Thursday, 31 December 2009

A Blue Moon Lunar Eclipse

The New Year, indeed the New Decade, is ushered in by no less than an Eclipsed Full Moon. Not only that, but it's a Blue Moon - wow, what amazing energies to let go of the old and welcome the new.

Eclipses are about release and letting go, so before the festivities begin today this is a good time to think about what negative attachments you might want to work on.

This is highly personal work, but here are a few ideas based on your Sun sign:

Aries: Letting go of old issues around family dynamics; reconsidering the work-life balance

Taurus: Releasing negative thought patterns that have been holding you back

Gemini: Learning to value yourself more, letting go of self-limiting beliefs about yourself

Cancer: Releasing self-critical behaviour, learning to love yourself for who you are

Leo: Letting go of the need to always be in the spotlight by recognising when to retreat and rest

Virgo: Releasing the need to be over self-sufficient by learning to accept help from others

Libra: Letting go of unneccesary notions about status and learning to be who you are rather than what you think others expect

Scorpio: Thinking about where you have become stuck in a rut, broadening your horizons

Sagittarius: Letting go of the need to always be 'on the move' by allowing yourself the time to stop and take stock of your life

Capricorn: Releasing negative behaviour patterns in relationships

Aquarius: Working on kicking a bad habit and maintaining a healthier lifestyle

Pisces: Learning to remember to unburden yourself of the worries of the world once in a while, so you can enjoy life more

A few ideas for releasement work:

~ Say a prayer to your chosen God or spirit

~ Make a wish

~ Write an affirmation

~ Write a letter to yourself, detailing what you want to release then (safely) burn the letter to release the energies

~ Talk it through with a friend or a partner, ask their advice

~ Perform a banishing spell

~ Ask the Archangels to help you cut the cords for what it is you want to release

~ Visualise yourself letting go through meditation work

~ Work with the appropriate crystals, candles, essential oils or flower remedies

A few 'rules' for releasement work:

~ Always be positive

~ Always work from a place of love and compassion

~ Assert that this work is done for the higher good and that it harm none

~ Always do this work only for yourself. You have no business doing this work for other people's issues. For example, if your partner's stubbornness drives you crazy, you should never write an affirmation asking for them to be less stubborn. Instead you could write an affirmation such as: I release the part of me that is irritated by you

~ Use the present tense in your affirmations, prayers, wishes etc. For example, I now release past hurts that are holding me back or Please help me release past hurts now

~ Always assume success

~ Always show gratitude by saying thank you or by making some other gesture of thanks

For my blog on how I feel this eclipse, in the sign of Cancer, fits into the overall cosmic pattern of the next few months, click here>

For some astrological ideas on how to work with eclipses, click here>

Here's to a healthy, happy, prosperous 2010 to you all.

With love and blessings,

Mandi xx

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Astro Energies for 2010

Quite a year 2009 was and quite a year 2010 will be.

The New Year bells ring in with a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer. This eclipse reminds us that Cancer is the only cardinal sign not set to be inhabited by an outer planet this year. Jupiter moves into Aries in June; Saturn is in Libra (albeit with a Retrograde back to Virgo between April and July); Uranus dips his toe into Aries between late May and early August and Pluto remains in Capricorn.

These planets, along with Mars in Libra, go on to form a much anticipated cardinal t-square in late July 2010, a formation which has been widely dubbed the ‘Cardinal Climax’ (pictured below). Please note and I can’t say this strongly enough, this so-called cardinal climax is not a one-day, one-off event. This has been building since 2008 and runs right through to 2012/3.

The Cardinal Climax Planetary

So much has been written about it and I’ll point you in the direction of a few writers at the end, but in short, it symbolizes huge change, disruption, upheaval, shock, rebellion, upset in the status quo and an awareness of our limitations. We’ve already been experiencing this for sure. The credit crunch, the banking crisis and the world recession all fall under this symbolism.

It is blatantly apparent that urgent changes are necessary to our economic structure, our consumer behaviour, our political tradition and our relationship with the earth itself as concern mounts over climate change and the sustainability of our precious resources. There are no doubt more shocks to come and further harsh realities to face.

The good thing about these cardinal sign energies is that under tension they don’t mess around procrastinating, they get straight to the point and take action, knocking down any obstacles as they come up. The bad thing about cardinal energies is that sometimes, in the imperative to ‘do’ something, focus, direction and strategy goes out of the window and we are in the realm of reactionary crisis management (which is how the financial crisis has been handled so far) rather than meaningful, targeted action for creating long term stability.

The point is that any action must be correct action. Perhaps, therefore, we should be grateful for the heavy energies of Saturn in Libra (balance, right justice, honest hard work, fair compromise) and Pluto in Capricorn (the transformation of traditional, authoritarian and administrative structures, the coming to power of wiser, more mature influences). While we may not enjoy their methods, if these two can’t put us on the right track, metaphorically speaking, then I’m not sure what can!

However, I’m sure, finally, hopefully, that these current times will ultimately come to represent positive transformation and creative breakthrough. I predict that we will increasingly see these energies reflected in a more positive way in the arts and in our culture and society in general. For example, I believe we are set to witness new cultural movements rising from the grassroots and social change hatching at community level and gaining serious momentum, as us common masses increasingly learn to self organize at ‘street’ level. We have already learnt to do this very successfully through social networking media and other technologies since Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius have been in mutual reception (i.e. in each other’s signs), seen in, for example, the rapid spread of viral campaigning.
When it comes to right action, Uranus when it’s in Aries won’t wait for permission to create change and neither should we. To quote the Hopi, “we are the ones we have been waiting for”.

Back to the more immediate present and the lunar eclipse in Cancer on 31st December. With Cancer as the empty leg of the cardinal t-square (the only cardinal sign not inhabited by an outer planet in 2010), we need to be reminded to make time for home, family, security, nurturance and reflection amidst all the change and disruption to come. For me, this is also a clarion call for us to truly honour the feminine spirit, to nod to the goddess, the moon and the mother energies within ourselves, our spirituality and our world. Even more potent is the fact that there is a total solar eclipse in Cancer in July, just days before the cardinal climax focal point and I will look at this chart in detail nearer the time.

The New Year eclipse chart (below) foreshadows this need for feminine energy and reflection, showing as it does a pile up of planets in worldly, masculine Capricorn. The Sun, Venus, North Node, Pluto and a Retrograde Mercury all in the sign of the goat are opposed by a lonely Moon in Cancer, who is taking the strain as the handle of a heavy ‘bucket’ chart formation. Saturn in Libra squares the Moon, balancing the weight a little, but slows things down, especially as Saturn is moving towards his Retrograde Station on 13th January, A lazy Mars, still Retrograde in Leo doesn’t provide much assistance either.
Will we start 2010 on an energetic high? I don’t really think so. Early ’10 seems to me to be more a time to prepare for spring, when the dynamic energies start to build again. Come spring, we come into energies of dynamic forward movement and hard, hard work and we will need to maintain balance by ensuring we have somewhere to retreat to, emotionally and physically, where we can rest between bouts. Like the crab, we will need to learn to protect that space and will be impelled to set firm and stable boundaries to ensure that others respect them (a message of Saturn in Libra).

Also in early 2010, Mercury turns direct on the same day as a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn, 15 January. Three days later, Jupiter moves into his spiritual home of Pisces, to pave the way for Neptune’s entry to Pisces in 2011. However, as the idealistic Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction fades away, I feel that the healing energies will carry us forward for some time yet, especially as Neptune and Chiron make one further conjunction in mid February.

If the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction manifests in its more negative form by making us fall for over-idealistic notions and escapist illusions, we are soundly brought back down to earth at the end of January, when Saturn and Pluto make their second exact Square aspect, at four degrees of Libra and Capricorn. The first contact was in November 2009, with the final showdown in August 2010. However, because of the ‘Cardinal Climax’ mentioned above, the energies of these two heavenly heavyweights will be felt for some time to follow. The forced changes that often accompany the moving aspects between these two planets can feel very difficult, but at a deeper level we know they are a necessary step in our healing and empowerment, as individuals and as communities.

On March 10, just in time for spring, Mars in Leo turns direct, finally passing out of the shadow of his retrograde in May (when he returns to 19 of Leo, his original turning point). Creative energies can then start moving in the right direction again. Until at least March use your energies wisely, as this is a very good time to take a creative restock, rest, and plan.

Going deeper and into more difficult territory, 2010 is also an opportune time to face and transform any issues of grief, rage and frustration. Unattractive shadow emotions for sure, but ones which may well come up for a bite. Getting them out in the open in a healthy way in early 2010, is a good plan if you feel affected. I discussed some of these issues in my blogs on Saturn-Pluto and Mars Retrograde and I recommend Donna Cunningham’s Sky Writer blog has many useful posts to help with this stuff, filed under A Pluto-Saturn Preparedness Kit and under Mars Retrograde.

In April, the status quo shaking Saturn-Uranus oppositions which have been with us since late 2008 make their fourth exact hit of five. Saturn will have retrograded back into Virgo and this will be the last of their oppositions across the mutable Virgo-Pisces axis. For their final bang in July, Saturn will be back in Libra and Uranus in early Aries, both squaring Pluto in Capricorn, forming the Cardinal Climax.

As an end note, rather than a ‘Cardinal Climax’ perhaps we should find a new term for this very important planetary configuration, something a little less apocalyptic and dramatic sounding. Rather than a climax (which suggests an ending), it is in fact, at the final count, a new beginning, a chance for a fresh start, for a better future. This is what the cardinal signs are about, heralding as they do the changing of the seasons and marking the ever turning cycles of the Sun, the life giver of our small, but precious planet.

Let’s not squander the opportunity.

Blessings for a happy 2010

Recommended further reading:

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Working with Eclipses [Updated]

Upcoming and Recent Eclipses (GMT dates):

31 December ’09: Lunar Eclipse at 10 Cancer 14
15 January ’10: Solar Eclipse at 25 Capricorn 01
26 June ‘10: Lunar Eclipse at 4 Capricorn 46
11 July ‘10: Total Solar Eclipse at 19 Cancer 23
21 December ’10: Total Lunar Eclipse at 29 Gemini 20
4 January ’11: Solar Eclipse at 13 Capricorn 38
1 June '11: Solar Eclipse at 11 Gemini 01
15 June '11: Total Lunar Eclipse at 24 Sagittarius 23
1 July '11: Solar Eclipse at 9 Cancer 12
24 November '11: Solar Eclipse at 02 Sagittarius 36

10 December '11: Total Lunar Eclipse at 18 Gemini 10
20 May '12: Solar Eclipse at 00 Gemini 20
4 June '12: Lunar Eclipse at 14 Sagittarius 13

Working with Eclipses:

If you feel strongly affected by any of these Eclipses, it might help to go a bit further and work with the energy of the Eclipses and see how they fit into your personal astrological cycles.

You will find that the most potent Eclipses for you personally are those that fall in very close proximity, by sign and degree, to planets and points in your natal horoscope. Personally, I only consider Eclipses which make tight (within 2 ½ degrees or less of orb) Conjunction, Square and Opposition aspects with natal planets and points. You can safely ignore the Trines, Sextiles and the minor aspects and many astrologers don’t even bother with the Squares, but I think they are worth considering.

Also bear in mind that astrological measurements tend to symbolize the processes and journeys of our lives and these processes take time to develop. For this reason, life ‘events’ rarely happen on the exact date of an astrological measurement, so when considering the effect of an Eclipse on your natal chart cast your net wide, by perhaps looking back three months before the Eclipse and a few weeks after. You may find that nothing actual ‘happens’ as such, but the Eclipse reflects an inner emotional or psychological process.

Here are a few keywords for working with Eclipses: endings; new beginnings; new chapters in life; the need to release/let go/cut cords emotionally, or in specific areas of your life; events and feelings coming to a head.

The Eclipse will express itself in terms of the sign in which it falls. For example, Aquarius is to do with community, friends, innovation, detachment; Cancer is to do with mothers, nurturing, domestic matters, feeling safe; Capricorn speaks about tradition, authority, ambition, the administration of life and Leo is all about pride, creativity, confidence, being loved and appreciated.

Eclipses will also express themselves in terms of the planet or points they aspect in your natal chart. For example an Eclipse on your Venus may be about your relationships, your assets, your social reach, your self esteem, how you give and share with others. With Mars it is about where and how you channel your energy; issues around assertiveness or aggression or issues around sexuality. For the Midheaven (MC) it will be about career; vocation; your social standing and status; the authority figures in your life.

However, when looking at the way an Eclipse affects you, don’t get too hung up on making your experiences ‘fit’ the key words, these are just prompts, what really matters most is your own, personal, unique experiences.

Below are three methods of looking at Eclipses that you might find helpful and illuminating.

The 19 Year Eclipse Cycle:

An Eclipse falls at the same degree of the Zodiac once every 19 years, giving us the opportunity to review the longer cycles of our lives, to look at the bigger picture.

For example, the Solar Eclipse of 22nd July 2009 fell on my IC Angle (therefore opposing my career Angle, the MC). Looking back 19 years, the 22nd July 1990 Eclipse fell at the same point. This corresponded with me starting my first job following graduation. Looking back over the years at my career progress I feel disappointed that I didn’t follow and fulfil the dreams I had in my heart back then. However, these dreams have recently re-awakened, causing stress and upheaval, but ultimately giving me an opportunity to release the dreams of my youth and reinvent them, with the benefit of maturity and experience.

To find out what this year’s Eclipses say about the bigger picture of your life, pick those Eclipses that touched planets and points in your chart very closely, then reflect on what was happening in your life 19 years previously to see if there is any connection. Were big changes occurring then? Are they related in any way to what is happening now? If you are very young, look at what was happening in your general family life, with your parents or siblings, for clues.

Looking at the Eclipses this way, can help you recognise recurring patterns in your life and show you how much progress you have made or where you have fallen off track.

Below is a list of recent and upcoming Eclipses and their corresponding Eclipses 19 years earlier:

22nd July 2009: Solar Eclipse at 29 Cancer 26
Corresponding Solar Eclipse at 29 Cancer 03 on 22nd July 1990

6th August 2009: Lunar Eclipse at 13 Aquarius 43
Corresponding Lunar Eclipse at 13 Aquarius 51 on 6th August 1990

31 December ’09: Lunar Eclipse at 10 Cancer 14
The corresponding Full Moon at 9 Cancer 49 on 31 December 1990 was not eclipsed, but this Full Moon can still be used as a reference point.

15 January ’10: Solar Eclipse at 25 Capricorn 01
Corresponding Solar Eclipse at 25 Capricorn 20 on 15 Jan 1991

26 June ‘10: Lunar Eclipse at 4 Capricorn 46
Corresponding Solar Eclipse at 4 Capricorn 59 on 27 June 1991

11 July ‘10: Total Solar Eclipse at 19 Cancer 23
Corresponding Solar Eclipse at 18 Cancer 58 on 11 July 1991

21 December ’10: Total Lunar Eclipse at 29 Gemini 20
Corresponding Lunar Eclipse at 29 Gemini 02 on 21 December 1991

Transits to Eclipse Degrees:

Tracking Transits to the Eclipse degrees is a tried and tested method used in Mundane astrology to predict events and changes in the fortunes in the horoscopes of countries and their leaders.
This method also works well with natal astrology. If an Eclipse fell on a planet or point in your chart, that planet or point will be supercharged and will be susceptible to the effects of the next planet which transits it.

For example, in September 2007, a Solar Eclipse fell at 18 degrees of Virgo, exactly conjunct my natal Uranus-Pluto conjunction. This was a happy time for me, I had just got engaged and was busy planning my wedding, but all was not well with my job. My boss had moved on and I had a new boss who I found it difficult to communicate with and who I felt did not value my contribution, but with so much happiness around me elsewhere it was easy to put the difficult work situation to one side, which I did, for too long! Then, in October 2008, transiting Saturn in Virgo made a conjunction to Uranus-Pluto, the first hit of three and I was laid off from my job. This was a very difficult and painful process, but I am now very happy in a new job and can see that the change needed to happen. It now seems clear to me that the Eclipse at 18 degrees Virgo in 2007, falling on my Uranus-Pluto, was the start of the process of losing my job, especially as Uranus and Pluto rule my 6th and 10th houses respectively, the houses associated most closely with work. Because I didn’t follow the loud and strong cues from the Universe to leave my job willingly (underlined by Transiting Uranus also opposing Uranus-Pluto) it took Saturn to finally oust me from the job. The whole process since (during Saturn’s 2nd and 3rd hits) has been about letting go of the old way of working, so I can succeed in a new career.

An Eclipse as Part of a Moon Family:

Astrologer Dietrech J Pessin discovered that all lunations, including Eclipses, form part of a family of related lunations. She found that every New Moon starts a new family cycle, consisting of a New Moon phase, a First Quarter Moon phase, a Full Moon phase and a Last Quarter Moon phase, with each lunation occurring in the same sign and approximate degree, nine months apart, the whole cycle covering a period of 2 ½ years.

A Moon family which aspects your natal horoscope closely is worth following, as the Moon phases of the family will most often reflect patterns in your own life development.

See Dietrech Pessin’s website, Lunar Shadows, for details of the current Moon Family.

From this page you can also click on a link that describes what each of the Moon phases mean.

As an example, the 7th July 2009 Lunar Eclipse at 15 Capricorn (a Full Moon phase) was the peak of a Moon family which began with the Capricorn New Moon at 17 Capricorn in January 2008, continued with the First Quarter Moon at 14 Capricorn in October 2008 and concludes at the Last Quarter Moon at 16 Capricorn in April 2010. This Moon family will particularly affect Capricorns born between 4th and 8th January and Cancerians born between 6th and 10th July, as well as people who have other planets or angles between 13 and 18 Capricorn or Cancer.

Dietrech’s book Lunar Shadows, available from her website, contains details of all the Moon Family’s as well as details of all Eclipses and comes highly recommended.

Other books on Eclipses that I would recommend are Eclipses by Celeste Teal and Predictive Astrology by Bernadette Brady.

I hope you find the process of working with Eclipses useful and illuminating. Leave a comment if you have any individual questions or stories to share.

Mercury Retrograde Gets Serious

2009 has treated us to four Mercury Retrograde periods instead of the usual three and the final one begins on 26th December in Capricorn.

A planet is Retrograde when it appears to move backwards. Click here> for a full explanation of Retrograde.

Here is the data for this Mercury Retrograde:
Stations Retrograde on 26 Dec 2009 at 22 Capricorn
Stations Direct on 15 Jan 2010 at 6 Capricorn
Retrograde period: 21 days

If we also factor in the ‘shadow’ period of the Retrograde, the longer influence spans from 10 December 2009, when Mercury first passed 6 Capricorn to 4 February 2010, when Mercury final clears 22 Capricorn, the degree of the Retrograde Station on 26th December.

OK, so that’s the technical stuff out of the way, so what does Mercury Retrograde (Rx) mean? This is what I said in my blog on the last Mercury Rx in September:

I have to say that much is said and written about Mercury Retrograde and it is often feared as a time when everything is likely to go wrong, especially anything to do with communication or travel. I don't totally agree with that, after all, Mercury is the Trickster planet and he's the planet of the mind, so he loves to fool us into worrying unnecessarily.

The retrograde period may not even affect you at all unless it is hitting trigger points in your personal horoscope. That said it’s always a good time to take extra care when doing the things which are ruled by Mercury. Thinking things through properly and double checking the details is worth the effort. It's also worth putting off signing any major deals, documents and contracts during a Mercury Retrograde if you can. Not necessarily because it will be some great big disaster if you do, but because you may end up having to go over everything all over again at a later date, which in itself is annoying and irritating. Mostly, Mercury Retrograde is a time for review.”

However, I really think that this Mercury Rx period will be rather stronger in its influence than the last one. Mars, the planet of action, is already Retrograde, and seems to be reflected in chaos all over the place. Particularly, the weather and travel situation in Europe in the run up to the holidays has been horrendous. Furthermore, Mercury is in Capricorn and Capricorn’s ruler Saturn is itself slowing down for a Retrograde in mid January and has been in the shadow of its Retrograde since October. Saturn is also involved in a series of disruptive oppositions with Uranus and harsh squares with Pluto. Heavy stuff.

This is therefore, in my opinion, a Mercury Retrograde period where we will all have to do some serious thinking and reviewing as we move into 2010. But please, use some common sense as well, as there’s a danger with Mercury in Capricorn of falling into negative thinking and pessimism, seeing the limitations and forgetting to see the opportunities and possibilities.

How can we overcome this? By remembering that Mercury in Capricorn also symbolizes wisdom, the disciplined mind, practical considerations and an organized, self-sufficient mindset. Capricorn’s purpose is to administrate progress, to head forward in an upward direction, slowly, carefully and in line with practical reality. When making your New Years resolutions this year, bear this in mind and 2010 could well be the year that your New Years resolutions come true.

Well known people with Mercury in Capricorn include Marlene Dietrich (pictured), Sir Anthony Hopkins, Mary Tyler Moore, Teri Hatcher, Annie Lennox, Sade and Shakira.

If you have the Sun, Moon, planets and angles between 6 and 22 degrees of the cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn this Mercury Retrograde may affect you dynamically. If you do not know if you have Sun, Moon, planets or angles in the relevant degrees and/or signs you can quickly download your own birth chart which will provide you with this information in a simply understood way at

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Ho! Ho! Ho! The Solstice & The Sun in Capricorn

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, marking the yearly turning point when the days become longer, a promise of Spring.

The Solstices are always a very poignant, spiritual time, loaded with myth and symbolism, celebrated throughout history in rituals and festivals across different religions and cultures.

For us astrologers, the Winter Solstice on the 21st December (in the Northern Hemisphere) marks the Sun’s ingress into the Cardinal Earth sign of Capricorn, the old sea goat.

When the Sun moves into a new sign, I always like to write an upbeat positive blog about that sign. Especially so for Capricorn, the oft-maligned sign whose ruler is that old Malefic, Saturn, the hard task master, the planet that won’t let us get away with it, he who subjects us to boundaries, limitations, obligations, difficult lessons and a nagging conscience.

Being a Capricorn myself, it’s hard to be objective, so I was thrilled when I found this blog from Mystic Cyber Crow which has some great pictures of Saturn and the other Winter Solstice Gods. Look through these pics and it’s not hard to see how Saturn is related, mythologically speaking, to our dear old jolly Santa!
Yippeeeee!!! Santa brings us gifts and therefore so too does Saturn! The gift of discipline to get things done, the gift of authority, the gift of being able to meet our material, practical needs, the gift of time, wisdom, experience and maturity. Something to celebrate, no?

Saturnalia, the ancient Roman holiday which celebrated the Solstice and the God Saturn, was the biggest and most raucous festival in the calendar. People gave gifts, drank, gambled and caroused. Such was the merryment, they even gave their slaves the day off & let them insult their masters! See, Saturn's not so bad after all, is he? LOL!

Enjoy the Sun’s journey through Capricorn, because starting with the Winter Solstice as it does, this lovely sign really does carry the promise of new life, the greatest gift of all.

Solstice wishes,

And here's a link to a lovely blog on Auntie Moon's site: A Season of Lights ~ Bringing the Solstice Inside

(the santa suit pictured is available from

Mars Retrograde News Watch [Update]

I spotted this at Victoria Station in London the other day and thought it was such a perfect poster for Mars in Leo.

You’ve got the big cat (OK, it’s not a Lion, but let’s not split whiskers)!

There’s the direct reference to the red planet in the band name Thirty Seconds to Mars

The album title is This is War (astrologically, Mars rules wars)

Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, another reference to regal Leo: Includes the Hit Single ‘Kings and Queens’

You couldn’t make it up!

Anybody know this band, are they any good?

Related articles:
Mars Retrograde News Watch
Mars in Leo – A Retrograde Cat Fight
Planetary Retrograde Dates for 2010


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron & The New Moon

When I was thinking about what I would write in this blog on the New Moon in Sagittarius and messing around on my astrology software, I discovered something that really intrigued me.

I pulled up the charts for the previous New Moons and realised that every New Moon since the Leo New Moon in August has been strongly connected by aspect to the moving Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron triple Conjunction in Aquarius.

The Leo New Moon in August Opposed it; the September Virgo New Moon Quincunxed it; October’s Libra New Moon carried a Trine aspect; November’s Scorpio Moon Squared it and finally, this December’s Sagittarius New Moon Sextiles it.

This gives me a real sense of optimism and I’ll tell you why I think so, but first a bit of explanation of New Moons and of the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron triple Conjunction.

A New Moon (the monthly Conjunction of the Sun and Moon) is a seeding time, a time to make fresh plans. However, because the New Moon is the darkest time of the lunar cycle, we must plant our seeds in the dark, unsure of whether they will eventually sprout, blossom and bear fruit. All we can do at this stage is nurture and prepare them as best we can.

All planetary Conjunctions, such as the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron triple Conjunction, follow the symbolism of a New Moon in that they too mark the beginning of a new cycle, a new phase, a seeding time (for a detailed example of this, see my blog on the Saturn-Pluto cycle here>).

I am optimistic because the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron Conjunction (which has been with us since late April ‘09 and ends in early Jan ‘10) brought with it a promise of hope and healing and its close association with these New Moons gives me faith that some real good will come of it all, for individuals and for the world in general, that the seeds we have been planting this year truly can be the beginnings of a better future.

When the Conjunction was in Opposition to the Leo New Moon in August, the challenge was about balancing and healing opposing ego forces. We were invited to understand that we are all really on the same team; that it’s not about winning or losing and that helping others can be its own reward and an important part of our personal healing process.

When the Virgo New Moon formed the Quincunx (Inconjunct) aspect with Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron in September, we may have been feeling the strain, keying us to make healthy adjustments to our lifestyle to accommodate these new helping, healing energies. This awkward New Moon also helped us to ensure that we were serving the right people and causes in the right way, while remembering to look after ourselves as well.

The Libra New Moon’s helpful Trine to Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron in October allowed us the opportunity to experience an easier flow of energy between ourselves and others, and presented another opportunity to find and enjoy some balance in our lives.

In November, Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron formed a dynamic Square aspect to the Scorpio New Moon. The Square is an action aspect, so this lunation symbolized a further step along the road of letting go of our ‘stuff’ and offering it for healing and perhaps heralded a stronger call for us to help others along their own healing path. This would not have been without stress, but if handled well it was a positive New Moon energy.

Which brings us to the Sagittarius New Moon on the 16th December, the final New Moon of 2009. This New Moon is also joined by Venus in Sagittarius, forming an idealistic combination which makes a harmonious Sextile with Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron. This lunation provides us with the opportunity for a positive learning experience, for healing rifts in our relationships, for putting aside petty differences and seeing the bigger picture and for having a little faith in ourselves, each other and the world. A dynamic Square between this New Moon and Uranus, helps enervate, excite and stimulate, preparation for the changes to come.

By the time of the next New Moon on 15 January, an Eclipse, Jupiter will be on the cusp of Pisces and the triple Conjunction will fade away. What we take forward from our experience of the Conjunction is up to us to decide. However, 2010 will be a challenging year for our world and for many of us as individuals, so if we can use what we've learnt in '09 to create and hold a better vision for the future, if we can believe in our ourselves and have faith in others, if we can remain flexible yet grounded in the face of major change, if we can help others even if we ourselves are suffering, then we can move forward with confidence, hope and optimism that our next adventure will take us on a journey of love, understanding, compassion and healing.



Monday, 14 December 2009

Mars Retrograde News Watch

When the planets change direction (Retrograde or Direct), it’s always a good time to keep an eye on the news for stories that reflect this. This is a great way to see astrology in action and learn just how the movements of the planets really do seem to reflect life here on planet earth.

Below I’ve listed a few themes to look out for during the Mars in Leo Retrograde period, but see my last blog, A Retrograde Cat Fight, for a discussion on the timings and the general and personal themes.

General stories about young men
For example, last week it was reported in the UK that a growing number of young men are opting to stay living at home with their parents well into their late twenties and thirties. This is partly because they like being looked after and partly because they can't afford to move out.
A young man, Joe McElderry, won the UK X Factor. [Update 20th Dec: in the biggest and most exciting music chart battle ever, on the day Mars goes Rx, Rage Against the Machine's song Killing in the Name becomes UK Xmas #1, following a grassroots facebook campaign aimed at questioning the entitlement of Simon Cowell's X Factor winner for the Xmas #1 spot. Joe McElderry & Cowell respond to the bad news with dignity and grace & Rage, who had nothing to do with the inception of this rebellion, decide to donate £65,000 to homeless charity Shelter.]

Stories about Gold and other precious metals
See this fascinating article by astrology Bill Herbst on Gold and Silver as commodities
There were a number of news items last week about the increasing numbers of people selling off their gold and silver jewelry to raise cash. The report said that many of them were being ripped off. [Update 20th Dec @greensummit on Twitter (check out her profile) mentioned to me that purchases of gold for body decoration is down!]

Cat fights, literal or otherwise
Last night for the first time ever to my knowledge, my cat’s cat flap was breached by another cat. Sharpen your claws Milton because territorial wars are bound to ensue!

Wars, soldiers, the military, military retreats
It’s bad news that the US, UK and UN have all pledged extra troops for Afghanistan. Let’s hope it’s for a strictly defensive mission because under Mars Retrograde, he who strikes first always loses.

Sexual affairs coming out of the woodwork
Tiger, the big cat of golf is exposed. He has now decided to retreat (retrograde) from public life.

Stories about gangs of youths, particularly with their issues of respect and pride

Stories involving blades, knives and other sharp metal objects

Stories about brave young heroes
[Update 21st Dec: Princes William and Harry send a heartfelt message to the families of grieving young war heroes.]

I will add stories as they pop up in the news.......and I'm sure you can think of more examples.


Related posts
Planetary Retrograde Dates for 2010
Retrograde Planets in the Birth Chart
Uranus Direct and Uranus Transits
Uranus Direct and the Iraq Inquiry

Neptune Direct & The Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron Story
Mercury Retrograde

Friday, 11 December 2009

Mars in Leo - A Retrograde Cat Fight

Mars in Leo Stations Retrograde on 20 Dec 2009 (at 190Leo42’) and then Stations Direct on 10 Mar 2010 (at 00Leo18’). However, this whole Retrograde cycle really began on 19 October 2009, when Mars first hit 00Leo18’, the degree it is destined to Retrograde back to. The Retrograde loop will end when Mars Direct makes it back again to 190Leo42’ on 17 May 2010, finally clearing his Retrograde ‘shadow’.

To summarise, the whole Mars Retrograde loop lasts from 19 October 09 through to 17 May 10, with an intense period between 20 December and 10 March, when Mars is actually moving Retrograde (Rx).

That’s all well and good, you might be thinking, but what does it all mean? This is an article about Mars after all, so you can be forgiven for feeling impatient.

Well, in the horoscope, Mars symbolizes where and how we direct our energy, how we act, our desires, our physicality and our sexual urges. It represents how we anger and what makes us angry, how we compete and assert our will and how we approach challenges and conflict.

In Leo, Mars asserts itself proudly, warmly, from the heart. Its expression can be dramatic and self-seeking, because Mars in Leo wants to be recognized, there’s no doubt about it. However, pride can easily get the better of Mars in Leo and if the will is too stubborn and self-centred, this can lead to problems, especially if Mars in Leo doesn’t feel like he’s getting the flattery and compliments he feels he deserves for his unquestionable prowess! Then Mars in Leo can become pushy, overbearing and domineering. At best though, the natural confidence of Mars in Leo is shared generously with others, for this combination can have tremendous creative flair and positive vitality.

During this Mars in Leo Rx period, some of you may be feeling as if you are not getting the recognition you deserve for your talent or creativity, or you may feel that your authority is not being respected. If you are feeling this, then perhaps it’s time to confront your inner ‘brat’ and question whether you really deserve what you desire. Have you truly put the work in or do you just think the world owes you because you’re ‘special’? Difficult questions, but remember, special is as special does.

That said, some of you will of course be deserving of recognition and respect for all the effort you have put in and will be totally justified in asking for what you want and need. The energies of this Mars Leo Rx period will therefore be great for taking some time to work out just how to ask the world to reward you.

Still others will find that they may have been using their energies in the wrong direction and this is why they are not getting their due plaudits. This Rx time will then be about recognising and accepting this. If this applies to you, look to your heart to help you find a new path for the future.

Mars Rx could well be a time when you are confronted with a great deal of frustration, either your own personal frustration, or others’ frustration pushed upon you. We feel frustrated when we are not getting our own way, not achieving our goals and desires, not getting what we need. Frustration can easily give way to out and out anger, so watch for the signs and take a step back if you feel yourself starting to simmer and boil over. This Mars Rx is indeed a great time to review how you personally deal with frustration and its sister, disappointment. If we are all totally honest with ourselves, there is a small part in all of us that could do with learning more emotionally intelligent ways of negotiating the path of getting our will done, while avoiding unnecessary conflict and having the grace to stand in our light without casting others into the shadows.

If you find yourself in the line of fire of others’ frustrations, then make sure you set clear boundaries on what you are prepared to take and where the line needs to be drawn. To achieve this, maybe its time to learn new tactics to help to diffuse angry situations, or if necessary, to learn how to recognise when it’s most appropriate to just plain get out of the way, before a cat fight ensues. Everybody count to ten, sit on your hands! :D

Most generally speaking, Mars Rx suggests a general feeling of slowing down, lacking energy and finding it difficult to build up any momentum. Things can feel held back, blocked, backed up. If this is the case for you, don’t beat yourself up, instead use the time creatively to think about what you really want and then to and prepare for Spring when Mars goes forwards again and gains momentum, when we will be refreshed and ready to go for our heart’s desire. If you can wait it out, the delayed gratification will taste even better than the immediate relief!

There is bound to be drama along the way, this is Leo after all. However, Leo is ultimately the sign of warmth and generosity and if you embrace this now, you can’t go far wrong.

Will Mars Retrograde Affect You?
If you have Sun, Moon, planets or angles placed at 0-19 degrees of Leo or any of the other fixed signs of Aquarius, Taurus or Scorpio, then this Mars Retrograde will pick up your chart dynamically. If you do not know if you have Sun, Moon, planets or angles in the relevant degrees and/or signs you can quickly download your own birth chart which will provide you with this information in a simply understood way at

It is also worth looking at the house that Mars Rx is travelling through. Look for the house in your chart which has Leo on the cusp and this will give you some clue to what area of life you could meet Mars Rx related challenges. You can read a good basic description of each house at CafĂ© Astrology’s website here>.

Mars goes Retrograde about once every two years, but the last time it was Retrograde in Leo was between Jan and March 1995, with the longer period including the 'shadow' from the end of October ‘94 through to the end of May ’95. Thinking back to this time might also give you a few more clues.

Recommended Further Reading
Everything you ever wanted to know about Mars Retrograde by Lynn Koiner
Mars Retrograde in Leo, The Lion Hearted Warrior by Melanie Reinhart
Mars Mission: A great series of Mars Rx related articles by Donna Cunningham
Commentary on Mars Retrograde from Bill Herbst

See also Mars Retrograde News Watch


Monday, 7 December 2009

Astrology of a Lottery Win

I’ve been joking recently about winning the lottery.

With Transiting Pluto (transformation/power) Conjunct my Sun (self) in the 8th House (other people’s money) could it happen? Well, the Sun rules my 5th house (gambling, speculation), so maybe! Add to the fact that lucky Sagittarius is the sign on the 8th house cusp and maybe there’s more of a case? However, the ruler of the 8th, Jupiter, is not in such great shape being in Detriment in Gemini, even though it’s on the cusp of the 2nd house (assets/possessions) and disposited by Mercury, the ruler of the 2nd.

Sadly, my astrology buddies think this is mostly wishful thinking on my part. Well, I can prove them all wrong, because last week I did indeed win the lottery. Steady on though before you all get in touch with your requests for monetary support, I only won £10! Still, that’s better than a kick in the teeth don’t you think?

I don’t have much of a history for winning things, especially not by luck. Any wins (such as when one of my short stories won a prize) have tended to come about via the 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration route and even then I tend to come in only second or third.

I thought it might be very interesting, therefore, to see what triggered my recent (modest) lottery windfall.

Well, well, well, if the Moon in Cancer wasn’t opposing my Sun in Capricorn at the time that I got the email letting me know about my prize! It is often the case that long transits (such as transiting Pluto Conjunct my Sun) are triggered by faster moving planets or even the Secondary or Tertiary Progressed Moon. In this case it was transiting Moon, moving through my 2nd house, that seemed to act as the trigger for this win.

Because Jupiter rules my 8th house and because Jupiter is the planet of luck/abundance, could he be involved as well? Well there are a few Jupiter contacts, but a little tenuous. Tr. Jupiter Sq. Neptune? Tr. Jupiter exactly Trine Secondary Progressed Jupiter? Hmm, I’m not sure about that.

But what about Venus (often associated with money, or at least with how we spend it)? Well Venus in Sagittarius was exact on my Nodal Axis and very close to my ASC-DC axis. Transiting planets on the angles of a birth or event chart are also often the trigger for events.

How does this compare with other wins I’ve had? Well there haven’t been many to be honest and I’m darned if I could remember the dates. However, in June 2008 we had a sweepstake at work on the European Soccer Championships and I drew Spain. I drew up a horary chart to ask whether Spain would win. The chart didn’t look too bad, but as I’m not a horary expert I couldn’t really call it. However, I decided to put my money where my mouth was and also place a bet on Spain to win with a real bookie! Spain won and I swept up, winning nearly £150 in total!

What did my chart look like? I can’t remember the time and date of the bets, but the Final was on 29th June, so I drew up the chart for that. Transiting Pluto was 4 degrees off my Sun and transiting Sun had just passed my natal Sun four days before. So if you use big orbs, it does still kind of follow my first theory! However, in this chart, Neptune seems to be quite important. Transiting Moon was exactly opposite my Neptune perhaps triggering the Square that Transiting Neptune, Chiron and Node were all making to Natal Neptune. In my chart, Neptune is in the Scorpio in the 6th, ruling the 11th. Neptune is the only planetary contact my lonely Sun makes – a semi-square, so it’s quite important, I guess. Hmmm, now I’m really confused (Neptune – confused – geddit?)!

This is not an area of astrology I have studied much to be honest, as you can probably tell, so would be interested to hear from anybody who has and perhaps down the line I’ll look at the charts of some real lottery winners to see what was going on for them when they struck lucky.

I’ll write a smug blog from my tropical island if I do scoop the jackpot, but in the meantime I wish you all lots of love, luck and happiness.


Postscript: This reminds me of the joke about the man who prayed to God to win the lottery, but never won. Finally, God said to him, “meet me halfway son, buy a blinking ticket!”. We should remember this when we are looking at our transits – working positively with the energies of the planets, symbolically speaking, opens us up to the space where opportunity becomes possible. If we ‘stay at home’ and do nothing, opportunity will have a harder time finding us.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The Descent: A Moon Pluto Story

[Please note: this article contains spoilers throughout for the 2005 movie The Descent. However, it contains no spoilers for The Descent Part Two which is released in early December 2009 ]

Watching the British horror movie The Descent recently, I was struck by just how perfect a metaphor for the Moon-Pluto dynamic this movie is. The story line goes like this: the lead character, Sarah (played by actress Shauna Macdonald), is grieving for her husband and most particularly for her young daughter. Both died violently after their car was struck by a truck on the way back from a white water rafting trip Sarah took with four female friends. A year later, as part of her healing process, Sarah travels to America’s Appalachian mountains to meet up again with the friends from the rafting trip, including Juno (played by Natalie Mendoza). A sixth woman joins them, the fearless Holly (played by Nora-Jane Noone). The women embark on a caving expedition in a remote part of the national park, but from the start there is tension between Sarah and Juno, who haven’t seen each other since the fatal accident. The implication is that something had been going on between Juno and Sarah’s late husband. (1)

Already, strong Pluto themes are creeping into the movie: the violent deaths; the suggestion of betrayal; the caving trip; the raw feelings and the simmering grief, not just of Sarah, but of all the women, who find themselves emotionally bound together by the tragedy of Sarah’s family, reflecting the intense, often dark relationships with women that are typically experienced by those with strong Moon-Pluto natal or moving aspects.

In Planets in Transit, Robert Hand writes of transiting Pluto square Moon, “This transit produces very intense experiences in your emotional and personal life, and it will test your innermost psychological workings. You may be forced to dig down deeper inside yourself than you have ever done before to get the answers you need at this time”. (2) So, the women begin their descent into the cave. Predictably, it is deeper than expected, much deeper and also much darker. Even at this point in the film we know from our experience of the horror genre that not all of the women will get out of this cave alive. Some of them will be unable to survive their journey to the depths, destined to find their answers only in death. We also understand that those that do survive, if any, will emerge from the real and symbolic depths of hell as transformed women, psychological survivors of the ‘Moon-Pluto’ energies.

After an unexpected rock fall, the women become trapped underground. It then becomes clear that Juno has lied to them. Instead of taking them to the popular, well mapped cave they’d intended to visit, she has taken them to an unknown, unexplored cave system. Juno justifies this reckless decision by telling the group, “It's a new system. I wanted us all to discover it! No one's ever been down here before”. The women find themselves, in the spirit of Pluto, trapped in dangerous, uncharted territory. The group, just like anyone going through a difficult Pluto transit or working through a tense natal aspect, must do something. They cannot sit simply sit tight and wait to be rescued. Nobody knows they are there so nobody will be coming to rescue them any time soon.

They are forced to move even deeper into the cave system to try and find a way out, but before long, Sarah thinks she has caught a glimpse of something in the tunnel up ahead. Juno assures her that it’s just the dark playing tricks on her. We know we can’t trust Juno’s word and Sarah is quickly proved right, the caves are home to the Crawlers, a colony of predatory, carnivorous humanoids, expertly adapted to living in the pitch black. They begin to stalk and violently pick off the trapped women one by one and the women must push themselves physically and emotionally to the very limits in order to survive.

From start to finish, the Moon-Pluto themes running through The Descent are strikingly clear. A group of strong, powerful, even fearless (Pluto) women (Moon) get trapped in a dark underground cave (Pluto). Sarah is grieving for her dead (Pluto) child (Moon). One of the women, Juno, has betrayed Sarah sexually and now, when the group has put their trust in her for the expedition she betrays them all, putting them in mortal danger (Pluto). In a kind of grim irony, the Juno of mythology and astrology is the protector of women and the sanctity of marriage. (3) This particular Juno however has been seriously Pluto-ed. She becomes the shadow incarnation of the goddess, espousing selfish infidelity and destructive betrayal (4) . Even The Crawlers, mere monsters lacking any kind of sympathetic personality, are given their own Moon-Pluto theme, when, in one scene, a gore spattered Sarah beats a small, child-like Crawler to a pulp, only to be challenged by what must be its protective mother, a long haired, heavy breasted creature.

Ultimately, Sarah is the only survivor (Pluto) as the rest of the women are killed either by the terrifying cave Crawlers (Pluto), or by each other, as they give in to their primal (Pluto) self-protective instincts (Moon). Above all else, The Descent is a metaphor for Sarah’s journey through the darkest depths of her grief. She is the ‘bad mother’ who let her child die and the ‘bad wife’ who let her husband stray and who must therefore go to the very limits to purge herself of her guilt and her pain before the healing process can begin. An opportunity to exact violent revenge on Juno arises and she takes it, something we know she would never have contemplated before the start of her horrific journey. As she realises that she herself must be prepared to kill in order to survive and escape the caves, the metaphor is complete, because when Pluto transits our personal planets, including the Moon, he requires us to ‘kill’ or purge something dark within our self, psychologically speaking, in order to let go of the past and transform ourselves into something new. Sarah has been bloodied and will never be the same again, whatever happens next.

At the end of the movie Sarah sees a glimmer of light above her. She scrambles up through the rocks and the blood and the bones, finally emerging above ground into daylight. Driving away in her 4x4, as fast as she can, a truck approaches on a course to hit her head on. For a long second, it seems as if she is destined for the same fate as her family, but the truck swerves and avoids her. She has survived her torment, faced her deepest, darkest fears and is finally free.

However, of Moon-Pluto aspects, Sue Tompkins writes, “Perhaps the most difficult thing for a Moon-Pluto person to do is to let go of their feelings. The urge to purge the self of all the destructive emotions of rage, hurt, suspicion and jealousy is strong but with the hard aspects the fear of letting go seems even stronger”. (5) So it is with the final twist of The Descent. The film leaves us with an image of Sarah waking up back in the cave, haunted by the ghosts of her dead daughter and her dead friends, implying that on one level at least, she will always be trapped in that dark, dangerous place, that the grief and the guilt will never completely leave her.

The Descent was written and directed by Neil Marshall. It is unsurprising to find a Moon-Pluto aspect in Marshall’s horoscope. However, it should be noted that in the absence of a birth time, a noon time has been used, giving a creative trine aspect. A late evening birth gives a tense Moon-Pluto sesquiquadrate (135 degree) aspect, but a late afternoon/early evening birth does not give a Moon-Pluto aspect. What is certain is that Marshall’s Sun in early Gemini (the ego urge to communicate) opposes Neptune (movies) in late Scorpio (horror). A tight Mars square Pluto aspect clearly echoes the film’s subject matter: fighting to the death; battling for survival; bloody violence and the release of buried rage and formidable power.

If the character of Juno is represented by her namesake asteroid in Marshall’s chart, then a symbol for Sarah must be Ceres. Ceres is the great mother of mythology, who out of grief for her daughter, who was abducted to the Underworld by Pluto, lets the world die all around her.(6) The tension and eventual outright aggression between the two women is mirrored in Marshall’s chart by a Ceres-Juno conjunction in Aries.

Mitchell’s Mercury, in close conjunction with Saturn, forms an intense quindecile with Neptune, a little used but powerful 165 degree aspect so often signifying compulsive behaviour patterns. However, of this combination of planets, Noel Tyl writes, “a sad spirit looking for a ray of hope” (7) an image reminiscent of Sarah’s tiny moment of relief at the end of The Descent, before she is mercilessly plunged back into the darkness. It is interesting to note that the US version of the movie ends with Sarah free of the caves, in the daylight, although still traumatized. The final scene of the UK version, where she is back in the cave is cut. This aspect pattern also suggests the darkness of Mitchell’s creative mind, which he channels through The Descent and through his other movies, which include the acclaimed werewolf horror Dog Soldiers (tagline: Six soldiers. Full moon. No chance.) and the apocalyptic zombie thriller Doomsday (tagline: The End is Nigh).(8)

The Descent was released in the UK on 8th July 2005. In a piece of unfortunate cosmic synchronicity, this release date fell the day after the London tube bombings of 7th July. I do not wish to dwell too much on that terrible event, but it should be noted that in Mundane Astrology, acts of terrorism also fall under the symbolism of Pluto.

The poster advertising campaign for the film, which appeared all over London’s public transport system, including the Underground system and the bus that was blown up, featured a picture of a terrified woman screaming in a tunnel, accompanied by the quote “outright terror”. Due to the obvious correlations between that event and the film’s subject matter, the posters were recalled, and the word terror omitted from all subsequent advertising and PR. The imagery of the single, terrified woman was replaced by a more positive image of a group of women defiantly fighting back. However, the film distributor made the decision to go ahead with the release of the film as planned, despite the fact that, in reality, people may have still been trapped underground by the bombings. (9)

Reflecting Marshall’s natal chart, the chart for the UK film release (set at noon) (10) has Moon sesquiquadrate Pluto and Mars trine Pluto. Mars, conjunct North Node, is powerful in Aries, the warrior archetype and squares a feminised Sun in Cancer, an aspect clearly suggestive of the film’s female characters. In fact, the cast of this movie includes no male characters at all, other than Sarah’s husband who is killed off in the opening sequence. In a further echo of Marshall’s chart, Ceres and Juno are again stressfully connected, this time facing each other off in an opposition which closely aspects Marshall’s natal Mercury-Saturn conjunction.

Moon, Mercury and Venus, conjunct in attention seeking Leo, oppose Neptune and sextile Jupiter in Libra, a creative and idealistic combination of planets which suggests the popular appeal and success the movie was set to enjoy, despite its release coinciding with those similarly themed tragic events in the real world. Received well by critics and film fans alike, it eventually earned more than 57 million US$ in worldwide box office receipts.

For Marshall, the release date coincided with a Pluto transit to his natal Mars, as well as with his transiting Pluto square Pluto, ‘rite of passage’ transit. Additionally, transiting Neptune was squaring Marshall’s natal Mercury-Saturn conjunction, a powerful echo of and trigger for the quindecile aspect pattern that these three planets form in his natal chart. It is also possible that transiting Jupiter in Libra was forming a grand trine with his natal Sun and Moon, suggesting a time of popularity, good fortune and success. By Solar Arc, Jupiter was conjunct his Neptune, a very creative connection.

As for me, I wondered why I felt so moved by this film to write about it and my own horoscope gives a few clues as to why this film struck such a chord with me. Marshall’s Sun in Gemini falls exactly conjunct my Ascendant and Nodal axis and his Moon in Aquarius (in his noon chart) falls exactly conjunct my MC, Moon, Mars conjunction, triggering the sesquiquadrate aspect my Moon-Mars makes with my natal Pluto in my 5th house. His Venus in Cancer, exactly opposite my 8th house Capricorn Sun, also indicates that I am likely to enjoy Marshall’s dark creative output, despite that fact that it also scares me silly!

The Descent: Part 2, opens in the UK on 4th December 2009.(11)

(1) For a full summary of the plot see:
(2) Planets in Transit: Life Cycles for Living by Robert Hand. Whitford Press. 2002. Pg. 492.
(3) Asteroid Goddesses: The Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the RE-Emerging Feminine by Demetra George. Hays (Nicolas) Ltd. 2004. Pg.150
(4) Ibid. P.167.
(5) Aspects in Astrology: A Comprehensive Guide to Interpretation by Sue Tompkins. Rider & Co. 2001. Pg. 159.
(6) Asteroid Goddesses: The Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the Re-emerging Feminine by Demetra George. Hays (Nicolas) Ltd. 2004. Pg.41
(7) Synthesis and Counselling in Astrology: Professional Manual by Noel Tyl. Llewellyn Publications. 2005. Pg. 809.
(8) For more information see:
(9) According to
(10) Source:
(11) Source:

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Uranus Direct & Uranus Transits

On December 1st Uranus turns Direct (forwards), after five months of moving Retrograde (backwards) through the sign of Pisces.

In Uranus Direct and the Iraq Inquiry, I discussed how this latest Uranus Retrograde has been reflected in the news. But never mind war and politics, you might be asking, what about me? Well, this blog looks at Uranus Direct as it affects individuals who are currently having a Uranus transit.

You know you are currently having a Uranus transit if you have the Sun, Moon or any planet or angle (Ascendant, Midheaven etc) placed between 22 and 27 degrees of one of the Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces). If this is the case, then you have been experiencing your Uranus Transit for at least the last few months, possibly even for up to a year.

[If you do not know if you have Sun, Moon, planets or angles between 22 and 27 degrees of the Mutable signs you can quickly download your birth chart, which will provide you with this information in a simple to understand way, at:]

Transits of the interpersonal or outer planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto or Chiron, often reflect big changes in a person’s life, most especially if the planet being transited is one of the personal planets or an angle, such as the Ascendant, Midheaven, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus or Mars. These big transits represent often lengthy processes of growth and development, drawn out periods of change and adjustment.

Because of Retrograde, you will very often have the transiting planet ‘hit’ your own planet or angle three times (or sometimes more).

The first ‘hit’ is when you are introduced to the planet’s energies. You may find that something happens in your life, or you yourself make something happen, that fits with the astrological symbolism of the transit. For some it is perhaps more of an inner feeling, the rumblings of the need for personal change and development. The second hit occurs because the transiting planet turns Retrograde. This represents the opportunity to review, rethink and reflect on what happened during the first hit and make plans for our next steps. When you have the third, and usually final hit, the transiting planet is moving forwards again and it’s time to put our plan into action, make any necessary adjustments and then set things in motion for the future. The time of the third hit can be a powerful time.

Now, to the specifics of Uranus transits. What do they mean? What will happen? Well, it’s quite hard to predict very specifically! Read the first few keywords for Uranus transits below and you will see why:

Uranus transits symbolise events, feelings and developments which are unpredictable, unexpected, unusual and/or unconventional. We may experience breakdowns, break ups, breakthroughs and Eureka moments during a Uranus transit. This transit can feel exciting and electrical. We may have a lot of nervous energy during a Uranus transit and for this reason, sleeplessness is not unusual.

Very often under a Uranus transit, our circumstances may suddenly seem over restrictive and inhibitive, prompting an overwhelming need for space and freedom. For this reason, many people find themselves detaching themselves from other people or situations, cutting themselves off.

Uranus transits are not about slow organic change, they are about changes which seem to hit us suddenly and upset the status quo, even though subconsciously things might have been brewing in the background for some time.

Often with a Uranus transit you will feel that you know exactly what you want, exactly where you’re going and what changes you need to make. The problem is that under this transit you may go overboard with the need for change and throw the ‘baby out with the bathwater’ so to speak. I would therefore urge you to forgo major changes until the transit is over so you don’t make all or nothing decisions you might regret later.

A good way to deal with a Uranus transit is to find a way to give yourself a little more freedom and independence. Making the time to do this will really help. This might sound like cheesy advice, but taking up a new interest to indulge yourself in can work wonders, perhaps something you’ve always enjoyed but never made much time for. For example, many an astrological career was launched under a Uranus transit and this very blog started when transiting Uranus was Squaring my Jupiter in Gemini!

For some people Uranus transits are welcome and exciting. Others who are naturally more resistant to change may find these transits very stressful. As with all transits, they can manifest in a variety of different ways and on a number of different levels and will not usually be all good or all bad, but a combination.

If you are having a Uranus transit, now that that Uranus is going Direct you are now, or in the next few months, going to have the third hit of the transit. With the review period over, think about the last five months or so. Has it felt as you have been taking one step forwards and two steps back? Have changes been forced upon you that you are unhappy with, or have you been trying to implement change, but been met by obstacles? Now, finally, things can start to move forward again, hopefully in your preferred direction.

For further information on Uranus transits, try Planets in Transit by Robert Hand; The Gods of Change by Howard Sasportas; Alive and Well with Uranus by Bill Tierney; or consider booking a personal consultation with a professional astrologer.

Good luck and please do let me know how you it all goes.


See for more about me, details about personal consultations and more articles.

December’s Astrology (including VOC Moon times)

Welcome to December!

Here's a link to: December’s Moon sign changes and Moon of Void of Course times

November was marked by the Sun’s passage through Intense Scorpio and expansive Sagittarius. Neptune turned Direct early in the month, the last of the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron triple conjunction to do so. This rare conjunction in Aquarius will make its last exact hit on 21st December, before Jupiter starts racing forwards to meet Pisces.

In mid November, two of the sky’s heaviest hitters, Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn met for the first of three Squares. I have posted a number of blogs on this topic and here is a link to the first one, which introduces the major themes of this planetary alignment: Saturn-Pluto themes and processes.

December starts off very busily, astrologically speaking, with Uranus turning Direct on the first of the month. To read about how Uranus Direct is reflected in current world events, click here>. To read about how Uranus Direct might affect you personally, click here>.

Uranus Direct marks the first and only time this year that all the major planets have been Direct! After what feels like months of delays, reviews and u-turns, we can expect some rapid forward movement, as well as some unexpected developments! (For an explanation of Direct and Retrograde, click here> and for planetary Retrograde dates for 2010, click here>.)

Also on the 1st December, sociable, charming Venus moves into gregarious, fun loving Sagittarius, just in time for the party season. This is closely followed by a Full Moon in Gemini on the 2nd. Social butterflies at the ready! Party time will have peaked by the time of the Sagittarius New Moon on the 16th, after which we’ll probably all feel like just flopping in front of the TV with a glass of sherry and a silly hat!

As Christmas week approaches, Mars in Leo goes Retrograde on the 20th, closely followed by the Sun’s ingress into Capricorn on the 21st, marking the Winter Solstice in the Northern hemisphere and the Summer Solstice in the Southern. Mercury manages to squeeze another Retrograde in from the 26th and finally, as if all that wasn’t enough, the year ends with a Cancer Lunar Eclipse on New Year’s Eve, an ending and a fresh start indeed!

Blogs on all of December’s astro-action to follow, but in the meantime, bring me a mince pie, I’m exhausted just thinking about it!!!

Once again, here's the link to December’s Moon sign changes and Moon of Void of Course times a very useful tool for assessing each day’s subtle energies.

Season’s Greetings to everyone, whether you celebrate Yule, Christmas, Hanukkah, something else, or nothing at all!

With love,

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Uranus Direct & The Iraq Inquiry

On December 1st Uranus turns Direct (forwards), after five months of moving Retrograde (backwards) through the sign of Pisces.

The Retrograde period for any planet symbolises a time when the energies and urges the planet represents go inwards, slow down and come up for review. Old ground is re-covered, forward moving action is often delayed and U-turns are likely until the Retrograde period is over.

Now that Uranus is moving forwards and its energies can be directed outwards again, expect to see Uranian type issues coming up in the news. Look out for announcements of new inventions*, scientific and technological breakthroughs, celebrity break ups and break downs, changes in governments, ripples of rebellion and revolution, extreme or unusual weather patterns and anything else that is shocking, surprising or unconventional.
[*Update: 2nd December - a new invention is announced: a 100mph lawnmower - what a totally crazy Uranus thing!]

One news story that seems to be following Uranus’ transit of Pisces very closely is the Iraq War. @CosmicLifeCoach on Twitter pointed out that the US invasion of Iraq started in March 2003, exactly one week after Uranus, which rules rebellion & overthrow, entered the sign of Pisces! This set me thinking.

Part of the pretext for the war, as well as the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime, was to find Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, after UN inspectors failed to do so. Uranium, is the critical component in the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, the nuclear warhead and is ruled, astrologically speaking, by Uranus. With Uranus in Pisces we have a good symbol for the radioactive nature of nuclear weapons, because radiation will spread and spread if it is not correctly contained. Fortunately for the world, Iraq's weapons of mass destriction were non-existant. Perhaps, on the symbolic level, we can thank Uranus in Pisces' mutual reception with Neptune in Aquarius, for that fact that these WMDs were just an illusion, a deception.
[Update: as if to validate what I said about Uranus & uranium, in the news this morning - 30th November, just one day before Uranus Direct - a story broke that Iran has announced plans for 10 uranium enrichment plants, in breach of five UN security council resolutions. A provocative, Uranus style rebellion!]

The Chilcot Enquiry into the Iraq War was set up to investigate whether the decision to go to war was valid, legal and properly planned for. This Enquiry has been a long time coming, a long time in the preparation and its timing follows this current Uranus Retrograde cycle very closely.

The inquiry officially began mostly behind closed doors in July 09 (perfectly timed to the start of the Uranus Retrograde). However, in late June 2009, mere days before Uranus turned Retrograde, the Chairman of the inquiry Sir John Chilcot, had urged that the inquiry be made as public as possible. He got his way, after an embarrasing U-turn (Retrograde!) by UK PM Gordon Brown, but it was not until late November 09, as Uranus was about to turn Direct that the doors opened on the public part of the inquiry!

Interestingly, Chilcot says it may be 2011 before the full Iraq Inquiry report is completed and published. Note that while Uranus dips his toe into Aries in 2010 (and then Retrogrades back into Pisces), it will be 2011 before Uranus is fully ensconced in Aries. With this in mind, I see no indication that the report will come out before spring 2011.

As this very Uranian story unfolds expect unpredictable twists and turns and shocking truths to be revealed.

For a discussion on how the 2003 Iraq War fits into the current Saturn-Pluto cycle, please click here>.

To read about how Uranus Direct might affect you personally, click here>.

Thank you for reading and I welcome your comments.

Planetary Retrograde Dates for 2010

Here are the dates of planetary Retrograde and Direct Stations for 2010.

(For an explanation of Retrograde, Station and Direct, please click here>)

Stations Retrograde on 26 Dec 2009 at 22 Capricorn
Stations Direct on 15 Jan 2010 at 6 Capricorn
Retrograde period (including Station): 21 days

Stations Retrograde on 18 Apr 2010 at 13 Taurus
Stations Direct on 11 May 2010 at 03 Taurus
Retrograde period (including Station): 24 days

Stations Retrograde on 20 Aug 2010 at 19 Virgo
Stations Direct on 12 Sep 2010 at 05 Virgo
Retrograde period (including Station): 24 days

Stations Retrograde on 10 Dec 2010 at 06 Capricorn
Stations Direct on 29 Dec 2010 at 20 Sagittarius
Retrograde period (including Station): 22 days

Stations Retrograde on 7 Oct 2010 at 13 Scorpio
Stations Direct on 18 Nov 2010 at 28 Libra
Retrograde period (including Station): 42 days

Stations Retrograde on 20 Dec 2009 at 20 Leo
Stations Direct on 10 Mar 2010 at 0 Leo
Retrograde period (including Station): 82 days

Stations Retrograde on 23 Jul 2010 at 3 Aries
Stations Direct on 18 Nov 2010 at 23 Pisces
Retrograde period (including Station): 116 days

Stations Retrograde on 13 Jan 2010 at 5 Libra
Stations Direct on 30 May 2010 at 28 Virgo
Retrograde period (including Station): 137 days

Stations Retrograde on 5 Jul 2010 at 01 Aries
Stations Direct on 6 Dec 2010 at 27 Pisces
Retrograde period (including Station): 154 days

Stations Retrograde on 31 May 2010 at 29 Aquarius
Stations Direct on 7 Nov 2010 at 26 Aquarius
Retrograde period (including Station): 161 days

Stations Retrograde on 7 Apr 2010 at 5 Capricorn
Stations Direct on 14 Sep 2010 at 03 Capricorn
Retrograde period (including Station): 161 days

Stations Retrograde on 4 Jun 2010 at 1 Pisces
Stations Direct on 5 Nov 2010 at 26 Aquarius
Retrograde period (including Station): 154 days

All dates are based on GMT time.
The positions in the Zodiac of the Station Retrograde and Station Direct have been rounded up to the nearest degree.
For an explanation of Retrograde, Station and Direct, please click here>
A discussion of Retrograde Planets in the Birth Chart here>

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Retrograde Planets in the Birth Chart

If you have a Retrograde planet in your birth chart, there’s no need to panic, it doesn’t mean that the part of your life that the particular planet represents is not going to be successful!

The general theory is that the Retrograde planet is expressed more on an inner level, that the needs and urges represented by the planet are somewhat held back or blocked. However, there is usually a second chance later in life for the person to learn to express that planet at its best. From a karmic point of view, it is as if the Retrograde planet represents a life lesson, a challenge that must be met in order to deal with unfinished business and clear the path for future progress.

For example, a recent client with Mercury Retrograde in his birth chart had difficulty in communicating as a child which led to underachievement in learning at school. However, as a young adult, after a few years of drifting, he discovered a passion and talent for electronics which spurred him back into education where he gained good qualifications, enabling him to go on to run his own successful business.

I have also seen many clients with Saturn Retrograde in their charts who report that they lacked a proper father figure in their lives when they were growing up. (The reasons varied, perhaps father was absent or very passive or perhaps he was overly strict, tyrannical.) Many of these people later became determined to be good parents and positive role models for their own children, to make up for what they themselves felt they had missed out on. For a detailed discussion of Saturn Retrograde, please see the work of astrologer Noel Tyl.

Venus Retrograde often reflects early stresses around socializing with others and tensions around showing affection; Mars Retrograde can reflect issues around the internalization of anger, or difficulties around asserting the self, perhaps because these urges were repressed during childhood; Jupiter Retrograde may reflect early life experiences where the child didn’t feel adequately rewarded or was not made to feel special, so as an adult they will have to learn to actively ask for what they believe they deserve out of life.

For example, I have Retrograde Jupiter at the end of the first house / cusp of the second house in my chart. As an adult, I have had to consciously learn to value myself and feel deserving of the rewards due to me, in order to break a pattern of always having to settle for second best. Additionally, I believe that past life experiences have made me very wary of organized religion. However, as an adult in this life, I have developed an intellectual fascination with comparative religion alongside a strong and very personal faith in spirit.

Because Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, the generational planets, spend so much time Retrograde, many of us have at least one of these planets Retrograde. For this reason, I personally do not pay too much attention if one of these planets is Retrograde in a chart. Far more interesting, informative and useful is to look at the aspect measurements these planets make to the personal planets and Angles. This is where the real stories lie.

However, the Retrograde outer planet may echo of one of these ‘stories’. I will give you an example involving Uranus Retrograde, which we could say might reflect issues around the repression of independence and freedom of expression in the early home life. A client of mine with Moon, Venus and Mars in Aquarius clearly needs independence and emotional freedom, but when you consider that these Aquarius planets are on the MC (the MC-IC axis being the axis of parents) and that the Moon (representing mother) is in a tense 135 degree sesquiquadrate aspect to Uranus and Pluto, we see a clear suggestion of an individual with an issue around gaining freedom and independence from an early home life with a controlling mother. The fact that Uranus (the ruler of Aquarius) is Retrograde, is a brushstroke which supports this delineation, but not a major indication of the ‘story’ in itself. If the Retrograde Uranus had not been supported by these other factors, I would have disregarded it in my analysis of the birth chart.

As with everything in astrology, I always advocate the holistic view, which means that everything in the birth chart must be interpreted in relation to everything else. This is the synthesis point where astrology becomes an art or a spiritual practice.

For example, in all the above chart examples, the life situations described are also reflected in the aspects the Retrograde planet makes and/or elsewhere in the chart. The Retrograde planet seems to provide extra confirmation, an echo of these other factors, as in the Uranus Retrograde example. So, when you are interpreting any Retrograde planet in your own or another’s birth chart, please also consider the sign the planet is in, the house it occupies in the chart, the house the planet rules in the chart and of course, the aspect relationships it makes with other planets, angles and points in the chart, as well as looking at the other aspects in the chart.

For example, in my case, the self esteem, faith in self issues suggested by Jupiter Retrograde on the 2nd house cusp is an echo of the self esteem issues strongly suggested by the fact that Mercury, the ruler of the 2nd house (which symbolises self esteem), is in a tense T-Square aspect with Saturn, Chiron, Uranus and Pluto, dense energies indeed!

For a technical explanation of Retrograde click here>.

For Retrograde dates for 2010 click here>.


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