Friday, 21 December 2012

Happy Solstice

The end of the world has been predicted approximately 183 times over the last 2,000 or so years, so there’s no reason to worry that this 2012 prediction malarkey will turn out to be correct. In fact, if you're an email subscriber, you will probably be reading this AFTER the appointed apocalpyse time of 11:11 GMT.

21st December is a very important date though, because it marks the Winter Solstice (Summer Solstice below the Equator). The Winter Solstice is the shortest day, it’s a celebration of the return of the light (return of the son / the Sun). It’s Yule in the pagan calendar.

That’s worth celebrating, taking a bit of time out from Christmas consumerism to give thanks and count our blessings.

Joyce Mason over at The Radical Virgo has a wonderful piece full of ideas for the Solstice, which she describes as a time to release the old, recognise your accomplishments and embrace the new. Check it out here.

Here’s A Coffee at the end of the World my look at the Solstice chart, which in astrology is used as a good predictor for the season to come, at least until the Spring Equinox.
Lua Astrology also has some great insights about the Solstice chart here, focusing on its powerful Yod (Finger of God) aspect.
Also see Orcus author Jeremy Neal's take on the Solstice Chart over at Chirotic Journal.
And finally, In The End of the World Scheduled For Friday, Eric Francis gives us his irreverent and satirical take on 2012.

Here's wishing you a happy Yule, Chrismas etc, with many more to come.

With love,

Sunday, 16 December 2012

A Coffee at the End of the World

So, 21st December 2012 is almost upon us. A whole industry has grown up around this date, which apparently marks the end of the Mayan calendar.
Will the world (as we know it) end? I’m so sure it won’t, I’m meeting a good friend the day after for a coffee to celebrate the continuation of the status quo. We always meet on the last Saturday before Christmas, at the same coffee shop and order the biggest, sweetest coffees on the menu, topped off with a tower of squirty spray-can cream.
It’s an indulgence which, though unspoken, celebrates another year of our enduring friendship. We’ve been doing it so long it’s turned into a tradition.
Tradition of course, is associated with Capricorn, the sign the Sun moves into on 21st December. The Sun's ingress into Capricorn marks the Winter Solstice (the Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere). The chart for the Solstice is traditionally used as a predictor for the season to come, at least until the Spring Equinox.
So what message is the Solstice chart carrying?
December 21 Solstice, set for London (Click to Enlarge)
The first stand out is Mars in Capricorn. Mars is strong in Capricorn, exalted. We are expected to respect and look up to whatever Mars in Capricorn is symbolising. If we’re looking at this chart from a collective perspective, then Mars here represents those in authority - leaders, organisers, decision makers, action takers. Bravo Mars!
But look a little more closely at Mars and all is not as it first seems. Mars is unaspected, making no major aspects to any major planets. Mars in this position wants to do its own thing, unchallenged. But here’s the rub. It’s void of course, meaning that it won’t make any more aspects before it moves into egalitarian Aquarius. (its exact Sextile to the Nodal Axis occurred three days before the Solstice). All this means that by the time of the Solstice, Mars in Capricorn has already completed its work and has nothing else to do. Because, of its exaltation in Capricorn, however, it will still arrogantly cling to its sense of self importance and fail to see the impotence of its position.
Draw whatever conclusions you want, but it seems assured that those in positions of authority in society will find they are not able to Get Things Done in the way they would like during the coming three months or so.
Mars is a masculine energy, so we need to look elsewhere for the feminine. There is a clear pointer in the Solstice chart towards a positive surge of balancing feminine energy. Juno joins the Sun at 0 degrees Capricorn - the Aries point degree, where a great rush of energy projects outwards into the world, seeking manifestation. Juno symbolises the union of the masculine and feminine, including the legal union of marriage. Juno also stands for primal feminine power and issues of equality, a useful counterpoint for the male power represented by the Sun. Interesting that the legalisation of gay marriage in the UK is currently on the political agenda. We will also hear more about female inequality in the workplace (the Sun-Juno conjunction falls in the 10th House for the UK), with female unemployment reaching an all time high in 2012 and with mounting pressure on corporations to promote more women to the Board.
The first major aspect to become exact after the Solstice is Saturn’s first Sextile to Pluto on 26 December (it will also fall exact in March and September 2013, with its influence stretching from November 2012 to November 2013).
Saturn in Scorpio is in mutual reception with Pluto in Capricorn, meaning that Saturn and Pluto fall in the sign of each other’s ruler. Planets in mutual reception support each other. They can be powerful allies as the world and individuals work towards positive change. Just as easily though, Saturn and Pluto can become dangerous partners in crime. It remains to be seen how this will go, but it’s likely we will see both extremes. The opportunity during this Sextile, if we choose to take it, is to push the relationship towards its more positive expression.
Probably the most significant pattern of this chart is the exact Yod, with Jupiter in Gemini making Quincunx aspects to Saturn and Pluto in Sextile. In Dynamics of Aspect Analysis, Bill Tierney describes a Yod as a fork in the road, the finger of fate, the opportunity to follow a new direction. Uncertainties may be felt and adjustments may need to be made, but change is necessary. He goes on to say that with Jupiter at the apex, the opportunity is for an expansion of consciousness and the broadening of a social vision.
This is a Yod charged with aspiration, optimism and idealism, which has the potential to make a big social impact. Jupiter in Gemini wants freedom of speech, freedom of mind and freedom of movement. Jupiter is in detriment (meaning that it’s difficult to operate to its best potential in Gemini), so it might be easy for the more negative side of Jupiter to find expression: over reaching; impractical and excessively moralistic. We will need to tap into the more positive energies of Saturn and Pluto to be reminded that real and lasting change requires time, effort and patience. 
The chart also gives us Saturn Trine Neptune. If we are being optimistic we can predict peaceful resolutions, treaties, new understandings and a more compassionate idea of morality. This is an opportunity to show we care and to do something practical about it. If we want to be cautious, we should be wary of those who merely pay lip service to compassionate actions and humanitarian causes, while surreptitiously pursuing their own agenda.
Looking at this from the perspective of the 2012 predictions, Jupiter in detriment in Gemini in the Yod can all to0 easily make him a false prophet, the witting or unwitting spreader of fear and overblown, baseless theories and rumours. The Saturn Neptune Trine also has the capacity for deception. We need to keep our wits about us if we suspect others are using our fears to control and manipulate us. Putting fearful energy into our endeavours and reactions can create a strong negative force. Refusing to panic and facing our fears (if we are called to do so) can, if done with self compassion and care, become a powerful healing energy.
The key to facing our fears is keeping them in healthy perspective. Our guides for this journey are Saturn in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn, who together push us to the edges of our worst fears and force us to stare down into the abyss, with the purpose of offering us freedom from them. My e-book on Saturn in Scorpio deals with the issue of fear, control and keeping safe in detail. Here’s an exclusive extended excerpt from the book.
There’s no doubt the world is constantly changing, but it’s an evolution that is slow, ongoing, complex and multilayered, as reflected by the long cycles of the outer planets: the 493-year Neptune-Pluto cycle; the 120+ year Uranus-Pluto cycle and so on.
As the planets turn and connect, we are still here, working out the same old Karma. Now if that is not enough to help put things in perspective, I don’t know what is!
Happy 2012 Solstice.

With love,
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Monday, 10 December 2012

The It's-Not-The-End-Of-The-World Playlist

21st December 2012 is almost upon us folks. Yours truly doesn't buy into the whole 2012 end of the world hype. It may be the end of the Mayan calendar (allegedly), but there is a calendar for 2013. I've seen them in the shops, so it must be true! Some of them even have pics of One Direction on them!

However, as a lover of symbol and ceremony, I think it's only right to mark the date. 21st December is after all a Solstice and even though we have two Solstices every year (summer and winter), it's still a significant astronomical/astrological/symbolic event in itself.

So, in the first of two, maybe three, posts about 21.12.12 (or 12.21.12, if you're west of the Altantic),  I would like to share Jon Fortgang's Apolcalypse Playlist. I'm sure you'll agree that every honest to goodness Day of Judgement wouldn't be the same without a rocking soundtrack to accompany it. Here's Jon's cracking intro, followed by a link to the songs:

The world has been ending since the start of recorded history, and probably on a fairly regular basis before that.

Zarathustra was the first not to start making long-terms plans, somewhere around 1,200 BCE in modern Iran. More than 200 specific dates for the Great Reckoning have been posited over the last two millennia. There were around 100 confident predictions of the end of the world in the twentieth century alone, though anyone who lived through the industrial conflicts of the last 100 years may feel that, in every meaningful sense, the world did actually end in 1914, again in 1940, again in 1945 and on a weekly basis thereafter.

In his book Apocalypse: A History of the End of Time, John Michael Greer chronicles the viral life of the apocalypse meme in the run up to 21 December 2012, which may or may not be the point at which the Mayan calendar comes to an end and there are no more days to count.

In fact, says Greer, there is scant evidence to suggest that this date has ever been of any significance whatsoever to ancient Mesoamerican cultures – or to anyone else. Just one reference to it was found in a minor Mayan temple and no one's quite sure how the numbers there work out anyway.

We do, nevertheless, recognise the perversely seductive appeal of apocalyptic thinking round here. Imminent cataclysm introduces a fairly acute sense of drama. ('Catharsis' - purification through tragedy – shares with 'cataclysm' the Ancient Greek root 'kataklysmos' – a washing away of things).

Acceding to the apocalyptic meme makes the adept feel exclusive, elect, terrible and significant. Heroes come forth in the wasteland. And after the apocalypse there's the whole Mad Max, po-ap thing: a literal leveling of the social order with, in the movies anyway, a bizarrely carnivalesque undertone. ('Carnival', which has the same Latin root as 'carnage': a removal of flesh or meat.)

In fact, of course, the world – and the rest of the universe - will probably conclude with the heat death of the Sun in around four billion years' time. We're unlikely to be here to see that. But it does introduce some helpful perspective.

Anyway, to celebrate the fact that the world is not going to end in three weeks' time, we are assembling the Apocalypse Playlist: 20 songs about the end of the world at the rate of one (or possibly two) a day, until we get to 21/12/12...

Now click here to follow Jon's suggestions, guaranteed to be more fun and more surprising than an Advent Calendar, although I can't promise a chocolate behind every video window.  

Jon Fortgang is a London based journalist, writer and editor.

With love,

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Friday, 7 December 2012

The Pull of The Moon

This awesome picture of the Moon is from NASA and I just couldn't resist sharing it here.

The colours show variations in the lunar gravity field. If you want to learn more, there's a video here>

There's no doubt that the Moon has a strong influence over us, both actually and symbolically.

If you follow the Moon's movements, you might be interested to know that over at my website there's a lot of useful and up to date Moon content:

Monthly Moon Phases
This page includes the phase of the Moon, the sign and degree of the Moon and the Sun and a brief explanation of each Moon phase and how its energy might best by used.

Monthly Void of Course Moon Times
Knowing when the Moon is Void of Course can be a useful planning tool. The chart, updated monthly, also lets you know exactly when the Moon changes signs. If Void of Course is a mystery to you, then it's all explained here>

The Moon through the Signs
This page explains how best to use the energy of the Moon according to the sign it's in. Try following the Moon for a month and see if you can feel the subtle vibe changes as it moves through the zodiac.

Each page also has a widget that shows you what phase the Moon is currently in.

I hope you enjoy working with the Moon, I know I take great comfort from knowing she's up there in the sky, watching over us.

With love,

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT/GSFC

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Curse of Mercury in Sagittarius

Sometimes you don't make the connection straight away. A seemingly random idea or thought enters your brain and keeps returning to grab your attention. Eventually, if you're lucky, you can connect the dots and see the bigger picture.

So a few things happened that made me feel like nobody was listening to me. I knew I was right, but everyone disagreed, or worse, ignored me. This brought to mind the archetypal disaster movie hero. You know that guy, the one who predicts the unthinkable turn of events but nobody believes him? When the worst happens, it's usually too late for those who most vehemently disagreed with his prognosis of events. They were the ones who could only see things from their own narrow, material and self-serving point of view. They could not see the bigger picture.

The movie archetype comes to us from the Greek myth of Cassandra. Cassandra was granted the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but when she refused his amorous advances, he added a curse to the gift -  her prophecies would not be believed. Famously, nobody listened when she foresaw the destruction of Troy, with tragic results.

So why did I feeling like nobody was listening to me or believing me? I'm guessing because Mercury in Sagittarius turned retrograde on my natal Descendant, that chart point where we most immediately connect with the public, the other.

So what does this mean? What astro-insight is up for grabs if I connect the dots? Mercury in Sagittarius is in detriment, meaning it's in a sign where it can't operate to its best potential, where it needs a bit of help and support. Like that disaster movie hero, assistance might be hard to find. Mercury, as you know, is all about communication. It's the planet that needs to heard, needs to connect to others. Sagittarius is arguably the most righteous sign of the zodiac and it loves the bigger picture, but with Mercury in this sign it's not going to be easy to get the point across. Perhaps it's Mercury in Sagittarius' curse to always be right, but never to be believed? Maybe Mercury in Sag is astrology's Cassandra?

I should mention that I have Mercury in Sagittarius in the seventh house natally. It's square Saturn, Uranus and Pluto. No wonder I feel like nobody gets it that I'm right about everything! Thankfully, the fate of the world isn't depending on me being heard and believed! Right?

Post script: A certain Dr Zamenhof had Mercury in Sagittarius. He invented Esperanto with a grand vision of creating an easy-to-learn, politically neutral language to transcend nationality and foster understanding between people with different languages and cultures. The word Esperanto translates as "one who hopes". So utterly Sagittarius. The problem was nobody was interested in learning it. So totally Mercury in Sagittarius!

Mercury entered Sagittarius on 29th October 2012. It turned retrograde on 6 November at 04 Sagittarius 18, re-entering Scorpio on 14th November. It turned direct on 26 November at 18 Scorpio 10, re-enters Sagittarius on 11th December 2012 and leaves Sagittarius on 31st December 2012.

Click here for December's Void of Course Moon times and Moon sign changes
Click here for December's Moon Phases
Click here for details of Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through The Dark, Mandi Lockley's timely new ebook
Image: Cassandra by Evelyn De Morgan, 1898

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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...