Saturday, 29 January 2011

Notes From A Pluto Transit

Note: I wrote the following a couple of months ago, but hesitated to publish it for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it's all about me and I usually steer away from indulgent personal writing on this blog. Secondly, the couple of people who did read it said they found it upsetting and Astroair is supposed to be an uplifting blog. However, the piece kept nagging at me, so here it is at last... I have not shared details of what happened under this transit (it's different for everybody), but have described how it felt. We shouldn't pretend that Pluto transits are fun or easy, because they're not and if I could sum mine up in three words they would be 'hard, hard work', but on reading this again from a slightly more distant perspective, it's beginning (a little) to feel like at least some of the hard work could have been worth it.

It’s the time of year when the central heating is cranked up and extra duvets are piled on the bed. It’s unwise to leave the house without coat, hat, scarf and gloves. The days are short and darkness reigns. Strange that only a few months ago I slept with the fan on all night, just to keep cool. Odd that the days were so long and the nights so short. I know that the heat of the summer was real, I remember it, but from this viewpoint it feels like an imagined fantasy, like something that happened to another person in another place. It’s also difficult to imagine that in another few months, the scarves and gloves will be relegated to the back of the cupboard and I’ll be dusting off the fan again.

I know as fact that spring will come again and that summer will follow, but simply accepting this fact from my current point of view takes more than merely knowing, it takes a leap of faith.

As the year long conjunction of transiting Pluto to my 8th House Sun begins to wane I am keenly reminded of this turning of the seasons. From my current perspective I find myself in a dark, wintry place. It’s cold and scary here and the night feels endless. It’s almost impossible to imagine the inevitability of summer, the Sun shining high in the sky. It’s almost impossible to believe that I will ever feel joy again.

However, like Persephone in the myth, one day soon I will emerge from Hades’ (Plato’s) underworld, feel the Sun's warmth again and feel joy again. I will look back from ‘high summer’ and no doubt part of me will find it hard to accept that I ever felt so cold and dark and scared. The larger part of me though will, I hope, accept that life is like the seasons and the planetary cycles - constantly turning and always changing and no matter where in life the cycle finds itself, it's always meant to be in the place where it is.

In the place where I am right now, my job, home, relationship and financial security are all unsure. 2011 is an unknown quantity. Dreams have been crushed, plans abandoned. In losing so much power and control over the external circumstances of my life, I am coming to understand that power comes from within. It is a neutral energy which can be used in any way I choose or not used at all. It can be as reactive and explosive as nuclear energy or it can be calm and contained and constructive. I am learning that for me personally, it’s about holding my centre and learning to recognise when to simply let go. It’s been about feeling anger and grief and bitterness and about ‘owning’ these potentially destructive emotions in order to see beyond and beneath them, to seek out their source.

Anger for me (and yes, I do get very angry very regularly these days) is a sign that a line has been crossed and is a cue to reset and reassert my personal boundaries. Usually I’m angry at myself, even when that anger is directed outwards. It is part of my Pluto lesson about ceasing to be a pushover and overcoming a lifelong belief that everyone else is superior/better/stronger than me. I am learning that setting healthy boundaries in my relationships is essential to my mental and emotional health (Saturn in Libra squared my Sun for much of the time that Pluto was conjunct it) and I am constantly readjusting those boundaries, trying to find the right balance.

Bitterness is a new emotion for me, ugly and unwelcome. Put simply, I’m grieving and the twinges of bitterness are, I think, a part of that grieving process. I am grieving for lost hope, for idealism crushed by reality. If I’m not careful, these feelings sneak into my waking thoughts and into the stoop of my posture. I’ve faced tangible losses under this Pluto transit, but the grief seems to be coming not from tangible loss, but from the loss of ‘what might have been’, the dreams I never fulfilled (where are the published novels, the beautiful babies?). These things feel as real, on a psychic level, as the tangible things I have created and lost in my life. As such, they need to be honoured and grieved for and laid to rest every bit as much as the ‘real’ lost friendship, the ‘real’ lost job etc. Under a Pluto transit a fresh perspective on these lost dreams can and must be found. While I might never publish a novel (writing one in the first place would have helped), I do have a wonderful forum to write and share and express myself though my astrology articles. While it’s now too late for me to have children, I realise that I have always been a caring, nurturing, loving person, it’s just that those qualities have been directed elsewhere (into my friendships, my work, my love for my pets). I’m learning to face reality as it is, rather than focusing on my idealised (Sun semi-square Neptune) version of how I would have liked things to be. Most of all, through experiencing and questioning the bitterness and grief I’ve been feeling, I’m learning to have faith in myself and where I am in my life. I’m also learning that while hope and ideals can be lost, faith is a constant.

This Pluto transit has also been a lesson in knowing when and how to surrender (sometimes disengaging from the ‘fight’ is the wisest choice and the best way to win the ‘war’ and also realising that when you’re at war with others, you are really only at war with an aspect of yourself); learning to forgive (myself and others); knowing when to ask for help (overcoming a fierce independence born from negative self beliefs about not deserving help and/or fears that those who help me will have power or control over me) and knowing how to spot when I’m being manipulating / manipulated (a lot of stuff to do with old family relationships, which for years played itself out unattractively in my own adult relationships).

I’m not saying I’ve finished learning these lessons or will ever master them completely, but I will keep on trying, will keep on searching for a healthy transforming, perspective on the dark path that life sometimes takes me down. Most of all, I will do my very best to hold onto the faith and the truth that nothing is forever, that the Sun will shine again and that joy will return.

And to all those Plutonic people who have accompanied me on this journey - those who have taught me harsh lessons and those who have loved and supported and believed in me (you know you are) - I would like to say a huge thank you.

Postscript: A Happy Ending? All the way through this transit I kept joking with some of my astrology colleagues that I was going to win the lottery (tr. Pluto in the 8th House conjunct Sun, ruler of the 5th House). Most told me it was wishful thinking! Well, they were wrong, because on December 25th, my birthday, I won nearly £2k on the lottery! A great gift for my Solar Return...Roll on Jupiter and Uranus squaring my Sun in 2011.

Resource: this book spent almost the entirety of my Pluto transit on my nightstand. Highly recommended: Healing Pluto Problems by Donna Cunningham

See also: Pluto Problems Got You Perplexed? Here's What Helps! an online collection of helpful, insightful articles to help you through your Pluto transit. Joyce Mason's A Cup of Courage in Times of Tough Transits particularly resonates with what I've written here.

10 Tips for Surviving a Pluto Transit from Moonkissd by Jessica

Survival Tips for the Pluto Transit by Lynn Koiner

With love,

Image details: In 2005, this image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was used to identify two new moons orbiting Pluto. Pluto is in the center. The moon Charon is just below it. The newly discovered moons, Nix and Hydra, are to the right of Pluto and Charon. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Jupiter in Pisces Retrospective & the Jupiter-Saturn cycle [Redux]

[This is an updated version of an article first published in early 2010]
[Scroll down for analysis of the Jupiter-Saturn cycle]

At the time of writing this update, Jan '11, Jupiter has just left Pisces and moved into Aries, making this a retrospective look at Jupiter in Pisces...How was it for you?

Jupiter signifies the principle of growth, expansion, faith, wisdom, higher learning and reward. In Pisces, Jupiter symbolises growth through idealism and the expansion of spirit, wisdom from the higher realms, faith through connecting with the ephemeral and intangible and reward through creative involvements, healing energies and acts of compassion.

Sensitive types may have found that their emotional, material and psychic boundaries were more fluid and more porous during Jupiter’s time in Pisces, as they opened up to the vibes, energies and feelings of those around them. If you were affected, it was a good time to brush up on your psychic protection techniques, to guard against absorbing negative vibes. William Bloom’s book on the subject is my personal favourite. It's never too late to start. Even though Jupiter has now left Pisces, don't forget that Neptune will be entering Pisces in 2011. Also, don’t forget that others are also sensitive to your ‘stuff’ so check in with yourself now and again to ensure that you are projecting positive vibes.

Jupiter raced through Pisces, entering Aries on 6 June 2010, then turned Retrograde in July 2010, re-entering Pisces in early September before turning direct at 23 degrees of Pisces in mid November. Jupiter then settled into Aries from January 2011.

Jupiter was very busy in Pisces and is busy in Aries too. From the spring of 2010 through to the spring of 2011, Jupiter forms a series of opposition aspects with Saturn, marking the halfway point of the current 20 year Jupiter-Saturn cycle.

The Jupiter-Saturn Cycle

The Jupiter-Saturn cycle is reliably reflected in world economic cycles. Starting with the conjunction, the first 10 years of the cycle (the waxing phase) represents a period of growth, expansion, risk taking and extravagance.

We began the current cycle in 2000, with Jupiter and Saturn conjoining in materialistic, luxury loving Taurus. As we rang in the new millennium, the economy was in a state of low inflation, high output and low unemployment, with government assurance that the boom-bust economy was over for good. They were wrong. The stock market had soared, but in 2000 share prices fell dramatically when the dot-com bubble burst. But the lessons weren’t learned and a largely unregulated economy recovered quickly and started to grow unbounded as we collectively discovered easy credit and bought into the idea that we could have everything we wanted and now. The jet-set lifestyles of the rich and famous suddenly felt within easy reach, with many ordinary mortals becoming rich and famous in their own right thanks to the ascent of reality television. The huge rise in house prices turned many of the baby boomer generation into property millionaires, with the younger generation and others who had previously found it difficult to get credit, given easy access to huge mortgages. It couldn’t last though and the collapse of the property bubble in 2007 and the subprime mortgage scandal made credit harder to get, forcing many businesses into receivership and many families out of their homes when they couldn't keep up repayments. Many more individuals were cutting up their credit cards and facing up to debts resulting from the extravagance of their easy credit lifestyles. The truth about the credit crunch was revealed in late 2008 with the collapse of a number of the world’s best known financial institutions, with most of the rest receiving tax-payer funded bailouts to keep them in business.

So, where are we now? While the recession has officially ended (although there is still some debate about that, depending on how you define recession) many economic commentators acknowledged that significant risks remained for the world economy in 2010 and remain through 2011. This of course is the period of the oppositions of this Jupiter-Saturn cycle, with the opposition representing a crisis point in the cycle

The first opposition was in May ’10 with Jupiter in Pisces and Saturn retrograde in Virgo. In the UK, this coincided with a general election and with no overall winner, a Con-Dem coalition was formed, warning that savage cuts to public spending and services were on their way. This opposition coincided with the waning squares of the current Saturn-Pluto and Jupiter-Pluto cycles in cardinal signs and the last of the ongoing Saturn-Uranus oppositions, in Libra and Aries. With all of this action occurring around the very public Aries point (the first degree of the cardinal signs), there was no hiding, it was time to face grim reality. All of these measurements represent crisis points in their own right, so it’s not surprising that these collected measurements - a cardinal t square - have been dubbed by many astrologers as the ‘cardinal climax’.

By the time of the second opposition in August 2010, the UK government were preparing to announce their promised savage cuts to public services and public spending, with resultant mass job losses (see, politicians do sometimes keep their promises). Meanwhile, the City and Wall Street ‘masters of the universe’ proclaimed  business as usual and continued to award themselves huge bonuses, after a bumper couple of years benefiting from low interest rates, quantitative easing and financial restructurings caused by the recession. Politicians on both sides of the pond seem powerless or unwilling to do anything about it. Meanwhile, unemployment is growing, especially amongst young people, but even the educated, professional classes are joining the dole queues in increasing numbers. Those in work are facing pay freezes, a rising cost of living, higher taxation and the promise of  rising inflation to come, which will drive up costs even more but will not promise a rise in pay (unless you're an executive fat cat). While we may have all felt richer during the naughties, we are now discovering that the gap between the rich and the poor is wider than ever, particularly evident in the split between the now suddenly struggling professional middle classes and some of their old university roommates, who ‘got lucky’ and joined the new ranks of the super-rich.

But, as the upcoming Pluto-Uranus squares predict, the masses are stirring and we are seeing fury from the general public who are taking to the streets in huge numbers, such as the student protests in the UK. In other countries too...a people's revolt in Tunisia ousted the government and now the people are marching again against the interim government and demanding democratic elections. There have been general strikes and protests against austerity measures in Greece, with similar scenarios across other countries in the Eurozone. Meanwhile other economies continue to grow, with China on track to be the world's biggest economy by 2024.

After Jupiter and Saturn make their last opposition in March 2011, we enter the second half of the cycle, the waning half, historically marked by retraction, caution and withdrawal.

We shall have to wait and see what happens next, but let’s hope that Jupiter in Pisces has done a good job of paving the way for Neptune’s ingress into Pisces in Spring 2011, ushering in a new era of compassion, healing and philanthropy and does not merely offer us the opportunity to continue to bury our head in the sand about the state of our world and its financial structures.

With love and blessings,

Astrology research: Mundane Astrology by Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion and Charles Harvey
Additional research: Wikipedia

Finally, here is the link to the Disasters Emergency Committee website, if you would like to make a donation to the Haiti Earthquake Appeal:

Friday, 21 January 2011

A Jupiter in Aries Brainstorm

We already had a taste of Jupiter in Aries from early June to mid September 2010, after which it retrograded back into Pisces. On 22 January 2011 Jupiter leaves Pisces behind and stays in Aries until early June 2011.

In Aries, growth is found through positive self assertion and self confidence. While Jupiter in Pisces asked us to have faith in life, the universe and everything, Jupiter in Aries takes us back to basics and reminds us to have faith in our-self and act courageously from that point of view. Opportunities are there to be actively grabbed, we can’t just sit and wait for the universe to provide, we have to ask and act. The danger is that we can act too selfishly, recklessly and aggressively with Jupiter in Aries, so we must carry the lesson of Jupiter in Pisces in our hearts and remember to spare a compassionate thought for others as we go for what we want. Put simply, we need to share our winnings, otherwise what’s the point?

The sign of Aries and the planet Jupiter are perfect for brainstorming….throwing out ideas and seeing where they lead you. Here's my brainstorm of phrases for Jupiter in Aries:

You can do this for yourself, it’s a great way enjoy the symbolism and get insights into the planets as they move through the signs…simply list the key words for each and start channeling…..

See also my Uranus in Aries Brainstorm….the advice from Aries types is quite fitting here too

With love,

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Cancer Full Moon Round Up

This month’s Full Moon occurs at 29 Degrees of Cancer. Interestingly, we’re having a series of Full Moons at the 29th and final degree of their sign – October 2010 through February 2011. The last degree of each sign is known as the Anaretic or Critical degree. There’s a sense of urgency about this degree, a need to quickly wrap up any issues to do with the sign involved, because ‘any minute’ the planet involved is changing signs and new energies are about to rush in.

So what could be urgent about this Full Moon in Cancer? Look towards your home-life balance. Have you got the balance right? Certainly, the Saturn-Pluto energies of last year have seen many of us working very hard and expending so much energy as we battle to cling on to our jobs, incomes and security. The effect this has had on our home and family lives could come to light now and we may need to consider whether we’ve got the balance right. While this Full Moon makes us very aware of the need to be financially secure (Capricorn), we also need to remember that emotional security (Cancer) is just as important.

Here’s my quick round up of what other bloggers are saying about the Cancer Full Moon:

From Darkstar Astrology: Full Moon January – Star Wars

From Julie Demboski: Cancer Full Moon – Power Lineage, Power Elite

Auntie Moon’s Full Moon Giveaway for Cancer
(but hurry, you only have until 5:00pm (ET) to enter)

From Planetary Apothecary: Cancer/Capricorn Full Moon

Also check out Starcana’s Daily Planetary Weather

Happy Full Moon Day
With love,

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Be A Chiron Research Participant

Here are details of a really exciting project you can get involved in...

Astrologer Joyce Mason of The Radical Virgo is collecting true-life anecdotes about people’s experience with Chiron for a book she’s writing. Joyce has been a Chiron specialist for 23 years. 

Here's a direct link to the page on her website with all the details about how to join the continuing discovery of Chiron: Chiron Research Volunteers

As a small token of her thanks, anyone participating will receive a free copy of her e-book, The Training Tape. 

If you are interested, please see the Chiron Research Volunteers page or contact Joyce directly. Joyce welcomes questions or dialogue:

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Am I an Ophiuchus? No you are not!

You might have seen a whole lot of fuss in the media and online recently about astrologers getting it all wrong and that instead of 12 zodiac signs there are in fact 13 or even 14. Instead of a Scorpio or a Libra, you may now actually be an Ophiuchus they say!

Please, please, please disregard all this nonsense. While Ophiuchus is indeed a constellation, because of the way the tropical zodiac (on which western astrology is based) is calculated there are and will always be, only 12 zodiac signs.

Please do not fall for all the current nonsense online, describing the Ophiuhcus ‘personality’ and offering Ophiuchus horoscopes and ‘readings’.  You will be wasting your time and your money.

However deep your knowledge of astrology, whether you know your chart and follow your transits or whether you just read your horoscopes in the newspaper, my advice to you is:

Do not adjust your Sun Sign! 
I repeat: Do not adjust your Sun Sign!

For an explanation of why there are 12 signs in astrology, see:
Or for something a little more technical, see Rob Hand’s On The Invariance of the Tropical Zodiac 
For a snappy article on how this current hullaballoo started, see:

Astrology is an ancient practice, a language of symbolism, wisdom and meaning that has been passed down over thousands of years. Many of the early astronomers such as Kepler and Galileo were also astrologers (in fact, astrology and astronomy were indistinguishable). Today’s serious astrologers have studied long and hard and recognise that their apprenticeship to their craft is never complete, there is always more to learn and to share. They are scholars and artists and scientists who have a genuine love and interest in the development of humanity and have a good understanding of astronomy. They are respectful of astronomers and are saddened that so many (but not all) astronomers dismiss astrology.

However, when I see hundreds of websites which seem to have channelled the ‘Ophiuchus personality’ overnight (one even claiming to have got the information from talking to a skull!), this does more damage to serious astrologers than a hundred astronomers putting us down. Believe in astrology or don’t, it’s up to you, but do not buy into this nonsense.

Don’t get me wrong, serious astrologers keep up to date with all the new discoveries in astronomy. It is in fact the beauty of astrology that as the world around us constantly evolves, so does our craft. For example, as and when new bodies in the solar system are discovered, astrologers take many years to research the impact and meaning of that new body in order to build up a reliable body of knowledge. They look at the discovery chart of the body, when it is named they explore the mythology around it and most importantly, they talk to real people who have those objects prominent in their charts or by transit in order to identify the themes that might be associated with it. They share and debate their findings with other astrologers. They write books and papers and give lectures. This takes many years. For example, Chiron, discovered in the 70’s is still a ‘new’ object for astrology with much still to discover.  Talking of which, astrologer Joyce Mason invites you to participate in her Chiron research project here:

However, the basics will always stand, so when we see rubbish that claims that our zodiac is wrong, we must do our best to stand up for ourselves.

I hope you continue to join us on this wondrous journey.

With love, Mandi
Proud to still be a Capricorn

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Planetary Retrograde Dates for 2011

Planetary Retrogrades for 2011

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

Mercury turns retrograde on 31 Mar 2011 at 24Ari21
Mercury turns direct on 24 Apr 2011 at 12Ari53
Retrograde period (including Station): 25 days

Mercury turns retrograde on 4 Aug 2011 at 01Virg12
Mercury turns direct on 27 Aug 2011 at 18Leo41
Retrograde period (including Station): 24 days

Mercury turns retrograde on 25 Nov 2011 at 20Sag07
Mercury turns direct on 15 Dec 2011 at 03Sag51
Retrograde period (including Station): 21 days

No Retrogrades in 2011

No Retrogrades in 2011

Jupiter turns retrograde on 31 Aug 2011 at 10Tau21
Jupiter turns direct on 26 Dec 2011 at 00Tau21
Retrograde period (including Station): 118 days

Saturn turns retrograde on 27 Jan 2011 at 17Lib13
Saturn turns direct on 14 Jun 2011 at 10Lib26
Retrograde period (including Station): 139 days

Uranus turns retrograde on 11 Jul 2011 at 04Ari33
Uranus turns direct on 11 Dec 2011 at 00Ari38
Retrograde period (including Station): 154 days

Stations Retrograde on 4 June 2011 at 00Pis55
Stations Direct on 10 November 2011 at 28Aqu08
Retrograde period (including Station): 160 days

Pluto turns retrograde on 10 Apr 2011 at 07Cap30
Pluto turns direct on 17 Sep 2011 at 04Cap53
Retrograde period (including Station): 160 days

Stations Retrograde on 9 June 2011 at 5Pis29
Stations Direct on 11 November 2011 at 00Pis38
Retrograde period (including Station): 155 days

All dates are based on GMT time.


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Saturn in Libra Retrograde: Relationship Revision Time (Redux)

Saturn image from NASA
This article was first published on this blog in January '10. This is an updated version.

Saturn, the great lesson-teacher of the zodiac, turns Retrograde from 26 January 2010 at 17 degrees of Libra. It will travel back to 10 degrees Libra and will turn direct on 13 June. Saturn will remain in Libra until October 2012, with one further Retrograde period between Feb and June 2012.

The Retrograde periods are a great time to review your progress under Saturn in Libra.

Libra is fair minded and craves peace and balance and harmonious relationship. Saturn is also fair, BUT works us hard and makes us pay our dues. So, you can't expect everything to be automatically lovey-dovey lovely with Saturn in Libra, we are going to have to work at it! Sound like a buzz-kill? Well, remember that Libra needs a bit of conflict and disharmony otherwise it doesn’t have a job to do. Libra needs a balance to find, a peace deal to negotiate, a relationship to build and a compromise to be brokered and Saturn provides the structure and authority to enable Libra to do that job very effectively. Then, when all is said and done, Saturn in Libra will put you on its karmic scales, deduct points for laziness, add points for effort and goods delivered and then, in the nicest possible way, give you just what you need and everything you deserve.

Saturn’s first major quest in Libra was a challenging series of square aspects to Pluto in Capricorn. The essential phrase to describe Saturn-Pluto aspects is hard, hard, work! Not much fun, was it? However, this was where Saturn’s exultation in Libra came in, for in Libra, Saturn actually enjoys putting the work in. If you note that Pluto’s current placement in Capricorn is also a sign that Saturn absolutely loves, then you can see that Saturn in Libra Square Pluto in Capricorn is a very, very dynamic interaction. Boy, was it dynamic! There was hard work, possibly losses, maybe a few scary demons to face, some bridges to build and re-build and a huge clean up job to do. BUT, at an individual and a world level, it was an opportunity for us to put our grist to the mill, work hard, hard, hard and ultimately make the necessary changes and cut backs we needed to get off on a good, solid, realistic footing for the future. Who knows, if we dug deep enough, shifted enough dirt and scrubbed enough mucky old boulders, we might even have unearthed some very valuable buried treasure or flawless gems, metaphorically speaking!

But Pluto wasn't the only planet that Saturn in Libra met. In 2008 Saturn in Virgo began a series of oppositions with Uranus in Pisces. The last of these change making, status-quo shaking, disruptive oppositions occurred in July 2010 just before the final Saturn-Pluto square, with Saturn in Libra and Uranus in Aries.

Now, as Saturn in Libra turns retrograde, it's time to review what's happened over the last year or so. So what have been your 'Saturn' lessons so far? What’s made you work hard? Where did you find hidden gems? What changed? What was turned on its head? Was it exciting or was it stressful and unsettling? Are things resolved or is there still some work to do? 

Think back to any conflicts you experienced over the last few months, perhaps at work or in your intimate relationships. Ask yourself how you could have handled it better. Was it all about winning the argument or did you just give in to the other person’s demands? Do you think you would have felt better if you had worked for a fair compromise that could have helped both parties?

In your major relationships, where does the balance of power lie? Do you give your power away by letting the other person take advantage of you? Why do you do this? Is it because you are afraid of conflict, or afraid that the other person won’t like you/love you/respect you if you stand up for yourself?

Is your behaviour often influenced by a need to please others or a need to be popular? Consider what would happen if, in the nicest way, you pleased yourself a bit more? How would others react? If you think they would not accept it, then perhaps you might consider if their respect/friendship/time etc. is really so important that you would be willing to always put their needs before your own in order to have them in your lives? Most likely, after adjusting to your new behaviour, they would still love and respect you, perhaps even more so.

Similarly, do you find you spend a lot of time running around after others, so much so that you don’t have time to get your own needs met? If so, how can you make more time for yourself? Do you need to learn to ask for help, rather than doing it all yourself? How do you feel about the time you spend doing things for others? Do you do it out of duty but secretly resent it? If so, maybe it’s time to re-balance things.

At work or at home, are you one of those ‘if you want something doing right, do it yourself’ types? If so, is it perhaps time to learn to delegate more? Or perhaps learn to work alongside others, doing it together? Wouldn’t this approach be more fun and more rewarding? Consider what you might learn from each other and how much more you could achieve as a team.

How have your relationships changed over the last year? Has the change been for the better? Have you freed yourself from toxic relationships or are you still hanging on to unhealthy associations? Have you given yourself permission to grieve for lost relationships, an important part of the healing process so you can move on?

If life still feels like hard, hard work at the moment, consider whether your efforts are being put to best use and whether they are focused in the right direction. Are negative emotions (fear, stress, anger, anxiety etc) overly exhausting you and making things feel worse. Perhaps you need to take a step back and unravel all this emotion in order to move forward healthily?

Finally and most importantly think about all your relationship successes over the last few months. Give yourself a pat on the back for friendships you have grown and developed, helpful alliances you have formed and for the happy, harmonious moments you've shared in your closest relationships.

I know life may still feel difficult for many right now, but can you see the light at the end of the tunnel? Just a glimmer? Remember, every bit of progress counts, however small and Saturn has a very long memory.

While we all, to a lesser or greater extent, absorb the energies around us, this Saturn Retrograde period will have most resonance with those of you who have planets or angles between 10 and 17 degrees of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn). You can quickly download your own birth chart which will provide you with this information in a simply understood way at

Note: This original version of this article featured in Saturn in Libra and Relationships, published on Sasstrology as part of the 2010 International Astrology Day Blogathon. The purpose of this web-based event is to create a permanent library of articles about how to deal with the stresses of the Cardinal T-Square of Pluto, Saturn and Uranus. The main page for the Blogathon collections is at The Cardinal T-Square of 2010: Saturn, Uranus, Pluto.


Friday, 7 January 2011

Weirdly Wise Capricorns ~ Quotable Goats

With the Sun in Capricorn, here are a few words from some well known goats....I'm not surprised to see a good number of eccentric and controversial figures among them, but then as a Capricorn myself, I never like to miss an opportunity to overturn the image of Capricorn as traditional and rule bound! Enjoy! Oh and the quotes also reflect their Moon sign...

This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.
Al Capone, Gangster, Sun Capricorn, Moon Aries
Other Capricorns with Moon in Aries: E.M. Forster; Patti Smith; Diane von Furstenburg; Jon Voight

I still feel like I gotta prove something. There are a lot of people hoping I fail. But I like that. I need to be hated.
Howard Stern, Shock-Jock/Chat Show Host, Sun Capricorn, Moon Taurus
Other Capricorns with Moon in Taurus: Linda Lovelace; Isaac Asimov; Danny Kaye; Graham Chapman

People need motivation to do anything. I don't think human beings learn anything without desperation.
Jim Carrey, Actor/Comedian, Sun Capricorn, Moon Gemini
Other Capricorns with Moon in Gemini: Louis Pasteur; Rudyard Kipling; Joan Baez; Johannes Kepler

Audiences like their blues singers to be miserable.
Janis Joplin, Singer, Sun Capricorn, Moon Cancer
Other Capricorns with Moon in Cancer: Mary Tyler Moore; Michael Schumacher, Robert Duvall; Kate Middleton

I think it all comes back to being very selfish as an artist. I mean, I really do just write and record what interests me and I do approach the stage shows in much the same way.
David Bowie, Singer, Sun Capricorn, Moon Leo
Other Capricorns with Moon in Leo: Faye Dunaway; Marilyn Manson; Jack London; Marlene Dietrich

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
Dolly Parton, Singer, Sun Capricorn, Moon Virgo
Other Capricorns with Moon in Virgo: Aristotle Onassis, Susan Sontag; Stephen Hawking; Maggie Smith

All you owe the public is a good performance.
Humphrey Bogart, Actor, Sun Capricorn, Moon Libra
Other Capricorns with Moon in Libra: Mel Gibson; Nicolas Cage; ; Joan of Arc

I think men are afraid to be with a successful woman, because we are terribly strong, we know what we want and we are not fragile enough.
Shirley Bassey, Singer, Sun Capricorn, Moon Scorpio
Other Capricorns with Moon in Scorpio: Henry Miller; Orlando Bloom; Rod Stewart; Kate Moss

I stopped living according to my core values. I knew what I was doing was wrong but thought only about myself and thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to.
Tiger Woods, Golfer, Sun Capricorn, Moon Sagittarius
Other Capricorns with Moon in Sagittarius: Kahlil Gibran; Howard Hughes; Umberto Eco; Anthony Hopkins

Over the years, I was never really driven to become a solo artist, but I was curious to find out who I was as an individual creative person. It's taken some time, but now I feel I've truly paid my dues. I guess I'm at a point now where I'm more comfortable in my own skin.
Annie Lennox, Singer, Sun Capricorn, Moon Capricorn
Other Capricorns with Moon in Capricorn: Tracey Ullman; A. A. Milne

The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.
Quentin Crisp, Writer, Sun Capricorn, Moon Aquarius
Other Capricorns with Moon in Aquarius: Cary Grant; Diane Keaton; Denzel Washington; Muhammad Ali and ME!

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Martin Luther King Jr, Sun Capricorn, Moon Pisces
Other Capricorns with Moon in Pisces: Elvis Presley; Benjamin Franklin; J R R Tolkien; Michael Stipe; Simone de Beauvoir

With love,

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Astrology For January ~ A Fresh Start & A New Promise

Welcome to 2011!

Early January sees two big celestial events coinciding ~ An Eclipsed New Moon in Capricorn and a Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in Pisces, both on the 4th

I always think the Capricorn New Moon is the start to the New Year proper. New Moons are seeding times, when we can  ‘plant’ our  intentions and watch them grow. Therefore, if you do have any New Year’s resolutions, start them at this New Moon, when the sky provides an extra dose of discipline and determination to help you on your way. The New Moon squares Saturn in Libra, but before you get depressed at that thought, remember that Saturn is exulted – happy – in the sign of Libra. Use the positive New Moon energies wisely, be patient and you are sure to get your rewards in time. In fact, make a note to check back in on those resolutions around the time of the Aries Equinox in March, which is the beginning of the astrological New Year.  

Want some help with your resolutions? See Auntie Moon’s Show Me Your Saturn and I’ll Show You A Resolution You Have To Keep, or for an irreverent look (and a good giggle) see The Radical Virgo's Zodi-Yuks New Years Resolutions

That this New Moon is a Solar Eclipse, makes it even more powerful. Eclipses tend to signify endings – something is eclipsed – making space for something new and positive to come in. The Eclipse falls at 13 degrees Capricorn, so you will be particularly affected if you have planets or points in your chart between 11 and 14 degrees Capricorn or Cancer. See my article Working with Eclipses for more on how to track and use Eclipses that fall on important parts in your chart.

The day of the Eclipsed New Moon sees the third and final Jupiter-Uranus conjunction. This conjunction had its first ‘hit’ in June 2010 in fiery Aries ~ bold, seize the initiative energies. This one is in dreamy, inspirational Pisces, at 27 degrees. It’s time to think outside the box (Uranus) and dream big (Jupiter). Yes, Jupiter-Uranus alignments make us feel like anything is possible and that’s true....but to integrate your big dreams with the energies of the Capricorn Eclipse, take some time to plan your ambitious dreams, work out a goal and a strategy and apply a little pragmatic realism and a splash of common sense. This conjunction will be particularly buzzy for you if you have planet or points in your chart in the late degrees of the mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces).

Want to know more about how amazing Jupiter-Uranus energies can be? See my article Jupiter-Uranus ~ Science, Discovery and Revolution.

The rest of January’s astro-action:

January 7: Venus – the planet of relationship, giving and our values -  enters generous, enthusiastic Sagittarius. Time to express your affection freely and adventurously.  Venus stays in Sagittarius until February 4.

January 13: Mercury – the planet of communication, thoughts, ideas and connections - enters pragmatic, ambitious Capricorn. Time to re-apply some mental discipline to the goals you set around the Capricorn New Moon. Think realistically, but try to avoid negative thinking. Mercury stays in Capricorn until February 3.

January 15:  Mars – the planet of action, desire and how we assert ourselves – enters independent, individualistic, innovative Aquarius. Time to rebel a little and do things with a ‘twist’. These are great energies for campaigning, reforming and putting ideas into action. Mars stays in Aquarius until February 22.

January 19: Full Moon in Cancer. This Full Moon occurs at 29 Degrees of Cancer.  Interestingly, we ’re having a series of Full Moons at the 29th and final degree of their sign – October 2010 through February 2011. The last degree of each sign is known as the Anaretic or Critical degree. There’s a sense of urgency about this degree, a need to quickly wrap up any issues to do with the sign involved, because ‘any minute’ the planet involved is changing signs and new energies are about to rush in.

 So what could be urgent about this Full Moon in Cancer? Look towards your home-life balance. Have you got the balance right? Certainly, the Saturn-Pluto energies of last year have seen many of us working very hard and expending so much energy as we battle to cling on to our jobs, incomes and security. The effect this has had on our home family lives could come to light now and we may need to consider whether we’ve got the balance right. While this Full Moon makes us very aware of the need to be financially secure (Capricorn), we also need to remember that emotional security (Cancer) is just as important.

January 20: The Sun moves into friendly, people oriented Aquarius. The creative energy of Capricorn is all about making tangible progress, while staying within the rules, but in Aquarius the creative energies need freedom from rules in order to express themselves.  Aquarius wants to do things in its own way, however eccentric that way may be. A good use of the Aquarius energy is to help others – groups, communities, friends, societies - while at the same time remaining intellectually connected, but emotionally detached.

January 22: Jupiter moves into Aries. We already had a taste of Jupiter in Aries from early June to mid September 2010, after which it retrograded back into Pisces. Now, Jupiter leaves Pisces behind and stays in Aries for the duration. In Aries, growth is found through positive self assertion and self confidence. While Jupiter in Pisces asked us to have faith in life, the universe and everything, Jupiter in Aries takes us back to basics and reminds us to have faith in ourself and act courageously from that point of view. Opportunities are there to be actively grabbed, we can’t just sit and wait for the universe to provide, we have to ask and act. The danger is that we can act too selfishly, recklessly and aggressively with Jupiter in Aries, so we must carry the lesson of Jupiter in Pisces in our hearts and remember to spare a compassionate thought for others as we go for what we want. Put simply, we need to share our winnings, otherwise what’s the point? Enjoy Jupiter in Aries.

January 26: Saturn in Libra stations retrograde. See my article Saturn in Libra Retrograde: Relationship Revision Time for some ideas on how to use the Saturn retrograde energies in a positive way. Saturn remains retrograde until June 13.

I hope you enjoy January, I wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and joyful 2011.
With love,

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Astrological Review of the Year ~ Part 2

2010 is over…but there’s still time for a quick look back over some of the year's big news stories from an astrological point of view. Some of the stories angered us, some upset us, some awoke our compassion and others served to remind us of the strength and grace of the human spirit.

January to June: Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Oil Spills and Elections

January ~ Earthquake in Haiti

On January 12, at 4.53 local time, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, the epicenter 15 miles WSW of Port-Au-Prince. The earthquake almost totally devastated the capital, which was already suffering from extreme poverty and lack of basic infrastructure. Casualties have been estimated at upwards of 200,000.

Astrologically, the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction falls in the 8th House of the chart for the Earthquake (set for Port-Au-Prince). In previous posts I have associated this triple conjunction with health issues and the resulting health issues from lack of hygiene and overcrowding are unfortunately ongoing, with deaths from cholera and other diseases still claiming many lives almost one year on, with over a million Haitians estimated to be living in unsanitary, overcrowded camps, leaving them vulnerable to increasing violence. As you would expect with the conjunction in the 8th, the disaster resulted in a huge outpouring of international compassion and monetary aid, but this has not been without scandal (Neptune) with accusations that only a tiny proportion of the aid was released by as late as July.

At the time of the earthquake, Haiti was having its Saturn return and it’s a grim observation that this Saturn return – which was accompanied by the transiting square from Pluto - has led to the country having to completely restructure itself, a long, slow, hard process.  Another indicator of the drama was the lunar eclipse on 31 December 2009, less than two weeks before the earthquake, falling exactly on Haiti’s natal Sun at 10 degrees Capricorn. Additionally, there was a build up of planets in cardinal signs, a phenomena sometimes associated with earthquakes, including Sun, Venus, Mercury, North Node in Capricorn and of course Saturn and Pluto.

For more on the Haiti Earthquake (and to see the charts) see:
Haiti: Astrology of a Disaster by Pathea 
Astrology of Haiti Earthquake by Planet Waves 

April ~ Grounded by Ash, Drowned in Oil

For several months, Iceland’s Mount Eyjafjallaj√∂kull had been periodically erupting, but when eruptions resumed on April 14, the resulting cloud of ash grounded most of the air traffic into and out of Europe for almost a week, leaving thousands stranded and disrupting travel worldwide.

Naturally, the volcanic eruption and ensuing crisis correlates with the Saturn-Pluto square, but a closer outer planet alignment (and a part of the same picture) was the last of the Saturn-Uranus oppositions in the mutable signs. Disruption ensued and the status quo was challenged, as our freedom to travel (Uranus) was curtailed (Saturn). Jupiter’s applying conjunction to Uranus only served to expand and exaggerate the problem.

For a more in-depth look see:
Astrology of the Iceland Volcano by Lynn Hayes 
Aviation Shutdown by Jamie Darkstar
Rollan McCleary looks at Iceland’s chart and makes some interesting observations

On April 20, The Deep Water Horizon drilling rig exploded, taking the lives of 11 men. It took BP almost three months to cap the leak, by which time over 5 million barrels of crude oil had flowed into the Gulf of Mexico, causing environmental and economic disaster.

Astrologically, we can look to the Saturn-Pluto square (oil, the rupture of the earth), connecting with the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in Aries (science and technology, the call for urgent action, the finger pointing at BP and its CEO Tony Hayward). However, it’s the Neptune and Chiron conjunction in late Aquarius (which was transiting conjunct the Moon of the USA) that really completes the story. The Earth’s very structure (Saturn) was wounded (Chiron) and ruptured deep underground (Pluto in Capricorn) by the oil (Pluto) leaking (Neptune) into the sea (Neptune). Notably, Pluto was conjunct Ceres (Mother Earth).

Astrologer John Wadsworth looks at the charts for the spill, for the USA, for BP and for Tony Hayward and makes some excellent observations in The Astrology of the Gulf Oil Spill 

May ~ Parliament Hangs

On May 6, under a Mercury Retrograde, the UK went to the polls and the result was a hung parliament, which led to what has predictably become a very uneasy coalition government between the right wing Conservatives and mid-centre Liberal Democrats. A few days before the election I looked at the election chart in detail and predicted the coalition government (although between Labour and the Lib-Dems ~ a bit of wishful thinking on my part), but my analysis of the chart stands up pretty well. Read it here:
UK Election Day Chart
July to December ~ Floods, Riots, Wikileaks, 33 Chilean Miners and a Taste of Freedom

July/August ~ Floods and Blood Diamonds

In July, monsoons brought mass flooding to Pakistan, leaving almost a fifth of the country underwater. Around 2,000 people lost their lives, but the devastation affected over 20 million.

Lara Owen looked at the chart for Pakistan on her blog and observed that its natal Mars at 0 degrees Cancer on the MC, was under assault from the transiting cardinal t-square of Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, forming a moving grand cross in the chart. Not an easy picture, by any means. It’s also worth observing that while the Haiti earthquake led to an outpouring of compassion and aid from around the world, there was a feeling that there was less sympathy for the plight of those in Pakistan when disaster struck there, which not surprisingly angered (Mars) many there.

The War Crime tribunal of Sierra Leone’s former dictator Charles Taylor, hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons after supermodel Naomi Campbell was called to give evidence, revealing that she had received alleged ‘blood diamonds’ from Taylor.

No stranger to controversy, Campbell’s chart has Neptune on the MC opposite Sun natally, describing the fashion, beauty and glamour, but also the scandal and accusations of deceit that seem to follow her around. Venus in her chart, in the last degree of Gemini, was at the time of the court case being transited by the Saturn-Uranus opposition, so controversy and exposure (her Venus sits on the private becomes public Aries Point) seemed destined to come her way.

September ~ The Power of a Pluto Transit

On September 25 British politician Ed Milliband, known for his left wing stance, took a surprise victory over his brother David in the election to lead the opposition Labour Party. While David was the favourite to win the contest, it was Ed who had transiting Pluto exactly conjunct his natal Sun in early Capricorn, so the power was always going to be his!

October ~ Los 33 Mineros

On October 13 the World rejoiced as the 33 miners trapped underground in Chile were finally all brought back to the surface. After 69 days trapped, it was the longest time anyone has ever been underground and survived. Overjoyed relatives, who had been living in Camp Hope beside the mine, were there to greet them as they rose to the surface in the space age Fenix capsule, one by one.
This story, with Pluto in Capricorn (Hades, under the ground, the fight for survival) conjunct Ceres (Demeter, mother earth), evokes the Greek myth of Hades releasing the abducted Persephone to her mother Demeter from the darkness of hell to the light and hope of Earth. The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in mutable Pisces symbolizes the space age technology that was adapted in a race against time in order to free the men. And of course, the Neptune-Chiron conjunction in Aquarius stands for the hope and brotherhood of the trapped men and of those waiting for them in Camp Hope. Nobody could fail to be inspired by the bravery of the men, proof of the enduring strength of the human spirit against the odds.

For more insights, see Lynn Hayes’ Musings on the Chilean Miners 
See also Resurrection in Chile by Adrian Duncan Ross at World of Wisdom, which looks in detail at the charts for Chile, for the mine collapse and for the rescue.

November   ~ Dreams of Freedom in Burma

On November 13, Burma’s pro-democracy leader and Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was finally released after being detained for 15 of the last 21 years. The Oxford Astrologer blog took at look at the themes of Moon-Neptune ~ sacrifice, dreams and spiritual yearnings ~ an astrological signature in Ms Suu Kyi’s natal chart, the chart for Burma and the chart for her release date. Read her analysis here:  Aung San Suu Kyi: Embodying the People’s Dream 

November also saw the US midterm elections, with the Democrats retaining the Summit, but being pummelled as the Republicans took the House. This was no surprise to anyone and a good example of how the changing sky was reflected in events. Obama’s message of hope and change you can believe in was a perfect channel of the Saturn-Uranus oppositions, by the time of the mid-terms we had been through the Saturn-Pluto squares – hard work, losses, grim reality and politically, a move to the right, most notable in the rising stock of the Tea Party Movement. Jupiter and Saturn, at the opposition phase of their cycle, points toward a time of austerity, following the expansion phase of the first half of the cycle.

December ~ A Fight for the Right to Information

In the UK, a series of increasingly violent student protests against the government’s plans to raise university tuition fees came to a head on December 9 when a car containing the heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla was attacked. However, much of the anger has been directed at Lib-Dem leader and deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who in his pre-election manifesto pledged not to raise tuition fees. Now, as part of a coalition government with the Conservative party, he has been forced to vote for the raising of fees. In Clegg’s chart, if the 6am birth time is reliable, Saturn was transiting his Midheaven (symbolizing the restrictions placed on him in bringing his pre-election promises to bear and the need to face reality and take responsibility publicly, thus making him an easy scapegoat). The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction has been transiting his third house (education) Saturn, so it’s not surprising his ideas have been upset. (Clegg data: 7 Jan 1967, Chalfont St Giles, UK, approx 6am).

In the UK 1066 chart, transiting Saturn has been squaring natal Mercury (restrictions to learning) and in the 1801 chart, Saturn has been squaring natal Sun. In both charts, Pluto in Capricorn has been hovering close to the angles for some time and with the revolutionary energies of the upcoming Uranus-Pluto squares also hitting angles of both charts exactly, we can expect many more protests and direct action to come over the next 2-3 years. Life as we know it on this small island is about to take an evolutionary leap.

Also in December Julian Assange becomes one the world’s most talked about men, after releasing diplomatic secrets on his Wikileaks website. He was subsequently arrested in London after rape accusations, but released on bail. Meanwhile, ‘Hackivist’ supporters of Assange caused havoc to banking and retail websites in protest against efforts to close down his freedom of speech website. In Assange’s birth chart, a rebellious Sun square Uranus and a freedom fighting Mars in Aquarius square Jupiter are a good reflection of his anti-establishment work. Saturn in Gemini in the 7th (the restriction of public information) opposes a Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in the first (leaks and scandal of big proportion). There’s also a Scorpionic feel to  the chart (the keeping and exposing of secrets) with the Moon and possibly the Ascendant in Scorpio. Additionally, Pluto (that which is buried and unearthed) makes aspects to Mercury (news, information), Venus in Gemini (the value of information) and Jupiter in Scorpio (skepticism about believing the ‘received’ beliefs of others,  – in this case the establishment view – especially as Jupiter is part of Assange’s Saturn-Neptune opposition. This story, I believe, will run and run.

For more on Assange’s chart, see Darkstar Astrology’s piece, which looks at Eris and The Shadow Side of Julian Assange from Astrotabletalk. 
Birth details for Julian Assange: July 3, 1971, Townsville, Queensland
Mountain Astrologer gives a questionable birth time of 2.05pm 

And that's that! Another year’s over and a new one’s begun and guaranteed, it too will be full of drama and also full of hope.

Happy 2011 and see you soon.

With love,

Quincunx, Aversion & Venus in Libra

I always have great fun recording the Academy of Astrology UK weekly podcast, hosted by the wonderful Rod Chang. It's never scripted, w...