Sunday, 29 November 2015

Seriously, all is well

If you know me at all, then you know how much I love social media (especially Facebook). Most people comment on how quick I am to respond to private messages--and how chatty I can be. So this is a quick (and maybe slightly lazy) way of letting you know all is well.

Lately I've been a little bit behind on social media. And it's because I've been DELUGED with questions about whether or not I'm actually OK. Convos go a bit like this:

friend: OK, Alex, are you OK?
me: of course, it's going really well here in cape town
friend: no REALLY
me: yes, really, I'm fine

Seriously, I'm fine. I've had my head down a bit as I frantically re-organise my various articles (both completed and in progress). Sheesh. . .I write a lot. I have enough for a little something every day which I'll be posting from my Growing Pains blog. I'm also trying to get back to the daily horoscopes on the Don't Sweat It Planet blog. As I've said, I don't particularly find them edifying but it drives traffic to my website. So I'm back to using this as my personal astrological blog (as opposed to putting everything up here) I'm also working on a couple of new books--and at long last, I think I've made my website a much happier place. Check it out at

In short, yes, I REALLY am OK. I am doing stuff I've meant to do for a very long time and I'm doing a very slow switch from being a full-time teacher to a full-time astrologer. I've been recruited by a couple of magazines to write for them, my 2017 calendar is filling up nicely and I'm contentedly busy with other new projects. It takes time to complete a career switch and I'm just very grateful I've been given space to get stuff together.

Seriously, I'm good. I mean just look at this blissed out face:

 That's the face of someone who is really good.

Thanks for asking xx

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Full Moon in Gemini

“And ye shall know The Truth. And The Truth shall set you free.”--John 8:32

As a consulting astrologer, I am used to working with clients who, for whatever reasons, have shunned traditional therapies. Some time ago, I met a client who had been involved in (she so hates the word ‘victim’) a very violent crime.

Be warned: This is a description of a violent sexual crime and its impact on the client. It is not an entire transcript and is published at the request of and with full consent of the client.

Both the astrologer and client post this recount as a testament to the power of astrology—not only as a predictive tool but one to allow deeper insight into and facilitation of the healing process. Both also felt the timing was appropriate for the journey of the Moon from its New Moon phase in Scorpio to its Full Moon in Gemini opposite Sun in Sagittarius.
Event Chart
The client reports she has been living with a terrible secret and is now ready to discuss the event which up to now she has refused to do in any detail. Upon discussion with the astrologer, she agrees to decline public disclosure of natal details because “the chart speaks for itself”. Transit Pluto’s opposition to the Chiron of the event suggests a wound that needs to healed: indeed the client describes feeling as if “shrapnel were making its way to the surface.”

The client begins her story by describing the effect the crime has had on her: self-loathing, bouts of self-harm, debilitating panic attacks and an overall feeling of a lack of safety. With the Moon opposite to Uranus, both square to Mars in the event chart, it is apparent—without natal details—that the event was a traumatisng one and perhaps one that makes the client, in her own words “very, very angry”. The symptoms became fewer and further apart in time but would not lessen in intensity, periodically returning as if the crime had only recently happened. What might startle the average person could lead to a full blown panic attack for the client. Over time, the client was able to manage symptoms with self administered cognitive behaviour therapy but was still—and is still--vulnerable to severe anxiety and what the client now recognises as acts of self-hatred.

The client blames herself for the event, indicating she had verbally retaliated to a shoplifter who had been sexually suggestive as she worked alone on the night shift in a convenience store. Jupiter opposite to Saturn, both square to Mercury could possibly indicate the sense of false security the client felt as she stood up for herself as well as her decision to fail to immediately report the shoplifting crime as per company policy.

Venus and Pluto are both in Scorpio, trine to the Moon and Jupiter in Cancer, speak of the over-confidence in checking suspicious noises in the back of the store. The client had thought she would be chasing off raccoons, not the heavy-set, bearded customer she had chased out of the store hours before. She describes that he jumped on her out of nowhere and forced her to her knees.

“His weight and strength were overwhelming,” she says. As she struggled to push him away, she heard the unmistakable click of a trigger.
 The client stops talking for a minute as if gathering her thoughts.
“I knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew I didn’t stand a chance of getting away, that this guy was pissed off and was going to show me what happens to girls who run their mouths.” She recalls being angry with herself because she had forgotten to wear a belt with her uniform trousers. The whole shift she had been annoyed at having to keep pulling up waistband and now her forgetfulness was what made it so easy for him to rape her.

With her head pressed on the concrete floor, her arms and legs immobilised, she could do absolutely nothing as she heard him spit on himself. The client mutters that even as she was being raped, she couldn’t keep her mouth shut. Mercury conjunct Mars is the apex of the T square. Between gritted teeth she asked: “Is that all you got?”

For a second, she thought she had gotten to him and that it was all over. He withdrew from her, then roared. In the event chart, Mars in combust: the shock and shame of what had happened next ensured she would never speak of the crime to anyone.

He pulled her head back by her hair and bit her hard in the shoulder as he came. At some point he had dropped the gun (she had been terrified he would accidentally pull the trigger) but it remained out of her reach. He slapped her several times around the head and pushed her away as if he were the one who was disgusted by what had happened. He laughed at her as she dressed. He picked up the gun, kept it aimed at her the whole time, and told her repeatedly that if she told anyone he would be sure to tell the details of what had happened in a public courthouse. As if to punctuate his point, he stepped up to her quickly. The client shielded her face, thinking she could protect herself. His kick (with heavy boots) landed squarely between her legs and before he left, he promised her she “wouldn’t be able sit for months.” She didn’t doubt him.
On his way out, she heard he had simply hit the ‘no sale’ button on the register, emptied it and some seconds later the bell of the front door indicated he had left. He got away with around $50.

The client says she knew immediately that she had to cover up the sexual aspect of the crime. The movie “The Accused” had come out recently and she was well aware of how rape victims were treated. A medical exam would reveal the extent of her injuries. She did not want to have to give public testimony to what had happened and the thought of putting her parents through such an ordeal was what had gotten her to her feet, to the bathroom to clean up and partially wash away the evidence and later lie to the police about the full extent of the crime.

The Moon conjunct Jupiter trine to Venus should have indicated the client would find solace in women. Instead the client insists that she felt the women police officers had tried to psychologically bully her into admitting there had been a sexual assault. During the interview, the client remembered she had been on her period during the assault and was only reminded of this during a bout of severe cramping caused by the deeply wedged tampon. The women police officers had questioned why the client requested to use the bathroom, implying it was to perhaps wash away evidence. The client had stoically stayed in her seat even though it was—as the perpetrator tacitly promised—excruciatingly painful. As time went on, the client felt that telling her story would provide an opportunity for other women to judge her—this extended to her own mother with whom she had a very troubled relationship. At the time of the assault, the client had been having a sexual—and experimental--relationship with another woman. The client never spoke directly to her girlfriend again. She said for several years she was repulsed and frightened by other women, a feeling only alleviated after the birth of her first child which she describes as an “unquestionable commitment to the female sorority.”

Like the mythological rape of Persephone, reflected by the event chart’s Venus-Pluto conjunction in Scorpio, the client was very aware that there was no going back to the way things had been before. The client is quick to point out that she had happily disposed of her virginity several years before the event and that sex had been a happy and even joyful activity with male friends. She had never felt uncomfortable or coerced and that she shared a bed with the men in her life in exactly the same manner she might share a beer or a laugh or a game of sport. The client was fascinated with the weakness men had when it came to sex and that she had never felt she understood a man until she experienced him in the throes of an orgasm. The “girlfriend phase” had been fairly platonic and more for the shock value than anything else. The client could not bear the thought that her girlfriend would be able to intuit what had really happened—hence the reason for the abandonment.

Neptune conjunct Saturn possibly explains the extent to which the client was prepared to deny she was having difficulties dealing with the aftermath of the ordeal. She began to drink heavily to quell the panic of being alone in small or enclosed areas. Sleep was intermittent and unsatisfactory. It was several weeks before the internal injuries had healed enough for the client to feel ready for further sexual encounters. She was keen to get a move on as a means of proving she had not been affected by the rape. One evening, fuelled by vodka, she publicly and crudely propositioned a former lover. This led to a loud and violent confrontation with a potential partner of her former lover, an arrest by campus police and a referral to the drugs and alcohol abuse centre. For the eight weeks of the compulsory outpatient treatment, the client refused to engage with counsellors, vigorously refused medical help for the frequent and severe anxiety attacks (which the client felt she was able to pass off as anger) and completely denied there were any problems.

Uranus opposite the Moon can mean emotional isolation and possibly the fear of emotional encounters.  The client says that she held everyone at an arm’s length away. When she wasn’t drinking, she was studying for her university diploma in open, public areas. Eventually she realised she had completely closed down emotionally and upon graduation, moved to a different city for a fresh start. The physical distance from the scene of the crime meant she could live even further in denial.

The client was uncertain about what to do with her story for some time. She felt it was far too sensational for publication and was concerned about burdening friends and family with her own emotional baggage. Yet she now feels that living with such a secret has allowed her to avoid facing up to this life changing event and that this in turn continues to give power to her attacker. There remains a very strong inherent issue of control: the client feels that any sign of pity would “severely piss her off”, does not want what she disparagingly calls “professional help” from conventional practitioners and is fairly preoccupied with not wanting to be seen as a victim.

“I feel enough time has passed that I can cope with what happened to me. It’s all a part of my story and has made me who I am. I survived it and I have lived to tell the tale. But I’m just not sure telling other people the tale serves any useful purpose other than to be something mildly scintillating to read.”

 Nevertheless, she felt the time was right for the truth to finally set her free.

About the Astrologer

Alex Trenoweth was voted Best International Astrologer, 2015 for her dynamic presentation on Astrology and Education. Her book, "Growing Pains" is an exciting development in astrology as it combines classroom teaching experience, sound research and the potential to have a positive impact on struggling adolescents, parents, teachers and those who have been labelled "at risk". For queries, consultations or syndications, please contact Alex via or leave a message in the comment section.   

Friday, 20 November 2015

Zeus on the Loose

Well as I've literally turned my life upside down, I thought it might be fun to do my Mercury retrograde thing and reflect on how I came to this decision. 

It's as simple as this:

I invoked Jupiter and when he appeared, I took his hand. I didn't ask questions, I didn't try to get him to commit to staying with me and I didn't fasten my seatbelt. I let him take me wherever he wanted and I didn't worry about looking silly, being afraid or not having enough of anything. I threw my head back and laughed at his jokes. I looked him in the eye and told him I loved him, that I was grateful for our adventure and before we  even recovered from one dare, I let him know I'd be up for it all over again. I don't have a grand plan (I realised this morning) and I'm not going to make demands. I'm just enjoying being with Jupiter and when he decides he's tired of me, I will let him go with grace.

I never asked Jupiter to take me to India or South Africa but he took me.

I never asked for the love and respect of wonderful friends but he brought them to me.

I sure as hell never had the cheek to ask him to get Rob Hand to ask me to sign my book for him. And yet he delivered these gifts--and so many others--to me.

One doesn't "handle" Jupiter. One dances and laughs to his drumbeat. And one takes the leap of faith.

So here I am, all antipodean like. Dancing and laughing with Jupiter. . .and I even jumped on a trampoline with him.

I'm in a great space now and I want to share Zeus with you. . .Skype me on AstroAlex1984. That's not a demand or request, it's an offering.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

A Nakshatra Story

When I was doing the FAS diploma, I forbade myself from taking any other astrology course until I finished the diploma. It nearly drove me crazy but since completing the course in June, I've done a course on Hellenistic astrology and took Deb Houlding's horary and electional courses. Still thirsty, I've been eyeing up Vedic astrology.

I was slightly put off Vedic astrology mainly because it just seemed so complicated (all those complicated words, the sidereal system, what the hell is a Nakshatra)--yeah, you see where I'm going with all of this.

So on Saturday a copy of Dennis Harness' book, "The Nakshatras" was sitting on the counter so I picked it up. My astro buddy Ian Waisler was sitting next to me. Suddenly, I just really wanted to get a grip on Vedic astrology and said so out loud. Ian and I began looking at each Nakshatra, writing the keywords, the ruling planet and the tropical zodiac position. Ian piped up and told me that the Nakshatras measure out the distance the Moon travels in one day. And BOOM, I'm hooked.

The next thing I did was a little mnemonic device (this was followed by some shopping in Cape Town with Ian) to help me remember the order of the Nakshatras. There's 27 of them and no, I haven't mastered the Hindi word for them but I'm working on it.

By the way--and I'm sorry if this takes away from the Nakshatra story--but please don't nick my stuff without asking. It's rude. If you'd like to use the story, just leave a little comment and then I won't mind. My natal Moon is in the Magha Nakshatra after all.

So without further ado. . .here's the Nakshatra story:

A man brought a horse's head in the hope he could score some Yoni. But as he journeyed, he was distracted by a flame and took a chariot to a castle that displayed an antelope's head and a human head. With his quiver of arrows, he was able to protect the udder of a cow from a coiled serpent.
In the meantime, a woman passing by in a palanquin returned home and took her infant from a swinging hammock and placed the child on a bed but as she stood up, she stubbed her toe on the legs of the cot. Instead of swearing, she opened her hand and in the palm of her hand were a pearl and a piece of coral. She stood in the archway of her home and sat in the lotus position. While fiddling with her earring, she saw the roots of a plant. It was hot day so she used a fan to cool herself. There was an elephant's tusk near her and she put it to her ear and heard a musical drum. The cadence made her imagine an empty circle. When she opened her eyes, she caught a glimpse of a sword, resting on the back two legs off a cot, piercing the drum.

Here are the Hindi Nakshatras to match the English symbols:

Horse's head: Ashwini
Yoni: Bharani
Flame: Krittika
Chariot: Rohini
Antelope's Head: Mrigshira
Human Head: Ardra
Quiver of Arrows: Punarvasu
Udder of a cow: Pushya
Coiled serpent: Ashlesha
Palanquin: Magha
Swinging Hammock: Purva Phalguni
Legs of a cot: Uttara Phalguni 
Palm of the Hand: Hasta
Pearl: Chitra
Coral: Swati
Archway: Vishakha
Earring: Jyeshtha
Roots of a plant: Mula
Fan: Purva Ashadha
Elephant's Tusk: Uttara Ahaha
Ear: Shravana
Musical Drum: Dhanishtha
Empty Circle: Shatabhisha
Sword: Purva Bhadrapada
Back two legs of a cot:Uttara Bhadrapada
Drum: Revati

By happy coincident (like I believe in coincidences), I've just found out that it's Dennis Harness' Shasti Purti Puja! A great celebration of the year when Jupiter and Saturn make their return in the natal chart at the same time. If you are familiar with my work, then you will know that I regard this conjunction as the entering of Wisdom. I'm so delighted to discover this is celebrated in such a magnificent way in Jyotish--as it should be!! What a great and dare I say Divine validation of the commencement of my Vedic studies. Komilla Sutton, I will get to your book next xx


I got to meet (and even have dinner with) the wonderfully charming Dennis Harness at the International Society for Astrological Research conference in Costa Mesa, California. Here we are with my astro brother Ehsan Khazeni:

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

When it's time to say good-bye

I used to think that good byes kinda sucked. And of course good byes do, in fact, suck quite a bit. But I wanted to say good bye to my pupils as best as I could so we could all have closure and move on to bigger and better things. So I made this short good bye video (took me ages to post it because uploads take a bit of time I didn't have here in Cape Town).

When the filming was done, I played it back for a friend to make sure it was OK. And we both ended up crying. I hadn't intended on creating something sad but rather something that would teach the boys that behind every goodbye there is a hello and welcome. It might not be exactly how we wanted things to end or be when we wanted to end them but sometimes we need a kick up the ass. I now know that is what I needed. About half an hour after I dried my eyes, Rob Hand asked me to sign my book for him. 

Now THAT is some crazy stuff right there.

How many of Rob's books do I have on my bookshelf? Lots. If I were at home I would count. Rob Hand is the astrologer we have all learned from: his books are classics, he's a genius and to have him sit through my lecture on Astrology and Adolescence and say it was "brilliant" had to be the high point of my career as an astrologer, writer and teacher.

Rob's endorsement was not what persuaded me to wave good bye to my return flight to London later that day but it did give me confirmation that it was time for me to step up to the plate.  So yes boys, say good bye. I really did love teaching you and if circumstances hadn't forced me, I would have committed to staying with you until I was old enough to retire. But now I have this great opportunity to bring astrology to the classroom (bet you didn't even realise I was using astrology!), to prisons, to struggling parents and to unhappy adolescents. It's my way of trying to make the world a better place. Say good bye but wish me luck too.

If you'd like to get your hands (a-hem) on the book endorsed by Rob, here's the link.

And watch this space for further developments.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

I went to the beach to live deliberately. . .

With apologies to Henry David Thoreau. . .

I went to the beach because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.

I am having the most extraordinary time here in Cape Town. Every astrology conference is special but to live in a beach house and to be able to swim in the Atlantic Ocean pretty much whenever I like makes this conference totally remarkable.
And of course, this boy (Nick Dagan Best) who makes me laugh. . .and blush 50 shades of red:
And this man (Rob Hand) who attended my lecture on astrology and education and said it was brilliant:

And this man (Ehsan Kh) who blows this horn when he's happy and wants me to help him translate some Persian scholarship into English:

And this woman (Naomi Bennett) who is the only person I have seen on four different continents:
My peeps (Ehsan Kh, Michelle Gould, Samuel Reynolds, Richard Fidlar, Ana Carrapichanno) who I am so blessed to know and work and play with:

And these beautiful peeps. . .

I'm having such an extraordinary time that when my school told me (via email to the supply agency) they had found a cheaper replacement, my only regret was that I had bought a return ticket to London.
But now I'm not going back to London. At least not just yet.
Those last two sentences took a lot of vacillation until I came to the realisation everything was going to be okay here in South Africa. And I don't have to leave this beautiful place just yet.
But it has taken some time to make a decision.
What do I do when I feel I can't make up my mind? I head to water!
So today I went to the beach, took my shoes off and let the Atlantic Ocean talk to me. I saw a pretty shell that I picked up to admire, went to wash the sand off--and a wave knocked it out of my hand. I was disappointed but resigned myself to the fact it was not going to come back to me.
So I walked on.
And a few steps later, I found an even bigger, prettier shell. I picked that one up and rinsed it. But I managed to hold onto it. In fact, I brought it back with me to remind me that there are bigger things out there if we can let go of the smaller things. There are bigger things for me here. I have bigger work to do and I know that teaching was exhausting me mentally and I needed space to make things work. I know I could return to London and walk into another supply teaching post at any time. But I am not going to do that. I am going to do readings and workshops here in South Africa until I feel I am on the path I am meant to be on. I will not be afraid and I will not let doubt defeat me.
So today I went to the beach because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

And I will take this pretty shell with me to remind not worry about small losses.