Tag Archives: Zodiac

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…’

**********

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

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Zodiac

  • 1600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015/2018

    Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Revisiting Pluto as he dredges through Capricorn …

We all have stand-out moments. For me – as for many astrologers – hearing that Pluto, symbolic Lord of the Underworld, had been demoted to a mere ‘dwarf planet’ was one of those. I felt a deep shiver of apprehension. Did those scientists on 24th August 2006 understand at more than a material level what they were doing? The ancient Greeks knew all too well about the sin of hubris. It does not do AT ALL to disrespect the gods…

Pluto - Lord of the Underworld

Pluto – Lord of the Underworld

Shortly afterwards, Pluto abandoned his season of blithe excess during his traverse of ‘leap first, look later’ Sagittarius from 1995, and entered sombre Capricorn, settling in from 2007/8 until 2023/4 to the long job of ruthlessly dredging up and showing us the consequences of institutionalised greed, political short-termism – and disregard for the very Earth on which we depend for our survival. We are having to face all that now…

All a column can do is offer brief engagement with this hugely complex topic. However, with transiting Pluto in Capricorn currently sextiling my third house Jupiter, I have been revisiting my fascination with Pluto’s profound power.

The Big Collective Picture

Pluto’s cycle is nearly 250 years long; he last occupied Capricorn from 1762-1778, the time when the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions were gaining traction. As that cycle ends, we are seeing another revolution beginning with the shift from an Earth-based global economy to one which is increasingly being run from cyber-space. Pluto enters the air sign of Aquarius in 2023/4, following the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction at 0 Aquarius at the end of 2020. We are turning away slowly from exploiting the body of the planet for our energy sources.

Big Oil, your days are numbered…

Stepping down to the smaller picture, the USA is moving towards its Pluto Return in 2022/3 at 27 Capricorn. As such, a process of death and transformation of the old order is already under way. The Trump presidency with all that it has brought and threatens, is an excellent example of this process…

Pluto in recent times has also been having his way with the UK’s 9 Capricorn IC,10 Capricorn Sun and 14 Aries/Libra Nodal Axis. There is more to come as he opposes the UK’s 19 Cancer Moon. This has brought ‘Brexit’: the UK’s momentous decision to leave the European Union. My Nodal research (1) has shown that any combination of Pluto with the Moon’s Nodes and the natal, progressed or transiting horoscopes of either nations or individuals, brings with it very significant endings: the old order bulldozed away so that new life can eventually emerge.

My own nation of Scotland illustrates that. Pluto in recent times has combined with Uranus in Aries to dredge and batter the MC, Venus and Sun. As Pluto crossed Scotland’s 15 Capricorn North Node in 2014, we had a referendum in which 84% of the population voted by a decisive majority not to separate from the UK. However, following the UK’s ‘Brexit’ vote, another Scottish referendum may be likely; Uranus is currently on his last transit of Scotland’s 26 Aries Mars, later to be followed by a Pluto square to that incendiary planet…

Pluto’s destructive but deeply transformative power can be witnessed in personal lives too, as astrologers across the world would affirm. Individuals can work with this planet’s awe and fear-inspiring energies in a deeply satisfying way: the radical psychological x-ray of a good reading at the right time can be profoundly alchemical. 

Pluto transits are slow. We have time to work constructively with this life-changing energy. Paradoxically, individuals may thus have more free will in the face of Pluto’s fateful demands than nation states do.

A personal story

I can offer a powerful example. My mother died suddenly, and my husband took up serious mountain climbing, in the summer of 1992. Transiting Pluto was then squaring my natal Sun/Moon conjunction from the third house. I reacted to both those events with a great deal of fear that my husband was going to die in the hills (he didn’t!).This led to much anger, conflict and resentment, mostly on my part, which could have seriously damaged our relationship.

However, some astro-research via the ephemeris showed me that transiting Pluto had last triggered my Sun/Moon conjunction when I was three years old. My father left my mother then, apparently causing me a great deal of distress. I have no conscious recollection of this trauma. It was only acknowledged in my twenties, by which time my parents had long been reconciled.

Old buried pain, grief and separation anxiety was being re-dredged by the Pluto transit in my adult life; I was projecting it onto my husband. That was a hugely powerful, freeing insight. Sharing it enabled him to understand why I was so upset, considerably diminishing his resentment. It also enabled me to own my fears, take back my projections, and work with them – both with my husband and in my journal.

He could then go to his beloved hills without having to struggle with me in order to do so. Meanwhile I channelled my considerable third house Plutonian energy into travelling to London to complete my studies with Liz Greene at the Centre for Psychological Astrology. So – working with Pluto’s tough challenge led gradually to a deepening of our relationship and a win/win situation for both of us.

Without the insights which astrological knowledge offered, and our willingness to work with it, the outcome of that fateful Pluto transit might have been very different: a repeat of my parents’ past, perhaps…

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Endnotes:

(1) see The Moon’s Nodes in Action downloadable for free from my website.

This slightly edited version of my bi-monthly column for Dell Horoscope Magazine first appeared as  ‘The astro-view from Scotland’ in the September 2017 Issue.

Zodiac

950 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Dell Horoscope Magazine 2018

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

Sellieve’s Question: should we mention possible death as a transit’s outcome?

Astrologer Sellieve Neptune has form when it comes to asking me challenging questions! But I appreciate them; it is part of the job of experienced teachers and practitioners, in my opinion, to attempt to guide and support younger members of our profession in the tough but rewarding process of becoming grounded, responsible, effective and compassionate practitioners. A vital part of that evolutionary process is the recognising of both our own limitations – and those of the art of astrology itself.

My last post, on Chiron, produced a considerable amount of reaction and response. At the end of the following extract you will find Sellieve’s question, which I assume was prompted by the following powerful example:

“…A long time ago – I no longer have the chart or notes for reference but still remember the situation – a woman with Chiron conjunct her Moon consulted me not long after her 50th birthday. Chiron had recently returned to that natal conjunction. I recall that Saturn by transit was also probably involved. I asked her whether there was a difficult issue currently involving a key female in her life, and she said yes, that her mother-in-law to whom she had been very close had recently died and she was having difficulty getting over this loss; her deep grief seemed to her to be out of proportion.

I then asked if she had had a similar loss in the first year of her life. It turned out that her own mother had died when she was less than a year old, and that she had felt bereft of mothering until her mother-in -law came into her life, hence her great difficulty with the current situation. Both the client and I were deeply moved by how powerfully the Moon/Chiron symbolism had spoken on Chiron’s return to its natal position. But realising this also helped the client to make more sense of the depth of her grief, and hopefully to process it more consciously…”

From Sellieve: While reading this, it dawned on me that someone I know will have transiting Chiron conjunct their moon after their Chiron return, and their mother might die when this transit happens, not sure if I should tell them or how to counsel them thru this? I’m welcome to hear anyone’s thoughts.

From Anne: Sellieve, once again you’ve raised an ethical question which deserves a considered reply outwith comment boxes.

That ancient basic guideline which we share with all the caring professions is still: ‘Do no harm’.

Introduction

We can describe clearly to our clients the essence of a planetary combination eg Chiron/Moon by transit: but the branches which arise from that core essence are many and varied although all tie back to the core theme/s. So we are not in any position to select one branch and offer it to the client as a possibility – or even worse, a definite outcome! –  if it is something which may raise fear/be undermining or damaging.

It is another matter when (as in the example I gave in this post) the client brings a branch which for them has manifested as a death. It is then our job to help them explore this event in such a way that they gain some understanding, and are able to go forward feeling empowered rather than undermined. 

Working with a client’s Chiron Return

My recollection, regarding the example quoted above, is that I sketched out a core description of transiting Chiron returning to a Chiron Moon Saturn combination, by saying something to this effect: “Your natal pattern is certainly challenging: it can manifest along a spectrum of possibilities from maternal separation or loss of some kind and the need to heal from that wounding, to having a mother whose disciplined professional work as a healer of some kind –perhaps a medical practitioner – absorbed more of her time than you as a child felt was enough to meet your needs.

This might have had the effect of making you emotionally self-sufficient, or the pattern might indicate that you were drawn to the healing professions yourself. But you will need to tell me how it showed and shows up in your life. I can point the camera at what the shot is, but you will need to do the fine tuning to bring your actual picture into focus. What’s your feedback?”

At that point, she told me that she was in fact a nurse – and that her own mother had died in the first year of her life. I then asked her, looking at Chiron’s return to that pattern, whether anything connecting to that early loss had happened in the last few months. She replied that her mother-in-law, to whom she had grown very close, had died recently, triggering her overwhelming grief which she seemed unable to deal with.

We were then able to look at how this recent death had opened the floodgates, as it were, to very old bewilderment, pain and fear still unresolved from her own mother’s death which she could now begin to see was finding its expression in her adult life through the death of her beloved mother- in-law.

Our discussion helped her to put her current circumstances into a more comprehensible perspective, and I was able to refer her on to a very experienced bereavement counsellor since she felt that she needed to do some old grief work on her past as well as on the present.

What could Sellieve do?

So, Sellieve, I think you could  – assuming that the person you mention is a possible client, coming to consult you formally – sketch out in broad terms what her particular Chiron pattern may be, then ask her for feedback so that you can work together on the information she feeds back to you. You could then find out what her current circumstances are in relation to her mother – or indeed key women in her life, or her own emotional state, and take the Chiron Return discussion from there. In my experience, you follow the client’s lead, and judge what you say – or do not say – according to that.

I would certainly not offer the possibility that the client’s mother might die, and if the client, her mother or any of her female friends have serious health issues at this time, I would not venture to discuss any medical condition but refer the person on to an experienced medical astrologer and/or a medical practitioner. It is so important for us to know our limitations, and work within them. That’s why I consider it essential for practising astrologers to have at the very least some formal counselling training, and professional supervision with an experienced colleague.

I hope, Sellieve, that this necessarily limited discussion has at least opened out some of the issues you presented, and given you some pointers.

Last word to Donna Cunningham

I’d like to give the last word to the late Donna Cunningham, generous friend and mentor to many of us, whose input into the series on ethics I did a few years ago on this blog was very much appreciated:

donnafaintbuddhabtr72-hart

 

 

 

 

“…We live in very difficult times, and the world at large is in turmoil. The transits are difficult ones, too. Many astrology clients are fearful about their future but hope for good news, while astrologers struggle to make helpful predictions. Sometimes, however, the things we say can leave them even more anxious than they were before. What, then, would be a healing and empowering perspective on the concerns they bring to a session?

It’s extremely important that astrologers and their clients both understand astrology’s limitations. Natal chart features and transits to them may suggest what’s going on, but they do not set the outcome in stone. Any given placement or combination has many expressions—some challenging, some positive, yet all related. There’s no way of predicting precisely how people will express those features, for much depends on their character, history, spiritual evolution, and choices. What a consultation can do is to help them become aware of their options.

Most of us work from the heart and do the best we can to help our clients. As in any service field, the better prepared we are to understand their emotional responses—and our own—during the session, the better we can serve…”

Zodiac

Zodiac

1400 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Donna Cunningham 2018

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

Why is the zodiac sign of Virgo called the virgin?

Why is the sign of  Virgo called the virgin?

Virgo

Virgo

This question raises the interesting issue of how the usage and meaning of words changes from one historical period/cultural phase to another. Within our current culture the word virgin when applied to humans generally means sexually intact. However, in ancient times when matriarchal religions were practised, the word virgin and the astrological sign of Virgo held a deeper and more complex set of meanings.

For example, the priestesses who served the ancient virgin goddesses Atargatis and Artemis were anything but virgin in our contemporary sense of the word. They were women who belonged to themselves and the goddess(es), whose duties to the temple were paramount and who owed allegiance to no particular male partner. Indeed, it was commonplace with those priestesses who had children to foster them out. They were too busy with their sacred duties to have much time for motherhood.

(Virgo’s contemporary association with perfectionism, attention to detail, and devotion to work began a very long time ago!)

The eminent astrologer, writer and teacher Dr Liz Greene expresses the essence of what the sign Virgo is about in her “Astrology of Fate” p 215:

“….this issue does not deal solely with sexual matters, but embodies an entire view of life….I would understand it more as an openness to the flow of life, a willingness to trust the natural order, an acceptance of penetration and change….”

In the chapter “Myth and the Zodiac”, pp 211-220, Liz Greene offers a very full account of the complex, paradoxical mythology and symbolism connected to the sign of Virgo. I commend it to you!

If you’d like to read some more factual aspects of this topic, try this Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgo_(astrology).

Zodiac

300 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2018

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