Saturday, 25 June 2011

Planetary Postcards

I picked up these wonderful postcards at Out of this World a fantastic Science-Fiction exhibition at The British Library....

From Jules Verne, The Moon Voyage 1876

Cover of sheet music for A Signal from Mars a march and a two step inspired by the interception of radio signals believed to have come from Mars.
Illustration by Frank R Paul of Life on Mercury from Fantastic Adventures 1939. 
The postcard says Mercury, being dangerously near the Sun, is a planet of terrific heat. Life, says science, can only exist in insect form.

Cover of Across the Zodiac by Edwin Pallander, 1896

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Solstice Forecast

What will the next three months bring? Change or business as usual? Summer of discontent or calm before the storm?

The Sun’s yearly ingress into Cancer marks the June Solstice (summer in the northern hemisphere, winter in the south). 

Solstice charts, along with Equinox charts, are considered to reflect the energies of the upcoming three months.

The Solstice chart below is set for London, for the moment the Sun moves into Cancer on June 21. However, the planetary aspects, degrees and sign placements will not change if you relocate the chart, (only the angles and house positions change), so they are relevant anywhere. So this review of the Solstice looks at the general aspects and planet positions, as they would apply anywhere in the world and also looks at a few things as they relate specifically to the UK.

In the Solstice chart, the Sun forms a cardinal grand cross, involving Mercury, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto. (I am allowing orbs of up to ten degrees here, which is the standard in mundane (world) astrology – for natal transits the orbs would be no more than 2-3 degrees).

Click to enlarge
You’ve probably spotted that the Sun is picking up on the Saturn-Uranus-Pluto cardinal t-square that had us all in a lather last year. But don’t forget that every Solstice or Equinox chart since late 2009 has had the Sun in aspect to that t-square, because by their very nature, these charts feature the Sun at 0 degrees of one of the cardinal signs. So, business as usual? Well yes in a way, the next few months will see the nerve-racking ping-pong game of crisis-action-reaction running on and on, through the economic, political and ecological crises currently being playing out throughout the world.

What is interesting is that this is the last Solstice or Equinox chart where the Sun hooks into a conjunction, square or opposition with Saturn. In mundane astrology, Saturn rules the housing marking, industry in general and how the laws of the land are enforced and administered, so we can expect any of these issues to be aired quite extensively by our leaders in the upcoming three months.

By the time of the Libra Equinox ingress in September, Saturn will have moved out of orb, so the Sun will be in a t-square with just Uranus and Pluto, the two planets edging ever closer to their first exact square since the 1930’s. Uranus is about social rebellion and revolution, freedom, progress, technological advances and Pluto is about power struggles, control, resources, anything in society that is hidden, taboo or buried and along with Neptune, it rules oil. Already we can see Uranus-Pluto themes playing out throughout the North Africa and the Middle East. It will be interesting to see how things develop on that front once cautious, restricting, relationship-oriented Saturn in Libra moves out of the t-square.

But we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves.

This Solstice chart sees two slower moving planets in new signs since the Aries Equinox in April - Jupiter in Taurus and Neptune in Pisces conjunct Chiron in Pisces.

Jupiter’s overriding principle is expansion and growth, so in Taurus, we will see issues of bodily growth (the obesity issue) and a spotlight on our society’s values and attitudes towards security. Are we consuming too much (physically and economically)? Does this really make us feel secure as a society? Do we really need all those luxuries to have a safe and comfortable life? Have we been squandering our natural resources? Already, our intensive farming methods are coming into question yet again, over the e-coli crisis which has been spreading across Europe through an as yet unidentified food source. It also asks us to rethink the way food is transported.  Perhaps Jupiter in Taurus will see further growth in the burgeoning industry for locally grown seasonal produce?

Jupiter is also about higher education and with it falling in money and values oriented Taurus, we will be forced to question the value we put on higher education, as the row over massive hikes in university fees in the UK rumbles on. Should we let go of the ideal of higher education for all and let university degrees fall back into the exclusive domain of the wealthy and the privileged? A trine from Pluto in Capricorn in the 2nd house, underscores the intensity of this issue, highlighting the need for a new perspective on the whole issue. Expect this to become a tense party political issue as this summer rolls on and the new academic year edges closer.

Another topic that could come up again in the UK now that Jupiter is in Taurus is the controversial issue of airport expansion. Many plans for new runways and new airports across the UK were dropped because of the recession, but perhaps some of the plans will be picked up on again during the next year. Expect huge and popular protests from environmental groups if they do.

Neptune in Pisces has already seen some manifestations. A recent report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy said that despite the trillions spent by governments around the world on the “war on drugs”, drug usage has not fallen and drug related crime has skyrocketed. The report calls for governments to consider legalising some drugs, and the de-criminalisation of drug users.

The debate this has opened up will no doubt run and run. Already, in the UK, the charity Release (which campaigns for changes in the drugs laws in the UK) has written to the Prime Minister “calling for a review of the current drug policies, with a view to decriminalisation of possession for all drugs. This letter has been signed by leading QC's, three former Chief Constables, academics, politicians and high profile celebrities.

Neptune in Pisces falls in the 12th House of the Solstice chart for the UK, so we can expect the debate here to centre around the burden that illegal drug use places on our prison and healthcare systems. With the Moon (the mood of the population) widely conjunct Neptune, this issue is bound to pull at the nation’s sympathies. It is interesting to note that Neptune makes an easy trine aspect to the Sun (Prime Minister/Government), so it will be fascinating to see what they does with this issue. Will the government easily win the public around and get its way on this issue? Or will the public feel deceived (Moon-Neptune, Pisces, 12th house)?

Also in the UK, National Health Service reforms are being planned by the government. Already, the reform plans have been changed following criticism. Again, this issues falls under Neptune conjunct Moon in Pisces trine Sun. Will the government eventually get its way? Perhaps we shouldn’t discount a tight square from Mars in Gemini in the third house. Both sides of debate will compete to get their voices heard on this issue, with the danger of an aggressive propaganda campaign on both sides.

Finally, as the Uranus-Pluto square rumbles ever closer to its first exact square in 2012, more strike action, protest and rebellion is on the way,union leaders are threatening the biggest wave of strikes since 1926, after the government unveiled proposals for public sector employees to work longer and pay more for less generous entitlements in retirement.I think it’s fascinating that Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn, both speak about concerns about ageing and retirement. Already, the government opposition party (symbolised by Mars in Gemini here) are warning the unions that they will play into the hands of the government  if they strike, suggesting that the government will use the strikes as propaganda (Neptune in Pisces) to convince the public (the Moon) that the strikers and unions are to blame for the slow economic recovery. Expect this confused argument to heat up over the summer.  (news source: BBC).

I do hope you enjoy this season, whatever it brings. Take a step back now and again and view things from the wider perspective....cherish the gift of insight that astrology brings.

With love,

Solstice/Equinox 101: There are two Solstices and the two Equinoxes each year. These important power points occur as the Sun enters one of the cardinal signs of the zodiac - Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn and astrologers use the charts for these events to make predictions for the following three months ahead.
The first Equinox of the year occurs when the Sun moves into Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, around March 21, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. At an Equinox, day and night are of equal length.
The first Solstice occurs when the Sun moves into Cancer around June 21. In the Northern Hemisphere the Solstice marks midsummer, the longest day of the year and in the Southern Hemisphere it marks midwinter, the shortest day of the year.
The second Equinox, around September 21, when the Sun moves into Libra, marks the start of autumn in the N. Hemisphere and the start of spring in the S. Hemisphere.
Finally, the second Solstice of the year occurs around December 21 when the Sun moves into Capricorn, marking the shortest day (midwinter) in the N. Hemisphere and longest day (midsummer) in the S. Hemisphere. The further away from the Equator you are located the more pronounced the Equinoxes will be. For example, very Northern locations will experience twenty-four hour darkness at the winter Solstice and twenty-four hour sunlight at the summer Solstice. If you are located very near to the Equator, day and night are more or less of equal length all year round.
The Solstices and Equinoxes have been important and much celebrated festival days for many thousands of years and are today still celebrated by modern Wiccans, Pagans and Druids.
 Stonehenge image from:

The ancient stone circle of Stonehenge near Salisbury, England is a major focal point for celebrating the summer Solstice, with thousands gathering each year to watch the Solstice sunrise align with the stones.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Good News Transits ~ Uranus

Welcome to part two of Good News Transits a look at the benefits and lessons that transits of Jupiter, Saturn and the outer planets can bring into our lives. Part one looked at how to make the most of Saturn and Jupiter transits and this one looks at the upside of Uranus transits. Sometimes it’s hard to see the gifts that the transits of the outer planets bring. Their transits can last a year or more and can really turn our lives upside down. But let’s jump right in. Here goes.....


Uranus transits symbolize events, feelings and life developments which are unpredictable, unexpected, unprecedented, unusual and/or unconventional. We may experience breakdowns, break ups, breakthroughs and Eureka moments during a Uranus transit. This transit can feel exciting and electric and we may have a lot of nervous energy that we just can’t switch off. So, what's the good news?

Ø All change is good! Right? Perhaps not, but Uranus transits are great for helping us get out of a boring rut, to break free from situations that are no longer working for us.

Ø Uranus transits bring clarity. Suddenly, we can see how things are and we feel certain about where we want to make changes in our lives.

Ø All that extra energy means we can get more done. Sleep? Who needs sleep! Seriously, though, make some time to 'chillax' and ground yourself too. You don't want to burn-out! Which leads nicely to the next point......

Ø ......Uranus is associated with electricity. Using that analogy, the transits of Uranus act like a fuse in an electrical circuit. When the circuit gets overloaded (for circuit, read nervous system), the fuse cuts off the current, protecting us from damage or overheating. In other words, Uranus transits are good at cutting us off from unhealthy patterns/situations. It’s for our own good, even if it doesn’t feel that way at the time.

Ø Uranus transits urge us to seek more independence and freedom, to make space for ourselves, to be selfish for once, to rebel a little and to claim our own physical/psychological/psychic space.

Ø Amazing personal breakthroughs are possible under a Uranus transit. On any level.

Ø Uranus transits give us the opportunity to indulge in exciting new activities. For example, many an astrological career was launched under a Uranus transit.

Ø What about the not-so-good? Sorry to end on a bum note, but it needs to be said that for some people, Uranus transits can feel stressful and isolating. This seems especially so for people who are naturally resistant to change (such as those with a lot of earth or fixed energy in their charts). Even for those who embrace the changes that Uranus transits bring, there is the danger of changing the good things as well as the bad, just for the sake of change. The common advice is to avoid ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater” or you could find yourself with a lot of broken pieces to pick up further down the line. If your Uranus transit is getting you down, resist making all or nothing decisions at least until the transit is over and try to stay positive. In the meantime, seek some personal independence and freedom, because in that space you will be better able to find some clarity. Now, read those good new bullets again......

Want to know more about Uranus transits and Uranus in Aries?

See also Uranus in Aries: Claiming a Self-Reliant Future over at Auntie Moon which has links to over two dozen exciting articles, including Steven Forrest’s Transiting Uranus through the 12 Houses. 

Next up, Neptune and Pluto

With love,

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Astrology for June ~ Welcome to Eclipse Season

Welcome to June. This is Eclipse season, when the dance of the Earth, Sun and Moon falls into special alignment. There are three eclipses in June/July, plus Neptune, Saturn, Uranus and Chiron all change direction (Uranus in July). On top of that, Jupiter makes it yearly sign change.... this time from impulsive Aries to security conscious Taurus. Expect to see many interesting developments, changes, turnarounds, endings and new beginnings over the next couple of months.

Breaking News! Solar Eclipse in Gemini
June 1:
Before I started to write this little paragraph about June’s partial solar eclipse in Gemini, I looked back on almost two years of previous Astroair posts on eclipses. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with information! I can’t include it all here, I need to let go of some of it, or put it aside for now and possibly recycle it in a future post. Maybe this is the message of this eclipse. We can’t know everything, we can’t share every detail. Sometimes we have to discriminate and keep our communication to the essentials. Less is more. The same with our mental activity – slow down, stop worrying about trivia. Try and see things from somebody else’s point of view, focus your thoughts on positive intentions. OK, I’ll shut up now.....

But one last thing: this eclipse will be particularly relevant to you if you have planets or points between 9 and 13 degrees of Gemini or Sagittarius. A time to let go of your old ways of thinking and embrace a new, more positive mindset.

Mercury enters Gemini
June 2:
Right after the Gemini eclipse, Mercury enters its home sign of Gemini. Another opportunity to get caught up in the details and miss the bigger picture! On day one, Mercury squares Neptune, confusing our thoughts and making it difficult to concentrate. Best to think creatively and let our intuition guide us today. Make time to dream.

Mercury is in Gemini until June 16.

Neptune turns retrograde
June 3:
Neptune, after 14 years in Aquarius, dipped its toes into watery Pisces on April 4, the sign it feels its most natural affinity with. This ingress brings with it themes of compassion, philanthropy, suffering, idealism, spirituality and sacrifice. Some of these are explored in my article Neptune in Pisces Miscellanea.

Today though, Neptune turns retrograde and will travel back over old ground, giving us the concentrated Neptune in Pisces experience. It re-enters Aquarius on August 5, to find a bit of closure before finally turning around in early November and re-entering Pisces in early Feb 2012.

If you have planets or points in very late Aquarius or very early Pisces (or anything in the very last degree of the other fixed signs or very first degree of the other mutable signs), expect to experience strong Neptunian themes over the coming few months. A heightened awareness of compassion, suffering and empathy; a desire to indulge in escapism and fantasy; feeling wiped out; feeling deceived, disillusioned or disappointed; feeling ‘lost at sea’; boundary issues; heightened imagination; a deeper appreciation of art and music; spiritual and mystical experiences and creative inspiration.

It is also of note that Chiron turns retrograde on June 8 travelling back from 5 degrees Pisces and turning around at 0 degrees Pisces in November '11. So that means that those of you having retrograde Neptune in Pisces transits will also experience a Chiron in Pisces retrograde transit. In fact anyone with planets and points at 0-5 degrees Pisces, Virgo, Sagittarius and Gemini will experience a concentrated blend of Piscean/Neptunian/Chironic energy. For a look at some of the themes of Chiron in Pisces, see Chiron in Pisces: Water Over Rocks.  (Chiron turns around exactly square my Ascendant, so I will be watching this retrograde closely and in fact can already feel its symbols at play).

Jupiter enters Taurus
June 4:
Jupiter changes signs about once a year, so this is an important ingress.

Jupiter in Taurus puts a big spotlight on our personal values and what we need to feel secure. We all need and want financial security but with Jupiter in Taurus we ask the question, “how much is enough?” Are we confusing financial/emotional security with over-materialism? Do we really need all those luxuries to have a safe and comfortable life? Have we been wasteful? Taurus is a practical, sensible sign that can help us find the answer to those questions. Jupiter gives us the opportunity to act on the answers with a spirit of hope and optimism. Taurus is also a sensual sign that positively sings when it connects with nature. Take time over the next year to be in nature. Feel a part of the ecosystem. Pursue the simple life with all its natural pleasures. Understand the connection between wasteful consumerism and the delicate balance of resources on our beautiful planet. Feel that connection and hope the world will follow.

Jupiter is in Taurus until June 2012.

Venus enters Gemini
June 9:

With Venus in Gemini, we become more curious about each other. We are stimulated by conversations with others, connect on the mental level and flirt playfully. This is an ingress for asking questions, making new alliances, being witty and talking, talking, talking! Enjoy!

Venus is in Gemini until July 4.

Saturn turns direct
June 12:
Saturn’s been in Libra since 2009 and is just coming out of its second retrograde period of three during its time in the sign of the scales.

It turns at 10 degrees of Libra. If you know your chart, you can see what house Saturn will turn around in (or you can get a free chart at The house will help you identify some of the themes that could come to the fore as Saturn turns around, some of the areas in life where you may need to apply discipline and hard work. See Saturn in Libra through the houses for some clues. The turnaround of Saturn will be even more potent if you have planets or points around 9-11 degrees of Libra, Aries, Capricorn or Cancer.

Lunar eclipse in Sagittarius
June 15:
The truth will out! Yes, this eclipse across Gemini (Sun) and Sagittarius (Moon), asks us to see things from a new and much bigger perspective. We are being invited to let go of self-limiting mindsets and embrace the bigger truth of life. We might question our life philosophy and come to new conclusions about what we want out of life. Things will come to a head, allowing us to embrace exciting new beginnings.

This eclipse will be particularly relevant to you if you have planets or points between 22 and 26 degrees of Gemini or Sagittarius. It falls across the same degrees of Gemini-Sagittarius as the lunar eclipse of June 1992. Look back at your life then. What patterns are repeating themselves? What do you need to let go of?

Want to know more about working with eclipses?
Working with Eclipses ~ eclipse dates and themes, the 19 year cycle and transits to eclipses
Letting Go and Releasement Work ~ scroll down this post for some tips and techniques for letting go

Mercury enters Cancer
June 16:
Incessant mental chatter is replaced by emotional thinking. Mercury in Cancer asks us to speak from our ‘gut’ rather than from logic or reason. It’s also a transit that invites us to think about our past and our roots and perhaps put some of our past ‘to bed’. Give yourself a mental hug, think nice thoughts and re-lax….

Mercury in is Cancer until July 2.

Mars enters Gemini
June 20:
Mars in Gemini invites us to act on our ideas, to communicate forcefully. It is the Mars placement of the salesman, the middleman, the debater and the persuader. We are asked to act on information we are given, but whether that information is factually correct is up for discussion. Say we're told that the car we’re eyeing up is the best on the market. We’re not sure, it’s a bit pricey and the sales guy is making some bold claims. We give it a go and we like it, but we also read up on and test a few other models before we make a decision. We are soon bombarded with lots of info and opinion! This is Mars in Gemini in action.

Mars is in Gemini until August 3

Sun into Cancer (the Solstice)
June 21:
The Sun’s yearly ingress into Cancer marks the Solstice (summer in the northern hemisphere, winter in the south). Whenever the Sun moves into the zero degree of any of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) the Aries Point is triggered. This is the point where there is a rush of energy outwards into the collective. The private becomes public and the personal becomes political. Keep an eye on the news for these themes around the Solstice time. I will be looking at the Solstice chart in detail in a forthcoming post.

In the meantime, here are some quotes from some well known Cancerians to get you into the spirit of the sign of the crab: Cancer by Cancerians

Solar Eclipse in Cancer
July 1:
Falling at 9 degrees of Cancer, Write up coming soon….

Click for Void of Course Moons for June

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...