Friday, 18 November 2011

Mars in Scorpio

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Pluto in Scorpio in 5th

When Pluto comes out to play. . .

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Jupiter in Virgo (with a semi sextile to Venus in Leo)

Just because I'm in a good mood after teaching History for six weeks, here's a special joke for fussy Historians everywhere. . .

This guy goes into his barber, and he’s all excited. He says, “I’m going to go to Rome. I’m flying on Alitalia and staying at the Rome Hilton, and I’m going to see the Pope!”

The barber says, “Ha! Alitalia is a terrible airline, the Rome Hilton is a dump, and when you see the Pope, you’ll probably be standing in back of about 10,000 people.”

So the guy goes to Rome and comes back. His barber asks, “How was it?”

“Great,” he says. "Alitalia was a wonderful airline. The hotel was great. And I got the meet the Pope.”

"You met the Pope?" asked the barber incredulously.

“I bent down to kiss the Pope’s ring.”

“And what did he say?”

“He said, “Where did you get that crummy haircut?”

Sunday, 25 September 2011

And we want to be taken seriously?

When I first came to England in 1990 and recovered from the shock of discovering there were only 4 TV channels to choose from, I caught a lot of morning shows. I can clearly remember seeing Russell Grant and being really excited because he was the first celebrity astrologer who seemed to agree with me and my theory that people need to be pushed to get them to see beyond star signs. There Russell was, on live TV, considering a whole chart (be it only for few minutes) and being contagiously enthusiastic about it. I remember thinking: “Hey, he’s speaking the language!” It was my first experience of feeling I could engage with someone about astrology.

Of course, life being as it is, my path to astrological enlightenment (which I still haven’t found and proudly accept I never will), has taken many twists and turns but I still resolutely refuse to do a star sign column—even if I did get the chance to do whole chart readings in front of a live studio audience. It isn’t because star sign columns–written by qualified astrologers—are fake or incorrect. But in the whole entire scheme of things they are pretty useless and they cast astrologers as a whole in a very simplified light. Star sign columns make all astrologers easy targets for the likes of Matthew Syeed. Anyone who knows their star sign (and that’s everybody), thinks they automatically understand astrology and can have an opinion about it.

Before my many friends who write star sign columns start telling me (again) they are the “shop window” of astrology, let me put a few more reasons why we clever astrologers should seriously consider how a few badly dressed mannequins affect the rest of us. I'm not having a go because you star sign astrologers do work hard and I'm lucky I have a job I love which pays me well enough so I don't have to be a slave to the media. I just want you guys to consider a few things.

My buddy Deb Houlding has been engaged in an epic battle with the BBC to get them to back track on some seriously negative comments from a so-called expert astronomer. The sheer lunacy of the Beebs’ inability to follow their own policy on impartiality is appalling.
As Deb has written in her website Skyscript (and if you think astrology is simple, just have a look at her work):

“My complaint is essentially simple and concerns a lack of factual accuracy and impartiality within offensively misrepresentative remarks about astrology. It is raised against a dialogue between BBC presenters Dara Ó Briain and Professor Brian Cox on Stargazing Live (3rd January 2011) in reference to the "very rare" planetary line up between Jupiter and Uranus and the Earth that occurred that night (in other words, the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction, which as astrologers know is not "very rare" in astronomical terms, since it repeats every 13-15 years):”

Dara Ó Briain: Very rare for this kind of thing to happen, it is, because all of them have a different, different orbital length; this is, you know, only, only the Earth goes round in one year and comes back to the same spot. Horoscopes: that's all nonsense. We're happy to say this now, once and for all, that's all rubbish, right, astrology - because the planets are in different places at different times.

Brian Cox: In the interests of balance, because we're on the BBC, I should say that, indeed, Dara is right: astrology is … [gesticulates to support the last word given to Dara].

Dara Ó Briain: It's nonsense, it's absolute nonsense; right.

Oh so Brian Cox and Dara O’Brian are qualified astrologers and can have this opinion? And the BBC reckons it maintains a position of impartiality? Give me my damn license money back. Now.

Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more touchy about the reputation of astrology, in flounces Russell Grant—on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. He’s lost ten stone and he’s recycled Anne Widdecombe’s wardrobe.

Is he going to win it?

With T Pluto square his N Saturn, he’ll be lucky he doesn’t break something. And T Saturn conjunct N Neptune? Come on Russell, you didn’t see the foot infection coming?

A word of advice from one astrologer to another: watch that Uranus transit on your descendent. It could turn your whole life upside down. Ring my special premium telephone number at £3.00 per minute to find out more.

Saturday, 3 September 2011


My head teacher gave us all a copy of Matthew Syed’s book “Bounce” to read over the summer holiday. “Bounce” had been on my reading list for awhile and in between furious attempts to re-decorate my kitchen, prepare for the final FAS (Faculty of Astrological Studies) exam, resurrect my blog and feverishly write my own book as well as add to the articles on my website, I read the book.

Matthew Syed is a world class ping-pong champion who attributed his phenomenal success to phenomenal amounts of practice. Well I was impressed! And I was also greatly boosted by his assertions that “talent” is not an inherited trait but an attribute gained through hard work. As a musician, who put in thousands of hours of practice, striving to learn the complicated techniques it takes to play the trumpet, it always wound me up when my mother insisted I “got musical talent” from my grandmother who played the piano (I never heard her). Being “talented” put me under enormous pressure to prove I was talented and fearful of taking risks to prove I wasn’t talented, asserted Syed. It’s a good job my Mercury is in Leo or I might have given up, thought me.

But I digress. . .

Having read Syed’s book thoroughly and having made good notes, I was quite inspired by some of his theories and I was very much looking forward to hearing his motivational talk scheduled for our first inset day when we teachers returned to school following summer holidays.

Syed talked a lot about what was already in his book but I still listened to him, occasionally letting my mind wander back to the FAS exam I was working on. I was thinking about what a long road it was to get to where I was astrologically; how many seminars and conferences (such as the Astrological Association’s conference and the United Astrology Conference) and classes as well as lots and lots of practice. How the FAS’ insistence of perseverance and practice and perfection was expensive but, as I’m struggling in the final throes, I couldn’t argue that it wasn’t thorough or that it wasn’t worth the effort. By working hard, not through coincidence or talent, I had made a lot of ground. I’m chuffed to bits that some of my research is going to be featured on “The Astrology Show” and that my stats counter has gone through the roof for both my blog and my website (yes, I can see you!).

So just as I was thinking all this, Matthew Syed suddenly threw in astrology. Of course my ears pricked up because being an astrologer is very much like walking around with a sign that says “kick me” taped to my butt. I’m pretty used to the kicks but I’ve also developed numerous ways lessening their impact or avoiding them completely. Syed was just about to go down the road of wondering why astrologers persisted in their interests in the light of failure in Empirical Testing. But it was equally clear he was making brash, sweeping comments based on his experience of reading the results of Empirical Testing and the daily horoscopes he reads (or doesn’t) in the newspapers, not his own experience or practice. In other words, he was being a big, fat hypocrite—which really got my goat. Now, in reflection, I think I’m careful about my reputation as an astrologer and protective about the subject of astrology. I don’t go around trying to convert people to astrology or babbling endlessly about it (unless someone expresses clear interest and I reckon that makes them fair game) but I also suddenly realised that I had clocked up 30 years of experience and practice in astrology. Compared to him as a ping pong player, I was Michael Stich (you’ll have to read the book to appreciate this). I invested a lot of money, not in the search for PROOF of my CRAFT but to be able to create works of art I am proud of. I know my craft exists because the labours of my love have appeared in magazines across the world and are collated on my website. I don’t need numbers to tell me my art exists. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to allow his feeble judgments to make me look like an idiot in front of my colleagues—who had all turned around to see how I was going to react (remember my Mercury is in Leo).

There was a split second when I thought “Don’t rise to it, Alex. Just shut your big mouth.” But with everyone looking at me, I felt there was no way I could take this one on the chin.

So I let him have it.

I pointed out that newspaper columns don’t represent me as an astrologer and I let him—and my colleagues—know that Matthew Syed didn’t know what he was talking about when it came to astrology (there was an audible gasp from my colleagues) and that I had practiced way more than him. I also provided him with PROOF that I had read his book by telling him that advanced astrologers lose the ability to guess star signs—in a very similar way to world class athletes lose the ability to slow down and explain how they do what they do. I think I may have mentioned the fact that as a non ping pong player I wouldn't dare proclaim that ping pong wasn't a sport let a alone a sport for men.

Alex Trenoweth, astrologer: 1
Non-astrologer who thinks he can run his mouth about astrology: 0

I think it’s safe to say Matthew Syed felt the power of that serve whoosh right past his ear before his ping pong brain registered it was coming. He did the sensible thing and mumbled an apology and admitted that perhaps he should study the subject more before he opens his trap again. Which really was gracious of him. And when his lecture was over, he cut out of the building like a bat out of hell. I didn’t even get his autograph.

Out of curiosity, I thought I’d have a look at his chart. I don’t have his birth time so I can only use a noon chart: 2 November 1970, Reading. As Matthew Syed KNOWS astrology fails under empirical testing, I’m going to guess he won’t mind me applying my faulty and misguided years of practice to a quick art sketch of his chart.

And it’s pretty interesting stuff. There is a massive opposition between planets in Scorpio and his lone wolf Saturn in Taurus. His chart looks like a ping pong match. It’s a life time spent batting things back and forth with great intensity, focus and sheer brute strength. His Mars in Libra, a sign not know for its love of hard work, is conjunct Uranus. It’s a lifetime of refusing to party for want of proving to everyone he’s not really lazy. The conjunction is also opposite Chiron in Aries so this need to prove himself would have cost a lot of pain—people like me continually challenge his perception of self by serving aces to his weak points are all too willing to point this out. Just as I was about to feel sorry for him, I also noticed the noon chart shows the Moon at 17 Sagittarius: no matter what time of day he was born, he would still have the Moon in Sagittarius. It’s like he bounds into other people’s territory, takes a shit but doesn’t take the responsibility to clean up after himself.

I’m going to lay off of Matthew Syed now. If he wants to provide me with his time of birth, I would be honoured to read his chart properly and far more sensitively. I’d even do it for free by way of saying that I thought it took a pretty big man to back down and admit he should stick to things he knows. I admire that and I can admit that I too learned a few things from this.

I wish the BBC could be so congenial. They too can have a free work of art if they say they’re sorry for running their mouths about something they don’t know about and charging me license money to have to listen.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Give it up for Saturn in Pisces!

Ha! My year group are the business!!

Here's the results from the headteacher:

"I am delighted that we have consolidated all the progress we made last year, and continued our upward trend.

We have had our highest ever results (53% A*CEM) a big increase in A*-A results (25%, from 21% last year) and a big jump in 5+A*-C (from 74% last year to 82% this year).

This is due to all our hard work for our students. We couldn’t have done more."

My next year group will have Jupiter in Gemini/Cancer and Saturn in Taurus/Gemini. . .a bit more of a challenge as not all of them have Saturn in the same sign as last time. But if we keep feeding them and giving them stuff to read. . .hey hey, we'll have some scholars on our hands!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Growing Pains

If I bit my nails, they’d be down to my knuckles. Today is the day before GCSE results are released and I’m under the illusion I’m more nervous than my pupils or their parents. Tomorrow, for every secondary teacher, for every GCSE pupil and their parents, is “The Day of Reckoning”. The newspapers will be full of reports on how exams are getting easier or how teachers are getting worse or a million and one reasons why we should bring back national service or the death penalty for the future scroungers of society who didn’t get their 5 A*-Cs.

I tried to avoid feeling this way because these results, essentially, have no real impact on me or my pupils. Irrespective of the results, the world will keep ticking on, the dust will settle and my little lambs will find their way in this big, big world of never-ending choices. As the head of year 11, this year has been a year of constantly reminding myself of that fact. But, because they have been such a huge part of my life these past five years, I so badly want them to knock the stuffing out of previous results.

Today I find myself in an enormously reflective mood, sheer proof that a teacher is never really on “holiday”.

I hated every second of being a “teenager”. I remember what it was like to not have money in my pocket with no prospect of earning more, I remember how it felt to be reliant on my parents when I just knew I knew better than them and I remember being alienated by strangers, relatives and teachers—and peers—as if I had suddenly grew horns, a pointed tail and started carrying a pitchfork when I hit 13.

For some reason I thought being able to remember all this would make me a better teacher. And to a certain extent it has but what I really think made me a better teacher was becoming a better astrologer.

Astrology can help us understand ourselves AND teenagers, even if we don’t know their birth details. And let’s face it, a lot of astrological information can be completely irrelevant when you are dealing with a screaming, swearing, threatening and intimidating teenager (or their parents) or if, on the flip side, you are mopping up a river of tears because someone has said something to hurt them or the exam pressure has gotten to be too much or if their mobile phone got stolen/broken/confiscated (a touchy subject for our high tech generation) or if the object of their affection has ignored them that day.

During adolescence, two main astrological significators are present for everyone: the first Jupiter return and the first Saturn opposition. There are, of course, other astrological markers for adolescence but many of these vary from person to person. The first Jupiter return and first Saturn opposition provides valuable insight into the rate of growth and development for each year group of people as they pass through adolescence and, handy for people who work with adolescents, require no exact time of birth. On a personal level, I became fascinated with this cycle as a teacher in a secondary school. Did I have to be a passive bystander to the angst that I once went through myself? Or could I use astrology, not to provide all the answers for them (that’s Saturn’s job) but to gain an insight into when they were likely to begin adolescence at the Jupiter cycle and when Saturn was the peak of doing his worst during the first opposition.

As astrologers, we are aware of the symbolism of Jupiter: growth, abundance, confidence, opportunity, higher education, religious beliefs and enthusiasm. At Jupiter’s first return, at (roughly) eleven and half years, our adolescents typically experience a change of school: they go from an elementary or primary school into a bigger school. They meet more children from different schools, they take on more lessons with different teachers and consequently and “coincidentally” expand their horizons—exactly what astrologer might expect in any Jupiter return. As a teacher of this age group, I noticed a huge shift in behaviour: the pupils of this age grew rapidly from energetic children into rowdy, boisterous, emotionally immature but nearly life sized adults. They became much more difficult to control as many of my colleagues will attest. But I know they are Jupiter in Scorpio or Sagittarius (born between September 1994 and August 1995) pupils held in check by Pluto—and I unashamedly used this information to help them (and myself) get a handle their seemingly unrestrained growth spurt. Indeed, there were times I did too good a job in scaring the snot out of them with potential dangers. Several of my pupils swore to me they’d die virgins. . .not that I believe them (but I still like to think they’d be more careful).

A few years after the first Jupiter return, the first Saturn opposition takes place. This happens at roughly the same time we (as teacher, parents and educators) expect our children to “get serious” about their studies and commit to GCSE subjects. They choose their subjects rather than have a variety imposed on them as they did during their Jupiter returns. We expect them to be more responsible and take on “work experience” at the end of year 10. We constantly remind them of impending examinations and we threaten them with the ominous words: “One day, you’ll regret not studying more.” All of my pupils, like me, are Saturn in Pisces people and it helped me to know that on our journey together a quiet, meditative environment would give us time to think about our next move. I tried to achieve this through assemblies, our compulsive “collective worship”, a different approach to the other heads of year.

By being aware of the cycles of Saturn and Jupiter, we astrologers are provided with an easy advantage over non-astrologer teachers.

But I guess, as they say, tomorrow the proof will be in the pudding.

PS: I am hoping to present my findings at the United Astrology Conference next year.

Monday, 22 August 2011

New Susan Boyle Article!

Well, as they say, better late than never! My new Susan Boyle article:

PS Happy Birthday to my astro buddy Jules Venables!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

What Mars Has to Work For, Venus Gets For Free. . .

With a triple conjunction of the Sun, Venus and Mercury in Leo opposite Neptune/Chiron today, there has been a lot of talk about the exposure of blatant female sexuality and its effect on young girls.

Like riots and unruly teenagers, this issue is not a new one. The ancient Greeks even made up a soap opera about it: it was called “The Aphrodite and Ares Show” (the Romans had their version too, starring Venus and Mars). In the Greek version, Ares was born pissed off and ready to fight. He travelled around with a few of his homies looking for trouble and very often finding it—usually being too reckless to avoid injury. The other gods laughed at him. A lot. By contrast, Mars was the Roman god of war, honoured, respected and whose name comes from the Latin words “to shine.” Aphrodite and Venus were both beautiful. Um, that’s it really. Beautiful and up their own assets about how beautiful they were.

In our charts, we also have the Mars/Venus show, very often playing in re-runs but acting out our own unique script. To give you an example, I thought we could use Melanie C from the Spice Girls and Rhianna, who are at the centre of this week’s comments on young female sexuality. Because I’m only looking at Venus and Mars by sign and aspect, I am using noon charts.

Melanie Chisholm (12 Jan 1974), a new mum, is worried her daughter is learning too much too young. In her chart, Mars is at 7 Taurus and her Venus at 9 Aquarius. Mars in Taurus is slow, sensual and can’t resist picking flowers wherever he goes in a bid to entice Venus to the bedroom. Venus in Aquarius is not known for being very cuddly—in fact, she likes her own company and prefers to do things her own way. Oh and she hates flowers. In Melanie’s Venus/Mars soap opera, the characters are at each other’s throats, Mars wants to go for long country walks and Venus just wants to play on the computer. Recently, Mars’ good pal, Jupiter (by conjunction) has been around and the two of them have eaten everything in the cupboards and are generally overwhelming Venus with lecherous demands for blow jobs and more donuts. No wonder Melanie’s saying enough is enough.

Rhianna (20 February 1988) has recently re-vamped herself by hitting the gym and sitting astride giant cannons in order to sell a few more records. Her Mars is at 27 Sagittarius and her Venus at 12 Aries. Mars in Sagittarius is known for his love of the chase, adventure and risks. Sagittarius is a fire sign, a male sign, a bold, brash and fast sign. Venus in Aries is equally fiery, male, bold, brash, fast and extremely impulsive. It’s real poke-my-tits-in your eyes energy. Can you see how these characters might play out in a soap opera? There’s no stopping these two! However, Saturn is paying her a visit (by opposition) and like an old, conservative poppa, has been telling her to put ‘em away. Added to this, Melanie’s old poppa (in opposition to Rhianna’s Mars), is acting like British Airways during a volcanic eruption: “Sit down, sonny, you ain’t goin’ no where for a long time.” However, Neptune has been passing over Rhianna’s Sun, by forward, retrograde and stationing motions. Rhianna is a beautiful woman but she is addicted and dazzled by the boost (which is much better than hitting the bottle) she gets from her adoring fans, the glare of the paparazzi and the glossy magazine pages baring her, um. . . you get the picture. She’ll come to her senses. And soon enough, she’ll be a mother herself worried that her daughter is getting the wrong idea.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The London Riots: The Breaking of the Shell

One of my favourite writers, Kahlil Gibran, once wrote: “Your pain is but the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding." I dislike catastrophe just as much as anyone else. And yet a crisis, whether for an individual or a country, gives us an opportunity to let go of things that are no longer working and embrace newer ideas, no matter how painful it may be to let go of the past (there is rarely a choice to do anything else!).

With this in mind and with the feelings about the London riots running so highly, it’s hard to pitch an astrological commentary of the event. As I am feeling well rested after a much need holiday, I thought I’d give it a shot.

The time I’ve used is the BBC’s reported time for when the violence started. In my opinion, this time is important because up until this point, the protest was a peaceful one whose nature was only to obtain information about the shooting of a loved one. At 20:20 however, police cars were burned and things started getting ugly very quickly. The chart from this time will help shed some light on the astrological circumstances surrounding the riot. It is a mundane chart so the rules are slightly different to ones used for people.

The first thing to catch my eye about this chart is that Neptune and Jupiter are the ruling planets. Over the next few hours, as the violence escalated and the media interest intensified, their importance becomes clearer. There is also an opposition along the ascendant/descendant axis involving Chiron, Neptune and Mercury, all retrograde. An opposition shows tangible challenge and tension that cannot sit ignored or unresolved. Planets along the ascendant/descendant axis become a characteristic of the event. It will become what the public will understand happened and most likely how the media will report how it happened to the rest of the world. There are no surprises here: in the simplest terms, Neptune and Chiron in the 12th represent the collective wounded and their hope for a perfect society. These hopes are challenged, through the opposition to Mercury, by delayed information or the state’s insistence on perceived red tape.

There is a T-square involving a Pluto opposition to Mars, both square to Uranus. This is serious conflict. On its own, a Pluto-Mars opposition is a severe challenge to authority, and running through Cancer and Capricorn, reputation and family ideals are at stake. Uranus, the planet of rebellion (amongst other things), metaphorically kicks these ideals in the goolies. Of course, no one is going to take that so what to do?

What is interesting is how the rest of the astrological story continues to play out. Over short periods of time, (hours rather than days or months, for example), the ascendant changes, thus altering the emphasis of the astrological influences at work. In the next hour of the conflict, Uranus moved to the ascendant position, making him king of the show. Now the protest has become mob rule with individuals impatiently demanding their rights and using their high tech mobile phones to out-fox those in authority.

By the time the Tottenham post office catches on fire at 22:15, Jupiter has moved to be ruler of the chart and the flavour of the riot has changed again. In astrology, Jupiter is usually seen as “the Good Guy”, the benevolent god who calls on our higher morals to behave ourselves. And it’s a damn good thing he and Pluto, god of the underworld are on the same team (in trine) in this chart. However, Jupiter is also the god of opportunity and a square to the Venus/Sun conjunction in Leo shows that anything glittering and belonging to “the leaders” looks like it might be up for grabs. Think of the things that got nicked: status symbols, such as designer clothes/shoes and high tech gadgets such as phones or flat screen televisions.

By 1:00 am, Mars has taken pole position. Astrologically, Mars rules fires, weapons and impulsive fighting. Mars’ position in Cancer means that there is an element of tenacity in the battle and a strong need to protect the family or one’s home ground. By this time, the riots had the attention of the media. Pluto was also sitting on the descendant, therefore making its themes the very first thing reported by the mass media (Neptune was conjunct the MC and Uranus remained as the apex of the T-Square between Uranus and Mars) reported to the rest of the world. And boy, did England look like stinking mess.

Pluto gives us a chance to have a look at what isn’t right about our society and bring it to the light to be healed. As I’ve written in a previous post, when Hercules met the Hydra, he had to learn the hard way that chopping off heads wasn’t the way forward. The answer he found was that confronting his greatest fears by grabbing the beast and having a good look at what lies beneath.

The last time Pluto was in Capricorn (and Uranus was in Aries), during the 1760s, there was some mighty strong talk in America about certain revolutionary changes involving England that would bring about a better society. . .

Monday, 1 August 2011

The Power of Words

With all the bad news going on about the news, I thought it might be interesting to look at the chart of William Randolph Hearst, media magnate, inspiration for Citizen Kane and the creator of the so-called yellow press.

Hearst was born on 29 April 1863 at 5:58 am in San Francisco. Mercury in the 12th house rules the 2nd and is loosely conjunct Pluto. Perhaps working intuitively, Hearst was able to sniff out the nitty-gritty of a story, sensationalise it, sell it and by that process, he became a very successful and very wealthy man. Taking over his father’s newspaper business just as Pluto entered Gemini in 1886, he employed writers such as Jack London and Mark Twain, securing his newspaper’s popularity within a few years. By 1895, he was locking horns with Joseph Pulitzer.

To give an example of the power of Pluto in Gemini, we can just about safely say a few well placed words started a war with Spain in 1898—with both Hearst and his arch rival Joseph Pulitzer in agreement that Spain was responsible for the explosion on The Maine (an American Battleship harboured near Havana Cuba). The real cause of the explosion remains a mystery to this day. But that didn’t stop the USA entering into war with Spain.

Frank Luther Mott (1941) defines yellow journalism in terms of five characteristics (Frank Luther Mott, American Journalism (1941) p. 539):
1. scare headlines in huge print, often of minor news
2. lavish use of pictures, or imaginary drawings
3. use of faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudo-science, and a parade of false learning from so-called experts
4. emphasis on full-color Sunday supplements, usually with comic strips (which is now normal in the U.S.)
5. dramatic sympathy with the "underdog" against the system.

Not too much different from recent newspaper tactics! Pluto, of course, has moved on and currently nestles in Capricorn, making us far less interested in a few clever words and more interested in preserving our reputations.

With Neptune hovering between Aquarius and Pisces and Uranus in Aries, I wonder if we are seeing the beginning of the end of the newspaper business. Neptune would collect high tech info as it passed through Aquarius. In Pisces, its own sign, glamour for its own sake as well as rumour and speculation could reach epic proportions—however, Uranus in Aries will force us to streamline the information gathered through high technology. The era of high tech headlines only--without the Sunday supplement, editorial, extra columns and funnies--perhaps?

Saturday, 30 July 2011


Before this week, I have to admit that I usually don’t give a lot of thought to Norway. It always seemed to be such an innocuous country that it’s hard to believe such a terrible atrocity could have occurred there—it never would have even entered my imagination to look up its mundane chart.

According to Nicholas Campion’s “The Book of World Horoscopes,” Norway succeeded from Sweden at a session of the parliament (the “Storling”) on 7 June 1905 at the estimated time of 11am.

The chart of countries can be controversial because they represent a collective shift in public consciousness that completely ignores any dissent from those without power or voice. A good example of this is the constitution of the United States—if Native Americans had their voice, I’m pretty sure George Washington would have slipped into obscurity.

I digress. . .

The chart of the country is usually constructed from the time of huge collective shift usually heralded by a new constitution and a declaration of independence that is generally accepted by the majority. Thus, we have the time and date of Norway’s chart.

The chart shows Pluto in Gemini in conjunction with the Sun in the 11th house. Pluto had a bad reputation even though it lost its status as a planet—we can always smell him coming. But all charts have the rotten spot but does it always have to be so unpleasant?

Let's have a gander at the Pluto of Norway at 21 degrees of Gemini in the 11th house.

Generally, the 11th house is regarded as “friendly” and that it has something to do with the country’s long term hopes and wishes. I usually associate Pluto in Gemini with the yellow press that was prominent in the late 1800’s “To hell with Spain, remember the Maine” and all that you-can-crush-a-man-with-journailsm stuff of William Randolph Hearst (who had Uranus in Gemini). With Pluto in Gemini, a little rumour can be a dangerous thing. I think with Sun’s conjunction to Pluto, the people in power in Norway are not afraid to air their difficulties in public: Norway would seem to be a country that says “we’re not perfect but love us anyway”.

On the 22 July at about 3:30pm, Transit Mars hit the Pluto of Norway and all hell broke loose in the town centre of Oslo. Although Mars would transit Pluto every couple of years, it was the added whammy of the nodal axis that set the destiny of violence into motion. This combination would happen once in centuries. On top of this, Anders Breivik’s Neptune (remember the discussion about his Neptune in the previous post?) was on the North Node of the massacre. Breivik, with his Chiron on the Venus of Norway, sought to profoundly damage the country’s ability to enjoy their peaceful lives. With Venus in Taurus, an idyllic beauty spot was the metaphorically “perfect” setting for his terrible act when viewed astrologically.

It was profoundly touching to see the government’s response to the violence: there were no calls for violence or retaliation; instead there was the peaceful, dignified silence of acceptance. Norway's response reminded me of the myth of Hercules and the Hydra. Hercules had to antagonise the monster from her cave by shooting fiery arrows into where she was hiding (like Mars antagonised Pluto in Norway's chart). Of course, the monster emerges, raging and murderous. Hercules, being Hercules, tries to kill her by cutting off her heads (the hydra had three). But instead of dying, the Hydra just spouted new heads. To kill the beast, Hercules had to kneel in the smelly slime beneath the Hydra and lift her to the sun. In light of the sun, the Hydra withered, leaving behind a crystal. This was exactly what Norway has done, astrologically of course, and in doing so, a terrible tragedy was transformed into a collective message of human grace from which the entire world can learn. A glorious demonstration of what can happen if face our fears and bring them to the light.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Anders Breivik

When someone blows up a city centre with a homemade fertiliser bomb and then dresses up as a policeman, grabs a machine gun and murders 70+ kids on a picturesque island, one doesn't need validation of that person's insanity.
What I do like doing though is showing how the astrology is working.
Anders Breivik was born on 13 February 1979 in London according to Wikipedia. Because the time is unknown, I'm using the time as noon. Without the angles nor exact position of the Moon, the information available is limited but not to the point where the astrology can't be seen.
Like Amy Winehouse, Breivik's chart contains a magic triangle. Whereas Amy had Saturn/Pluto as the tip, Breivik has Neptune. His focus was cloudier, flimsier and much, much harder to pin down (see previous entry on Amy's Pluto/Saturn for a contrast). Anyone can be a drug addict, a drunkard, a sympathiser or an idealist (all traits of Neptune) but Neptune's position and contacts to other planets show how a native embraces the nebulous attraction of Neptune. Think about the pull of the sea: to some of us the idea of swimming in the ocean a terrifying one (some of us grew up in the 70s when "Jaws" was popular!), some of us might find it exhilarating (like surfers), some might see it as something to be conquered (deep sea fisherman) and some of us might find it fascinating (like Jacques Cousteau). Breivik had a Sun/Mars conjunction in Aquarius trine to Pluto in Libra, all three planets pointing to his Neptune by sextile. With different lifestyle choices, Breivik could simply have ended up as the town drunk. Instead he became drunk on the idea of religious perfection (Neptune in Sagittarius). In Breivik’s case, “the pull of the sea” would have felt pretty irresistible--especially as North Node began transiting his Neptune earlier this year. With this, the attraction of Neptune became not only interesting but something that may have felt "fated" to him.
But there are other things happening too. . .
For the past couple of years, Neptune had been doing the boogie-woogie all over his natal Sun and Mercury. Perhaps the siren’s call to a perfection?
Transit Uranus began a long stretch going over and passing then retreating and re-passing (by retrograde motion) over his progressed Sun, destabilising an already eccentric centre-self (Sun and Mercury in Aquarius square to Uranus). Of course, not all Aquarians are unstable—but they do enjoying holding unique or even unpopular beliefs. Breivik goes way beyond simple eccentricity. Someone, somewhere probably tried to tell Breivik he was behaving oddly but he probably turned around and said “But I’m right.”
So far, no one has said much about Breivik’s love life but something unusual is here too and is worth a look.
Natally, he most likely had a Saturn/Moon conjunction in Virgo. He’d hardly be a fluffy bunny kind of boyfriend: he’d most likely fix that cold, icy stare on you if you were anything less than perfect. This is trine to Venus in Capricorn—again, hardly cosy. Venus in Capricorn is not known for its love of soft furnishings. This guy is about as comfortable as a bed of nails. Transit Pluto in Capricorn was slowly making its way to Natal Venus, thus setting off what may be construed as a very unpleasant love affair with cold discomfort and harsh reality—and complete unpredictability. The image of those poor teenagers rushing to the good-looking, heroic policeman for help only to be gunned down as they stood is a tragic metaphor for this.
Nope, still not up to jokes. . .

Monday, 25 July 2011

Amy Winehouse: Newest Member of the "Club of 27"

It doesn’t seem many people were surprised to hear of the news of the death of Amy Winehouse. For months, she had been tottering on the nebulous edge of reality, every moment of undignified escapism chronicled in the tabloids, held up for ridicule via sloppy double entendre (“Amy boo-zed in Belgrade”), making less hedonistic heads shake in wonder. What a waste of talent, we said.

Indeed. Hers was a voice we’re not going to see the likes of again for some time.

But we said the same about Janis Joplin.

Like Janis, Amy hardly lived up to the reputation of her star sign. A Virgo, Amy reeked of the messy addictions so often attributed to her Sun’s opposite sign, Pisces. Here she was falling out of yet another club, beehive comically askew, stilettos long abandoned, too scrawny, eyes rolling in her head, off her face on God knows what, her family and friends scratching their heads, horror-struck. Where did it all go wrong?
Amy was born to a Jewish family in Southgate London on 14 September 1983 at 10:25 pm (Source: Frank Clifford quotes Winehouse's mother to a mutual friend of astrologer Margaret Zelinski. RR: A). She began singing and playing the guitar shortly before her first Saturn opposition. By the age of 20, she had been signed to Simon Fuller’s record company and the rest, as we like to say, is history. She stormed into our cultural consciousness with “Valerie” and “Rehab”. Beehive blazing, she was a jazzy cross between Sarah Vaughan and Morticia from the Addams Family.

Astrologically, Amy was a Mercurial character: her ascendant was in Gemini with its ruler in Virgo as well as a Mars-Venus conjunction in the 3rd house. Her career and public image were often described as “dichotomous” a handy synonym for Mercurial influences. However, the majority of planets are in the northern hemisphere, countering Mercury’s need to communicate and receive information openly. What we saw in Amy’s performances were pure, gut wrenching, honest emotions—when she sang about not wanting to go to rehab, she wasn’t kidding. No one with Moon conjunct Neptune would take well to keeping one’s feet on terra firma. And in the seventh house, this aspect manifested in her choice of men, none of whom were in any position to be a positive role model to sobriety. Added to this was a trine to the Venus-Mars conjunction in Leo. Nothing Leo energy does is quiet or subtle: we got the drunken lion’s roar with every snap shot of the paparazzi. As she publically fell apart earlier this year, Transit Pluto was beating on the threshold of the Moon-Neptune aspect, setting off the rapid destruction of this aspect. Her Progressed Moon's presence only seemed to signal sobriety was not in sight.

Like the other members of the Club of 27, Amy died as Transit Uranus was trine to her Natal Uranus. Perhaps the age of 27 is the soul's first opportunity for a shot at re-invention. I'll leave it to you to contemplate the other possible manifestations. As the first Uranus trine always occurs before the first Saturn return, the native may simply lack the experience and maturity to survive such a shake-up. We get another chance to re-invent ourselves at around 54 and a final attempt at 84.
Natal Pluto and Saturn, in disassociate conjunction (Pluto in Libra, Saturn in Scorpio) in the fifth house, formed the apex of a magic triangle configuration, also very much like the one prominent in the charts featured in the other members of the “Club of 27”. Any configuration of “easy” aspects produces an electrifying zing of never ending energy. Planets caught up in the configuration by transit or progression only serve as food to be consumed by the raging gods. A Saturn-Pluto conjunction as a focus for this configuration could have acted like a shield for Amy’s emotional turbulence. The need to party away the nerves of Neptune-Moon but yet have all the attention the Venus-Mars conjunction in Leo craves could have led to a much faster burn out had it not been for the steely reserve of Amy’s Pluto-Saturn conjunction. Without this aspect, in the fifth house, performing live may not have been possible for a vulnerable personality like her’s. No matter how much "talent" a person possesses, without nerves of steel (naturally occurring or otherwise), a performer is impotent on stage. And Amy performed live over and over and over again.

Generally speaking, squares usually add "grit" to a chart. They make a character, forcing it to do something to overcome limitations rather than passively wait for answers to arrive like a bolt from the blue. Sadly, Amy’s Sun-Mercury conjunction in 4th in Virgo needed emotional and mental precision as a way to express the anguish of living in an imperfect world. In a career where alcohol, fame and drugs are so readily available, Amy Winehouse fell into the abyss.

And no, I'm not ready to make a joke about that.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Newest Member of the Club of 27

I'm sorry to write that Amy Winehouse qualifies as the newest member of the "Club of 27".
Why Amy? I hear you ask. Does anyone who dies at the age of 27 qualify for the infamous "Club of 27"?
I'm afraid not.
The Club of 27 has had many potential members who have simply died at the age of 27. These include Pigpen of the Grateful Dead and Kirsten Pfaff of Hole and many other, rather obscure, yet semi-notable figures in the world of rock n roll. These folks had "fans" but not the fanatical followers of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones and Kurt Cobain. We're always sorry for those who die young but not just anyone can join the ranks of the exclusive Club of 27.
Amy Winehouse was notable because she was a talented, award winning lead singer. Her talent made her stand out, not just her hedonistic lifestyle, her recklessness or her need for attention. Most importantly, Amy Winehouse stood out on her own: she didn't need anyone to cling on to. She was a Grammy winning solo artist and had rightly won an inclusion in the "1001 Albums to Listen to Before you Die" book. Her voice was remarkable and life changing, her talent raw, evocative and we won't see the likes of it any time soon.
The Club of 27 is exclusive club and a very reluctant one: Welcome Amy Winehouse.
And no, no one wants any more members.
More on the Club of 27:
Or, perhaps we should just mourn the 90+ people who died in Norway. . .

Monday, 16 May 2011

Caput Algol: DUCK!

The fixed star Algol has fascinated me for years. I even named one of my cats Perseus. And so with the Sun approaching conjunction of the fearsome Gorgon's head during the full moon, I thought we could reflect (as opposed to look directly at) this fixed star.
More Algol here.
Firstly, there's been some pretty gruesome news in Tenerife with the beheading of an innocent grandmother. I don't know the woman's birth details so I can't comment on whether or not she has personal contacts to Algol but it seems very "coincidental" that the news of her beheading emerged on the very same day as Nick Berg's beheading a few years ago--on the day when the Sun was approaching Algol.
Anne Boleyn (5 May 1507) and was executed by beheading and had Mercury conjunct Algol (Algol was at 19 Taurus in 1507). Saddam Hussein (28 April 1937) also had Mercury conjunct Algol and was executed by hanging.
I also think it's pretty interesting that Princess Diana had Venus on Algol. She wasn't beheaded but her lover, Dodi Alfayed, died of head injuries in their fatal car crash. I found it a little alarming that Prince William, who also has Venus on Algol, would give his mother's ring to Kate. I'm not predicting head injuries, I'm just saying the symbolism of Algol may be a little hard to shake: personal planets conjunct Algol are said to make pretty intense personalities. Prince William is certainly affected by the Al-ghoulesque themes.
But headlessness isn't necessarily the compulsary manifestation of Algol. Here's a few others:
Julie Gregory, author of "Sickened" the story of a child whose mother had Munchausen by proxy, has a birthday today. She wasn't beheaded but she is the victim of some very strange parenting from someone who seems to be quite sick in the head.

Debra Winger, Sun on Algol, is known for her intense, don't-mess-with-me gaze as well as her unusual voice (Taurus rules the throat).
Leo Buscaglia, "Dr Love" had Venus conjunct Algol. Although he was renowned for his courses entitled "Love 1A," the queues of people who wanted to hug him following his lectures and his bestselling book "Love," he never married.
Tough guy James Caan had his descendant and Mars on Algol. He was married four times producing children with each union.
The plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and the pilot of the plane they were flying in also had Mars conjunct Algol. The all died of massive traumas to the brain. Additionally, the pilot had Mars opposite Algol and Valens had Uranus conjunct Algol (just like John Lennon and Bob Dylan).
There's tons of stuff on the web about Algol but here's a few things to bear in mind:
1) Algol doesn't always mean headlessness but often there are elements of the myth associated in the person's life: jealousy, being "head strong," and intensity.
2) Algol is currently at 26 degrees Taurus but owing to precession, moves one degree every 72 years.
3) Here's a few sites of interest for Algol lovers everywhere
The late, great Diana Rosenberg wrote the ultimate Algol article.
4) A lot of people who have Algol contacts haven't lost their heads
5) A lot of people who don't have Algol contacts have lost their heads
6) A lot of astrologers treat Algol with a pinch of salt.

Make a joke out of Algol I hear you ask?
Okee dokee. . .
What can you never give the headless horseman?
A headache!
And of course, there's always a fine line of you so ugly jokes to choose from. . .
1.You're so ugly, when you walk into the bank they turn off the cameras.
2.If ugliness were bricks, you would be the Great Wall Of China.
3.You're so ugly, you went to a haunted house and came out with an application.
4.If ugliness was a crime, you'd get the electric chair.
5.You were so ugly at birth, your parents named you Shit Happens.
6.You're so ugly, your mate won't have to worry about birth control... your face will do just fine.
7.You're so ugly, you could model for death threats.
8.You're so ugly, when you were born they put tinted windows on your incubator.
9.You're so ugly, you have to sneak up on your mirror.
10.You're so ugly, when you look in the mirror your reflection turns to stone.
11.You're so ugly, when you sit in the sand the cats try to bury you

Friday, 6 May 2011

Flat Earth

A couple of years ago, I met the lovely Christine Garwood, author of “Flat Earth: the History of an Infamous Idea”. She was presenting her findings about the very interesting Flat Earth Society at a Lodge History seminar. The Flat Earth Society asks some very interesting questions about some things we take for granted.

One of the most difficult things for me to do when I first started studying astronomy several (a-hem) years ago was to get the images in my head to move in a 3-D circular motion. For example, on paper, the phases of the moon look like this:

But in reality, it looks nothing like this as we experience it on earth and it was difficult to train my brain to get the earth and moon to move in rotation and revolution. It was a similar problem with understanding retrograde motion:

But I do understand (I think) anyway why the earth must be a sphere and not a flattened disk: because Aristotle said so!

OK, maybe it’s more to do with the fact that these days I am much more adept at getting the imaginary earth in my head to rotate and revolve around an imaginary sun. All the same, it’s not such a bad idea to try to see something from another person’s point of view every now and again. Even if you do think they’re wrong.

To celebrate getting it wrong. . .here’s a little Mars opposite Uranus joke just for you:

Tony was 6 years old and was staying with his grandmother for a few days.

He'd been playing outside with the other kids, when he came into the house and asked her, 'Grandma, what's that called when two people sleep in the same bedroom and one is on top of the other?' She was a little taken aback, but she decided to tell him the truth. 'Well, dear, it's called sexual intercourse. Oh, Little Tony said, 'OK,' and went back outside to play with the other kids.

A few minutes later he came back in and said angrily, 'Grandma, it isn't called sexual intercourse. It's called Bunk Beds. And Jimmy's mom wants to talk to you.'

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

In Amsterdam

I'm still struggling to catch up with my blog!
Part of this is due to me launching my website which neatly compiles some of the articles I've published these past few years.
My new website (still under construction) is:
Catchy, eh?
I went to Amsterdam In February which was meant to be a break but ended up being a sad event: just before I boarded the plane, I learned my good friend Maurice McCann had died. Although Maurice hadn't been in good health, it was quite a nasty shock. I will write more about this wonderful man in coming posts but I know Maurice would want me to focus on the beautiful weather and to continue to get in touch with other astrologers.
Luckily, to take my mind off of my sadness, I met the lovely Karen Hamaker-Zondag who runs her own highly successful astrology school in Amsterdam.
Karen also has a very impressive array of books in her shop (my daughter Jess is the model):
Karen and I also discussed the Sibley chart at length, inspiring me to commence work on why I continue to use the Sibley chart when most other astrologers have abandoned it.
I'll need a little more space to explain so watch my website!
In honour of the hard-working Karen and the honourable Maurice McCann, here's a little Saturn conjunct Mercury joke--with an opposition to Neptune:
William Shakespeare walks into the pub and orders a pint.
The barman looks at William and says: "Look, I told you before: You're Bard!"

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Yup, still here. . .

Gosh, with my blogger stats counter suddenly going through the roof after four months of silence from me, I thought I had better update! I don't know if the new guests are interested in astrology, crop circles, dirty jokes or me but whoever you are, thanks for the attention--that makes my moon in Leo very happy indeed.
So what HAVE I been up to?
As I announced in September, I decided I was going to spend less time working and more time having fun. Well, the having more fun bit has been quite successful but the working less bit has. . .well, not worked. I've been extremely busy, er, working. And having fun.
Let's see. . .
I wrote another novel in November as part of the National write a novel in a month month, which was why I was too busy to blog in November.
In December, I had just about the worse case of flu I've ever had. . .and then I spent part of the Christmas holidays in Marrakesh where I witnessed a lunar eclipse just before dawn and then went to the other side of the hotel to watch the sunrise.
That awed me into shutting up for awhile.
Here's the photo to prove I was indeed moved to reverent awe and silence:

As for a smutty joke. . .with what's happening in Japan, I somehow don't quite feel up to making jokes today. So sorry if you've popped in for that.
Oh and a reminder the the Astrological Lodge of London meets up at the Theosophical Society on Monday nights.
The next Quarterly in nearly ready so stay tuned. . .