The Power of Gentians

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

banner-gentian

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

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

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

D.H. Lawrence knew Hades:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is the power of gentians.

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


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

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

Saturn in Scorpio: Time to Get Real…

While Saturn travelled through Libra, we were tasked with new learning. Saturn is always about learning as evidenced by the fact that wherever he resides in your chart is a place where you are especially under-prepared. If you have Saturn in Libra therefore, you start out with a difficulty in relating in a mature and balanced manner. Life seems to throw lessons at you which force you to grow-up in that area of human endeavour. The hope is that as a result of Saturn’s stern erudition, you grow and mature to become an especially thoughtful example of the principle in question. With a Libra Saturn therefore, you become a role model of careful, mature and respectful relating. If you have worked consciously with your Saturnine taskmaster, later in life you will be held up as an example to others of what a decent and supportive partner should be, whether that’s in marriage, business or in the law firm. How it works in your life is dependent upon the matrix of aspects and expositions, but, provided that you do Saturn’s work diligently, you will be seen as a role model in the way in which Venus, her house and the house containing Saturn, and ruled by him, are configured in your chart.

When Saturn moves into Scorpio, the energy shifts. Saturn feels rather comfortable in Libra because they have a shared familiarity with principles of reason. Venus is genuinely cooperative, and Saturn is mature and they both enjoy doing things properly, in a seemly and just manner. It might be that with Saturn in Libra there is an early difficulty with seeing the other person’s point of view, but that is the lesson. Just as with Saturn in Libra’s opposite sign Aries, there is an early difficulty with going it alone. This is why it is usually at the Saturn return that Saturn in Libra gets serious about relationship. Saturn also rules separation, so if you think back over the last two years you will see that the people who could not relate to you with respect are gone from your life.

But with Scorpio, the energy is not nearly so mutually compatible. While Libra’s domicile causes Saturn to, rather sympathetically, learn to be reasonable, Saturn in Scorpio has no such concern. Here Mars’ night rulership, and Pluto’s domain are under the spotlight of Saturn’s harsh lessons, and this means that we have to learn to grow-up in a way that is almost diametrically opposed to Libra’s benign pressures. Libra is about appearances and the niceties of life, about relating and about being considerate toward others. With Scorpio, the growing up required by Saturn is all under the surface.

It is in part for this reason that Saturn is not nearly so comfortable in Scorpio as it is in Libra. With Libra we do not have to dig deep to grow because we can formalise instead. When we put Venus (in her Libra guise) together with Saturn we create various new forms: marriage contracts, polite conversation, business law, financial regulation, older lovers, business functions. When we put Saturn together with ‘dark Mars’ and Pluto, the energy shift is bound to be uncomfortable, because we cannot formalise our deepest self in the same way that we can formalise aspects of relating. With Libra Saturn it is enough to learn to communicate with maturity in your primary relationship: that is an important lesson for any successful union between two people, but with Scorpio Saturn the work is very personal and very deep. You will be tasked over the next two and a half years with growing up in the very depth of your being. In a way this complements Saturn’s transit through Libra which has forced us to grow up on the outside, because now we have to walk the walk too.

And there is an added dimension here because for the first time since 1776, Saturn and Pluto are in mutual reception. “1776!” I hear you ask. “That rings a bell!” you say. Because 1776 was the year that the United States declared independence from Britain, so this particular transit is especially pertinent for America (and Britain actually); the energy signature is a repeat of that time. In truth it is arguable that in many ways it is more potent because Pluto was not fully revealed in human consciousness as it is now. When the Declaration of Independence was written by Jefferson it contained some truly reasonable ideals and aspirations, and at the time of its signing, Saturn was in Libra and the 10th house, that is a public statement of reason for sure. But by December of that year, Saturn had moved into Scorpio, and it came time to actually deliver on those high-minded ideals, and that is where the truly difficult work was begun.

For the United States of old, as for us today, the challenge remains the same. We have worked hard to become more reasonable, more fair-minded and more cooperative during Saturn’s sojourn in the scales, but now it is time to get beneath the polite veneer and see if we are capable of delivering that maturity from a place of deep truth. We can’t just talk the talk any more, people are beginning to see through it and we are being tested to see if that outer maturity comes from the inside, or if it is just a veneer.

It is for this reason that Saturn in Scorpio is truly tough. We can’t fake it till we make it any more: it’s time to grow up on the inside.

How big is your Pluto?

This is an interesting diagram which delineates the ‘strength’ of Pluto through the signs. With Pluto, stronger does not mean better, it means, well, stronger. To have sympathy with an energy does not always mean to have more of it, indeed, Pluto is subtle, deep and most of all hidden, so to have Pluto in positive, outgoing and extrovert signs, like Leo, Libra and Sagittarius is uncomfortable for Pluto, who enjoys Scorpio for precisely the reason that he can remain subtle, deep and hidden.

But there is a way in which stronger does mean better, provided you can utilise the lessons of Orcus and find true spiritual integrity. In this way you will not be ‘broken’ by Pluto. So if you have Pluto strong then you are facing a major test in this incarnation, and one which you will learn at a much greater personal cost (but also a cost to those in your life) than the majority whose Pluto’s are less ‘out there’.

If you have Pluto close to an angle, then he becomes even stronger, and he is also strong in the 5th, 7th and 9th houses. So if you have Pluto rising in Libra or Sagittarius, and to a slightly lesser extent Leo, then know that you have quite a trip ahead of you and you need, for the sake of your eternal soul, to get down to some serious spiritual work if you want to avoid the burden of a lot of karmic payback as well as realise the not inconsiderable benefit of having transformed a great deal of Hadean force. That will make you quite formidable, but in a loving and meaningful way.

Plus, what choice do you have? Any other road leads only to unhappiness.

Pluto: Enslavement or Self-Mastery, the Choice is Yours (Part 3)

Jupiter - Pluto has status anxiety issues

 

When we read Shakespeare, as when we read the Greek myths we find a depth and richness of imagery that reflects the myriad personifications of astrological principles; all life is here, within these allegorical masterpieces. And beyond the character of Hades himself there is no undiluted personification of Pluto because that is an inhumane and therefore insupportable role, however the many Plutonic blends litter the pages of history and literature alike.

In the Merchant of Venice we find the character of Shylock, the Jewish moneylender, who, is an uncomfortable blend of gravitas, resignation and miserliness, and who, caught up in a rivalry with the Christian merchant, Antonio, courts and realises utter ruin because he insists on the payment of his pound of flesh, which was the security for his loan to the bankrupt merchant. It is a marvellous portrayal of the danger with the Jupiter-Pluto blend. Fundamentally, pettiness is the principle which Pluto has supercharged and it is the expansive, generous nature of Jupiter which has collapsed in upon itself to become its antithesis.

We tend to think strangely in the contemplation of Jupiter and Saturn: as though they are polarities of a single principle, but Saturn is antithetic in essential qualities to Uranus and Neptune too. These two giants are not polarities by design and each has positive and negative expressions (skirting surreptitiously around the tendency to make value judgments as we go) without recourse or reference one to the other. What this means is that Jupiter has just as much power to go “wrong” as Saturn, but obviously, that wrongness isn’t so obviously uncomfortable from a subjective viewpoint as Saturn’s wrongness, so we can make the mistake of believing that Jupiter is either positive or neutral (when misfiring) and Saturn is either neutral (when operating positively) or negative. You only need to get on the wrong side of an unmanaged Jupiter-Pluto square to realise how deficient that perspective can be.

It is fascinating to read Saturn into the character of Shylock; he is after all, wise and venerable, but his character is entirely Jupiter, but Jupiter collapsed in upon itself, twisted by some Plutonic impulse for revenge. Where Jupiter ought to be magnanimous, it is instead petty; where he should have much to be grateful for, he is instead consumed by his grievances, and where he should be motivated by the highest good, he is instead fixated on the most negative outcomes (why else demand a pound of flesh as surety?)

Shylock

A pound of flesh has become a coda for spiteful penalties and this delineates yet another dimension of Pluto; he ramps up the expression of whatever point he corresponds with and without the transition to personal integrity there is no guard against Plutonic compulsion which filters control, personal agenda and vendetta, power games, psychological cruelty and the desire for others’ humiliation through the lens of that planetary energy. With Jupiter the filter is in part civic: thus one of the compulsions comes through being a person ‘of good standing.’ With Jupiter alone, that is quite straightforward, because we are not compulsively driven to be of good standing so we do not contaminate Jupiter energy with our unconscious agendas and we can simply strive for self-improvement without needing to draw others in before controlling, humiliating and annihilating them.

This was Shylock’s journey, and Pluto, with his contempt for mortal ambition wants no winners, he’s happy if everyone loses, that is more grist for the Hadean mills after all. In his petty insistence that Antonio be humiliated and destroyed he only brought destruction and ruin upon himself, but even then: who could possibly have been exalted in that famous scene? Portia alludes to the antidote however:

Portia:
You stand within his danger, do you not?

Antonio:
Ay, so he says.

Portia:
Do you confess the bond?

Antonio:
I do.

Portia:
Then must the Jew be merciful.

Shylock:
On what compulsion must I? tell me that.

Portia:
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

And here then is the antidote to Jupiter-Pluto problems: mercy. To be merciful is the exaltation of Jupiter. Jupiter – Pluto, sticking to the superficial appearances of the law, the letter of the law, demands (indignantly and with affronted bluster) that he cannot be forced into an attitude of mercy. He puffs up and pontificates his rights, but these are not inalienable rights, they are not moral rights, they are not even human rights, they are the rights of somebody who perceives that they have been wronged, so they have the right to vengeance.

Every word in the thesaurus of Jupiter is corrupted by Pluto. Shylock is superficial where Jupiter in his dignity should be deep. He is vengeful where he should be merciful, petty where he should be magnanimous, indignant where he should be tolerant and demanding where he should be conciliatory. And these are the compulsions therefore of Jupiter-Pluto. Pettiness, puffed-up self-importance, a lack of faith in others which might be best understood as ascribing the lowest motives to others, which is no more than a projection of the mean-spiritedness of Jupiter-Pluto itself.

Shylock is the caricature of this energy, he is grasping, mean, indignant and spiteful, and he abuses any power that is given him in his quest for revenge on those he feels have held him back and thwarted his ambitions. Jupiter-Pluto is ambitious, but not in the way of Saturn which craves authority, but rather in Jupiter’s vein, which craves the admiration of the pauper for all his glories. Thus wealth and status are the rungs on the ladder of power and control and this combination can make social climbers, arrant snobs and the type that prefers to look down his nose rather than straight in the eye.

But as with any Plutonic issue, the compulsion is simply behaviour that is designed specifically to mask the underlying Plutonic anxiety. This is the same as for Venus-Pluto which has anxiety about being loved and lovable, except with Jupiter, the anxiety is all about inferiority. In my experience, people with Jupiter-Pluto problems are terrified that people will find out about their humble roots, that they are actually quite poor or that their parents were lowly Welsh coal-miners, so they seek to assuage this anxiety by garnering status, and the trappings of wealth and success. Very often with the hard contacts there is some class anxiety and these people will garner various elements into their lives not because they want those things in and of themselves, but because they mask any hint of poverty, low-class or mediocrity which are, at root, the architects of the Plutonic anxiety driving the compulsion.

Fortunately the compulsion follows a highly recognisable pattern. As ever, the energy seeks to personify itself within people and situations, and Pluto in this instance attempts to polarise Jupiter-Pluto energy accordingly, so the native will set him or herself in the superior role whilst ascribing all sorts of degrading, lowly and humiliating characteristics to his or her opponent in order that they are cast in the inferior role. Jupiter – Pluto people are those types that seem to consider themselves to be ‘better’ in some manner that feels very uncomfortable to the target. Really though, when the Jupiter-Pluto opponent calls you ‘a loser’ (or a few hundred years ago ‘a peasant’) they are simply projecting their anxiety about their own inferiority. The next stage calls for a battle of resources. The native will attempt, by fair means or foul, to deny you resources – which is a tactic typical of all Plutonic contacts – while maximising their own. In the case of Moon-Pluto, the resources that are compulsively procured are more likely to have to do with security (which is why people with hard Moon-Pluto contacts often flirt with homelessness), but where Jupiter is concerned the resources are entirely status focused.

Saturn has this propensity too (as we shall see in our next article), and this is one area of note in this discussion because in many ways contacts between Jupiter or Saturn and Pluto are the hardest Plutonic connections to manage. Contacts with personal planets are felt with enormous urgency precisely because those planets are personal. The discomfort of Pluto is felt keenly within the human core. Contacts with outer planets are entirely transpersonal and are very difficult to actualise, hence they are not felt with anything like the same intensity. Jupiter and Saturn sit somewhere in between: they are close enough to evince truly unpleasant and Plutonic effects, but far enough away to not cause enough personal discomfort to grate. People can go for years compulsively projecting Pluto through these intermediaries without realising how entirely compulsive they are being. In a sense this has to do with the societal nature of Jupiter and Saturn, so the compulsion can be, if you like, masked with civic and status concerns. And let us be clear, they are both status-driven, albeit with markedly different flavours. Jupiter craves the status of wealth and celebrity, Saturn the status of authority and respect. They are the Lord and the Judge respectively. The former desires the grand home, the fast cars and the trophy wife (or husband), the latter desires a position of moral superiority, position and rank within the church, the community or the profession. So, crucially, whatever the precise flavour we can say of both these planets in contact with Pluto that there is status anxiety and therefore status compulsion.

I know people with Jupiter-Pluto contacts naturally, and they are usually the types that proclaim their desire to be millionaires before the age of 30, they will buy themsleves a Porsche (which they cannot afford), and dress their children in ‘brands’ because the reflection is then a balm for their status anxiety. By the same token, their expenditure on their children will usually be entirely dependent on how it reflects on them in the eyes of society. They will pay for music lessons (so that they can boast about their child’s musical prowess), but will feed them only the value line of foodstuffs, considering anything more a waste of money.  Frequently these people invest all their resources in the trappings of wealth but are miserly in areas that are not ‘seen’ by others outside the intimate circle. So they will drive a Porsche and yet their home is filled with the cheapest yard-sale furniture. Their grand country home may be another accoutrement of status, but everyone inside sits shivering through the winter because the Jupiter-Pluto owner is too miserly to spend money on heating, since that isn’t an expenditure which can be appreciated by society at large.

The challenge for Jupiter – Pluto is clear because uncannily (or not), everyone with these contacts who does not manage to rein them in and transform Jupiter from grasping to generous, whining to magnanimous and superficial to deep eventually loses the whole lot. This is an aspect that forces one to lose even the shirt off one’s back if allowed to run too far. That is Pluto’s greatest trick of course, upping the ante until the stakes are life-threateningly high. Status-anxiety is the clue. If you want that car, that handbag, that diamond ring, then ask yourself why it matters. Once again, ask the Pluto question: can I just let this go? If not, why not?

Pluto: Enslavement or Self-Mastery, the Choice is Yours (Part 1)

Today I wanted to convey a basic tenet of Pluto, possibly the basic tenet of Pluto; that being the manner in which it is the root of all compulsion. We can understand this when we consider that the Lord Hades is hidden. Mythically, the stories tell us that he inhabited the Underworld – Tartarus – a terrifying and dread kingdom of the dead that was off-limits to mortals. On the two occasions that Pluto did emerge into the mortal realm, he wore a mask of invisibility so that he would not be seen. In this way, our Plutonic drives are designed to be hidden from ourselves, and we have a name for them, we call them compulsions. Children are by nature compulsive, they speak what is in their mind, even if it is not appropriate to speak up, but gradually they learn through social feedback to become aware of the effects of their compulsions on their environment.

But we assume – oh so very incorrectly – that when we become adults that we have nothing left to learn about compulsion. Learning to value another’s feelings in lieu of speaking our mind is only the most basic form of compulsion, and that is why most small children have begun to get it. Compulsion is a part of the human condition because Pluto is in the archetypal map of the human soul. Z’Ev Ben Shimon Halevi said:

[Pluto] was God of the Underworld – or to put it in Christian terms the Outer Darkness – in an astronomical sense roughly Pluto’s remote position in the solar system. Moreover he had a famous cap of invisibility. This could be read in two ways: that he was monarch of the dead, of those that have passed out of our dimension of sight; or that his processes are so slow that one lifetime is not enough to observe its full cycle. Pluto is the king of death, the planet of the most profound transformation man can physically witness. This event comes and goes, nothing can prevent it; suddenly a being who has been a piece of human furniture in a society or family has vanished, disappeared into another world, the realm of shades. Hades’ Gate may indeed be knowledge, for it is said that on death, everything learnt is reviewed as the past life is rapidly uncoiled in an ecstatic flash of every pleasure, pain, ignorance and understanding lived. Here at the invisible door, the experience and the essence of a man is further distilled, the limiting ego evaporated forever in the void of the divine father and mother, before the final union with the Creator.

Seen in this context, Pluto marks time beyond the scope of mortal self-awareness, or ego-consciousness. True self-awareness, whilst it is not a binary state of on/off, self-aware/compulsive, is certainly a state which has to be acknowledged as a prerequisite for spiritual growth. Once we become awake to the possibility of non-childish compulsion then we have switched onto a new level of operation because the truth is that every human alive who has not realised satori is compulsive, and within that spectrum, they are either aware that they are involved in a lifelong process of unmasking Pluto, or they are simply his unwitting puppet. No other relationship can exist.

Fortunately, we have the remarkable insight of astrology to provide us with an objective litmus test of our Plutonic styles. Indeed, every radix point that is connected with Pluto, regardless of aspect type, is subject to expressing the Plutonic, and of course, because Pluto is invisible, we are not awake to that expression. We can use astrology to delineate the probable nature of that manifestation, but even when told outright, we can be in denial, or become profoundly angry, upset or damaging in response, many of us are simply not ready to unmask the Pluto in our lives, even if living with him leads us into despair and ruin! And frequently this is exactly the result.

The rules of Pluto are indeed extremely simple, whichever point is connected to Pluto evinces compulsion and control thus:

Sun: A compulsive drive to be important, the centre of attention, in charge, admired and appreciated.
Moon: Compulsions manifest instinctively in moods, controlling the environment, in relation to possessions and especially food and sustenance. Moon-Pluto contacts frequently manifest as eating disorders.
Mercury: An inability to take what is said at face value, distrust, interrogation, suspicion and spite, cutting remarks, sarcasm etc.
Venus: A compulsion about appearance and attractiveness (in women) and a tendency toward ice-cold emotional withdrawals in men, both directed toward control of others (and frequently the opposite sex!)
And so forth.

In every case, the compulsion is directed toward control needs. But this does not mean that Pluto is all bad, this is the compulsive face of Pluto, but once unmasked, the reward facet of Pluto (whose etymological root is plouton: wealth) becomes extant thus:

Sun: Honourable, lordly, generous, a born leader able to command respect without effort.
Moon: A person of deep inner peace, who feels safe and secure in every place, who puts others at ease without effort.
Mercury: A mind of penetrating insight, one who can see easily into the heart of every matter and into the hearts of other people.
Venus: One with a deep and profound love connection based upon trust, intimacy and openness in their closest relationships.
And so forth!

There is no question of course that the compulsion and reward dynamic is most easily apprehended in connections with personal planets. Indeed, these are the points that become the most obvious candidates for ‘issues’ and thus they are within the ‘childish’ spectrum of compulsions. Allow me to explain with an example.

My youngest stepson Bertie has Pluto conjunct Ascendant. In fact his next oldest brother has the same energy, but Bertie’s Pluto is considerably closer to the Ascendant. He is a jovial, positive and forceful character because with Pluto in Sagittarius, Jupiter’s rulerships provides this flavour however, he is renowned for his propensity for shouting. When I first met him I was actually quite shocked at how persistently loud he was, and no matter what approach one took, there seemed to be no way at all to moderate either the volume or the frequency of his pronouncements. All day long, the only thing you could hear was Bertie, giving forth at astounding decibel levels for a 2-year-old.

Now if we understand the Ascendant to describe the manner in which one interacts in the immediate environment and too, the interpersonal style then we can see that there is compulsion about interacting in a Jupiter style, big, loud, and, well… big and loud! Fortunately, three years of relaying the mantra “stop shouting Bertie” is beginning to take its toll on his compulsion and he is slowly becoming aware of his compulsion and transforming it into something less destructive.

So what do we learn from this? We see that – since all Plutonic compulsion is control focused, it manifests out of anxiety about being out of control. Bertie, by dint of having 3 older brothers who don’t really listen to him, has anxiety about being seen and heard. He’s also extremely big for his age and frequently has flushed cheeks, a symptom of thyroid activity which itself intimates a theme: if I’m big, I’ll be harder to ignore. Bertie is anxious about being ignored so he manifests control behaviour (shouting) to placate his anxiety. If he shouts loud enough and often enough eventually somebody will take note. The reward will eventually manifest, once he has mastered the compulsion, in the form of a very intent and jolly demeanour which will automatically command attention. He is already getting this because he can be quite charming and bright which has this exact effect.

Now because the energy is involved with the Ascendant, it is a low-scale energy, and he will have it mastered soon enough. School will fix the last vestiges of that problem eventually. If it were another personal point then it might infect his energy signature for many years to one degree or another. Many people do deal with intermediate scale energies around midlife, or they at least begin to. I know a great many people who do almost no Pluto work of course, but they usually end up manifesting that compulsion into the lowest vibrational state: heart or spinal problems (for Pluto in Leo), digestive and eliminative issues (for Pluto in Virgo and Libra) and so forth. Illness frequently results from unmanaged compulsions. One of the key insights is that if you are ill then Pluto is likely involved. Because astrology is a metaphysical language, you can easily diagnose the source of your problems which, when looked at from this perspective, are what you might more accurately term ‘anxiety-promulgated control needs’. If you have heart problems then you are too fixated on being important, in charge, admired and being superior, your question is am I good enough?. If you have digestive issues, stomach problems (ulcers, heartburn, indigestion), breast cancers, womb problems, then you are anxious about lunar issues, you will have a deep insecurity related to a lack of nurturing or support and your question is am I safe?. Bowel problems, IBS, constipation, cramps, gas and so forth are related to anxiety about communication, about being lied to, cheated, and fundamentally these are control needs based around trust and you might well ask can I trust you?. If you have issues with the renal system, kidneys, bladder or the skin (such as eczema, hives, scleroderma, dermatitis, dandruff, acne, psoriasis) then you are struggling with anxiety about intimacy and love. This is connected to self-worth anxiety, or put more directly: am I lovable?

So, if you have heart problems and you were born between 1937 and 1958, it is likely that you’ve never dealt with your anxiety about being good enough. Most probably that came about because one or other of your parents transmitted the unconscious message that you didn’t measure up. The compulsion could manifest as haughtiness, arrogance, pomposity, a need to be admired, wealthy, adored, obeyed and to be the centre of attention, but it is all the same problem, there is a deep self-worth compulsion which has never been faced, so it has just run the show for so long unchallenged that eventually it has manifested physically into the heart.

Similarly, if you were born between 1956 and 1972 and you have digestive problems, then the chances are that you have trust issues which you haven’t faced up to. Of course, many of these issues will not manifest until after the Uranus half-return in serious ways, so this generation has some time, but of course, IBS is the archetypal Pluto in Virgo affliction, and it is the precursor to more serious problems later if the trust and communication problem associated with it is not dealt with.

So, these are the usual suspects of Plutonic energy, which are quite mundane and explicable.

Taken to a different level entirely, we see that through the ongoing pressure of compulsion we are presented with an opportunity to connect with a divine perspective. Unmasking Pluto is seeing the self through the eyes of God, without artifice, with awareness of what is in the heart. It can take a lifetime to fail in this simple but terrifying task. Ask yourself, why are you trying to control this thing, why can’t you just let it go? If you can even ask that question then you have started the most important work of your life.

And if you are not ready to ask it, perhaps it does not matter. You will have another chance once you have crossed the threshold of Hades’ Gate.

Another life, another chance to grapple with invisibility…

BritFate: prediction methods explained in detail

Today’s article will be something of an experiment. Because the time and effort required to produce these educational astrology articles is considerable, I am hoping to encourage a positive energy exchange with my readers (up to 800 a day!) so for major pieces I will produce the work in a PDF document which you can download and either read on your computer or print off and read in bed, or over your cereal or while waiting to talk to your bank manager about the overdraft. The article will be free to download, however the link for my Paypal donation page where you can optionally contribute a couple of bucks for my time and effort, will be listed too.

I hope you will be comfortable with that, because although I do get some donations, in general terms there isn’t much incentive to write articles when I get paid much better for writing nativities, so the bulk of my time goes into that instead of providing this free resource.

Today’s article demonstrates a useful principle about predicting future times which I am certain will be a useful delineation of methodology. Here in the UK we are living through interesting times and I have a strong suspicion that these times are about to get even more interesting.

I had a discussion with my doctor recently about predicting the cause of death through astrology, and she asked if it was possible to posit a time of death as well as a cause. Actually, I don’t entirely believe that it is possible to determine a cause of death so much as a style of death, but that’s another matter. What good astrologers have long known is that you cannot predict your own time of death: many have tried and only one Renaissance Italian managed it: on the second attempt! I have read several theories on this and I think it is linked to the subjective perception of one’s demise, of course it will be traumatic, but the actual moment of departure? I cannot imagine that would show up as a problem.

To some extent I want to reserve insight on this question because I cover the topic quite throughly in my forthcoming book on Orcus, however, that is not actually the purpose of this exploratory digression in any case, the simple fact is that it is much easier to predict a time of death for an individual by looking at the transits, progressions and directions of those people in their intimate circle. If you see then that there is a period of adversity for all those connected with the individual, which is concommitant with an illness, accident or other mortally-threatening happenstance in their nativity, then we can mark that as a possible exit point for the soul in question.

The demise becomes explicable after the fact, as was the case with Natasha Richardson (for example) and there is no question that this insight would have been available beforehand, however, there are numerous convergences of life-threatening portents in a human life and they cannot all result in death (well, the first which does is logically the end of the matter) but undoubtedly they will denote near-misses. You wouldn’t even have to know about it of course; I remember one instance where I crossed a road in London and upon reaching the other side I noted the look of horror and distress on the faces of the many people standing stock-still on the pavement: apparently I had almost been hit by a bus, but, lost in thought I had been oblivious to my brush with mortality.

All of which is a rather long-winded means of pointing to a methodology. Compare the futures of a group and you will see that where there are concurrences, there are therefore shared experiences of significance in the making.

The article today will demonstrate how this method works, how you should put it together, and how to identify hotspots in the future. For the purpose of the demonstration I am going to use the combined nativities of David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, the UK coalition government (which has a birth time) and the nation they govern as well. If we view the three through a convergent lens in this way, we can easily ascertain where the stress points lie. You of course can use the charts of any associated group, and by applying the same methods you will be able to identify future hotspots of especial significance.

If you wish to download the article (5000 words+) please consider making a small donation via Paypal.

The article is available as a PDF document: please click here to read. And remember, I would rather you enjoy the article for free than forgo the article because you don’t wish to make a donation.

The Problem with Mars

In a life without trines, everything is hard work. Is that how it should be? I wanted to read my book but that feels like slacking. “Self-improvement is work too!” I hear myself cry, but it won’t change my inner perspective. I find myself looking forward to waiting rooms because at least then I won’t have to wrangle with literary escapism guilt. I used to meditate in waiting rooms, and quite successfully. Once I meditated in the bank and I was jolted back into my surroundings by an old man who began shouting at the cashier about overdraft charges. It was awful; you’re just so open when you’ve been in that quiet zone and any negativity is instantaneously poisoning. I have Moon conjunct Neptune too, so it must be worse for me than for most. Negativity always makes me sick.

No trines – and one sextile, Neptune-Pluto! skews one’s perspective. I believe that nobody will help me, so I never ask for help, so nobody helps me; irrefutable logic, self-defeating, the law of manifestation. I have no expectation other than to manage, no matter the odds, and I have always been that way. I help others, every day I try to help others and I don’t expect anything in return. Well, of course, people pay me for my expertise, but a great many are in dire difficulty and have no resources. Because of astrology, I could work every hour of the rest of my life if I were able to do it for no reward; many, many people ask for help and I can only help a small fraction of them. Alice is not made in the way that I am. She will receive help from others. She has trines, I mused that this might explain it, but actually, I think it’s a gender thing.

Mars is the culprit here I’m sure. A woman experiences Mars for sure, but she doesn’t have to identify with it. It’s always intriguing to get back to those archetypical basics: Mars – Jupiter, interminable argumentativeness! Mars – Saturn, fear of violence, frigidity. Mars – Pluto – survival anxiety! I have Mars – Pluto, and that’s where it manifests. If I don’t rely on anyone else then I’ll survive more easily, they won’t let me down. So, I never ask for help. All this came from school. Five years of boarding school at a time before bullying was reframed as, well… bullying and was just good old institutionalised British character-building. It was hell. I was a brilliant student, but I quickly learned that it was safer to feign mediocrity. That way I had fewer bruises. I have Mars in the 3rd square Pluto in the 11th. School and the group. Survive at all costs. Keep your head down. Don’t rely on anyone else, because nobody is going to help you. At school, even my best friends were my bullies. I ended up becoming addicted to nicotine because it meant that the people who hit me would accept me instead. I continued to smoke until I was in my 30s. I hated relying on it when life got stressful. When the going gets tough, the tough start smoking.

Now I have an open relationship with my Mars – Pluto square. I see him and I’ve walked this peculiar axis, from aggression to passivity. When I was young, at school I had regular fights. I never stood down because I was terrified that I would be annihilated. I never lost a fight because I never gave up, but that doesn’t mean I always came out best. Often I was more battered than my opponent, but I wouldn’t quit. Usually after one of those fights, the person that had started it became my friend (Pluto in the 11th right?) and in the last couple of years at school my best friend Gideon was somebody who I’d beaten in a fight. It had gone hard for me though. My eye was so badly bruised that I had a lump under the skin there for years afterwards. Years. My Saturn is in Aries, on the degree for the eye. Ruled by Mars in the 3rd. Square Pluto in the 11th.

One day, the world will wake up and realise that astrology is the only unifying theory of any value. It explains everything. Astrology only falls down through the inelegancy of those that explain it, but it’s not their fault. It’s the lazy theoreticians who demand that you justify your ‘belief’. I don’t believe in astrology, I understand it. That’s very different. I wonder at that too. So many people I know are concerned to ‘prove’ astrology. I say turn it on its head. Have the naysayers disprove it. Not one of them, brittly empowered Dawkins-disciples that they are could manage it. Isaac Newton, lauded for being the finest scientific mind the world has ever seen was convinced  – through his own study – of astrology’s validity. Of course, in that, world’s finest mind or not, he must have been feeble minded. There is no astrology! Well in that case (I had this conversation a while back) there is no psychology. But (the naysayer protested) of course there is psychology! Everyone has behaviour! Confusing cause and effect is easy for those who are ignorant. I mean ignorant in the fundamental sense that they deny the validity of a theory that they do not understand. People do not deny psychology because they make a connection beyween the cause (psychology) and the effect (behaviour). And they’ve heard other people, scientific types talk about it, so there’s no need to be any kind of layman psychologist here. They do not claim to understand the psychology, but they accept it. Of course, psychology is rife with interdisiplinary division: nature or nurture, behaviourism or psychoanalysis, Freud or Jung. The list goes on, rather like religion, they can’t all be right! But regardless, something causes behaviour. Psychology or astrology? Well, not astrology, they say, despite not possessing a single cogent thought on the subject. Empty heads powering empty opinions. I pay them no attention. Ironically their astrology circumscribes both their scepticism and their empty opinion-mongering. I used to be quite opinionated myself too, once, don’t get me wrong. Then I began to work out just how hermetically the seal was formed between the empty jar of opinion and the crowning lid of nativity. And I have Mars in Sagittarius, so I can espouse. I’m good at espousing, but I draw the line at pontificating, having neglectfully sacrificed too many hours to hearing out pontificators.

And of course, Mars is the chief culprit in the business of impressing your views upon others, and most especially when you’re not actually qualified to have an opinion. Venus is the moderator. Mars is only genuinely interested in being on top.

I think this about the ancient world too. The rather naked aspect of Roman ambition seems somehow rude, pastorally rude, from a contemporary perspective. Not petty and yet unsophisticated. There was no Pluto then, not in the psyche at least. Mars was king in the Roman world. Great Romans never asked for help, they coerced it! Mars is still doing that to this day, and it troubles me no end.

I have a Mars problem.

So do you.

The War of Earth and Sky

Saturn’s opposition to Uranus reaches its excruciating zenith any moment now and I for one will be delighted to have the tension past its peak: like an overtightened violin string, it is sounding more than a few screechy notes in life’s orchestra. Despite the inherent discomfort of this transit though, it can be leveraged, both as an excellent opportunity to realise personal growth and too, to fine-tune your connection with a metaphysical Universe. The opposition then is a lesson in disguise – and one that contains enormous potential benefits if you understand the harmonies of the planets – the first task for any aspiring metaphysician then, is to see the possibility that the echoes of those divine notes are manifest within the events, attitudes and situations which surround us every day of our lives. Once you have acknowledged this perspective, then you are on your way to a paradigm shift in consciousness. Skill simply grows with application and learning.

Saturn and Uranus have myriad correspondences, but they are profoundly antithetic, for this reason, any aspect between them is fraught with tension. It is an ancient battle; the elder Gods of earth and sky have been at war for as long as people have looked on and witnessed, with awe and consternation, the clash of elements. Everyday that same struggle is replayed in the clash of personalities and belief systems that is reenacted in homes, families, places of work and in the political and religious spheres of the entire planet. The opposition therefore offers a glimpse of that archetypal energy to be scryed in all of our relationships and struggles.

Fundamentally, the battle is between the old and the new and that is most likely to be expressed in the struggle to realise change in the face of resistance. On one level, this might mean that banking institutions are forced to reform their practices, accrued over centuries and reflecting a time where poverty was akin to criminality: the bankers were a wealthy elite who were able to manipulate the social clay into forms of their own choosing. The traditional banker is Saturn therefore, forced to contemplate radical reform – Uranus – in the guise of new charging structures, government bail-outs, and with the Saturn – Uranus opposition in square with Pluto in Capricorn, the transformation of old business models is the only way to balance the tension of these two ancient adversaries. At another level, you may be struggling with the same issues – writ small perhaps, but no less personally compelling for that fact – in your own life, where you are experiencing the same clash of old and new, traditional and avant-garde and one of the most interesting insights is to identify where you are involved in a power-struggle – because the squares to Pluto are manifesting the oppositional tension – and which side of the ancient divide you have fallen on.

In my own life I have become embroiled in a struggle between Catholicism and astrology: inevitably, my choice to fall on the side of Uranus was no choice (in the sense that I have never attacked Catholicism, but I have been attacked for being an astrologer by those with strongly held Catholic beliefs) but it is powerfully synchronous all the same to count the metaphysical correspondences. I have a Uranus-Pluto conjunction while my adversaries have Saturn conjunct Pluto, so the tee-square of Saturn and Uranus to Pluto is drawing out the powerful unconscious forces between us, casting us in the ancient mould of Saturn versus Uranus. Inevitably, I am cast as the breaker of the traditional and the wrecker of sensible good-order. This is yet another feature of the struggle: Saturn casts Uranus in his role – not as a necessary revolutionary agent – but as something sinister: his new way is denounced as irresponsible, anathema to Saturn of course, and it is often remarkable how one’s allegiance is projected in this way. In recent months I have witnessed the language of Saturn, a veritable list of Saturnine keywords in fact, repurposed, fashioned into barbs, and slung unceremoniously in my direction. Deeply uncomfortable of course, but at the same time fascinating to witness.

So where in your life has this battle been taking place? If there is a power-struggle in your life, it will probably have emerged into the open over the last few months as the tee-square took shape, although its genesis would have occurred in the latter part of 2008 when the first opposition between these two behemoths was formed (partile on 3rd November 2008, but palpable from September onward. As an aside, the last time these oppositions were in the heavens was between March 1965 and January 1967: in January 1967, the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco popularized hippie culture, leading to the legendary Summer of Love on the West Coast of the United States, and the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the East Coast.) You will have found yourself on one side or the other: adopting the role of Saturn or Uranus and perhaps accusing or defending on the basis of one perspective or the other. Here’s how it works:

  • If you are defending on the basis of your being responsible, sensible, of good-standing, successful, burdened, restricted, unfairly weighed down with responsibility, and reliable, or if you are attacking on the basis of your opponent being unreliable, irresponsible, a loser, weird, a misfit, mad, bad or dangerous to know, then you are in the role of Saturn and you are opposing Uranus.
  • If you are defending on the basis of being carefree, exciting, original, different, inclusive, revolutionary, being a risk-taker, wanting freedom or advocating positive change or of you are attacking on the basis of your opponent being dull, over-cautious, staid, fearful, repressed, oppressive, authoritarian or status-obsessed, then you are in the role of Uranus and you are opposing Saturn.

In general terms, with the opposition falling across the Libra – Aries axis and tee-squaring Pluto in Capricorn (thus disposited by Saturn), the weight is with Saturn, so the Saturnine types are much more likely to be those with the power agenda (because Pluto is Saturn’s servant). This doesn’t mean that Saturn will win, as we will see later, the only winners are going to be those who can keep themselves in check. With Aries-Libra configured the battleground will be over themes of relating, and it may well be disguised as what is best for the other person (that is the struggle between the rulers of Aries and Libra, Mars and Venus otherwise known as I know what’s best for you. The Aries – Libra opposition disguises its own agenda in concern for someone else and because Mars is selfish and Venus is cooperative, the opposition is experienced as one person trying to force the other to compromise, using Saturn and Uranus as the chief protagonists. Look to the house positions of the opposition to gauge its nuances. In my own case the opposition falls across the 6th and 12th: I have been accused (for example) of doing the “work of the devil” in recent weeks. Work is the 6th, and the devil is clearly Uranus cast in the role of mad, bad and dangerous to know with 12th house – religious – overtones. Uranus rules astrology, and Saturn conventional religious perspectives (like Catholicism), so it is simply the old battle being manifest. Awful to experience but fascinating to witness as I have said.

Understanding and identifying the effects of the opposition in your own nativity are quite straightforward, and there are many benefits to doing so; not the least of which is through gaining an appreciation that transits, especially when forming intense configurations, always have a profound influence on our life direction and situation, even if only through the medium of related natal placements. You are much more likely to be affected by these dynamics if you have planets in the Aries’ Points, or at the middle of the fixed signs. People born in 1972 for example, are likely to be seriously pressured under these transits because of the presence of Pluto in the first degree of Libra. Similarly, those born between 1946 and 1949, where Pluto transited the midpoint degrees of Leo, will be drawn in to these power-struggles. Anyone born between 1990 and 1993 also, with Pluto in the middle degrees of Scorpio. Bizarrely (or not actually), everyone that I know born in these years has been drawn into an intense and destructive power-struggle at this time.

The same dynamic will manifest according to the nature of the aspecting point in the nativity, so, if your Moon aspects the Aries’ Points – as Mel Gibson’s does at 00Li00 – then expect power struggles with families, mothers, wives and women in general. If Neptune is involved, as it is for anyone born in 1942 and 1963-4, then deceptions, confusion, dissolution and escapism all feature in the power-struggle dynamic, difficult dreams are a feature for these people. Consider too those children born in 2004 with Neptune at the midpoint degree of Aquarius, who may be struggling with nightmares at this time as the power-struggle emanates into the Neptunian subconscious realms.

Today, and in previous days, there have been numerous stories in the news of ambushes and knife attacks. The most celebrated is the story of Raoul Moat who ambushed a policeman and his ex-girlfriend and her new lover, the latter who died. He became, in the public consciousness Uranus and some applauded him as a kind of misunderstood misfit and potential folk-hero (Uranus/11th house) while others, especially establishment figures like the British Prime Minister were moved to condemn him and his supporters as irresponsible. Ambushes, knife attacks and prejudice are themes commonly associated with the asteroid Hopi which is currently configured with Uranus at 00Ar07, bound up irredeemably with the power-struggle dynamic. Knife attacks have been ten to the penny in the news over the last few days after a groom slashed his bride’s throat ,a man stabbed his new stepmother to death and a paramedic ambushed and stabbed a nurse in the car park of the hospital where they both worked. These are just a few of the more prominent ambush and stabbing stories of recent days.

And, in each of these cases, they are people who, unaware of the metaphysical Universe in which they live, have lost all perspective in the struggle between the old ways and the new and – determined to prevail at all costs – have simply eliminated the opposition. One of the key problems with the Saturn – Pluto energy in particular is that, when under duress, it becomes extremely authoritarian, judgmental and incompassionate and it fixes on a position until the point where Uranus does what Uranus does best: he rebels. Then everyone is cast in their familiar old roles: the responsible versus the irresponsible or the oppressive against the liberating, depending on your perspective.

Make no mistake though, the opposition itself is a front. The opposition is where all the action is taking place, but the presence of Pluto at the squaring point – around 0° of Capricorn, is the real agenda, but because Pluto is receiving the tense energy, he is simply doing what Pluto always does, and keeping himself hidden.

If the opposition falls across the 1st and 7th then ostensibly there is opposition between yourself and your most intimate partner because one of you wants more freedom and the other wants more security, but the hidden agenda is about how things appear (10th) or about family or property or some problem located in the distant past (4th).

If the 2nd and 8th are involved in the opposition then the outward manifestation of that tension is to do with money, debt, inheritance or self-esteem but the true agenda is children, the way you express yourself or what you want to do for enjoyment (including love affairs) – 5th house, or its politics, at whatever level (11th).

These examples should give you some idea how the tee-square might be affecting you. If you see that happening then you gain a real insight into the metaphysical Universe and how it really does affect us in our everyday endeavours: and in seeing that you are given the opportunity to realise that you are not compelled to act upon the pressures of the planets. If we understand that here is a subtle but very powerful pressure to pit Saturn against Uranus and to adopt one stance or the other, then we can determine to resist that pernicious energy, let it wash over us instead of weighing us down. And this is no idle ideal either: because we have to be careful not to allow ourselves to be cornered by the dictates of the aspectual tension. Consider the case of the groom who tried to murder his fiancée when she called off the wedding: clearly, the impetus existed to formalise and traditionalise their relationship (Saturn), she wanted out and called off the marriage (Uranus), so he attempted to kill her (Pluto). It is without doubt a very extreme example, but it illustrates very neatly the conceptual exchange of energies.

As explained earlier, there is particular danger in adopting the Saturn position, because Saturn has rulership of Pluto within the aspect pattern, so the urge to control, overpower and destroy the Uranian rebels will come naturally and unquestioned at this time, but it will almost certainly backfire in the long-term. Similarly, in following the chain of rulerships we see that Uranus rules Neptune, so victimisation comes into play here too. Uranus will utilise evasion to attempt to escape from Saturn’s strictures. Victimisation (real or imagined) may become a theme, and much of the negative energy for the Uranian will be channeled into wishing that things were different: Neptune really doesn’t enjoy brutality and bullying.

Of course, it’s not over yet. August will be a tough month as Jupiter first squares Pluto on the 3rd, which will up the ante for sure in any power struggle and then opposes Saturn on the 16th; then old Pain and Torment get together for a last-ditch oppressfest on the 21st, when Saturn squares Pluto at 3 Libra and Capricorn respectively. That will be the final salvo in the war between earth and sky, thankfully, but the devastation left might be more than anyone bargained for.

(How have you experienced the old battle? All war-stories gratefully received!)

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.

Pluto tee-square: Secrets Revealed

Another of the intriguing possibilities of the upcoming tee-square is that of “secrets revealed.” This is already under way, and within the next few months I believe that conspiracy theorists (itself a pejorative label designed to discredit an idea before it has a chance to be examined without prejudice) will have, not so much a field day as a field year in 2010.

America is especially vulnerable, and I have reasons for saying this that are entirely astrological. I will write that up too if I get the chance.

It is already quite self-evident to anyone who examines the evidence on its own merits that the 9/11 attacks cannot have been orchestrated without – at best- considerable assistance from government. This story will probably gain wider acceptance over the coming days and weeks, with the Tower Seven controversy gradually being unravelled, and of course the Pentagon farce (watch the short film clip above) is pretty much an open and shut case for anyone who wants to investigate the matter even half-heartedly.I would say this too: if you’re struggling to believe that the American government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks then investigate the theories yourself. I did, and I was amazed at what I learned.

You put all this together and what you have is clearly a conspiracy, and no less real than the theory of gravity. The American government itself perpetrated the attacks on 9/11 as a justification for the War on Terror which itself is simply an expedience for removing civil liberties in anticipation of the soon to be revealed financial collapse when the banks suspend specie payments (as they did in 1929). This is reflected in my own understanding of the astrology: I predicted that there would be broken contracts thus: “The Hadean mistake that opposes this is in Cancer, so the problem relates to property, and with Pluto, property loans, mortgages, credit obtained against the value of real-estate. We’ve seen this dynamic over the last couple of years plain as day in the so called credit (Pluto) crunch (square Saturn), but this Cardinal Cross is the crisis point because the financial experts (Kronos) made a big mistake (Hades) and now the piper has to be paid. Jupiter is retrograde and opposed by Saturn/Lilith, I’d say this means that the ordinary people are the ones that lose out; contracts get broken, confidence collapses and everyone starts to realise just how big (Jupiter) the mistake (Hades) is.

I have revised this understanding upon further study. Hades in this guise does not represent so much of a mistake as a deliberately invidious policy, one designed to manipulatively undermine. Of course Hades does also represent a past condition which causes a difficulty in the present. Pluto is in Capricorn, thus government and the means of enforcing control is entirely financial. The suspension of specie payments is the mechanism whereby the central bank (of any nation, the Fed, the Bank of England, the Deutschebank whatever) can decide, in an emergency, that they don’t have to honour their debts, but you, who have loans and mortgages and so forth, do. This means that they can call in your mortgage and if you can’t pay it there and then, they repossess your property. You’re destitute. If you think it can’t happen: wake up. It’s exactly what happened in 1929, go and look it up for yourself if you don’t believe me: just Google “suspension of specie payments. It essentially means that when the financial collapse does occur, the banks don’t have to honour the value of your money (their debt), but you do have to honour yours.

For all these reasons and more I think we are in the endgame of a global conspiracy and it will all become clear this year.

Now I am not going to recommend that you sell your house: I have some tricky Neptune transits just now so I cannot be entirely sure that my perspective is clear, but I am already making plans to secure my position before the summer of this year.

I still have a long article to post – perhaps later today – it is already written but I need to tidy up a few references. Other than that I am giving serious consideration to suspending the taking on of any further clients for nativity readings and so forth  in the near future because I want to concentrate on working out what is going on and preparing for the coming upheavals.

If you’re interested in having your astrology looked at by me therefore, then I suggest you get your order in soon.