Monday, 30 January 2012

12 Ways to Feel the Magic of Neptune in Pisces

Thought it was time to revisit this post, which I wrote back in April. Neptune goes back into Pisces on the 3rd or 4th of Feb, depending upon where in the world you are. Catch that wave.
Neptune's Horses by Walter Crane.
Neptune, the great god of the sea, has dived into the ocean of Pisces. This is a moment laced with magic for each of us. How and where can we find it? 

That great numinous beast (with the help of his white horses) spreads glamour, confusion, dissipation, illusion, an indefinable feeling of God, the desire to disappear into the great ocean of the universe. Where Neptune goes, boundaries dissolve, what was once reliable disappears, mirages manifest. All this is more so now that he is super-powered in his own sign.

That Tiger Mother

Tiger Mom: me me me
As an indulgent, child-worshipping Western mother, the Tiger Mom thing really gets up my nose.

In case you missed it, (which I'm sure you didn't), last year a law professor at Yale published a book explaining how she was a brilliant mother as well as a fabulously successful academic. I expect she can cook and do really athletic stuff in the sack too. Oh well.

The premise of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is that strict Chinese-style parenting is much better than namby-pamby Western parenting. 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Correction - Which Planet Rules Which Metal

I see I wrote that Saturn rules iron in my post about Mrs T. It's a bit more complicated than that. She has Saturn in Scorpio, which is ruled by the iron planet Mars. In Western astrology, Saturn rules lead, Mars rules iron.

However, in Vedic astrology, Saturn does rule iron.

I'll leave it there, shall I?


OK. Here's the traditional western list

Sun - Gold 
Moon - Silver
Mercury - Quicksilver
Venus - Copper 
Mars - Iron
Jupiter - Tin 
Saturn - Lead

And there's a certain amount of disagreement among Vedic sources, but most agree on this:
Sun - Copper 
Moon - Silver
Mercury - Zinc
Venus - also Silver
Mars - Brass  
Jupiter - Gold 
Saturn - Iron 

For more on the vedic associations of planets click here.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Thatcher's Legacy, Saturn and Iron

Thatcher: Saturn Rising
Recently, I asked a businesswoman friend, who was complaining about bankers' bonuses, when she thought the rot had set in.

She answered with one word: "Thatcher."

And she's right, what we are experiencing now, financially and socially is the result of decisions that were taken back in the 1980s. The planet of consequences, Saturn, has made one complete loop of its cycle through the Zodiac and returned to where it was in the early 1980s, to Libra, the sign of justice and balance.

So it's interesting that The Iron Lady, the biopic of that Libran Mrs Thatcher, who became Prime Minister in 1979 should be released now, and set us all thinking about her period in power.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Streep, The Iron Lady and the Chameleon Aspects

Meryl Streep inhabiting Margaret Thatcher
Meryl Streep's impersonation of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady is almost frightening in its accuracy, believability, naturalness and depth.

How did Streep dig down and find that character and then make her live so vividly on the screen?

Now some film stars are wonderful just being themselves - Clint Eastwood, say, or even Jeff Bridges. They find the character in another aspect of themselves. Meryl Streep is not like that. She transforms herself. She actually seems to become another person. It's more than mimicry. I felt almost spooked by how Streep could be Streep and Thatcher simultaneously.

And with this role, she is being a character we all know well. We already know Thatcher's screen persona and there she is – except with greater depth.

Both Streep's Sun and Moon form exact aspects to outer planets, which, I think go some why to explaining her prodigious talent. The closeness of the aspects, within minutes is critical and the fact that it is the Lights which are strengthened means the outer planet power is right at the core of her being.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Thank You

Thanks to everyone who's been using the Amazon button. Much appreciated.

For those of you who don't know: when you feel the urge to splurge, by clicking through to Amazon using the button on this site, you painlessly give a percentage of the sale to The Oxford Astrologer.

Yes it helps to keep the site going.

Unpacking My Library: A Lover's Discourse

Am I in love? - Yes, since I'm waiting." The other never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn't wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game: whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover's fatal identity is precisely: I am the one who waits.” 
– Roland Barthes. A Lover's Discourse: Fragments
Venus with a Mirror by an unknown
Renaissance artist. 
If you have ever been heartbroken, here is a book for you.

I'm still brushing off dust, thumbing through old pages and putting my books back on the shelf. Yesterday, I came across an old copy of the French philosopher Roland Barthes' A Lover's Discourse. I haven't opened it in years and I was surprised to see that I'd annotated it. 

That reminded me of what a useful book it was when I was deep in the moil and madness of love. This is not a book to read if your love life is going fine, but if it's a disaster, use it like a crutch. Here is a precise, thoughtful anatomy of heartache written like an encyclopaedia. It's a dissection of the inner dialogue that every lover has: Does she love me? Will he phone? When will it end?

It's the conversation you have with the mirror when your heart is full to bursting. The book brings a little air into the torrid heat of passion.

Monday, 23 January 2012

What Astrologers Are Saying About Mars Retrograde

Sandro Botticelli's painting depicts exactly what will be happening in the skies at the beginning
of February when Venus opposes sleeping Mars.
Mars the planet of action aggression and war is about to go retrograde in the sign of skill, precision and organisation, Virgo. As you doubtless know, Mars has been in Virgo since December, so we may all already have a bit of a feel of what that means.

Where Mars transits your chart, you are most likely to have real action in your life. For example, Mars in the second house would indicate that money is either coming in or going out faster than usual. Mars in the twelfth might show a lot of activity in the bedroom. Mars crossing the IC is often a good indicator of a change of address or just getting the builders in.

What's different right now is that because Mars is going retrograde, he's spending an unconscionably long time in Virgo. And also because he's retrograde the action may be stalled (rather frustrating) or inward (much better use of the energy). Take a look at your chart to see which house Mars is transiting right now, and you'll get a flavour of where there's bound to be a lot of energy (blocked or not) in the months to come.

Mars retrograde is a strange period because this is the planet of action, but retrograde implies an inward experience. In the painting, Mars is asleep, and while he is asleep the satyrs play with his weapons. What is he dreaming of? At the start of February, Venus will oppose Mars from Pisces, the sign where she is said to behave most beautifully. I am hoping for an outbreak of peace somewhere in the world. Maybe Syria, whose natal Sun is at 22° Virgo.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Unpacking My Library: The Confessions

Bascove: Reading in Bed
I found myself yesterday, rather to my own surprise, urging a client to read The Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a book which was written more than 250 years ago and which I last read about 350 years ago.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Obi Wan Kenobi vs Darth Vader: Saturn vs Pluto

Here is the question that Iris asked on this site: Could you say a bit about how you would distinguish the cutting away of the unnecessary by Saturn from the letting go of the unnecessary by Pluto? How might they feel different?

Iris is right: both of these planets bring loss and even death. Saturn is personified sometimes as the Grim Reaper himself and Pluto is indeed Lord of the Underworld, King of Hell. But although they both bring about endings, the quality of the energy is quite different.

If a person comes into your life under a Saturn transit, he is likely to be a wise, older person, a counsellor, a parent figure, a teacher, even an astrologer; he may be cold and old and settled in his ways, but he is unlikely to wish to harm you as long as you play by his rules (although his rules can be stifling). His main rule is work at it. A Saturn transit well-handled can be profoundly satisfying.

If a Pluto person comes into your life, she may be a sadist, emotionally or even physically; violent, cruel, irrational; brutally honest. Pluto might want to hurt you or use you. Sometimes, you just don't know what Pluto wants because the game she plays is far bigger than you can imagine. Mainly Pluto wants you to see the truth however difficult. A Pluto transit well-handled can be exhilarating, cleansing but almost never without some pain.

So you can see already how the energy is not the same.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Is This The Most Challenging Saturn Return Ever? Part 2

Saturn is in Libra
Oct 29, 2009 - Apr 7, 2010    Jul 21, 2010 – Oct 5, 2012

Sept 21, 1980 – Nov 29, 1982     May 6, 1983 – Aug 24, 1983
Nov 20, 1950 - Mar 7, 195      Aug 13, 1951 – Oct 22, 1953

Oct 7, 1921 – Dec 20, 1923    Apr 6, 1924 – Sep 13, 1924

Before addressing the Saturn Return, let's talk about Saturn in Libra in general. You know, I can't emphasise enough what a good placement this is. (OK, it might not feel like it just now.)

Saturn is exalted in the sign of the scales. That means he is at his best. He behaves better here than in any other sign. His obsession with rules and regulations is modified by a balance and fairness, by partnership, by intelligence.

Monday, 16 January 2012

The Oxford Astrologer on Facebook

I've just started an FB page for The Oxford Astrologer. I'm still trying to get my head around how to use it properly, but meanwhile here's the link. Do go and like it.

Is This The Most Challenging Saturn Return Ever? Part 1

Father Time by Edmund Dulac.
I started writing this post a while ago and realised there was so much to say that I'd have to split it into three to do justice to the subject, so here is the first part. 

In the past 12-month, I have read a lot of charts for people experiencing either their first or second Saturn Return. And the more I have looked at these charts and talked to these individuals, the more I have asked myself: did these Saturn Return generations get dealt the nastiest planetary hand to play in the hardest game of astrological poker ever?  The answer was yes – and no.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Burma's Thaw: Managing Inevitable Change

Burma's generals.
Why has Burma's junta, which has ruled the country for decades with steely ruthlessness, decided that this is the time to start making peace with its rebels, release political prisoners and allow elections?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that the generals who run the country consult astrologers before every decision?

I think it might.

It's obvious that we are in a period of great change globally. To a Western astrologer, this  evidently corresponds to the alignments of the outer planets - Uranus, Pluto, Neptune and Saturn. The Burmese use a system closer to the Vedic or Indian one, which traditionally discounts planets discovered since ancient times. But clearly their astrologers have reached the conclusion that change is inevitable, so it is better to manage it.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Unpacking My Library: The Mystery of Numbers

I moved into this house four years ago and, what with one thing and another, up until December half my books had been packed in boxes up in the attic. This has been a source of grievous discontent to me, but the ingress of action planet Mars into bookish Virgo saw a couple of boxes come down and oh joy, there was a whole cache of books for my esoterica (mostly astrology) library.

So I thought as an occasional series, I'd tell you about some of my favourite books. These are the ones I use again and again – for inspiration, for reference or just for fun.

The Mystery of Numbers 
Annemarie Schimmel

This is a ragbag collection of pretty much everything Schimmel could find out about numbers, but since she was one of the foremost professors of Islamic culture in the 20th century and a general know-all, it makes for quite a collection of stuff. It\s as if she opened the top of her head, reached in and rootled around, and yanked out a handful of crazy facts about each number. Mostly she's interested in mysticism, religion, myth, symbolism and astrology. And just occasionally some maths.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Astrology of Now: Goodbye to Neptune in Aquarius

2011: Idealism + action / Neptune + Uranus
Neptune, the god of idealism, illusion, fashion, faith, glamour and mist, is in the very last degree of Aquarius now. This is momentous because he will not return to this spot for, oooh, another 160 years or so.

We are in the very end game of Neptune in Aquarius until February 3. It'll be interesting to see if anything unfolds over the next three weeks that somehow sums up the misty one's tour through the sign of the geek.

The things that have been in fashion for the past 14 years have had an Aquarian in flavour – and not always in the way one might have predicted (Why weren't we all dressed like a cross between Ellen DeGeneres and Eddie Izzard?). But looking back, it's easy to see certain themes that have been extremely Aquarian.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Will 2012 See A Falklands Rematch?

Margaret Thatcher in her prime in 1983.
I have a few thoughts on potentials in the UK chart for 2012. Here's one of them.

Back in 2010, I predicted riots and a royal wedding for 2011, since I thought we were likely to see some themes from 1981 repeat.* In 1981 the riots were a lot more serious and the wedding turned out to be a sham, but you can see the parallel worked.

So if it worked for 1981-2011, how about 1982-2012. History never repeats itself exactly, but I do think there's one event to which we should pay some heed.

In 1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a British protectorate just off the coast of South America. Margaret Thatcher sent the fleet down to recapture the islands. Back then Pluto was in the UK's first house along with Saturn. With those two heavy hitting planets on our side, the war was over very fast. The navy was a sledgehammer. Thatcher, who had been very unpopular, suddenly struck political gold.

Right now, Argentinian generals could not choose a better time to take back the Malvinas. UK Chancellor George Osborne has just decimated the navy, and the military is weak and dissipated thanks to cuts and two lengthy, draining engagements (Afghanistan and Iraq). In December 2011, South American countries united to block Falklands vessels using their ports. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Absolutely Fabulous Astrology

Heaven - gawping at Edina and Patsy.

Last night, my beautiful daughter came downstairs trembling in her pyjamas after having gone to sleep hours earlier.

"I heard a witch laughing and it scared me awake."

"Oh," me, sheepishly. "I think it was me."

"It was you, mummy."

I lo-o-o-ve Absolutely Fabulous. It does make me shriek with laughter though.

While my sweetie was getting back to sleep (with the help of the warlock), I checked out the show's astrodynamics. Interestingly, the three central characters have been given birthdays and I think they portray the worst of their Sun signs rather well.

Patsy - Scorpio (Oct 30, ???) - mean & voracious (but stylish)
Edina - Leo (6 Aug, 1951) - monster ego (but generous)
Saffy - Pisces (17 March 1975) - doormat (but intelligent)

I think Jennifer Saunders has been reading an astrology book, don't you?

Myth-making in a City of Scholars: JRR Tolkien, C S Lewis and all

I still get a small thrill when I walk past number 20 Northmoor Road after dropping my kids off at school. Half a century ago, JRR Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings in that unprepossessing suburban house.

I've often wondered if there were something particular about Oxford, this damp, introverted, ancient town of scholars, that particularly encourages the invention of other worlds. Is there something about living in this riverine place where the Isis, the Windrush, the Cherwell and the Thames mingle, that makes one's imagination expand? Or does the bone-chilling damp make one desperate to be elsewhere?

I wonder this walking down Northmoor Road, because it's not just JRR Tolkien who lived and worked and dreamed here. Lewis Carroll sent Alice down the rabbit hole from his rooms in Christ Church; C S Lewis imagined a faun with an umbrella walking through Narnia here; Philip Pullman dreamt up Lyra; Diana Wynn Jones conjured Chrestomanci.

Monday, 2 January 2012

How Adele is a Shaman

Listen to this.

You wouldn't think that the British singer Adele turned 21 last May, would you? She has the voice of, well, experience.

When I hear a voice like hers, I ask myself where's the Capricorn?

January Horoscopes

Hallelujah! January horoscopes are here. Click this link to go to them.

Meanwhile, clean your braincells with this from Ron Minis.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's Resolutions

The Orphic Egg from
which the first god hatched.
Happy New Year, everyone. 

Like quite a lot of people, I spent a while last night thinking about New Year's resolutions. And you know, I can't think of one that I have made or kept, so I thought this one should be different, especially since we had an intriguingly powerful planetary line up as 2012 was born.

The 'Lights', the most important 'planets' in the chart were aligned with the the Uranus-Pluto square that has dominated the cosmos this year, bringing so much upheaval.

The Sun, bringer of life, was lined up with Pluto, bringer of death and transformation, in this month's sign, Capricorn. You can end something, bury it, finish it off.

The Moon, our emotions and instincts, was lined up with Uranus, change and revolution, in Aries the sign of beginning. You can start something, instil a new habit, change the way you feel.

With this kind of help, we might just be able to keep this year's resolution.