Wednesday 1 August 2018

The Quiet

Drawing back the arrow...

In the silence of oneself dwells a mystery. A mystery matched only by the stars in the heavens as they spin and dance their eternal story across the skies.

'Of spinning spheres that slowly dance in quiet beauty
More bright than a million sequins
And humming a tinkling sound of eternal ecstasy
With the longing, not for it to start
But rather never to finish....'   *

It's a quiet knowing, a feeling of belonging to and communion with the stars and the planets and the songs they sing, the stories they tell, the longings they evoke in the human as they etch their way across the skies above us. This for me is what I do. It's what I feel when I look at a nativity and see the life described there. The potential, the pain, the joy, the understanding it holds, and the depths.

Botticelli: The Mystic Nativity
We emerge from darkness and we return to darkness. Life is the learning to rise, walk, dance or collapse in the light cast on this Earth by the Sun. We are not afraid of the shadows, of the darkness. For many of us it is the place to which we return often for sanctuary. To escape the harsh light of the world, this civilisation which places a weight of expectation upon us that cleaves us from the womb of our existence. To read a nativity, to trace the notes of the planets and the music they write for each individual life, is to behold the matrix from which that life emerged. The first imprint on the psyche is not of the parents. It is the shock of the light. It is of those spinning spheres that cast their spell as the life emerges crying into the light.

I don't write often about astrology itself. I just want to read charts. To untangle the threads of life and weave them into some kind of coherence, to find the patterns in the confusion. We don't see the point or the purpose sometimes, the light of the Sun is too bright for us creatures of the dark. To live your Sun takes a lifetime, lifetimes of acclimatisation to its beams.

 We are all the same, you and I, dancing to the end of time.

*Frown Strong

Tuesday 31 July 2018

Mars Retrograde Reflections: Chiron in Aries

I wrote this article back in April when Chiron moved into Aries,  but didn't publish it mainly, I think, because I have a retrograde Mars and tend to retreat as soon as I've fired.  Direct use of martian energy makes me panic.  But this morning I've been dwelling on the whole notion of Mars retrograde, given the skies right now, so it seems apposite to post it. Always going back to go forward...:)

I found myself thinking about Mars this morning and had a sudden realisation about my own Mars, over which I've been puzzling for years. I'm not much of a doer, I have a retrograde Mars whose only aspect is a wide square to Neptune. I am full of great ideas  but the energy is rarely there to put them into action. I start things that never get finished, often because I get interested in something else, or the enthusiasm just fizzles out. So this morning I realised, well, that's who I am.  And that's how it's meant to be.

Even Ulving: Woman Reading
The problem is we live in a world where one is expected to be forever doing, moving, shaking, building career, blah, blah, and more blah. So those of us who are more internally focused end up with complexes about not being good enough; we feel judged for not being some kind of superwoman or superman. And I thought, how about just accepting ourselves and each other for how we are? You may be an outgoing world building gym bunny, and that's great for you (you probably have Mars conjunct your Sun) but to keep 'encouraging' me to join in because you think I'll be happier/healthier/more fun if I do, when all I want to do is study and think and dream, is really not helping. I've had an inferiority complex all my life because I haven't done what the world expects someone with my intellectual gifts to be able to do.  From a young age, in amongst the corporate jobs and social life, I used to yearn to live 500 years ago where I could be a solitary in a tower alone with my studies. And that's fine, because that is my nature. (And at my Saturn Return, that's the kind of life that presented itself, but thereby hangs another tale).

One of the reasons I've stepped back from astrology over the last few years is my frustration with the type of astrology that tries to advise you on how to be other than you are. I needed to step back and let some new understandings arise.  The planets are where they are for a reason, and accepting that fact and understanding what it means for you as a life seems to me to be the first step in working out how to live in this crazy world.  I've been studying art instead but found even there the virus of business and entrepreneurship. How many artists do you know that can be bothered with business and funding applications? We just want to paint!There are others far more suited to that kind of activity, that's why we have managers and agents. But no, somehow we are all expected to be 'entrepreneurs' now. God I hate that word.

 It seems I have a Mars which is about the power and energy of the imagination, which is spiritually driven and is geared to the development of the self (in Leo, ruled by the Sun). I'm never going to be climbing a corporate ladder because my energy is oriented to the inner light, not the outer. And then it occurred to me that these realisations are a result of Chiron moving into Aries. It's right on my descendant and aspecting all my angles. These are the gifts of my natal Mars, and these are the wounds imposed by a world which recognises only one direction of martian energy.

So I think that in trying to work the influence of Chiron in Aries in our own lives, we need to examine the condition of Mars in our own charts. Throw away the cookbook interpretations of Mars and Aries and examine the things that move us, what moved us as children - what did we really want for ourselves and how did we get blocked? Self-examination and strategic adjustment according to intuition and feeling. Removing the obstacles strewn in one's path. This is the way of the peaceful warrior.

Friday 19 August 2016

Saturn Neptune: Whose Art is it Anyway?

I came across a programme on the BBC recently; some 'experts' trying to decide whether a portrait had been painted by Lucien Freud. So far, so normal. Except Freud himself had denied it. Curious, I carried on watching, despite my incredulity. Since when did the critics have so much power they could contradict the artist himself?

Well, it seems that Freud's utterings on the matter had been contradictory and there was a chance it was an early painting which he preferred to disown; and this was indeed the experts conclusion. Interesting, I thought, wondering whether this decision would still stand had Freud been alive, and forgot about it. You can read about it here:

And then a week later I read that the artist Peter Doig was being taken to court over a painting which its owner insisted had been painted by him, but about which Doig said he knew nothing. 

A pattern seemed to be emerging,  one I guessed had to with the Saturn Neptune square that's been morphing reality this year. Saturn and Neptune together, particularly in hard aspect, can make it hard to distinguish fantasy from reality. Boundaries dissolve and certainties get washed away with the tide.

What seems to be happening with these paintings is that their authorship (Saturn) is in doubt (Neptune). Neptune (art) and Saturn (experts) are at odds (square).  In Doig's case, Saturn (corrections officer) and Neptune (artist) are squaring off, literally. With Saturn in Sagittarius we see attempts to define the truth of the matter, but with Neptune in Pisces, that truth is elusive, whether through lies, half-truths or secrets, 

What makes Doig's case so interesting is that his Venus is in Gemini, the sign of the twins, ruled by Mercury the trickster, and the whole case revolves around the supposed existence of another man named Peter Doige, (with an 'e' ) of a similar age, living in the same area at the time in question. 

If the owner of the painting can prove that Peter Doig did indeed paint the work in question, he stands to gain millions by its sale. But why would Doig deny authorship if he did indeed paint it? Prosecution claim that Doig is trying to hide the fact that he was in a correctional facility as a teenager, but the defence lawyers have provided proof of the other Doige's existence and his stay in the facility where the painting was bought. This Doige died in 2012, shortly before the painting turned up at a gallery for valuation. 

The case seems cut and dried in favour of Peter Doig, but the judge has apparently taken the painting away with him while he decides on his verdict. Despite the hard evidence (Saturn), even the judge (Saturn) seems confused (Neptune). 

So what is actually happening here? Are we entering an era when the word of an author can be denied by anyone with a more convincing argument? Where the truth is fluid according to what is at stake. Where the business of art overtakes the making of art and the true authority (the artist) is usurped by the self-appointed authority (the dealers)? Or is it simply a matter of an elaborate tale woven by a man with something to hide? The whole thing is a hall of mirrors and it'll be fascinating to see what the judge eventually decides.

Saturn Neptune folks. Welcome to the Crazy House.

The Hall of Mirrors, Lady From Shanghai.
Orson Welles, archetypal trickster and teller of tall tales.

Friday 22 January 2016

Irish Artists: Harry Clarke

I've been researching irish art and poetry recently, trying to find some inspiration for a painting on 1916 which I've been assigned for a competition. Politics and political art is not my forte, so I decided to go hunting those parts of irish culture that do thrill me.

And I was looking again at Harry Clarke, who lived at the time, and his fantastical illustrations and stained glass windows.  Harry was a Pisces Sun with a Virgo Moon. I knew there had to be Virgo in there somewhere, given the level of detail and precision in his drawings, and what a beautiful expression of Pisces his art is.

Pisces rules the realm of archetypes, of fairy tales and mythology, spirituality, dreams and the unconscious, everything and all that lies beyond and moves human life. It's colours are the deep blues and greens of the sea. Pisceans often get lost in the enormity of the currents moving their life, but in Harry's case his Virgo moon drove him to craft something tangible from those currents.  To bring heaven down to earth. So how apt that he is probably best known for the stained glass windows he designed, not just for churches, but for secular buildings too.

He was also a celebrated illustrator of fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson and Charles Perrault, and the tales of Edgar Allen Poe.  Interestingly,  the work for his first commission of illustrations, for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, was destroyed during the Easter Rising.

So, I have a beginning.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Saturn in Sagittarius - nailing your feet to the floor

'Settle to your life now, where certainty abounds'.

St Sergius the Builder,  Nicholas Roerich

I spend a lot of time wondering and worrying about the future. With a Sagittarian Venus in aspect to Jupiter that's hardly surprising, but it's only recently I realised how much stress it actually causes. Saturn is currently in Sagittarius and has recently transited both those planets. All of  a sudden I began feeling calm, settled to where I am and what I'm doing, such an alien experience I had to sit down and work out why.

The boundless optimism and horizon scanning of Sagittarius actually takes up a lot of energy. And when so much of one's energy is projected into imagination and potentiality it leaves little for the everyday mundane tasks that are, let's face it, the foundation of our lives. We miss what is right under our noses because we are constantly plotting and planning and searching for something better, new or more exciting.  (Also one of the reasons Sagittarians get such a bad reputation in matters of the heart.) And while we are busy looking for what's coming we don't see our life going by without us.

When Saturn transits Sagittarius it places boundaries on that sign's expansiveness. And the house of your chart which contains Sagittarius is where you will feel it. If you're used to bounding ahead, prepare to be slowed down. If you resist the process all you'll get is frustrated and stressed. Take a while instead to consider the beauty and the benefits of what is here, now, all around you. Yes, the mountains out there are beautiful, but so is the garden here.

If it's your 3rd house, instead of wishing you were living somewhere else, stop and appreciate the place you are in now. See what can be manifested here, instead of longing for pastures new. In your 7th, it's about the friends and relationships you have now and what you can contribute and commit to them, rather than searching for new ones. In your 10th, firm up your career responsibilities and see how you can work smarter, instead of expanding or moving on. And so on.

If you can do this, in whatever area of your life this transit is happening, once Saturn moves on to Capricorn in two years time you'll find your life expanding for real, building on what you've been able to put in place now. Get your foundation right, and everything else will follow.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Under the Scorpio Moon

It's been a wet and misty day here in the west of Ireland, and you can't see the moon for the clouds. Invisible though it is, this moon in its fullness destabilises and shreds. Under a Scorpio full moon whatever we've been hiding comes back to haunt us.  Tonight especially, with the moon conjunct Saturn, lord of time and of karma. Mars is retrograding over the same degrees on which Saturn was retrograde this time three years ago, and I'd bet good money I'm not the only one seeing things left undone then coming back to bite.

Those of us born early to late sixties have this Moon Saturn conjunction hitting our collective Neptune...and it can feel like a bucket of cold water being poured over our cosy dreams and fantasies. Or if we've been good boys and girls we're finding dreams becoming reality. Probably a bit of both, if truth be told.

 Scorpio is the Phoenix, burning itself down to create anew, and this emergence into new life and growth is Taurus, the opposite end of the axis. The Taurus Sun is lighting the parts of our life where we want to begin again, fresh and vigorous, but the Scorpio Moon is churning up issues that must be cleared first. And Saturn is standing there, urging caution. Sometimes the best way is not to rake over and keep trying to sort the old stuff, but to find an entirely new way of doing things. Weigh your options and use Neptune to help you imagine other possibilities. And expect some resistance from those around you.

Despite the fact that the Moon is said to be in  fall in Scorpio, it's certainly not weak. Scorpio is an immensely powerful sign, and the Scorpio Moons amongst us are some of the most supportive and loyal people around. It's that they feel so much, so deeply they often have difficulty chanelling those feelings and can become swamped. So they have to go off and get obsessed with something or someone and use up the energy.

I've spent ten hours today non-stop researching something I think could help me sidestep the wolf that's snapping at my heels. My elderly neighbour who called round in the middle of all this thinks I'm a bit bonkers. Wait, think, you might regret.....

Well hell. I'm a Scorpio Moon. Bring on the fire.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Venus in Sagittarius : The Art of Freedom II

Claude Monet
Rene Magritte

Sun Scorpio, Venus Sagittarius

Two artists, on the surface very different, but scratch just a little and we find they were both, in many ways, after the same thing.

Scorpio Sun lives for depth, for intensity. There is nothing superficial about Scorpio, which pierces the veil of mundanity looking for what lies beneath -  jewels or trash,  it's all the same to Scorpio. He just wants to know what's there. Scorpio loves mystery.

Marry this with with the Sagittarian love of exploration and truth and you've got one hell of a detective. And two artists, both obsessed with investigation and the revelation of the truth behind the facade.
The painting which gave rise to the name Impressionism

Monet sought the light. We tend to associate Scorpio with darkness and shadow, but Scorpio goes into the darkness to find enlightenment. The natural habitat of the symbols associated with Scorpio is light. Scorpion, the sunlit desert, Eagle the sunlit sky, and Phoenix the blazing firelight of its own immolation. And this immolation brings us to Sagittarius, the fire sign which follows Scorpio on the zodiac wheel.

 Rouen Cathedral Sunset

To reach the starlit fields of Sagittarius, Scorpio focuses its intensity through the lens that eventually sets fire to the object of its gaze, burning both down to the same ash, the pure essence, which then becomes the medium for rebirth.  Monet turned his gaze to the world around him, focused on its essence, the living fire beneath the form. He softened his lens from 20/20 and coloured what he saw outside the lines, coloured its living frequencies with a vibrant, fluid intensity, over and over, until he rebirthed art itself into Impressionism.
 Rouen Cathedral Morning Light

His Sagittarian Venus loved nature and the outdoors, and he broke with prevailing traditions by taking his paints and easel into the open air, painting freely the play of light and colour he found there. 

Rouen Cathedral Grey and Rose
As time went on he focused more and more on individual subjects, his gardens at Giverny, the cathedral at Rouen, painting them over and over through the changing light and seasons, trying somehow to capture the flux and flow of nature itself.  The subject remains the same, but our perception changes according to the light and the atmospheric conditions. (Perception is a major preoccupation of Sagittarius and also of Magritte as we'll see later). His fascination with flux is interesting, given that Scorpio is a water sign, and Sagittarius fire. 

One of the things I find most intriguing about Monet is the poetic nature of  his paintings, yet he himself described them as the product of scientific enquiry. A complex sign, Scorpio.


Magritte, interestingly, began his painting career as an impressionist, but quickly tired of it and became involved with Futurism and Cubism, eventually falling in with the Surrealists. In a way, his paintings speak for themselves, despite their apparent incomprehensibility. They deliberately provoke, inviting enquiry. I've found them a great way of getting children interested in fine art - their jaws drop, eyes widen and they almost squeal, 'What does it MEAN?' Which is exactly what Magritte claimed he was trying to do. 

The Treachery of Images
'My painting is visible images which conceal nothing.....they evoke mystery and indeed when one sees one of my pictures one asks oneself a simple question "What does that mean?" It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable'.

Yes well. Isn't the whole point of mystery that something is hidden? Hmmm. Let's break this down.

 'My painting is visible images which conceal nothing' - open handed Sagittarius.
 'They evoke mystery' - Scorpio.
 ' asks oneself a simple question, what does that mean?' - Sagittarius.
 'It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable'. - close fisted Scorpio.

 He might as well say ' I'm not telling you anything, I'm going to make you work for this'. Hilarious.

His paintings question perception, forcing us to think differently about the familiar. Probably his best known 'The Treachery of Images' was making the point that this isn't actually a pipe, it's just a painting of a pipe. Try stuffing tobacco in it and smoking it if you think it's a pipe, was his retort. Just how serious he was with it all remains a bit of a mystery (sorry, couldn't resist). 
The Human Condition

Sagittarius is the sign of the joker (most comedians have Sagittarius somewhere in their chart) and Scorpio, well, Scorpio is not just the sign of detection, it's the sign of the criminal too, being associated with the underworld.  After WWII, Magritte was involved in counterfeiting money and forging well known paintings to make a bit of cash. But then, given the times, so might we all have done.(That's my open-handed Venus in Sagittarius talking). 

Whatever the case, Magritte's paintings have that Scorpionic magnetic fascination that pulls the viewer in and then demands in Sagittarian fashion that we stretch our perception to find new meaning in what lies before us. Look at this, they seem to say, think you understand the world around you? Look again.

So two artists, same Sun sign, same Venus sign. Similar themes in both bodies of work, albeit with an individual approach and expression.

This video is a terrific gallery of Magritte's work. It even has a suitably scorpy saggie soundtrack courtesy of Nina Simone. Enjoy.

Monday 21 October 2013

Van the Free Man : Jupiter in Cancer

Van Morrison
So it seems The Oul' Grump is to be given the Freedom of Belfast, his hometown (and mine). Hooray!

Although I have no idea what it actually means to be given the Freedom of a city (something to do with grazing rights and defending the gates?) it does sound pretty impressive.  And he's performing a free concert in Belfast in November on the night of the conferment, a shrewd move on the part of the City Council, some of whom were a bit worried he wouldn't turn up to the ceremony. Given his reputation. Grumpy.

Anyway, Freedom of Belfast, free concert, has to be Jupiter, right? Yep. Check out his chart. The timing is sublime. I've set the transits for the night of the concert, November 15th.

Van has the Moon, North Node, Ascendant and Saturn all in Cancer, the sign ruling home and motherland, and his Sun and Jupiter in the 4th house of roots,  aspecting that Moon and North Node.

The announcement of the Honour came as Jupiter, the planet of, well, honour, crossed his Ascendant, so presumably discussions and decisions had been ongoing in private as it hit his 12th house Moon and NN.  On the night of the concert Jupiter will be conjunct his Saturn, and Pluto and Venus will be conjunct right on his Descendant, trining his Sun. There's going to be some powerful love coming at him from his people that night.

Transiting Neptune is conjunct his Midheaven and trining his Moon - as the Mayor of Belfast said recently:

'It will be a very special occasion and will live long in the memory of those in attendance. The term living legend is too loosely thrown around these days but there is no doubting Van Morrison's eligibility for such status due to his incredible talent as a songwriter, musician and vocalist.'

Legend. Absolutely. To say nothing of the amount he's given back to his City over the years.

Tickets for the event are by lottery for the people of Belfast. How much more Jupiter in Cancer could it be? Freebies and Freedom for the people, by the people. Times like this I wish I still lived there. Ah well. Have a listen to this instead:)

Note to self: Must do a piece on his chart sometime. 'I know why the grumpy man sings'.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Venus in Sagittarius : The Art of Freedom

I got to thinking about artists with Venus in Sagittarius and how their Sun sign would influence its expression. Since Venus can only ever be two signs away from the Sun, we'd be looking at  Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius. They're an interesting bunch......first off, since this is where the Sun is right now, Libra.

Robert Rauschenberg

Sun Libra,  Venus Sagittarius

Rodeo Olympic Glut

That Libra Sun made Rauschenberg a great collaborator  - throughout his career he did projects with Cy Twombly, Merce Cunningham and others. His process was about bringing things together, collaging and incorporating found objects into his paintings with the intention of marrying art and sculpture. He is quoted as saying he wanted to work in the gap between life and art, and created a whole body of work known as 'Combines'.

A Sagittarian Venus gave him a love of exploration and travel, of going beyond the boundaries of what was deemed acceptable. He roamed the streets of different countries looking for trash and everyday objects to use in his work and on being invited to create a portrait of the gallery owner Iris Clert sent a telegram instead saying 'This is a portrait of Iris Clert if I say so.'  His White Paintings invited the viewer into pure experience.

Those collaborations were with a wide variety of people outside the fine art world - he designed costumes and sets for radical dance theatre,  worked with engineers, with NASA, BMW and designed an album cover for Talking Heads. His whole life seemed to be about the joining of forms in order explore the boundaries of the known,  to create anew a third entity which expands our perception of reality.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company
As he aged, the onset of the higher aspects of both Libra (justice, equality) and Sagittarius (humanitarianism, generosity) became more apparent. In 1984 He established the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange at the UN, and went on a seven year tour around the world to encourage world peace and understanding, using art as a medium.

Six years later he he created the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the aims of which were the promotion of world peace, environmental and humanitarian concerns. He established Change Inc. which gave grants to artists in financial need and when  he died he bequeathed millions of dollars to charitable foundations.

Quite the legacy.

Friday 11 October 2013

Venus in Sagittarius : Defying Definition

 Rene Magritte, Venus in Sagittarius
Q: How do you piss off Venus in Sagittarius?

A: Ask them what they do.

And if you really want rid of them, next time they are expounding their latest theory stare at them and say ' Is that a Buddhist thing or what?'  Just see how fast they hightail out of there.

 Venus in Sagittarius defies categorisation and will not be pinned down. Life for them is about ever expanding knowledge and the understanding of absolutely everything, in which the journey itself is more important than the arrival. Once they get to a place, they stop to have a look around, see what there is to learn, then head off towards the horizon to see what's over there. It could be the holy grail and if they stay where they are they'll miss the opportunity.

This of course gets them a bad reputation in matters of love, where culturally we are expected to find one person and settle down. To commit. Well yes. The word commit also applies to sin and to crime. And to loony bins.  Venus in Sagittarius however, recognises that there are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy, and this applies to all matters Venusian.

See, Venus isn't really about love.  Venus also rules values, money, women, possessions and more than anything else, Venus describes what we are attracted to. A limited view (says Sagittarius) defines attraction as person to person.  But we are every one of us attracted to all sorts of things - reading, gardening, travelling, working, movies, sports, astrology, psychology, freedom, frogs. Whatever takes your fancy is Venus in action.

The word 'commit' is itself interesting. It's from the Latin meaning 'to put together'. And this is actually what Sagittarius is forever doing - putting the pieces together to see what it all means. Taking them apart to see what they're really made of. Searching for undiscovered pieces. Trying new configurations to see what happens. Life for them is an ever moving diagram. So Sagittarius is actually very committed, committed to expanding perception. It's commitment to a process rather a state.

When Venus is in Sagittarius we are in a period of looking at what we've got and finding the pieces that fit with what we want, where we are headed. While Venus was in Scorpio we dug deep and threw out what we didn't want. When Venus moves into Capricorn we start building for the future.

 So now is the time to consider all your pieces and where they fit in your scheme. Play with ideas, push the boundaries, have some fun and let yourself expand into potentials you hadn't noticed before. Or were too scared to consider before. Think about designing a new improved scheme. Or a completely different one altogether. Why stick to one idea? The keyword here is POSSIBILITY. Look at what exists, then look at what you can do with it. And when Venus moves into Capricorn (6th November) you can start making it real.

Oh yes. So what kind of question should you ask Venus in Sagittarius?

What do you think?

Let me know in the comments:)

Monday 5 August 2013

Jupiter in Cancer and Family Astrology

I moved house a couple of years ago and it's taken some time to settle and get organised. I found myself recently finishing half-painted rooms and finally managing to convince my son to let me redecorate his. He's a Pisces with a Gemini Moon and if you can imagine one of those old junk shops full of knick knacks and cobwebs you've a fairly accurate picture of his living space. Don't get me wrong, he does vacuum and tidy once a week, but we're talking shove-it-away in-a-corner-and-hoover-a-space-in-the-middle kind of clean. The room is just too cluttered to be able to clean it properly. It took us nearly three days to clear, sort and paint, but after the initial reluctance he's really happy with the new room. And he's just had his first Jupiter Return.

His Cancerian Jupiter is in the 2nd house of possessions, and he accumulates stuff like you wouldn't believe. Stones, sticks, bits of moss, pine cones, coins, toys, anything and everything that twinkles at that Gemaniac moon comes home with him. Nothing can be thrown away because he 'might need it for one of my inventions'. (He has 3 planets in Aquarius, but that's another story). The problem with this though, is that Jupiter trines his Sun and Venus in Pisces, and with all that water he ends up drowning in a sea of jumble, getting so overwhelmed he doesn't know what he has anymore. He forgets much of it and ends up playing with just a couple of things that are easy to get at. For me it's a lesson in the importance of oppositions and just how much we need the experience of the sign opposite to the Sun.

Clearly he needs the Virgo, particularly as he has no planets in the sign and a very big empty 6th house with Virgo on the cusp. The 6th house rules our everyday life, habits, work and health, what Stephen Arroyo calls 'learning through immediate experience with material affairs'. He needs to learn the virgoan qualities of focus, order and detail if he is to be able to channel that piscean creativity and imagination in a way that benefits him. If he has some order in his life he can access more of his gifts. Instead, he's been using only a small portion of what he has because the rest is in such disarray.

After the Great Reordering he decided to have a go at fixing his model railway which had been sitting on a shelf gathering dust for two years because he thought it was broken. He set it up, and lo and behold it worked after all. The happy dancing hasn't stopped for three days now:) Nor the plans to extend the track...

Interestingly, my Scorpio Moon falls in his 6th house. I'm a divil for the purging. His Sun Venus conjunction falls in my 6th house, right on my Jupiter. With Pisces in my 6th house I've had problems myself for years with messy living conditions, but having a Virgo Pluto in the 12th I finally came to understand the importance for me of having tidy surroundings. If I have to live in mess and dirt I become overwhelmed, irritable and depressed, I literally cannot cope with anything. My inner life becomes a reflection of the outer. It's something I've had to learn, and still deal with every day.

So as his mother, I've seen this dynamic play out with him and can help. There's a certain beauty in the way nature gives us exactly what we need. My own mother was a Virgo and used to scold and shout about my mess. She had a Pisces Moon which fell in my 6th, so no help there! She was so overwhelmed by the mess of five kids in a big house that she had a cleaning lady to help, which is another way of accessing the Virgo if you can afford it. No one ever actually showed me how to be tidy, or explained the value of order. It's something I learned much later in life as part of a spiritual practice, which I guess makes sense with a 6th house Pisces Jupiter.

This, of course, is how Pisces really wants to do it:)

I find it fascinating, unpicking these kinds of astrological threads and the way they run through the family line. What astro themes have you noticed in your own family?

Tuesday 23 July 2013

The Famous Grand Trine and the Reality of Transcendence

Henri Matisse, Dance

I think many of us have been expecting great things to happen with this Grand Trine. I've heard people wondering why the expected-amazing hasn't appeared in their life.

 But the planets involved are all in water signs, the element of emotion - Saturn in Scorpio, Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Cancer. Checking what has been flowing through your feeling life will  give you a truer appreciation of its effect than looking outside. Any events will be secondary, I think, coming as a consequence of what has been moving, settling or emerging internally.

Have you noticed the upsurge of polarisation in the world these last few years? It's hard to miss if you dip into the pond of public opinion at all. We seem to be losing the idea of common ground and live and let live - instead both liberal and conservative engage in pillory and hatred, believing they alone have right on their side.  And everyone is getting more and more personally involved. Reason hasn't just left the building, it's gone walkabout, and if you display any kind of detached view you're accused of not caring, an emotionally inept alien. No discussion or exploration allowed, take sides or get zapped.  It's all very frustrating for anyone of an Aquarian bent. Sorry, I mean emotionally inept alien. 

This rare Grand Trine configuration gives us the opportunity to anchor ourselves in the transcendent, wherever it falls in our chart, and particularly where it aspects any natal planets. A chance to rise above the melee, see the bigger picture and leave difference behind, based in the knowing that at core we are all the same, we are of  the same root and we all need the same nourishment. Check your ego at the door, this is about what benefits the whole human organism, of which the individual is a part, not the entirety. The message of Neptune in Pisces.

Polarisation causes separation and isolation. Hardness, pain, avoidance and defence. Saturn in Scorpio has been making us face the reality of how we use, abuse and deny our power. Do we bully others, or do we retreat into resentment. How can we harness our power to the service of something higher than ego? It's tough and often painful, especially for the Neptune in Scorpio generation who have a blind spot about power. But with Saturn trining Neptune, we can allow that hardness, those walls, those fears to dissolve. And  Jupiter exalted in Cancer is allowing birth into something new. Allowance being the key.

The aspect is just past exactitude, but will be within orb for the rest of the week. So try if you can to be still for a while, allow whatever has been going on in your feeling life the last few days to just be. Don't resist anything, let it all flow.  And you'll find something is germinating now, at this full moon.

For myself, the Grand Trine is falling in my 2nd, 6th and 10th houses, conjunct my natal Moon, Jupiter, Chiron and Pallas. A series of recent events has been pulling the scab off an old wound and I really, really wanted to fire on the person who caused it. But it might have meant a public (10th) spat which would have affected work (6th) that I am trying to engage with. I weighed up the relative value (2nd) of the possible action and the effect on my resources, financial and emotional. I decided the angst wasn't worth it and to let it go. Why blow up your life just to get vengeance, or prove that you're right? (A good Saturn in Scorpio lesson).

And the angst disappeared. (Neptune) I was happy (Jupiter) again. And I suddenly became aware that it wasn't just the other person who was at fault, I had to take some responsibility for what happened. (Saturn).

 In the grand scheme of things it really didn't matter. What does matter is the maintenance of my own integrity (Saturn), and my ability to stay attuned to the flow of imagination (Neptune) that is nurturing my expansion (Jupiter).

Get the idea? :)

Friday 10 May 2013

The Changing Mind

The blog's been lying fallow for a while. I've started post after post but never finished enough to publish, until I realised recently that something has been gestating.  Like the spring-blooming bulbs it needed its cold time, in the quiet underground.

My natal Mercury progressed into Pisces last year and my mental processes are reforming. For a long time I thought the problem was a continuous series of Saturn transits, but during the recent Pisces stellium the answer floated quite unexpectedly into's not a problem that needs fixing, it's a matter of attunement to a new frequency.

The feeling is one of infinite void.....of drifting in a primordial soup, aware of potentialities not yet incarnate, unable to pinpoint anything, just being. It asks for passivity..... instead of reaching out for notions the mind waits, and nets them as they pass..... dreamcatching. No reason, pure rhyme. A realm where notes arise and fall away again.

That's the beauty of progressions...... immersion in the experience of the hitherto unknown. And the understanding of another that brings. Isn't that why we study astrology?

Word don't seem enough. Pictures, music make more sense. So much is unspoken....words seem to obscure meaning.  I look at a birthchart, at this two dimensional map and am stunned at the many dimensional complexity of the human being it sketches. I have to find a new approach, a new expression.

Hence the silence.

It's a little like this.......

Monday 24 September 2012

Defining Mercury II

Mountains,  Emil Nolde
Read Part I here

In which we discover that Dickens was  Aquarian - how's that for synchronicity? I honestly didn't know.

Anyway, Mercury. Is still being squared by Saturn. And I was going to say I'll have to wing it, because I can't think of anything to say, but the fact is that actually I'm just not able to pour forth my thoughts in the usual way. What seems to be required is that I slow down, order my thoughts, consider the ideas and form them into a cohesive pattern. And this process is alien to my thinking nature.

 So. Here goes. I'm still going to wing it, after a fashion.

What is the purpose of language?

 Perhaps we should start by examining what language actually is. A form of communication. A method of expression. Communicating what, expressing what? Feelings, thoughts, notions? And where do these things arise? From inside of us, or from somewhere outside? Do these thoughts and feelings belong to us, or do they appear elsewhere and  just pass through us, the human, on their way?

And what is the method of expression? Words, music, painting, sculpture, dance, theatre. If all art is expression, then is all art language? Is nature then a language? If so, what is it expressing? What is it telling us?

I came across an idea once that language is a 'land-gauge'. A gauge of the land from which it arises, the frequency of that land. Which explains the multitude of languages, accents within a particular language, and indigenous music and art. That before people put shoes on their feet, shoes with rubber soles, they were conductors of the energies of their land, singing the music of their soul's arising. And as modern life has taken us further away from our natural sources, our song has become ever more simple, dull and uninspired. Mechanical and functional. IMO. YMMV.

And I think about languages with a form my brain doesn't recognise. Chinese, say. I listen and it sounds like music, because my mind is not able to decode it in any other way. When I lived in Wales, I used to listen to the Welsh language radio station and just experience the rhythms, cadences and tones. And what they said to me about the nature of the welsh essence. There is something underlying the words themselves that itself speaks volumes.  A right brain decoding, perhaps, rather than a left brain understanding.

But what seems to tie these notions back to the complexity and beauty of the words used by Dickens,  is speed. The faster life moves, the faster humans run through their lives, the less time and space there is for listening to and creating beautiful speech. There is a stillness required in the mind and soul to be able to receive and form.

And that, that stillness is a quality of Saturn. And now I see why so many of the people I know who write beautiful words, whose expression is poetic whether they are writing a poem or an email, have Mercury in aspect to Saturn. Mercury is quicksilver, and Saturn the container that holds and stills its reflective beauty.

A wing, and a prayer :)

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Defining Mercury I

Or: An Exercise (Possibly in Futility) For Saturn Transits To Mercury....

I wrote this back in January during the first pass of Saturn to natal Mercury. Finding myself tongue- tied now on the second pass, I thought it might be worth revisiting. Part two following.

I've gone quiet of late. Saturn is squaring my Sun, Mercury and Nodes and I've been slowed  right down, caused to think much about who and what I am, where I'm going and how I express myself.

In fact self expression, communication, writing, and words seem to have been major themes. I have Mercury in Aquarius and I think very fast, read very fast, and when inspired, have been known to talk so fast I forget what it was I was trying to say in the first place, and end up stuttering or stopping.  Often when I write, I cannot type or access the words fast enough to express the notion with which my mind is running. Zap, zap, zap.

Now the beauty of this is that the ego is often forced aside and great inspiration can appear as if from nowhere. New ideas and frequencies come unbidden through the Uranian mind working at it's highest, these being the realms in which knowledge and understanding can suddenly leap an octave and the human story begin a new chapter.

What this may lead to at the low end, though, is a style of communication that grabs at the nearest, easiest word or phrase. Linguistic fast food, if you like. The tool that gets the job done fastest. And platitudes become the norm. Which detaches the user from the warmth of human connection.

I remember a few years ago picking up a copy of Little Dorrit in a second hand bookshop. I hadn't read Dickens for years, and never that particular story so thought I'd give it a go. And I was stunned by the beauty of the language. Not so much the descriptive language, but the words that were coming out of the characters mouths. I would read lines over and over, immersing myself in the joy of it. The complexity and variety of the words and the way they were crafted. And the fact that people actually used to speak like this.

Consider our ways of speaking today. Some teenagers don't seem to possess the ability to communicate at all outside of text speak. Not only is most language fast, easy and purely functional (if that) the idea that words are a beautiful thing, to be explored, examined, played with, crafted,  in order to convey emotion, passion and the inspiration of the gods, is anathema to many people. WTF dude?

So all this begs the question; what is language, and what is its purpose?

Wednesday 29 August 2012

How Saturn Sets You Free

I've been thinking a lot about Saturn recently. It's squaring my Sun and Mercury, and will be hard aspecting my Moon and natal Saturn in the next year. People like to moan and groan about Saturn transits but these are the times when a person really has the chance to come into their own authority.

We have a serious attitude problem these days towards authority. Experiences with overly authoritarian parents, teachers, religions and governments  have given many of us a tendency to react against it, rebelling in defiance of the restrictions we feel have been imposed on us. And this is one of the words that's often bandied about with Saturn - restriction. Limitation. Law. Order.

But this kind of restriction only happens if we have refused the challenge of Saturn - to grow up, and become the author of our own life. Until we are our own authority, we will be continually subjected to that of others.

What a hard Saturn transit actually does is force a slowing down and reassessment of who and what you are, what you have and what you want, before you proceed. He's the father, checking the tyres and the oil in your car before you set off on a journey. Have you keys, money, cards, maps, have you checked the route? Do you know where you're going, and are you quite sure this is what you want to do? Making things safe. Or he can be the policeman, coming to take you away to keep everyone else safe. It depends how well you've followed his instruction.

It's easy to get frustrated because the speed of life these days is so fast and we are programmed to want everything NOW. But Saturn in mythology was said to rule in the Golden Age, a time when life was slower and easier, when men lived like gods without pain, suffering or hardship. And I think the difficulties we feel when under Saturn are partly because his transits evoke this atavistic memory, the knowing buried deep inside of us that life was never meant to be so hard.

So this is a time where we need to be kind to ourselves, to rest, be slow and to contemplate our past and our future so that we can make reasoned decisions about the next step. Saturn is the outermost of the inner planets, shielding us  from the radiation of the heavy hitting outer planets. Keeping us safe. You could say that until we mature into the lessons of  Saturn we aren't able to effectively handle the frequencies of  Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. And with the Uranus Pluto squares affecting all of us over the next few years, we are really going to need that maturity and wisdom to guide us.

And this is how Saturn can set you free. By giving you time, and a safe space to grow into your own mastery.  It's work, but the rewards are tangible.

The sign of your natal Saturn will tell you where your authority lies. In my case it's Aquarius, so I'm always looking to the future, for new ideas and visions to progress whatever it is I'm involved with. And I have a innate respect for others who do so. I'll rebel, but nowadays there has to be a good reason for it, one based in humanitarian principle and not the knee-jerk reactivity of youth.

Where is your Saturn? And how do you feel about authority?

Friday 24 August 2012

Mars Neptune...Riding the Wave

Emil Nolde, Sea With Red Sky
Mars finally moved into Scorpio today, after a month and a half in 'shall I, shan't I ' Libra. If you found yourself blocked at every turn last week with Mars conjunct Saturn, you'll have more of an ease now, particularly over the next day or two as the red planet trines Neptune in Pisces.

Mars Neptune is an interesting combination and one that needs careful managing. Left to its own devices a neptunian Mars can spend  life daydreaming or dwelling in a perpetual fog, constantly thinking up bright ideas but never having enough oomph to follow them through. Energy seems to dissolve before anything can actually get done.

What Mars Neptune people are brilliant at, if they did but know, is catching a wave and riding it. These folks can spot a trend, tune into a frequency and go with the flow in a way that others can only marvel at. They  bide their time, watching the tides while the world around judges them for their 'laziness'. But just wait. When the time is right, when they feel it, off they go. And the momentum carries them forward.

So take advantage of this energy over the next couple of days. Let yourself be moved to work, rest or play, whatever feels right, because as Mars moves on and aspects Pluto and Uranus at the beginning of next week, things are going to get super-powered. Look to the house that Scorpio occupies in your chart and see where the action is taking place.

 And remember, Mars is the joint ruler of Scorpio and particularly powerful there, so if you have a project you've been thinking about starting, this next six weeks is a great time to set it motion.

Do you have a Mars Neptune aspect in your chart? How does it work for you?