Apologies for any inconvenience…

I am going through a dreadful upheaval just now so I am having to defer today’s post until the weekend at the earliest, maybe till Tuesday, I simply haven’t got the mental fortitude to write it out today. However, if you want to read some incredible astrology, go and see my true friend Deirdre, she will tell you something wonderful, have no doubt.

Best wishes to all.

A Medical Astrology Primer

Here then is my first foray into writing out a primer for the practise of the medical astrology. I shall begin with making a few key observations. I think one of the fundamentals has to do with interrelatedness in very much the same vein as any astrology; the aspects create a relationship between principles as much in the physical body as they do in the psychic one; that is why a major aspect configuration will usually manifest in the physical somewhere along the line. It takes a fairly powerful psychic emanation to punch through into matter of course (I am from the school that like Ouspensky believes that matter is merely a shadow that is cast by vibration; it is thus the lowest vibratory expression; actually this is exactly how I believe astrology works) and a more powerful aspect pattern creates a greater flow or blockage in the psyche thus it is more likely to manifest into the body. Major aspect configurations, especially t-squares are more likely therefore to manifest in the body.

I should make one important qualification to this because evidently there is a factor of mental health as well, so Neptune I find especially relevant in that regard. It need not be confined to the physical body of course; for example a tight square between Neptune and the Moon can indicate alcoholism, especially if Cancer, Scorpio (or less often) Pisces is involved. This can of course cause functional disorders as a result, and mental health problems which are themselves predisposed by the spiritual tension inherent in the aspect itself. You get the idea and it is the most important thing to remember, the physical is just the last and most urgent emanation of the psychic; so aspects have their psychic inclination which in turn suggests a physical expression. That may include a spiritual, psychological or existential bridge between the two and the bridge may never express in the physical realm at all of course.

  1. You cannot consider the health in isolation from the tone of the entire chart; which is something that all astrologers understand but occasionally forget. A lot of tension to Jupiter from the luminaries suggests an approach to life that tends to over-indulgence and subsequent negative consequences. This manifests in the body as a liver problem, or rather, it manifests anywhere downstream of the liver as a problem, but it is not thus isolated from the psychic attitude to life that is hinted at by stress between Jupiter and the luminaries.
  2. In my experience there is no more important point in the chart for stress-related afflictions than that of Pluto. Interesting, not least because stress is a “modern (that should be post-post-modern) affliction” of course and Pluto is less than a century from discovery. Pluto is the point where the body eliminates that stress, often volcanically. There is more to it of course, but you can use your experience and understanding of Plutonic principles to good effect here.
  3. Pay special attention to any stellia of planets or angles which contain Pluto because this diffuses the elimination point; it could then manifest as a point between Pluto and one of the major angles, or through a conjunction; Saturn if involved might give a tendency to eczema, not least due to the drying effect of Saturn and its influence over the dermis.
  4. Similarly aspects to Pluto might indicate blockages to that elimination or ‘vents’ for the stress, precluding the need for elimination. A subject with Jupiter in Pisces for example may find that meditation is the solution to their stress-related issues.
  5. Other configurations in the chart indicate various other principles. The Sun represents the overall vitality, moon functional issues, hyleg is important for gauging the constitution. Saturn limits, blocks dries and is cold while Mars heats, Jupiter expands and gives too much flow, Venus harmonises, Mercury quickens and so forth.
  6. Planets also affect systems; Jupiter the liver, Saturn bones and skin, Mercury affects the arms and hands; follow the rulerships. There is too much to list here, you know this stuff. Same with the signs themselves.
  7. Midpoints are often more relevant to medical issues than traditional aspects; especially midpoints between Pluto and other planets or the Asc. A midpoint between Pluto and Jupiter for example might be relevant for someone with liver problems. Midpoints often act as physical points of equilibrium between planetary principles.
  8. This last point points to a fundamental tenet of medical astrology, semi-squares often indicate health warnings.
  9. Pluto is a tough cookie and always acts in deadly earnest. It requires a great deal of self-awareness and courage to meditate on death but this is probably the only effective deterrent to Pluto problems. Well, there are others I am sure, but Pluto is the god of the underworld, our personal underworld and the death principle within us; so until we have faced that, we are likely to be rocked with Plutonic dread from time to time, especially as we grow older. There is no easy way to counsel it either, because talking to people about their mortality is the last great taboo, unless they have faced it, accepted and moved forward, in which case they probably won’t be consulting with you in the first place. If you know what I am getting at here then you know what I am getting at here, right?
  10. My own belief is that Pluto was revealed to us in 1930 because we have moved into a higher evolutionary vibration; we are therefore wracked by Plutonic assimilation/elimination issues in a way that previous generations were not; this is a new journey for us and containing this intensity was always going to cause difficulties for the generations born since. This is especially prevalent in those for whom Pluto is stressed, angular or otherwise significant in the chart and insofar as medical astrology is concerned it is usually (in my limited experience) at least as important as all other factors combined. I realise that sounds potent, but what is Pluto if not potency personified?
  11. Pluto eliminates via the degrees provided it is able to. It is more likely to eliminate if there are supporting indications, thus Pluto in the latter degrees of Virgo may well give liver problems, but if the chart also contains Moon square Jupiter then it dramatically increases the potential. The signs indicate likely manifestations; the generation with Pluto in Leo are much more likely to suffer from heart disease, with Virgo allergies and assimilative and digestive dysfunction, with Libra renal and kidney disease and so forth.
  12. The key observation is that the physical body is the final arbiter of the psychic body; we all understand this as astrologers, but it is patterns of behaviour which dictate illness, even if that pattern is conferred at birth; then we are just carrying something over with us. True cure is only possible if we can understand this and face up to our own Plutonic realms. I say look to Pluto’s house to see where we need to transform, then we have an insight into our cure and thus our liberation.

It is useful to list all the sensitive degrees in a chart and to look at the midpoints for further insights, promote points associated with Pluto, then Saturn and Jupiter, strong stellia, and the closest aspects and especially midpoints between Pluto and other strongly configured points. Check the Ascendant and lord of the Ascendant too; find the stressed points and blockages, they usually play out in the body in the same areas.

In the next article I shall look at one or two specific cases to illustrate better my method and approach and hopefully that will clarify some of the key insights set out herein.

Medical Astrology and the Cascade Effect

Medical astrology is a vast and complex study and it would take a lifetime of work to become truly proficient in just this one area of specialisation. I personally claim no great expertise although invariably, if presented with a symptom it is often quite clear in the astrology how that condition has come to manifest. This then clarifies the single most profound truth about the astrologic expression of physical symptoms, that in its genesis, all disease, dysfunction and disability is entirely psychic.

If you wish therefore to understand only one objective reality about medical astrology, then understand this. Any physical symptom is simply an expression of the astrology at the level of last resort. That psychic impetus that you have not manifested at some level higher-up in the totality of your awareness has – left with no viable alternative – found its way out into the body, and that is the cause of your symptom. Now, you might argue that you did not decide to drink the lead-poisoned water and that it was all the wicked power-company’s fault, but really, you did decide to drink it, because it was an esoteric response to a profound unconscious requirement that you apprehend some vanishingly precise and unique expression of human experience and the only way you could manage it was to move into an area where the water was poisoned by an unscrupulous corporate entity. Thus, even an event as shocking and tragic as a killing has a psychic prerequisite; the all-encompassing totality of the Universal mechanism demands that the most insignificant cog turns to the single point in all possibility until the greater arc of fate is aligned and something profound, improbable and often astoundingly difficult comes to pass. There is no sense once you have grasped this reality that the Universe is arbitrary (or as Byron would have it, the gods are cruel), nor is this mechanism as heartless as a mere machine, because the ghost in the machine is entirely compassionate; but, all this aside, the mechanism is implacable, so you cannot fight it.

This, in the astrology, is the cascade effect, which is my own description of it. A single planetary placement evinces a myriad array of vibrational tones, all completely harmonious one with the other, and yet, to the untrained eye, all separate and disconnected. The astrologer sees those gossamer thin filaments that are entirely interconnective however; from the rarefied realms of the peak objective meditational experience, to the most uncomfortable of physical pains, all are contained within the polarities, wellsprings and event-horizons of astrologic placements. Saturn in Aries contains the potentiality to find a profound solace in going to the mountain, in being at one with the forest and the stream, in testing oneself in the most extreme and rigorous environment, whilst it also contains the same potential for headache. There is no dichotomy. By the same token a Moon Venus contact speaks to the joie-de-vivre, intensity in the emotional life and an ability to instinctively appreciate the artistic, and then too, it has a profound correspondence with menstruation too. Again, no dichotomy. Mars Neptune contacts speak to the principle of self-sabotaging actions, narcotics, abstemiousness and sudden inspirations, but also to the sudden discharge of  bodily fluids, which may or may not make you shudder (Mars: sudden and explosive, Neptune: fluids).

For practical purposes therefore when we are looking at the astrology we are really only feeling for the glyph, and once we have apprehended it we can choose to resonate at any of those levels of that need for self-expression, from the sublime, to the very mundane; and we can talk about god or we can talk about what these symptoms are trying to say; but the key realisation is that at some level, it is a failure of the expression of god that has manifested into physicality. Does that begin to make sense? If it does, then you are really onto something.

This then is the most fundamental realisation that you can possibly come to when you are apprehending the concept of a medical astrology. It is not in any way separate from the ‘everything else’ of astrology, merely another flickering flame on the spectrum of the polarity. Or as Alan Watts might somewhat have termed it, another aperture through which the Universe shines its light. This then is the initiating philosophy of a medical astrology, without which you cannot even begin to help another human being.

On Tuesday I will write about the practical diagnostic tools that are to be found in the astrology and after that I will explore some intriguing case studies with the objective of expounding a practical methodology for the astrologer to follow in his or her daily work.

Until then, be well!

Hygeia, the Virgoan Principle?

Hygeia, Klimt.

In about 400BC, a Sicyonian poet named Ariphron composed a paean to Hygeia, underlining the profound importance – to the Greeks – of this deity, an importance on a scale which is  not remotely mirrored by the astrologer of today:

Hygeia, best of the Blessed Ones to men,
May I dwell with you for the rest of my days,
And may you be kind and stay with me,
For if there is any joy in wealth or in children,
Or in royal rule which makes men like the gods,
Or in the desires which we hunt,
With Aphrodite’s secret snares,
Or if men have any other delight,
From the gods or respite from their labours,
With you, blessed Hygeia,
All things are strong and shine with the converse of the Graces,
And without you, no man is happy.
(ep. Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 15.701F; {7}, pp. 104-105)

Furthermore, the original Hippocratic Oath, states: “I swear by Apollo the physician, and Asklepios, and Hygeia, and Panakeia, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation . . .”

Asclepius, of course was Hygeia’s father and Panacea her sister. She is depicted throughout the mythology with absolute consistency as a virgin and a dutiful daughter to Asclepius. Lycimnius referred to her thus: “Bright-eyed mother, highest queen of Apollon’s golden throne, desirable, gently-laughing Hygeia.”

Hygeia was also, in every likeness, shown to be clasping a serpent; symbolically then, she held in her grasp the power of fertility and also a connection with the earth (Gaia), snakes are frequently associated with birth and regeneration, due both to their resemblance to the umbilical cord and their ability to regenerate the skin wholly. Her aspect, despite these overtly biological themes is singularly modest and moral, unassuming and gentle-natured.

According to the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, although she is originally the goddess of physical health, she is sometimes conceived as the giver or protectress of mental health, that is, she appears as mens sana, or huliea phrenôn (Aeschyl. Eum. 522), and was thus identified with Athena, surnamed Hygieia. (Paus. i. 23. § 5; comp. Lucian, pro Laps. 5.)

Thus the phrase, healthy mind: healthy body, seems to encapsulate most succinctly the Hygeian principle. This realisation is entirely in keeping with the emergent fundamental of contemporary holistic healing theory that all disease is conceived in the psychic substrate of being, and this concurs most affirmatively with my own observation in the astrology.

In every sense, Hygeia resonates completely with the Virgoan ideal; she is Virgo personified, chaste, demure, unassuming, pure, virtuous, particular and assimilative, she governs the distilled 6th house principle of those health benefits that are derived from moderate habits.

I am not particularly enamoured of the idea that Virgo is the natural domicile for Mercury, the ‘breaking-down’ function of Virgo can of course be applied to mental process such that an idea can be digested and the nutritive constituent taken out of it, but the same might be said for any of the signs who will process the stuff of the mind according to its own dictate. Mercury is Geminian, in every possible way, and it requires no further dignity, and whilst Virgo might be the sign of its exaltation, there is simply no question that Hygeia responds to Virgo in every sense as perfectly as Mercury does to Gemini.

But this still leaves a void. Not least because it changes so many observations and for those with Virgo rising there is the question of the Ascendant ruler, and the flavour of things is altered immeasurably in this sense alone; when you consider the received wisdom of Virgo and the question of rulership you might well be disposed to question the power of Hygeia in real terms: it seems to be no great thing this Hygeia, not when compared to the Sun or Saturn or even something obscure and far distant like Neptune.

But this fails to question an assumption so fundamental that it is almost completely taken for granted. Consider the words of Ariphron, “With you, blessed Hygeia, All things are strong and shine with the converse of the Graces, And without you, no man is happy.” This cuts to the heart of the matter, because it demonstrates actually how very profound is Hygeia’s power; without her gentle blessing all your Leonine splendour (“For if there is any joy in wealth or in children, Or in royal rule which makes men like the gods“) and Libran charms (“the desires which we hunt, With Aphrodite’s secret snares“) are rendered meaningless and somehow trite and empty. We cannot enjoy love, wealth or anything else if we are ravaged by sickness, so Hygeia’s modest reputation belies her fearsome import – and that resonates again with all measure of Virgoan power.

Therefore, Hygeia holds the key to the most fundamental state of grace in all human aspiration, for without her all other ambitions and talents become undermined. Hygeia gives insight into something far more profound and intrinsic to this life than her footnote status implies, and the astrologer who wishes to fully appreciate the import of Virgo should take note.

The Chiron-Pluto contact: all the world’s pain

Walt Whitman and Henry Thoreau

Walt Whitman and Henry Thoreau

Today I wish to look in some detail at the two greatest Americans that ever lived. Of course, I make no objective claim on these personages’ behalves, only one that, for my own part, rings profoundly true. I would happily include a close run third placing for that most gently predisposed of Presidents (Jed Bartlett aside) Abraham Lincoln, however, even his star was eclipsed, in my most humble opinion by those of Henry David Thoreau, and his contemporary, the poet Walt Whitman. Contemporaneousness for the astrologer absolutely contains a hint of promise, because immediately we begin to wonder if there is not some commonality to the nativity of each; of course there is, but then too, there is this same equality across a vast swathe of humanity within each era of history. In the case of Whitman and Thoreau however, the conjunction of Pluto with Chiron in dreamy, poetic Pisces is certainly insightful, in my view, it is the keystone of their respective brilliance, although other, and completely dissociated factors have coloured that impetus to make it appear almost superfluous.

Before I discuss the nativities in any depth at all, I should like to briefly examine the chronology of Pluto Chiron conjunctions. They, of course, are rare, and certainly they produce rare individuals with an extremely complex inner life, which will need to be expressed at some level of the psyche. John Lennon and Bob Dylan shared the aspect, as will any child born in the latter part of 1999 and early 2000. Thus, in the last 200 years there have been only 4 significant periods of contact, (Chiron has a 50 year orbital period), between 1817 and 1820, 1882 and 1884, 1940 and 1941, and 1999 and 2000, although contacts were not necessarily constant throughout even those periods. The Chiron Pluto conjunction is uncommon, and undoubtedly with good reason, it requires a differently motivated soul to carry it well. I personally have the same contact, not too critically, except by opposition; Pluto, I find does not care particularly for the aspect style, he over-powers (as very distinctly opposed to overpowers) whatever he touches.

40) Huntington Bay, NY, USA

Walt Whitman, Poet. 31 May 1819 01:45 LMT (+04:53:40) Huntington Bay, NY, USA

Whitman’s astrology makes an almost sublime adjunct to his poetry, if you read both together the synergy is astonishing. Look firstly at the self-contained circuit of easy power in the grand trine from Mars, in dignity by sign and house, to Uranus and Neptune and then Moon in dramatic Leo, and she, in the 6th imparts a certain creativity to everyday matters in Virgo’s house. Venus in her own sign too seems very content and Sun, peregrinated in Gemini, though quindecile to Uranus, delights in being different, in individuating through being an observer and finding the sublime in the trivial insight. And we haven’t even mentioned Chiron Pluto yet, which has another subtext when configured so closely with Saturn, it’s Ebertin’s ‘hard labour’ again, but this time, it’s an expression of pain too, and what better way to exorcise it in the 12th than through the medium of poetry?

Peregrine Sun makes a thirst for significance, once awakened, and Pluto has much the same desire, but his is  a dark and more insidious power, in the 12th too it becomes a near compulsion and Mars is astoundingly strong and easy here and in my opinion it is easily identified within his poetry. Consider this:

From Pent Up Aching Rivers
From pent-up aching rivers,
From that of myself without which I were nothing,
From what I am determin’d to make illustrious, even if I stand sole
among men,
From my own voice resonant, singing the phallus,
Singing the song of procreation,
Singing the need of superb children and therein superb grown people,
Singing the muscular urge and the blending,
Singing the bedfellow’s song, (O resistless yearning!
O for any and each the body correlative attracting!
O for you whoever you are your correlative body! O it, more than all
else, you delighting!)
From the hungry gnaw that eats me night and day,
From native moments, from bashful pains, singing them,
Seeking something yet unfound though I have diligently sought it
many a long year,
Singing the true song of the soul fitful at random,
Renascent with grossest Nature or among animals,
Of that, of them and what goes with them my poems informing,
Of the smell of apples and lemons, of the pairing of birds,
Of the wet of woods, of the lapping of waves,
Of the mad pushes of waves upon the land, I them chanting,
The overture lightly sounding, the strain anticipating,
The welcome nearness, the sight of the perfect body,
The swimmer swimming naked in the bath, or motionless on his back
lying and floating,
The female form approaching, I pensive, love-flesh tremulous aching,
The divine list for myself or you or for any one making,
The face, the limbs, the index from head to foot, and what it arouses,
The mystic deliria, the madness amorous, the utter abandonment,
(Hark close and still what I now whisper to you,
I love you, O you entirely possess me,
O that you and I escape from the rest and go utterly off, free and lawless,
Two hawks in the air, two fishes swimming in the sea not more
lawless than we;)
The furious storm through me careering, I passionately trembling.
The oath of the inseparableness of two together, of the woman that
loves me and whom I love more than my life, that oath swearing,
(O I willingly stake all for you,
O let me be lost if it must be so!
O you and I! what is it to us what the rest do or think?
What is all else to us? only that we enjoy each other and exhaust
each other if it must be so;)
From the master, the pilot I yield the vessel to,
The general commanding me, commanding all, from him permission taking,
From time the programme hastening, (I have loiter’d too long as it is,)
From sex, from the warp and from the woof,
From privacy, from frequent repinings alone,
From plenty of persons near and yet the right person not near,
From the soft sliding of hands over me and thrusting of fingers
through my hair and beard,
From the long sustain’d kiss upon the mouth or bosom,
From the close pressure that makes me or any man drunk, fainting
with excess,
From what the divine husband knows, from the work of fatherhood,
From exultation, victory and relief, from the bedfellow’s embrace in
the night,
From the act-poems of eyes, hands, hips and bosoms,
From the cling of the trembling arm,
From the bending curve and the clinch,
From side by side the pliant coverlet off-throwing,
From the one so unwilling to have me leave, and me just as unwilling
to leave,
(Yet a moment O tender waiter, and I return,)
From the hour of shining stars and dropping dews,
From the night a moment I emerging flitting out,
Celebrate you act divine and you children prepared for,
And you stalwart loins.

Here then is Mars rejoicing, with a little promise from Venus in sensual Taurus for good measure. There is more than a little of both Uranus (delighting in the perverse) and Neptune (poetry) in free-ranging, unbashful and convention-defying Sagittarius here as well. The theme becomes especially interesting however when you consider the facts of Whitman’s life. Look at the Midheaven, whose ruler, Saturn is configured so crushingly with Pluto and Chiron in the 12th. The vocation is simply hard work, painful and the cause of ongoing hardship, upset and self-undoing too. Whitman struggled his whole life for money, eventually after stints as a journalist, teacher, volunteer nurse and newspaper publisher, he found work in the department of Indian Affairs as a civil servant but was put out of a job by the then Secretary of State, James Harlan who believed that Whitman’s great work “Leaves of Grass” was a work of deep immorality. This simple anecdote resonates so perfectly with the ruler’s conjunction of Saturn with Pluto and Chiron in the 12th, Saturn rules moral judgements, Pluto personages of great power and the 12th both poetry and material decline; a better example could hardly be conceived.

The key observation though is to be found in the thread of profound beauty that runs through his entire body of work. It is so concerned with the most hesitantly sublime expressions of the love of nature and the simple joy of human relationships, it has a near existential and Zen quality, indeed, Whitman is considered almost to be the first American Zen poet, and with good reason, his words are intensely compassionate, he felt the depth of the world, and found, through the 12th house  a means to finally express it.

36) MA, USA

Henry Thoreau, Philosopher(?) 12 Jul 1817 21:00 (LMT +4:44:36) MA, USA

Thoreau’s astrology, as with his life, runs in a very different vein from that of Whitman, although – and here is the nub – who could say, that have read both Walden and Leaves of Grass – that they did not share the most fundamental of expressive qualities? Thoreau was at heart a compassionate non-conformist and his philosophy influenced both Gandhi and Martin Luther King in later generations. His major work, Walden recounted the experience of living a life of near Buddhist simplicity after he built a cabin on land owned by that other great contemporary liberal thinker Ralph Waldo-Emerson. Thoreau believed that civil disobedience was the duty of every American and can be credited in large part with an institution which endures to this day, Homeland Security notwithstanding.

His astrology is an entirely more difficult affair. Tee-squares to Saturn rising and the conjunction of Chiron-Pluto abound with a common Venusian thread; Thoreau never found love and it is supposed that he may well (unlike Whitman) have died a virgin. His life was short, although he expired, it is recounted, almost gratefully, at the age of just 44. In one measure only did Thoreau’s quality of life eclipse Whitman’s, and if you look to the Midheaven, ruled by Jupiter and not Saturn, it is easy to see how Thoreau’s vocation was so much more assisted. There was not the Capricornian sense of struggle and the necessity to surmount obstacles, indeed, Thoreau lived nearly without a care by comparison; whilst his needs were sublimely simple (you can get a flavour of this if you read the chapter “Economy” in Walden) he nevertheless received sufficient charity from Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorn and many other notables of that time, to allow him a distinct measure of freedom from toil.

But once again there is this sense of the deepest sensitivity of the man; a sensitivity so profound and underpinning that it colours the entire persona at some fathomless substrate of being. It is this same joy and rapture in the simple rhythms and harmonies of nature that he found while living alone in the forest that is mirrored in Whitman’s odes to the earthly domain. This is the key insight, and remember here that the Chiron Pluto contact is in the rapturous, unworldly sign of Pisces, poetic to the core, there cannot be much impetus to worldly ambition here, but there is an overwhelming Chirotic power and a need to express such a depth of compassion that it beggars understanding.

(And is it any surprise that John Lennon shared this exact aspect?)

Outer planet transits: Christmas or crisis?

Surveying the aftermath of the Pluto transit...

Surveying the aftermath of the Pluto transit...

Transits are no big mystery. Even an arc or progression is simply a transit writ large on the life story and the transit itself, regardless of magnitude, is simply an opportunity to experience an ongoing evolution of nativity. Put another way, a transit is only an opportunity for experience, one that you weren’t born with, and one that you will handle no doubt, with reference to the placement of those transiting energies in your own astrology. This means, fundamentally that if you have a Mars Pluto square, then difficult transits of Mars to Pluto will not be nearly so brutal for you as they would for the person who has no Mars Pluto contact in their astrology, simply because you have experience. By the same token, the individual who has transformed Plutonic themes in their life has really been such grist for the mill that they can actually weather Hades’ worst excesses, if not with aplomb, then at least with a measure of dignity. In the case of Pluto, or indeed any of the outer planets, transits are astoundingly profound providing the native is alive to them and any measure of evolvement is enormously beneficial in living through them. Awareness, particularly self-awareness, is invaluable in this study.

Let us consider the three principles: Uranus, which shatters the crystallised forms, Neptune which dissolves and nebulises and Pluto which intensifies unto death; these are all very fundamental principles, difficult to examine and analyse; very often it is weeks or months later before we can see with any clarity what has happened. However, there is a common thread to all of these principles, they operate in very different ways of course, but fundamentally, they all promote change and growth, or they will damage you in the process.

Uranus first. Here is the principle of crystallisation, Uranus makes brittle and shiny, it is like a bright shell in quality and it is tied up in that sense with ego-formation, since it governs individuation, a crucial component of the ego; thus when we are different we are set apart. The impetus of Uranus then is to individuate, and we set off on that path and reach a point where we think “aha! Now I am a person of quality and difference, others will notice me, I shall stop here because I’m all done.” But Uranus won’t have that, because individuation evolves, our difference of yesterday loses its shine today, so we are forced through some shattering process to reinvent our individuality, to reassess and reconfigure. That is Uranus.

Now Neptune who does almost the opposite of Uranus and dissolves rather than crystallises; he takes away structure and forces us to confront the numinous and actually to find the value in it. We need to learn to respond to that small sense of value here, it is no good to say that we will create things of greatness, because where Neptune is configured we have to give up, let go and trust in a higher and less tangible Universe. Neptune speaks to the lilies of the field and not kings in high castles, so if you are able to work with that then you have a chance, otherwise, just watch it all slip away…

And finally, the toughest of the lot, the lord of darkness. Pluto is the most powerful and implacable impetus of them all, although I have a mind to Orcus right now which is at the very least interesting. Pluto says, “you know that one aspect of your life that is the most resistant to change? Well, brace yourself, because I’m going to kick the crap out of it until you give it up.” There’s no subtlety to Pluto, even if it is very, very deep. Inexorably, without mercy or respite, Hades destroys the concepts, values, beliefs and structures of our world until they are dust.

Very quickly though you will see this outer planet theme. They all do more or less the same job albeit utilising markedly differing approaches. At the end of a tough transit of any of Uranus, Neptune or Pluto, we are left with a new paradigm to contemplate. If the cycle is complete and we have worked with it, then we will undoubtedly be in some sense enriched by the experience and even if that enrichment feels like a dubious gift, it is still a thing of value.

Now, nowhere is this more true than a transit to any of the four major angles of the nativity. A transit of Pluto to the Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven or Imum Coeli is so markedly powerful and affective that it simply cannot be placed in the same context of a house transit or even a planetary contact. This is an understanding that is borne out time and again. Indeed, as I write this Pluto is stationary and peregrine on the IC of my own astrology calling for a radical transformation of those issues relating to family, roots, childhood and so forth. My deepest origins are being made over. It will be the same for any contact of any of the outers by mundane transit to any of the angles, or by progression or arc as well, more so in fact. Progressions of Pluto by arc to the angles will have a once in a lifetime effect, and there is usually great upheaval in that especially since the natural inclination is to resist. You cannot resist that force, it will kill you in the attempt.

Now on the one hand, you ought to be rightly nervous about these kinds of applications, because they are never going to be easy, but on the other, when you are an astrologer you cannot really say that you didn’t see it coming. I was well aware that I have this incredible transformational opportunity looming in my life for quite some time and please note the language I employ here. I understand in theory more or less exactly how these contacts ought to work, I understand esoterically (if you like) what they are calling for and why they are calling for it, so I do not have the excuse of confusion and non-preparation. That is the lot of the astrologer. Fundamentally, for the ill-prepared however, the immediacy and upheaval of a major outer-planet transit to one of the angles will inevitably have this flavour of crisis to it. If you cannot see the destination point then absolutely it will have all the appearance of a leap in the darkness, thus it becomes risky, ill-prepared, poorly conceived and just a little irrational. If on the other hand you see the necessity for transformation then it becomes a different creature altogether, it is nothing more than a catalyst for evolution; something the adept welcomes and (respectfully) embraces. Whether the transit is from Uranus, Neptune or Pluto too, is hardly relevant except to determine something of the manner of the transformational push: the point is the impetus to change, not the manner of it, even if subjectively some transformations are going to be less painful than others. Uranus for example is scarily abrupt, quick and sudden, while Pluto takes his time, grinding everything down to the smallest granules…

As an astrologer, outer planet transits to the angles are a no-brainer. They will be felt, they will be major and they will alter the landscape irreversibly, but once it is all done with, you will be closer to yourself than ever before, and that is how the system was designed to work.

So don’t fight it.


A beating heart of flame consumes the wastes,
Rolling lambent and lithe, waxing and waning,
‘Cross moonless halls these cold shades lament
The promise of new life; this unbound spirit
In crevasses of cracking crystal,
Sibilant waves of glass break, roaring with dread,
Yet bright as Paladin’s faith; this tread
Into arms of light.

Crushing deep as Leviathan’s abyss,
This fragile soul shears off and earth-bound,
Cleaves apart to commune with the limitless,
Scintillating essence of Jahweh.
Until ponderous, darkening, moon-specked lords
Tumble the locks and free the bright pins,
And with a sigh of lament the sea divides,
Unlocked by juncture and heaven’s tides,
Desirous of life.

A babe with eyes stuck fast gasps upon this stage
As barbaric gods scream pain, and thrash and rage
At their golden chains.

Fundamentals of astrology: the polarity

Taken near my house, I called this "A Glimpse of the Goddess". It contains the abundance of frutiful Gaia as a polarity or adjunct to Uranus, the sky god.

Taken near my house, A Glimpse of the Goddess. Here there is the polarity between abundant Gaia and lofty Uranus, God of the Skies

Today, I wish to explore a little of the terrain of that counterpart to the astrologer’s insight: the Jungian view of the soul. It is no coincidence that Jung’s theoretical premises of psychoanalysis form such a supportive and compatible adjunct to the astrology, because Jung himself was a believer in the totality of symbolic experience. If you require demonstration of this, consider this observation from Jung’s own notebooks:

When one studies the archetypal personalities and their behaviour with the help of the dreams, fantasies, and delusions of patients, one is profoundly impressed by their manifold and unmistakable connections with mythological ideas completely unknown to the layman.” (A full discussion of this phenomenology can be found in Jung’s Psychology and Alchemy Part II).

Put broadly, he argued that many of the delusions experienced by psychotic patients could not be explained as products of the patient’s personal history and his extensive knowledge of human symbols, myths and comparative religion led him to detect parallels with psychotic material which argued a common source, a myth making level of mind common to all humanity, which he termed the Collective Unconscious. Here then is the theme, one which saturates all of Jung’s writings, that there is a symbolic subtext to all unconscious contents of the human mind, a symbolic language that is utterly consistent regardless of background, ethnicity, cultural conditioning, access to education, IQ or any other individuating factor you care to consider. The overarching frustration of Jung’s life was that there was no universally accessible language of this symbology, even if its myriad components could be successfully identified and even leveraged to gain an insight into the previously unfathomable murk of madness.

Now of course, Jung well understood the importance of astrology in this context. Most every major work of his makes reference at some point to the astrology without necessarily making any boldly affirmative statement as to its validity; there is always a simple presentation of the evidence and a ‘take it or leave it’ ambience to the material; the trademark then, of the believer, as any astrologer who has to field the dreaded “so, what do you do?” enquiries at garden parties understands only too well. Once you tap into this Jungian symbology then immediately life becomes rich with the resonance of possibility, a richness of meaning, in fact. It is no longer a simple story to understand that the feeding of the 5000 required only loaves (Virgo) and fish (Pisces), here there is a statement about the Virgo-Pisces polarity, about the material and the immaterial, and then too this:

And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

Again, the symbology for those who are proficient with the astrological lexicon becomes self-explanatory. Here is sacrifice and compassion, and most especially a cleansing of the soul. The hair and the feet speak to Virgo and Pisces yet again.

Jung self-evidently wanted to impress upon his readers the profound importance of the grasping of dualities and more specifically, polarities as an aid to understanding the functional mechanisms of the human psyche. “Although the attainment of inner balance through symmetrical pairs of opposites was probably the main intention, we should not overlook the fact that the duplication motif also occurs when unconscious contents are about to become conscious and differentiated. They then split, as often happens in dreams, into two identical or slightly different halves corresponding to the conscious and still unconscious aspects of the nascent content. I have the impression, from this picture, that it really does represent a kind of solstice or climax, where decision and division take place. The dualities are, at bottom, Yes and No, the irreconcilable opposites, but they have to be held together if the balance of life is to be maintained. This can only be done by holding unswervingly to the centre, where action and suffering balance each other. It is a path “sharp as the edge of a razor.” A climax like this, where universal opposites clash, is at the same time a moment when a wide perspective often opens out into the past and future. This is the psychological moment when, as the consensus gentium has established since ancient times, synchronistic phenomena occur – that is when the far appears near.” (From C.G Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, a Study in the Process of Individuation 2nd Ed. 1991).

This contains the exact self-same wisdom as told me by my own grandfather in very slightly different terms, and I quote here from his notes: “Astrology is the polarity, it is not about lists of this and that. Opposites can only be harmonised through the understanding that while they are opposed they are even so existent upon a shared spectrum and cannot therefore be separated. They are opposite and yet they are the same.”

Out of that exact insight, the astrology is given life.

Applied astrology: the Neptune Pluto contact

This weekend I conducted an experiment. It involved a trip to the outer reaches of our solar system and I travelled there in my car (a VolksWagen) and it makes a wonderful illustration of how astrology in the sky can connect so seamlessly with the small mechanics of our lives. One of the key understandings of applied astrology, at least when you begin to connect with it at an archetypal level, is the principle of ‘as above, so below.’ When you understand this you can begin to formulate a methodology; one which utilises this principle to your own benefit and that in itself is particularly good voodoo for those times when you are feeling the strain of a tough transit.

Allow me to explain.

Currently I am labouring just a little under a Neptune square and a simultaneous Uranus-Pluto opposition. Both these transits went over last week from applying to partile and now they are separating, so the hard work is done, but as you will hopefully know, it is releasing the tension of a transit once the application begins to attenuate that creates so much difficulty. My challenge therefore was to find a way to resonate with both Neptune and Pluto, on a microcosmic scale, so that the intensifying stress of the aspect could ease.

Finding a method with energies as vast and impersonal as Neptune and Pluto is not easy, but only one hour from my house is the perfect facility.

This then is me, standing right in front of Dungeness nuclear power station. Now as you can perhaps see, I am standing on shingle, so in front of me is, yes, the sea. It’s all clicking into place right? I am standing at the microcosmic conjunction point of Neptune and Pluto.

Here is the principle; I am standing at the point marked by the red cross in the aerial photograph. The theory then is very simple; here I am completely connected with Neptunian and Plutonic energies and actually I am between them, within the conjunction. Once I was there and I was open to that, I must explain that the Plutonic feeling was almost overwhelming, quite apart from the vast, implacable and utterly impersonal darkness of the power station itself. I arrived and parked my car and then I walked the half mile to this point passing a series of very menacing-looking men with Rottweilers and Dobermans, most people I saw were incredibly odd in one way or another, strange misshapen women and their intensely closed off husbands, there is a bed and breakfast nearby, just check it out for an impossible naming convention, and of course while I was standing there, looking out to sea and happily  minding my own business, I underwent the best Plutonic experience of all.

Almost inevitably I was stopped and searched by police officers carrying machine guns. I was asked to provide my details and I (of course) refused, citing a violation of my civil liberties. I was then asked why I was there and ‘looking at’ the nuclear power station; and I was honest; I explained that I am an astrologer looking to cathartise Neptunian and Plutonic energies and that this was the perfect place to do that, and the burly policeman (on the left in the photograph) became very interested and told me that he had always loved astrology and had even bought one or two books on the subject but had struggled with the complexity of it all. They wrote me a ticket citing the reasons for the stop and search (which only contained a curious ‘x’ character) along with my description. They also issued me with a leaflet which explained that I would be required to remove, if asked, my coat, jacket and gloves but if I was asked to remove shoes, socks, t-shirt or headgear then I would be detained in a private facility for that purpose and searched by an officer of the same sex.

Now, am I wrong, or – if you were tasked with designing the most complete Plutonic experience that you could possibly devise – would it not be almost exactly this? Astonishing. It’s the best applied astrology experience I’ve had in months, years probably.

You should try it sometime…