Thursday, 31 May 2012

June Horoscopes

What a month! So much is going on in the sky. Just to mention two major events. We have Venus' rare transit to the Sun (which I hope you are going to try to watch) and the first exact hit of the Uranus-Pluto square.

Have a look around the site for more on both of these events. Meanwhile, read your own horoscope. I recommend your Rising sign and your Sun sign. And enjoy this crazy month.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Unpacking My Library: The Artist's Way

Most self-help books have about three ideas in them which are padded out with a lot of white space and bullet points. But there are a few which are absolutely brilliant. Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way has sold about a gazillion copies in the two decades not because it's fashionable, or because it tells us something we want to hear, but because it works.

Cameron's personal life has had it's ups and downs. She comes from a privileged background, was briefly married to legendary film director Martin Scorsese and spent a few years in a drug-and-alcohol fog. But when the fog lifted she started to teach "creative unblocking", and what is more, she sees it as a spiritual pathway.

For me, following this book day by day for weeks on end opened up my own creativity wonderfully. What's more it gave me a handful of intense experiences. I'll never forget watching dawn on the Thames by Hammersmith Bridge. The Artist's Way turns life into a game for a few weeks. If you've lost your sense of play, spontaneity, joy, this is the book for you. You don't need to be a budding poet to benefit.

I don't know Cameron's birth time, but it comes as no surprise to see that she has the Sun in imaginative Pisces, and the Moon (probably) in ambitious, make-it-so Capricorn. Pisces has the vision and Capricorn gets things done.

Her whole chart shows a wonderful balance of all four elements. Look at that lovely mutual reception between Uranus and Mercury. She likes to talk to everyone age, class, colour, culture; there are no barriers to communication.

Then she has Venus in fiery Aries - a pioneer in the arts. Mars and Saturn in playful Leo: life should be fun and hard work is fun. Jupiter is in its own sign Sagittarius - a very big view of thing, and again no barriers.

There's much more to look at here but just notice the North Node in Taurus. It's sandwiched between Venus and ground-breaking Uranus, and it's opposed by Chiron, the healer close to her South Node. For her healing is a default mode It comes so naturally, she doesn't have to think about it. But I bet she could only start healing others after she'd been through the ringer herself.

Her life has become a perfect expression of that North Node. Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet of art, but Taurus is practical and real. She has made a practical book about art that heals.

One thing I would add though. I think this book works better for writers and people who work with words than visual artists. Someone needs to do the purely visual version.

Main pic: Andrew Holmes


Keeping It Authentic

I had lunch the other day with a well-respected and very experienced astrologer, who also writes. Our conversation was pretty intense since we'd never met before and we have a lot in common, especially when it comes to thinking about how to do good, authentic astrology.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Astrology of Now: The Drums of Uranus-Pluto

The energies of the planets work together like an orchestra. Sometimes one section is louder, sometimes it's stately, sometimes it's raucous, sometimes there's harmony, sometimes there's not. There are themes and variations that weave in and out of time, repeating once a day, once a month, or once a year, or once every few centuries.

Sometimes one section is loud and sometimes it's all so soft that you can hardly hear it, but the music is always there, weaving it's way through time. Some themes are more powerful than others: the slow ones that build and stay a long time.

I think you can hear the drums of the Uranus-Pluto square, the brothers shock and awe at odds. It's getting louder now.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Kitchen Gods

The idea of a deity who reigns in the kitchen, blessing and protecting the household, is common all the way around the globe. In China, he is called Zao Jun, in Mesoamerica, he was called Huehuetotld, in Rome she was Vesta.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

How Donna Summer Unleashed Lilith One Spring

It was the spring of 1975, when a willowy black woman from Boston and a diminutive German-speaking Italian got together in a music studio in Bavaria and unleashed the most famous series of female orgasms in pop music. 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Europe: When Bread Runs Out, Enter the Circus

About two thousand years ago, peace reigned across the Roman Empire. From Alexandria to the Hadrian's Wall, all opposition had been crushed and people were able to trade, farm and prosper without fear of being molested by marauding barbarians.

Meanwhile, in the bustling, wealthy, multi-ethnic heart of the empire, Rome itself, the million-strong population was kept quiet with free grain and wild spectacle at the Colosseum. Aside from the odd skirmish in some of the friskier sections of the Empire, all was calm, prosperous, even orderly...

While the Pax Romana continued for about 200 years, the rulers of Rome spent their time plotting against each other, gorging until they were sick, shagging (almost anything) and murdering (mostly each other, but often just whoever was handy).

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Astrology of Now: Gilded Venus

Yes, I know we like to talk about roses and kisses and sweet romance, about Romeos and Juliets, the ones that got away and the ones that might just come back now that Venus has turned retrograde...

Monday, 14 May 2012

10 Things To Do With Mercury in Taurus

Mercury, which rules thought and communication, is currently in practical Taurus. This is good for everybody, because it means we have a real chance to get a few things done. You have until May 24, when we return to just talking about everything a lot.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Reader's Question: Shall I Go To the Ball?

Here's a letter a reader wrote to me recently, reprinted with permission.

"I hate my chart. I hate its ambiguities, its lethargy (thanks Libra stellium) and its inability to just take a decision and stick to it. I hate my Virgo Moon, and its crippling inability to let me feel worthwhile...

The Ideal Gift For Taurus

Me: "What would you like for your 9th birthday?"

Taurus: "A voice-activated safe, please."

I'm not making that up.

She got a safe: her Dad's a Leo.

Here's a link to a piece by Pippa on Taurus and hoarding.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Nation's Soul

Ted Hughes was best known as a powerful nature poet before he was made laureate in 1984. It seemed like a strange choice; this poet of fox and moor, black-backed gull and deadly pike, above all of wildness•, asked to write about the baroque, many-layered, structured, civilised, profoundly tamed office of monarchy.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Those Sexy Bulls

Does Scorpio have a corner on sex appeal?

"Nooo," shout the rest of us. "We have a smidgin of the x-factor too."

Of course we do. I write that in my most reassuring manner.

Besides smouldering across the Zodiac from Scorpio are those earthy Bulls, who have a certain je ne sais quoi. In particular, I note beautifully set eyes – a little far apart, and for the ladies swan-like necks.

Top pic: George Clooney, May 6

Pierce Brosnan

Jennifer Alba

Al Pacino was a looker - April 25
Young Jack Nicholson,  April 22

David Beckham, May 2

Penelope Cruz, April 28

Michelle Pfeiffer, April 29

Uma Thurman, April 29

And the ultimate Bull beauty, Audrey Hepburn, May 4

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

RIP Maurice Sendak: "So he gave up being king of the wild things..."

"The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another, his mother called him wild thing and Max said, "I'll eat you up!" so he was sent to bed without eating anything."

Maurice Sendak's short masterpiece Where The Wild Things Are is a perfect combination of (very few) words and (beautiful) pictures that work together to tell a story of mysterious, poetic profundity.

Every child recognises himself or herself in Max, who rages and is punished, whose imagination takes him to a thrilling far-off dangerous place and who is brought home through love and a hot supper. All of us know that there are wild things inside us who like to have a rumpus sometimes.

Sendak's time of birth is unknown, so ignore the angles. The Moon is in profound, imaginative Pisces though and probably trining Mercury in sensitive, nostalgic Cancer, and Pluto which rules the dark beasts of our subconscious. So there it is: telling stories (Mercury) to children (Cancer) and about childhood (Cancer) about the darkness inside (Pluto).

Thank you, Maurice. I hope your supper is waiting for you – and that it is still hot.

Looking At Your Kids' Charts: Is It A Bad Idea?

A couple of weeks ago I was banjaxed by a stomach virus. I spent about 24 hours wrapped around the toilet bowl weeping.

Naturally, I looked at my chart to see if anything jumped out at me. I felt as if Pluto himself had put his arm down my throat and pulled up the contents of my stomach. But to tell the truth not much showed – it was a tummy bug for goodness sake, not a life-changing event.

On the other hand, my kids were pretty horrified by proceedings. They've never really seen me so totally disarmed. And I think it showed up in both their charts as part of a long transit from Pluto, the god of drains (and possibly evisceration).

Friday, 4 May 2012

It Takes All Sorts, So Why the Martial Emphasis?

A while ago I was asked to talk about astrology to some teenagers at the Museum of the History of Science here in Oxford. For  a bit of fun, I asked them each to fill out a short questionnaire. They were to choose three words to describe themselves from a list of different character traits.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Astrology of Now: Fat Full Moon Coming

Fertile, fecund, luscious – this Full Moon (on the 6th) is bursting with promise.

Ceres, the planet of fertility is conjunct the Sun – and so is the wild one, Lilith – all in the most fertile sign, earthy Taurus. The Sun is applying to Jupiter, who magnifies all energies. This is a creative, rich, juicy combination. At the Full Moon, we have fruition, ripening, readiness. The Moon herself is in Scorpio, another of the fertile signs. And she is at her closest to the earth this year.

Is something in your life is ready to be plucked and eaten like a big wet peach?

Picture: Edvard Munch, Clear of the Moon

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Lilith: Both Anima and Animus

Munch's Madonna. He had Lilith in Cancer opposite the feminine Moon in her fall.
"Oh, Mother, my mother!” cried the agonized girl, turning passionately upon her parent as if her poor heart would break. “How could I be expected to know? I was a child when I left this house four months ago. Why didn’t you tell me there was danger in men-folk? Why didn’t you warn me?”
- Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May Horoscopes

Fragonard. The Swing
May's the time for frolicking, especially with Venus. the goddess of love. in that most flirtatious sign Gemini the whole month. La di da.

It's all looking pretty gorgeous what with an eclipse and the famous Venus Retrograde. To take a look at your horoscope click here.

Happy May Day from Oxford

Happy May Day to all my readers.

As you may know, May Day is celebrated with some ferocity in Oxford – drinking, dancing, dressing up. It starts with a choir greeting the dawn from the top of Magdalene Tower and continues with dancing in the  streets.

It's been raining all night here – thunder, lightning, hail – so it's pretty soggy. We saw this charming wet bull in St Giles at about 8.30 am. Need I say more...