Hadean Times: the Rise and Fall of Rolf.

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The rise and rise of Rolf Harris was always somehow improbable, and though his fall has only just begun, it makes an excellent study of how easy it is to fall into the trap of misplaced self-belief. Many of my generation are reeling somewhat from the news that Rolf Harris, whose cheerful, positive and uplifting manner is somehow keyed into the DNA of our childhoods, has turned out to be a fake. And it’s not so much that he was just a fake, because fakery is commonplace, but rather that his deception was so singularly spectacular.

One of the key lessons of a life of astrological study though has to be that our astrology only has negative power if we give ourselves away. This is as true for Rolf as it is for anyone else. While there is an element of fate in everyone’s nativity, that fate is predicated upon free will. That is to say, that it is the choices we make of our own free will that set the specific shade of karmic machinery in motion and lead us into difficulty, or into eventual emancipation. We choose to do right and despite the difficulties of our fate, we are eventually exonerated by life. We decide we can ‘get away’ with something, and we might for the rest of our days, but eventually, in this life or the next, we need to pay our dues.

So Rolf’s astrology hasn’t put him in prison, it was Rolf’s choices that did that. Having made the style of choice he did however, we can read the astrology and find the message in it, as clear as can be. And sure, innocent people get sent to prison too, and we can understand that as well, because we all get to pay our dues: in this life or the next…

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Rolf Harris is a poster child for that Martian/Uranian blend that is so perfectly encapsulated in his Sun/Uranus conjunction. It’s fascinating to note that as a child, Rolf was a champion swimmer, being the junior backstroke champion (no mean feat in Australia incidentally). This Mars is surprisingly strong in the water, here in Pisces, and he is accidentally further dignified in the 1st, but ruled by a very difficult Neptune, detrimented in Virgo, weakened by retrogradation, and peregrine. This suggests that he was secretly very disappointed by his choice of marriage partner, and with Neptune opposing Eros 433, there was no sexual attraction. But Neptune also opposes Atropos 273, so it did not begin this way, but the attraction faded to be replaced by a critical, almost intellectual dissatisfaction. So a strong (very strong) Mars, giving a strong libido, squaring Jupiter – a real bed-hopper in the style of Zeus himself, ruled by a difficult Neptune that magnifies the idealism of the marital bedroom gone awry, gives a very difficult construct to carry on with.

One might wonder why he didn’t leave his wife. It may be that like many deviants, he needed the ‘cover’ of a healthy and functional relationship to act as a smokescreen for his dark dalliances, and though the marriage, for his wife Alwen was unhappy, she contemplated suicide in the1960s; ‘”I feel like killing myself, I am so bored,” she had written in her diary at the time, “My days are filled with such emptiness. Please take me away from here…” Rolf appeared to have no clue or awareness that his wife was struggling. To compound this impression, his daughter has described him as absent at home, a man who only came to life when the centre of attention out in the world. “As a child I got fed up with everyone going on and on about Dad because he was on telly and because they imagined he was painting paintings on my walls, being funny all the time. It simply wasn’t true – he was always busy, rushing off, giving his all to everyone else in the world.” A narcissist perhaps, but one content to mask his hard won reputation in the veneer of conventionality that a longstanding, stable marriage confers. Clues to narcissism can often be gleaned from the placement of Ixion, who delineates the areas and the styles of personal entitlement. Once again, Ixion, like Neptune is peregrine, conjunct Atlantis 1198. This gives a style of narcissism, if one can call it so, that invades the privacy and sexual boundaries of others (+Atlantis, in the 8th house). It operates secretly, covertly, and peregrine: it’s either full on or completely absent.

Then there is Orcus, remarkably also peregrine, in Taurus and only 16 minutes from conjunction with IC. Rolf is worth an estimated £11 million, and this is very much in keeping with the motivated style of Orcus in Taurus, where Orcus is angular or powerfully configured with the chart, to accrue wealth. The same can be said for those with Orcus in the 2nd house or intertwined with Venus in some way. What’s more telling is the placement on the IC, which with the 4th is strongly redolent of end of life qualities. It seems likely that Rolf might well die in prison. At the very least this describes someone whose final days are spent in isolation. Whether he survives incarceration or not seems beside the point, he will have very few ‘admirers’ to call round should he pay his debt to society in full and be sent home. Once again, the style of that rather fearsomely angular Orcus is entirely dictated by Rolf’s choices. A life of respectability and admiration is nothing if it is hiding a cruel, unsavoury truth, and Orcus finds out the bodies given time. Had he made healthy choices, his final isolation would most likely have been splendid and dignified.

With Pluto squaring Venus and opposed by Saturn, Rolf was destined to come up against insurmountable authoritarian forces at some time or other. His compulsive attractions were the trigger for that hopeless conflict and now with Pluto ruling his Midheaven, and Orcus opposing from the IC, he must die alone, with his lifetime’s efforts unspun and his seemingly untouchable reputation in ruins.

It’s a hard road for those blighted by the judgements of the Hadean planets, but once again we learn that while challenges, to success, wellbeing and reputation are inevitable, suffering is merely optional, and all that is required to see your way clear is to do the right thing, even if nobody is watching.

A Change of Perspective

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With the inconjunct and semi-sextile, you have aspects that are vaguely out of tune with one another. Planets that are 150° apart are awkward, and whilst the aspect creates a desire for connection, there is an discomfort, and a vague clumsiness surrounding the association. They’re like strangers thrown together on a blind date, both hoping it will work out, but a little anxious and uneasy with the process. The semi-sextile is a little easier, it’s a superficially harmonious aspect that still suffers from some awkwardness because in both cases, these measures of astrological association don’t have much in common. Planets in these aspects are inherently self-conscious.

This ought to be self-evident, and I’m writing today about awkward sign combinations not because I want to explore the dynamics of basic aspectual complexes, but rather I want to explore a phenomenon that is relatively unaddressed in astrology, but which is of almost critical importance in understanding the arc of human life, and the subjective experience of ‘beingness.’ Sounds pretty dramatic, right? Well, it is, and it affects every person in profound ways, and indeed, it is the cause of much difficulty in life, so it deserves considerably more attention in the astrological press than it currently receives.

What I’m referring to is the phenomenon of progressed sign change. This is the principle whereby every planet moves on the day for a year system, and gradually moves through the extremes of its birth placement until it finds itself in new territory. It is my firm belief that this shift of core astrological principle is rather profound and has undoubtedly far-reaching consequences. This shift is also entirely under-emphasised in the contemplation of inner drives and motivations, and an exploration of these ‘shifts’ is essential to the good understanding of oneself, and of one’s study subjects.

The most easily accessed of all sign-shifts is that of the Sun. And because the progressed system operates on a day for a year ratio, it’s also the easiest to gauge, since you can assume that your progressed Sun moves about a degree every year. That’s not 100% reliable because the earth’s transit about the Sun isn’t perfectly circular, it is vaguely elliptical, so the progressed Sun may move fractionally faster or slower than the mean, but even so, a degree for a year is a good rule of thumb. So if you’re born on July 1st and you’re 30 years old, you can rely on the estimation that your progressed Sun will be in the region of 10° Leo.

Which means that at around the age of 20, (give or take a year or two), your Sun began to shift from a lunar-focused paradigm, to an entirely solar outlook. The implications are many and diverse. Not least because the Sun gains enormous power at age 20, but also because one’s entire way of being undergoes a radical change of focus. If the Cancer Sun is ruled by a second house Moon, then sentimentality around items from one’s past are incorporated into one’s identity. There is material connection to the past, both personal and historical. Security is found in the tangible, and you portray that worldview in your self-expression, such that you might become known for what you own, or what you value. And then at age 20, that changes. The shift of emphasis begins tentatively and slowly at around the age of 17, and ramps up exponentially until you find that you are somehow inwardly ‘replaced’ with new priorities, and it becomes like the shedding of a skin, or the post-larval emergence. You might feel bewildered by your former views and values and there is a period of adjustment. Fortunately, as the Sun moves gradually into the final degrees of the preceding sign, this process does occur by shades, and your consciousness is shaped gently until it is ready to emerge into the new paradigm, but it is this very gentleness which masks the often profound measure of the inner change.

And this in part is the reason why it is so interesting to contemplate the awkwardness of adjacent signs. A soul born into a Cancerian solar consciousness has to undergo a near incongruous change of perspective to accommodate an all-new Leonine identity. And when you contemplate this principle, it is easy to appreciate that there is no sign-change which is straightforward, since all adjacent signs are inherently contradictory.

The move from insular, private Cancer to attention seeking Leo is self-evidently discordant, but every shift contains these same vague antagonisms. Think of the shift from Jupiter ruled Sagittarius, to Saturn ruled Capricorn for example. Or from Mars ruled Aries, to Venus ruled Taurus. The movement is usually inherently revolutionary.

And as an addendum to these principles we should not lose sight of the fact that even after the shift, your essential nature still describes your ‘baseline’ of personal expression. A Cancerian will never abandon his or her lunar nature entirely in favour of the new exciting Leo dynamic. Rather it is incorporated into the totality of one’s personality, adding a new dimension to one’s individual nature. It is as though the lunar way alone is fully explored, it has run its course and something extra is desired. So the new Leonine ingredient is added to create a more serviceable (to oneself) melange.

The Moon moves relatively quickly, and every two and a half years there is similar shift of emphasis in the inner life that is usually quite simple to accommodate and discern: the Moon is by nature tidal, plastic, osmotic. The Sun, Mercury and Venus all follow a generally similar annual pattern, and so their progressed cycles are often analogous in terms of duration, although the action of retrogrades complicates their effects. As we move further out, the progression of planetary cycles becomes ever more ponderous and shifts are rare. But you can be sure they are quite profound when they do occur. Think how much weight Saturn will accrue when shifting from Sagittarius to Capricorn.

But these changes are often accrued gradually enough that they are not entirely noticeable, even if – with hindsight – it is possible to appreciate how fundamentally a person (yourself, someone else) has changed over a span of years. What is more drastic, and often shocking is the progressed retrogradation of an outer planet moving through the beginning degree of a sign and falling back into the preceding sign.

MLKThis is especially true for those born with Pluto retrograde in the early degrees of Libra, where Pluto is supremely potent. The subsequent shift into Virgo equates to an almost complete loss of Hadean force, virtually overnight. Technically there is some small overlap, but the first degree of a sign is so self-contained that very little of the preceding sign’s energy can infect it. This is certainly not true for the final degree of the sign, whose power is waning fast (both reasons why these are ‘critical degrees’). And since astrology does not operate in a vacuum, there is usually some corresponding loss of power (or a paradigm shift in the sense of personal control at least), to accompany the event.

Consider the Bee Gees. That’s not a joke, but Andy Gibb, died aged 30 – of a heart problem, as Pluto retrograded to within 5 minutes of the sign boundary with heart-centred Leo. The enormous and relatively sudden increase in Plutonic force could not be processed by his soul in a timely fashion, so that energy found its way out through the body, as any overwhelming Hadean energy is wont to do eventually, if not catharsised in some way. Or consider Martin Luther King who became a martyr just as Neptune retrograded out of Virgo (where Neptune struggles immensely) and into Leo (where Neptune is astonishingly strong). And furthermore, King delivered his seminal “I have a dream” speech within 6 weeks of the sign change. But while these cases are dramatic, and far from the norm, nonetheless, the shift of sign by progression cannot be underestimated. It will in every case have powerful effects upon the inner life, and almost certainly have some influence on behaviour and motivation, thus affecting the outer life also.

The Power of Gentians

Dark, shadowy, little understood; the Hadeans, even under the most intense scrutiny, give away almost nothing of their true nature. Pluto, the best known of the Triumvirate of the Underworld, is so fundamentally dimensioned that despite countless studies and analyses, we cannot ever be sure if we have truly burrowed to his dark essence. Like the moles of his domain, we strain the blind senses to glean some of his hidden truth and esoteric meaning, but we are still never truly confident that we have understood. His magisterial shadows are too pitch. His seismic growl, too profound. This is the nature of Hades. Mysterious, fundamental, terrifying. But also rewarding.

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Rewarding because Pluto is the death of form and attachment. Unrealised Pluto is characterised by insatiability. No amount is ever enough. Hence Plutocrats never cease in their quest to amass greater and more superfluous wealth. Serial philanderers never sate their appetite for sexual conquest. For unrealised Pluto, a little control will not suffice. All of these dark appetites are insatiable, thus those in Pluto’s thrall are slaves to their appetites. They destroy their inner harmony, and that of those around them, through their compulsive quest for satisfaction, and yet they cannot be satisfied. The Plutocrat’s wealth does not soothe his restless discontent. He grasps and plots and lives in misery. The compulsively promiscuous do not bask in the warm afterglow of intimacy. They are already craning their necks to spy the next target of their cold attachment. The control-freak, having got her way, does not relax into quietude. She raises the pitch and having secured one concession demands another. None of these unhappy individuals, for all their successes and victories are ever in a state of appreciative reward. Feeding their appetite is never gratifying. It is at best a momentary relief, akin to walking around for an hour in shoes that are a size too small with the sole, illogical motivation of taking them off in order that they might experience the cessation of continual, cramping discomfort. And after a moment of blessed relief, they go back on.

Pluto transformed however, kills attachment. And therein is the true reward. The ability to ‘let go and let God’ is Pluto’s greatest and most hard-won gift. This is the Hadean reward.

Attachment, in all its forms, to the material, to outcomes, to our very lives is the Hadean arena, and to contend with attachment is to do battle with the dread Lord Hades himself.

D.H. Lawrence knew Hades:

Not every man has gentians in his house
in Soft September, at slow, Sad Michaelmas.

Bavarian gentians, big and dark, only dark
darkening the daytime torchlike with the smoking blueness of Pluto’s gloom,
ribbed and torch-like, with their blaze of darkness spread blue
down flattening into points, flattened under the sweep of white day
torch-flower of the blue-smoking darkness, Pluto’s dark-blue daze,
black lamps from the halls of Dis, burning dark blue,
giving off darkness, blue darkness, as Demeter’s pale lamps give off light,
lead me then, lead me the way.

Reach me a gentian, give me a torch
let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of a flower
down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness,
even where Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted September
to the sightless realm where darkness is awake upon the dark
and Persephone herself is but a voice
or a darkness invisible enfolded in the deeper dark
of the arms Plutonic, and pierced with the passion of dense gloom,
among the splendour of torches of darkness, shedding
darkness on the lost bride and her groom.

Perhaps it is only in the realm of poetry that we can truly grapple with the Hadean element with prescience, for it is here that the indescribable can be apportioned, fleshed out, dissected. Lawrence wrote a later version of this poem which contained a decidedly steamier final stanza:

Reach me a gentian, give me a torch!
let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of a flower
down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness
down the way Persephone goes, just now, in first-frosted September
to the sightless realm where darkness is married to dark
and Persephone herself is but a voice, as a bride
a gloom invisible enfolded in the deeper dark
of the arms of Pluto as he ravishes her once again
and pierces her once more with his passion of the utter dark
among the splendour of black-blue torches, shedding
fathomless darkness on the nuptials.

This is possibly the finest modern work of poetry on the fundamental quality of Hades that we know. The insights are not stark, nor are they cerebral. Instead, they are sensual, osmotic. What is also interesting is that Lawrence originally titled this work “Glory of Darkness”, and he wrote it knowing that he would, one day soon, die of the tuberculosis which had plagued him for much of his life [1].

The poet William Bryant understood the underlying spiritual message of gentians:

Thou waitest late and com’st alone,
When woods are bare and birds are flown,
And frost and shortening days portend,
The aged year is near his end…

…I would that thus when I shall see
The hour of death draw near to me…

So we see that there are motifs that reflect in their very being the fundamental truth of a thing. The power of Hades is too subtle, too profound, too deep to be captured in the mind. Consciousness has no intellectualising paradigm for the shadow. But the simplest device can encapsulate this strange essence, a gentian for example[2], and effortlessly portray a meaning that words and thoughts flounder around and fail.

So understanding this, we can begin to raise up a mechanism, a scrying device which will allow us to glimpse through a shadowy, enriching lens, the deepest workings of our human soul. And seeing the tumblers and levers laid bare, we are gifted the method of shamans and witches, and can at last begin to transmute the spirit within.

That is the power of gentians.

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough – Lao Tzu.


[1] The Last Poems of D.H.Lawrence: Shaping a Late Style. Dr. Bethan Jones, Ashgate 2010 p.37

[2] The gentian violet was named for Gentius, King of Illyria, who used the flower in a tonic to battle depression.

The Astrology of Paul Walker’s Demise

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Just recently there has been a rash of investigative astrology in relation to the untimely and unfortunate death of Paul Walker, an actor I’d not heard of, but my interest was piqued because of the comparisons made between Walker and the iconic James Dean. This prompted me to revisit Dean’s grand travail, the impeccable exploration of youthful angst that is Rebel Without a Cause.

Dean’s supremely dignified Saturn shines through, like a supernova beneath the waves, in His domicile, in His own house and it makes Dean resplendent and beautiful. What might he have become with such perfect, measured delivery. You could not fail but sit up and listen to his most casual utterance.

The comparisons with Paul Walker are, in my kind view, misguided. Dean was 24 when he died, and Walker 40. Dean was an icon in the making, a truly stellar individual with that strange and mesmerising power of attraction enjoyed by only the smallest handful of celebrity; Walker by contrast was unremarkable, if pleasant enough. Still, they shared an acting career, a Red Porsche and an undisputed tragedy.

Studies of Walker’s demise cite varying opinions about the gathering portents implied in his astrology. In my view, none of the analysis has identified the single overwhelming stormy petrel of the piece, which is the Hadean transit of Ixion to Walker’s Sun and Saturn. Surely, we could say more. Ixion makes hard contacts with Sun and Saturn natally. Orcus is precisely on the South Node, meaning that death is karmic. Isn’t all death karmic? (I hear you cry!) Yes, but some is more than others. Sometimes much more.

Ixion, Orcus and Pluto are the Hadean triumvirate. A hard contact from any of the members of this dark cabal is an event. We do not have to cloak these measures of mortality in a dread costume, but we all know to sit up and take notice when Pluto squares our Sun. Similarly, we should be equally observant when any of the Hadeans ploughs into the Solar field. The Sun is our golden thread of life after all. Any challenge to the Sun is a vital question that must be answered.

With a Sun – Saturn square, there is a challenge to life from a lack of caution. Saturn in Gemini and Sun in Virgo, both ruled by a strong Mercury flavours the brew with 3rd house themes. Natal Saturn is conjunct Memoria (funeral pyres), and opposition Sappho (close friends), and Ixion transited Sappho, squared the Sun and opposed Saturn on the day of the fatal accident. There may be other important supporting factors that contributed to the timing of Walker’s demise, and some of those have already been identified by other astrologers, but the plat principal in this tragic case, is the transit of Ixion.

Why should this be? Well for a start, Ixion is equally supreme in the realm of Hades, being a foremost inhabitant and a cautionary tale for others. His crime was that of hubris, which is always the Hadean problem, whose epithet might be ‘the normal rules don’t apply to me, because I’m special.’ If we feel that we are immortal, and this challenges our already flimsy propensity to caution then clearly we are headed for trouble. Here the hallmarks are that we make a funeral pyre as a result, alongside a close friend. The marks of Hades are so clear as to be undeniable. Ixion, alongside Orcus and Pluto is a serious business, to the extent that the astrological language needs to be redefined. These days we do not deal with Plutonian people alone, we deal with Hadeans, whose nuances, motivations and choices, alongside the uncomfortable consequences of those choices, are increasingly dimensioned. The new astrology is roaring into materiality, regardless of the reluctance of many astrologers to hear its dark, sometimes twisted symphony.

But, we cannot put the dreadful genie back in the bottle. Nor would those of us who wish to see the deeper logic of our lives wish to, because it is the Rosetta Stone of our time.

Therefore, the moral of this story is to be wary of Ixion and Orcus transits, just as you would with Pluto. These energies are already unleashed into consciousness, but we are still in denial – and nowhere more so than in the very profession that purports to promote the wisdom of the stars. The tragic demise of Paul Walker (and friend) is another tick of the countdown clock, calling time on the increasingly inadequate Pluto-only Hadean model.

Until next time.

Orcus in Leo and the 5th house – a beginning

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Here, among other effects, Orcus complicates issues of identity and creativity. Rudyard Kipling, with Orcus conjunct Sun in Capricorn and the 5th house, squaring Neptune, was perplexed by who he was, where he came from, and what he would become, from the age of 7 and on. It became an obsession to him after he was sent away to England for schooling, leaving his parents behind in India. The woman of the boarding house was a merciless bully who determined that the young Rudyard be “made to read without explanation, under the usual fear of punishment. And on a day that I remember it came to me that ‘reading’ was not ‘the Cat lay on the Mat,’ but a means to everything that would make me happy. So I read all that came within my reach. As soon as my pleasure in this was known, deprivation from reading was added to my punishments.” The simple enjoyment of reading (5th) became a means of punishment (Orcus). For Thomas Hardy, who shared this placement, demonstrating his erudition in his novels became something of an obsession for a man who was not considered to be of the right class to require a university place. Mary Shelley, another famous writer with Orcus in the 5th wrote of Frankenstein’s monster, a true rendering of Orcus if ever one existed in all literature. But these examples aside, Orcus in the 5th is not an easy placement for this uncompromising entity. The all-or-nothing nature of Orcus creates great artists and writers for sure (Leo Tolstoy, Henri Matisse and Vincent van Gogh all share Orcus in the 5th), but that obsession with self-expression and too, with leadership can become a great burden to those whose motives are at all egotistical.

Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman all share Orcus in the 5th. There is this difficult potential that an obsession with being in the spotlight, taking the king role is in the DNA somehow, but with sufficient deepening and authenticity, it is possible for this placement to come good. Leo and the 5th are not the easiest places for solitary Orcus to operate, Orcus transformed needs no audience after all.

Planets Unaspected, Feral, Peregrine.

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(An excerpt from my forthcoming book.)

The term peregrine is much misunderstood in astrological practice. Nicholas DeVore in his Encyclopaedia of Astrology defines it as being “Foreign, alien. Said of a planet posited in a sign where it possesses no essential dignity: where it is neither dignified nor debilitated. … However, no planet is reckoned peregrine if it be in mutual reception with another.” Essentially, this traditional understanding of the term derives from its literal Latin root, pelegrinus, meaning an outcast, wanderer or outsider. Clearly the term implies a being who is not at home, with all the resultant discomfort such a condition confers. Astrologically then, here is a planet that is not in any sign of dignity or debility, nor is it in its own triplicity, term or face, nor is it in mutual reception by ruler, exaltation, triplicity, term or face. It has no natural connection, good or bad, with the position which it occupies.

If you imagine this placement as a person, then clearly, he is going to struggle to get anything done. If you were suddenly transported into an environment where you knew nobody, you were considered out of place, strange or undesirable, you were unable to speak the same language as others, you had no home, no shelter, and no means of making yourself secure then you would find yourself in a fairly threatened state. Indeed, you would be catapulted into a very real struggle for survival.

This is exactly what happens when a planet is found to be traditionally peregrine. It is considered a very unfortunate situation, because there is no support, the planet is homeless and vulnerable and it cannot therefore project itself because it has no secure base from which to operate.

Noel Tyl extended this concept to include the incidence of unaspected planets, those which have previously been termed ‘feral’. He has received some criticism for this from various astrological students who cite the potential for confusion: they claim that he is using a previously earmarked term for a new concept, which of course is confusing. Fundamentally however, this view fails to comprehend that Tyl is not referring to a new concept at all, because an unaspected planet is unable to project itself since it has no secure base from which to operate, in exactly the same way as a planet without essential dignity. It too is pelegrinus. Indeed, I would argue that a feral planet is in the majority of cases much more peregrine than a planet without essential dignity. Our understanding then must not be limited to a specific rendering of ferity or essential dignity or debility, but we simply have to gauge: how peregrine is this archetype?

When we understand the depth of peregrination, for whatever reason, then we begin to understand how desperate – if you like – is the situation for that archetype. If we again liken the peregrinated planetary energy to a person placed in an alien environment then we can quickly grasp some of the very urgent and compelling contingencies of that situation. The person with no home, no security, no means of making themselves understood will be forced to muster enormous focus and energy simply to stay alive. Starvation or hostility are real threats that must be countered, the person that is outcast has to work astoundingly hard just to operate at the level that everyone else simply takes for granted; it is that or perish.

Granted, some do perish. Severely peregrinated nativities are very often tragedies in the making.

Before we move along further let us consider the technical arrangement of peregrination by aspect. In my work I generally use an orb of 6 degrees for the conjunction, opposition, square and trine and an orb of 3 degrees for the sextile to determine whether a particular planet is peregrine. I consider no other aspects at this stage.

This does not mean that we discount wider Ptolemaic aspects, nor do we ignore the influence of minor aspects. We are simply making a determination at this juncture about the ease of expression of a given planet: a planet that does not have access to an ‘obvious’ aspectual outlet will struggle to express its quality, therefore the native will overcompensate or alternately carry on with life seemingly oblivious of that facet of their nature. So a chart with peregrine Moon might, for example, evince a quincunx between Sun and Moon which ought to be quite urgent, but it is not an aspect which expresses itself powerfully, even if it is quite intense; the major aspects alone have this effect; so whilst we can say that there is an innate dissatisfaction with the results of expressing his needs, this in itself is not a ‘big enough channel’ for the lunar quality. It does not have the required bandwidth. Only the major aspects within this fairly tight orb structure have the requisite bandwidth for proper archetypal expression.

If we use the example of peregrine Moon, one of the key qualities of the lunar archetype is a sense of emotional attachment to the myriad rhythms of life: a severely peregrinated Moon in its detriment or fall, very often creates a life that is characterised by disconnection, a separateness that in a difficult sign, such as Scorpio can become deeply uncomfortable. Contrast this with peregrine Moon in the opposite sign of Taurus: there is a disconnection with life, but it is entirely comfortable, safe and protective, the native has no desire to connect; indeed, it is in making the connection that insecurity is felt, life is better inside the bubble.

So, herein lays the nub of the peregrination issue. When the energy cannot be easily expressed due to some severe friction, due to a lack of bandwidth then the themes of that placement are writ large on the life arc, either through being over-experienced or utterly absent. In the former case, the quality of that experience becomes paramount; if the placement is inherently uncomfortable then inevitably it will colour the entire life-situation with discomfort.

It is with this in mind that I would consider ferine planets to be in serious difficulty, which will be subjectively experienced most especially according to the conditioning of the sign in which they are found. In a sympathetic sign the sense of experiential discomfort for an unaspected placement would be far less than a planet in its detriment or fall, however, the drive or impetus to inclusion of that archetype would be intense in the extreme. A person with a feral Moon in Taurus would be compelled to express and integrate lunar themes just as powerfully as the person with Moon in Scorpio, but they would feel a great variance of discomfort in the condition accordingly.

This is where the concept of polarity becomes powerfully important, because it is time and again proved unhelpful to view opposite signs as separate, or even as opposed! Consider instead that they are a single entity, concerned with identical issues and themes, but approaching a shared objective from different ends of a spectrum. Both Taurus and Scorpio are concerned with security and safety, but while Taurus seeks material comfort (more is more, I will be safe in the physical world), Scorpio operates from an emotional perspective (less is more; the best things in life are free). Since the lunar principle is primarily one of comfort, security, safety and sustenance, there is no question that it is easier to realise those objectives through the physical and material route of Taurus than the protectively emotional route of Scorpio. The Moon in Taurus eats for comfort, the Moon in Scorpio finds comfort in not needing to eat; that’s a tough route to security by comparison.

Thus an unaspected planet looms large in the unconscious, becomes a kind of psychic collapse with an enormous event horizon, sucking everything around into itself in an attempt to be fulfilled. It can completely devour the entire life-direction in this manner, subjugating all other drives to its own fulfilment. For this reason, an unaspected planet experiences a major adjustment in terms of dignity and debility evaluation. If a planet is in a sympathetic sign, so the discomfort of it is not so keenly felt, you will of course have to moderate your analysis accordingly, but it will not prevent that energy from being equally as dominant in seeking its own fulfilment as a placement in an unsympathetic sign, but in the latter case the subjective sense of that archetypal energy might feel considerably more difficult and therefore that person will no doubt be experienced by others as more difficult.

This is the nub then of peregrination. It does not matter which condition qualifies any given archetype as peregrine, rather, the key understanding is that the archetype is out of place, struggling, in dire difficulty and the native’s experience of it will reflect that selfsame difficulty.

Therefore, and if you follow this philosophy, you will be able to grasp the emergent reality which it hints at: within the greatest weakness and difficulty lies our greatest potential strength and peregrination – in whatever guise – prompts the soul to create an imperative, as though it were laid out thus from the instant of birth: a great, wondrous arc leading tentatively to emancipation, if only we have the necessary quality to strike out for its marvellous conclusion.

Look at those cases where peregrination was not at all in evidence; by essential dignity alone, Muhammad Ali’s ‘weakest’ planet is Mars, and yet, here is the greatest fighter the modern world has seen. The same condition is found in the nativity of Mark Spitz.  Julie Andrews’ weakest planet? Venus! And Albrecht Durer, whilst primarily an artist, influenced art theory, mathematics and Renaissance thought profoundly and Jupiter was his weakest placement. The list goes on.

But then, when peregrination is brought to its logical extreme, and we seek examples to underpin our suspicion, the circle becomes complete:

  • Sylvia Plath who dedicated her short life to expressing her inner emotional life through poetry has unaspected Moon.
  • John F. Kennedy, perhaps the archetypal leader of the free world, had unaspected Sun!
  • Agatha Christie, the best selling writer of all time, has unaspected Mercury.
  • Brigitte Bardot: unaspected Venus.
  • Sylvester Stallone, the action hero: unaspected Mars.
  • Germaine Greer, feminist philosopher and writer: Jupiter!
  • Ted Kennedy, the most respected senator of modern times in the USA, had peregrine Saturn.
  • Alan Watts, a thinker, writer and speaker of profound insight and unmistakable genius, had peregrine Uranus (as does Gary Kasparov and Barack Obama).
  • For the ruler of film and fantasy, Neptune, how about Walt Disney?
  • Peregrine Pluto is a difficult energy, and it is easy to spot the common theme in the list of those whose nativities evinced the unaspected placement: Buddy Holly, John F. Kennedy, his wife Jackie, Marilyn Monroe and Natasha Richardson.

What we see then is that where a planet is weak or lacking in dignity it creates a struggle which is felt experientially by the native, and this condition is enormously exacerbated through a lack of aspects. For the most part we will never comprehend the destinies of millions, who struggle through lives marred by the imperatives of such conditioning, but occasionally, prominence is thrust upon individuals and the themes of peregrination are writ large upon the world stage for all to see.

The Astrology of the Mayan End Date

2012chart

Much has been written about the astrology of the Mayan end-date tomorrow, with particular reference being made to the Yod formed from a Saturn Pluto sextile to Jupiter, retrograde in Gemini. For me, this Yod holds no especial promise. Indeed, it has some intimation of a fixation with communicating a glib set of values to mask an authoritarian agenda. I do not believe that the chart of the heavens for the solstice here on earth has much to do with the Mayan calendar and its implications.

Since the Mayans worked with a cosmic perspective, it might make more sense to look at the heliocentric chart for the Solstice. At the point where the Sun crosses into Capricorn, from the Sun’s perspective, the Earth crosses the opposite point into Cancer.

The helio chart for the solstice has much more power and spiritual potential than the geocentric map. In this chart there is a Grand Water trine, signifying the potential for emotional abundance, and deep connection to the feeling realm. Since this is very much a birth chart for the new Golden Age, then its portents are nothing short of excellent, at least for those able to respond to them appropriately.

Venus is closely conjunct Saturn in Scorpio which tells us something about deep inner balancing and responsibility of relating. The trine to Neptune spiritualises, and the trine to Earth grounds these energies into our reality for the coming period.

When we dig a little deeper we see that Orcus opposes Neptune and makes a Kite from this configuration. This tells us that our emotional security is won at the behest of experiencing the undermining and disingenuous illusions of those who seek to control, rather than to share. In a way therefore, this gives us a line of interconnection with the geocentric chart.

In fact, dear friends, if you are aware of these subtleties of connection, you will see that the geocentric chart and the heliocentric chart reflect their implicit natures through this bridge. My friend Michael Erlewine has a better grasp of these matters than I do, but he will tell you that these two charts are a synergy between the ego and the spirit. They are not a duality, but they represent different, and at the same time, interlocking objectives for the human soul. Your choice at this time, and this is the same for all humans alive today, is whether you are going with the ego or the spirit. Of course to choose one or the other is not truly possible – we cannot choose wealth or poverty after all, but you must set your intention to one or be condemned to drift within the consciousness of your field and of those around you.

Are you going to be represented by the Yod to glib, superficial Jupiter, seeking to mask compulsive control agendas under a barrage of rhetoric and expedience? Or are you going to open your eyes to the illusion of our world today, of your own certainty and make the commitment to love, truth and absolute, unwavering spiritual integrity?

Whatever you decide, I wish you happiness.