warning of serious upcoming challenges: yelled ‘waaah!!’ to myself, pulled a metaphorical duvet over my head (so far, so Neptunian…) and carried on regardless.

It took from 2001-2008 to recover from the prolonged family crisis and energy burnout which followed. I did not return to work until 2012. However, all clouds do indeed have their silver lining: I wrote two books whilst lying on the sofa with the laptop, caught up on 30 years’reading, and got onto the web in 2008 via my first blog “Writing from the Twelfth House”. I also learned something absolutely essential for persons with an overload of Leo: the world – somehow–  could manage to cope wonderfully well in my absence.

This year 2018 finds me once again in an especially interesting, possibly scary place: progressed ruling planet Mercury at 21 Scorpio, having stationed on natal third house Jupiter at 20 Scorpio, turned retrograde at the end of January. For the rest of my life. It’s proving an interesting Jupiter Return – not yet completed… 

I’ve been trying to approach the whole issue rather more intelligently this time than I did when Neptune was sending a mini tidal wave my way. One of the things which has arisen is an inclination to delve back into that third house Jupiter in Scorpio territory which has been the core landscape of my whole life since very early childhood.

The mystery of where we came from, where we go when we leave this world,  and what the Big Picture may be, has always preoccupied me to a far greater degree than the majority of more sensible people, most of whom prefer to dwell on more concrete and less threatening matters. Grappling with that mystery led me eventually to astrology.

On a recent visit to London, whilst visiting the iconic Watkins bookshop, I chanced upon a deeply thought-provoking book re-appraising that vast territory, the Super Natural (as they title it), by writer Whitley Strieber and professor of religion Jeffrey J. Kripal from which the following quote is taken:

“…The more deeply we plumb the psyche, the deeper the well appears to go. Somewhere down in there, it would appear that there is a place where the line between the physical and nonphysical blurs, where imagination and reality somehow converge, and events unfold that are not yet understood at all. It is the realm of Jeff’s ‘imaginal’, where the electrons of thoughts somehow converge into the molecules of things. But how? The mind knows, but not, perhaps, in ways that it can articulate…(i)…”

It struck me immediately on reading this passage that six thousand year old astrology is the language which has always been available to us for both exploring and articulating the imaginal realm as well as the realm of the practical and the everyday.

I am most grateful, however, to the insights which have arisen from what little I understand of quantum physics. As mentioned in my recent Progressions article in the UK’s Astrological Journal, modern science has demonstrated that we live, move and have our being as part of a vast energy field which dances between order and chaos, in invisible patterns which would appear to hold 4 % matter, 23 % dark matter, and 73 % dark energy together in a vast cosmic web.

With  Mercury by progression stationed retrograde on third house Jupiter in Scorpio, I can feel my mind being drawn back into re-reading and re-evaluating my relationship to myth, religion, symbolism, contemporary science, the Super Natural as termed by Streiber and Kripal, Jungian psychology and of course astrology.

I am grateful to astrological writers and thinkers of the calibre of Bernadette Brady, Armand Diaz, Kieron le Grice, Richard Tarnas, and Phoebe Weiss, to name a few of my own recent favourites, in the help they have provided me in thinking through what I have long seen as complementary lenses: the astrological world view and that of the weirdly paradoxical world revealed by quantum physics.

I want to learn more, in more depth, about the 96% of that vast energy field which science has told us is there – but which the procedures of scientific reductionism, centred on the 4% about which we DO know, seem to be able to tell us very little.

Wish me luck on the journey –  enjoy your own Jupiter in Scorpio plumbing expeditions, and feel free to report back…!

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Endnotes:

(i) Quotation from The Super Natural a new version of the unexplained by Whitley Strieber and Jeffrey J. Kripal: P283, from a chapter called Mythmaking (Whitley Strieber)

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This is a slightly edited version of my 15th Not the Astrology Column featured in the November/December 2017  Issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver.

Zodiac

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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

Answering a challenge: “Is it true that REAL astrologers do not charge for their services ?”

One of the delights of running a regular astrology site  – especially one called Astrology: Questions and Answers ! – is the ensuing dialogue with emailers and commenters. Some of it can be quite testing, as this recent enquiry, from ‘Horoscope, revealed:

Is it true that REAL astrologers do not charge for their services as it is against the code to take profit out of a gift from God to help people? I read this and saw a medium on tele say it.  In these circles it is donations given based on good work. Is this true at all?

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ashwintrivedi.com

ashwintrivedi.com

Dear Ms/Mr/ X (I am assuming ‘Horoscope’ is not your real name)

this interesting question strongly suggests that you associate the practice of astrology with the practice of mediumship. They are two separate activities. Thus a comment on how mediums operate cannot usefully be applied to the practice of astrology. Before getting down to discussing the issue of payment of fees for any professional service, be that professional an experienced lawyer, doctor, accountant or astrologer, it might be useful for you to know, very broadly speaking, what astrology is.

Popular star sign or sun sign astrology is the most well-known kind. Perhaps that is the type you had in mind? This astrology functions largely as popular entertainment, in which the point of reference is the twelve Sun or Star signs under which individuals are born, depending upon the time of year, eg Scorpio, Aries, Leo, etc.The predictions offered on the basis of this limited focus entertain millions of people across the world on a daily basis.

However, popular astrology can only give a general picture; it’s like trying to tell the story of a complex play with reference to only one character on the stage, ie your Sun sign. To get a view of all the characters on the stage of your life, you need a map which an astrologer draws of the heavens for the particular time, and place as well as the day of your birth.This map, horoscope or birth chart can then be used, via the position of all the planets on that day, as a tool to describe, as lucidly as possible, the different characters on the stage of your life and how they interact with one another.

The key thing people gain from an astrology reading, in my view, is confirmation of who they actually are, along with their strengths and weaknesses, their difficulties – and their gifts. It gives them more confidence and courage to be themselves. It is a very powerful and potentially spiritual experience to have a stranger, who knows nothing of you, describe your essential qualities accurately from a map drawn of the heavens for the moment you entered this world.This helps you to see that we are all interconnected and part of the One, whatever name you choose to give that vast, indescribable Mystery.

Regarding qualifications and training, I have a university degree and three post-graduate diplomas, the third of which involved three years’ travel to and from London in order to meet the stringent requirements required to obtain my Diploma in Psychological Astrology in 1998. This included one year of mandatory personal therapy in order to have the experience of being a client myself.

I am not alone in having made considerable efforts and allocated a great deal of time and money to becoming skilled and competent at my profession.Whilst not wishing to speak for my colleagues, all the astrologers with whom I associate are well-educated people of considerable intelligence and integrity who share the same core values as I do regarding the importance of treating our fellow human beings with sensitivity and compassion. We owe this to those who come looking for help and clarification, often at turning points in their lives. Their experience, and mine, is that an astrology reading can be of considerable assistance.

And now, about money….

In the process of being useful people in the world, astrologers, like anyone else, need to eat, put a roof over their heads, and bring up their families. We also need to pay for our office rent, professional indemnity insurance, professional supervision and organisational memberships – as well as the many other expenses involved in running a professional practice. Ms/Mr X, are you suggesting that we should live in this world and practice our profession without charging realistic fees to cover our living costs like everyone else? I do hope not.

In conclusion, thank you very much for asking your question. It has provided me with an opportunity to give readers a window into how responsible, professional astrologers actually operate.

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Endnote:

This post was re-published as my 7th Not the Astrology Column in the May/June 2016  Issue of the UK’s Astrological Journal, edited by Victor Olliver.

Zodiac

Zodiac

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800 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

Jupiter through Scorpio: an old cycle ends, a new one begins…

Anyone feeling restless, dissatisfied, antsy, looking for a new goal, ready for a new adventure? If you are, it could be that you are ending an 11-12 year phase which began the last time Jupiter was in Scorpio. If you are around 23/4 years old, or 35/6, or 47/8, 0r 59/60, or 71/2, or 83/4 – it’s you I am talking about. You were born with Jupiter in Scorpio – as I was – and you need a new project. 

However – Jupiter, having gone retrograde early in March 2018, is now in mid-Scorpio again, not due to go direct until early in July. He will not emerge from Scorpio’s deep, dark waters until early November’s entry into Sagittarius. This radical shift from water to fire should bring energy and inspiration to the beginning of a new 11-12 year Jupiter cycle. Personally, despite much learning from deep ponderings prompted by Jupiter’s return to my Scorpio third house, I can hardly wait for that new project to take form. As it will…but not yet…

Jupiter

Jupiter

In the meantime, a number of readers have in recent times asked me to write about the Jupiter Cycle. For new readers and old friends alike, here are my thoughts.

What is the Jupiter Cycle?

As ever, it is important at the outset of a general article to stress that one can only really judge in detail what the essence of any planetary shift is likely to be from consideration of the whole horoscope or birth chart. However, it is certainly possible to sketch out a broad picture which can offer some perspective: both to readers with some astrological knowledge, and to those of you with none who are curious to know more.

Each of the planets, travelling through the twelve signs of the zodiac as viewed from Earth, has a cycle of differing length. Pluto, currently in Capricorn, will take 248 years to traverse the 360 zodiacal degrees, returning to that sign long after we are all dead and gone!

Saturn’s cycle, on the other hand, is a much shorter 29/30 years. This is known as the famous Saturn Return, returning to the place it occupied at our birth when we are 29/30 years of age – inviting us all to grow up. 

Jupiter and Saturn together form a symbolic, complementary whole: as its cycle unfolds, Saturn helps us to be realistic and to set limits without which no maturation or growth can take place. Jupiter creates contrast and balance to this. It energises that optimistic, expansive part of us which reaches out to the pleasure of new experience, new learning and understanding. Its natural exuberance can make life a fun, joyful experience.

It can also cause us to over-reach our limits, expect more than life can realistically deliver. That facet needs to be watched carefully when Jupiter is very active in our lives…

Jupiter’s cycle is 11-12 years: 11.6 years to be exact. It’s an easy one to track, being accessible both to those of you who know some astrology and those of you who don’t. Everyone can track though their lives, measuring the Jupiter cycles: Jupiter returns to its location in your birth horoscope at 11/12 years of age, 23/4, 35/6, 47/8, 59/60, 71/2, 83/4 in a currently average lifetime.

What do we look for in the Jupiter cycle? In essence, the start of each cycle represents the opening out of a whole new learning period, whose archetypal purpose is to expose us to new experience, new learning – all kinds of travelling within both inner and outer life. 

Real life flesh on symbolic bones…

These experiences may and do vary hugely from one person to another, taking their flavour from the zodiacal sign and house in which Jupiter was located when you were born. It’s important to colour theory with some lively examples of what actually happens to real people when those shifts take place. I already have some interesting material to share. Let’s go!

 At 23/24 (Jupiter in Sagittarius in 9th house) you might take off to Australia to do a postgraduate Diploma in Adult Education. Your friend (Jupiter in Capricorn in 6th house) might not travel anywhere, but concentrate on mastering a new skill like carpentry which enables him after a few years’ apprenticeship to set up his own business.

In the meantime, my neighbour down the street (Jupiter in Cancer in 5th house) might marry at 23/4 and have three children in rapid succession before the age of 30. In a real-life example, “Alexa” said: “My second Jupiter return, aged 24, coincided with me buying a house – natal Jupiter is in Cancer, which is appropriate, of course, and the house was bigger (Jupiter) than we needed for just the two of us, so we could have space for lodgers.” 

These are very different branches, Jupiter in differing signs and houses of the zodiac at birth: but the same underlying principle of expansion and growth of experience, understanding, and (hopefully!) some wisdom, shines through them all.

You can also detect the archetypal lifelong themes provided via Jupiter’s placing by sign and house in your personal horoscope, as you follow the Jupiter cycle’s unfolding throughout your lifetime. For example, I have Jupiter in Scorpio in the third house of my natal horoscope. It’s not hard to work out from this (and Jupiter’s strong links to most of the planets in that horoscope!) that an intense preoccupation with gathering and sharing all kinds of information and placing it in contexts which expand one’s understanding of life’s deeper meanings, might be rather important to me…

The Jupiter cycle: unfolding in one lifetime

At 11-12, I passed the “Quali” (the long defunct Scottish entrance exam to determine one’s level of entry to secondary education). At 23-4, I completed a post-graduate Diploma in Education, having already been an adult education teacher for two years. At 35-6, I studied for and passed my first astrology qualification, the Certificate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (UK), prior to beginning a career as an astrologer.

 At 47-8, I began the Diploma in Psychological Astrology, studying with Liz Greene and the late Charles Harvey at the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London. In completing this course, I commuted by plane for three years, earning myself the nickname of “The Flying Scot”. The year after the 59-60 Jupiter Return,  I stepped into cyber-space via “Writing from the Twelfth House”my first blog, now a well-stocked, varied archive of articles on the broad theme of  “…mystery, meaning, pattern and purpose…”. My first book, a research study called “Jupiter Meets Uranus”, now e-published as a FREE download, was published the following year. And so on…

Perhaps this personal account will encourage you to track through a few of your Jupiter cycles, and see that there is indeed a thematic unfolding of a specific kind of experience…

Fate, free will…or what?

Moirai - the Three Fates

Moirai – the Three Fates

The question of what the balance is between fate and free will has preoccupied humans for millennia. It remains unresolved. However, as an astrologer it is important to have a view. Decades of astrological practice; much reading especially in recent years including what I can grasp of probability theory and chaos theory; my own efforts to become a more conscious person: these have all led me to the view (not original at all – many astrologers take this standpoint!)that there are certain givens in this life, as shown by the characters standing on a person’s life stage when the horoscope is drawn up. Those characters, the horoscope’s symbolic, archetypal patterns, are ours for life.

 However, the evidence of observation and experience appears to suggest this vital point: the more conscious we can become of what our motivations and drives are, and how they impact on our inner and external life, the wider becomes the range of possible avenues of expression to which we can have access in choosing how to make our particular life’s drama as positive and creative as possible. 

Bearing this in mind, let’s return to the Jupiter cycle and see how we might work creatively and consciously with its 11-12 year periods. 

Working with cycles

All life cycles, whether we at looking at a gnat, a human, or a galaxy, go through the same process: seeding, germinating, sprouting, flowering, ripening, harvesting, dying back in preparation for the new. So it is with the planetary cycles.

Think of the tiny monthly cycle of the Sun and Moon. The New Moon takes place in darkness. Only when that first magical waxing crescent appears after 2-3 days, does the energy of the cycle begin to build. After a week, first quarter, things are taking shape. At full moon, the cycle’s energy is in full light, at its most obvious. A week later, on the waning square, the Moon is shrinking, the month’s energy on the wane. Then the last, waning crescent precedes Moondark, those 2-3 days in which the energy of the completed cycle sinks back into the Void, waiting for the energy of the next New Moon to arise.

Applying the same template to the 11-12 year cycle of Jupiter, it takes a year or so for the initial upsurge of desire for new expansive challenges to stabilise and take definite form.

Jupiter in action: a real-life example

 Let’s use the person with Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 9th House as our example. At the age of 23, off she goes to Australia, completes her Diploma, and obtains a good teaching job in Melbourne. She works there for a couple of years, then relocates to Sydney (first quarter phase, Jupiter now in Pisces) since she wants to take up sailing and she has a friend there who runs a sailing school.

 Three years later (full moon phase, Jupiter in Gemini) she agrees to take on a teaching job at the sailing school where she has been a student. Another three years go by, and she begins to become dissatisfied and critical (last quarter phase, Jupiter now in Virgo). She is becoming bogged down in admin and paperwork. Not her style! 

She puts less and less commitment into her job, and after over ten years in Australia, she has itchy feet again (moondark). Nearly twelve years after arriving, full of enthusiasm, she is off to work in the Greek Islands. She has fallen in love with a Greek Australian and decides to return with him to his home island of Rhodes. She is nearly thirty-six years old. A new Jupiter cycle is about to begin…

Working with our Jupiter cycles

I’ve always found that astrology students and clients are fascinated when you consider their major cycles with them, as well as finding it helpful in understanding the unfolding pattern of their lives. The Jupiter cycle is a particularly easy one to which to connect. The rhythm of the cycle, looking back, can usually be tracked.

In the last year or two before a new 11-12 year period begins, one can generally perceive a certain dissatisfaction, boredom, loss of any great interest, and desire for a new challenge in the sphere of life indicated by the sign and house placement of Jupiter natally. If Jupiter is a very strongly placed and emphasised ‘character on the stage’, the overall effect is of course amplified.

With Jupiter in Scorpio in the third house, I clearly recall my boredom, restlessness, and desire for a new educational project towards the end of my fourth Jupiter cycle when I was forty-six or forty-seven. “Alexa”, with her Jupiter in Cancer, bought a house at the start of the second Jupiter cycle when she was twenty-four, “… bigger (Jupiter) than we needed for just the two of us, so we could have space for lodgers.”

Are you a year or two into a new Jupiter cycle? Or three years into it? After five or six years, the cycle is at its Full Moon phase, its peak of energy. By nine years, impetus generally is on the wane, and restlessness setting in. By the Moondark phase of the cycle, it really feels like time for a new project, a new venture. But you know, if you are familiar with this cycle’s rhythm, that it will probably be another year or so before the new idea has taken shape and translated itself into a fresh, exciting direction. 

One of the great gifts of astrological knowledge is the help it offers in setting our sails, metaphorically speaking, to the prevailing winds of our lives. It is useful to get to know your Jupiter cycle, in planning those times in life when your Spirit is calling you to open up your life to new experience. I do hope this introductory article has given you some useful food for reflection – and impetus to action!

It would be helpful in the meantime if any readers feel like sharing their experiences of Jupiter cycles. In this way, we all expand our understanding…Thanks!

Zodiac

Zodiac

2100 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

As Jupiter moves through Scorpio: life, death and planet Janet

Jupiter is now more than half way through his voyage in the deep, dark waters of Scorpio. In just over four weeks’ time, he will turn direct, speed up, and enter fiery, exuberant Sagittarius in early November this year.

Whilst trawling through the archives of my “Writing from the Twelfth House” blog, I came across some articles about facing mortality, and thought I’d share one of them here – death and dying are such fundamentally Scorpionic topics. As a culture, we are very poor at facing those harsh realities. 

Here are some of my thoughts, concluding with a short discussion on the subject between me and my dear, older friend Peggy. We share a very black sense of humour…

Baby Boomers are the first generation in human history to be able to rely on medical advances to prolong their lives considerably. They have, in effect, added on average more than a decade to the traditional, biblical ‘three score years and ten’ as a result of medical advances enabled by technology  – accelerating in particular since the start of the twenty-first century.

However, in the universe we inhabit, light and dark co-exist: one does not come without the other.

The shadow side of this striking gain in longevity is that death can now be put off for a considerable time, often resulting in – on average – eighteen years of deteriorating health with its attendant misery for the individuals involved, their families and friends. The economic realities of this are becoming more and more pressing. Western countries, on average, are dealing with a population as a whole who consume more in health care resources in their final six weeks than in the whole of their preceding lives.

Most of us can now quote several cases from personal experience or from hearsay, of individuals whose lives were painfully prolonged: by those individuals not having made their end of life wishes clear; by families’ general inability to communicate with one another regarding the painful and threatening question of the inevitability of death; and by the medical profession’s increasing focus on the technicalities of technology-expedited care, rather than the humanity, compassion and tough-minded realism required to enable people to have, as well as a good life,  a good death when the time comes that life has no quality left and there is only distress and suffering.

On the latter topic, I highly recommend surgeon  Atul Gawande’s wonderful book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End”. Here, the author  tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but  needs also to address the hard problem of how to assist the process of its inevitable ending: with greater humanity, care and wisdom than is all-too-often practised at the moment.

In the UK, as the assisted dying debate rages on, with around 75% of the population in favour of some form of assisted dying being legalised, increasing numbers of people are choosing to take matters into their own hands. For example taking themselves off to end their lives legally at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland –if they can afford to do so.

My husband and I have completed Advance Directives, stating clearly in writing what our wishes are – and are not– regarding medical care at the end of our lives. To this we have added Power of Attorney documents which give added weight to our Advance Directives. The latter at present have legal force in England but not in Scotland.

I also persuaded our GP to obtain Do Not Resuscitate forms, normally kept in hospitals, which we have included, signed by him. Copies of all these are now with us, our GP and geographically closest next of kin.

All this, of course, may not be enough if either of us is painfully and terminally ill. Palliative care should be fully available to everyone.  However,  anecdotal evidence –sadly – is building to show where such measures have failed or are inadequate. What would one, other, or both of us do then?

 I have to admit that, at present, I do not know the answer to that….I’ve also lived long enough to know that, often, you really can not know what you would do in a very tough situation until you are actually there….

A few years ago, before my husband and I had sorted out what we would do in terms of advance wishes, I had a discussion on the topic of what one does at the end of life with my dear friend Peggy. In her late eighties, she is still amazingly active, enjoys life, and continues to be a wonderful support to other people as well as a shining example to those of us coming behind her regarding how we should grow older. Peggy, of course refuses to be complimented – “Away with you!!’ is her usual retort.

I recorded our conversation, which is quite short, and have Peggy’s permission to share it. It has the usual mix of Peggy’s and my conversations: a rich mix of grave seriousness, black humour, and sheer irreverence.

I would be interested in any comments you have on this, the most challenging of topics… 

Anne and Peggy

Anne and Peggy on Life, Death and Planet Janet

Zodiac

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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

 

Ten Years on the Web – can this really be true?

19th May 2018 is the 10th anniversary of my very first blog post. That first blog was called Writing from the Twelfth House. It has been an archive since May 2016, despite which it is still visited surprisingly often – if you choose to drop by, you’ll find an eclectic range of articles, centred round the blog’s broad aim: 

“My site is here to support, encourage, inspire and entertain open-minded people who, like me, are exhilarated and amazed by the beauty and complexity of the worlds we human beings inhabit – and for those writers and readers who share my preoccupation with questions of  mystery, meaning, pattern and purpose.”

Writing from the Twelfth House

Writing from the Twelfth House

As you can see from the above image, very aptly the Moon is rising in the twelfth house, forming a dynamic Grand Cross with the Part of Fortune, Sun, Venus, Nodal axis, Chiron and Neptune. This powerful pattern picks up my Natal MC/IC /Nodes/Sun T-Square. The South Node is conjunct my natal Leo Sun, to the minute. Also, Pluto the 12th house ruler is in the first house at 0 Capricorn, trine Saturn at 2 Virgo in the ninth. Amongst other things, this I think signifies longevity and intense effort!

Talk about being pushed out of my comfort zone to offer something creative and inspiring ( Sag Rising…) from the twelfth house! I had no idea then how much would flow from that moment, how much writing I’d be doing, how many brilliant connections I’d be making…or what heartwarming feedback I’d be receiving.

By way of commemoration, and celebration, here is that very first post. It’s offered with a heartfelt thanks to all my readers, past and present. I’m sure you’ll notice, as I did on re-reading, how very apt the quote is for a blog called  Writing from the Twelfth House!

‘….I have a running joke with friends that I will then begin broadcasting to the world/three people in Outer Mongolia, as the case may be. If you are one of the Outer Mongolian Three I would love to hear from you in due course!

Since my aim is to inspire, how about this quote which I came across today in my reading hour:

“….in this journey of the spirit, I and others still walk that steep uphill road….And all our religious edifices, which serve first as staffs to help us on our way, in the end become crutches which we must discard….And the doctrines which we espouse and which we hold dear are only smooth shining stones which we pick up on the road and place in our baggage. With each new dogma and doctrine, the baggage grows heavier, until we discard these pebbles, one by one, leaving them on the roadside for others to find and carry a little further. And in the end we have need of neither doctrine nor creed, nor to name that which we worship – for it is beyond all image and words….” (i)

————–

Endnotes:

(i) Women in Search of the Sacred by Anne Bancroft (Penguin Arkana 1996) pp 120-121…’

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Zodiac

500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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

Some thoughts on the Astrological Houses: Placidus, Equal – or what ?

Sooner or later, it dawns on the student or budding astrologer that the method of dividing the inner space in a horoscope into twelve sectors or spheres of life, known as Houses, poses some problems.

Astrological Houses

Astrological Houses

Firstly, since there are a number of different house systems – click HERE for more detail on this – which should you choose?

Secondly, to a varying degree depending on your chart, planets can move house. In my chart, for instance, by Equal House I have no less than SIX planets in the Twelfth House. When I first saw my horoscope in  Placidus houses, one planet, my ruler Mercury, had migrated to the Eleventh. O joy! I need all the help I can get here, I thought then. But, as you will soon see, it’s not as simple as that…

Then there is a further problem. In Placidus, the MC/IC axis always defines the cusp of the Tenth/ Fourth Houses. If you use Equal House, the MC/IC axis can fall through any pair of houses from the 8th/2nd to the 11th/5th. How do you deal with that?

I have worked with only two systems over the years, i.e. the most commonly used ones in the UK – Equal House and Placidus. I used Equal House from the early 1980s perfectly happily, finding that the system worked well for me. Then I changed to Placidus in 1995. I didn’t choose it for any carefully thought through philosophical or practice reasons; it was simply the system used on the Diploma course I was doing. Now, in 2015, I am moving back to using Equal again. For philosophical reasons this time, as you will see shortly.

A class experiment

Ever since a small group of my ‘old’ students persuaded me to run a refresher class for them starting last August 2014, I have really enjoyed returning to astrology teaching. Those students were all very rusty, and wanted to cover the basics again. Inevitably, the question of house division came up. Having covered the core meanings of the houses in an introductory class, we recently spent a whole tutorial looking in more detail at the issue of house division.

The methods I adopted on this occasion were twofold: firstly, I gave the class copies of their charts in Equal House to compare with their existing Placidus charts. Then I drew up a grid, of which we all had a copy. This listed all the planets, Chiron and the North Node as well as the pair of houses through which the Equal House MC/I C axis ran. Thus we could see at a glance those features which stayed the same in both systems, and which ones changed. In some charts many features changed. In others eg mine, there was very little difference.

I have always taught astrology with every student having a copy of everyone else’s horoscopes, including mine. With permissions always asked and given before the start of a course, and appropriate emphasis on confidentiality, this way of working has been very effective. It creates each class as a kind of mini qualitative research laboratory, where astrological theory can be tested out there and then, observing to what extent it manifests accurately in the nuts and bolts of the everyday lives of those present. It is a model which makes for very lively teaching…

We worked our way round everyone in the small group, including me, discussing how interpretations might change, and most importantly, how much that mattered by potentially altering the emphasis on key horoscope themes.

For instance, the Moon in one student’s horoscope changed from the Placidus Ninth house (a location she really liked for her Moon, being both a teacher and an education junkie!) to the Tenth by Equal House, which emphasised the importance of her vocational/career life but not the dimensions of teaching and learning which are both Ninth House concerns. However, we pointed out to her that this didn’t really matter in terms of overall accuracy of interpretation; she really was very well endowed with Jupiterian energy anyway, given her Moon’s trine to Jupiter in Aries, as well as her Sun’s square to Jupiter.

This was just one example in which, whatever shift we saw of planets from one house to another, there was invariably an underlying strong theme in the birth chart, so that the emphasis being slightly shifted in one context made little if any difference to the overall accuracy of interpretation of the whole horoscope. Interestingly, more than half of our small group, despite my having worked with all students with Placidus from 1995, said that they preferred the relative simplicity of the Equal House system.

In my own case, although ruling planet Mercury moved from the sociable, group-oriented Placidus 11th House to join five other planets in the reclusive Twelfth by Equal House, I have an exact semi- square from Mercury to 10th House Uranus in both systems, Uranus also strongly aspecting the Sun and Moon, so the Aquarian/Uranian/11th house ‘tone’ remains strongly emphasised. That Mercury energy also flows from the Twelfth House to an exact sextile to Neptune, and a square to Third House Jupiter in both systems. So any reclusive tendencies brought by the move are well and truly restrained by other horoscope factors!

The students could see from our small experiment something which is fundamental to the accurate reading of any horoscope: strong themes will shine through, whatever way you divide up the circle. As U.K astrologer Robin Heath so memorably observed a number of years ago: “…astrology appears more and more to behave like a hologram. You can perform almost any technique with the data, turn the chart inside out or slice it up, and still the symbolic pictures remain….” (i) Both this statement and our class experiment bore out the conclusion at which I had  arrived some time ago. It doesn’t really matter much what system you use. What you get is the same overall picture…

Horses (Houses!) for courses…

I went on to outline the way some astrologers use different house systems for different purposes. Since the Equal House system is based on the Ascendant/Descendant axis which is the axis of “… here I am in relation to you… “, this system can be used when the client in their reading wishes specifically to address matters pertaining to relationship.

Since the IC /MC axis can be seen as an arrow flowing from the person’s deepest self and origins (IC) to their future direction (MC), then issues of roots, vocation and life direction are most appropriately contemplated, some astrologers think, via the Placidus lens since that system can be seen to emphasise the MC/IC.

Also, although I have never worked with the Koch system myself, I know that some astrologers swear by the accuracy of its house cusps in plotting transits and progressions.

The Equal House MC/IC “problem”

The placing of inverted commas above gives you a clue that I do not see the shifting placement of the MC/IC axis in the Equal House system as a problem at all. Quite the opposite. I think that working with the MC/IC axis against the backdrop of either the 2nd/8th, 3rd/9th, 4th/10th, or the 5th/11th adds a layer of richness to the interpretation of the MC/IC which of course should remain just as focal and important in the Equal House system as in any other where the MC/IC  is always the cusp of the 10th/4th Houses.

For example, I have often encountered clients or students with 2nd/8th backdrops in professions involving finance and collective money, those with 4th/10th backdrops have their strong life focus on career/vocation emphasised. With 5th/11th emphasised, you often find “creative” types who work co-operatively and collaboratively in the pursuit of their careers. And in my own case, the 3rd/9th backdrop is highly appropriate since writing and higher education have been central to all the diverse vocational paths I have pursued throughout my working life.

Equal House: the return

In conclusion, the students were very keen to know why I had decided to return to working with Equal House.  For giving me the final shove in that direction I have to thank Phoebe Wyss and her excellent recent book “Inside the Cosmic Mind” . I  would urge any astrology student or practitioner to read this book if they are inclined, as I am, to perceive astrology as a ‘top down’ art whose practice and interpretation reveals us as expressing in micro form, the shifting macro patterns of the whole cosmos.

In Phoebe Wyss’ own words:

“ Archetypal astrology is an approach to astrological chart interpretation that is based on this cosmological view. The meanings of the chart factors such as  zodiac signs, houses, and planets are then seen to derive from the twelve basic categories of meaning associated with the astrological archetypes. These fundamental cosmic principles and their inter-relationships are symbolised in the geometry of the zodiac…”(ii)

Wyss’ book – which builds on the recent work of Richard Tarnas, Kieron Le Grice and other pioneers in the field of archetypal cosmology – has taken me back and re-grounded me in the basic geometry of sacred numbers, whose symbolism reflects the core shaping principles or archetypes governing the movement of energy throughout the whole cosmos. The number twelve is one of those sacred numbers.

From that symbolic, geometric perspective, dividing the inner space of the horoscope symbolically into twelve equal parts seems more appropriate than using any other house system, including Placidus, whose devising arises purely from measurements limited by the view from planet Earth in relation to the solar system in our tiny corner of space/time 

Endnotes:

(i) The Mountain Astrologer, Issue 78, April/May 1998, Letters p 11

(ii) Inside the Cosmic Mind, Phoebe Wyss, Floris Books 2014, p 93

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Zodiac

  • 1600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015/2018

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