Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Full Moon Fever Ahead

Photo by Wonder Bright
When the Moon is Full, it means it is in an opposition aspect to the Sun. Representing our emotions, intuition and motherly instinct, the Moon in this phase reflects our journey of the inner self at its halfway point. We are evaluating the harvest of our hard work and figuring out what went well and what we could do better. For this reason, the days before and after the Full Moon can feel a little stressful. The upcoming Full Moon in Cancer on 5th January 2015 (first Full Moon of the year!!) is a strong one and it stands in opposition to both the Sun and the God of the Underworld himself, Pluto whilst being square to Uranus (thus making a contentious T-square formation).
I have been saying in “Growing Pains” lectures for some time now that the Uranus-Pluto square demands that we have an honest look at what Mary Whitehouse was telling us way back during the conjunction between these two planets (in the mid sixties). If you remember, she was vilified for her conservative views on protecting children from what they were seeing on the television. Astrologically, Uranus rules technology whilst Pluto represents the hidden side of human nature: death, sex and other people’s money. Through the seven-fold square dance between these heavyweight planets over the past few years, we are just starting to understand the effect of the internet and hand held devices on our children. And we haven’t even scratched the surface of it yet. There’s much more to come in mid March 2015 with the final tango of this Uranus-Pluto square.
This particular Full Moon is stressful because it makes us look deeply into ourselves and face some very troubling truths. And yes, because Uranus and Pluto are implicated in this chapter of the journey, the care of our children is at stake.


Has your impatience and audacity in the workplace paid off? Chances are you are feeling you’ve rather over egged the bureaucratic pudding and are feeling a little silly for doing so. No time to feel sorry for yourself—push on and don’t lose your courage. But perhaps you could leave the oppositional defiant disorder for another day. Your boss is getting annoyed. Taking chances is all well and good if the rewards are truly worth the risks.

If you are planning a holiday or looking to start an educational course, it’s time to read the fine print. It isn’t easy to pull the wool over your eyes but these days, you need to put your reading glasses on. What you thought was a good, dependable investment may not be what it seems under scrutiny.  Also on your mind might be some ideas for home improvements. It’s a great idea but it needs some careful research and no matter how good it looks in the sales, make sure you look at a potential purchase thoroughly before you buy.

Finances have never been your thing because to you the ability to share information in all important. This month you will be confronted with all kinds of financial questions, ideas and speculations. It’s not your thing but you are being challenged to get to grips with it. Ignoring it will not make it go away. In fact, that kind of head in the sand tactic will only mean the problem gets much worse. It might be scary to face such huge, uncertain problems head on but if you can only hold them to the light, you will be rewarded.

As the Big Mother of the zodiac, you have always been willing to offer comfort to all creatures. As the Full Moon approaches, you may feel under scrutiny for your actions. Did you love enough? Or were you accepting when you should have been sharply critical? Children are notoriously ungrateful and judgmental. The challenge for you is to decide who is right and who needs a cold shoulder until an apology is offered.

The Full Moon questions your commitment to both your significant others and your workplace.  Despite the odd flaw here and there, you are magnificently generous person who wants to give of your time and talents. But you want to do it on your own terms and very often that means you want the credit for what you do. But what if you had to do everything with not so much as a little ‘thank you’? Would you still do it if nobody noticed? The temptation you face is to do something completely outrageous just to get a little attention. Don’t even think about it, Leo.

You have an excellent critical eye that can spot the smallest of flaws in even the grandest of schemes. You don’t like to say ‘I told you so’ too often but as you watch your friends bumbling through their romances, you can’t help but smirk and tell them you saw it coming. Resist that urge—it’s not worth wrecking your friendship.  What would be far more helpful would be to be the shoulder to cry on when it’s needed over the next few days. You’ll get your chance to say your piece but for now, use you compassionate common sense.

Being the peacemaker is a tough job but someone has to do it when everyone else has their hands full being seriously provocative. Family members are even colleagues continue their antics and worse, demanding that you take sides—and your significant other stands by in the sidelines watching the drama as if it were some sort of scientific experiment gone haywire. Do yourself a little favour and detach yourself, make some popcorn and enjoy the excitement without becoming personally involved.

You’re still breathing that sigh of relief that the crisis seems to be over. But don’t too comfortable. You have an awful lot to say and while you might think it’s just gentle banter, others are seriously offended and hurt by your opinions--even if they don’t react straight away. It may feel good to you to get things off your chest but you need to bear in mind your audience has a very good memory and your words may come back to haunt you. Button it for the moment. You’ll have your chance to say what you really mean another day.

Just when you think you got your finances in order BOOM, another crisis pops up. Being responsible for others sure puts a dampener on your freedom, doesn’t it? But the good news is that you can handle a crisis efficiently and effectively and very often without even breaking a sweat. Your professional skills may not seem to be useful in your own home but if you put them to good use, they will serve you well. Be cool baby and never let them see you sweat.

So you’re the one causing all these problems! You’re so ordered and structured (most of the time) that you feel very virtuous for following absolutely every rule in the book while just about everyone who has broken those same rules are in a crisis. Well played—but you’re not off the hook. Being the only secure one in the home means you have to dig everybody else out of the pit. And that’s going to cost you. The problem is that the more money you invest in solving the problem, the more costs keep going up until you’re forced to quite dramatically cut off the ties. Remember, you’re the one with the clout to call the shots.

To serve of be served? Neither of these options is to your liking but sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and do as you’re told. That is not to say you can’t add your own personal flair. In fact, you won’t be able to resist doing just that. As the propeller head techie of the zodiac, you have the ability to help the world come to grips with the crisis that is facing us. This is your chance to step up to the plate and tell us how to use technology to benefit the world rather than sharing photos of our cats of social networking sites.

Your idealism can often give people the impression your head is in the clouds (and they might be right) but your ability to keep the faith even under the harshest of fire keeps the rest of us buoyant. Everyone should thank you but, as you let people take advantage of you, you go unappreciated yet again. But only if you decide to let it happen. This Full Moon, your creativity knows no bounds and whilst it can be a bit daunting to get your stuff ‘out there’ it’s time you received the recognition you deserve. Go for it Pisces.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Star Sign Columnist?

I know, I know. . .what the hell has gotten into me.
Well, with a stellium of planets in my solar 7th house, I'm feeling provoked. And challenged. Like many other astrologers, I had taken the secret "I'm never going to be hungry enough to write a star sign column" oath wa-a-a-a-a-ay back when I first became an astrologer. I did this mainly because I realised how pointless they were very early on: I could never identify with my own star sign (Cancer) but could (and still do) resonate with my Moon in Leo (yeah I know Cancer rules the Moon). So this new stance is a big step for me. I'm not saying star signs are right (yet) but I now realise perhaps I'm being very unfair when I say how useless they are when I've never even tried to write a column. I have always understood that star sign columns take a lot of discipline to get out there every day but that has only just led to me asking 'why waste the time and energy?' and declaring 'I didn't study all those years with the FAS to churn out rubbish.'. But okay, I'll do this challenge just to see if anything changes. As it's taken me just over an hour to finish one day's horoscope, I'm already starting to question my sanity. Do I have the time to do this every day? Do I want to do it?
Well the answer to both questions is a Great Goddess Almighty 'NO'! But having already been congratulated by the Astrological Association's new Journal editor (Victor Olliver) for doing this challenge and assured by my buddy Jessica Adams that star signs are not only acceptable but needed for the astrology business, I want to give it a shot. I need business, right? (Actually I don't but how can a few more clients or book buying customers hurt?).
I am guilty of very often not giving my craft its fair due time and attention: I just went through a period of nearly 6 months with only about 10 entries of my blog (albeit some mighty fine writing went in there). Forcing myself to write (well post as I intend to bank a few days of writing in advance) a star sign column will certainly make me pick up an ephemeris a bit more often. And I kinda like the idea of being obligated to writing 600 or so words every day. I did "National Write a Novel In A Month" month four years running, right?
So here's how it's going to work:
  1. I'm going to post a daily horoscope column from today to the Spring Equinox. I will post the next day's column the night before.
  2. I am going to measure how many more people come to my Facebook page/re-tweet, share my blog, visit my website, buy my book, commit to my classes or arrange for consultations because of the daily horoscope column.
  3. I will keep a separate journal of my feelings as I write the column. 
  4. At the end of this experiment, I will post the difference in website traffic/business between now and 20 March 2015 (the spring equinox) as well as whether or not my feelings towards star signs have changed.
  5. Publicly (after this post), I will be positive towards this challenge. If Victor wants to publish the excerpts of my journal and the results as set out above when it's all done, it will be up to him.
  6. I have done a few little things like adding a pop up to my website and will add my own advertisement after every entry. I might change this as I get a little more au faux with such things as we go along.
  7. I will be receptive to any sensible advice I get along the way.
Just for a chuckle, I include the transits for my chart below.

Monday, 22 December 2014

With a Little Help From My Friends

I am supposed to be finding my place in the astrological world. One place I didn't want to be was writing about Algol, astro obituaries or star sign columns. And yet these seem to be what is in front of me: Joe Cocker, with his Sun conjunct Algol and his Saturn opposite the Galactic Centre (about which I had only posted about hours before his actual death), dies and the AA Journal dedicates nearly a whole issue to Star Sign columns. 
Cocker (shown left, photo and sources from Wikipedia) was born on 20 May 1944 at 5:00am in Sheffield (Rodding rating: A; Collector: Blackwell) with Jupiter in Leo and Saturn in Gemini. Jupiter in Leo, is ruled by the Sun in Taurus conjunct the dreaded fixed star Algol. It was his unique voice we will remember him for and whilst information about his formative years seem to be lacking it is known he began singing at around the time of his first, single shot Jupiter return in his 12th year. In 1960, after his single shot Saturn opposition and after Jupiter had made a series of three oppositions to his natal Sun, Saturn was on his midheaven. During the time of his youthful struggles to make it in the music industry as part of the group The Cavaliers in 1960, transit Jupiter had opposed his natal Saturn in Gemini. Saturn in Gemini has grave doubts about its intellectual abilities, thus Transit Jupiter in boisterous Sagittarius would have been tamed. Cocker became an apprentice gas fitter shortly after this, seemingly leaving a career in music behind. Rather fitting as 1960 came to an end, transit Jupiter had moved into Capricorn and formed a square to its natal position.
Jupiter and Saturn, in and out of conjunction in 1961, opposed his natal Mars as he continued to pursue duel careers in gas fitting and music. By 1966, as Jupiter was conjunct to first Mars and then his North Node three times, he hit the big time with a re-arranged recording of "With a Little Help From my Friends". The record eventually reached gold stars in 1969 just in time for Jupiter to reach conjunction with his natal Neptune. The die had been cast: music had won out over gas fitting. However, transiting Saturn in Taurus over the next year made an uncomfortable conjunction to his natal Venus and a square to his natal Jupiter. He was simply unable to enjoy his success and fell into a depression and alcohol addiction. He took a two year break. 
In October 1972, as transiting Jupiter in Capricorn squared his natal Neptune, he was arrested for possession of cannabis and was ordered to leave Australia and upped his addictions to include heroin. Although often labelled as a minor aspect, transit Saturn made a semi square to his natal Sun as transit Jupiter made a semi square to his natal Moon. Semi squares frequently manifest with frustration and Cocker's lacklustre live performances were hampered by his alcoholism. By 1976, Saturn and Jupiter were still playing havoc with his natal Mars and he found himself severely in debt and with John Belushi taking the piss out of him on Saturday Night Live.
Cocker's third Jupiter return marked a turning point. It began with a Woodstock in Europe tour  that featured many of the same performers from original festival line up a decade before. In 1982, as transit Jupiter opposed his natal Mercury in Taurus 3 times, Cocker hit it big with Jennifer Warnes with "Up Where We Belong," the theme to An Officer and a Gentleman. 
Two Jupiter cycles after the die had been cast to turn him into a musical performer, he was named Best British Male Performer at the 1993 Brit Awards when Jupiter again was conjunct to his natal Neptune. Cocker, of course, continued performing and continued to receive accolades for his performances.
He died of lung cancer today as Saturn opposed his Sun conjunct Algol: the gruff, painfully raw  voice, immortalised.
I haven't quite decided how I should respond to the AA publishing a star sign column but I imagine I will find inspiration at some point.

While We Were Sleeping

As Saturn plays up in the final degrees of Scorpio, it might have been a little hard to get some decent shut eye. Scorpio invites us to have a good old probe at what lies beneath and Saturn gives us order and structure to do it. Together Scorpio in Saturn is, to put it mildly, a little intense and heavy. Recent headlines have been awful: the “execution style” deaths of two policeman supposedly in retaliation of police brutality, the slaughter of high school children (many in the years between their first Jupiter return and Saturn opposition) and teachers in Pakistan, the siege in Sydney and the mass murder of eight siblings reportedly by their own mother in Cairns have evoked enough nightmares to get some sleep. Although I am not directly affected by these events, I am deeply affected and I send out my condolences to all who mourn. In my own home, I suffered a meningitis scare that lead to a serious meltdown of parental concern.
As awful as these events are, time continues to march on. And on this very important day, I am taking a bit of time to reflect on my work (the ingress chart has 4 planets in Capricorn after all, closely followed by the New Moon just hours later). For some time, I have wondered what I should do as an astrologer, where do I fit in the astrological world and how can I best use it to help others. I think these are questions all astrologers ask themselves despite being the diverse bunch people we are. When you are invited to step into the astrological world, you are suddenly faced with a myriad of choices and decisions. No matter what sceptics say, astrology is a vast field and one that seems to resist being tamed.
As you read this, we have just passed the longest night of the year. It is the re-birth of our sun and it comes with the assurance that the cold and darkness will come to end. But yet it is also a reminder that it is a part of an ongoing cycle that (hopefully!) never ends. This teaches us, in my opinion anyway, that we need to use this knowledge to take advantage of appropriate opportunities.

The Snake Charmer

Recent events do have a common theme as they occurred not only as Saturn was in the final degree of Scorpio but as significant connections were made to the Galactic Centre at about 27 Sagittarius. There seems to be a deep and meaningful effect on humans—and that is not a bad thing if the result is in said humans doing something about it.
Ophuichus has had a lot of press in recent years for being the so-called “Thirteenth Sign” because the constellation is so close to the ecliptic and therefore he can be called a “Sun Sign”. Um, that not only confuses signs and constellations, it detracts from the story. For a more in depth explanation, go here. So in the sky, Ophuichus is about to step on the Scorpion’s sting and also about to receive an arrow from the Archer. This is how Kepler drew it (the lines I've added and explained below):

Within the red circled area, the tip of the Archer's bow can be seen in the lower left and the Scorpion's stinger can be seen lower down in the centre. The pink line represents the ecliptic, the blue line represents the Milky Way and the yellow dot is the Galactic Centre. Ophuichus' right foot is about to step where three points--the Archer's arrow, the Scorpion's sting and the Galactic Centre--converge (interestingly, Ophuichus' left foot is stepping on Antares, the heart of the Scorpion but that is a story for another day). In terms of the background of stars, where the blue line and pink lines intersect is roughly where the New Moon of the Ingress chart (below) happened. You have to bear in mind that Kepler's star chart was drawn over 400 hundred years ago and so more precession has taken place since then. I'm just using it to illustrate my point.

The Galactic Centre is not too far from where the New Moon last night took place. Here’s the ingress chart:

Mythologically, Asclepius was born by being cut from his dead mother’s womb and was carried by his father Apollo to the centaur Chiron who raised him and taught him in the art of medicine. In addition to becoming a great healer, Asclepius was the wide Epione (the goddess of soothing pain) and the father of Hygieia (the goddess of hygiene), Iaso (goddess of recuperation), Asesco (goddess of the healing process) Aglaea (goddess of adornment) and Panacea (the goddess of universal remedy). To this day, the rod of Asclepius, a snake wrapped around a staff, is still used to represent the medical profession. Asclepius got himself into hot water because he had found a way to bring back people from the dead which angered Hades. It is also alleged Asclepius accepted gold for bringing back Hippolytus to the land of the living and accepting gold for doing so. Hades asked his brother Zeus to stop Asclepius which pissed off Apollo so he (Apollo) killed the Cyclopes who was in the process of creating the thunderbolts which were intended to finish off Asclepius. Zeus suspended Apollo from his godly duties and killed Asclepius as planned and then placed his body amongst the stars as the constellation Ophiuchus.
The constellation of Ophuichus is described by Marcus Manilius’ poem as: “Ophuichus holds apart the serpent which with its might spirals and twisted body encircles his own, so that he may untie its knots and back that winds in loops. But, bending its supple neck, the serpent looks back and returns: and the other’s hands slide over the loosed coils. The struggle will last forever, since they wage it on level terms with equal powers.”[i]  Manilius implies later that those born as the constellation rises over the horizon will suffer no harm from “poisonous monsters”.
Although the recent horror stories in the news did not have Ophuichus rising, the New Moon of the ingress chart highlights his story. We may be but mortal beings but we can cry out in rage and protest at what can seem to be the acts of unmerciful gods. And we can do something about it. In the aftermath of the Sydney Siege came the #Illridewithyou campaign--something Australians are very proud of and the whole world can learn from. The execution of the police officers in Brooklyn brought pleas for calm in an ever escalating temptation for revenge. The mother who murdered her children is thought to have exhibited erratic behaviour and worrying signs of mental distress, i.e. she needed help before she committed her terrible crime and thus is likely to call attention to more better diagnostic care. Pakistan has lifted its six year moratorium on the death penalty and has already executed several of the people responsible for the school massacre. As much as I hate the death penalty I think it is pretty safe to say I hate the idea of armed terrorists gunning down innocent pupils and teachers even more. Like just about everyone else in the world, I hope a deal or an understanding between warring factions can be found very soon. I suspect, as Asclepius and Chiron did in mythology, we will begin to search for better ways to help ease the suffering of our fellow man over the coming months.
At least I sure hope so.

[i] Manilius, Astronomica, l.333ff