Saturday, 31 March 2012

A Weird Week in Politics

PM David Cameron was last spotted eating
a Cornish pasty two years ago.
Ooo – the spin doctors have been getting themselves in a twist this week here in Blighty.

I'll explain briefly for my non-UK readers.

First, Chancellor George Osborne cut the top rate of tax for the very, very wealthy. Since he himself, the prime minister and a lot of their friends fall into this bracket, it didn't look too good, while the rest of the country is experiencing "austerity measures".

Another result of the budget was a tax on hot take-away food. This rapidly turned into "pastygate" and resulted in the ridiculous spectacle of a load of politicians competing to see who could eat the most plebeian food. Sausage rolls or Cornish pasties (geddit).

Friday, 30 March 2012

Is this the Most Challenging Saturn Return Ever? Part 3

Ha - I bet you thought I had forgotten, but we are now in full retrograde season, so I am ready to pick up this Saturn Return series where I left off.

(Mercury, Mars and Saturn are all doing the backwards shuffle.)

In previous posts I gave an overview of Saturn Returns in general (Part One) and specifically of Saturn in Libra (Part Two) for those people who are experiencing it now – and the lessons and ideas we can all learn from taking a closer look at what's happening to this cohort.

There are two major astrological factors to a Saturn Return. Obviously, there is the condition of Saturn in the natal chart. As I discussed in the previous piece, for Saturn in Libra people of the last two generations this is complicated by some interesting outer planet aspects.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Astrology of Now: A Mars-Neptune Pas de Deux

Mars, the planet of the physical, is going backwards slowly, coming to an opposition with Neptune, planet vague, which drifted into his own sign, Pisces, just a little while ago. Mercury has slipped backwards into Pisces too for another brief swim in the sea.

Pay attention to your dreams, your imagination, allow images to surface from the depths of your ocean. This is a moment for re-imagining, redrawing, perfecting.

Enjoy this video.

Reader's Question: Why Is Jupiter So Horrible To Me?

Zeus to the Greeks; Jupiter or Jove to the Romans
A friend wrote this to me recently. 

"I have a terrible time when Jupiter is aspecting things. Rather than being a benevolent and blossoming force, he's like the biggest bitch in the world, but too mean-spirited to even talk to me -- just takes and shuts things down. Very odd. I wondered if you had any bright ideas about that.

Hmm – an interesting problem, and actually not unique. Jupiter's "benevolence" is seldom as clearcut as one would like. With her permission, I  reproduce her chart here, and also with permission I'll tell you the relevant bits of biography. I'll call my friend X.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Liberté, Egalité, Identité

The 1998 World Cup winning French football team was an emblem of French diversity.
The National Front said it wasn't "French" enough.
France is having a weird and unnerving time of it. Everything that seemed certain about the country is being shaken, questioned and has yet to be re-formed. The economy, the European Union, the political system, the socialist state, secularism, race relations are all wobbling.

Most of all one question is being asked: who are we?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Seeing Pregnancy Through Ceres' Eyes

I wonder: is this the most influential portrait of a woman from the 20th century?

You wouldn't believe it now, but way back in 1991, this cover of Vanity Fair showing the then highest-earning actress in Hollywood naked and heavily pregnant caused a storm of controversy. 


Because some people still thought pregnancy was gross. Yes, it's incredible, but pregnancy was still something to be concealed under horrible maternity wear or, for the more fashion conscious, under deepest black. It was embarrassing, ungainly, unbeautiful.

This one picture changed all that. Now everyone knows pregnancy is gorgeous. It's an emphatically positive statement about fertility, womanhood and beauty. This is one empowering picture.

The Venus of Willendorf -
a mere 33,000 years old or so.
I have found that by transit or progression Ceres is often active during conception, pregnancy and childbirth. If you want to get pregnant or you've had a child, check the transits and see if it works for you.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Unpacking My Library: On The Road

This cover was designed by Len Deighton
in the late 50s.
If Jack Kerouac had not drunk himself to death at the age of 47, he would have turned 90 on March 12 this year. He was in many ways the perfect Pisces author – a drunken, dreaming mystic visionary who seemed to just spew out his work in a torrent of words. 

With Sun, Uranus, and Venus in Pisces caught on an interesting inconjunct  from Pisces' rulers Jupiter and Neptune, that's really no surprise.

Kerouac wrote his novel On The Road in April 1951 at the age of 29 during in the final months before his first Saturn Return. The book was autobiography vaguely disguised as fiction – a distillation of the road trips of his twenties, during which he'd kept notebooks and journals.

He'd tried to write about this time a few years previously but he wasn't satisfied. Then, that April, it all just flowed out in one long wave over three short weeks. He wrote it on something he called the scroll, long sheets of tracing paper taped together into a single huge artefact. 

On The Road doesn't really have a plot. He said himself: "It's about two Catholic boys looking for God." And it takes them all across America, back and forth from coast to coast through bars and Big Sur, the embraces of various woman, drugs, drunkeness and, mostly, jazz. Like Pisces, it is boundless.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Rebekah Brooks: Embodying Lilith

Rebekah Brooks: she made it up the greasy pole
Oh, the irony. The woman who made a living dragging people's good names through the mire is being dragged through it herself.

Yesterday, she was arrested (again) at her home near Oxford.

Rebekah Brooks was until last July the chief sewage operative in the UK branch of Rupert Murdoch's gutter empire. As editor of The Sun and then The News of the World (closed last year in a cloud of opprobrium), she is the woman who "allegedly" authorised the phone hacking of murder victim's families, oversaw the hounding of teenage celebrities such as Charlotte Church and Amy Winehouse and seemed happy for her journalists to stick their heads right down in the effluent – bugging, lying, thieving, cheating, bribing, and bullying in search of a mediocre story.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Astrology of Now: Relax, Everything's Retrograde

Ingres: The Turkish Bath. 
Aries is the sign of beginnings, haste, inspiration. It's the fire sign that strikes the spark that sets the world aflame. So what happens when the planet of speed, Mercury, turns tail and retreats in such a go-getting part of the Zodiac?

And hang on, Aries' ruling planet is Mars, which is currently in picky Virgo, is going backwards too...

And wait a minute, Mercury rules Virgo, so the two planets are in mutual reception. That is a very interesting dynamic there.

Mars is in Virgo speaks of health, deep-cleaning, the body. I'm thinking of a nice steamy Turkish bath, which might just be hot enough for fiery Mars. This is definitely a time for all of us to be rethinking our routines, examining our diets and questioning how we treat our physical bodies. Do you exercise too much or too little?

And Mercury in Aries may well be doing the same thing. When Mercury goes backwards, it's a good idea to rethink an area of our lives. Mercury is about intelligence, of course. It's the planet that governs thinking, talking communicating. Normally, when it's in Aries, it's all about quick thinking, going with your gut instinct, taking the initiative.  Above all Mercury in Aries is about starting projects - and going backwards? Well it's just like starting over.

Last week, Mercury met Uranus in Aries  and maybe you had some bright thoughts. This week, take a look at those thoughts and see how you can rework them. You don't actually have to do anything yet; just mull it all over. Since Mercury is going to be slipping back into dreamy detriment in fishy Pisces later this month, you may not want to be starting anything too mentally taxing just yet. The message of the moment is relax. Let your mind drift around and do write down any bright thoughts you have. But I wouldn't worry too much about achieving anything.

Oh and while you're at, you could nip down to the hammam.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Afghanistan, Britain and the Uranus Cycle

Second Afghan War
Six British soldiers were killed in Kandahar province this week. The oldest was 33, the same age as Jesus when he died, and the youngest was 19.

The Afghan War has been going on for 10 years and 153 days. World War Two lasted just under six years in comparison.

British military adventurism in Afghanistan has a long history. Back in 1842, at the end of its first attempt at subduing Afghanistan, the British Army suffered one of the most disastrous military defeats of the Victorian era. More than 16,000 members of the British Kabul contingent were massacred, retreating through the bitter midwinter snows of the Khyber Pass. Most of them were in fact Indian soldiers and camp followers. One lone officer rode through to safety in Jalalabad, Dr William Brydon.

Fifty Europeans were captured and held prisoner, including the redoubtable Lady Fiorentina Sale, who subsequently wrote up her experiences in a best-selling book, A Journal of Disasters in Afghanistan 1841-42, which was rushed to print in 1843. She pointed the finger of blame for the fiasco at Lord Elphinstone and the British military leaders of the expedition, whose multiple errors of judgement and arrogance had indeed proved fatal.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Astrology of Now: Festival of Colours

Today is the gorgeous, anarchic, joyful Hindu Festival of Colour, Holi, which welcomes spring and all that goes with it. You ought to run around outside, splashing perfumed colours and smearing each other with wild hues.

It's the full moon, of course, in Virgo. The Moon at 18° is just past a conjunction with poor Mars (11°), who is still limping backwards for a few more weeks before he can turn around. Yesterday Mars was as close to the earth as he ever gets, so we're getting a lot of rather damaged Martian energy right now. (I can't help thinking of the massacres in Syria. At his best, Mars is a noble warrior; at his worst he is a murderer.)

I'll be interested to see what transpires when the 9° earth grand trine – Mars. Pluto, Jupiter – clicks into place next week, offering Mars a lot of moral support. On a personal level, I think that's likely to be very positive, but it on a mundane level, it could mean things go very smoothly for the bad guys. The planets are pretty amoral.

Aside from that, the most remarkable thing about this Full Moon is how few aspects it makes. There is a close inconjunct to the fertility asteroid Ceres currently in Aries, Mars's sign. Again this is not exactly auspicious, suggesting some kind of environmental unpleasantness. However, the rest of the chart is so nice, with a lovely Jupiter-Venus conjunction in earthy, fertile Taurus, that I think we can all celebrate Holi with gladness in our hearts and a handful of hot pink in our hands.

Meanwhile take a dekko at this for some manic Holi energy.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

More Neptune: Picasso Holds Up A Mirror

Pablo Picasso loved the virile masculinity of the bull – the cojones. He painted and drew and modelled and made hundreds of bulls. 

It's well known that he especially identified himself with the Minotaur, the mythical monster half-man, half bull: tender and bestial.

So, astrologically speaking, why would Picasso, a Scorpio, see a Taurus when he looked in the mirror?

Scorpio is the opposite sign to Taurus, of course, so the opposition itself is a kind of mirroring. But look the mirror itself is there, Neptune. Picasso was born with Neptune at 15° Taurus opposite the midpoint of his Sun and Mercury in Scorpio. For him bulls had all the glamour.

Neptune Puts A Spell On You

Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Bottom (Kevin Kline) in A Midsummer Night's Dream
My friend J has great big, baby blue eyes. They're beautiful. She comes across as a little flaky, vague, kind, not quite of this world, when she walks along, these days in a kaftan likely as not, she floats.

People think she's a soft touch. 

She's not. In fact she has a hot-tempered Aries Moon and a smart Aquarius Sun. So why the floaty fairy impression? Neptune on the Ascendant: that is what you see when you look at her.

You could dive into those eyes and get lost there. Or maybe they just reflect back exactly what you want to see...

That's the thing about Pisces and it's ruler, Neptune. Sometimes, you're looking into a mirror. Sometimes you're projecting all kinds of stuff into that mirror and it bounces right back at you. This has its plus points for both parties. It allows the Neptune person to hide and it gives them a magical, uncanny glamour; it allows you to make up any old thing you like.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Unpacking My Library: Invisible Man

Nude by Francis Cadell.
“There must be possible a fiction which, leaving sociology and case histories to the scientists, can arrive at the truth about the human condition, here and now, with all the bright magic of the fairy tale.”

– Ralph Ellison, Born March 1, 1913
Sun in Pisces, Mercury in Pisces trine Neptune

We find out the truth of who we are slowly, through experience, through conversation, alone or encountering others. It comes in flashes of insight sometimes, and sometimes as a slow dawning.

We find ourselves through books, within the lines of text. Some works of fiction give you more insight into the human soul than ten astrology or psychology textbooks.

And some books seem to speak directly to the soul. For me, Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison's only completed novel, shouts, whispers, sings, hums. This book is such a profound and penetrating examination of what it means to be human that I think it should be required reading for anyone studying psychological astrology.

It's the story of one man's journey to self-awareness in mid-20th century America, but the themes are universal. And if you want to gain a deeper understanding of the energies of certain planets, in particular, ChironNeptune, Pluto and especially Uranus, read this book with them in mind. You don't really need to study his chart but for what it's worth, here it is.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Monthly Horoscopes: March 2012

March arrived in a heavy fog this morning. You couldn't see the end of our street. Then by noon we had brilliant sunshine and it turned out that spring had arrived while our heads were in the mist.

Actually, it looks like being a pretty good month, just as long as you're not trying to achieve too much. In mid-month Mercury goes retrograde, of course, but this coincides with a delightful earth grand trine and Venus having her annual fling with Jupiter. The mood is sweet if a little chaotic.

With Mercury, Mars and Saturn all going backwards there's not a lot of action but there is opportunity for reaction, redoing, rethinking and reworking. 

What's more there is very intriguing New Moon on the 20th, smack on 0° Aries, possibly the most critical degree in the entire Zodiac – but that deserves a much fuller post. To read the horoscope for your sign click here. Don't forget to take a look at the forecast for your rising sign too.