The Dream Dealer

It’s a time of reflection, do you feel that?

Saturn in Scorpio is really starting to work his magic. Except it doesn’t really feel like magic. Or if it is magic then it’s some old-school thaumaturgy, or one of those terrifyingly savage shamanic rituals that unfortunate sailors would get caught up in, far from home, in the South Seas in the 1700s. It isn’t fun at all.

When the Moon hit Saturn in Scorpio, the energetic landscape changed. What I really became aware of was the way in which Jupiter in Gemini was suddenly, through an act of contrast, laid bare, and he looked kind of ridiculous. Suddenly that boundless frivolity started to seem dumb. It was, in true Saturn style, a reality check. The fact is that Jupiter is appalling in Gemini. Arguably not as appalling as in Virgo, but appalling nonetheless. Jupiter, who likes depth and substance has nowhere to go except to spread himself further on the surface, because Gemini gives no natural depth. Saturn in Scorpio gets seriously deep and suddenly Jupiter looks like a second hand car salesman arguing life perspectives with Alan Watts. In many ways I am far more comfortable with Saturn in Scorpio – as ridiculous as that sounds – than I am with Jupiter in Gemini.

In part that’s a generational problem. Having pondered the conundrum for some time I believe that Neptune is partly to blame (blame? Neptune?) for this. Allow me to explain.

Neptune always gets cast as the good guy; if I may quote myself (from “Orcus” p. 202):

“I believe that Neptune is given a fabulously good press by contemporary astrology, and one that is scarcely deserved. Certainly, Neptune’s reputation is enormously positive compared to his brother Pluto’s, and yet I am endlessly sceptical about how deserving of his many generous epithets Neptune truly is. Like the ocean, Neptune seems beautiful, yearning and restive, a vastness of potential and a personification of a gentle eternity, but it seems that way from the perspective of the safe shore. Anyone who has been beyond sight of land in a black and angry sea understands that Neptune’s power is just as dread as his brother’s; equally as alien and inhumane. Pluto’s realm is buried, however; unknown to the living, whereas Neptune’s treacherous tides and currents are glamorised by his glittering waves and gentle breezes. Neptune’s dreams, poetries and symphonies are spin-doctors par excellence.”

Neptune’s wonderful trick is that he flatters to deceive by presenting us with an image of the ideal that we cannot possibly hope to realise. Then, unattained, the dream becomes a goad to our discontent.

And, when you get to grips with it, Neptune describes your dream. With Neptune in Scorpio, the basic premise is a kind of unencumbered Spartanism. You dream of a life of purity, of minimalism, of spiritual depth. If that Neptune is in the 6th house then you will have a dream about starting your day by donning your robe, walking into the clean air as the day breaks, up to the dojo under the mountain and beginning your meditation. If the 7th house, then instead, you awake in your remote cabin to find sunlight streaming through the trees. Your beautiful, funny, successful wife has made a pot of rich Columbian coffee and you join her on the porch to listen to the birdsong. In the 8th, you wake up in the presidential suite of the Waldorf Astoria. The Swedish women’s volleyball team are staying on the same floor…

Okay, I’m joking, mostly.

But you get the idea. Neptune has a dream. It is highly personal and always alluring because it is purpose-made for you. With a Scorpio placement, the quality of that dream is always going to be characterised by depth and richness. It is not a case of bigger and better; rather it is a case of finding something pure and valuable, like a rich seam of gold deep in the black earth. Imagine that for a moment, it shines in the darkness and promises so much.

The placement of Pluto and aspects to Neptune are going to have a profound influence on the themes of your dream. If you have Scorpio Neptune in the 7th and Pluto in the 10th, then after you have drunk coffee with your wife, you climb into your Porsche and drive into the city to make big-money deals.  If Neptune trines Mars then of course, all the girls flirt with you, you’re so charming after all, but they all know that you’re happily married and can’t wait to get home to see your wife.

With Sagittarius, the dream changes, fundamentally. Now Jupiter is running the show, so it’s not a seam of gold buried deep in the earth any more, rather it’s a bright, hot-air balloon drifting gently in the balmy summer sky. You’re up there in the clouds looking down on the glittering panoply under your feet.

With that Neptune in the 6th house, you want a daily routine that’s filled with fun and laughter and good times. Yes, you can feel that can’t you? You get up and the kids are laughing, the sun is shining, your handsome, jovial husband is cooking breakfast and telling goofy jokes. You sit down to eat and your best friend calls and you arrange to go out for lunch after your yoga class. You see? That is the “more is more and it will all be great fun” style of Neptune in Sagittarius’ dream.

Inevitably though, the dream can become something of a curse. Actually, it invariably does, and when we experience hard transits to that Neptune, we begin to feel just how painfully short of that dream our reality actually is. The Neptune squares are the time in our life when we get the best opportunity to feel how far from that dream we are, and to make necessary adjustments, which invariably require coming to terms with the fact that we are going to have to let go of some things that don’t serve that dream. But that isn’t the only time we can improve the situation.

We are gifted another opportunity when Saturn moves into Neptune’s sign. It rarely feels like an opportunity, because the nature of these two energies are fundamentally dissonant, but for those born with Neptune in Scorpio, now is the time to make the hard and often onerous changes in your life which will help you to make the dream a reality. This is because the planet of reality is bearing down on the planet of fantasy, and when they finally meet, they are going to find a middle ground. It might be that Saturn gives way and you work hard to realise the dream, or it might be that Neptune gives ground and you start to get real about what is possible, and adjust the dream accordingly. Whichever way it goes, and usually there is a combination of both, after this transit, your ideal life, and your actual life will be closer than ever before. The process will not have been easy, or enjoyable, but you’ll be glad of it when it’s done.

With Neptune in Sagittarius, the situation is unique and considerably more compelling. Neptune in Sagittarius’ dreams and aspirations are in many ways bigger than Scorpio’s, and easier to deflate for that reason. But the great cosmic mechanism has ensured that Neptune in Sagittarius gets a double dose of adjustment as Saturn moves into Sagittarius between December 2014, and December 2017. People born in about 1971 are already being given a taste of this problem because – born between 1971 and 1972 they have Neptune in Sagittarius and Saturn in the early degrees of Gemini. They’ve lived with the dissonance of Saturn opposing Neptune their entire lives and as Neptune squares the opposition around now, the reality check can be especially sobering. Neptune is so very idealistic in Sagittarius after all, and the opposition to Saturn really polarises the fantasy with the reality. The dream is extremely positive and the dawning truth at the time of the Neptune squares can feel like a wet blanket the size of the old Soviet Union when it descends.

For those born somewhat after, they will experience Saturn moving into Sagittarius at the same time as their Neptune squares. It’s a double ‘turning of the screw’ on the dream of the perfect life, and for that reason it will feel very tough.

But in both these cases, all is not lost. The adjustment is painful and dissonant, but it also offers a powerful opportunity to make a shift of consciousness, which is always Neptune’s exalting pressure, into a truly spiritual mode of life. Once made, that shift is a panacea for the harshness of Saturnine reality, because it recontextualises material reality, success, status and toil into immaterial terms. Status is no longer being seen as a success, but rather in knowing that one is a good person. The small chores of life are no longer drudgeries, rather they are become meditations. What we call “work” is now “the Work”. Fundamentally, this shift is found in the realisation that the life of contentment and ease that we yearned for is not ‘out there’ but it is inside us, bound up in the distortion of perspective that we are somehow hard done-by, a victim of somebody else, or of God, or that, in fact, because we are good, we deserved better. Saturn teaches our Neptune that nobody gets what they deserve, they get only what they need to let go of the illusion that they deserved better.

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.

Relationships and the Davison Composite

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

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

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

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

Davison Composite

Charles and Diana: Davison Composite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Sense of Saturn (Part 2)

07

Saturn is very comfortable in Libra, the sign of its exaltation, and to some extent it embodies, via the polarity some of the youthful potential of Saturn in Aries. Britney then relates and appears as a Libra Saturn, while Prince William will be motivated to try and create a life purpose from it. This suggests incidentally a preoccupation with justice but most especially a great sense of duty and responsibility. Bob Geldof somewhat evinces this same quality, albeit self-consciously; his dedication to the Live Aid projects is testament to this exact principle, Saturn in Libra is greatly concerned with natural justice.

08

Saturn in Scorpio is a very different animal from Saturn in airy Libra. Here there is a powerful need to get below the superficial in life and a measure of fatalism too. Most especially, Saturn in Scorpio is secretive and concerned with the quiet exercise of power and authority, Scorpio is the principle of control, and Saturn creates something of a constraint from it. It creates great endurance however, and a propensity for tackling difficult problems that others might balk at. It is interesting to note that both George VI and his great-grandson share a peregrine Saturn too.

09

Examples of Saturn in Sagittarius are difficult to find in the world of celebrity; the impulsive, unconstrained impetus that is the sign of the archer is really at its least comfortable here.

10

Saturn in Capricorn is a very comfortable placement, although peregrinated, it must be very powerful, if not somewhat debilitating. Ted Kennedy is the 2nd longest Member of the US Senate and is broiadly respected across the political spectrum. He is also undoubtedly one of the most powerful men in the world in his role as a kingmaker and political player. Sean Connery evinces most perfectly the gravitas and immediacy of respect that Saturn creates so easily in its own sign.

11

Aquarius too is a good placing for Saturn and creates a slightly offbeat form of respectability that is very clearly evinced by Michael Caine, it becomes more pronounced – as does any positive potential of Saturn – with age and maturity. Jodie Foster too shares a peregrine Saturn in Aquarius.

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Finally, Saturn in Pisces, which creates a real test of compassion; the danger for this placement is that the native can struggle to muster any genuine sympathy or to connect with the other person in any meaningful way. It can therefore create a tendency to exploit others, and in the case of Heidi Fleiss, this is clearly an issue. David Carradine by contrast, with his screen portrayal of Kwai Chang Caine in the 1970′s TV series Kung Fu, has subsequently become interested in Eastern spiritualism and evidently portrays something of that ambience in his manner of relating.

Wherever Saturn is found it creates a test based upon the principles of the sign and house placement, one that is characterised by early difficulty and – providing the lesson has been learned with a measure of humility and responsibility – eventual exaltation.

Denzel Washington: Gravitas personified

his stars outshine even Crowe...

Denzel: his stars outshine even Crowe...

One of my favourite pastimes as an astrologer is to take a look at the astrology of celebrities and notables that I like and try to discover whether or not my impression of them is at all justified. I used this method to determine which of Federer or Nadal I would support in the Wimbledon final (I wasn’t particularly bothered, but any game is improved with a sprinkling of zeal – and I went for Federer by the way) and I would quite happily use the same approach to determine the probable sincerity of a politician. As any good astrologer knows though, a study of any human being’s astrology makes them much more interesting to observe; I liken meeting a client post-interpretation to watching the film of a book you may have particularly enjoyed, and usually the big-screen version is rewarding. Studying the astrology of actors, performers and other public notables has led me to take in a great deal of culture that would not normally have intrigued me overmuch. I became distinctly enamoured of Annie Lennox’s music after looking at her astrology, so too with Edith Piaf and Nina Simone, my respect for Liz Greene actually increased post-study, so too with Germaine Greer (who is undoubtedly brilliant), not to mention Sylvia Plath, and then there are those empathic moments too, as with the astrology of Lady Jane Grey, which left me – quite frankly – anguished for several hours.

On a lighter note then, I intend today to make a brief foray into the astrology of Denzel Washington, whom for me can almost do no wrong and I fully expect him to improve as an actor considerably with age: and not just because he is a Capricorn either. He is, astrologically, the genuine article.

I will personalise this just a little by saying that I have always felt a natural liking for the sign Capricorn, I love the dry humour, the deadpan observational style, the sheer toughness and resilience of it and wherever it is found it creates a wonderful wry, self-deprecating and pleasantly implacable ambience in the character. When I was a young man, my sidekick Tich, an accomplished Jazz musician and troubadour, was almost 100% Capricorn and we travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles together with guitars, ephemerides and wacky haircuts and it was entirely down to his uncomplaining determination that we ended up belting out Dylan numbers to a crowd of enraptured fishermen on a beach at dusk in Lindisfarne, or getting through three festivals in a week as far apart as Stonehenge and Wales with no car.

00) Mount Vernon, NY

Denzel Washington, actor. 28 Dec 1954, 00:09 (+5:00) Mount Vernon, NY

Denzel has this same quietly implacable quality and how much?! His astrology is a textbook case and almost impossible to misinterpret in its single pointed foci. Note all the indicators of drive, brilliance, outstanding talent and in particular determination in the astrology, here are my delineations, in a vague order of precedence:

  1. Sun is near Cazimi with North Node, conjunct Mercury and all three elements together are Peregrine. This then is Capricorn unalloyed, the purest distillation of Capricorn in self-awareness, in a sense of destiny and in manner of speech. This would give phenomenal gravitas even if ptolemaically aspected, but here that sense of weight is off the charts.
  2. But look! Peregrine Moon in Aquarius as well! So whilst he may have a serious demeanour, he gets to be cool with it too. Moon in Aquarius is sometimes just too detached though, and where the Sun is in Air, it can make the native almost unengagable, but this dissociative note (peregrine Moon is always dissociative) is probably countered by the Capricorn impetus to mean something. The only fly in the ointment here is the concern that for all his presence and detachment, he might be unable to convey much humanity, but then…
  3. Mars trine Saturn not only gives enormous self-control, it gives incredible emotional power as well; especially with the Scorpio influence and a mutual reception between Moon and Uranus gives a near-genius for expressing the personal needs and inner life.
  4. The tee-square to Neptune provides the drive to be seen as “the actor” and creates a rather tense need to be perceived as sensitive; this, combined with Saturn would in my view, provide the undercurrent of slightly stressed sympathy that adds the essential dash of humanity to his controlled exterior. The tee square is especially intriguing, a close conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus for a start creates a likely ongoing increase in individuation, trine to Venus provides his film-star mannerisms, opposite Chiron in Capricorn – thus a feeling of not being taken seriously enough, in the 4th, probably stemming from childhood. Denzel was sent away to boarding school while his parents divorced, and Chiron in Capricorn creates a real need to be heard, one that is often thwarted, setting up a life that attempts to redeem itself through being given respect; of course that too is unbalanced with Jupiter/Uranus, so his deep sensitivity is difficult to reconcile with his outgoing, powerful individuality and all of that tension gets fed into his acting (Neptune), and this configuration really adds the drive so typical of the tee-square to the whole mix. Interesting to note that Denzel’s first movie was released within a month of Chiron’s discovery in 1977.
  5. The only dark note is suggested by Venus square Pluto which would have been applying genuine formative pressure by Solar Arc at age 3. It is in that light no surprise then that Moon is peregrine and that his parents divorced fairly early in his life. There is a rift here with the mother and that sense of emotional isolation that accompanies peregrination of the Moon is here underpinned. Saturn too applies to square Pluto by SA at age 9, and I would bet good money that this was when the divorce was decided, even though the disintegration of the relationship started some 6 years beforehand. Wherever Saturn is configured with Pluto the outcome is usually hard-work, and across the Leo – Scorpio quarter it is especially rigid, inflexible and uncompromising.

Put it all together and you begin to perceive the underlying quality of the entire persona; the key experiential statement then for me is one of great power, gravitas and expressive potency, fuelled by intensely controlled emotions, a need to be heard and taken seriously and a drive to let go of a difficult and uncomfortable sensitivity, itself the legacy of an unhappy and isolated childhood, but with an overall impetus to gradual self-exaltation. Denzel will only get better.