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.

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 Magic Kingdom of Teddy, Chiron and the Fixed Star Facies

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

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

Allow me to explain.

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

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

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

So what of that?

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

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

They never wanted to see me again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have a terrible fear that Teddy is blind.

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

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

Nothing is wrong with Teddy, he is perfect.

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

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

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

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

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

And for me?

It is not wrong.

The 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!)

Jupiter meets Saturn, is the glass half-full or half-empty?

When the big boys of the solar system get together, it can be a real contest.

Angela asks: “I have a Saturn/Jupiter Conjunction in the 5th house. Can you shed any light on this remarkable pairing – valid information is scarce at best!

The conjunction of Jupiter with Saturn occurs every 20 years and is in consideration not dissimlar to the conjunction of Venus with Mars, albeit writ large; while the manifestated effects are entirely different, the discomfort of blending opposed archetypes is common. It is a conjunction therefore containing the spirit of opposition at its core, and balancing is key, but this balancing act is not nearly so problematic as with Venus and Mars. These planets meet up in 200 year elemental cycles and 1980-81 saw the shift from earth to air (although the conjunction moved back into earth in 2000). Strictly speaking, neither Jupiter nor Saturn can be considered personal planets; so their combination is not always easy to apprehend subjectively, the effects are more pronounced when the conjunction is itself aspected by a personal planet. This is extremely important, a peregrine island (i.e. a Ptolemaically unaspected conjunction) of Jupiter – Saturn would be an experientially obscure impetus and you might be largely oblivious to its effects without the – dubious – benefit of major transits or directions.

This article deals most directly with the conjunction between the two, but indeed, all aspects are valid for consideration; bearing in mind that easy aspects tend to favour lower-friction exchanges, not easier ones!

One of the intriguing technical insights into the aspect is determining which planet is stronger. This is much easier to ascertain with Venus and Mars, the nature of that particular conjunction – being personal – is more readily apparent; Mars tends to coarsen Venus and unless the sign of the conjunction is very sympathetic to Venus, thus primarily Libra, but to a lesser extent Pisces and Taurus, then Venus does rather tend to lose out. Venusian qualities are under-represented therefore and there tends to be an Arian self-interest and pushiness in the character that results. With Jupiter – Saturn, the last 200 year cycle has tended to favour Saturn. As a profitable aside, the decade after the conjunction occurs during Jupiter’s waxing phase and the decade before, Saturn’s, a phenomenon which lends some slight advantage over the waning body, but even this pattern has not served to give especial weight to Jupiter during the earth-air transition. The previous century or so has evinced this pattern:

1901 – Nov 28th, 13°59′ Capricorn, Saturn’s domicile (Walt Disney)
1921 – Sep 10th, 26°35′ Virgo, Jupiter’s fall, (Gene Roddenberry)
1940 - Aug 8th, 14°27′ Virgo (1st pass of 3) Jupiter’s fall, (Bruce Lee, John Lennon, Paddy Ashdown)
1961 - Feb 19th, 25°12′ Capricorn ,Saturn’s domicile, (Billy Ray Cyrus, Heather Locklear)
1980 - Dec 31st, 09°29′ Libra (1st pass of 3) Saturn’s exaltation, (Lleyton Hewitt, Zara Philips)
2000 - May 28th, 22°43 Taurus (ruled by Venus, thus within Saturn’s exaltation, also term, face)
2020 - Dec 21st, 00°29′ Aquarius, Saturn’s domicile (trad.)

Every conjunction over the last two centuries therefore (by my reckoning) gives distinct favour to Saturn. Perhaps this is one reason why the combination is considered a “pillar of the community” style of aspect: it provokes a tendency to seek respectability, to be considered reliable and usually gives some measure of civic stardom, since both planets lend themselves to community endeavours rather than purely personal concerns. House positions would be important as well in this matter of weighting; if in the 9th, or the 12th, then Jupiter would be strengthened, if in the 10th or 7th, Saturn would gain more power, but in most cases, Saturn would be given greater emphasis, so he would lead while Jupiter would follow. Caution and responsibility would therefore, over time, win out.

There are, naturally, a great many ‘broad’ effects of the combination because these are not especially precise instruments; I personally find Charles Carter’s remarks very useful (modified in our apprehension particularly for the astrological Zeitgeist) :

It must be considered potentially gloomy, for it occurs sometimes in maps of suicide, especially if it falls in Virgo. It distinctly favours a hard life, with privation, struggle or danger. The native essays difficult though sometimes glorious feats and may acquire fame through performances of great arduousness, either mental, physical or spiritual. It is distinctly a sign of great possibilities to be realised by hard work.”

This judgment makes a great deal of sense. For a start the combination will give the early life a distinct degree of hardship because faith and optimism are curtailed by Saturn’s hard opinions; it is an archetypal struggle between optimism and pessimism that must be balanced by life-experience; a sense of tempering (or temperance) therefore comes naturally to the consideration of the pair as a requirement for realising benefit. Clearly improvement (Jupiter) must be attained through industry (Saturn), and these considerations form the basis for Carter’s insights. For this reason I would say that Jupiter – Saturn contacts have an enormous number of potential manifestations but these are very much dependent upon age and also upon contacts to personal planets and the tenor of the nativity as whole, because neither are personal planets. They cannot therefore be directly expressed.

Other than improvement through hard-work, there can be a tendency to swing, ofttimes rather wildly, between extremes of optimism and pessimism, which at worst will manifest as inflated pessimism (Jupiter operating on Saturn) and this is a tendency that with age might be transmuted through awareness into a brand of cautious optimism, being able to carefully reach one’s goals and targets in life (Saturn operating on Jupiter).

So you can perhaps see that the Jupiter – Saturn contact is not so much a state as a process; as all the best astrology ought to be. Fundamentally it is a test of faith and belief in the bounty of the Universe and this is – in my experience – astonishingly pertinent to the combination, regardless of aspect. Earlier in life there is a feeling that the world is not safe, not giving and plentiful, but with experience comes an adjustment of expectations, a sobering down occurs, Saturn begins to do his slow, relentless work on Jupiter’s excessive optimism and gradually perspective dawns. One realises that provided one takes a responsible and sensible course, great benefits are possible.

The pessimism and gloominess inferred by Carter is also quite easy to decipher. Saturn is moralising and ‘proper’ in the extreme and Jupiter tends to exaggerate these qualities, many people with the contact strong actually struggle under the weight of their own strict moral codes, they feel weighed down by their own sense of justice and self-imposed standards. An inflated Saturn cannot be much fun and one might be considered, or even consider oneself, to be something of a wet blanket, forever putting the brakes on the more relaxed predilections of others in the environment. Jupiter exaggerates Saturn’s sense of responsibility, so this aspect makes the mother who is continually providing cautionary curbs on the childrens’ enthusiasms: “put your coat on or you’ll catch cold,” or “don’t climb on that wall, you’ll fall off and break your neck!”

Looked at in this way, it is easy to see how natives with this combination can ofte end up being pillars of their community. Quite apart from the sense of civic (Jupiter) responsibility (Saturn), Jupiter once again expands the Saturnine 10th house tenets of respectability, achievement and social standing. It also tends to increase ones conservatism, or it makes at best, a serious and committed liberal!

Getting the best out of the blend can take time, experience and a measure of good-standing

As can perhaps be deduced, Saturn needs time to temper his working materials, so it is a combination that takes patience to really kick into gear and begin paying dividends, perhaps because it takes experience to master the sense of fine judgment and timing that the aspect implies. In the dichotomy between risk and caution, there is an early difficulty with taking chances where caution is called for and with opting to play it safe when a gamble would create opportunities; this challenge is always at the heart of Jupiter – Saturn contacts and personal planets connecting with the pairing will often give a sense of how this tends to manifest. If Venus conjoins in some way, then both money and love are areas of immense early difficulty (or at least concern); the native will often tend to stick when they should twist and as a result struggle to learn good lessons. The next time that love (or an investment opportunity) comes their way they will remember the hard lesson from before and be cautious and thus lose an opportunity for happiness or profit or alternately take a wild chance (with an exclamation of “what the hell!”) on a bad bet and find themselves subsequently crushed. It takes a long time for these natives to learn how to judge each case on its own terms and this is because Jupiter overly-inflates the value of Saturn’s experience. If Mars is configured, it takes great experience before the native understands when and how to assert, and it can be a long and painful road to tread for anyone with Mars connected to this pairing, quite apart from the enervation of swinging between periods of high-energy and enthusiasm and general exhaustion and pessimism. Both Mars and Mercury with Jupiter/Saturn tends to speak too plainly when circumspection is called for, and keep its counsel when free discourse would be appreciated, until experience can be brought to bear.

Crucially though, the effects are much easier to isolate when any personal planet is configured, either by aspect or through a halfsum picture. Mars = Jupiter/Saturn will evince the aformementioned effect with regard to energy and assertion, as will Mars squaring Jupiter conjunct Saturn (which is in itself a halfsum picture as well when in tight orb of course).

On the whole though, this aspect is a good teacher, so long as neither archetype is allowed to gain the upper hand, and with time, age and (often bitter) experience, there can be a real power of application and industry applied to worthy goals with subsequent achievement. The highest realisation of the combination is the enlightened judge, the judicious optimist and having faith in one’s responsible, considered nature and ability to keep improving is key to manifesting the best potentials of the combination.

Perhaps Saint Francis of Assisi coined best the mantra for those with aspects between these distant bodies:

“Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Amen to that.

The Astrology of Breaking Down

Today’s article is a story. Not a made-up story, it’s a real-life story, a part of my own story, and it demonstrates, I believe, just how astonishingly powerful astrology is when you are open to its most fundamental principles, when you are fluent (and that’s a potent word in this context) in its language, and how it is a diagnostic and therapeutic tool second to none if you are experiencing life problems.

There is a phenomenon in astrology which I call the cascade effect. I shall quote myself, because I want you to understand the cascade effect, if you don’t appreciate it truly, then you will struggle to harness the power of your nativity: instead, it will remain abstract, disconnected from your reality. So:

Any physical symptom is simply an expression of the astrology at the level of last resort. That psychic impetus that you have not manifested at some level higher-up in the totality of your awareness has – left with no viable alternative – found its way out into the body, and that is the cause of your symptom.”

Meditation or prayer is a powerful tool for healing when combined with astrological self-awareness

So, if you are sick, then there is a problem in your nativity that has been triggered. Of course, for the sake of clarity, this does not mean that if you have caught a cold there is a problem in your nativity; but if you are unusually sick, relative to the statistical norm for people of your age and background, and even, in fact, relative to your own experience. What this means is that if you become ill, and your symptoms are severe, chronic or unusually distressing, then the reason for that problem will be found in your nativity.

That problem will have manifested at different levels too, although, if it has reached the ‘low-point’ of the physical body, then the chances are that you haven’t noticed it manifesting in any of the higher levels, but have no doubt, it will have been there! I have a theory that these problems want to be noticed, simply because the natural impetus of the human soul is toward improvement and purification. Let me use an analogy.

You go and buy a TV, and because you’re short of cash, you buy it on credit. The next day you lose your job, and because you are always a bit short of cash you didn’t get any unemployment insurance, so you miss the first payment on your new TV. A month goes by and you receive a reminder in the post. You ignore it, thinking you’ll soon be back in work and you’ll sort it out then. Another reminder arrives and you ignore that, and the next, and you’re beginning to get a little panicky about it now. The phone rings and you’re screening the calls and it’s the credit company, so you start avoiding the telephone (we’ve all been there right?) A couple of weeks later, you get a really threatening letter telling you you’re going to be taken to court if you don’t get in touch and sort this out.

Now, you can carry on with this story, right up to the point where the bailiffs are kicking in the door and clearing out all your worldly goods, you get evicted and end up living in a homeless shelter; but since I already said this would be a true-story and not make-believe, I’ll leave all that to you.

The point is that your astrology works in exactly this way, except it doesn’t use uneasy feelings, reminder letters, phone calls and bailiffs; rather it uses synchronicity, feelings of discomfort, interpersonal conflict and physical sickness as a direct correlation.

What this means is that the Universe (which from a philosophical perspective is really your nativity) starts making things happen in external reality as a way of trying to tell you that you need to take note of this problem and start dealing with it. We call this synchronicity for easy reference. Astrology is a universal language; Mercury is concerned with an array of factors, from communication at the interpersonal level to nerves and lungs (and so on) at the physical level. Similarly, Mars rules assertion and competition at the interpersonal level and the muscles, the head (and so on) in the physical body. Therefore, if you suffer from neuralgia or frequent toothaches then the chances are that there is some difficult connection between Mercury and Mars in your nativity. This might not be immediately obvious, but here is a list of some possible interconnections:

  1. Mercury in aspect (especially hard aspect) to Mars.
  2. Mercury in Aries or Mars in Gemini.
  3. Mercury in the 1st or Mars in the 3rd.
  4. Having a stressor aspecting the midpoint of Mercury and Mars (e.g. Sa=Me/Ma).
  5. Having both planets in weak positions, thus Mercury in Sagittarius and Mars in Libra, (or even Mercury in the 9th and Mars in the 7th).
  6. Having another planet act as an intermediary: for example having Jupiter in Aries (thus ruled by Mars) in tricky aspect to Mercury. Or vice-versa, having Saturn in Gemini in tricky aspect to Mars.

Now the crucial point here is that this problem will be trying to get itself noticed throughout your life, but like the reminder letters from the credit company, you’ve been ignoring them. What happens next is that you get a (cosmic) phone call, and maybe you start experiencing heightened conflicts in your interpersonal relationships; you’re always arguing with some people (and just what is their problem anyway!) but still you take no notice, you stop answering the phone and eventually, the bailiffs start kicking the door down. AKA: you get sick.

There are  a number of other stages of course: you might get divorced, your car might break down repeatedly (that’s a Mercury problem too), but whatever, ultimately, if you don’t take notice at one of these other levels, eventually you leave the Universe no other option than to give you a really big and obvious hint and make you sick.

Of course, you can go on with this (as with the original story) and ignore the bailiffs too, but now you’re playing a high-stakes game. Your quality of life might be affected or you might be hospitalised: you could even die; and lots of people do, believe it or not, rather than fix the original problem which is sitting there (often plain as day) in their nativity.

So you see, by following the TV bought on credit example, you can begin to understand how your astrology actually works. It would be nice of course if we were able to work out what was wrong even before we got the first reminder letter, and actually, with practise you can. You can cultivate a habit of taking notice of synchronicity, those coincidences that seem too uncanny to truly be mere coincidences and try to interpret what the underlying message is all about, but of course you need to be aware of the universal and symbolic language of astrology before you can understand the message. If you don’t speak the language, you won’t be able to understand the message (you can of course use a good interpreter).

The human body is an energy matrix that is mapped by your astrology

Now, one more note before we move on; the reminders, like the problem that is attempting to get noticed are not random. They are always triggered by transits, directions, and especially – in my experience – Secondary Progressions. What this means is that you can usually find the cause of the sickness if you take a look at the Secondary Progressed nativity at the time the problem was first noticed. It is not always there (but that would be unusual, especially if the problem is serious), but if it is not, then it will certainly be obvious in the transit chart, the progressed Solar Return chart or somewhere else. You will find it if you know how to look for it.

Now, I could provide theoretical examples, but it would be more powerful, and easier, to give a real-life story to illustrate this issue. This article will probably be especially interesting to anyone with difficult aspects between Mercury and Saturn.

In my own nativity, Mercury is peregrine (not classically peregrine, but Ptolemaically unaspected). That means it receives no major aspects. There are only three minor aspects, a quintile (72°) to Jupiter, a semisquare (45°) to Pluto and a quincunx (150°) to Saturn. I have never had the slightest problem accessing the Pluto semisquare, Mercury is in Scorpio and in mutual reception with Pluto in Virgo, and I understand the quintile to Jupiter (I have a fortunate knack for learning: if I want to understand something I will), but I’ve never been especially aware of the aspect to Saturn.

There are two factors to consider here: the aspect, and the quality of the blend. A quincunx is an aspect which fundamentally connotes dissatisfaction: when you try to combine these two energies, you’re never entirely satisfied with the result; it therefore creates a push for perfectionism. Mercury – Saturn on the other hand has plenty of meanings, but fundamentally, it suggests that when you are involved in a communication or exchange of ideas (thus anything from a chit-chat to a formal learning process) there is a feeling of inadequacy, blockage, slowness or frustration. I’d never been consciously aware of any such problem in my life, any dissatisfaction with my communication or ability to learn and as a result I’d never taken too much notice of the aspect before but then, two months ago I began to develop a problem with my shoulder.

As an astrologer, I determined that I really ought to be taking notice of this, because obviously, I’d been ignoring a problem all the way down the line, so I needed to find clues. I thought about it for a few days and went to see the doctor. The shoulder had become so bad by this point that I was practically paralysed, I could hardly move and my every waking moment involved severe pain. The doctor told me that I had a nerve trapped between two vertebrae in my spine and prescribed me powerful painkillers and a muscle relaxant which helped but did not ‘fix’ the problem. I was therefore tasked with translating the problem into the universal language of astrology in order that I find a solution. So, I had: a nerve (Mercury) that was trapped, compressed between two bones (Saturn), which resulted in muscular pain (Mars) for which the doctor (Hygeia) prescribed drugs (Neptune).

So, the trapped nerve immediately made me take notice of Mercury quincunx Saturn. But other events started to make themselves felt.

During the recent Mercury retrograde my car overheated (Mars) and all the water exploded out from a burst pipe in the engine (Neptune and specifically: Mars-Neptune, the explosion of liquids). The next day the temperature dropped and there was heavy snowfall so the water in the engine froze (Saturn), I hadn’t had a chance to put antifreeze in. This resulted in repeated problems with the car; it kept breaking down (Mercury-Saturn). I’ve actually become quite good friends with my mechanic as a result, because he’s had to fix the car (Hygeia) so many times!

So, all the clues are here: we have a Mercury Saturn problem, with elements of Mars, Jupiter, Neptune and Hygeia thrown in for good measure. Now here is my nativity:

As you will see, all of the aforementioned planets are involved in a complicated matrix of hard aspects in my nativity. I was born with this problem. Evidently, I’d managed to ignore the reminder letters, and the phone calls, and now the bailiffs were knocking on my door.

So, what’s the story here? I included the Sun in this picture because it’s relevant.

When I was three months old my father left and I never saw him again (Sun opp. Saturn Rx). My mother remarried when I was 4 and I had never been especially interested in my biological father but through a long course of synchronicities I had finally got to the point where I’d decided to contact him, which I did: just before Christmas. So, for the first time in my life since the age of 3 months, I communicated (Mercury) with my father (Saturn). Shall we call that another coincidence?

So what then is the fundamental problem? As I said before, Mercury – Saturn aspects are all about feeling intellectually inadequate. That would probably seem quite laughable to anyone who knows me well, and indeed, if anyone had told me a year ago that I had a lack of confidence in my intellect I’d probably have found it quite laughable myself, but the more I examined the issue, the more it made sense.

The chakras are the primary energy centres of the human body

My stepfather, whom I love dearly, has always told me how incredibly bright I am, as has my mother. In my stepfather’s case that was all very well, but he is a Cambridge University professor and one of the most supremely intelligent, wise and self-possessed human beings alive on this earth today (which really is no exaggeration). That’s a real legacy to live up to. Upon serious reflection then, I now realise that this first became a problem for me at the age of 14 (when I had my first Saturn opposition, thus triggering the Sun opposition to radix Saturn and the quincunx to Mercury). I fell behind at school after being the highest achieving pupil in my year: and this at one of the best schools in the country. I essentially flunked my exams. Still, my parents persuaded me to go back and take A’ levels, but I lasted almost until the point of taking the exams and I dropped out again. Even still, I went back to school many years later and took A’ levels, this time at 29! The Saturn return: and I got into University as a mature student. I started taking History with Archaeology (how Saturnian is that?) but then decided that it wasn’t for me and switched courses: supremely late, to Computing with Psychology. I got two years through my course and became so discontented that I basically flunked out again.

I am quite sure you are seeing a pattern here.

Sun-Saturn connotes somebody who is not so much motivated by a desire for success as they are paralysed by a fear of failure. They can do quite well in life, but crucially, their efforts are fuelled primarily by not wanting to fail.

Now, the Mercury – Saturn connection provokes a test as does any Saturn connection, there is a looming qualm, an innate inadequacy which the native struggles to overcome, usually through persistent hard work. When connected with Mercury, that test relates to intelligence, one’s ability to learn and communicate knowledge, and it relates very precisely to academic matters, so Saturn here says: are you academically able? The aspect is quincunx, so there is a seeking after perfection, things have to be just right or the aspect nags, like grit in your shoe, demanding that you get it right. But then Sun-Saturn is paralysed by a fear of failure and the primary role-model for success in a man’s life are these exact male archetypes, Sun and Saturn, the living embodiment of which is found in the father or father figure.

So, when your primary father figure is one of the most well-qualified human beings on the planet (and he really is: you could count on one hand the number of people alive today with his credentials in his field, he has taught at Harvard, UCLA and held a professorship at Cambridge) then really, to say that’s a tough act to follow, is an astounding understatement. My younger brother summed it up rather astutely when I saw him a couple of weeks ago when he asked: “what actually is the point in trying to distinguish yourself academically in our family?”

True.

It has dawned on me since that the reason I had always dropped out of education before I really got finished was because then I didn’t have to fail (Sun-Saturn) which meant that I wouldn’t therefore have to feel stupid (Mercury-Saturn). What else was there? Any child only wants to individuate and exceed their parents’ expectation, so what was I going to do, become a double professor?

And that’s when I realised that I had an intellectual inferiority complex. It’s not remotely my stepfather’s fault of course, he is as humble, gentle and kind as the day is long, he would never crow about his achievements – indeed, the only reason I even know that he is a professor, or where he taught is because I’ve read his biography in the numerous books he has had published. It hit me with a kind of kaleidoscopic rush. I can now sense the inner tension that builds as soon as I feel pressured to learn something, and it resonates dissonantly, at the same time, with an inner pressure to achieve that learning goal; to prove myself.

And do you know what happened as soon as I realised this?

The pain began to subside. Well, I have a lot of work to do and it will probably take many weeks to fix myself for good, but I feel as though I am on the mend.

Understanding this, let us revisit the story of my car:

During the recent Mercury retrograde my car went through numerous cycles of overheating and freezing (Mars – Saturn: Saturn is in Aries thus ruled by Mars), Mercury was retrograde (breakdowns) and in Capricorn (thus ruled by Saturn). The Sun – Saturn opposition points to a congenital weakness, my mechanic tells me that I bought the car with this problem (on Ebay), and of course, the mechanic himself is represented by Hygeia which is the apex point of a tee square from the Sun – Saturn opposition.

It was when I looked at my Secondary Progressed chart that I decided to just buy a new car, I had already thrown away a small fortune on trying to get the old one fixed.

There are a number of remarkable features here. Before I explain though let me tell you a little about progressed Mercury. I was born with Mercury at 7 Scorpio, unaspected. Mercury continued to progress direct through Scorpio until 1984 – the year I first took my high school exams – when it turned retrograde. It moved back through Scorpio until it had returned to its birth position, when I decided to go back to school and get the exams I needed to go to University. When Mercury was in perfect quincunx to SP Saturn I actually made the decision that I would give up work and go back to school (although it took a while to realise that plan fully). When I experienced my Saturn Return I started University. Mercury continued to retrograde until it reached 1 Scorpio, in 2004. When Mercury came within a degree of the natal quincunx to Saturn (for the 3rd time now) I started to experience pain in my shoulder and the car started to break down.

Quite apart from the rather remarkable fact that SP Mercury has been in Scorpio my entire adult life: and will be until I am well into my 60s, what you will see is that just now, there is a Mars – Hygeia conjunction at the exact midpoint (all midpoints express the two aspecting points) of the Mercury – Saturn quincunx. Hygeia is indeed in exact squile (half-way between the sextile and the square) aspect (75°) to both Mercury and Saturn (don’t laugh, it’s an important and neglected aspect, especially for progressions – as is the squine: 105°). So, the mechanic, the doctor, my health are receiving the tension of needing to fix my intellectual insecurity complex. Mars (overheating, muscles) is manifesting in both the car and my own physical body.

Esoterically I have been reading an interesting book about chakra healing. I meditate most days so I am fairly comfortable with the idea of moving energy around my body, and it’s no coincidence that I’ve always experienced a sluggishness around the meridians in my right shoulder that run up into my neck. I’ve also suffered with a long-standing gallbladder problem (Pluto is on the degree for the gallbladder) and the gallbladder meridian runs up over the right shoulder blade, up the right-side of the neck and on upward through the throat chakra.

Mercury-Saturn of course certainly highlights the throat chakra as an area of potential concern and difficulty (Mercury: communication / Saturn: block). I have had to learn to moderate my communication over the last couple of years, the fallout from my divorce have made that necessary, and in the last few days I am beginning to find the requisite peacefulness of heart to speak my truth without recrimination. The heart chakra, precedes the throat chakra as energy travels up the spine, so the neck problem can only be cured with love and understanding.

What I have learned is this:

I do not need to prove myself to anyone. I am what I am and I live my life with integrity. I try to help people, for no other reason than that it brings peace to my heart to feel their pain easing. Those people who cannot hear me, I forgive, but until they too are able to set aside recrimination and blame I must remove them from my life, in order that I properly protect my sensitive emotional body and the wellbeing of my loved ones. I am learning to say only words which reflect my needs, but without bitterness or anger, balanced with the needs of those around me.

Over the coming days and weeks I will be writing to all those people that I have blamed so that I can express my regret and forgiveness.

That is the path to healing.

Pluto tee square: sell, sell, sell!

I (still) have a new article on the way, but I have had some family dramas over the last few days and work is pressing, here is another quick update on the upcoming tee-square.

The last time that Uranus made partile square to Pluto was in 1932, approximately two and a bit years after the great stock market collapse of October 1929. In 1930 there was a tee-square involving Saturn Uranus and Pluto. There are a number of other correlations too: that was also the last time that Uranus was in Aries (suddenly going back to basics), the tee-square was cardinal, but more toward the middle degrees of the signs, and the reason that I think that this affected the USA most specifically is because the tee-square had Uranus as the apex planet which was opposing the USA’s Saturn. The USA’s Sun squares Saturn from its position applying to the cusp of the 8th house of credit, stock markets and so forth, thus this is a threat to the nation’s health (Sun-Saturn). The presence of Sun-Saturn represents an innate problem, a birth defect if you like, which weakens the overall constitution of the native. This is a congenital weakness for the US: if anything is going to kill the patient (square Pluto) then it will be due to this hereditary problem: an over-reliance on credit, on get-rich quick schemes, on living large: Jupiter rules the chart, applying to the 8th too. Excess, (Sun + Jup vs. Sat) is the congenital weakness.

I’ve already stated how, in a previous article (a little further down this page) the upcoming cardinal tee-square seems to indicate the possibility of a major financial collapse because of the as yet unrevealed scope of the property bubble being burst. This time however, the Aries’ Points are involved, and that seems to suggest that the whole world will be affected. It’s a global financial collapse this time.

My problem lies in convincing people that this needs to be taken seriously, (and actually in convincing myself naturellement) we all need to start getting acclimatised to living more sustainable lives, because very soon there will be too few resources to go around. I take no comfort from the symptoms either. If we count back the same length of time from the last time Uranus and Pluto was in partile square from the next time it is (June 2012) then we arrive at 2010.

In 1929 the stock market crash occurred as a direct result of the Roaring Twenties, and it was the excess of that decade which is widely blamed for the subsequent collapse. Does that seem at all familiar?

And then there’s the archetypal nature of the squaring planets to consider too: Uranus (sudden) square (breakdowns) Pluto (of financial systems).

It just doesn’t look good, people.