Tales from the peregrine Moon: Sylvia Plath

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In the pursuit of perfection in poetry there can be few luminaries as bright as Sylvia Plath, and it was her profound struggle with depression and grief which underpinned most achingly her gift, which, in pursuit of the sublime aim of describing the indescribable can have few equals; Plath was noted especially for her uncanny use of metaphor.

The mundane facts of her life are bleak. She was born to Otto Plath, a German professor of zoology and Aurelia Schober, a first generation American of Austrian descent near Boston, Massachusetts. Her early childhood was fundamentally idyllic and until her father died when she was 8 years old, she wrote of it thus:

And this is how it stiffens, my vision of that seaside childhood. My father died, we moved inland. Whereupon those nine first years of my life sealed themselves off like a ship in a bottle — beautiful, inaccessible, obsolete, a fine, white flying myth.

She was winning awards for her exquisite poetry by the time she was 18 years, she won a scholarship to Smith College. During her junior year, she spent the summer in New York as a guest editor for Mademoiselle, a fashion magazine. While still a student at Smith, she had a nervous breakdown, attempted suicide by swallowing sleeping pills and was given shock treatments. Despite such upheaval, she graduated in 1955 and went to Cambridge, England on a Fulbright scholarship.

One night at a party in Cambridge, February 25, 1956, she met Ted Hughes, and their romance began in a blaze of passion. She wrote, “He kissed me bang smash on the mouth, And when he kissed my neck, I bit him long and hard on the cheek and, when we came out of the room, Blood was running down his face.” The handsome gifted pair married four months later, on June 16, 1956.

The couple had two children, Frieda in 1961 and Nicholas in 1962. During their time together, the brilliant and tortured Plath mined her own anguish, writing obsessively of her depression, her jealousy, her marriage and her father, the strict, formal professor who had abandoned her by his premature death.

Daddy. Published 1965 (Excerpt)

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I’m finally through.
The black telephone’s off at the root,
The voices just can’t worm through.

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two—
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There’s a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

Her first book, “The Colossus” was released in 1960. “The Bell Jar” achieved critical acclaim in 1963 for its moving portrayal of a young woman’s life including her emotional breakdown, suicide attempts, psychological treatment and relationships.

During the course of her marriage, Plath’s behavior became increasingly more erratic and obsessive. Beset by worry over money, insecurity over her worth as a writer, jealousy over her husband’s friendships with other women, she wrote furiously in her torment. Their relationship suffered tremendously from her fragility and his inability to deal with her roller-coaster emotions. Suspecting her husband of an affair, she gathered all of his papers she could find and burned them in the garden. In 1962, he left her for another woman, Assia Wevill. Just one month after the publication of “The Bell Jar,” on a frigid wintry day in England, she tucked her two small children safely away in their room, set out milk and cookies for them, and put her head in their London flat’s gas oven, ending her life on February 11, 1963. She was just 30 years old. Her last-written poems appeared two years later in “Ariel.” In a twist of irony, the poems established Plath as a fiercely original poet who exceeded her husband as an icon in the world of literature.

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Sylvia Plath, Poet. 27 Oct 1932 14:10 (EST +5:00) Boston, MA, USA

Here are my various delineations:

  1. There is an enormous 7th house emphasis on so very many levels. Notwithstanding the stellium in precision (and actually fidelity) fixated Virgo, Moon is peregrine in Libra – thus the reigning need is for marital security – Jupiter and Neptune both are peregrine in Virgo, making for an extremely uncomfortable impetus. Trying to analyse the divine and count the manner of one’s faith in life, neither can be remotely easy and Venus seems to offer some genuine hope, but even beautifully aspected as it is and accidentally dignified it will still struggle in Virgo. Any contact of Venus with Saturn is an act of renunciation; the grand earth trine creates a practical self-sufficiency – thus someone who can attend to their studies even in the very depth of a depression – but the Saturn contact creates an ease with sacrificing love out of a sense of duty. There is a curious mix of easy difficulty here.
  2. I am not entirely convinced by the Ascendant. A degree or more into Pisces would suit me better making Mercury the ruler of the 7th. At 29Le26 however there is certainly a case for looking to both Sun and Mercury as indicative of the marriage partner. Certainly Mercury in Scorpio in the 9th suggests a man who is a powerful, sharp and incisive communicator and a connection with university too, Hughes was a fellow student at Cambridge when they met and they were quickly married. Other qualities sympathetic to the placement are to be found in the opposition to Chiron – much of her anguish and intellectual inferiority issues were experienced through him (Chiron in the third) and the square to Mars in Leo in the 6th further suggests an almost daily habit to argument and disputatious communication. The union cannot have been easy. Hughes himself hinted at the possibility of her rising sign being a little off: ““that day’s Sun in the Fish conjunct your Ascendant exactly opposite my Neptune,” with his Neptune at 3 Virgo. This of course places Neptune on his descendant and clearly resonates with their match.
  3. Her father is easily identified, Sun square Saturn certainly identifies his cold and rather unloving demeanour. In Scorpio and the 8th? The early death or loss of her father is clearly marked out thus. At age 8 Saturn squared Uranus by Solar Arc (something sudden relating to the father) and the Sun applied hard by Solar Arc to a quindecile of Chiron marking the genesis of the pain of the loss of her father which was to form such an impetus for her later work and ongoing anguish, in keeping with the nature of the aspect itself of course it became something of an obsession.
  4. Peregrine Moon always tells a story and intimates something of a dissociation complex. These people disconnect according to the nature of sign and house. In Plath’s case a romantic reverie is implied, and she may have dreamt long and often about the perfection of her great love. In Libra too there is an overwhelming need to be considered attractive, fair (in all senses) and interesting, which gels not at all well with the reality of her marriage to Hughes who was often considered to be something of a brute (his subsequent wife whom he left Plath for also committed suicide incidentally, and many consider it no coincidence that he is a common denominator in the relationships.) Peregrine Moon too often tells of a feeling of emptiness and isolation which seems to permeate her poetry too: “Empty, I echo to the least footfall,/ Museum without statues, grand with pillars, porticoes, rotundas./ In my courtyard a fountain leaps and sinks back into itself,/ Nun-hearted and blind to the world.” (From “Barren Woman”) And her mother too! What impact must it have had on the young Sylvia to see her mother so alone and widowed, even if she considered her father to be rigid and incompassionate? Children love and miss even bad fathers of course.
  5. And what of poetry? Clearly, with Ve/Ju/Ne in Virgo and the 7th there is a prising out of harmonious economy in all matters of love, faith and spirituality. Of course Neptune is key to poetry but also to that yearning sense of wanting to transcend the difficulty of life because of a sense of disappointment with things. So much of her anguish in her poetry has this at its root, a sense that she has been let down and disappointed, most especially by men. No surprise that Plath has in more recent times become such an icon for the feminist movement, although I cannot imagine that she would have been anything short of horrified by such an association considering her astrology if nothing else. But consider the idea of a harmonious economy and what do you have? Metaphor! Consider “bright as a Nazi lampshade” from Lady Lazarus (an autobiographical account of her first suicide attempt): what could be more shockingly bright? Or using a feverish delirium as a metaphor for love gone awry: Darling, all night / I have been flickering, off, on, off, on. / The sheets grow heavy as a lecher’s kiss. This she wrote during her final days after Hughes had left her.
  6. More intriguingly than this even is the most cursory examination of halfsums. With Uranus at the crucially profound Sun/Moon midpoint there is a clear impetus to the separation (Ur) of husband (Su) and wife (Mo) (father and mother too), but essentially separations and upsets are in store. Then consider Pl=Me/Ve. Power (or powerlessness) is realised through communicating or writing about love, or creating an art from writing. The great Ebertin marks this halfsum as “tremendous creative power” and the “recognition of art as a mission.” Quite wonderful. Then we have Ju=Ve/Ne! I wrote an entire article on this single midpoint (called: “The elusive astrology of yearning and the Venus Neptune halfsum“) and in Plath’s case there is no question that it would expand her ability to access the numinous and find an intimation of transcendent love. Ve=Mo/Ne also suggests a disappointment in love but a possibility of accessing a more divine form of contentment.
  7. Of course, there is an even more pertinent observation. Sappho, the asteroid is so named for the ancient Greek lyric poet: later Greeks included her on the canonical list of nine lyric poets; her reputation survives intact even though much of her work does not (fragments attest to her ability however), and it is to be found in Plath’s nativity at the exact midpoint of Venus and Jupiter (3°49′ from each.) A Venus Jupiter conjunction (which does not in this instance detract from the reality of peregrination) is a horn of plenty aspect, and the “joy of love” by Ebertin, so any influence at the convergence of these powers is going to be powerfully exalted. Jupiter too (and peregrine) rules the Midheaven, and conjunct Sappho her vocation as a poet becomes ever clearer.

Sylvia Plath’s final days were a true tale of peregrinated Moon in Libra cast down. Her isolation was complete, the reigning need of her life, to be loved, to be the wife, to be exalted by her union of love was broken and the distress of her lost father and her intellectual self-doubt crowded in on her. She died just as Saturn (husband and father) applied by Solar Arc to her Ascendant whilst simultaneously squaring Chiron. The pain of the men in her life and the great weight of disappointment seems somehow to be born at that point, brought into the light for all the world to see as Saturn crossed ponderously into the first while Venus also squared Pluto by Solar Arc at this exact juncture, love and death configured in with the burden of isolation; loss and loneliness. Or in the words of her final poem:

Edge

The woman is perfected.
Her dead
Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity
Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare
Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.
Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little
Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded
Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden
Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.
The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.
She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.

So, you want to be a writer?

Possibly the most over-asked off-the-cuff question I am asked as an astrologer is : “will I be a writer?”

It normally arrives in this exact format too, undisciplined, badly thought through, open-ended. It occurs (without wanting to split hairs particularly) that so long as one writes, one is by definition a writer. Of course, the question people are most especially asking is whether or not they have the astrological quality to become a successful, published, career author.

The binary nature of the human mind craves, inevitably a stark indicator of such destiny, an x + y = z signpost of such outright clarity and inevitability that somehow, were it present in the nativity the great American novel (or its geographically relocated counterpart) would somehow fall unbidden out of their brain onto paper and be snapped up by clamouring agents and rushed to print. Plaudits would ensue, and all that would be required was to be born at that fortuitous instant wherein success was guaranteed by the machinations of heaven’s unknowable mechanisms.

And of course such simplicity belies the myriad realities of this life. First there must be an idea, an original idea – or at least an idea of sufficient uniqueness as to slip out of the plagiarist’s attire – and then there has to be time and sufficient energy and self-discipline so as to actually write the thing, and attendant upon that must be a modicum of good grammar and a plot or premise worthy of extrapolation and then perhaps some luck and perseverance in the face of a world of indifference, the list goes on, and so it stands to reason that there ought not be a simple solution to the question: “will I be a writer?” Indeed, there is a veritable clamour of contingencies to consider – in the astrology as in life.

But this of course does not mean that there are not combinations which are helpful. I have studied the nativities of authors of various import and I have found a number of clear correspondences: no hard and fast rules (the wearisome cry of rule-bound, constipated statisticians notwithstanding) some extremely intriguing predilections too, and much of my study has involved halfsums, the third house, and of course the planet Mercury.

I can boldly claim that in the vast majority of cases other than the planet Mercury itself, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are most commonly configured in the nativities of successful writers., in almost every case Mars is configured with Mercury or the third house or in an intriguing combination of midpoint factors. On the whole however, the flavour of the astrology has an influence not so clearly upon the binary nature of becoming an author or not, but rather on the style of work evinced. Neptune, for example, figures strongly in the charts of fantasy writers, Venus in romance, Uranus in science fiction and often there might be some other key factor which supercedes even these observations: Barbara Cartland for example evinces a cazimi Cupido…

I will then work on a spectrum of coarse to fine granularity and begin with that most reliable indicator of vocation: the midheaven. By far the most common signs on the 10th house cusp are Gemini, Aquarius and Aries; also to a lesser extent Scorpio. Taurus, Cancer, Libra, Sagittarius and Capricorn almost have no propensity toward a vocation as an author at all (but there are of course exceptions) while Virgo is rather surprisingly under-represented in the author community, which only underlines its lack of suitability as Mercury’s domicile (in this astrologer’s humble view). Aries of course has a go it alone tendency that is undoubtedly well-suited to the solitary pursuit of slogging through an entire manuscript. Gemini, ruled by the writer’s own Mercury is an easy bet, while Aquarius seems to enjoy the novelty of writing novels. Gemini appears to offer the greatest hope for the aspiring author since it appears on the 10th house cusp of a veritable raft of well-known authors thus:

  • Charlotte Bronte
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Oscar Wilde
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Charles Dickens
  • George Orwell
  • Jane Austen
  • Jack Kerouac
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • Louisa May Alcott

Aquarius follows a close second with such luminaries as:

  • George Bernard Shaw
  • Mary Shelley
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Jules Verne
  • Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Jack London

To name but a few, and invariably the quality of those novelists is quite distinctive with a marked leaning toward offbeat and rather fantastical genres of fiction being in evidence. It must be remembered though that the Midheaven is but a broad stroke in the matter of the vocation and the condition of its ruler and any major tenants must also be considered.

Next then, the third house. Inevitably, Mercury’s accidental dignity ought to be considered since this represents the area of life most suited to the expression of communication, thus any planet found herein will lend its energy to the writer’s craft. Now it should be no surprise to find that an untenanted 3rd is really quite rare in the astrology of proven writers. That is not to say that it is never to be found – far from it – but invariably there are compensations relating most especially to the Midheaven and the 10th which appear to compensate. Mary Shelley and Thomas Hardy are examples of excellence and cases in point, although both shared Pluto in the 10th (I have studied Hardy’s astrology in depth previously in my article: Pluto on the 10th, Thomas Hardy, Tragedian). Both Mercury (e.g. Oscar Wilde, Paulo Coelho, Jane Austen, Stephen King) and Mars (also Oscar Wilde, Victor Hugo, J.R.R. Tolkien) feature heavily in the 3rd houses of many well known writers; but invariably there are tenants in the 3rd regardless with a marked frequency in the cases of Sun, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn too. Moon, Uranus, Pluto and Chiron in the 3rd seem to be least common in the charts of well-known writers.

Noel Tyl made the rather remarkable claim that the midpoint of Mercury and Jupiter is the “signature of a writer” and I certainly understand the logic of that as an idea and I respect Mr Tyl greatly, however, I could not find many examples of this midpoint featuring in these various nativities. It might well indicate the signature of an aspiring writer of course, so I cannot say with any certainty, and about the only meaningful example I could find was that of Michael Crichton who evinced Ur=Me/Ju, thus individuation is realised through writing to improve oneself, to communicate one’s sense of life, through a certain prolific tendency in one’s writing too. Much more startlingly common, however, was the combination of Mercury with Mars in the halfsum, which speaks quite clearly to an exposition of communicative energy: and even where this is not present, there is very often a marked combination of Mercurial and Martian factors which suggests this same quality. Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling and Alex Haley (writer of Roots) all share, for example the conjunction, Alexandre Dumas and Tennessee Williams the sextile, Mars tenants the 3rd in numerous cases, and (as a further example of the potential for combination) Charlotte Bronte evinces a mutual reception of the two. In any case, the tendency to find these powers in some sense conjoined, either by midpoint, aspect, house placement or in some other pattern is distinctly marked.

Let us consider an example:

00) Bloemfontein S. Africa

J.R.R. Tolkien, author. 3 Jan 1892, 22:00 (EET -2:00) Bloemfontein S. Africa

Tolkien’s nativity is remarkable in several factors and carries a number of writer’s potentials:

  1. The square of Mercury to Saturn has an orb of a mere 2 minutes across the Libra and Capricorn Aries Points, thus giving an enormous tension to the need to write but with a real promise of fame or public recognition.
  2. The midheaven is in Gemini.
  3. Mars is on the 3rd.
  4. Pluto is applying hard to the 10th, tightly configured with Neptune.
  5. Following the same logic, the ruler of the 3rd is applying to the 10th, thus writing as a career is a distinct possibility and the Neptune conjunction speaks to an element of fantasy and imagination too.

Like any formula there must always  exist an element of je ne sais quoi in the pursuit of any life objective but the broad indicators are at the very least the sign of the Midheaven, third house tenants and the quality of its ruler also, and any combinations most especially of Mercury with Mars, providing energy, drive and motive power to the writing itself.

Of course, none of these will indicate talent (although Mercury quintiles might be suggestive of this and Tolkien has Me q Ju to his credit), and of course, the most pressing requirement for any writer, (and my most oft-quoted response to the question “will I be a writer?” ) ought to be clear: have you written a book?

It’s a great place to start.

Relationships and the Davison Composite

Today I would like to revisit the theme of relationship astrology, and explore another method of determining compatibility between two individuals by the analysis of their astrological combination. Typically this is achieved through synastry: the application of one nativity to another wherein the aspects between each party’s placements are studied. Of course, even before any synastry is considered, a study of the individuals’ horoscopes will expose considerable insight, about the conditions of the marriage, the probability of marital breakdown and the manner of it, clues about the character and disposition of the marriage partner and so forth. I discussed this method previously in my article on the astrology of marriage. Another approach is to use a midpoint calculator and to combine the mundane placements of every discrete shared point in the respective nativities to produce a third nativity. This is an interesting and insightful method that I have discussed before, however, it fails in one very key context which in some ways is difficult to reconcile with the underpinning theory of the stars: namely that the mundane midpoint composite is an entirely academic horoscope: it simply cannot exist in nature. That is to say it is a mathematical construct and is not therefore a nativity that has ever existed in time and space.

This does not discount its relevance and valuable insights can be gleaned from the midpoint composite. What might be more intriguing however is to take an absolute midpoint of two nativities in time and space: thus by finding the exact point in time between two births and the exact geographical location which lies at the midpoint of the two individuals and from that point create an entirely new astrology; and crucially one that does exist in space and time. This is a complex method of combination known as the Davison Composite and named after its creator Ronald Davison.

Therefore, and to utilise a simple example, if you were born at midday on the 1st of January in London and your partner at midday on the 3rd of January in Glasgow, then you would create a nativity for January 2nd at midday, somewhere near Manchester to realise the Davison composite.

Previously I used the example of Prince Charles and Princess Diana as a midpoint combination to study the extant themes. Here then is the Davison Composite for their partnership:

Davison Composite

Charles and Diana: Davison Composite

This chart is not nearly so comfortable and easy as the mundane midpoint combination. There is of course a wonderful emotional power in the grand water trine, an easy sense of outward responsibility across the earth houses. This evidently creates a sense of emotional security derived from those themes of status, easy living and easy money. Jupiter on the midheaven and in Cancer, the sign of tradition, family and all matters clannish really tells a story of royal good fortune and benefit. The good news is decidedly thin on the ground after this point however.

The chart ruler is profoundly stressed most distressingly from Mars and if you consider this in tandem with Saturn in Scorpio, tee-squared from inflexibly autocratic Pluto in Leo and abruptly plain-spoken Mercury in Aquarius then you have a genuine difficulty that will no doubt manifest most especially in the bedroom. Saturn in Scorpio creates an early sexual difficulty: eventually there might be respite, but the lifetime arc of relationships creates pressure to normalise relations early on: a theme of discomfort or dissatisfaction in the sex-life will not long be tolerated in a marriage, at best it will become a major theme of anguish for both parties. Mars in Taurus too creates an astoundingly slow-fuse, here anger and resentment can build over months and that slow-pressure manifests out into the 8th: where sex is a matter of biological necessity.

Therefore, in outward appearance, with Libra rising and a grand trine in water, Charles and Diana would have appeared to be blissfully content, but with the passage of time and the pressure of so much unusual public scrutiny, the lack of any real chemistry and passion would eventually take its toll. Venus conjunct Chiron is very much the pain of love, and in the 4th and Aquarius, it is a behind-closed-doors woundedness that comes of feeling the pressure of convention and expectation; the expectation of needing to be exceptionally in love.

Venus, the ruler, squared (albeit widely) to Neptune rising, most especially speaks to this difficulty. Here is a longing for purity and refinement in the love experience but one that cannot be realised and thus grates and wears down the optimism. The dreamy perfection of matrimonial appearance that is hinted at by Neptune rising in Libra cannot live up to expectations and like a piece of grit in the shoe it niggles.

Another intriguing aspect not included in the chart depiction is Venus quindecile Jupiter. Venus Jupiter always denotes the joy of love, expanding and improving the underpinning themes of relationship; however, with the quindecile it becomes an obsession, and invariably a difficulty is realised as a result. It is of course difficult to derive too much darkness from any combination of Venus and Jupiter, most likely the problem is one of too much of a good thing rather than any constriction or agony, but here the obsession might manifest as an expectation of love that becomes a compulsion of simply having to look good for the cameras.

Lastly, Pluto is supremely difficult. In Leo, he is not an easy power to transform and again the idea that all must appear perfect even when there are severe difficulties in the foundations is mooted. Mercury – Pluto creates a very peculiar communicative tendency within the relationship where what is not said becomes more important than what is said. There is always a sense between these two people that something is being hidden and that more than any other factor is creating the sexual tension as evinced by the Me/Pl tee square to Saturn in Scorpio. Mercury squared to Saturn is the closest major aspect in the chart too, so here is a real brake on easy communication, Saturn in Scorpio creates a test of secrecy among other things and the square creates distrust and too much conservatism, especially for Mercury in Aquarius which really wants to be a little provocative and outrageous at times.

In summation, had I been consulted about this particular relationship, I would have been concerned that whilst there was much potential for an outwardly successful partnership, the appearance of happiness and contentment would very quickly belie a deeper malaise. A very real incompatibility in sexual relations would need some committed work and profound honesty to overcome in the longer term and the tendency for resentment to fester would eventually poison the initial ease inherent in the union. This was a relationship, that according to the Davison composite at least, was always going to struggle.

The Wisdom of Crocodiles

(A final reflection upon my now forever passed Neptune square: the 5th application began separating some 72 hours ago. It has been wholly enlightening, and at times profoundly disconcerting.)

One of the most challenging scenarios in life is to find that you are no longer sure why you are here. On a very specific level, you can make all sorts of observations about existential definitions of purpose and ultimately, they must remain unverbalised, or you risk a very real diminution in the eyes of your closest allies that is the inevitable conclusion of allowing yourself to appear to be so implausibly adolescent in your views. There is nothing remotely naive about adolescence of course, but we make it that way because the alternative is almost heinous; that our adultness is an ever-strengthening lens that distorts reality until we possess only an entirely abstract understanding of our place within the Universe. Like all constructs of the human mind (and the logic within that observation is more than ironically self-referential) it posits the possibility that all we have managed with our allotted span is to rationalise our increasingly tragic and desperate descent into madness and propped it up into a state of prominence with Saturnine epithets of maturity, responsibility and practicality. Like a statue of Abraham Lincoln.

I almost envy those who can accept the world prima facie; and have no needs beyond the mundanely relevant and the beautiful, but such a state of introspective equilibrium is rather dependent upon a condition approaching egoless equanimity, or the more likely alternative that life is good and that it remains so. I believe that is the wisdom of crocodiles; which self-evidently is astonishingly relevant to crocodiles.

For me, I have to accept that the maelstrom in my heart that is threatening to overwhelm my personality – not consistently, but on occasion – has a real and true purpose and if that makes me appear ridiculous then it is only so because it is so unfashionable, because we cannot all be crocodiles. If that were even possible – never mind laudable – then the crocodiles would very quickly be forced to turn on each other or starve.

Oh wait…

The Chirotic journey continues…

This is a housekeeping post!

I have determined to stop posting articles on Tuesdays for the forseeable future: I am currently writing a book based entirely on Chiron in the astrology. Whilst I very much enjoy writing my twice-weekly articles on this journal it is often extremely time-consuming and therefore, expediently I will post new articles only on Fridays. This will allow me to focus on writing (which I enjoy immensely) about a subject other than Chiron at least one day out of the working week and will also make space in my schedule for me to work with other astrologers and students and to devote more time to the actual job of astrology: I have quite a backlog of clients to catch up on after the difficult Christmas break. I feel very positive about the challenge of writing an astrology text and it will allow me the opportunity to explore the Chirotic principle in depth.

My regular readers will know that I have written several articles on Chiron, namely:

I will (almost certainly) resume my twice-weekly posts once the book is complete.

Please remember that I am currently available to look at your astrology, please email me in the first instance if you are interested.

Jupiter – Neptune: Shooting for the Stars

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (Shakespeare: Hamlet 1:5)

One of the great challenges of my life, as an astrologer, is the ongoing pressure that I feel to reconcile my understanding of astrology with a world that – for the most part – has no understanding of it: the same frustration must be felt by any student of the immeasurable, and from the seminary to the psychiatrist’s consulting room, the only answers to such conundrums are to be found within one’s personal integrity, so that, in spite of the protestations of the closed minded, you can find solace in your own simple good intentions and the knowledge that regardless of the narrow strictures of proof and disproof (and a lack of proof disproves nothing) you have been able to help people.

Jupiter - Neptune is differently motivated

Jupiter - Neptune is differently motivated

And that is but one of the many manifestations of Jupiter’s contact with Neptune. Specifically it describes the nature of the square, which creates a challenge for the native to demonstrate that their underpinning life-philosophy is not inherently impractical. This hints at a condition which is far more than a simple conundrum because the very nature of any contact whatever between Jupiter and Neptune is profoundly idealistic and in its first principles there is a gravitation towards those kinds of ideals that are difficult to make concrete or to actualise: they are inherently transcendent, powerfully spiritual and leave little room for mundane and material concerns.

If there is a mundane expression of Jupiter – Neptune however, it is a leaning toward speculation. Jupiter – Neptune people can risk it all on the turn of a card and quite literally lose everything, but by that same token, they are somewhat armoured against the worst effects of such misfortune by their very nature, which underlines the reality that they’re not actually all that bothered by material stuff in the first place, so the sense of loss is somehow shallower and less urgent in any case.

And fundamentally, it doesn’t matter too much what aspect you have between these two gentle giants, (as I have said before, I [concurring with the view of Noel Tyl specifically] strongly advocate the view that all aspects are squares) because there is a propensity toward idealism and non-materialism in any of the aspectual relationships, with only a smattering of ease or urgency to distinguish them apart. The square creates a tension for the native such that he feels an inner pressure to harmonise his inner stress about materialism, while the trine is comfortable and feels no such difficulty: on the other hand he or she might be entirely too laid back about the material and drift into a dissolute insolvency as a result. The results are often the same or similar with only the quality by which the aspect is subjectively experienced varying in any marked degree.

june01

Jupiter - Neptune might be best advised to forgo that trip to Vegas...

The major difficulty with any combination is that there is no especial drive to jump on the career treadmill and slog along day after day simply to make money. That sounds innocuous enough, however, in a society that defines success only in material terms, the Jupiter – Neptune individual is cut adrift with no recognised path of self-worth to follow. In some cultures – Eastern ones mostly – a monastery or mission might suit, but here in the West, the aspect only creates a person at odds with the rest of their community; they certainly don’t want to be outcast, but they fundamentally fail to identify with the raison d’être of Western life: to them, working the 9 to 5 simply to secure material rewards makes no sense at all. Okay, they will “get it” intellectually, and understand that of course one needs money to live, but they don’t believe in it. This is rather akin to working for anything you don’t believe in of course, such that you might have to do it to get by, but your heart simply isn’t in it like it is for everyone else, it seems kind of dumb and pointless, even if you still have to do it.

And that leads to one of the other major manifestations of Jupiter Neptune contacts in the astrology. Being misunderstood. The Jupiter Neptune person is simply out of step with everyone else in society, because his motivations are unlikely to be material or status orientated. Everyone else characterises this person as a ‘dreamer’ at best, or (at worst) a ‘failure’, because their standards of success simply do not motivate this soul, so they’re just not as fired up to achieve it as everyone else. Undoubtedly this creates an element of instability in material matters too. This person struggles to be all that bothered by their bank statements so they’re unlikely to pay too much attention to penny-pinching or the best credit card rates on offer and by that same token, they’re unlikely to make much in the way of money, or save much money, or really have all that good a grip on the whole idea of money, quite frankly. They’re wired differently.

The best potential of Jupiter – Neptune is for creating spiritually motivated individuals who have a truly sympathetic nature. They can listen to the troubles of others and identify with their suffering, they’ll happily make time to listen to others’ problems and offer a shoulder to cry on or they’ll relate an empathetic anecdote to demonstrate just how much they really do understand. They care, they really do.

Specifically then, the conjunction is the most innate blend, idealism is iternalised and shines out of every pore, pay especial attention to the sign and house placement. If in Libra or the 7th then idealism in relationships becomes key, in the 11th or Aquarius friends are important, humanitarian or charitable ideals are manifest and hopes and dreams especially can be pie in the sky. Wherever the conjunction falls there is a measure of impracticality, a fair few disappointments but an ongoing and actually very endearing naiveté. With the square an element of tension and difficulty is inevitable. This person struggles with the impracticality and disappointment of the conjunction and is likely to find the tendency to being misunderstood most uncomfortable and enervating. Eventually, with work and evolvement, the square ought to ease through the 30s until by middle life there is a measure of comfort and acceptance. The square is most often characterised as a challenge to disprove the impracticality of one’s life philosophy. This person can be defensive and undermined easily by others who see their motivations as baseless and unworkable, which in turn prompts others to couch their criticisms in too-strong terms. The exact same is true of the opposition, and here the polarity of houses and signs becomes paramount. Across the 2nd and the 8th there can be (for example) an idealistic attitude toward money (2nd) so that this person is overly reliant on others for financial support (8th). Across the 1st and 7th (or Aries and Libra polarity) idealism manifests in preconceptions about one’s independence, or one’s partner’s independence, thus putting strain on the marital relationship. Only with the trine or the sextile is there a convenience of ease. The native experiences a great deal of luck and good fortune for the most part, they are inherently generous (and this is true of all the aspects, albeit with differing results) and easily sympathetic and refined. The danger (as with any easy aspect) is that the ease is mistaken as a free-pass, no work is done and the good energy devolves into a dissolute credulity. The trine, perhaps more than any other combination can be taken advantage of time and again by others who have no scruples about taking advantage of Mr or Mrs easy-going. Once again, this is true of all the aspects, because Jupiter – Neptune is so innately kind and sympathetic they are all too prone to exploitation by the unprincipled and hard of heart, but the trine is so very forgiving that it takes far longer to learn where to draw the line. At least with the square the lessons are so uncomfortable and stressful that some measures are taken to filter out the con-men from the genuinely needy (at least after the first hundred or so hard-luck stories are told).

For the person with significant Jupiter – Neptune contacts, the best advice ought to be to simply recognise this innate tendency to non-materialism and idealism and work out a strategy for attending to the practicalities of this life such that once the wolf is kept from the door they might take a little ease and revel in the freedom of knowing that there is more to life than cars, houses and investment portfolios and all the other worthless nonsense that society exalts as meaningful and valuable.

For Jupiter – Neptune, the best things in life really are free.