The Magic Kingdom of Teddy, Chiron and the Fixed Star Facies

In “Iron John: A Book About Men“, Robert Bly relates an anecdote wherein a friend announced to Carl Jung that he had just won a promotion; Jung responded by saying “that’s terrible, but I’m sure if we all stick together then we’ll get through it,” and conversely, when the same friend announced that they had just lost their job, the eminent Swiss opened a bottle of wine to celebrate the wonderful news. Doesn’t that make you smile? Of course, funny or not, he was really onto something.

One of the concepts that mundane-physicians struggle most desperately with is the reality that everything is as it ought to be; nothing is wrong. How could anything be wrong? We are all exactly where we should be, experiencing exactly what we need to experience and in no discipline is this better demonstrated than in that of astrology.

Allow me to explain.

Astrology relates a map of experience. It is not a map accompanied by directions or imperatives, but, if you like, it is a map of the possible and it does not evaluate rightness or wrongness; rather it simply relates isness. It describes the terrain, the lanes and thoroughfares, the sinkholes and the stiles of your own metaphysical kingdom. You can travel wherever you choose, although you might not be aware of the choosing; rather it is like wandering aimlessly and finding yourself in some place unsought. The only possibility of incorrectness is in deciding that you would rather be somewhere different. The wanderer naturally declines inclines, the down-slope is unawares preferred to the toilsome slope, so to some extent, this principle explains how people become lost.

Regardless though, if astrology describes your inner terrain, there is no question that some are born in a Beirut and others in an Arcadia. It is possible that the bounds of nurture in your nativity are narrow and easily lost; akin to being born into an oasis before striking out into the trackless waste, or that you are born, like Mowgli, into an alien family that preserves you despite your differences, and your challenges are to come later. All things are possible, but, and crucially, we are not all created equal.

Stephen Arroyo wrote about this and it has stayed with me. You cannot judge all people and all efforts with an unwavering benchmark; there cannot be a finishing line in this sense because we are not all born into equal opportunity. It is madness to laud the winner if he was 80 yards closer to the tape than his next competitor at the start. This is astrology, this is why I do not complain, because my own terrain was unforgiving and it cannot be improved through the power of complaint.

So what of that?

I have just passed a dreadful anniversary. On September 17th last it was two years to the day since I last saw my son Joe, and my daughter Ella. They were 15 and 12 years old at the time, although now they are 17 and 14. At the time I was bewildered by their reluctance to communicate with me, my confusion muddled my responses to their rejection. I applied to the courts to try to forward my claim to be allowed to see my children, who of course I loved and missed enormously. I should not have to explain that, but inevitably, it is the kind of rejection which – as I have just said – muddles your responses.

I wrote to them, I texted them, I emailed them and I got no word of reply. Determining that their mother might be intercepting my messages I eventually wrote to them at their schools and almost immediately I received a letter from their mother’s solicitor warning me that if I continued to write to them at school she would take out an injunction forbidding me from contacting them by any means. I was still waiting for a court date so my solicitor recommended that I not rock the boat before the hearing. The wheels of British justice, at least for the unwealthy do move slowly and it was several weeks before we actually got to sit down with the CAFCASS officer. I stated my bewilderment that the children would not communicate with me and my wife explained, amid tears and considerable apparent distress that since our split I had not bothered to contact the children and so they had determined that I did not care about them and as a result they had arrived at a point where they did not love me any more.

They never wanted to see me again.

I was shocked: not so much by her apparent distress – a graduate of the prestigious Italia Conti school of acting and a Sun-Pluto to boot, she was operating well within her range at this stage – but rather by the CAFCASS officer’s apparent acceptance of her word, even though I had documentary evidence of the threats to which I had previously acquiesced. The verdict of the court? That I should be “allowed” to email my children no more than twice a week. Seven and a half months of legal process had given me the right to do what I already had the right to do, but had been coerced into not doing by my wife (and her Mars-Saturn-Pluto mother). I wrote, but of course I did not write twice a week. In my very first email I chatted to my son about how I was moving house. My wife responded by saying that she would be expecting more maintenance from me since I could afford to move home, I did not hear from my son ever again.

About 6 months later I found a post written by my son on his Internet page wherein he mocked his ‘bastard father’ for not even being able to comply with the court’s order that I write to him twice a week. The court of course had made no such order, but through a subtle twist of presentation it had been turned into a test that, since I did not know that this was how it had been portrayed, I had unwittingly failed. My son had concluded that therefore he was correct in his determination that I did not love him.

It has been insufferably painful, as any right thinking person would imagine. I went – overnight – from being a loving and loved father of two children to never seeing them again. Truly akin to a bereavement.

Of course, I have anger, and I struggle with that. I feel that I have been duped, manipulated and deliberately misled by my wife and her mother. They engaged in a process designed to alienate me from my children and they were successful in achieving that aim. But I cannot easily blame them because I understand the motive and I think they were both hurt when I left my wife. Without wishing to look as though I am justifying my actions, I would say that the damaged moral compass that can only point one in these spiteful directions is to blame, but inevitably, the possession of this dark capability was always at the heart of the breakdown of my marriage. I was habitually troubled by my wife’s family’s casual callousness and by her incipient controlling nature; I truly lasted as long as I could, and 20 years is not the endurance-span of an easy-quitter.

Naturally, I was embarrassed and confused, I could not understand how this could happen to me. Alice, my partner of today who is as gentle as my previous experience was not, has witnessed this undoing process first hand, and if not for her support and validation I think I would have ashamedly swept the whole sorry affair under the carpet simply because I was at a loss to adequately explain it. Then I found a book by Dr Richard Warshak and it was a revelation:

Your ex-spouse is badmouthing you to your children, perhaps even trying to turn them against you. If you handle the situation ineffectively, you could lose your children’s respect-or worse, lose contact with them. The conventional advice is to do nothing, but Dr. Richard Warshak is convinced that this approach is useless and only leaves parents feeling helpless. The damage to children can be considerable-particularly when warring parents enlist children as allies in the battle. “Divorce Poison” is the first book that offers specific advice to protect children from the results of their parents’ animosity. It details how to distinguish different types of criticism, how and why parents manipulate their children, how to detect these maneuvers, and how these practices damage children. Most important, it offers parents powerful strategies to preserve and rebuild loving relationships with their children.”

I discovered the book too late, because my wife’s work was done and I have had to accept that. Of course it was distressing to read about how the process worked and I could point to a carbon-copy process in the situation I had endured with my own children; it was all there.

I was disheartened though when Alice’s ex-husband began to accuse me of having abused my children. Of course, he did not mention the ‘abuse’ word, but he implied that there must be some sinister reason why my children would not communicate with me and he stated baldly that his children were not safe living in the same house as me. We next had to be interviewed at home by Social Services because of his concerns and he tells his children, my wonderful stepsons that I am a “bad man”, that I do “the work of the devil” and many other groundless and ridiculous “concerns” all carefully presented in the guise of the best interests of his children. The cycle of alienation continues. Accusations of implied abuse are one of the key manifestations of an alienation agenda. He wrote to Alice’s solicitor too accusing her of alienation: another clanger actually, because in the majority of cases, the first parent to make an accusation of alienation is the one perpetrating it. For my part I have been careful to only ever make positive and supportive statements to Alice’s boys about their father, because, unlike him, I understand the damage you do to a child’s psyche when you attack the role models that inform fundamental components of future identity. His attacks damage his own children far more than they do me.

But once again, while I cannot condone such behaviour, I do not blame him because in all of these stories of alienation there is a common component: me.

Somewhere in my astrology there is evidently a great deal of grief and pain around the issue of children.

I cannot begin to describe therefore the joy I felt when my son Teddy Dusters was born on August 30th this year. I love Alice’s children of course, but there are complex boundaries and restraints in these situations, these children are not mine and so I tread a fine line because I do not want to overstep an invisible mark and have to therefore field more accusations. I have had to defend myself against so many outrageous charges that it unfortunately makes me painfully aware of how an innocent remark might be (cynically) misinterpreted. Some accusations (like the “fact” that I am a violent heroin addict) are patently ludicrous, but others – like my deliberate abandonment of my children are more insidious. I pay the same amount in child maintenance to my children that I have not seen or even heard from for two years as Alice’s ex-husband does for his children that he sees every second week, but somehow, I am irresponsible, abusive and sinister. Of course, anyone that knows me literally laughs – often explosively, such is the dissonance – when I relay these ‘concerns’ but they become a great deal more threatening when presented to court officers and social workers who have no personal experience of the kind of person that I truly am. So with respect to my own feelings, there is a certain care that I need to exercise in my relationships with these boys who are not mine. Once again, though, it’s harder on them than it is on me, because they do not want such guardedness in their relationship with me. And what hopeful child would?

So, at last, and through all the anguished preamble, I find myself able to enjoy a relationship with my new son, without any requirement for restraint. With the beautiful Teddy there are no agendas, no distortions, no pound of flesh to be delivered, no Shylock greedily licking his lips in anticipation of my torment. It is like walking unencumbered. Here at last, I thought, there would need to be no pain.

Something is not right with Teddy. Alice noticed it a while ago, his eyes wander back and forth, back and forth ceaselessly. He wakes in the morning and his eyes begin their wandering and he becomes agitated, and only a word will calm him. He cries and can only be consoled with physical contact. He does not make eye contact, does not follow movements; his eyes simply move, back and forth, back and forth.

I have a terrible fear that Teddy is blind.

We took him to the doctor and explained. She examined him and nodded gravely. She chose her words carefully, with that guarded seriousness that does not want to proffer or quash hope, “I think we’d better get somebody to have a look at him” she said. We now have to wait for an appointment with a child opthalmologist and we don’t know how long it will take.

Whenever I see my marvellous, amazing, gentle son my heart is squeezed and wrenched with the most powerful, deep and rich concoction of feeling that I cannot even hope to convey. He smiles, but only when he hears the voice of his Mummy or his Daddy and now, faced with this possibility I cannot look at him without this profound rush of heat that engulfs my chest and rushes out to every limb; it is the fiercest, most protective, anguished love. I cannot – if our worst fears are realised – afford to feel sorry for him because I do not want him to have that identity for himself, but I also cannot separate this wish to shield and sustain and support from the rolling, wrenching anguish of having lost my children in the past. There is nothing but pain in this, even if the pain and love are an inseparable potion that infuses me with tremendous protective power; it wrings my heart to its very core and leaves me desperate, hopeful, afraid, crushed and grateful. How can I possibly feel all of those things? I am glad too, glad because whatever he is, it is simply what he is; it is the terrain of his own inner kingdom and how can it be wrong? I simply don’t have the luxury to be able to feel that as a wrongness.

Nothing is wrong with Teddy, he is perfect.

He will always be perfect, whether or not he can see, and naturally, we will maintain the faith that he will be fine and perfectly sighted.

Teddy has the best astrology of anyone that I have ever seen. A fabulously dignified Saturn in Libra sits exactly on the Ascendant and I understand precisely the implication; it is a dignified isolation. The senses so frequently fail with Saturn rising, especially where there is considerable exaltation. I have seen this a few times in the past, and it is a tough message to convey to somebody who is concerned by their dimming apprehension of their environment (which is the very exact sensation of Saturn on the Ascendant of course). In my own nativity I have often pondered Hygeia, the focus of a tee-square (from Sun-Saturn: inherited limitations) conjunct the fixed star Facies, which is the nebula in the face of the Archer; therefore in the constellation Sagittarius but falling at around 8 Capricorn for the purpose of alignment. All nebulae are traditionally linked to the eyes and blindness, primarily because a test of good eyesight in the Roman army was to be able to see that a star was not one but a cluster, and Hygeia in the 3rd focusing both Sun and Saturn does tell a very specific story. My father (Sun-Saturn) gradually lost his eyesight (Facies) too, so that the last few years of his everyday life (3rd house) were made difficult due to his health (Hygeia), to say the least. He did not complain in the slightest, recognising I think that his terrain was difficult and that it could not be improved by the power of complaint, and he responded only by drinking with greater determination and revelling that much more in gentle conversation; quite unsurprisingly.

Remarkable (and yet quite unsurprising) how the same terrain features keep making themselves felt is it not? It is not so much deja-vu as a sense that I have crossed this bridge before, but when I was younger I had no idea where it would lead me. Now at least I have a dim recollection of this vista that will unfold when I reach the other side. It will very likely look like Chiron in Pisces in the 5th opposed by a Virgo Uranus in the 11th. Most of my pain through children has manifested as a result of other people’s ability to rationalise their dispassionate criticisms of me, whether they are true or not – and with Pisces involved, truth is easily distorted through the perfectionist lens of Neptune. My Chiron is conjunct Atropos too, so in a very real sense, things fall apart. That is my kingdom.

Teddy has a grand trine of Sun – Moon (how glorious is that?!) and North Node conjunct the fixed star Facies! And of course, I timed his birth with astonishing precision; he was born in our kitchen, with Juno, our little feisty terrier looking on bewildered and North Node for Teddy is in a 5 minute conjunction with Imum Coeli; it is rather astonishing. His Ascendant is conjunct Vesta and he was born a single pace from the kitchen hearth, where the wood stove burned brightly. I hope and pray that he will see, but what I take comfort from is the message that he will not be especially vulnerable if he cannot, because his parents, and the people of his wider community will always protect him.

And that will be true regardless of how well he can see, because it is mapped in his own magical, marvellous inner kingdom.

And for me?

It is not wrong.

The Power of the Witness

Today I would like to focus on an issue highlighted by several comments and questions that I have received on this journal and by email.  Here are two example questions which illustrate the broad principle I should like to expand upon:

Jacque asks in response to Advanced Vulcanology: aspects of Pluto: “I have Sun trine Pluto, Mars trine Pluto and Mercury trine Pluto.  Ppl find me intense, angry, stubborn.  I can also be obsessive, compulsive about certain things n ppl.

My question is: when you speak about transformation, what do you mean?  How do we transform these energies to help us in our lives and relationships instead of it deteriorating into power struggles and people we love leaving us because they cannot handle our demands, which are draining to them.  Please answer.  This has turned into a great issue for me and I am having a crisis bcoz someone very important to me has left me and I did not even know that the relationship was draining them to that extent .”

In a similar vein, Rachel asks: “I want my Chirotic Awakening now! Is there any way to spur this awakening along, or to call it forth or something?

While both these questions are motivated by differing struggles, life conditions, and indeed, planets, there is no question that they deal with the issue of personal transformation and while the process operates in a different manner for each, the objective is precisely the same. I have dealt with these themes in the past, and two articles spring immediately to mind, in the case of Chiron please refer to The Chirotic Awakening and for Pluto try Pluto and the Personal Planets Revisited, both of these intimate some of the qualities of the specific transits of these profound bodies.

If we raise our perspective just slightly, we can apprehend a phenomenon known as the Observer or Witness. This is an awareness that is beyond our subjective perception of life and circumstance. Now, people will argue that objectivity is impossible, and there are countless treatises in psychology texts and journals which would support such a conclusion, however, objectivity is really only mindfulness, which is a quality of awareness which can be actively cultivated through meditation. It is at the heart of the Buddha’s assertion that “meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance.” If you sit quietly, and this is but a moment’s work, and place your awareness slightly above you and to the right, you will perceive yourself objectively. It is a rather sublime trick and it takes practise, this resulting presence is called the Observer or the Witness. It is a very peaceful practise which promotes objectivity – albeit in small phases – but which eventually transmutes into mindfulness, that being a habit of self-possession (as distinct from formality, which is to mindfulness as pride is to confidence). It is mindfulness which is the greatest tool at our disposal in the ongoing struggle to transmute our astrology into a valuable, edifying  journey, rather than a static imperative.

Pluto is himself the arbiter of this new superpower of humankind, and – if I may quote myself – we owe him a debt of gratitude in this respect: “We do not wake up to the complex and far-distant archetypes easily. I see how completely Pluto has made his presence felt in human life of course, but it was not always so. The Wall Street crash of 1929 (financial wipeout) heralded his arrival, and the creation of an atomic bomb followed quickly, but it has taken a great deal of development to realise the transformative potential of Hades. What is truly wonderful is the understanding that with Pluto’s discovery our very beings were invested with a transformative potential! Previously, our astrology was fixed, now we are all waking up to the power to transform! Such a great gift was not even available to our great-grandparents, they were more or less cursed by the stars (or blessed of course), but now, if we are prepared to take the journey into the underworld (which is the monomyth as described by Joseph Campbell), then we can emerge, like Theseus from the labyrinth, one step nearer to our soul’s objective: Solar self-fulfilment. What a profound gift, and that too is Pluto of course: a gift beyond wealth!

Plutonic transformations are incredibly painful and difficult, but I have seen them occur in those people around me too often to deny their feasibility. I do not discount the probability that the immediacy of astrological insight, applied with a healer’s incentive (and occasionally more bluntly) has pushed people and situations to the point of catharsis, triggering remarkable immolations and Phoenix-like rebirths of the spirit. Sad to say, very much more often I have seen Plutonic processes run unchecked into destructive power-struggles, control contests and various forms of bullying, manipulation and outright malice; so these are not matters to take lightly, however, the process is a necessary facet of the new human paradigm, so we must embrace the risk (feel the fear and do it anyway), because otherwise we will not grow in wisdom, strength or character, and most importantly, we will not understand how to love.

There is nothing more tragic in my view than seeing a person in their 60′s who does not understand how to love. I would not curse anyone with that crushing burden of spirit, but the world is populated with these lost souls, shuffling blithely to physical oblivion, but already long dead in their hearts.

So what to do?

Attend to your own journey, because you cannot force change on anyone else and to attempt to do so is to misuse your power, and misused power has implications for the heart in particular. Unlovingness always manifests in the heart. I was born with a hole in my heart, I had to be resuscitated three times as a baby, the priest was called to give the last rites and that tallies with the experience of my own journey, I have had to learn how to love, and to one extent or another, we all have that challenge to face. You cannot force anyone else to change, but you can change yourself, especially with the path marked out by astrology, and that transformation will push those around you to catharsis, without coercion.

Each major transit, progression, direction represents an opportunity to transmute your soul. This perspective is crucial, it is no good feeling hard done by, or blaming: these are childish reactions to our own imperatives: nobody made your life but you, it was mapped in tenor at least the moment you took your first breath, so where is the blame? If somebody deserts you it is because it is what your soul required, not proof of their innate wrongness. If somebody steals from you then it is marked in both your destinies, thief and victim of theft: by all means pursue justice, but not vengeance. Ask the Witness for the appropriate response and you will find your way.

Now, each planet has its modus operandi. If you can familiarise yourself with the sense impression of each then you will be gifted with a remarkable diagnostic tool; broadly – and I could write vast tracts on each of the following, so be generous with your impressions – the outer planets operate on the personal planets in the following ways:

Uranus: A sense of brittleness, rationalising, justifying, being cold, unemotional, abrupt, making hasty, sudden or contrary decisions. Distancing is a common Uranian tactic, becoming remote, feeling alien, misunderstood, separate, outcast, unwanted, these are the sense impressions that arise when Uranus is operating on your personal placements.

Neptune: The Sea-King always evokes a sense of yearning, either positive – which manifests as a dreamy reverie, or negative – which usually entails disappointment. Wishing things were different, feeling defeated, wanting to curl up, go to sleep, wishing yourself dead, in any way at all wanting to escape, disappear, avoid reality, all these are hallmarks of Neptune’s passing. Being confused, evasive, hard to pin down, feeling victimised, wanting to give up or surrender, becoming exhausted with it all, not understanding others’ motives and actually not wanting to believe that they could be so hard, incompassionate and controlling, these are all Neptunian responses to conflict and struggle.

Pluto: The great leveler, He seems to make our strongest convictions into his playthings and he dares us to up the ante time and again, until one day we discover that we pushed too far and lost it all. Pluto evokes feelings of grainy, filmy discomfort. His influence is always slightly unwholesome, as though something pornographic has entered your aura and tainted the situation. Nobody emerges from a Plutonic situation feeling clean or refreshed: indeed, whatever is the diametric opposite of refreshing and cleansing is Plutonic pressure. If you can learn to feel that sensation then you have a very precise warning klaxon o give you advance notice of lose-lose situations. What do you do when a Plutonic confrontation is on the cards? You disengage, get out, create distance, as much as possible, because Pluto can only wreak havoc in a power struggle and refusing to fight is the best way to fulfil the dual objectives of not fighting back and not getting steamrollered at the same time. Be like a guerilla army, become evasive, Neptune is Hades’ brother, and equally mighty. The sea absorbs, it cannot be held or contained, it is not rigid; you cannot smash it. Plutonic people in overdrive are ten a penny just now, so evade, fence them off. Do you know that when a mortal was struck by Zeus’ thunderbolts they could not be buried amid the general population, they had to be buried apart, fenced off, and nothing would grow there! (There’s an Anunaki theory if ever you heard one). The same approach should be taken with Plutonic people and situations – especially at this time: fence them off! Do not engage! Once you learn this method the situations and people are easy to spot. Covert manipulation and aggression are the advance guard, (here is a fabulous book for spotting and calling out the Plutonians in your life incidentally) and normally they will project Pluto, accusing you of being a control freak, all as a cover for their own deep-seated control needs, but be careful, are you quite sure you’re not trying to control the situation? Invoke the witness and see what’s really going on.

Chiron: Here the major sensations are all about a lack of confidence, insecurity, sensitivity and defensiveness. Chiron’s sign placement is much more pertinent than it is for the outer planets as a rule; so in Pisces, victimisation is a theme, Aries, feeling insignificant and unworthy and  so forth. The sign and house of Chiron is very much the area of life that we don’t want to take a stand over, so we might evade the confrontation (Pisces), or come out heavy, all guns blazing so that our opponent simply thinks it isn’t worth it, or conversely being a complete doormat (Aries). Ultimately, Chiron operates in this exact way, making us so uncomfortable with a given situation or theme that we do almost anything to avoid dealing with it. The situation here is complicated for many by the ongoing oppositions between Uranus and Chiron through much of the latter part of the 20th Century. The oscillation between the Uranian and Chirotic manifestations of distress can be quite debilitating, which gives rise to a tendency to rationalise your pain, to distance yourself from it but to experience sudden and abrupt woundings, and equally unheralded healing insights. For those born in the late 1960′s with all the outer planets in a complicated and interconnected matrix (Uranus conjunct Pluto, opposition Chiron, trine Neptune, sextile Ur/Pl) the situation becomes highly charged, any planet in the mix being activated invokes all the others, especially by major transit.

These sensations and experiential modes are therefore our teachers and if we can listen to them we gradually begin to develop a measure of self-awareness which in turn, gives us a certain power of transcendence. We subtly rise above our astrology which results in greater self-possession, poise and calm.

This then is the key to transformation. To become aware of ourselves and to learn to hold our compulsive, unmanaged and unmoderated innate behaviours in check whilst at the same time to learn to recognise those behaviours in others so that we can minimise the damage that they do to us, gently, using whatever non-aggressive paradigm suits the archetypal drivers of the situation. If we are confronted with Uranus’ aloofness in another, be open, be immediate, try not to be upset by the distance and the coldness, it’s nothing personal, just self-protection. If Neptune is at play, be precise. Don’t let the situation run amok, but rather try to focus on each point or bone of contention and thrash it out (but gently) so that confusion is not allowed to hold sway. Uranus is a great antidote to Neptune! If Pluto prevails, look to Neptune: don’t make yourself an easy target and the best way to achieve that with Pluto is in trying to counter-control. Instead, make yourself scarce, a missing puppet cannot have its strings pulled! If you cannot escape from the confrontation, your best recourse is to simply weather the storm, the less said the better. The Plutonic fires cannot rage without adequate fuel. If Chiron is involved, then (and this is difficult) take it. Don’t fight back, don’t resist, the nub lies in our sensitivity to wounding not in anyone else’s power to wound us. Does that make sense? Their power over us is a phantom if we do not give it dignity with our sensitivity, shame or fear.

And of course, it cannot be the work of a day. Transformation is the work of a lifetime, and it all begins with the Witness.

Chiron in Taurus through the houses, part 1

I apologise for the long absence from writing articles, I have been putting the majority of my energy into writing my book, which is progressing well. Today, due to popular demand, I am going to start looking at the principles of Chiron in Taurus through the houses, which will form a total of four separate articles.

In the most earthy of the signs, Chiron represents the pain of insecurity which manifests into woundedness about the material aspect of Venus. Money, possessions, body image, food, comfort and good living are all configured in this placement. The emphasis in any case is upon all these matters as they affect the sense of being safe in the world, being able to trust the Universe and feel loved in the context of a physical life. Taurus is intractable too, so clinging on to people, situations and possessions is a key trait of this placement, out of fear of losing the security that has been accrued through them. An unquestioning adherence to tradition is another factor, even though with time and self-development, it answers the conundrum of Chiron less and less, until those rituals become empty and effectively meaningless. The hallmark of a struggling Chiron in Taurus is a gradually encroaching suspicion that the material cannot provide the security that is required by the human heart. On a very mundane level, Chiron in Taurus worries about money even when there is plenty of it available.

Chiron in Taurus rising can challenge traditional dress codes

Chiron in Taurus rising can challenge traditional dress codes

1st House: Here the appearance becomes tied into themes of security, and it might manifest as an obsession with being too stout or an over-reliance on wearing clothes of sufficient quality and value. Designer labels are an easy out for Chiron in Taurus here, since they intimate these characteristics which soothes the ‘wound of image’. Another manifestation might be a requirement to adhere to, or alternately to reject, traditional clothing styles. An example of this latter embodiment of Chiron would be Serena Williams who is renowned both for her unconventional fashion choices during tennis tournaments and who also has her own designer clothes brand ‘Anares’. With Chiron rising in Taurus, the effects are easy to isolate, but the cause is – as always – a sense of deep insecurity: about body image or financial security.

At another level entirely, consider the nativityof Che Guevara, who grew up in a privileged middle-class household in Rosario, Argentina. When he ventured out into the wider world of South America, he was dismayed and motivated by the crushing poverty he witnessed in the remote rural areas of Peru, where peasant farmers worked small plots of land owned by wealthy landlords. The journey became a formative factor in his burgeoning Marxist philosophy which he told to compelling effect in The Motorcycle Diaries. He visited a leper colony during the course of this odyssey and remarked that “the highest forms of human solidarity and loyalty arise among such lonely and desperate people” and this became a major component of his subsequent life philosophy; through his travels of Latin America, he came in “close contact with poverty, hunger and disease” along with the “inability to treat a child because of lack of money” and “stupefaction provoked by the continual hunger and punishment” that leads a father to “accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident.” The pain of poverty might well be a higher-octave expression of this placement. Guevara was killed by a gunshot wound to the throat, aged 39.

2nd House: This is a double dose of Taurus energy, so the effect of Chiron allied with Venus ought to be especially compelling. The pain of materialism and security is here most relevant and no better example can be found than Johnny Cash, a man who, despite selling over 50 million records during his long and stratospherically successful career, never forgot that he was the son of poor cotton farmers, and these early experiences coloured his outlook irrevocably. In 1944, His older brother, Jack, was pulled into a whirling table saw in the mill where he worked, and cut almost in two. He suffered for over a week before he died. Cash often spoke of the horrible guilt he felt over this incident. According to Cash: The Autobiography, his father was away that morning, but he and his mother, and Jack himself, all had premonitions or a sense of foreboding about that day, causing his mother to urge Jack to skip work and go fishing with his brother. Jack insisted on working, as the family needed the money.Consider also the lyrics to A Satisfied Mind, which ought to be an anthem for Chiron in Taurus and the potential for transforming the wound of Chiron into a gift:

How many times have
You heard someone say
If I had his money
I could do things my way

But little they know
That it’s so hard to find
One rich man in ten
With a satisfied mind

Once I was waitin’
In fortune and fame
Everything that I dreamed for
To get a start in life’s game

Then suddenly it happened
I lost every dime
But I’m richer by far
With a satisfied mind

Money can’t buy back
Your youth when you’re old
Or a friend when you’re lonely
Or a love that’s grown cold

The wealthiest person
Is a pauper at times
Compared to the man
With a satisfied mind

When my life has ended
And my time has run out
My friends and my loved ones
I’ll leave there’s no doubt

But one thing’s for certain
When it comes my time
I’ll leave this old world
With a satisfied mind

How many times have
You heard someone say
If I had his money
I could do things my way

But little they know
That it’s so hard to find
One rich man in ten
With a satisfied mind

When invited to perform at the White House for the first time in 1972, President Richard Nixon’s office requested that he play “Welfare Cadillac” (a Guy Drake song that derides the integrity of welfare recipients) and it was reported that Cash refused to play the song because he apparently considered its standpoint to be morally reprehensible.

3rd House: Here is a placement that suggests one’s intellect, education and learning path was crimped, restricted or failed to reach its proper potential due to material constraints. A person whose working class background denied them access to a good standard of education would be typical of this placement, or somebody who was forced to leave school early because of the need to go out and get a job. With the 3rd house, siblings may have used up the family resources and I have known people with this placement who endured a “brighter” brother or sister being sent to a private school while they had to endure the less exacting (and free) alternative. More broadly, it can also represent an ongoing state of insecurity about one’s mental capability, effectiveness in communication, speech, literacy, numeracy and so forth. Alicia Silverstone who has this placement for example, did not complete her high school studies and gained no formal qualifications. It’s an odds-on bet that she’s sensitive about the issue too. The Plain English Campaign awarded her the annual Foot in Mouth Award in 2000 for her ‘baffling verbal statement’, “I think that Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it is true lightness,” and at the same time she evidently does have insecurity (Ch/Ta) about her communication (3rd); she once said: “My boyfriend calls me ‘princess’, but I think of myself more along the lines of ‘monkey’ and ‘retard’” Intriguingly, she is a fluent French speaker also. Alicia left school to pursue a lucrative acting career…

To be continued…

A Sea Change on the Horizon?


For many months now I have been watching the future. Inevitably this is a key concern of the astrologer, the Uranian, the Aquarian, the 11th house individual, but actually, this coming month there is an astrological event of staggering magnitude in the making.

So far as I can work out, 27th of May will be a day of great importance in the destiny of this world.

Of course, better astrologers than I have come unstuck through making such bold proclamations and I do not wish to characterise this “happening” as having any profoundly calamitous or dramatic overtones, indeed, the nature of it all suggests that it may be much more subtle than we at first understand and of course, to pinpoint a day is also a little presumptuous, since this is only the point of greatest intensity, but I am getting ahead of myself.

The event: in astrological terms at least, is a super-conjunction of Jupiter with Neptune and Chiron within a 15 minute orb of 26° Aquarius.

Below is the chart for the evening of 27th May, at five past nine in the evening here in the UK. I have looked at this in numerous ways most especially regarding house systems. I have experimented with putting the stellium on the 1st to judge its expression, using an arbitrary point in space, and placing the Sun on the 1st too in the tradition of daily horoscope writers, but in the end I have decided upon a simple 0° Aries configuration: it is the birth point into consciousness and form and this I believe will give the easiest route to interpretation.

Before I begin to explore the scenarios it might be as well to talk about generalisations. Jupiter – Neptune contacts speak to spiritual philosophy, non-materialism, matters of faith and religion, disappointed hopes, idealism, speculation and financial wipeout. Neptunian affairs are expanded and Jupiterian concerns are dissolved or transcended. Chiron enters the fray and themes of wounding and healing are highlighted, but these are humanity’s wounds and the effects are undoubtedly global.

One way of getting a flavour of the contacts is to look at what was going on the last time these contacts were made. Jupiter was conjunct Chiron in 1990, just days before Iraq invaded Kuwait and today, mere days before the next contact the UK is pulling its troops out of Iraq. Is this the end of the Iraq problem? Consider that the last time that Neptune was conjunct both Jupiter and Chiron was in September 1945, within a day of the end of the second world war and at the end of that set of contacts, the United Nations was formed

Before that, the last time the same superconjunction occurred was in the summer of 1881 when Britain signed the Pretoria treaty which ended the Boer war, within 3 days of the closest contact between Ju/Ne/Ch. The cessation of wars therefore appears to be a theme of the great conjunction of these planetary superpowers with the rogue comet Chiron.


There are an enormous number of potentials here and it would be best to start with the most obvious, and possibly the most unattractive.

Scenario One: Global Pandemic

Jupiter conjunct Neptune conjunct Chiron. Here Jupiter expands Neptunian energy and attaches a measure of pain to the result, pain which is itself magnified. Poseidon (Neptune) was called “worldshaker” by the Greeks and with the Aquarius and 11th house influence this could certainly be an issue which affects the whole of humanity. With Pandora configured too it could also be of case of something having “got out”, and in the absence of any concrete measures being mooted, hope appears to be the last commodity available.

Sun and Saturn are peregrine. Authority and societal structures are out of the picture and with Saturn overexpressed in Virgo (and note: the exact midpoint of Virgo) and Sun in Gemini there are themes of communication breakdowns and health problems. Pluto is on the midheaven and in Capricorn, so change is afoot, and the usual structures do not hold. Sun is also in partile square to Ceres (not a minute out) which again suggests a real vitality problem, sickness even.

Moon and Mars are strong, Moon is in her sign, in hayz and at the midpoint of the Sun – Ceres square with the Sun too at the midpoint of the Moon – Venus square, a need to protect loved ones and family then. Chiron is exactly square Algol whose ancient imagery is of piled up corpses. Proserpina squares the stellium too, so loved ones may be taken down to the underworld and Neptune is stationary at this exact moment too.

The imagery of Neptune is interesting in this context. Neptune has of course long been associated with sickness and far more than Pluto is an impersonal force of devastation. Pluto actually represents an intensely personal confrontation with the Underworld, Neptune is the maker of sickness and has a much broader and less individual reach. It should be noted too that regardless of the broad trends indicated by this point in time that the event-mapping of the moment is somewhat uncomfortable to contemplate. Pl=Ve/Sa suggests transient states of chaos, the halfsum involves Venus in Aries (thus representing the physical body via the 1st) and Saturn in Virgo and the 6th: health. Thus, chaotic and confusing conditions relating to physical health. Then consider the darkly foreboding implications of Ne =  Ma/Ur = Ve/Pl! Fainting fits, raving madness and incredible fear combined with immoral and desperate behaviour.

Scenario Two: Global Financial Collapse

This was my original opinion and I have held this particular view for more than a year now. It appears to hold true as well, at least thus far. Global conflict is, in these latter days, increasingly economic, sanctions have replaced gunboats, but more widely I do believe that this theme bears out, even mundanely. In all cases of the previous conjunctions of this type it would appear that idealism wins out after a sustained period of pain and wounding. At this time Uranus transits the midpoint of Mars – Jupiter and Mars – Neptune from the 12th house. This suggests sudden plans being formed to combat sudden crisis conditions in business institutions, and as Uranus rules the stellium in Aquarius it is a decision taken by a hidden group; the ruler is well aspected however, so I am not especially pessimistic. A world currency? This possibility has been on my thoughts for longer than I care to mention. I do have grave misgivings about this as a concept and it could only probably be put into place if a profound financial crisis were in evidence (whether it had been manufactured or not). This last factor is echoed by the square to Mercury in Taurus: an enormous financial lie (Me sq. Ju/Ne from Taurus and the 2nd).

Scenario Three: A Spiritual Forward Step

Events of this type are invariably precursors to major shifts in thinking. In 1534, when Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron were all conjunct Martin Luther translated the bible into German for the first time and the Church of England became a functioning entity through Henry VIII’s first Supremacy Act. In 1945 the United Nations was formed. These are cohesive events which create a sense of higher purpose that can be shared by all people and crucially, which offer a sense of unity and a glimpse of a more enlightened future.

Most intriguingly in my view however, The stellium occurs on the astrologers’ degree of Aquarius. This is a profoundly sensitised point in the internal dialogue of astrology and it creates quite a buzz across the polarity to the 27th degree of Leo. Unquestionably this will up the ante for the world of astrology, even if not overtly.

The Sabian is delightful too:

An Ancient Pottery Bowl Filled with Violets.
This is a symbol of the permanence or changelessness of the real as an ultimate assurance to the human heart. No matter how many shifting forms the face of life may present to man, there are always the surviving tokens of an enduring stability on which the ephemeral and the superficial are unable to make any impact. Where there is replacement of substance and variety of structure there is also an over-all continuance of meaning and identity in which self may anchor itself. The keyword is TRADITION. When positive, the degree is a high realisation of values and a real gift of using them, and when negative, a loss of self in conventionality and its meaningless trappings.

In my heart of hearts I believe that we are all faced with a choice in this life and at no time has the urgency of the withering dichotomy that is the  collision of material and spiritual values been so apparent. This degree tells us that it is time to get real about our values. We as individuals do not have to hide our lights under the bushel of shame that has been handed down to us by those with no universal – only selfish – conviction. I for one refuse to be ashamed of those tenets I hold dear. I am here to help people and I do not want to be enslaved into the empty material trappings that are the garb of those who have not dared to believe in anything more. What of it if I go to my demise destitute? The rationalised avarice of our times is built upon a pyramid of parasitism that I simply cannot tolerate as a life philosophy. I want none of it, it sickens me, although not with an angry disgust, but just through proximity to the unclean and the poisonous. If life can be better, lived to a higher ideal then I want to aspire to that possibility, and if it cannot, then at the very least I do not have to be dragged down by it daily, again and again.

It’s actually very simple, but it takes a peculiar and rather detached view of your own place in this world to realise it.

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.

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?)

The elusive astrology of yearning and the Venus Neptune halfsum

Today I would like to discuss a somewhat more subtle insight of the astrology; one which really questions the tendency to try and break down the experience of interpretation in a clearly Virgoan manner; this as much as anything else creates (for myself) a sense that Mercury cannot approach the astrologer’s craft fully, and certainly in isolation it is not enough to think it. The same can be said for Uranus, which, though subject to sudden inspirations is entirely too scientific. The astrology is a glyph; there is no sense treating it as a collection of aspects and placements any more than you can treat a forest as a collection of trees, if you understand one tree it does not tell you much about the forest really, except that one component of it has this specific quality. By standing on a high mountain though, and viewing the forest in its entirety, you can gain a sense of its place in the wider vista of the landscape: this is the profound grasp of the art, and certainly once you have that, you might wish to venture under those shady boughs and run your hands over the bark and breathe in the scent of those dappled glades. Mmmmm….

Today then I want to consider the halfsum of Venus and Neptune, because it is a profoundly important point in the astrology, and one that is rarely discussed. Halfsums (or midpoints if you prefer) are negelected on the whole, and many of them are (in my view) only incidentally intriguing, but there are a few which have especial significance. Foremost among these are the halfsums of Sun and Moon (marriage), Venus and Mars (passion) and Saturn and Uranus (the impulse to awakening compassion via tension, the Chirotic point). Perhaps more than any of these though, I find the Venus and Neptune halfsum to be profoundly insightful.

When we consider that Neptune is the higher vibration of Venus, then the marriage of the two is always going to be significant and potent in some way, whether by transit, progression or just by natal aspect. The midpoint however defines a third point in the astrology that is not one or the other, but the gateway between the two energies, thus it is the spring from which divine love, transcendent love and thus true spiritual love can flow. It is dreamy, romantic in an ideal, rather than a very personal way and too it is tempered by a certain inevitability toward disappointment, at least until the compassion is activated. Of course I know a great deal about this point because in my own astrology my Sun is placed within 4 minutes of the Venus Neptune halfsum and this is where I wish to begin, by examining specific planetary placements at the halfsum of Venus and Neptune, and importantly only those based upon a 360 degree modulus. Uranian astrologers will have it that a 90 degree, or even a 45 degree modulus is significant – and it is, but with each division the effect is weakened, thus I wish to concentrate on the full circle only.

Su=Ve/Ne (within 1 degree at 360 degree modulus)

Su=Ve/Ne (within 1 degree at 360 degree modulus)

Traditionally then the conjunction, or mundane blend of Venus with Neptune creates an inclination to mysticism, a romantic ambience and a distinctly artistic outlook; physiologically too it creates a very sensitive nervous system and the harsher realities of life are for these people often the trigger to various psychosomatic and nervous disorders. The midpoint contains all of these qualities, and if you observe transits by conjunction to the halfsum carefully you will see how these key qualities are moderated by the nature of the applied vibration. Thus:

Sun: Captain William Bligh certainly evinced a self-aware (Sun) love (Venus) of the sea (Neptune) but of course his story ended bitterly and in disappointment after the infamous mutiny on the Bounty. Derek Jacobi is an actor who evinces a rather ideal and dreamy quality despite his propensity for forthright roles and certainly Barbara Cartland is well known for exalting the theme of romantic love in her life and work. As for Guy Pearce, who is something of an astrological doppelgänger of mine having been born within a few hours and a few miles of myself) you only need watch Memento to get a real feeling for how this midpoint is expressed in his work. Sun placed here creates a romantic disposition, a difficulty with reality – which is clearly evident in Bligh’s story and which is also clearly the fuel for much of Cartland’s actual work – as well as a peculiar sense of yearning for a very refined state of divine insight. I can attest to all of that. These feelings will be evinced whenever transiting Sun conjuncts this specific point in the astrology.

Marc Edmund Jones

Marc Edmund Jones

Moon: One example only of this rather personal experiential point, because it creates a serious tendency to fluctuating emotions, in women it creates a tendency to romantic dissatisfaction, and in a man the tendency to marry such a woman. The great Marc Edmund Jones held this particular configuration, and the formulation of the Sabians is nothing short of a homage to the power of spiritualised love for the art of astrology. The specific placement for Jones was Moon in Leo in the 10th (thus a profession which brings him to the attention of the public), although most intriguingly of all Jones’ halfsum falls at the exact midpoint of Moon and Saturn also (Moon at 15, Ve/Ne at 16, and Saturn at 17 of Leo), thus it is an extremely potent point; Saturn at the halfsum (as we shall see) creates considerable shyness in love and a difficulty in expressing these more refined feelings of love, but of course Jones’ Sabian Symbols are a wonderful example of an attempt to systematise (Saturn) his love of spiritualism, and he developed them in tandem with Elsie Wheeler, who was herself a woman with a physical disability (Moon conjunct Saturn) since she was crippled as a child and confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of her natural life; she was also reckoned to be an extremely powerful psychic; all of these themes, of Venus and Neptune falling onto Moon conjunct Saturn are in evidence. In general, Moon’s transits to the Ve/Ne halfsum will evince a sense of fluctuating feelings, the possibility of being misled by others: especially women although it ought to be a significant point in the astrology for those who are comfortable living from the feminine.

Mercury: Only one example here, and fittingly, it is the author Michael Crichton, who certainly has the ability to reach a large audience with his flights of romantic imagination (and anyone who wants to claim that he doesn’t write romance novels is clearly missing one of the fundamental understandings of literature).

Mars: Here then there is ability to act upon the love nature, it expresses amorousness and also a slight tendency to sexual aberration, because it creates a peculiar yearning (Ve/Ne) for sex (Mars). Rock Hudson, Robert Kennedy, Oliver Stone, the director of Roman Holiday William Wyler and the astrologer Liz Greene all share this particular placement.

Jupiter on the halfsum makes a diva...

Jupiter on the halfsum makes a diva...

Jupiter: Here the transcendent love nature is expanded and given an element of healthy goodness, in keeping with all Jovian influences; it might also make you rich, if you can tune into the big energy on offer. Kylie has this exact configuration, as does Michael J. Fox (which might expand the disintegrative force when considered in tandem with Chiron rising is Pisces),  Susan Sarandon, Emmeline Pankhurst (a philosophy of feminine exaltation) and the respected astrological writer Stephen Arroyo.

Saturn: As already considered in the case of Marc Edmund Jones, here the higher love nature is felt to be restricted and cabined; it will still be evident, but here it becomes a burden or a responsibility or it is subjectively felt to be. Kevin Costner and Robin Williams share this placement with Jones.

Uranus: I find no instances of Uranus on the midpoint except in two of my personal clients (both of whom are related as Aunt and Nephew incidentally). My feeling though is that in keeping with Uranian energy and all things Aquarius, it is a position which defies identification. No doubt unusual ideas about divine love, peculiar yearnings and a tendency to sudden upsets in love and a longing for very unique romantic attachments ought all to be in evidence. There may be genius for expressing the joy of divinity in the life also.

Pluto: The composer Erik Satie, Ronald Isley (of the Isley Brothers) Candice Bergen and Omar Sharif all add Plutonic intensity to this very sensitive midpoint and no doubt their love nature is singularly intense and mildly overpowering. Here there is a hint of renunciation (Pluto requires transformation) which will be undoubtedly painful and difficult simply because of the breaking up, breaking apart and the rebirth that is compelled out of Plutonic compulsion. If you find Pluto here by transit then you are likely to find yourself transforming your closest attachments as a result, trying to transcend personal attachments or simply to get shot of them once and for all.

So, what does the midpoint look like?! This has to be intriguing and we can get an idea by finding Ve/Ne=Asc, and I find only two in all of my files: that of Uma Thurman and my wife. And if you want to know what it sounds like, then listen to Janis Joplin, who evinces Ve/Ne=MC, while one person who expresses the midpoint most competently is Katharine Hepburn, with Ve/Ne=Pallas.

Help and insight relating to the Venus Neptune halfsum and many other issues in the astrology can be found here.

The Chirotic Awakening

Kerrie asked: “I’m wondering if you could give an example of a chirotic awakening?

I would say that it is a difficult process to accurately describe and it will certainly be accompanied by considerable projected difficulty. If you understand the phrase “as above so below” and apply that to your understanding of astrology, you will very quickly see that the peculiar (by which I mean unique and often self-defeating) psychic conditions within the nativity manifest outwardly in the mundane conditions of the life experience. This is why your psychic precondition to being intensely sensitive to artistic criticism (for example) with Chiron in Aries in the 5th will manifest out of your consciousness and causally connect to other people and situations who will oblige your expectations and compound and reinforce that experiential discomfort. Put way more simply, this means that your sense that others do not take your art seriously becomes justified. Chiron is very good at this, it creates a single point of intense sensitivity, more like the uncomfortable sensitivity felt from a broken bone though than the deep and quite profoundly moving sensitivity of Neptunian experience.

Thus as you begin to activate Chiron in your life, his issues and themes as denoted by sign, house placement and aspects will become increasingly unbearable; imagine it like having somebody punch your broken limb every few hours: there will eventually come a tipping over point where you feel that you simply cannot take the pain anymore and you simply let it all go. I do not have a much better way to describe it; it is a giving up quality but without giving in. It is when you stop fighting, railing and struggling against all the pain in your life and realise the futility of resistance and that the only way that you will be able to continue is to accept your pain and actually to treasure it for being the medium that has awakened your compassion, because once we have recognised and reconciled our own pain then we become immediately open and sensitive to everyone else’s. Once you experience that reality, that we are all connected with a common bond of pain and suffering then it is never so easy again to judge another out of hand. We begin to forgive people, even the very wicked.

Etty Hillesum, who survived the Nazi concentration camps , writes of the healing surrender of Chiron: “And you must be able to bear your sorrow; even if it seems to crush you, you will be able to stand up again, for human beings are so strong, and your sorrow must become an integral part of yourself; you mustn’t run away from it.

Do not relive your feelings through hatred, do not seek to avenge on all Germans, for they too, feel sorrow at this moment. Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is it’s due, for if everyone bears grief honestly and courageously, the sorrow that now fills the world will abate. But if you do instead reserve most of the space inside you for hatred and thoughts of revenge- for which new sorrows will be born for others-then sorrow will never cease in this world. And if you have given sorrow the space it demands, then you may truly say: life is beautiful and so rich that it makes you want to believe in God.”

From “Etty: The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-1943William B Eerdmans Publishing Co (2002).

For students of Chiron though the key phrase here is “your sorrow must become an integral part of yourself; you mustn’t run away from it.” It is this quality of letting go, of accepting and facing the pain rather than attempting to avoid, suppress or push it away that is the key to awakening.

Astrologically Etty’s Chiron is in Pisces and the 9th house, but opposed by the Moon and trined to Mars in Cancer, thus themes of awakening via violence (Mars) against the clan or tribe (Cancer, thus the Jewish people) causing deep sorrow and spiritual awakening (12th house). I should also mention for completeness that Etty has peregrine Pluto (ouch) at the anaretic 29th degree of Gemini in the 12th; thus writing or communicating (Gemini) the experience of her people (pull to the sign of Cancer) in the Holocaust (Pluto) runs away with the chart.

She also spoke directly to the awakening of Chiron in her life when she said: ““One should want to be a balm on many wounds.” The horror of the holocaust is what tipped Etty over into her Chirotic awakening. You will see then that within our greatest weakness, that one thing, condition, experience that is most painful and uncomfortable to us lies the potential to find our greatest strength. That is the true power of Chiron.

Chiron in Aries through the houses (part 1)

Wherever Chiron is found there is hypersensitivity and pain until there has been what I would call a Chirotic awakening, the compassionate self-awareness is then activated and it becomes possible to give up your pain, even to take it on board gladly because it is a reminder of the connectedness of you and I, that we share a bond of human vulnerability. We learn then, wherever Chiron is found, to give up our self, and nowhere is this more true than in the sign of Aries. To some extent, I find that many, many partnerships are formed between those whose Chrion’s straddle the Aries Point, with one in Pisces and the other in Aries, because they are so very complementary. Chiron in Pisces is the pain of selflessness, whilst Chiron in Aries is the pain of selfishness, they are, despite being semi-sextile, strangely compatible, almost polarised positions. Chiron in Aries is concerned with hypersensitivity to the idea of self; it can manifest then as an inability to assert one’s own needs, or to be overreactive to criticism, perceived or outright. Usually this manifests as a lack of self-worth which can act as a brake on self-esteem or a goad to offended dignity. Today I would like to briefly consider this theme through the houses (in two parts) for the placement of the centaur in the sign of the ram.

Burton gives a masterclass in Arien Chirotic power in Look Back in Anger (1958)

1st House: The first rules appearance and physical self-expression, so here there is a sense of almost becoming a non-entity. The native will struggle to express himself in a way that “works”. This is probably best illustrated by an example. Consider Richard Burton, who showed a talent for English literature at grammar school, though his consuming interest was sport. With the assistance of his inspirational schoolmaster, Philip H. Burton (who mentored him), he excelled in school productions. Philip could not legally adopt Burton because their ages were too close together. It was at this time that he began to develop the distinctive speaking voice that became his hallmark, having been encouraged by Philip (who sidelined as a BBC radio producer) to “lose his Welsh accent”. To this day, many aspiring actors study Burton’s style of elocution which has been hailed by critics worldwide. So immediately we see that Burton had to lose (Chiron) some intrinsic part of his self (Aries), and learn to express himself in a way that was not his own (1st House). Anyone with Aries here will be unable to feel that their ‘way of being’ matters or is significant enough. Anyone with this placement should watch Burton’s performance in “Look Back in Anger”, (in my opinion his greatest performance) it is a seminal Chirotic expression of the Aries and first house placement, magnificent and unmissable. Walt Whitman (easily my favourite poet) shares this placement; and his Leaves of Grass (1855) consisted of 12 untitled poems, one of which was to later become famous as “Song of Myself.” His literary style was experimental, a free-verse avalanche in celebration of nature and self that has since been described as the first expression of a distinctly American voice. Thus the wound of Chiron in Aries in the first becomes clear, the pain of being unable to express oneself, one’s true identity, creates a powerful impetus and if awakened, can give magnificent expressive potential.

2nd House: The lack of self-worth that accompanies Chiron’s residence in Aries is compounded by a lack of material self-worth; here the native feels financially and materially insignificant and is hypersensitive to themes of money and possessions, particularly in the sense of deserving these things. IT would not be uncommon therefore for a housewife or homemaker to feel that her lack of self-esteem is in large part a result of not contributing financially to things. It is interesting that Queen Elizabeth II has this placement, so no doubt at some deep part of her psyche, the tax burden her status places upon her subjects must be deeply uncomfortable to her; and it is no coincidence then – in my view – that she is the first British monarch to freely commit to payment of income taxes, it is a classic expression of Chirotic guilt since she feels that she does not deserve her financial position in life. Another native evincing this placement is Spike Milligan, who – aware of financial issues of self-worth more than most – uttered the highly insightful words: “Money couldn’t buy friends, but you got a better class of enemy.” There is no question that considerable discomfort was attached to financial issues here.

Vocal Power

Malcolm X: Vocal Power

3rd House: Here Chiron creates a low educational self-esteem and a sense that one’s eloquence is not up to scratch. Speech can literally be a painfully difficult experience and inadequacy and uncertainty in any particularly erudite or thoughtful communicative pursuits may cause genuine distress. A person with Chiron in Aries here may well feel as though they are not heard, or that their opinions do not matter because they are not considered or well formed enough. The gift of Chiron awakened here is the realisation of great power to speak, to rouse to action and to energise through the words. Consider then Malcolm X, the U.S. black Muslim leader, political speaker and activist who – despite having almost no formal education to speak of – embarked on a rigorous program of self-education whilst in prison where he copied the entire dictionary word for word and thus activated his Chirotic force whereupon he was able to generate incredible power to motivate, energise and assert a new political and social agenda in the United States. Remember too that Ares the God of War, is never far divorced from this placement, and consider one of Malcolm’s most radical and powerful speeches, delivered on April 12th 1954, in Detroit to a large audience where he used the immortal Chiron in Aries in the 3rd phrase “the ballot or the bullet”. Small coincidence that his speaking became so powerful that it provoked Mars – in the form of gunfire to cut short his remarkable life. Malcolm X was a true Chirotic warrior and he died on the front-lines without a doubt!

Respect me, respect my Chiron in Aries...

Respect me, respect my Chiron in Aries...

4th House: I talked yesterday about how some roles are nearly tailor-made for certain actors because of some psychic resonance that is cast into a particular role (for better or worse) and quite apart from the fact that somebody in Hollywood needs to hire me for a casting role (not the couch thanks), I am amazed how often this comes to be proven in the astrology. Consider Chiron in the 4th where themes of family, tradition, the “old country”, roots, beginnings and endings are all configured in such a way as to cause distress through the sense that the self does not figure properly in this context, Chiron in the 4th ought to be fairly critical since it is the house where true identity is formed, and Chiron in Aries creates identity impotence. Of course as Chiron is awakened, the power will manifest. If ever there was a manifestation of Chirotic power in the themes of the 4th house then it is in Mario Puzo’s epic 1972 drama “The Godfather.” Consider the polarity of Chiron, unawakened it creates distress, pain, and in Aries this manifests out of consciousness as a sense of irrelevance, that our contribution simply does not matter in terms of the family, the tradition passed from one generation to the next, all 4th house themes. Small coincidence then that Marlon Brando, with Chiron in Aries in the 4th gave one of the most evocative, meaningful and powerful performances as the Godfather of an ancient and violent (Aries) family dynasty (4th).

5th House: Here Chiron manifests as a sense that our creativity has no relevance, is not worthy of recognition or provokes resentment in some painful manner. Our children may be overly dominant towards us, or not take our needs into account, romantic partners may do the same (not marriage partners: that is the 7th) or, if we create art, music, poetry or somesuch, we may feel that it is overlooked or considered irrelevant or unworthy by others. It is probably not too great a stretch to say that it is possible to identify the most creative human being that ever lived as Ludwig van Beethoven, who evinced this very placement. Chiron is about the wound or suffering though, so is it really any surprise that the man who wrote one of the most beautiful pieces of music in all creation (in my view: Piano Concerto No. 5, not to mention Fur Elise), was almost completely deaf by the age of 28. Imagine that depth of inner agony and ongoing suffering! Fittingly for the 5th house too, Beethoven’s greatest work, and no doubt the most recognisable introduction to a piece of music in the world today was his 5th symphony! Here, the Chirotic force in Aries is expressed as nearly unbridled power and relevance. Artist’s with this placement have enormous potential if they are able to awaken to it.

full of doubt, probably.

Russell: full of doubt, probably.

6th House: Here is always a tricky placement for Chiron, regardless of sign, because it manifests as an experience of one’s work and health not mattering. Here is a person who becomes sick and nobody seems to care, or who is dedicated and conscientious in their job, but somebody else always seems to get the credit for the smallest and most insignificant contribution, while your own enormous dedication is ignored or glossed over completely. This is also a calling to become a healer in this lifetime, especially where Chiron is retrograde also and if conjunct the descendant, counselling ought to be a part of the design too. I have noted a strong propensity for pacifism with this placement, since no doubt, it seeks to habituate the pain of violence in some way and heal the dichotomy of war and suffering in the world, (it’s a big ask, but Chiron in the 6th wants to heal the lifestyle of course, their own and everyone else’s!) Thus healing (6th) of violence (Aries) is of particular import here. Bertrand Russell, whose daily work was as a philosopher spoke directly to Chiron in Aries’ sense that their contribution is not properly acknowledged when he said: “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt.” Here is a statement that speaks volumes about 6th house themes of habituated attitudes and the angst they cause; and of course Russell was too a vociferous opponent of both the Vietnam War and nuclear armaments.

I may well continue with this study tomorrow :)

The Astrology of Locked in Syndrome.

"Locked in Syndrome"

"Locked in Syndrome"

Since I am on the subject of films – and often the reason a film is made is because the story behind it is remarkable, and of course the story is remarkable because the person that inspired it is too and of course the person is remarkable because… you can see where this is going can’t you? – well, to cut to the chase then, I recently watched “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”, a compelling vision rendered into film – quite beautifully – concerning the experience of Jean-Dominique Bauby, or ‘Jean-Do’, a successful Parisian magazine editor who suffered a massive stroke while driving his car and woke twenty days later to discover that he was completely paralysed and was in fact only capable of blinking his left eyelid. This extremely rare condition is called “Locked in Syndrome”, the film is nothing short of incredible, beautifully realised and quite emotive, more than worth the rental fee.

Even more interesting though is the astrology of locked in syndrome. Jean-Do’s astrology is not beginner’s grade however, so be warned, but it will be easy to demonstrate the key pressures and configurations:

00) Paris, France

Jean-Do, 23 Apr 1952, 05:25 (CET -1:00) Paris, France

The chart evinces a great deal of difficult to channel distress, it is a classic grand-cross with very few easy outlets (and even a trine to Pluto is definitely not an easy outlet). Two elements are key, the Chiron in Capricorn as the ‘most visible’ corner of his inner angst and the peregrine island of Sun/Jupiter across the cusp of Taurus in the 1st.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly tells the story of Jean-Do's life

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly tells the story of Jean-Do's life

Chiron in Capricorn is all about not being heard, and here is a man who came to the attention of the world (conj. MC) by dint of not being able to speak, write or communicate except through the astonishingly laborious process of blinking his eye at the required letter as the entire alphabet was read through one letter at a time to his nurse. No surprise then that Saturn (slow, methodical, painstaking) in the 6th (health) and in Libra (persons closely related) supplies the offside tension to this aspect pattern. On the other side, Mercury in the 12th opposing Saturn (sorrow through being unable to speak for ourselves) also squares Chiron, which underpins the pain of being unable to physically communicate because of our wound or tragedy. All this opposed to Uranus on the IC no doubt creates individuation through our most private self, and the film and the novel which inspired it, are nothing if not a quite profound study of the most personal, familial (Cancer on the 4th) being. All that psychic tension though had to get out, and it did so through Chiron on the MC, one who becomes known to the world through pain and suffering.

Just as relevant to the initial wound itself though is Sun Jupiter peregrine in the first (body), across the Aries/Taurus cusp, – thus the juncture of neck and brain and therefore the brain stem, Jupiter creates excess and the Sun quickens and vitalises, so here there is almost a surfeit of blood and energy flowing into the brain stem. Extremely interesting too is the fact that Mercury (communication) is on the zodiacal degree for the eyeball. No, it really is. Further health indicators are the Moon Neptune opposition (a paralysis of the blood), Neptune descending – a literal inability to relate to others except in unusual, strange or downright weird ways and the Saturn Uranus square, inhibitions of rhythm, all overexpressed by the trigger of the peregrine Sun/Jupiter on the brain-stem and the need to achieve public recognition through the wound and sense of isolation and being unable to be heard (Chiron in Cap. conjunct MC).

This is certainly one of the most extreme expressions of the grand-cross I have yet seen but it certainly is quite typical in quality if not in quantity, it can be – almost quite literally – a cross to bear, but I usually find that if all that tension cannot get out, it will find a way and very often through the most elevated point. in Jean-Do’s case it was to his detriment, but ultimately to his eternal exaltation that Chiron found itself so high in the sky when he was born; a few hours hence and he might be living today in relative obscurity, but the world would be the poorer for it too.