Monday, 31 October 2011

Dracula: Scorpio perchance?

To celebrate Halloween, I'm revisiting a post I wrote a while ago about vampires and squid and stuff.
To find out if Dracula was a Scorpio or just a very confused Taurus click here

The God of Cuckoldry Gives Advice on Marriage

Imagine you are...
Classical Lady by John William Godward
OK, we are back in Rome, sometime in the 2nd century AD. It's autumn, the grape harvest is in. We've all been celebrating in perhaps too Dionysian a fashion.

Imagine that you are a togaed Roman with time and money on your hands. How would you while away those moonlit hours between eating dormice and having your skin oiled?

As a double Libra (Moon and Sun) you are prone to weaving tangled webs of relationships. Your lover is poor but gorgeous, your spouse is rich but repulsive. This has all worked well for years, but now your spouse has a new darling and you feel jealous.

One evening, you climb the stairs to the rooftop where I practice my craft. Me? I'm an astrologer.

I look at you chart and my advice to you is simple – go to the temple of Vulcan, the smith god, and make an offering. You leave - rather miffed if the truth be told. Oh, and one more thing, I say, as you stand on the top step, think about the tale of Vulcan's net.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Half in Love with Easeful Death

Sylvia Plath was not the only poet born under Scorpio to be drawn to death's glamour (see my previous post).

Here is an extract from Ode To A Nightingale by John Keats (born October 30).
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!

Like Plath, Keats was dead before turning 30.

For the complete poem click here.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

What Astrologers Are Saying About Occupy...

Outstanding graphic design
has been a feature of  OWS.
I have been pondering  Occupy Wall Street for weeks. I've been waiting to see my way in to a coherent analysis of the phenomenon. In the mean time, I've looked at what other astrologers have been writing.

The consensus is pretty much - it's the Uranus-Pluto square. I'd concur with this but add a very important factor: Neptune (idealism, mass movements, the collective).

As I wrote previously when discussing the Arab Spring, the last time Neptune was at this point in the zodiac was the Year of Revolutions (1848), when popular uprisings occurred in almost every major city in Europe. To read what I wrote in depth, click here. Sometimes astrology is just so obvious.

I'll have more to say on Occupy soon, meanwhile here are some views that I found interesting.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Death: A Most Authentic Experience

Autumn, A Wood Path
 Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823-1880)

It's Sylvia Plath's birthday: Sun Scorpio, Moon Libra, Aquarius Rising.
(b. October 27, 1932) 

A real Scorpio has to find the authentic experience. A real Scorpio has to dive deep and come back again, transformed. Death is a very authentic experience. Here is a a fragment from her poem about suicide, Lady Lazarus. Lazarus himself came back from the dead, of course. Plath lives on in her poetry.

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call

Out of the ash 
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air."

[fragment from Lady Lazarus]

for the complete poem click here.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Astrology of Now: Juicy New Moon

Dream by Henri Rousseau
After the serious mood brought on by that Sun-Saturn Full Moon a couple of weeks ago, I'm relieved to report that this New Moon (October 26) is rather luscious. Especially if you're trying to have a baby, get deeper into a relationship or plant the seed of a project that emanates from the very depths of your soul.

Scorpio is traditionally one of the juicy, fertile signs. With Moon, Sun, Mercury and Venus here right now we're talking about planting seeds, loving planting seeds, and the actual plantation or implantation thereof. Do it right and in 40 weeks time you may be bringing forth a baby... or a novel... or the apple tree you plant now may be burgeoning.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Libra Self-Portraits: Blending into the Picture

Suzanne Valadon (23 Sept 1865)
Theoretically, there's nothing more revealing of character than a self-portrait, yet this month's artists don't do that straightforwardly. Their own faces blend into the backgrounds of the pictures, becoming simply part of the motif.

Compare this to the Cancers, for example, whose souls look out of the canvas.

With Librans, it's the complete picture which tells a story. I wonder if this to do with the Sun (ego) being in fall in the sign of the scales. The self is not loudly or directly expressed. I wouldn't describe Libra Sun as self-effacing, exactly, but they can often only find meaning in their relationship to the other, the opposite.

These portraits are curiously indifferent to character, but fascinated by the artistic act itself. Venus (art) rules here of course, but she is in air, the intellectual as well as the social element.

Suzanne Valadon did a lot of self-portraits. I love this one. The more you look at it, the more complex and strange it is – with her head in the upper left corner and a mess of blue marks in the foreground.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Mark Rothko: Painting God


Mark Rothko (September 25,1903) 

Sun, Mercury and North Node in Libra. 
Is one expression of Libra the erasure of ego? A reflection of the viewer

Moon in Scorpio 
Profound emotion

Jupiter in Pisces 
Encountering endless compassion

Venus in Virgo 
Artistic skill

Saturn in Aquarius 
Avant garde

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Astrology of Now: Shake That Gloom Off

John Singer Sargent: sketch for Atlas
If you have felt especially oppressed, depressed or lonely over that last week or so – rest assured, we've just had an especially gloom-inducing Full Moon. It took place a week ago, but I, for one, am still recovering.

The Sun (life force) was joined by Mr. Gloom himself, Saturn, on the day so if you felt an eruption of dread, you weren't alone. The feeling peaked at the Full Moon itself (Oct 13) but in the two weeks following the vibes are still pretty strong.

I've spoken to so many people in the past few days experiencing a kind of nameless darkness that I just wanted to tell you that this will pass.

The upside? Well, it's a good time to some practical life plans.

If you haven't felt the gloom then, hey, Saturn is your pal. Lucky you!

Astrology of Now: Sugar-coated Bitter Truth

The planet of chit-chat, Mercury, and the planet of syrup,Venus, are currently strolling hand-in-hand through the sign of the scorpion. What does that mean?

Personally, I think Mercury is rather good in Scorpio. OK, so Mercury in Scorp has a habit of telling the truth, or even worse telling the truth that you hoped was going to stay a secret, or one that is just plain nasty.

BUT sometimes the truth sets you free. Mercury in Scorpio is incisive, intelligent and cuts to the essence of an argument. Mahatma Gandhi had this placement. So did John Lennon. Both were known for their sense of irony.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Venus Waves her Magic Wand Around My Home

Just What Is It That Makes The Modern
Home So Different, So Appealing.*
This week I came home with a painting that I'd (accidentally) bought at an auction that I just happened to be passing – oops. Honestly, the money sort of swooshed out of my purse.

The funny thing was that on the same day, my partner, Darling D, came home with a print he'd bought in the market and a painting he'd picked up for free at the Jam Factory, a local gallery cum restaurant.

Now, you may think we spend our whole time rushing out and buying pictures to decorate our home. Far from it, and what is more we're supposed to be on an austerity drive at the moment.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Call Me Venus

Some people are emblems of their Sun sign. These three women all have Libra Sun, but more than that they have Libra at a critical angle of the chart.

Venus, the goddess of beauty, rules Libra.

Catherine Zeta Jones
Brigitte Bardot - Sun Libra, Libra MC
Catherine Zeta Jones - Sun Libra, Libra MC
Kate Winslet - Libra Sun, Libra Asc

Kate Winslet

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Does David Cameron Feel Up to the Job?

King George II
David Cameron. Plus ça change
My children like to slide down the bannisters singing a song which they find utterly hilarious. The chorus goes like this:
"Born to rule over you, King George 1, 3, 4 and 2 You had to do what we told you to just because our blood is blue."
It's about Britain's king Georges, but it makes me think of the coalition government that's running the country right now.

Then it's not so funny.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Burma's Full Moon

The Burmese Festival of Lights takes place over the three days
of this October Full Moon
Photograph by Chien-Chi Chang, National Geographic
Two hundred political prisoners were released this week in Burma. So I guess it's not all bad news in the world.

Has the military junta in charge of the country really had a change of heart?

This week's tense Full Moon (18°Aries-Libra) conjuncted the Burmese chart's natal Moon in Libra. In a national chart, the Moon signifies the people.

Now, Burma is run by a cabal that is said to use astrology systematically to make decisions. Why would they choose to release prisoners during this Full Moon week? 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Mrs Libra Says No No No

Happy Birthday Mrs. T.

Enjoy the Iron Lady in her element. When Mrs Thatcher said no she meant no, displaying all the qualities of a truly hard-core Libra.

Libra: The Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove

Vladimir Putin - Russian president and Libra
You know, when I read about Librans in most astrology books I only half recognise them. I mean that fairly precisely. I recognise the need for beauty, the ability to accessorise, the instinct for grace, the love of socialising, but the peacemaker? Uh uh. At least not always...

Librans I come across are not pacifiers; they don't run around pouring oil on troubled waters. Far from it, I've noticed they often like to give those waters a bit of a stir. Admittedly this can be quite subtle, over the ambassador's elegant canapés in the perfectly appointed drawing room, during the politest conversation.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

How Jewels Can Light Up Your Life

The late Liz Taylor loved a bit of bling
- but did she know  how much
 energy those little rocks contained?
I'm very pleased to introduce a new guest, my colleague Peter Stockinger, an expert on Renaissance and Early Modern astrology. Peter's special subject is the correspondence between planets and those little blobs of light we wear so causally – crystals and gemstones.

Since time immemorial, humans have longed to possess shiny, sparkling rocks. Gems and crystals have always stirred the human imagination.

It was not only their indestructibility, the vivid colours or the mysteriously regular geometrical patterns that attracted people to them; people wearing gemstone jewellery intuitively recognised that these precious stones held a powerful key to their wellbeing. It is likely that, over time, these healing qualities were systematically explored.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Venus the She Warrior

Bright blue Venus seems suspended in the black branches of my neighbour's cherry tree these evenings. When I tuck my daughter into bed, I look out her window and see the planet shining more brightly and steadily than anything else in the sky.

I am looking west. Venus is in her guise as the Evening Star. She is very, very beautiful now. Who could possibly imagine her as a harbinger of violence?

Friday, 7 October 2011

Venus Journeys to the Underworld

Star of Heaven by Edward Robert Hughes
My guest Laura Perkins takes up the tale of Venus where she left off last week. But things are about to take a fascinatingly sinister turn. Indeed, the goddess undergoes a sex change and turns nasty. To revisit Laura's previous piece click here.

First we need to get some technical stuff out of the way. What does Venus do during the 584 days that it takes her to make one circuit of the Zodiac? How is she sometimes the Morning Star and sometimes the Evening Star?

During her Morning Star phase, Venus rises ahead of the Sun, and is visible on the eastern horizon just before sunrise  – and she sets before the Sun. 

As the Morning Star, she starts off retrograde but eventually turns direct and catches up with the Sun (becoming invisible to the eye during the conjunction). Then when she moves ahead of the Sun in the Zodiac, she becomes the Evening Star, visible on the western horizon after sunset. 

So for example if you have Sun in Pisces and Venus in Aquarius, you were probably born when Venus was a Morning Star. If on the other hand, you have Pisces Sun and Venus conjunction, she was invisible when you were born. You could call this a dark Venus. And if you have Pisces Sun and Aries Venus, she was probably the Evening Star.
It is this 584-day period, between one heliacal rising and the next, that the Mayans used to calculate a part of their calendar.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs made the world a better place.

He was only 56 when he died yesterday but his vision has already changed the way so many of us live our lives now – and the way we imagine the future.

In the summer I wrote a piece about him using his own inspirational words. To read it click here. I think he sums himself up better than I ever could.

But I'd like to point out a few transits and progressions to his natal chart yesterday, which are very interesting.

I've mentioned before that Jupiter, the greater benefit, is often active when people pass on. The deaths of the musicians Jeff Buckley and Kurt Cobain, and the psychoanalysts Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud are examples. To read that piece click here.

Jupiter is currently passing through Jobs 8th house of death. It's a planet we associate with blessing and also with taking a long journey. It's transiting exactly opposite his progressed Ascendant at 7° Scorpio. And speaking of progressions – his pr Sun, Moon and Mercury are also in the 8th house.

By transit, Saturn has just moved out of Jobs first house of the physical body. This sometimes means the end of an illness or the end of a struggle. Saturn is the Lord of Ending. We know that Jobs has just had a long hard battle with cancer.

Pluto, the Lord of the Underworld has been hovering around Jobs North Node for some time now. The North Node is called by some a karmic point, a point of destiny, the direction in which we are going.

This suggests Jobs achieved his destiny fully in this life. The Lord of the Underworld was waiting to guide his soul on the next stage of its journey at the very exit gate, the North Node.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Day of Atonement

Jews praying on Yom Kippur (1868)
by Maurycy Gottlieb
courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The wheat is threshed, the apples are picked. It's time to weigh and measure this year's harvest. And I mean that metaphorically.

We're coming to the end of the the ten days that observant and even not-terribly-observant Jews set aside every year for making a reckoning of their own behaviour over the previous 12 months. It's a time to remember any wrongs you've committed over the past year – and ask forgiveness from people and from god too.

The period runs for the first 10 days after the New Moon in Libra this year and most years. Jewish New Year is marked by that New Moon.

Barter = Commerce Libra Style

I could trade some apples.
I'm rather pleased.

I have just arranged to exchange astrology lessons for acupressure sessions. I like barter as a form of exchange. You don't have to get any banks involved – nor any middlemen, sales reps or big corporations.

The scales of Libra are said to be the scales of justice but also of commerce, used for weighing goods from ancient times right up until today. Nothing is more critical to fair trade than correct measurement. If you can't be sure how much you're getting, then how do you know what to pay. That's why the sign of Libra is also connected with the economy, which is also rather better when it's in balance.

Yes, we do have the planet of constriction, Saturn, going through Libra right now. Saturn moves into Scorpio next October, so don't hold your breath.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Mahatma Gandhi

Born on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi epitomised that wonderful Libran quality – grace. He also had Scorpio rising with Mercury, Venus and Mars in the first house: tenacity, bravery and the ability to find the right words to expose flimflam and woolly thinking.

Here's a link to piece about that greater thinker and leader of people that I wrote last October. It seems even more appropriate to remember his wise words about social action now when we are seeing such deep divisions forming in the West.